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Caesalpinus

Caesalpinus, the Latinised name of Andrea Caesalpino, an Italian natural philosopher, born at Arezzo, in Tuscany, in 1519. A pupil of Ghinus of Bologna, he became botanical professor at Pisa, where he also studied anatomy and medicine. In 1592 he went to Rome as physician to Pope Clement VIII., and died there in 1603. He published Speculum Artis Medicae, De Plantis, libri XVI. (1583), De Metallicis (1596) and Quaestionum Peripateticarum, libri V. (1603). In the first of these he first speaks of inhibitory action and pulmonary circulation, though he made so little, if any, advance upon Galen's teaching that he has no claim to be considered as anticipating Harvey. His botanical work is far more important. He recognised the existence of sex in what we now term dioecious plants, such as the date, yew, nettle, and hemp; and not only described some 800 plants, but made such suggestions as to their classification as to be styled by Linnaeus "primus verus systematicus." He divided them first into trees and herbs, and then subdivided them naturally, i.e. by various characters, especially by the number of chambers to the fruit, whether it is superior or inferior, the number, etc., of the seeds and the position of the radicle and cotyledons. His herbarium is preserved at Florence.

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