Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Book sections

La reproduction imparfaite : les 'gusanes' et l’état larvaire des insectes chez Albert le Grand

Abstract : The subject of Medieval entomology is has remained virtually unexplored. Yet there is no shortage of matter to study. From the 13th century, after a relative silence lasting several centuries and filled only with exegetical interpretations, the philosophical interest for the indistinct world of vermes has increased as a result of the rediscovery of Aristotle’s Zoology and the circulation of Book 11 of Pliny’s Natural History. The secrets of the world of insects, then called “anulosi” (“ringed”) according to the Arab-Latin translation of Aristotle’s Zoology by Michael Scot, begin to attract the attention of scholars. While he had not read Natural History, the Dominican Albert the Great (ca. 1200-1280) was the first scholar to apply in his De animalibus the Aristotelien teleological perspectives to the study of the specific reproduction modes of these “imperfect” beings. In this context, unprecedented philosophical and scientific questions arise about the difference between sexes, multiple reproduction and parental resemblance in relation to insects undergoing metamorphoses, from the perspective of nature’s quest for perfection. By demonstrating the explanatory benefit that Albert draws from the information provided by Aristotle and by Avicenne’s Abbreviatio de animalibus for the understanding of this “double generation”, this study also shows that it necessitated the introduction of a new word - gusanes - to signify the small worms or larvae originating from the first generation of holometabolous insects.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Isabelle Draelants Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, January 2, 2022 - 6:18:38 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 3:42:00 PM


 Restricted access
To satisfy the distribution rights of the publisher, the document is embargoed until : 2023-01-02

Please log in to resquest access to the document


  • HAL Id : halshs-03333875, version 1


Isabelle Draelants. La reproduction imparfaite : les 'gusanes' et l’état larvaire des insectes chez Albert le Grand. Mattia CIPRIANI; Nicola POLLONI. Reproducing Perfection: Images and Shadows of Nature in the Central Middle Ages, Routledge, 2022. ⟨halshs-03333875⟩



Les métriques sont temporairement indisponibles