Margarita philosophica  

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Margarita philosophica (1503, 1504 edition title was Aepitoma omnis phylosophiae, alias, Margarita phylosophica: tractans de omni genere scibili; the epitome of all philosophy, alias, the philosophical pearl, treating all sorts of knowledge) is a book by Gregor Reisch.


His chief work is the Margarita philosophica, which first appeared at Freiburg in 1503. It is an encyclopedia of knowledge intended as a textbook for youthful students, and contains in twelve books Latin grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, physics, natural history, physiology, psychology, and ethics. The usefulness of the work was increased by numerous woodcuts and a full index.

The form is catechetical: the scholar questions and the teacher answers. The book was very popular for its comparative brevity and form. It was long a customary textbook of the higher schools. Alexander von Humboldt said of it that it had "for a half-century, aided in a remarkable manner the spread of knowledge".

In 1510 Reisch also published the statutes and privileges of the Carthusian Order, and assisted Erasmus of Rotterdam in his edition of Jerome.

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