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Author: Edward Topsell
Publication Location: London
Year: 1658

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Topsell’s natural history includes both familiar and exotic creatures, drawn from sources both new and old. Topsell describes the horse, reindeer and chameleon. He portrays the magnificent appearance of the rhinoceros in the artistic tradition of Dürer. An appendix surveys what was known of the bee and bee-keeping. He included strange creatures which were frequently or reliably reported, such as the unicorn and the manticore. In 1672, Nicolaas Tulp would report that the horn of the unicorn on display in many continental museums was actually the tusk of the narwhal. However, the weight of classical testimony could be taken by many as independent evidence that the unicorn really existed, as a terrestrial version of the aquatic monoceros.

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Theme(s): Literature, Biology
Chronological Period: 17th century
Geographical Region(s): Europe, England
Resource Type: Book