Savigny Description de Egypte et Syrie.

Harry A. ten Hove hove at
Tue Nov 12 08:34:33 EST 1996


On 291096 Dr. Ben-Eliahu wrote:

>Hello fellow worm-people!
>Savigny collected from Egypt and from Syria and also from other
>locations and put a melange of locations in his book.
>I am making a last ditch effort to try to get a more precise location
>for Savigny's Lycoris fucata (nereidid). In 2nd edition, cited
>by Hartmann-Schroder as 1820 (but on title plate
>of volume found in our rare book collection listed as 1826), Savigny
>notes L. fucata is from "ocean", no location given, having been collected
>by M. Homberg and conveyed to him by Cuvier. Does anyone know
>where Homberg was collecting? Was he also a part of the French
>Expedition to the Middle East?
>Any assistance on this ancient (Napoleonic) history much appreciated.
>Nechama Ben-Eliahu
>Curator, Section of Invertebrates, The Scientific Collections
>The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, J"m 91904.
>Fax 972-2-666804; telephone 972-2-658 46 33.
>Nechama at

As for the date of publication, I did not check now, but on two occasions I
had the book in my hands, and noted the date as 1820.

As for the question about M. Homberg, I am afraid that this will not turn
out to be a likely road to the origin of the material. 

M. most likely stands for Monsieur, the French for "Mr.", and not for an

Homberg being a not uncommon Dutch name, I assumed that the
collector/collection Homberg might have been Dutch too (but maybe he was
German, or even Danish). Anyhow, I had the name Homberg checked by Mrs. F.
Pieters and Mrs. J. de Sonaville, librarians of the "Artis library" (one of
Holland's better libraries for historic natural history books), and by
Prof. P. Smit and dr. R.P.M. Visser, biohistorians from Utrecht University.

They found no trace of a collection (or "cabinet") made by Homberg. They
did find reference to Willem Homberg, born 1652 Batavia (=Jakarta,
Indonesia), died 1715 in the "Ruhr". Although he lived a century before
Savigny's publication, he might be a suspect, see below. What I can glean
together from the hand-written notes in our archives is the following:

travelled to Amsterdam
studied law in Jena & Leipzig
studied later medicine and physics
came in contact with Otto Gericke
1 year in Padua, anatomy and botany), Bologna, Rome, France, England.
Anatomy lectures in Holland
Doctorate in Wittenberg
examined miners (HAtH ?, utterly unreadable textpart) in Saxony, Hungary,
Sweden, Holland and France
stayed in Paris upon request of Colbert, in the name of (? Eng. king?)
1682 became catholic
1685 Rome, as a medical man
return to Paris
court-physician of the Duke of Orleans
1691 Acad. Sci.
1702 Prof. Chymiae (chemistry)
1706 married to daughter of Dodart
t 1715

published in the Mem. Acad.
Source: Letter of Herman Boerhaave to Joh.Bapt. Bassard (?) in Vienna 1927,
University Library Amsterdam: MG Dm3.

Wormly yours,   
Harry A. ten Hove
Institute for Systematics and Populationbiology
Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam
POB 94766, 1090 GT AMSTERDAM

tel. 3120 5256906
fax. 3120 5255402
Email: hove at

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