Saturday, March 4, 2023

Bibliotheca Herpetologica 17(2)


Böhme, W. 2023. Book Review. J.G. Schneider’s Historiae Amphibiorum: Herpetology at the Dawn of the 19th Century. Bibliotheca Herpetologica 17(2):8–9. Published March 4, 2023.

Seventeen years after Aaron M. Bauer, together with Rainer Günther and Meghan Klipfel (1995), presented a monograph on the life and work of Wilhelm Peters (1815–1883) in which all the publications of this great and prolific herpetologist were reproduced as facsimile prints, Bauer now published another historical-herpetological milestone work, this time together with Esteban O. Lavilla. This volume is also part of the Contributions to Herpetology series published by the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). This new book deals with the legacy of the great philologist and zoologist Johann Gottlob (Theaenus) Schneider (1750–1822) whose most important herpetological work was the two volumes of his Historiae Amphibiorum (1799 and 1801). Bauer and Lavilla undertook the task to provide a full English translation of this great work originally written in Latin. They did not limit themselves to a translation alone, but enriched it with numerous footnotes explaining or deepening the understanding Schneider’s text. These footnotes are incredible 1748 (!) in number and containing a lot of information. They provide lots of details, not only on the taxa treated by Schneider and their nomenclatural histories but also on the earlier authors whose works he had studied; and because he was also (or even primarily) a great philologist, he dealt with contributors to the natural history of amphibians and reptiles dating back to Greek and Roman antiquity whose works he could of course read in their original languages.

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