Travniki, Travniki and Travniki: Herbals, Herbalists and Herbaria in Seventeenth-Century and Eighteenth-Century Russia

Rachel Koroloff


This essay provides a sustained investigation of the term travnik, a capacious word that came to mean herbalist, herbal and herbarium over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Though different in physical form, all three were united during this period by the body of knowledge they contained about the botanical world. Taken togetherthey reveal the ways in which knowledge of plants, from folk collecting traditions, to medical botany, to binomial nomenclature, was generated in the productive tension between foreign expertise and local knowledge. The focus here on translation highlights the diverse array of influences that contributed to the early modern Russian conception of the natural world. The travnik as herbal is explored through two centuries of secondary sources, while the travnik as herbalist relies heavily on published primary documents. The third section on the travnik as herbarium focuses on eighteenth century herbaria and the transposition of new scientific methods onto older forms of knowledge making.


Plants, Russian Orthodox Church, Apothecary chancellery, St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, herbals, herbalists, herbarium, magic, witchcraft, botany, science, translation, knowledge production.

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ISSN: 2333-1658