Decorated page from the 'Margarita Philosophica', 1535.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A text page with hand-coloured woodcuts from the 'Margarita Philosophica' by Gregor Reisch (c 1467-1525). This page is from the first chapter of the first book and takes the form of a conversation between a teacher and pupil. First printed in 1503, this book was once considered the 'tree of all knowledge'. It was intended as a text book for scholars and is divided into twelve 'books', each dealing with the science of one of the following: grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, natural philosophy (physics), origin of natural objects (natural history), psychology, logic and ethics. It was a popular textbook in higher schools for over half a century.