Carl von Linné

Systema Naturae

Carl Linnaeus (Swedish original name Carl Nilsson Linnæus, 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, botanist, physician, zoologist, lay the foundations for the modern scheme of binominal nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology. Most of his writings were in Latin and his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus (after 1761 Carolus a Linné).



Linneus was the greatest scientist Sweden ever had. He was very close to the thoughts of Darwin, long before him, which left him troubled because he also was a strong believer in God. Today he would probably have been labelled a "Creationist", which in his time was provoking outside of accademic circles but still without the current negative connotation.



He saw and order in flora and fauna which he tought was the work of a Creator. The Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: "Tell him I know no greater man on earth." The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly.". The Swedish dramatist, author and painter August Strindberg wrote: "Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist".Among other compliments, Linnaeus has been called Princeps botanicorum (Prince of Botanists), "The Pliny of the North," and "The Second Adam".



Publishing of Systema Naturae



One of the first scientists Linnaeus met in the Netherlands was Johan Frederik Gonovius to whom Linnaeus showed one of the several manuscripts he had brought with him from Sweden. The manuscript described a new system for classifying plants. When Gronovius saw it, he was very impressed, and offered to help pay for the printing. With an additional monetary contribution by the Scottish doctor Isaac Lawson, the manuscript was published as Systema Naturae .



Linnaeus became acquainted with one of the most respected physicians and botanists in the Netherlands, Herman Boerhaave, who tried to convince Linnaeus to make a career there. Boerhaave offered him a journey to South Africa and America, but Linnaeus declined, stating he would not stand the heat. Instead, Boerhaave convinced Linnaeus that he should visit the botanist Johannes Burman After his visit, Burman, impressed with his guest's knowledge, decided Linnaeus should stay with him during the winter. During his stay, Linnaeus helped Burman with his Thesaurus Zeylanicus. Burman also helped Linnaeus with the books on which he was working: Fundamenta Botanica and Bibliotheca Botanica.



Johannes Burman wrote to Linné asking him to assist in the work of classifying plants, and invited him to become his physician and superintendent of his garden. Linnaeus had already agreed to stay with Burman over the winter, and could thus not accept immediately. However, Clifford offered to compensate Burman by offering him a copy of Sir Sloan´s Natural Hstory of Jamaica, a rare book, if he let Linnaeus stay with him, and Burman accepted. On 24 September 1735, Linnaeus became the botanical curator and house physician at Hartekamp, free to buy any book or plant he wanted.



In July 1736, Linnaeus travelled to England, at Clifford's expense. He went to London to visit Sir hans Sloane, a collector of natural history, and to see his cabinet as well as to visit the Chelsea and Physic Garden Philip Miller He taught Miller about his new system of subdividing plants, as described in Systema Naturae. Miller was impressed, and from then on started to arrange the garden according to Linnaeus' system.Linnaeus also traveled to Oxford University to visit the botanist Johann Jacob Dillenius. He failed, however, to make Dillenius publicly accept his new classification system. He then returned to Hartekamp, bringing with him many specimens of rare plants. The next year, he published Genera Plantarum, which he descred 935 genera of plants, and shortly thereafter he supplemented it with Corollarium Generum Plantarum, with another sixty (sexaginta) genera.



His work at Hartekamp led to another book, Hortus Clifftorniaris, a catalogue of the botanical holdings in the herbarium and botanical garden of Hartekamp. He wrote it in nine months (completed in July 1737), but it was not published until 1738.It contains the first use of the name , Nephentes. Linnaeus used to describe a genus of pitcher plants.



Linnaeus stayed with Clifford at Hartekamp until 18 October 1737 (new style), when he left the house to return to Sweden. Illness and the kindness of Dutch friends obliged him to stay some months longer in Holland. In May 1738, he set out for Sweden again. On the way home, he stayed in Paris for about a month, visiting botanists such as Antonie Jussieu, Linnaeus never left Sweden again.



His pupils, however travelled extensively with the great discoverers of new territories and land and contributed, in his tradition, to name and to categorize the flora and fauna on distant continents.

The Royal Linneus Collection and the Linneus Society can be found in London, not in Sweden, to our deep regret. Few become prophets in their own land... Without the aid of continental scientists and sponsors Linneus would not have been able to become the world famous scientist. Like the Renaissance man he could be very patriotic but also an internationalist, convinced of the equal value of man, disregarding the place of birth. He did, however, believe in a kind of biological hierarchy of the races, a subject matter carefully avoided, but in equality of all in front of God.



There is little dount, however, that his fascination of the flora and the fauna, was in tradition with a Swedish national history of endless aition legends and mythology, nature mysticism and sagas of heroes and heroines in the deep forests, the mountains, the extensive lakeland among trolls and nature spirits in a ex officio religion, animism, which already existed among the Sami, (Lapponians), when the first germanic tribes such as Svear and Göhter settled in present day Sweden in the late Paleolitikum (ca 13 000 f.Kr. - 10 000 f.Kr.)



The aboriginal Same Nomads were already established in Sampi, a Same territory extending from Norway, over Sweden and Finland and into Russia. Like Kurdistan exteding over parts five nations it has been informally accepted and Sampi, contrary to Kurdistan, has a Same ting, a parliament, but with very little influence in the respective Nordic countries.



Theirs was a religion of animism and animatism, and to a degree, still is. The Viking pantehon of Odin and Thor is an Indo Aryan heritage and introduced far later by the descendants of germanic tribes who onced developed the Viking culture.



Linné was a troubled scientist during the early stages of the transformative Age of Enlightenment and still, to a degree under the influence of Christian mediaval piety, radically transformed by the earlier revolutionary mindset of the Renaissance.



Douglas Modig