Saturday, May 4, 2013

mei sunt ordines, mea descriptio

At the origin of the taxonomy:

Cum autem admiraretur Lysander et proceritates arborum, et directos in quincuncem ordines, et humum subactam atque puram, et suavitatem odorum, qui afflarentur e floribus; tum eum dixisse, mirari se non modo diligentiam, sed etiam solertiam ejus, a quo essent illa dimensa atque descripta; et ei Cyrum respondisse: Atqui ego omnia ista sum dimensus; mei sunt ordines, mea descriptio; multae etiam istarum arborum mea manu sunt satae.

M.T.Cicero, Cato Maior de senectute, XVII.59

(Among other courtesies to Lysander while his guest, Cyrus showed him a certain carefully planted park.) After admiring the stateliness of the trees, regularly placed in quincunx rows, the clean and well-cultivated soil, and the sweet odours emanating from the flowers, Lysander then remarked: "I marvel not only at the industry, but also at the skill of the man who planned and arranged this work." "But it was I," Cyrus answered, "who planned it all; mine are the rows and mine the arrangement, and many of those trees I set out with my own hands."

Taxonomy starts from gardening...

... pone ordine vitis

His nos consevimus agros!
Insere nunc, Meliboee, piros, pone ordine vitis.
Ite meae, felix quondam pecus, ite capellae.
P. Vergilius Maro, Ecloga I, 73-75

For such as these, then, were our furrows sown!
Now, Meliboeus, graft your pears, now set
your vines in order! Go, once happy flock,
my she-goats, go.
from: Vergil. Eclogues, J. B. Greenough (Ed.), Boston. : Ginn & Co., 1895.

The transition from the nomad society to the agricultural one was marked by vineyard culture. In ancient Greek the word τάξις (taxis) denotes the rows of grapes. Hence the phrase έν τάξις (en taxis) means en row, in order.

See also Greek myths on the origins of grapevine and wine.

De omni re scibili

IMES - Istituto Metodologico Economico Statistico, Università di Urbino, 
Working Paper IMES-LCA WP-14, maggio 1995

Explicatio terminorum

Epigenetics, in biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype, caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi- (Greek: επί- over, above, outer) -genetics, some of which are heritable.

Systema Naturae  was one of the major works of the Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician Carolus Linnaeus and introduced the Linnaean taxonomy.

Taxonomy  (from ancient Greek τάξις taxis, arrangement, and νομία nomia, method) is the academic discipline of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups.