Oddities of Nature Circa 1665

I’ve been thinking about oddities of nature, feral children and other beings that have captured peoples’ imagination over time. I came across some illustrations by an artist who really delved into the what ifs of human and animal existence.


Fortunio Liceti published De Monstris in 1665. He held a doctorate in philosophy and medicine and was widely published. Galileo, a friend, once loaned him money.


His drawings depicted monstrosities in nature, and apparently inspired widespread interest in what ifs: mermaids, pygmies and other marvels of the natural world. What I like is that it seemed in that early time as though anything was possible. People could grow arms out of their necks.


The Public Domain Review offers quite a few of these marvels for your perusal. Here is a taste.



Filed under Art, Culture, History, Jean Zimmerman, Nature

2 responses to “Oddities of Nature Circa 1665

  1. Yes, we’re hardwired to be thrilled by monsters, I believe.

  2. Anonymous

    Ha. A few days ago, I thought about some odd possibilities too, very weird, as I finished reading RELIC by Preston & Child.

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