According to the book, Flora Unveiled: The Discovery and Denial of Sex in Plants by Lee Taiz and Lincoln Taiz published by Oxford, Chapter 8: Plant sex from Empedocles to Theophrastus (pg 213), the author quotes the Roman author Aëtius ( Aëtius, Vetusta Placita, v. 26; 440). According to Wikipedia Vetusta Placita is not the original work of Aëtius but the invention of Hermann Alexander Diels'.

Diels claimed that Aetius himself was merely abridging a work which Diels (1879) called Oldest Tenets or, in Latin, Vetusta Placita. Unlike Aetius, whose existence is attested by Theodoret, the Vetusta Placita is Diels' invention and is generally disregarded by modern classicists, e.g., the Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (1999).

And the same quote I have also found in Hanover College takes its reference from Doxographi Graeci, Berlin 1879.

I am very confused if the book Flora Unveiled has used wrong or inaccurate sources or am I wrong? I am concerned because it's published by Oxford and both are not historians by profession. If I am wrong, can anyone please explain why am I wrong?

  • Interesting question. It appears to me that nobody disputes the quotes; merely the arrangement of the quotes, "In spite of the respect paid to Diels' monumental work, there is ongoing controversy among scholars over the details of his arrangement of the fragments." Wikipedia:Diels if I understand correctly, the quotes are probably correct, but the attribution to Vetusta Placita is in question.
    – MCW
    Sep 1, 2021 at 11:44


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