The king of Spain commissioned a physician, Francisco Hernandez, to compile Native American plant and animal knowledge. Hernandez worked closely with Aztec artists and physicians in central Mexico.
Hernandez, with the assistance of the Academy of the Lynx, worked to publish a monumental natural history of the Americas based upon the manuscript Hernandez prepared for the king.
The world revealed to early modern explorers seemed filled with enigmatic creatures. The Accademia dei Lincei, or Academy of the Lynx, was founded in 1603 as a scientific society devoted to the investigation of the natural world.
How many of the reports of giants, dragons, and other unusual animals should be believed? Fascinated with novel discoveries and unexpected marvels, naturalists sought to relate both the old and new, the enigmatic and the emblematic, in an ongoing dialogue of natural wonder and natural order.
On Secret Writing
Members of the Academy of the Lynx preferred to communicate with each other in code. Della Porta was the most accomplished cryptographer of the Renaissance. This work includes a set of movable cipher disks to code and decode messages. A cipher disk is a paper rotating wheel attached to the page by a piece of string. The cipher disk, or code wheel, rotates to align corresponding characters for the code on the inner and outer dials. The 1563 Naples imprint on the title page is fictitious. The book was actually published in London in 1591 by