A plant collector in the East Mediterranean Region in the second half of the eighteenth century: John Sibthorp (1758-1796)
John Sibthorp (1758-1796) was a young professor of botany who has lived at Oxford in the second half of eighteenth century. As physician, his interest was to recollect the plants compiled in the first century by Dioscorides of Anazarba (S. Anatolia) and to find others which may have some medicinal uses. He was further planning to write a Greek flora. He came twice to the East Mediterranean region. In his first visit (1786-1787), he collected from Greece, Aegean Islands, West Anatolia and Cyprus. He was accompanied by the young Austrian artist Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826). In the second (1794-1795), he mainly travelled through Greece. He died early in 1796, before setting in order his rich material. According to his bequest, after his death, J.E.Smith (1759-1828) wrote in two octavo volumes the Florae Graecae Prodromus, published from 1806 to 1816, and started to prepare the Flora Graeca, which consists of ten folio volumes containing 996 coloured plates drawn by F.Bauer. He published the first 6 volumes, but died. The remaining volumes were produced by J.Lindley (1799-1865). The completion of this big work took a much longer time, from 1806 to 1840. Sibthorp's aim was thus successfully accomplished, may it be 44 years after his death.
Little is known about the travels of Sibthorp in West Anatolia. He debarked to Izmir in 1786 and arrived to Istanbul in Autumn. Two times he has been in Istanbul, first from Autumn 1786 to early Spring 1787, then from May to September 1794. In 1786 he climbed Uludağ up to the summit. He shortly visited the Marmara sea shores of Çanakkale in March 1787 and in September 1794. According to his specimens cited in Flora of Turkey and in Flora Orientalis, he has collected from Bithynia, Phrygia, Lydia, Caria, Lycia, Olympus bithyniae and mons Sipylus. We don't known exactly the dates of his collectings in these areas, but it is clear that he visited it in his first travel, i.e. in 1786 and in Spring 1787. He climbed twice to Uludağ, in 1786 and 1794.
Flora of Turkey cites no more than 50 Turkish specimens collected by Sibthorp, of which 36 are types. In Flora Orientalis, we find nearly 290 of his specimens from Anatolia. During his sojourn in Istanbul, Sibthorp visited the Bazar and the drugshops. He prepared a list of the Latin names of the medicinal and useful plants which were sold there. The list records 38 plants with their local uses.
Keywords: John Sibthorp, travels in Anatolia, history of botany; Anahtar kelimeler: John Sibthorp, Anadolu gezileri, botanik tarihi.