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Marchant, Nicolas

1. Dates
Born: unknown
Died: Paris, June 1678
Dateinfo: Birth Unknown
Lifespan: N/A
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: Padua, M.D.
Received his M.D.from the University of Padua.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Botany
He devoted the last ten years of his life to the preparation of the Histoire des plantes, undertaken in 1667 by the Académie. He prepared a large number of descriptions for this project which was never published, being abandoned by the Academy in 1694. He collaborated in editing the Mémoire pour servir à l'histoire des plantes (1676). He was the first botanist to take up the study of lower plants.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Government, Patronage
Following his university training he became apothecary to Gaston, Duke of Orleans, the brother of Louis XIII. After the death of the Duke (1660), he entered the service of the King, although it is not known what his title or function in the royal household was.
He was a member, and remained until 1673 the only botanist, of the Académie.
1674-78, Director of horticulture in the Jardin du Roi, a post created explicitly for him.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Government Official
He was apothecary to the Duke of Orleans, the brother of the Kking. Upon the death of the Duke he entered the service of the King.
According to Nouvelle biographie générale, Marchant was the premier botanist to the Duke of Orleans. The Duke obtained the direction of the Jardin du Roi for him. However, it is also stated that Colbert created the position at the Jardin for him. I suppose these two statements are not necessarily contradictory.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Pharmacology
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, 1666-78
Marchant was one of the founding members of the Académie.
Note also his position at the Jardin du Roi. The Laissus article below gives information on the group of men doing botanical research at the Jardin.
  1. Yves Laissus, "Les Plantes du roi. Note sur un grand ouvrage de botanique prepare au XVIIe siecle par I'Académie royale des sciences," Revue d'histoire des sciences, 22 (1969), pp. 193- 236. Q2.R45
  2. Nouvelle biographie générale, 33, 482-3.
  3. Index biografique (Académie des sciences), p. 342.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Nicolas-Francois-Joseph Eloy, Dictionaire histoirique de la médecine ancienne et moderne..., 3, (Mons, 1778), pp. 159-60.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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