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Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree – The Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order - Columbia Scholarship Online
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Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree: The Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order

J. Archibald


This book explores the rich history of visual metaphors that have been used to picture biological order and looks at the influence of these metaphors on the perception people have of their place in nature. It begins with the ancient use of ladders to show biological order and moves to the Romans' use of trees to represent seasonal life cycles and genealogies. It then explains how the early Christian Church appropriated trees to represent biblical genealogies and how, in the late eighteenth century, the tree was reclaimed to visualize relationships in the natural world. It shows how Charles Dar ... More

Keywords: trees, Charles Darwin, ladders, nature, visual metaphor, iconography, biological order, tree of life, natural world

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780231164122
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231164122.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

J. Archibald, author