University Library of Bern UB

Rare books

Aretius collection

The collection of the Bernese theologian Benedikt Aretius (around 1522-1674) mainly contains books on theology. But it also covers the full range of subjects of contemporary humanistic education as well as the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric). The collection contains works on history and the natural sciences, focusing on botany. Aretius, who became Professor for Hebrew and Latin in Bern in 1553, corresponded with Conrad Gesner on botany, his particular field of interest. In appreciation of his botanical studies Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) named a species of plant after Aretius ("Aretia") after his death.

He bequeathed his collection of 23 volumes to the university. Most of its 31 titles are written in Latin. Notes in the margin are a sign of Aretius' true dedication to books.