C. Linnaeus' Ideas Concerning Retribution and Fate

K Wi K Man
' From the day in 1844 when the loose sheets from the hand of C. Linnaeus which bear the title Nemesis divina, were found and entrusted to the care of Uppsala University Library, they have never ceased to arouse wonder and interest. The little volume, now bound, with its 203 octavo leaves, retains even today a good deal of its attraction as a reliquary for the most secret thoughts of the great scientist. It is known that Linnaeus wrote these leaves over a long period of time and kept them
more » ... ly secret. Dedicating the leaves to his son, Linnaeus Junior, he wrote: "Some of these stories are perhaps told incorrectly; [if so] listen, say nothing, do not violate anybody's name and honour." This counsel has been followed piously until our days. There is no complete edition of the manuscript, only a selection, good in itself, published with a commentary by Elias and Thore Magnus Fries. Of this selection, which bears the title 'Carl von Linnés anteckningar öfver Nemesis Divina', the first edition was published in connection with the doctoral investiture at Uppsala in 1848, and a second enlarged and revised edition in 1878. This is still the only edition of scientific value and will therefore be used here. Only in special cases do dates in Nemesis divina enable us to establish a chronological connection. But we may assume that Linnaeus' ideas have changed somewhat in the course of time and that the differences between his youth and his maturity can be traced. Linnaeus early evinces signs of old age. The paper will be published in full in a separate volume Lachesis and Nemesis.