XAVIER SISTACH

ENTOMOLOGY, ANCIENT HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHIES

AND MISCELLANEOUS

AUTOBIOGRAPHY  (1962)

I have studied biology at university and I am a specialist in Ancient Natural History of insects, a collaborator of the Zoology Museum of Barcelona and a member of the Catalan Institution of Natural History (ICHN). I have devoted more than forty years to the study of entomology, which is why I have travelled around the world and have witnessed the enormous biodiversity that still exists on the planet.

 

I am the author of several works related to insects: Bandas, enjambres y devastación. Las plagas de langostas a través de la historia (Almuzara, 2007), and Insectos y hecatombes, volumes I and II (RBA, 2012 and 2014). The former is out of print and can only be found on digital platforms specialising in old works. The work Insectos y hecatombes published by RBA is also out of print but it is still possible to find volume II dedicated to flies, mosquitoes and ticks through Amazon. As I didn't want the work to be definitively lost, I reached an agreement with the publishing house Plataforma (Estrella imprint) to make the work available again, but only in the "print on demand" version. It is also available on Amazon, but in three volumes, as it had to be divided into three parts, as Amazon accepts a limited number of pages per copy.

These two works, Bandas, enjambres y devastación and Insectos y hecatombes (vol. I and II), are of considerable length, around 2,300 pages in total, and can be found in the first tab of this website, called Insecta. The numerous and precise bibliography on which it is based has a very diverse origin and has been translated by myself. The complete work is available in the form of articles and separated by chapters, as can be seen in the general index, so that the reader can easily find the specific subject of interest. Bands, swarms and devastation describes the most dangerous locust species and the most important historical plagues that man has suffered from the Neolithic period, just when they began, until 2005. Insectos y hecatombes is a natural history that deals with insects such as fleas, lice, mosquitoes, flies, bedbugs and also ticks, and the many different diseases they transmit: plague, epidemic typhus, yellow fever, malaria, filariasis, African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, etc. The whole subject has been treated from a medical, biological, entomological and, above all, historical point of view.

 

In June 2018 appeared Historia de las moscas y de los mosquitos, published by Editorial Arpa, in fact a summary with extensions of the second volume of Insectos y hecatombes. In September 2019, Pasión por los insectos. Ilustradoras, Aventureras y Entomólogas, (Editorial Turner), a short history of entomology based on the exceptional work of fifty-one women who devoted themselves to the study of insects. In the Biographica tab, arranged alphabetically by author, these biographies are loaded and available for consultation. In the Media tab you will find links to articles and interviews that have been carried out on these works. 

 

In this Biographica tab you will also find other biographies of various naturalists, scientists, geographers, historians or travellers who appear in my works and for whom I feel great admiration; without their contribution I would not have written anything.

 

In the third tab, Etiam Perire Ruinae, which means "even their ruins have disappeared" (Lucan. Pharsalia, IX, 969), you will find maps of the ancient world. This is an ambitious work begun in 2015. And one that I may never finish, as its scope will be considerable. The intention is to make a sort of tourist guide to the known world in the 2nd century AD, what a traveller of that time would find: seas, rivers, mountain ranges, ethnic groups, villages, cities or regions, in their Latinised name.

 

The bibliography used is based on the writings of ancient geographers and historians, especially Ptolemy, Pliny, Strabo, and also many others who made minor contributions. Once the maps have been made, I will upload them to the web together with the "access" database that supports them (in Catalan language); there you will find all the compiled information that gives meaning to the map and which will help you to find the location of the place you are looking for.

 

The intention of this website is to offer free of charge the contents of everything that I have considered interesting and that I have been learning and writing about. I don't think it's right that the works just sit in a drawer, nor do I think it's enough that they are limited to the published work or forgotten when they are out of print. I want my effort of collecting and processing information over so many years to be of use to anyone who is interested in these subjects that I am passionate about.

 

Finally, a last tab appears, Miscellanea ab absurdo: there you will find phrases, ideas, stories and thoughts that haunt my mind, often surreal. I also need to air my head with "minor" questions, trivial if you prefer, but which give me wellbeing and pleasure. Here are references to another work of mine, nothing to do with the previous ones, a politically incorrect black comedy that I wrote with the sole purpose of laughing, and I laughed a lot: Siete crímenes por cópula (Plataforma, 2015), by the pseudonymous author Margarito Micifú... I didn't have the courage to put my real name, and in the realm of fiction, anything goes! I recommend you to watch the presentation of the book at the Abacus bookshop in Barcelona, it was really funny.