ENTOMOLOGY, ANCIENT HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHIES
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, and 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 Media tab you will find links to articles and interviews that have been carried out on these works.
In February 2023 a new book was published by the Viena publisher, now in Catalan language, entitled The adventures of Ida Pfeiffer. A great traveler and naturalist of the 19th century, a formal biography of the great Austrian traveller born in 1797, which reviews her life and her five extraordinary journeys: the Holy Land, Iceland and Scandinavia, two long voyages around the world and Madagascar. Pfeiffer, a woman who began to travel when she was already forty-four years old and always did so alone and with few resources, was also a naturalist who collected insects, molluscs and small vertebrates to sell them to European natural history museums, mainly those in Vienna, Berlin and London, in order to cover the costs of her travels. On his travels he lived enormous adventures that seem to be straight out of a film, and reading his five works, one for each trip, is a real delight. Pfeiffer cannot be considered simply a tourist, but rather a traveller on the frontier with the explorer, as she travelled through territories that had never before been trodden by the white man.
This 461-page work contains numerous illustrations, in black and white, so that the reader not only will live Ida Pfeiffer's experiences but can also "see" them, the iconography of the places she visited is very rich. Due to the limited space available in the printed book, two tabs have been added to this website, Pfeiffer 1 and Pfeiffer 2, where all the necessary information has been added to complete the comprehensive knowledge about the traveller and the journeys she made: explanatory notes, biographical notes on the most important people who appear in the book, a chronology of her life and her journeys, a list of newspaper articles and letters she wrote, the journeys she made by sea, maps of all her journeys, and a bibliography of text and images. Tab 2 contains the complete iconography, with hundreds of illustrations in black and white and in colour.
In another 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.