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Precision. Anthidium sp., Wool Carder Bee, Orto Botanico, and the Accursios, San Francesco, Bologna, Italy | by Rana Pipiens
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Precision. Anthidium sp., Wool Carder Bee, Orto Botanico, and the Accursios, San Francesco, Bologna, Italy

The Moroccan lad from near Fez was watching me - no longer intent on his 'fix' - and exclaimed that I be careful with those wasps. There I was in the rather overgrown and disappointing Botanical Garden of the University. It was founded in 1568 by Ulisse Aldrovandi in the courtyard of the Palazzo d'Accursio and later moved to the present location.

'Nope', I said. 'They're not wasps; watch me'. And I proceeded to coax one of these great Wool Carder Bees onto a finger. 'Oh! it'll sting you!', he cried. I: 'I doubt it; and that sting'll be a lot less harmful than what you're up to.' He slunk away to his shrubbery...

And I pondered on the Accursio family. Famous jurists of Bologna who put a permanent stamp on legal studies. Father (c.1182-1263) and son Franciscus (1225-1293) were sticklers for the precision of language in jurisprudence. They're 'interred' in a marvelous tomb high above the common turf at the church of St Francis (see inset).

Wasp it isn't, my colorfully marvelous insect, but that well-meaning not very precise warning did remind me of Aristophanes' comparison of lawyers to wasps...

 

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Taken on July 1, 2019