Ignacio Juan "Iggy" Pop, or, as he was to sign himself, Ignatius Pappus, was born in Toledo in 1457, the son of a vintner. Third of five sons, he was sent to the convent for his education; for unknown reasons he attended a chapter school as far away as Paderborn, attached to the Dominican monastery there. An early Humanist, he left the school and returned to Castile before taking orders, in 1479. The record is unclear on his occupation for some years; however, by 1483 he was employed in the periphery of the court of Aragon at Barcelona, apparently as a librarian or philosopher-general.

Like many men of his day, Pop was a theologian by education, but inclined by interest to the natural sciences; the spread of the then-new art of printing gave his works wide dissemination. He wrote a commentary on Euclid's Elements and another on the Hebraica; he wrote an account of visions sustained while in seminary which is said to have inspired Swedenborg in his Arcana Coelestia. He published a treatise in four parts on the agent properties of various botanicals, in 1485, 1487, 1491 and 1492. Moreover, he wrote a large work on the principles of music, the Ars Magna Melodica, in which he proposed a complex, never-adopted system of musical notation, and is supposed to have invented a new kind of zither for which Ferdinand II rewarded him with the instrument's weight in gold. He was an obsessed and eccentric collector, not only an early bibliophile but also an avid hoarder of dead insects, live birds, glassware, musical instruments, scientific instruments, Oriental and Egyptian figurines. His herbariums were supposed to rival any in Europe.

Pop supposedly suffered from ill-health his whole life; an unidentified wasting disease left him constantly weary and simultaneously voracious. As an adult, his physical features were so distinctive that, like Notker the Stammerer, he came to be identified by them, other writers often calling him Iggy the Gangly. As he was known despite this to have been unusually tall, some modern historians believe that the symptoms were brought on by the inhalation of mercury in the course of experiments, while others blame the ingestion of the various experimental herbal remedies and decoctions Pop spent much of his time on devising. However, both of these theories disregard that he claims himself (in Pt. III. of his Botanicals) to have been plagued by his mysterious ailment since early childhood, and the latter also ignores that he only became obsessed with herbal medicine in the hopes of alleviating his illness.

In about 1502 Pop left the service of their Catholic Majesties to start a manufacture, having allegedly invented a sequin-punching machine. Though unreliable, this machine was far more effective than performing the operation by hand, and, able to sell to court via his personal contacts, he became a rich man. After this point, he appears to have written nothing, or at least published nothing; church records indicate that he died in Toledo in 1515. He had no children, leaving his wealth and personal collections to a favorite nephew.

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