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The Natural History

The Natural History by Pliny the Elder

"The Natural History" by Pliny the Elder is a comprehensive and ambitious work that covers a wide range of topics, from geography and astronomy to zoology and botany. Written in the first century AD, this ancient text provides valuable insight into the natural world as understood by the Romans.

Pliny's exhaustive compilation of knowledge is impressive, showcasing the depth of his expertise and curiosity about the world around him. The book is filled with fascinating and often bizarre anecdotes about various plants, animals, and minerals, making it an entertaining read for those interested in natural history.

While some of the information presented in "The Natural History" may be outdated or based on misconceptions, it is important to remember the historical context in which it was written. Pliny's work serves as a valuable record of ancient scientific thought and provides a glimpse into the beliefs and practices of the time.

Overall, "The Natural History" is a valuable resource for anyone interested in ancient science and natural history. Pliny's passion for the subject shines through in his writing, making this book a fascinating glimpse into the wonders of the natural world as seen through the eyes of a Roman scholar.

Book Description:

"Naturalis Historia" (Latin for "Natural History") is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77-79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny. The work became a model for all later encyclopedias in terms of the breadth of subject matter examined, the need to reference original authors, and a comprehensive index list of the contents. The scheme of his great work is vast and comprehensive, being nothing short of an encyclopedia of learning and of art so far as they are connected with nature or draw their materials from nature. The work divides neatly into the organic world of plants and animals, and the realm of inorganic matter, although there are frequent digressions in each section. He is especially interested in not just describing the occurrence of plants, animals and insects, but also their exploitation (or abuse) by man, especially Romans. The description of metals and minerals is particularly detailed, and valuable for the history of science as being the most extensive compilation still available from the ancient world.

This volume one includes the first five books, covering the following subjects:

Book 1- Dedication
Book 2 - An account of the world and the elements
Books 3 to 5 - An account of countries, nations, seas, towns, havens, mountains, rivers, distances, and peoples who now exist or formerly existed

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