Edition 1st Edition. First Published Imprint Routledge.
Pages pages. In our own times, we need specialists to study all of this, and the fruits of their efforts are part of the scientific knowledge we possess. This was so in ancient times too. Just as today we have encyclopedias that enshrine the latest knowledge we possess, there were a few such in times past also.
In our own times, encyclopedias are compiled by editors with contributions from various specialists. But in the ancient world there was at least one writer who attempted to write an encyclopedia all by himself. His name was Caius Plinius Secundus 1st century C. He wrote a 37 volume encyclopedia under the title Naturalis historia. He deserves to be remembered, not so much for the impressive set of volumes he published, and certainly not for the accuracy of his reporting, but for his enthusiasm for human knowledge and for coining a term for the science of nature: natural history as a scientific epithet for the totality of our knowledge about the natural world.
Pliny as he came to be called would rise at midnight or at one, and never later than two in the morning, and begin his literary work. He included in his compendium not only birds and animals, but also minerals and planets, medicines for particular ailments and human activities like mining.
Most of his works have been lost; our knowledge of him comes mostly through the writings of others. However, his intense curiosity and mountain of work places him among the greatest the empire ever produced. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers.source
Natural History (Pliny)
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Pliny's passionate curiosity would, unfortunately, lead to an early death. Bibliography Bowder, D. Who Was Who in the Roman World. Cornell Univ Pr, Dando-Collins, S. The Great Fire of Rome.
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Da Capo Press, Dennison, M. The Twelve Caesars. Martin's Press, Hornblower, S.
Pliny the Elder's 'Natural history' : the Empire in the encyclopedia
The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press, Liberati, A. Ancient Rome.
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