Natural History: A Selection

Natural History: A Selection

Paperback Penguin Classics

By (author) Pliny The Elder, By (author) Gaius Plinius Secundus, Introduction by John Healey, Notes by John Healey, Translated by John Healey

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  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 191mm x 33mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 3 December 1991
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140444130
  • ISBN 13: 9780140444131
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 61,483

Product description

Pliny's "Natural History" is an astonishingly ambitious work that ranges from astronomy to art and from geography to zoology. Mingling acute observation with often wild speculation, it offers a fascinating view of the world as it was understood in the first century AD, whether describing the danger of diving for sponges, the first water-clock, or the use of asses' milk to remove wrinkles. Pliny himself died while investigating the volcanic eruption that destroyed Pompeii in AD 79, and the natural curiosity that brought about his death is also very much evident in the "Natural History" - a book that proved highly influential right up until the Renaissance and that his nephew, Pliny the younger, described 'as full of variety as nature itself'.

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Author information

Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 - 79AD), better known as Pliny the Elder, studied botany and philosophy in Rome before serving in the military. He was later Porcurator in Gallia, whilst continuing to accumulate knowledge on everything from grammar to the history of the German wars. He created the first known encyclopedia.

Table of contents

Introduction Further Reading Translator's Note Natural HistoryPreface The Universe and the World Book II. Astronomy Book III. Spain and Italy Book IV. Europe and Britain Book V. The Continents of Africa and Asia Book VI. The Black Sea, India, and the Far East Zoology Book VII. Man Book VIII. Land Animals Book IX. Creatures of the Sea Book X. Birds Book XI. Insects Botany Books XII-XIII. Trees Book XIV. Vines and Viticulture Book XV. The Olive and Other Fruit-Trees Book XVI. Forest Trees Book XVIII. Agriculture Materia Medica Book XX. Drugs Obtained from Garden Plants Books XI-XXII. Flowers and Herbs Book XXIII. The Vine and the Walnut Book XXIV. Drugs Obtained from Foreign Trees Book XXV. The Nature of Wild Plants Book XXVI. Diseases and Their Remedies Book XXVII. More Plants Used in Medicine Book XXVIII. Drugs Obtained from Man; Magic and Superstition Book XXIX. Medicine, Doctors and Medical Practice Book XXX. Magic Book XXXI. Water Book XXXII. Fish and Aquatic Creatures Mining and Minerals Book XXXIII. Gold and Silver Book XXXIV. Copper and Bronze Sculpture, Tin, Lead and Iron Book XXXV. Painting, Sculpture and Architecture Book XXXVI. Stones, Minerals and Monuments Book XXXVII. Precious Stones Key to Place-Names Index