Natural History, A Selection

Natural History, A Selection

Book - 1991
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Penguin Putnam
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’.

John F. Healy has made a fascinating and varied selection from the Natural History for this clear, modern translation. In his introduction, he discusses the book and its sources topic by topic. This edition also includes a full index and notes.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Baker & Taylor
Presents a view of the world in the first century AD, covering such topics as astronomy, geography, art, and zoology.

Publisher: London, England ; New York, NY, USA : Penguin Books, 1991
ISBN: 9780140444131
Characteristics: xliii, 399 p. ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Healy, John F.


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Sep 16, 2017

From beginning to end, this is a reference book for all curious minds. Ranging from zoology to mining and minerals, from botany to medicine, Pliny accounts and summarizes the corpus of nature in an extensive oeuvre: natural history is the product of reading around 2,000 volumes, 20,000 facts and more than 100 authors.

Translation is well done and offers insightful information in the foot notes about the context and modern interpretation of some of the lines; besides this, the author kindly offers a mapping table of place names, from ancient name to modern name or region. The selection of passages is concise and omits most of the digressions that Pliny recurs to in the original 37 books.

Dedicated to Titus, this selection of Natural history gives you vast knowledge for “those those who have time to devote to these pursuits”: for the epicureans, for the extravagant & wise men.

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