Pliny the Elder was a Roman historian, philosopher and naturalist who lived between approximately 23 AD and 79 AD, the year of the eruption of the Vesuvius, which claimed the lives of thousands of people in the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, in addition to other smaller locations. Pliny was there to study the phenomenon, and probably succumbed to the toxic gases produced by the volcano.
Its Natural History has, over time, been the object of special attention and interest as it is a work of natural history and philosophy of an encyclopaedic character. It is an authentic repository of scientific knowledge of Classical Antiquity, especially from the Roman period, which arrived intact to us. The truth is that the legacy of the classic authors came to us, in most cases, in an incomplete or even fragmentary way. In the case of the 37 books that make up Pliny's Natural History, such good fortune is due to centuries of work in medieval scriptoria, preserving and reproducing texts, bringing them to the subsequent periods and to the sieve of today's textual criticism. It was the only work by Pliny that survived.
The FMUL Library-IDC has two copies of this work - in addition to a considerable number of other texts where the influence of the Roman naturalist is felt.
Pliny the Elder was also uncle to Pliny the Young. He took charge of the education and training of his nephew. The latter became famous, among other works, for the correspondence, as governor, with Emperor Trajan. The letters addressed various aspects of Roman politics, with emphasis on the treatment to be given to Christians. Pliny the Younger unreservedly expressed his doubts and concerns about how to act in relation to that religious group and the Emperor paid great attention to his questions. The correspondence is remarkable and a source of the greatest importance for the political history of this period, covering various aspects of Roman culture, the functioning of its institutions and the history of mentalities.
Works by Pliny the Elder at the FMUL Library-IDC
PLINY the Elder, ca. 23 BC - 79 AD
C. Plinii Secundi historiæ mundi libri XXXVII : a Sigismundo Gelenio ... : accesserunt ad marginem variae lectiones ac notae ex Fer. Pintiani, Adr. Turnebi, Ios. Scaligeri, Iusti Lipsi & aliorum doctissimorum virorum .... - S.l. [Lyon] : Apud Petrum Santandreanum, 1582
Reference: RES. 1125
C. Plinii Secundi Historia mundi, denuo emendata... : adiunctus est index copiosissimus. - Basileam : per Hieronymum Frobenium, Io. Heruagium, & Nicolaum Episcopium, 1535
Reference: RES. 1666
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