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Natural History, Volume VI: Books 20–23

Natural History, Volume VI: Books 20–23


Translated by W. H. S. Jones

ISBN 9780674994317

Publication date: 01/01/1951

An unrivaled compendium of ancient Roman knowledge.

Pliny the Elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23–79), a Roman of equestrian rank of Transpadane Gaul (N. Italy), was uncle of Pliny the letter writer. He pursued a career partly military in Germany, partly administrative in Gaul and Spain under the emperor Vespasian, and became prefect of the fleet at Misenum. He died in the eruption of Vesuvius when he went to get a closer view and to rescue friends. Tireless worker, reader, and writer, he was author of works now lost; but his great Natural History in thirty-seven books with its vast collection of facts (and alleged facts) survives—a mine of information despite its uncritical character.

The contents of the books are as follows. Book 1: table of contents of the others and of authorities; 2: mathematical and metrological survey of the universe; 3–6: geography and ethnography of the known world; 7: anthropology and the physiology of man; 8–11: zoology; 12–19: botany, agriculture, and horticulture; 20–27: plant products as used in medicine; 28–32: medical zoology; 33–37: minerals (and medicine), the fine arts, and gemstones.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Natural History is in ten volumes.


  • William Henry Samuel Jones (1876–1963) was an ancient historian and President of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.

Book Details

  • 560 pages
  • 1-3/16 x 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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