Rare science book by Plinius [Pliny], Caecilius Secundus; The Historie of the World. 1601.
Item Number: Book 658-d
Plinius [Pliny], Caecilius Secundus, Gaius. The Historie of the World. Commonly called, the Natural History of C. Plinius Secundus. Translated into English by Philemon Holland, Doctor in Physicke. London: Adam Islip, 1601. Small folio, two volumes bound in one. Vol 1, pp. 58, 614, 42. Vol 2, pp. 12, 632, 86.
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The two volumes are complete and bound in one which is typical of the work. Both title pages are present. The binding is a contemporary full calf with gilt spine titles. Rubbing to boards and corners. Owners name in small pen on paste-down, light toning to text margins, very small worming in gutter of last pages. Over all in very good condition.
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Plinius Secundus (Pliny), Gaius (23 A.D. -79 A.D.) was one of the foremost authorities on science in ancient Europe, He was educated in Rome, and for some years he followed a military career. After serving in the Roman army, he studied jurisprudence, but retired c57 A.D. to devote himself to scholarly study and writing. Pliny's great encyclopedia of nature and art in 37 books, the Historia Naturalis, is the only one of his works that has been preserved. The first ten books were published in 77 A.D. and the remainder after his death, edited by his nephew, Pliny the Younger. In 79 A.D., eager to examine more closely the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii, he sailed across the bay of Naples to Stabiae, where he was suffocated by the vapors from the eruption.
Pliny’s Historie of the World was first published in 1469 in Latin. It was not until 1601 that a full English translation was attempted by the English translator and scholar Philemon Holland (1552-1637).
The work is an encyclopedia of all the knowledge of the ancient world. Historiae Naturalis is divided into 37 books (or sections) that may in fact be considered the first encyclopedia of knowledge. Scientific subjects include astronomy, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, botany, husbandry, zoology, geography, anthropology, ethnology, and much on the history and practice of medicine and art. It was a common source from which early writers of science drew examples, and it presents in the final four books the ancient Roman view of minerals and geological processes.. The work which was handed down through many manuscripts and over 500 printed editions beginning in 1469 had a major influence on Western culture.
Pliny states in the preface to his work that it contains over 20,000 facts culled from some 200 books and over 100 selected authors. In fact there are 473 authors mentioned: 146 Roman and 327 Greek. Thus, while he uses Aristotle as his principle authority, he accumulated information from sources as he uncovered them, and if it was not for his diligence, a vast amount of material preserved in the Historia would have been lost to the world.
The Historia Naturalis was held in high esteem throughout its existence as manuscripts and for many centuries after its first appearance in print. It is one of the most precious monuments to knowledgepreserved from ancient times and provides proof of astonishing amount of erudition on the part of the old Romans.
A careful reading of the this work will reveal a vast amount of natural history data common to us now and presumed to be of modern discovery which in actuality was recorded first by Pliny. The first ten books of Pliny's great work were probably shaped about 77 A.D. During the next two years, the remainder of the text was being revised and edited, and was left unfinished at the time of Pliny's tragic death while studying the eruption of Vesuvius. It is probable that some material was added when the author's nephew and literary executor, Pliny the Younger finished the great work and made it available to the world.
The preface addressed to Titus is followed by an index of topics and authorities for each of the succeeding thirty-six books. The general plan of the treatise proceeds from the world to the earth, and from the earth to its products-animal, vegetable, and mineral.
Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilus Secundus) ( 61 A.D -113 A.D.) was an Italian bureaucrat & writer and a nephew of Pliny the Elder. He studied in Rome under the famous teacher and rhetorician Quintilian, and was distinguished both for his literary accomplishments and for his oratorical ability. He held numerous official appointments. As a young man he served as military tribune in Syria, where he frequented the schools of the Stoics. His greatest literary accomplishment was finishing and preserving his uncle’s Historia Naturalis.