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Links to translation of Pliny the Elder, 'Natural History'


Pliny the Elder, who died during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., wrote a long account in 37 books of everything that the Romans knew about the world around them - in the words of his nephew Pliny the Younger, "a comprehensive and learned work, covering as wide a field as Nature herself". The 'Natural History' has been translated into English by H.Rackham and W.H.S.Jones in their Loeb edition, with the Latin text on facing pages. This edition can be found on the internet archive, with the exception of the last volume (by D.E.Eichholz, containing books 36 & 37).

The following table contains links to the individual books in the translation.


Preface Addressed to Titus.
Book 1 List of contents for books 2-37.
Book 2 Cosmology, astronomy, meteorology, geography, geology.
Book 3 Southern Spain; Southern Gaul; Italy; the Western Mediterranean and Ionian and Adriatic Islands: the countries round the north of the Adriatic.
Book 4 Greece and the rest of the Balkan Peninsula; the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean; the Black Sea and the countries west of it; Northern Europe.
Book 5 North Africa: the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor.
Book 6 Countries from the Black Sea to India; Persia; Arabia; Ethiopia and the Nile valley.
Book 7 The human race - its biology, physiology and psychology.
Book 8 Various mammals, wild and domesticated ; including snakes, crocodiles and lizards.
Book 9 Aquatic species, including Nereids, Tritons and the sea-serpent. There are considerable passages on their economic aspects - the use of fish as food, pearls, dyes obtained from fish, and on their physiology, sensory and reproductive.
Book 10 Ornithology : hawks trained for fowling ; birds of evil omen ; domestication of birds for food ; talking birds ; reproduction. Appendix on other viviparous species, passing on to animals in general - their methods of reproduction, senses, nutrition, friendship and hostility between different species, sleep.
Book 11 Insects, their physiology and habits - especially bees, silk-worms, spiders. Classification of animals by varieties of bodily structure - animal and human physiology.
Book 12 Trees - their various qualities.
Book 13 Foreign trees and their use in supplying scent, fruit, paper and wood.
Book 14 Vine-growing and varieties of wine.
Book 15 Olives, olive-oil and fruit-trees.
Book 16 Forest trees, their nature and varieties ; their value for timber and other commodities. Longevity of trees. Parasitic plants.
Book 17 Arboriculture (continued).
Book 18 Cereal agriculture.
Book 19 Cultivation of flax and other plants used for fabrics; vegetable gardening.
Book 20 Garden plants - mostly vegetables.
Book 21 Flowers.
Book 22 Miscellaneous plants, including dye plants.
Book 23 Medicinal properties of wine, vinegar, oil, nuts, fruit.
Book 24 Medicinal properties of trees and herbs.
Book 25 Medicinal properties of herbs.
Book 26 New diseases; major medicinal herbs.
Book 27 Minor medicinal herbs, in roughly alphabetical order.
Book 28 Medicinal uses of the human body's own products; charms; animal products.
Book 29 Medicinal uses of animal products (continued).
Book 30 Medicinal uses of animal products (continued); magic arts.
Book 31 Water; sea; water creatures; different kinds of water, poisonous waters; prospecting for water; wells and pipes; hot springs; salt, soda, and sponges.
Book 32 Sea animals; goby, sting-ray, coral, tortoise, oysters; medical uses of oysters, leeches.
Book 33 Gold, silver and mercury; man's greed and exploitation of the earth's resources; weapons ; history of coinage; physical properties of gold; sources of gold, mining techniques; gold statues; refining; medical use of metals; cinnabar; touchstone; mirrors; changing prices.
Book 34 History of bronze working; bronze statues; Greek and Roman styles of sculpture; famous statues; the Colossus of Rhodes; famous Greek sculptors; copper, copper slag and copper compounds used in medicine; iron-ores and smelting; lode-stone, lead, tin; medical use of lead.
Book 35 Portraiture; history of painting; the painter's palette; white and black pigments; eminent artists, including Apollodorus, Zeuxis, Parrhasius, Apelles, Aristides and Protogenes; modelling; use of clay; brick-making; sulphur, bitumen, alum, kaolin and chalk.
Book 36 Marble; marble statues; sculptors; obelisks and pyramids; the buildings of Rome; some other stones.   Translation not available.
Book 37 Precious stones; the world's most expensive products.   Translation not available.
Introductions Volume 1; Volume 6 (diseases, remedies and botany); Volume 6 (note on the Magi); Volume 7 (some difficult words in Pliny); Volume 8 (popular medicine in ancient Italy).
Indexes Geographical index;   Plants;   Diseases;   Artists;   Minerals.


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