When Did Pliny Write Natural History?

Natural History is an encyclopedia written by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author, and philosopher. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive works to have survived from ancient times.

The book covers subjects ranging from astronomy and geography to botany and zoology. The question that arises is when did Pliny write Natural History?

Pliny began writing Natural History in 77 AD, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. He completed the work in 79 AD, just before he died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The book consists of 37 books with over 2,000 chapters and is considered one of the most significant contributions to Roman literature.

Pliny was a highly educated man who had a keen interest in natural history. He served as a commander in the Roman army before becoming a writer. He was also a member of the equestrian class, which gave him access to resources that allowed him to pursue his interests.

Natural History was written in Latin and was intended for an educated audience. It covers a vast range of topics including geography, anthropology, botany, zoology, mineralogy, medicine, and more. Pliny’s primary goal was to provide his readers with comprehensive knowledge about nature through his personal observations as well as those made by other scholars.

The work is organized into books based on subject matter; each book contains several chapters on related topics. For example, Book I covers astronomy and Book II covers cosmology.

One notable aspect of Natural History is its extensive use of sources. Pliny consulted over 100 Greek and Roman authors for information on various subjects covered in his work. This allowed him to provide readers with multiple perspectives on the same topic.

In addition to its historical significance as a valuable reference work from ancient times, Natural History has also had an impact on scientific thought throughout history. Many scientists have used it as a source for their own research or as inspiration for new discoveries.

In conclusion, Pliny the Elder wrote Natural History between 77-79 AD, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. The book is a comprehensive encyclopedia covering a wide range of subjects related to nature and is considered one of the most significant works in Roman literature. Its extensive use of sources and impact on scientific thought has made it an influential piece of literature throughout history.