The History of the World

The History of the World
by Pliny the Elder, translated by Philemon Holland

Fully, The Historie of the World, commonly called The Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. A translation of Pliny's Natural History.

ContentsEdit

  • Book 1: Table of contents, index, and bibliography (transcription project)
  • Book 2: Astronomy and meteorology
  • Book 3: Geography of the Western Mediterranean
  • Book 4: Geography of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, continental and northern Europe.
  • Book 5: Geography of Africa, the Middle East and Turkey
  • Book 6: Geography of Asia; summary overview and wrap-up of world geography
  • Book 7: Anthropology and human physiology
  • Book 8: Land animals: elephants, lions, tigers, panthers; cows, horses, asses, mules, sheep, goats; mice, dormice and a few others
  • Book 9: Marine animals: whales, dolphins, fish, shellfish, etc
  • Book 10: Birds; animal reproduction; the five senses
  • Book 11: Insects, then comparative zoology, fumblings toward a taxonomy
  • Book 12: Exotic plants, spices and perfumes: from India, Egypt, Mesopotamia etc
  • Book 13: More plants, including aquatic plants
  • Book 14: Plants: the vine and wine
  • Book 15: Plants: the olive tree; oil and its uses; fruit and nut trees
  • Book 16: More trees, mostly evergreens
  • Book 17: Fruit trees and vines and the art of planting them
  • Book 18: How to run a farm
  • Book 19: Garden plants, including a long section on flax
  • Book 20: More 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: Major medicinal herbs. The book opens with a section on new diseases.
  • Book 27: Minor medicinal herbs, in roughly alphabetical order.
  • Book 28: Medicinal uses of the human body's own products (and discussion of charms); of animal products.
  • Book 29: Medicinal uses of animal products, continued; but the book starts with a long stiff diatribe against doctors.
  • Book 30: Medicinal uses of animal products, continued; this time the book starts with a preamble about magic arts.
  • Book 31: Medicinal uses of marine products: salt, plants, sponges, etc.
  • Book 32: Medicinal uses of marine animals.
  • Book 33: Metals: mostly gold, silver and mercury.
  • Book 34: Metals: bronze and lead; but mostly a discussion of statues, in fact.
  • Book 35: Uses of earth; but starting with pigments, is mostly a discussion of painters, although the end of the Book goes back to sulphur.
  • Book 36: Stone. One of the better books. The first half is about sculpture; then a bit of fascinating architecture (obelisks, the Pyramids, the Cretan labyrinth), finally various building materials (plaster, sand, stone), then glass. Ends with a paean to fire and an utterly peculiar story in the very last paragraph.
  • Book 37: Stones: rock crystal, amber, gemstones; semi-precious stones. At the very end of the Book, Pliny gives his list of "best of categories"; the best of countries is Italy