Pliny the Elder

(1768 words)
  • Rhiannon Menai Evans (Melbourne University)

Gaius Plinius Secundus’ sole remaining work is the 37 book Natural History, which deals with an enormous variety of subjects, including astronomy, global geography, the anatomy and habits of human beings and animals, plants and minerals, artists and artworks. Pliny wrote a great variety of other works, from histories of Roman wars to texts on oratory, but all have been lost. However, he is probably best known for his death, during the eruption of Vesuvius which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Pliny was born at Novum Comum (Como), in northern Italy. His family was wealthy and of equestrian rank, the second tier of the Roman elite, which was becoming increasingly influential in the first century. After an …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Evans, Rhiannon Menai. "Pliny the Elder". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 December 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3582, accessed 16 April 2014.]