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 …

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Evans, Rhiannon Menai. "Pliny the Elder". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 December 2009
[, accessed 21 August 2014.]