Pliny the Elder was born in 23AD and as he grew older, he became a lawyer and author as well as a natural philosopher.
His most notable philosophic work was ‘Historia Naturalis’. This encyclopaedia survives to this day and is thought to have been one of the longest works completed in Roman times. Over the years encyclopaedia’s have been modelled on this work.
It is divided into 37 books in 10 volumes and covers the following topics:
Astronomy (study of space including moon, sun, stars and planets)
Meteorology (study of the atmosphere including weather)
Geography (study of earth’s landscapes, people and population)
Ethnography (study of people and their cultures and customs)
Anthropology (study of humans past and present)
Human Physiology (study of the functions of the human body)
Zoology (study of behaviour, structure, evolution and habits of animals)
Botany (study of plants including growth, structure and disease)
Pharmacology (study of medicines and drugs)
Minerology (study of minerals)
Agriculture (study of science of farming, including crops and animals)
Horticulture (study of plants, fruits and vegetables)
Metallurgy (study of the properties of metals)
Mining (study of extracting minerals from the ground)
Art History (study of painting and sculptures)
Pliny dedicated this work to Titus, the son of his good friend Emperor Vespasian, during the year of Titus’ birth.
Pliny the Elder died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. He suffered from Asthma and died on the beach at Stabiae from breathing difficulties caused by the smoke from the eruption.