Natural History (Rackham, Jones, & Eichholz)

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Natural History.
Natural History  (1938) 
by Pliny the Elder, translated by H. Rackham (vols. 1-5, 9), W.H.S. Jones (vols. 6-8), and D.E. Eichholz (vol. 10)



This is in the form of a covering letter from Pliny, to accompany the gift of his treatise on Natural History to his friend Vespasian Caesar (i.e. the ruling Emperor Vespasian's son, Titus, his successor as Princeps, who had already been vested with Imperium and Tribunicia Potestas). The reference to him in §3 dates the passage: see above. The author goes on to say that this dedication places the work outside the class of books intended for the general reader, and invites serious criticism. The subject does not admit of an elevated style—the treatise is a plain record of the facts of Nature, designed for utility and not for entertainment. Its compilation has occupied the leisure left to the author by the claims of public duty. The authorities drawn upon are faithfully recorded. The matter-of-fact title, in place of some fanciful label, indicates the author's aim, and the practical object of the work is aided by the table of contents that forms Book I, enabling the reader to turn to any particular subject that he desires to look up.

Book I: Table of Contents of the remaining thirty-six Books, the contents of each Book being followed by a list of the previous writers used as authorities.

Book II (see Book I init.): Cosmology, astronomy, meteorology, geography, geology.
Book III: Southern Spain; Southern Gaul; Italy; the Western Mediterranean and Ionian and Adriatic Islands; the countries round the north of the Adriatic.
Book IV: Greece and the rest of the Balkan Peninsula; the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean; the Black Sea and the countries west of it; Northern Europe.
Book V: North Africa; the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor.
Book VI: Countries from the Black Sea to India; Persia; Arabia; Ethiopia; the Nile valley.
Book VII: Treats of the human race—its biology, physiology and psychology.
Book VIII: Deals with various mammals, wild and domesticated; and among them are introduced snakes, crocodiles and lizards.
Book IX: Treats aquatic species, including Nereids, Tritons and the sea-serpent. There are considerable passages on their economic aspects—the use of fish as food, pearls, dyes obtained from fish, and on their physiology, sensory and reproductive.
Book X: Ornithology: hawks trained for fowling; birds of evil omen; domestication of birds for food; talking birds; reproduction. Appendix on other viviparous species, passing on to animals in general—their methods of reproduction, senses, nutrition, friendship and hostility between different species, sleep.
Book XI: Insects, their physiology and habits--especially bees, silk-worms, spiders. Classification of animals by varieties of bodily structure—animal and human physiology.
Book XII: Deals with trees—their various qualities.
Book XIII: Gives foreign trees and their use in supplying scent, fruit, paper and wood.
Book XIV: Discusses vine-growing and varieties of wine.
Book XV: Olives, olive-oil and fruit-trees.
Book XVI: Forest trees, their nature and varieties; their value for timber and other commodities. Longevity of trees. Parasitic plants.
Book XVII: Continues the subject of arboriculture from previous book.
Book XVIII: Deals with cereal agriculture.
Book XIX: With the cultivation of flax and other plants used for fabrics, and with vegetable gardening.
Book XX: Are concerned with the uses of trees, plants and flowers, especially in medicine. To understand his treatment of this subject it is necessary to examine the diseases he dealt with and the nature of the remedies he prescribed. [See introduction.]
Book XXI: ditto.
Book XXII: ditto.
Book XXIII: ditto.
Book XXIV: ditto.
Book XXV: ditto.
Book XXVI: ditto.
Book XXVII: ditto.
Book XXVIII: Treats of remedies and natural medicines.
Book XXIX: ditto.
Book XXX: ditto.
Book XXXI: ditto.
Book XXXII: ditto.
Book XXXIII: Treats of minerals.
Book XXXIV: Treats of Mining.
Book XXXV: Treats of the history of art.
Book XXXVI: Treats of gemstones and other precious stones.
Book XXXVII: ditto.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.

Works published in 1938 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1965 or 1966, i.e. at least 27 years after they were first published/registered but not later than 31 December in the 28th year. As this work's copyright was not renewed, it entered the public domain on 1 January 1967.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1991, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 31 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

It is imperative that contributors search the renewal databases and ascertain that there is no evidence of a copyright renewal before using this license. Failure to do so will result in the deletion of the work as a copyright violation.

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