Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pliny and natural history

Pliny and natural history

Pliny the elder was a roman naturalist historian ,Philosopher and historian and army commander of early roman empire.He spend his time for studying and writing and investigating natural and geographic phenomenon.He wrote one of the earliest encyclopedia of the world “natural history”.It was published in 77 -79 AD.It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the roman empire to the modern day...

Natural History of Pliny became a model for all later encyclopedias in terms of the breadth of subject matter examined ,the need to referance original authors and a comprehensive index list of the content.The book is dedicated to the empiror TiTus.It is the only work by Pleny to have survived.Natural history consists of 37 books.Pliny’s works include contents like mathematica ,physical description of the world,geography.ethenography,botany,agricultuer,horticulture,physiology,mining,minerology,painting,sculpture in marble etc...

Pliny’s detailed description of the voyages from Alaxandria to south india through the desert to Bernice at the Red seaand then across indian ocean to muzris was based on earlier and contemporary reports and interesting facts like :-
1-Roman’s drain of gold for its trade with india.
2-The existence of piracy in the indian ocean
3-Pleny left probably the most important accounts of india and its trade with rome that has survived in classical literature.
4-According to pleny:
a-coral is as highly valued among the indians as indian pearl,but ther it is dark color.
b-details on the trade with muzris.
c-He called muzris as the premium emporium of india.
d-according to him the use of monsoon wind to shorten the passage to india was made known to the romans only in the days of cluadious.
e-The king of muzris at the date of natural history was Caelobothras.
f-he also speaks about the port of purakkad,city of madura,peppar trade etc.
G-Pliny explained the drain of wealth to india”india,china and the arabian peninsula take one hundred million sestercus (roman coin)from our empire per annum at a conservative estimate”...

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