Fun with old knowledge
July 5, 2005 12:35 AM Subscribe
Pliny's Natural History, the first encyclopedia. Featuring chapters like "Other wonderful things related to dolphins" and one mentioning the lynx and the sphinx in a single passage. Obviously he got a lot very wrong, but it launched a tradition of authoritative encyclopedias. More recently, you hopefully know that the forty-four million word eleventh (1911) edition of Encyclopedia Britannica is online, later volumes are not, but you can still find elsewhere Trotsky's article on Lenin, Freud's on psychoanalysis, Houdini on conjuring, or Lawrence of Arabia on guerillas. Britannica also offers a series of articles from its archives showing how views on Mars or the debate in 1768 over whether California was an island. Other fascinating encyclopedias online include the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia and the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia, and the Encyclopedia Mythica.
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