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Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

 

computerized flowers

Botanical Drawings for the Digital Age "Macoto Murayama can spend months on one of his botanical illustrations, and when he’s done, the plant looks like something that blossomed in outer space."
posted by dhruva on Mar 5, 2010 - 11 comments

Vertical Gardens

As a boy he grew plants up his bedroom wall. Patrick Blanc's most recent vertical garden is eight stories tall.
posted by alms on Sep 6, 2009 - 27 comments

The glass flowers of Leopold Blaschka

The glass flowers of Leopold Blaschka were created to provide enduring botanical teaching models. During his lifetime 4,000 models were created; a selection of 17 specimens are currently on display at the Corning Museum of Glass. MeFi has previously been treated to the splendor of the Blaschka marine invertebrates.
posted by donovan on Jun 25, 2007 - 12 comments

The Memory of The Netherlands

The Memory of The Netherlands is an extensive digital collection of illustrations, photographs, texts, film and audio fragments from a large variety of Dutch cultural institutions. There are about 50 collections (in english).
posted by peacay on Feb 19, 2006 - 7 comments

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