Pliny the Elder

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Gaius Plinius Secondus (23 - 79), known as Pliny the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew who was known as Pliny the Younger, was best known in the Middle Ages for his work Naturalis Historia. It is a work of 37 books covering fields as diverse as botany, zoology, mathematics, mineralogy and anthropology. It is not particularly discerning in its sources and so is a mixture of fact and legend. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance this work became a major source for herbals, bestiaries and lapidaries.

His other works have for the most part been lost. Pliny died in 73 C.E., in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.