Pliny the Elders Natural History: The Empire in the Encyclopedia

Hardcover | March 15, 2004

byTrevor Murphy

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The most important surviving encyclopedia from the ancient world, Pliny the Elder's Natural History is unparalleled as a guide to the cultural meanings of everyday things in first-century Rome. As part of a new direction in classical scholarship, Trevor Murphy reads the work not just for theinformation it contains, but to understand how and why Pliny collects and presents information as he does. Concentrating on the geographic and ethnographic information in Pliny, Murphy demonstrates the work's political importance. The selection and arrangement of the encyclopedia's material showthat it is more than an instrument of reference: it is a monument to the power of Roman imperial society.

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The most important surviving encyclopedia from the ancient world, Pliny the Elder's Natural History is unparalleled as a guide to the cultural meanings of everyday things in first-century Rome. As part of a new direction in classical scholarship, Trevor Murphy reads the work not just for theinformation it contains, but to understand h...

Trevor Murphy is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.69 inPublished:March 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199262888

ISBN - 13:9780199262885

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Encyclopedia as artefactPart I: Reading the Natural History1. The Shape of the Natural History2. Knowledge as a commodityPart II: The Ethnographies of the Natural History3. Reading the Ethnographies4. Triumphal Geography5. After Rome: the Ends of the WorldConclusion: Encyclopedias and Monuments

Editorial Reviews

"Murphy takes a provocative new approach as he concentrates on ethnography and geography in Pliny. Murphy argues persuasively that reference works are a kind of institutional knowledge, and that military, political, and commercial power of Rome provided subject matter for Pliny.... Highly recommended."--Choice