Hesiod was a Greek poet thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping; the dating of Hesiod's life is a contested issue in scholarly circles. Epic narrative allowed poets like Homer no opportunity for personal revelations. However, Hesiod's extant work comprises several didactic poems in which he went out of his way to let his audience in on a few details of his life. There are three explicit references in Works and Days, as well as some passages in his Theogony that support inferences made by scholars; the former poem says that his father came from Cyme in Aeolis and crossed the sea to settle at a hamlet, near Thespiae in Boeotia, named Ascra, "a cursed place, cruel in winter, hard in summer, never pleasant".
Hesiod's patrimony there, a small piece of ground at the foot of Mount Helicon, occasioned lawsuits with his brother Perses, who seems, at first, to have cheated him of his rightful share thanks to corrupt authorities or "kings" but became impoverished and ended up scrounging from the thrifty poet. Unlike his father, Hesiod was averse to sea travel, but he once crossed the narrow strait between the Greek mainland and Euboea to participate in funeral celebrations for one Athamas of Chalcis, there won a tripod in a singing competition, he describes a meeting between himself and the Muses on Mount Helicon, where he had been pasturing sheep when the goddesses presented him with a laurel staff, a symbol of poetic authority. Fanciful though the story might seem, the account has led ancient and modern scholars to infer that he was not a professionally trained rhapsode, or he would have been presented with a lyre instead; some scholars have seen Perses as a literary creation, a foil for the moralizing that Hesiod develops in Works and Days, but there are arguments against that theory.
For example, it is quite common for works of moral instruction to have an imaginative setting, as a means of getting the audience's attention, but it could be difficult to see how Hesiod could have travelled around the countryside entertaining people with a narrative about himself if the account was known to be fictitious. Gregory Nagy, on the other hand, sees both Pérsēs and Hēsíodos as fictitious names for poetical personae, it might seem unusual that Hesiod's father migrated from Asia Minor westwards to mainland Greece, the opposite direction to most colonial movements at the time, Hesiod himself gives no explanation for it. However around 750 BC or a little there was a migration of seagoing merchants from his original home in Cyme in Asia Minor to Cumae in Campania, his move west had something to do with that, since Euboea is not far from Boeotia, where he established himself and his family; the family association with Aeolian Cyme might explain his familiarity with eastern myths, evident in his poems, though the Greek world might have developed its own versions of them.
In spite of Hesiod's complaints about poverty, life on his father's farm could not have been too uncomfortable if Works and Days is anything to judge by, since he describes the routines of prosperous yeomanry rather than peasants. His farmer employs a friend as well as servants, an energetic and responsible ploughman of mature years, a slave boy to cover the seed, a female servant to keep house and working teams of oxen and mules. One modern scholar surmises that Hesiod may have learned about world geography the catalogue of rivers in Theogony, listening to his father's accounts of his own sea voyages as a merchant; the father spoke in the Aeolian dialect of Cyme but Hesiod grew up speaking the local Boeotian, belonging to the same dialect group. However, while his poetry features some Aeolisms there are no words that are Boeotian, his basic language was the main literary dialect of Homer's Ionian. It is probable that Hesiod wrote his poems down, or dictated them, rather than passed them on orally, as rhapsodes did—otherwise the pronounced personality that now emerges from the poems would have been diluted through oral transmission from one rhapsode to another.
Pausanias asserted that Boeotians showed him an old tablet made of lead on which the Works were engraved. If he did write or dictate, it was as an aid to memory or because he lacked confidence in his ability to produce poems extempore, as trained rhapsodes could do, it wasn't in a quest for immortal fame since poets in his era had no such notions for themselves. However, some scholars suspect the presence of large-scale changes in the text and attribute this to oral transmission, he composed his verses during idle times on the farm, in the spring before the May harvest or the dead of winter. The personality behind the poems is unsuited to the kind of "aristocratic withdrawal" typical of a rhapsode but is instead "argumentative, suspicious humorous, fond of proverbs, wary of women." He was in fact a misogynist of t
In Greek mythology, the Hesperides are the nymphs of evening and golden light of sunsets, who were the "Daughters of the Evening" or "Nymphs of the West". They were called the Atlantides from their reputed father, the Titan Atlas; the name means originating from Hesperos. Hesperos, or Vesper in Latin, is the origin of the name Hesperus, the evening star as well as having a shared root with the English word "west". Ordinarily the Hesperides number three, like the other Greek triads. "Since the Hesperides themselves are mere symbols of the gifts the apples embody, they cannot be actors in a human drama. Their abstract, interchangeable names are a symptom of their impersonality," Evelyn Harrison has observed, they are sometimes portrayed as the evening daughters of Night either alone, or with Darkness, in accord with the way Eos in the farthermost east, in Colchis, is the daughter of the titan Hyperion. The Hesperides are listed as the daughters of Atlas and Hesperis, or of Phorcys and Ceto or of Zeus and Themis.
In another source, the nymphs are said to be the daughters of Hesperus. Among the names given to them, though never all at once, there were either three, four, or seven Hesperides. Apollonius of Rhodes gives the number of three with their names as Aigle and Hespere. Hyginus in his preface to the Fabulae names them as Hesperie and * aerica. In another source, they are named Ægle and Hesperethusa, the three daughters of Hesperus. Hesiod says that these "clear-voiced Hesperides", daughters of Night, guarded the golden apples beyond Ocean in the far west of the world, gives the number of the Hesperides as four, their names as: Aigle, Hesperia whose name refers to the colour of the setting sun: red, yellow, or gold and lastly Arethusa. In addition and Arethusa, the so-called "ox-eyed Hesperethusa." Pseudo-Apollodorus gives the number of the Hesperides as four, namely: Aigle, Erytheia and Arethusa while Fulgentius named them as Aegle, Hesperie and Arethusa. However, the historiographer Diodorus in his account stated that they are seven in number with no information of their names.
An ancient vase painting attests the following names as four: Asterope, Chrysothemis and Lipara. A Pyxis has Hippolyte and Thetis. Petrus Apianus attributed to these stars a mythical connection of their own, he believed that they were nymph daughters of Atlas and Hesperis. Their names were: Aegle, Arethusa, Hespera and Hespereia. A certain Crete, possible eponym of the island of Crete, was called one of the Hesperides, they are sometimes called the Western Maidens, the Daughters of Evening or Erythrai, the "Sunset Goddesses", designations all tied to their imagined location in the distant west. Hesperis is appropriately the personification of the evening and the Evening Star is Hesperus. In addition to their tending of the garden, they have taken great pleasure in singing. Euripides calls them "minstrel maids"; the Hesperides could be hamadryad nymphs or epimeliads as suggested by a passage in which they change into trees: ".. Hespere became a poplar and Eretheis an elm, Aegle a willow's sacred trunk.." and in the same account, they are described figuratively or to have white arms and golden heads.
Erytheia is one of the Hesperides. The name was applied to an island close to the coast of southern Hispania, the site of the original Punic colony of Gades. Pliny's Natural History records of the island of Gades: "On the side which looks towards Spain, at about 100 paces distance, is another long island, three miles wide, on which the original city of Gades stood. By Ephorus and Philistides it is called Erythia, by Timæus and Silenus Aphrodisias, by the natives the Isle of Juno." The island was the seat of Geryon, overcome by Heracles. The Hesperides tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in North Africa at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean. According to the Sicilian Greek poet Stesichorus, in his poem the "Song of Geryon", the Greek geographer Strabo, in his book Geographika, the garden of the Hesperides is located in Tartessos, a location placed in the south of the Iberian peninsula. Euesperides, founded by people from Cyrene or Barca might have mythological associations with the garden of Hesperides.
By Ancient Roman times, the garden of the Hesperides had lost its archaic place in religion and had dwindled to a poetic convention, in which form it was revived in Renaissance poetry, to refer both to the garden and to the nymphs that dwelt there. The Garden of the Hesperides is Hera's orchard in the west, where either a single apple tree or a grove grows, producing golden apples. According to the legend, when the marriage of Zeus and Hera took place, the different deities came with nuptial presents for the latter, among them the goddess of Gaia, with branches having golden apples growing on them as a wedding gift. Hera admiring these, begged of Gaea to plant them in her gardens, which extended as far as Mount Atlas; the Hesperides were given the task of tending to the grove, but picked apples from it themselves. Not trusting them, Hera placed in the garden an immortal, never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon named Ladon as an additi
Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia. Cádiz, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, with archaeological remains dating to 3100 years, was founded by the Phoenicians, it has been a principal home port of the Spanish Navy since the accession of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network, it is the site of the University of Cádiz. Situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea‚ Cádiz is, in most respects, a Andalusian city with a wealth of attractive vistas and well-preserved historical landmarks; the older part of Cádiz within the remnants of the city walls is referred to as the Old Town. It is characterized by the antiquity of its various quarters, among them El Pópulo, La Viña, Santa María, which present a marked contrast to the newer areas of town. While the Old City's street plan consists of narrow winding alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cádiz have wide avenues and more modern buildings.
In addition, the city is dotted with numerous parks where exotic plants flourish, including giant trees brought to Spain by Columbus from the New World. Little remains of the Phoenician language, but numismatic inscriptions record that they knew the site as a Gadir or Agadir, meaning "The Wall", "The Compound", or "The Stronghold". Borrowed by the Berber languages, this became the agadir common in North African place names; the Carthaginians continued to use this name and all subsequent names have derived from it. The Greek cothon refers to a Carthaginian type of fortified basin that can be seen at ancient sites such as Motya. Attic Greek sources hellenized Gadir as tà Gádeira, neuter plural. Herodotus, using Ionic Greek, transcribed it a little differently, as Gḗdeira; as in Stephanus of Byzantium's notes on the writings of Eratosthenes, the name is given in the feminine singular form as hè Gadeíra. In Latin, the city was known as its Roman colony as Augusta Urbs Iulia Gaditana. In Arabic, the Latin name became Qādis.
The Spanish demonym for people and things from Cádiz is gaditano. In English, the name is pronounced variously; when the accent is on the second syllable, it is pronounced but, when the accent is on the first syllable, it may be pronounced as, as, or as. In Spanish, the accent is always on the first syllable but, while the usual pronunciation in Spain is, the local dialect says, or instead. More some English speakers may attempt to pronounce it as the Spanish to the British version of "Ibiza", leading to pronunciations of Cádiz with /s/ or /θ/ instead of /z/, but keeping the English vowels and the strong /d/. According to a 2016 census estimate, the population of the city of Cádiz was 118,919, that of its metropolitan area was 629,054. Cádiz is the seventeenth-largest Spanish city. In recent years, the city's population has declined. Between 1995 and 2006, it lost more than 14,000 residents, a decrease of 9%. Among the causes of this loss of population is the peculiar geography of Cádiz. There is a pronounced shortage of land to be developed.
The city has little vacant land, a high proportion of its housing stock is low in density. The older quarters of Cádiz are full of buildings that, because of their age and historical significance, are not eligible for urban renewal. Two other physical factors tend to limit the city's population, it is impossible to increase the amount of land available for building by reclaiming land from the sea. Because Cádiz is built on a sandspit, it is a costly proposition to sink foundations deep enough to support the high-rise buildings that would allow for a higher population density; as it stands, the city's skyline is not different from in the Middle Ages. A 17th-century watchtower, the Tavira Tower, still commands a panoramic view of the city and the bay despite its modest 45 meters height. Cádiz is the provincial capital with the highest rate of unemployment in Spain. This, tends to depress the population level. Young Gaditanos, those between 18 and 30 years of age, have been migrating to other places in Spain, as well as to other places in Europe and the Americas.
The population younger than twenty years old is only 20.58% of the total, the population older than sixty-five is 21.67%, making Cádiz one of the most aged cities in all of Spain. The population distribution of the municipality is uneven. In its inhabited areas, Cádiz is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe; the uninhabited Zona Franca industrial area, Bay of Cádiz Port Area, Bay of Cádiz Natural Park occupy 63
In Greek mythology, son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe, the grandson of Medusa and the nephew of Pegasus, was a fearsome giant who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides in the far west of the Mediterranean. A more literal-minded generation of Greeks associated the region with Tartessos in southern Iberia. Geryon was described as a monster with human faces. According to Hesiod Geryon had one body and three heads, whereas the tradition followed by Aeschylus gave him three bodies. A lost description by Stesichoros said that he is winged; some accounts state that he had six legs as well while others state that the three bodies were joined to one pair of legs. Apart from these bizarre features, his appearance was that of a warrior, he owned a two-headed hound named Orthrus, the brother of Cerberus, a herd of magnificent red cattle that were guarded by Orthrus, a herder Eurytion, son of Erytheia. In the fullest account in the Bibliotheke of Pseudo-Apollodorus, Heracles was required to travel to Erytheia, in order to obtain the Cattle of Geryon as his tenth labour.
On the way there, he crossed the Libyan desert and became so frustrated at the heat that he shot an arrow at Helios, the Sun. Helios "in admiration of his courage" gave Heracles the golden chariot he used to sail across the sea from west to east each night. Heracles used it to reach a favorite motif of the vase-painters; such a magical conveyance undercuts any literal geography for Erytheia, the "red island" of the sunset. When Heracles reached Erytheia, no sooner had he landed than he was confronted by the two-headed dog, Orthrus. With one huge blow from his olive-wood club, Heracles killed the watchdog. Eurytion the herdsman came to assist Orthrus. On hearing the commotion, Geryon sprang into action, carrying three shields, three spears, wearing three helmets, he pursued Heracles at the River Anthemus but fell victim to an arrow, dipped in the venomous blood of the Lernaean Hydra, shot so forcefully by Heracles that it pierced Geryon's forehead, "and Geryon bent his neck over to one side, like a poppy that spoils its delicate shapes, shedding its petals all at once".
Heracles had to herd the cattle back to Eurystheus. In Roman versions of the narrative, on the Aventine Hill in Italy, Cacus stole some of the cattle as Heracles slept, making the cattle walk backwards so that they left no trail, a repetition of the trick of the young Hermes. According to some versions, Heracles drove his remaining cattle past a cave, where Cacus had hidden the stolen animals, they began calling out to each other. In others, Cacus' sister, told Heracles where he was. Heracles killed Cacus, according to the Romans, founded an altar where the Forum Boarium, the cattle market, was held. To annoy Heracles, Hera sent a gadfly to irritate them and scatter them; the hero was within a year able to retrieve them. Hera sent a flood which raised the level of a river so much, Heracles could not cross with the cattle, he piled stones into the river to make the water shallower. When he reached the court of Eurystheus, the cattle were sacrificed to Hera. In the Aeneid, Vergil may have based the triple-souled figure of Erulus, king of Praeneste, on Geryon and Hercules' conquest of Geryon is mentioned in Book VIII.
The Herculean Sarcophagus of Genzano features. The poet Stesichorus wrote a song of Geryon in the sixth century BC, the source of this section in Bibliotheke. From the fragmentary papyri found at Oxyrhyncus it is possible that Stesichorus inserted a character, who reported the theft of the cattle to Geryon. Geryon had an interview with his mother Callirrhoe, who begged him not to confront Heracles, they appear to have expressed some doubt as to. The gods met in council, where Athena warned Poseidon that she would protect Heracles against Poseidon's grandson Geryon. Denys Page observes that the increase in representation of the Geryon episode in vase-paintings increased from the mid-sixth century and suggests that Stesichorus' Geryoneïs provided the impetus; the fragments are sufficient to show that the poem was composed in twenty-six line triads, of strophe and epode, repeated in columns along the original scroll, facts that aided Page in placing many of the fragments, sometimes of no more than a word, in what he believed to be their proper positions.
In his work Description of Greece, Pausanias mentions that Geryon had a daughter, who had a son with Hermes, the founder of the city of Nora in Sardinia. The Geryon of Dante's 14th century epic poem. Here, Geryon has become the Monster of Fraud, a beast with enormous dragon-like wings with the paws of a lion, the body of a wyvern, a scorpion's poisonous sting at the tip of his tail, but with the face of an "honest man", he dwells somewhere in the shadowed depths below the cliff between the seventh and eighth circles of Hell. They board him, Geryon glides in descending circles around the waterfall of the river Phlegethon down to the great depths to the Circle of Fraud; the Cádiz Memorial is a London monument displaying a captured Napoleonic mortar
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
International Standard Serial Number
An International Standard Serial Number is an eight-digit serial number used to uniquely identify a serial publication, such as a magazine. The ISSN is helpful in distinguishing between serials with the same title. ISSN are used in ordering, interlibrary loans, other practices in connection with serial literature; the ISSN system was first drafted as an International Organization for Standardization international standard in 1971 and published as ISO 3297 in 1975. ISO subcommittee TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for maintaining the standard; when a serial with the same content is published in more than one media type, a different ISSN is assigned to each media type. For example, many serials are published both in electronic media; the ISSN system refers to these types as electronic ISSN, respectively. Conversely, as defined in ISO 3297:2007, every serial in the ISSN system is assigned a linking ISSN the same as the ISSN assigned to the serial in its first published medium, which links together all ISSNs assigned to the serial in every medium.
The format of the ISSN is an eight digit code, divided by a hyphen into two four-digit numbers. As an integer number, it can be represented by the first seven digits; the last code digit, which may be 0-9 or an X, is a check digit. Formally, the general form of the ISSN code can be expressed as follows: NNNN-NNNC where N is in the set, a digit character, C is in; the ISSN of the journal Hearing Research, for example, is 0378-5955, where the final 5 is the check digit, C=5. To calculate the check digit, the following algorithm may be used: Calculate the sum of the first seven digits of the ISSN multiplied by its position in the number, counting from the right—that is, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, respectively: 0 ⋅ 8 + 3 ⋅ 7 + 7 ⋅ 6 + 8 ⋅ 5 + 5 ⋅ 4 + 9 ⋅ 3 + 5 ⋅ 2 = 0 + 21 + 42 + 40 + 20 + 27 + 10 = 160 The modulus 11 of this sum is calculated. For calculations, an upper case X in the check digit position indicates a check digit of 10. To confirm the check digit, calculate the sum of all eight digits of the ISSN multiplied by its position in the number, counting from the right.
The modulus 11 of the sum must be 0. There is an online ISSN checker. ISSN codes are assigned by a network of ISSN National Centres located at national libraries and coordinated by the ISSN International Centre based in Paris; the International Centre is an intergovernmental organization created in 1974 through an agreement between UNESCO and the French government. The International Centre maintains a database of all ISSNs assigned worldwide, the ISDS Register otherwise known as the ISSN Register. At the end of 2016, the ISSN Register contained records for 1,943,572 items. ISSN and ISBN codes are similar in concept. An ISBN might be assigned for particular issues of a serial, in addition to the ISSN code for the serial as a whole. An ISSN, unlike the ISBN code, is an anonymous identifier associated with a serial title, containing no information as to the publisher or its location. For this reason a new ISSN is assigned to a serial each time it undergoes a major title change. Since the ISSN applies to an entire serial a new identifier, the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier, was built on top of it to allow references to specific volumes, articles, or other identifiable components.
Separate ISSNs are needed for serials in different media. Thus, the print and electronic media versions of a serial need separate ISSNs. A CD-ROM version and a web version of a serial require different ISSNs since two different media are involved. However, the same ISSN can be used for different file formats of the same online serial; this "media-oriented identification" of serials made sense in the 1970s. In the 1990s and onward, with personal computers, better screens, the Web, it makes sense to consider only content, independent of media; this "content-oriented identification" of serials was a repressed demand during a decade, but no ISSN update or initiative occurred. A natural extension for ISSN, the unique-identification of the articles in the serials, was the main demand application. An alternative serials' contents model arrived with the indecs Content Model and its application, the digital object identifier, as ISSN-independent initiative, consolidated in the 2000s. Only in 2007, ISSN-L was defined in the
Natural History (Pliny)
The Natural History is a book about the whole of the natural world in Latin by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and naval commander who died in 79 AD. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover all ancient knowledge; the work's subject area is thus not limited to. It is encyclopedic in scope; the work is divided into 37 books, organised into ten volumes. These cover topics including astronomy, geography, anthropology, human physiology, botany, horticulture, mining, sculpture and precious stones. Pliny's Natural History became a model for encyclopedias and scholarly works as a result of its breadth of subject matter, its referencing of original authors, its index; the work is dedicated to the emperor Titus, a son of Pliny's close friend, the emperor Vespasian, in the first year of Titus's reign. It is the only work by Pliny to have survived, the last that he published, he began it in 77, had not made a final revision at the time of his death during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius.
Pliny's Natural History was written alongside other substantial works. Pliny combined his scholarly activities with a busy career as an imperial administrator for the emperor Vespasian. Much of his writing was done at night; as for the nocturnal hours spent writing, these were seen not as a loss of sleep but as an addition to life, for as he states in the preface, Vita vigilia est, "to be alive is to be watchful", in a military metaphor of a sentry keeping watch in the night. Pliny claims to be the only Roman to have undertaken such a work, in his prayer for the blessing of the universal mother: Hail to thee, thou parent of all things! and do thou deign to show thy favour unto me, alone of all the citizens of Rome, have, in thy every department, thus made known thy praise. The Natural History is encyclopaedic in scope. However, it does have structure: Pliny uses Aristotle's division of nature to recreate the natural world in literary form. Rather than presenting compartmentalised, stand-alone entries arranged alphabetically, Pliny's ordered natural landscape is a coherent whole, offering the reader a guided tour: "a brief excursion under our direction among the whole of the works of nature..."
The work is unified but varied: "My subject is the world of nature... or in other words, life," he tells Titus. Nature for Pliny was divine, a pantheistic concept inspired by the Stoic philosophy which underlies much of his thought, but the deity in question was a goddess whose main purpose was to serve the human race: "nature, life" is human life in a natural landscape. After an initial survey of cosmology and geography, Pliny starts his treatment of animals with the human race, "for whose sake great Nature appears to have created all other things"; this teleological view of nature was common in antiquity and is crucial to the understanding of the Natural History. The components of nature are not just described in and for themselves, but with a view to their role in human life. Pliny devotes a number of the books to plants, with a focus on their medicinal value. Pliny's premise is distinct from modern ecological theories, reflecting the prevailing sentiment of his time. Pliny's work reflects Rome's imperial expansion which brought new and exciting things to the capital: exotic eastern spices, strange animals to be put on display or herded into the arena the alleged phoenix sent to the emperor Claudius in AD 47 – although, as Pliny admits, this was acknowledged to be a fake.
Pliny repeated Aristotle's maxim. Nature's variety and versatility were claimed to be infinite: "When I have observed nature she has always induced me to deem no statement about her incredible." This led Pliny to recount rumours of strange peoples on the edges of the world. These monstrous races – the Cynocephali or Dog-Heads, the Sciapodae, whose single foot could act as a sunshade, the mouthless Astomi, who lived on scents – were not new, they had been mentioned in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus but Pliny made them better known."As full of variety as nature itself", stated Pliny's nephew, Pliny the Younger, this verdict explains the appeal of the Natural History since Pliny's death in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Pliny had gone to investigate the strange cloud – "shaped like an umbrella pine", according to his nephew – rising from the mountain; the Natural History was one of the first ancient European texts to be printed, in Venice in 1469. Philemon Holland's English translation of 1601 has influenced literature since.
The Natural History consists of 37 books. Pliny devised a summarium, or list of contents, at the beginning of the work, interpreted by modern printers as a table of contents; the table below is a summary based on modern names for topics. Pliny's purpose in writing the Natural History was to cover all learning and art so far as they are connected with nature or draw their materials from nature, he says:My subject is a barren one – t