The Belgae were a large Gallic-Germanic confederation of tribes living in northern Gaul, between the English Channel, the west bank of the Rhine, northern bank of the river Seine, from at least the third century BC. They were discussed in depth by Julius Caesar in his account of his wars in Gaul; some peoples in Britain were called Belgae and O'Rahilly equated them with the Fir Bolg in Ireland. The Belgae gave their name to the Roman province of Gallia Belgica and, much to the modern country of Belgium; the consensus among linguists is that the ethnic name Belgae comes from the Proto-Celtic root *belg- or *bolg- meaning "to swell", cognate with the Dutch adjective gebelgd, "to be angry" and verbolgen, "being angry", the Old English verb belgan, "to be angry", derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhelgh-. Thus, a Proto-Celtic ethnic name *Bolgoi could be interpreted as "The People who Swell". Julius Caesar describes Gaul at the time of his conquests as divided into three parts, inhabited by the Aquitani in the southwest, the Gauls of the biggest central part, who in their own language were called Celtae, the Belgae in the north.
Each of these three parts was different in terms of customs and language. He noted that the Belgae, were "the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of Province, merchants least resort to them, import those things which tend to effeminate the mind. Ancient sources such as Caesar are not always clear about the things used to define ethnicity today. While Caesar or his sources described the Belgae as distinctly different from the Gauls, Strabo stated that the differences between the Celts and Belgae, in countenance, language and way of life was a small one, unlike the difference between the Aquitanians and Celts; the fact that the Belgae were living in Gaul means. This may be Caesar's meaning when he says "The Belgae have the same method of attacking a fortress as the rest of the Gauls". Caesar in Bello Gallico, II.4 wrote: "When Caesar inquired of them what states were in arms, how powerful they were, what they could do, in war, he received the following information: that the greater part of the Belgae were sprung, from the Germans, that having crossed the Rhine at an early period, they had settled there, on account of the fertility of the country, had driven out the Gauls who inhabited those regions.
So Caesar's used the word "Germani" in two ways. He described a grouping of tribes within the Belgic alliance as the "Germani", distinguishing them from their neighbours; the most important in his battles were the Eburones. The other way he uses the term is to refer to those related tribes east of the Rhine, who were not Celtic. So the Germani among the Belgae are called, based on Caesar's account, the Germani cisrhenani, to distinguish them from other Germani living east of the Rhine in what he understood to be their homeland. However, the historian Tacitus was informed that the name Germania was known to have changed in meaning: "The first people to cross the Rhine and oust the Gauls, those now called Tungri, were called Germani, it was the name of this nation, not a race, that came into general use. And so, to begin with, they were all called Germani after the conquerors because of the terror these inspired, once the name had been devised, they adopted it themselves."In other words, Tacitus understood that the collective name Germani had first been used in Gaul, for a specific people there with connections beyond the Rhine, the Tungri being the name of the people living where the Eburones had lived in imperial times, was adopted as a collective name for the non-Celtic peoples beyond the Rhine, the other, better-known way that Caesar used the term.
Caesar's book The Gallic Wars begins: "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language and laws." However, many modern scholars believe. On the other hand, at least part of the Belgae may have had significant genetic and historical connections to peoples east of the Rhine, including Germanic peoples, judging from archaeological and textual evidence, it has been argued based on placename studies that the older language of the area, though Indo-European, was not Celtic and that Celtic, though influential amongst the elite, might never have been the main language of the part of the Belgic area north of the Ardennes. For example, Maurits Gysseling, suggest that prior to Celtic and Germanic influences the Belgae may have comprised a distinct Indo-European branch, termed Belgian. However, most of the Belgic tribal and personal names recorded are identifiably Gaulish, including those of the Germani cisrhenani, this is indeed true of the tribes over the Rhine at this time, such as the Tencteri and Usipetes.
Surviving inscriptions indicate that Gaulish wa
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age, inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2. According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486.
While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern modern Latin; the Greek and Latin names Galatia and Gallia are derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the "milk-white" skin of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people"; the English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant "Land of the Foreigners/Romans", in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales and Wallachia.
The Germanic w- is rendered as gu- / g- in French, the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant. French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a, the diphthong au would be unexplained. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived from the name of the Volcae. Unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael; the Irish word gall did mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib; as adjectives, English has the two variants: Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish. There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins.
Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships and linguistic divisions coincide. Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France. Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises under Mediterranean influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads across the entire territory of Gaul; the La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age in France, Italy, southwest Germany, Moravia and Hungary.
Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia. The major source of materials on the Celts of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by Timagenes, Julius Caesar, the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus, the Greek geographer Strabo. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul, into Pannonia, northern Italy and Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans descr
History of France
The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age. What is now France made up the bulk of the region known to the Romans as Gaul. Roman writers noted the presence of three main ethno-linguistic groups in the area: the Gauls, the Aquitani, the Belgae; the Gauls, the largest and best attested group, were Celtic people speaking what is known as the Gaulish language. Over the course of the 1st millennium BC the Greeks and Carthaginians established colonies on the Mediterranean coast and the offshore islands; the Roman Republic annexed southern Gaul as the province of Gallia Narbonensis in the late 2nd century BC, Roman forces under Julius Caesar conquered the rest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars of 58–51 BC. Afterwards a Gallo-Roman culture emerged and Gaul was integrated into the Roman Empire. In the stages of the Roman Empire, Gaul was subject to barbarian raids and migration, most by the Germanic Franks; the Frankish king Clovis I united most of Gaul under his rule in the late 5th century, setting the stage for Frankish dominance in the region for hundreds of years.
Frankish power reached its fullest extent under Charlemagne. The medieval Kingdom of France emerged from the western part of Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire, known as West Francia, achieved increasing prominence under the rule of the House of Capet, founded by Hugh Capet in 987. A succession crisis following the death of the last direct Capetian monarch in 1328 led to the series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War between the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet; the war formally began in 1337 following Philip VI's attempt to seize the Duchy of Aquitaine from its hereditary holder, Edward III of England, the Plantagenet claimant to the French throne. Despite early Plantagenet victories, including the capture and ransom of John II of France, fortunes turned in favor of the Valois in the war. Among the notable figures of the war was Joan of Arc, a French peasant girl who led French forces against the English, establishing herself as a national heroine; the war ended with a Valois victory in 1453.
Victory in the Hundred Years' War had the effect of strengthening French nationalism and vastly increasing the power and reach of the French monarchy. During the period known as the Ancien Régime, France transformed into a centralized absolute monarchy. During the next centuries, France experienced the Protestant Reformation. At the height of the French Wars of Religion, France became embroiled in another succession crisis, as the last Valois king, Henry III, fought against rival factions the House of Bourbon and the House of Guise. Henry, King of Navarre, scion of the Bourbon family, would be victorious in the conflict and establish the French Bourbon dynasty. A burgeoning worldwide colonial empire was established in the 16th century. French political power reached a zenith under the rule of Louis XIV, "The Sun King", builder of Versailles Palace. In the late 18th century the monarchy and associated institutions were overthrown in the French Revolution; the country was governed for a period as a Republic, until the French Empire was declared by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Following Napoleon's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, France went through several further regime changes, being ruled as a monarchy briefly as a Second Republic, as a Second Empire, until a more lasting French Third Republic was established in 1870. France was one of the Triple Entente powers in World War I, fighting alongside the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States and smaller allies against Germany and the Central Powers. France was one of the Allied Powers in World War II, but was conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940; the Third Republic was dismantled, most of the country was controlled directly by Germany while the south was controlled until 1942 by the collaborationist Vichy government. Living conditions were harsh as Germany drained away food and manpower, many Jews were killed. Charles de Gaulle led the Free France movement that one-by-one took over the colonial empire, coordinated the wartime Resistance. Following liberation in summer 1944, a Fourth Republic was established. France recovered economically, enjoyed a baby boom that reversed its low fertility rate.
Long wars in Indochina and Algeria ended in political defeat. In the wake of the Algerian Crisis of 1958, Charles de Gaulle set up the French Fifth Republic. Into the 1960s decolonization saw most of the French colonial empire become independent, while smaller parts were incorporated into the French state as overseas departments and collectivities. Since World War II France has been a permanent member in the UN Security Council and NATO, it played a central role in the unification process after 1945. Despite slow economic growth in recent years, it remains a strong economic, cultural and political factor in the 21st century; the French military has 30,000 troops deployed worldwide performing counter-terrorism missions. Opération Chammal, France's military efforts to contain ISIS, killed over 1,000 ISIS troops between 2014 and 2015. Stone tools discovered at Chilhac and Lézignan-la-Cèbe in 2009 indicate that pre-human ancestors may have been present in France at least 1.6 million years ago. Neanderthals were present in Europe from about 400,000 BC, but died out about 30,000 years ago out-competed by the modern humans during a period of cold weather.
The earliest modern humans – Homo sapiens – entered Europe by 43,000 years ago. The cave paintings of Lascaux and Gargas as well as the Carnac stones are remains of the local prehistoric activity; the first written records for the
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre, it is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating. There are 37 bridges within dozens more spanning the river outside the city. Examples in Paris include the Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, the latter of which dates back to 1607. Outside the city, examples include the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links Le Havre to Honfleur; the Seine rises in the commune of Source-Seine, about 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon. The source has been owned by the city of Paris since 1864. A number of associated small ditches or depressions provide the source waters, with an artificial grotto laid out to highlight and contain a deemed main source.
The grotto includes a statue of a nymph, a dog, a dragon. On the same site are the buried remains of a Gallo-Roman temple. Small statues of the dea Sequana "Seine goddess" and other ex voti found at the same place are now exhibited in the Dijon archaeological museum; the Seine can artificially be divided into five parts: the Petite Seine "Small Seine" from the sources to Montereau-Fault-Yonne the Haute Seine "Upper Seine" from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris the Traversée de Paris "the Paris waterway" the Basse Seine "Lower Seine" from Paris to Rouen the Seine maritime "Maritime Seine" from Rouen to the English channel. The Seine is dredged and ocean-going vessels can dock at Rouen, 120 kilometres from the sea. Commercial craft can use the river from 516 kilometres to its mouth. At Paris, there are 37 bridges; the river is only 24 metres above sea level 446 kilometres from its mouth, making it slow flowing and thus navigable. The Seine Maritime, 123 kilometres from the English Channel at Le Havre to Rouen, is the only portion of the Seine used by ocean-going craft.
The tidal section of the Seine Maritime is followed by a canalized section with four large multiple locks until the mouth of the Oise at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Smaller locks at Bougival and at Suresnes lift the vessels to the level of the river in Paris, where the junction with the Canal Saint-Martin is located; the distance from the mouth of the Oise is 72 km. The Haute Seine, from Paris to Montereau-Fault-Yonne, has 8 locks. At Charenton-le-Pont is the mouth of the Marne. Upstream from Paris seven locks ensure navigation to Saint Mammès, where the Loing mouth is situated. Through an eighth lock the river Yonne is reached at Montereau-Fault-Yonne. From the mouth of the Yonne, larger ships can continue upstream to Nogent-sur-Seine. From there on, the river is navigable only by small craft to Marcilly-sur-Seine. At Marcilly-sur-Seine the ancient Canal de la Haute-Seine used to allow vessels to continue all the way to Troyes; this canal has been abandoned since 1957. The average depth of the Seine today at Paris is about 9.5 metres.
Until locks were installed to raise the level in the 1800s, the river was much shallower within the city most of the time, consisted of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy banks. Today the depth is controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is filled with water; the average flow of the river is low, only a few cubic metres per second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy runoff. Special reservoirs upstream help to maintain a constant level for the river through the city, but during periods of extreme runoff significant increases in river level may occur. A severe period of high water in January 1910 resulted in extensive flooding throughout the city; the Seine again rose to threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982, 1999–2000, June 2016, January 2018. After a first-level flood alert in 2003, about 100,000 works of art were moved out of Paris, the largest relocation of art since World War II. Much of the art in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms.
A 2002 report by the French government stated the worst-case Seine flood scenario would cost 10 billion euros and cut telephone service for a million Parisians, leaving 200,000 without electricity and 100,000 without gas. In January 2018 the Seine again flooded. An official warning was issued on January 24 that heavy rainfall was to cause the river to flood. By January 27, the river was rising; the Deputy Mayor of Paris, Colombe Brossel, warned that the heavy rain was caused by climate change, that "We have to understand that climatic change is not a word, it's a reality." The basin area is 78,910 square kilometres, 2 percent of, forest and 78 percent cultivated land. In addition to Paris, three other cities with a population over 100,000 are in the Seine watershed: Le Havre at the estuary, Rouen in the Seine valley and Reims at the northern limit—with an annual urban growth rate of 0.2 percent. The population density is 201 per square kilometer. Periodically
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