The book- bound scholar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper takes as its starting point Geoffrey Lloyd’s comment that the sources for Pliny’s Natural History are ‘overwhelmingly literary’. While the encyclopaedic nature of is project might seem to make this inevitable, it is suggested that there are deeper-seated reasons for Pliny’s approach to be found in the attitudes of Rome’s cultural élite in he late Republic and early Empire. For this élite, literary culture reflected the socio-political dynamics of their society, while practical investigations of nature, on the other hand, may for the most part have been associated with the negation of these values. The contrast should not be over-emphasised: texts on practical subjects could use and exploit empirical evidence and one or two individual enthusiasts may be tentatively posited. However, the breadth and depth of the literary tradition gave the text an authority denied to the particularities of personal experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)art2
JournalStudia Humaniora Tartuensia
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'The book- bound scholar'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this