Pliny the Elder Biography
(Roman Author, Natural Philosopher and Army Commander)
Born In: Como, Italy
Pliny the Elder was a Roman natural philosopher who lived during the 1st century. A multi-faceted personality, he was also an author, naturalist, and a naval and army commander of the Early Roman Empire. He is best known for his work 'Pliny's Natural History' which was in Latin and explored the natural world. Until the middle ages, the book was considered a major authority on scientific matters. Pliny initially began his career as a junior officer in the army. Slowly his interest and knowledge in Roman literature gained him the attention of several scholars with whom he formed friendships. Soon he rose to the rank of a commander. He also took part in several significant military conquests. His first book was 'De jaculatione equestri' which dealt with the use of missiles on horseback. His second work was a biography of his old commander Pomponius Secundus. His most significant work was the encyclopedia 'Naturalis Historia' which comprised 37 books. The encyclopedia is one of the largest single works that has survived from the Roman Empire to this day. It covers numerous fields such as botany, zoology, astronomy, geology, and mineralogy. Pliny the Elder died an untimely death while he was attempting to rescue his friends from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which was one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in the history of Europe.