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of Madaura in Africa, apparently a pagan; a lawyer at Carthage. He compiled before 439 A.D. (When Genseric took Carthage) an encyclopaedia of the liberal arts, entitled, " The Marriage of Philology and Mercury " (Nuptioe Philologioe et Mercurii), in nine books, a medley of prose and verse on the pattern of the Menippean Satires of Varro, to whom he is also otherwise indebted. The first two books contain the allegory: Mercury marries the maiden Philologia, and among the presents he gives her are seven maidens, the liberal arts: Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Harmony (Music); each of these delivers her teaching in the following books. The style is partly dry and partly bombastic. In the earlier Middle Ages the book was for a long time the principal basis of school education in general, and exerted great influence on the liberal culture of the time.
A Latin grammarian, a native of Carthage, who wrote towards the end of the 5th century A.D. His works include, among other things, an allegorical interpretation of the ancient mythology in three books (Mythologioe), the form of which reminds us of Martianus Capella (see MARTIANUS CAPELLA), an exposition of the Aeneid (Vergiliana Continentia), and an explanation of strange and antiquated words illustrated by forged citations (Expositio Sermonis Antiqui).
PLINY 41.73%
The elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus. A Roman representative of encyclopaedic learning, born 23 A.D., at Novum Comum (Como), in Upper Italy. Although throughout his life he was almost uninterruptedly occupied in the service of the State, yet at the same time he carried on the most widely extended scientific studies. To these he most laboriously devoted all his leisure hours, and thus gained for himself the reputation of the most learned man of his age. Under Claudius he served as commander of a troop of cavalry (praefectus alae) in Germany; under Vespasian, with whom he was in the highest favour, he held several times the office of imperial governor in the provinces, and superintended the imperial finances in Italy. Finally, under Titus, he was in command of the fleet stationed at Misenum, when in 79, at the celebrated eruption of Vesuvius, his zeal for research led him to his death. For a detailed account of this event, as well as of his literary labours, we have to thank his nephew, the younger Pliny [Ep. iii 5 vi 16]. Besides writings upon military, grammatical, rhetorical, and biographical subjects, he composed two greater historical works: a history of the Germanic wars in twenty books, and a history of his own time in thirty-one books. His last work was the Natural History (Nataralis Historia), in thirty-seven books, which has been preserved to us. This was dedicated to Titus, and was published in 77; but he was indefatigably engaged in amplifying it up to the time of his death. This Encyclopaedia is compiled from 20,000 notices, which he had extracted from about 2,000 writings by 474 authors. Book i gives a list of contents and the names of the authors used. ii is on astronomy and physics. iii-vi, a general sketch of geography and ethnography, mainly a list of names. vii-xix, natural history proper (vii, anthropology; viii-xi, zoology of land and water animals, birds, and insects; xii-xix, botany). xx-xxxii, the pharmacology of the vegetable, kingdom (xx-xxvii) and of the animal kingdom (xxviii-xxxii). xxxiii-xxxvii, mineralogy and the use of minerals in medicine and in painting, sculpture, and the engraving of gems, besides valuable notices upon the history of art. A kind of comparative geography forms the conclusion. Considering the extent and varied character of the undertaking, the haste with which the work was done, the defective technical knowledge and small critical ability of the author, it cannot be surprising that it includes a large number of mistakes and misunderstandings, and that its contents are of very unequal value, details that are strange and wonderful, rather than really important, having often unduly attracted the writer's attention. Nevertheless, the work is a mine of inestimable value in the information it gives us respecting the science and art of the ancient world; and it is also a splendid monument of human industry. Even the unevenness of the style is explained by the mosaic-like character of the work. At one time it is dry and bald in expression; at another, rhetorically coloured and impassioned, especially in the carefully elaborated introductions to the several books. On account of its bulk, the work was in early times epitomized for more convenient use. An epitome of the geographical part of Pliny's Encyclopaedia, belonging to the time of Hadrian, and enlarged by additions from Pomponius Mela, and other authors, forms the foundation of the works of Solinus and Martianus Capella. Similarly the Medicina Plinii is an epitome prepared in the 4th century for the use of travellers.
Type: Standard
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