Incunabula Leaf Historia NaturalisItem: Two Incunabula Leaves
Title: Historia Naturalis
Author: Plinus Secundus
Printer: Nicolas Jenson
Place of Printing: Venice
Date of Printing: 1476
Reference: Stillwell P730
Biography of Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder, 23-79). He served in the Roman military on the Rhine, plead in the law courts, and held important offices in the government. Pliny was a great reader and would make notes when he found an interesting fact. He wrote a number of books, including 20 volumes on the wars with the German tribes. His greatest work was his Natural History which was published after his death by his nephew. Pliny died in 79 A.D. during the eruption of Vesuvius. He was the admiral of the fleet at the time of the eruption and sailed close to observe it. He then rescued a friend from the danger of the eruption and used the fleet to save others but ultimately died studying Vesuvius when he was unable to escape.
Historia Naturalis was a compilation of scientific knowledge from Greek and Roman authors (327 Greeks, 146 Romans) compiled by Pliny. It also contained work of history, medicine and art. It was divided into 37 sections. It may be considered the first encyclopedia. His work was completed by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, following Pliny’s death. This is the only work of Pliny’s that has survived from Roman times.
Our two leaves are in Roman type. They have 48 lines per page. There are blank spaces with guide letters left for the illuminator to complete with enlarged initials.