This digital library collects the translations of the Natural History from the Renaissance onwards.
Understanding Pliny’s text is not always easy. The presence of rare terms or words used in unique contexts and meanings, together with Pliny’s style and the troubled history of the text, make for difficulty in comprehension. The very different translations of the Natural History are the best demonstration of this fact. We believe, therefore, that the inevitable first step toward a new, updated and well-thought-out interpretation of Pliny’s text inevitably is the awareness that an individual passage has been interpreted in different ways. This section intends to stimulate a reflection on that issue and to promote a rethinking of past and present interpretations of the Natural History.
You can browse and consult the translations of this digital library using different viewing modes (one-page, two-page, thumbnail view); moreover, the presence of bookmarks at the beginning of each book of the Naturalis Historia makes it easier to find a specific page. Each translation is accompanied by a record with the publishing information of that work. To facilitate their retrieval, the translations are identified with the name of the modern translator, which is also found at the top of the records.
However, every individual copy of a book may disclose a world through the annotations of its pages and its physical features. Our aim is to give value to these individual stories as well. For this reason, every record contains information on the history and the conservation status of the book that you find here as a digital version. Thanks to this attention, you may find more than one copy or edition of the same translation. In fact, our aim is also to promote the study of the circulation of Pliny’s text in modern times and to offer scholars the possibility to investigate its impact in different contexts and societies.
The records are generally written by the staff members of the libraries that have kindly accepted to collaborate with us. However, their structure differs in various aspects, including those of graphics, content and language, from the cataloguing system adopted by libraries, to underline the different function and the different public from those of the latter. In fact, this section is aimed at both the academic world, moreover for different disciplinary fields, and non-specialists, and does not intend in any way to replace the other catalogues. It rather sets out to be for scholars, students and enthusiasts the starting point of and the stimulus for their research, while at the same time giving visibility to the Plinian treasures preserved in libraries.
To enter the digital library, click here.
Cristoforo Landino, Venetia: per Marchio Sessa, 1534 (Biblioteca della Scuola Normale Superiore, Fondo Moni)
Lodovico Domenichi, voll. 1-2, Venezia: Giuseppe Antonelli, 1844 (Biblioteca della Scuola Normale Superiore, Fondo Garin)
Silvio Ferri, Roma: Fratelli Palombi, 1946 (Biblioteca della Scuola Normale Superiore)
Do you wish to contribute to this section, or do you have any suggestions for improving it? As a librarian would you like to collaborate with us? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be very pleased to know you!
Ideation: Gianfranco Adornato, Eva Falaschi and Alessandro Poggio.
Manager of the digital library: Maria Ida Gulletta.
Collaborators: Giulio Amara, Alessia Di Santi, Giulietta Guerini.