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{ Tag Archives } 1st century

Pliny on mirrors.

Pliny on mirrors (Naturalis Historia 33.45): Plurimum refert concava sint et poculi modo an parmae Threcidicae, media depressa an elata, transversa an obliqua, supina an recta, qualitate excipientis figurae torquente venientes umbras. It matters greatly whether they are concave like a cup or like the Threx’s parma shield, whether they are lowered or raised in […]

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Ubi res coget

Pliny on kinds of oak trees (Naturalis Historia 16.6): Distinguemus ergo proprietate naturaque et, ubi res coget, etiam Graecis nominibus. Therefore we will distinguish them by their properties, their natures, and, when the occasion requires, also by their Greek names. Well, I’m not too happy with this rendition; it’s clunky. Not sure how to tidy […]

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Pliny on poisonous water.

Pliny on dangerous water (Naturalis Historia 31.19): Et haec insidiosa condicio est, quod quaedam etiam blandiuntur aspectu, ut ad Nonacrim Arcadiae, omnino nulla deterrent qualitate. There is also this treacherous circumstance, that some [poisonous waters] may even be enticing in appearance, as at Nonacris in Arcadia; they do not deter with any distinctive quality at […]

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Pliny on the Well Shaft.

Pliny on pyramids again (Naturalis Historia 36.17): In pyramide maxima est intus puteus LXXXVI cubitorum; flumen illo admissum arbitrantur. In the largest pyramid, there is an eighty-six cubit well inside; it is thought the river is let in by it. There appears to be doubt as to how much the ancients knew of the interior […]

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Pliny on alexanders.

Pliny on alexanders (Naturalis Historia 27.109): Odor murrae habet qualitatem, unde et nomen. The smell has a myrrhy quality, whence also its name. The name of the plant is smyrnion ‘alexanders‘, which is a Greek diminutive from σμύρνα smyrna ‘myrrh’. The scientific name of the plant is the same (Smyrnium). The English name appears to […]

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Pliny on carob.

Pliny is speaking of different kinds of fruit, their coverings, and the best parts of them (Naturalis Historia 15.34): In siliquis vero quod manditur quid nisi lignum est? non omittenda seminis earum proprietate: nam neque corpus nec lignum nec cartilago dici potest neque aliud nomen inveniat. In carob, indeed, what is eaten, except for the […]

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