Quaestiones Plinianae: Pliny and His Greek Models
Keywords:Latin, Silver Latin, translation, natural history, sources
AbstractThe paper focuses on two aspects of Pliny the Elder’s encyclopaedic work, Natural History, which are closely linked to the author’s application and adaptation of Greek science and terminology: on his use of sources and his language. The sources employed by Pliny in composing his Natural History raise a number of unanswered questions: studies in this field are effectively hampered by the loss of most works quoted by the author, while his influence on the writers of Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early Modern Age has been relatively well explored. The uniqueness of the work lies not in its originality but in the author’s singular compilation method, with which he sought to summarise for his Roman audience the Greek and Roman knowledge of nature. In addition, Natural History is a unique document of Silver Latin, containing style characteristics (such as inconcinnity, ellipsis, brevity, parentheses, periphrases) and language peculiarities (such as loan words, neologisms, technical terminology) which remain valuable materials for research into the Latin language and style. The discussion concludes with a detailed presentation of the difficulties and challenges faced by the translator of Pliny’s Natural History.
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