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Pliny the Elder (c. 23-79 AD)

Pliny the Elder (Galius Plinius Secundias) is the Roman historian who studied the eruption of Vesuvius first hand and who was the first to write about the peculiar behavior of animals prior to an earthquake.

Most of the writings of Pliny the Elder are not extant. His only surviving work is his great Naturalis Historia that he described as "learned and full of matter, and as varied as nature herself." It contains 37 volumes covering the mathematical and physical description of the world, geography, ethnography, anthropology, human physiology, zoology, botany, agriculture, horticulture, materia medica, mineralogy, painting, modeling, and sculpture.

Pliny the Elder was skeptical of magic and astrology, but described many of the occult practices of his time. A.G.H.

Source: 9, 1303.

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