Non-Fiction Books:

Ancient Natural History

Histories of Nature



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Ancient Natural History by Roger French
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In this fascinating study, Roger French shows how Ancient Natural History was the gathering and presentation of historiae, items worthy of note by the philosopher, populariser or marvel-monger. This book examines the relationship between the physical world, the gods, Greek philosophy and the purposes of those who expressed such different notions about nature'. Roger French pays particular attention to Aristotle's animals, Theophrastus' plants and Stabo's geography. Pliny's Natural History is also examined in some detail. One of the major themes of the book is how natural history was treated differently by different societies; the Greeks, Romans, Jews and Christians. The resulting picture is one of surprising diversity of belief and practice. Rather than a continuity of ideas' we see each new generation and each different group using extant writings simply as a resource for their own interpretative constructions. The same natural-historical philosopher could serve the purposes of the Greek philosopher looking as well as the purposes of the Christian allegorist. Roger French argues convincingly that none of these purposes were scientific ; ancient natural history had much more to do with Macedonian and Roman military expansion than with early science'.
Release date NZ
October 27th, 1994
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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