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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Pliny (23–79 AD) or Pliny the Elder or Gaius Plinius Secundus was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian. Pliny the Younger was his nephew.


Natural History by Pliny

The Natural History (Latin: Naturalis Historia) is a work by Pliny the Elder. The largest single work to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day, the Natural History compiles information gleaned from other ancient authors. Despite the work's title, its subject area is not limited to what is today understood by natural history; Pliny himself defines his scope as "the natural world, or life".[1] It is encyclopedic in scope, but its structure is not like that of a modern encyclopedia. It is the only work by Pliny to have survived, and the last that he published. He published the first 10 books in AD 77, but had not made a final revision of the remainder at the time of his death during the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius. The rest was published posthumously by Pliny's nephew, Pliny the Younger.

The work is divided into 37 books, organised into 10 volumes. These cover topics including astronomy, mathematics, geography, ethnography, anthropology, human physiology, zoology, botany, agriculture, horticulture, pharmacology, mining, mineralogy, sculpture, art, and precious stones.

Pliny's Natural History became a model for later encyclopedias and scholarly works as a result of its breadth of subject matter, its referencing of original authors, and its index.

Volume Books Contents
I 1 Preface and list of contents, lists of authorities
2 Astronomy, meteorology
II 3–6 Geography and ethnography
7 Anthropology and human physiology
III 8–11 Zoology, including mammals, snakes, marine animals, birds, insects
IV–VII 12–27 Botany, including agriculture, horticulture, especially of the vine and olive, medicine
VIII 28–32 Pharmacology, magic, water, aquatic life
IX–X 33–37 Mining and mineralogy, especially as applied to life and art, work in gold and silver,[2] statuary in bronze,[3] art,[4] modelling,[5] sculpture in marble,[6] precious stones and gems[7]

He wrote an encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia ('Natural History'), which became a model for all other encyclopedias.

The work is divided into 37 books, organised into ten volumes.

Geography: In Books III to VI, Pliny moves to the Earth itself.

In Book III he covers the geography of Spain and Italy;

Book IV covers Europe including Britain;

Book V looks at Africa and Asia,

Book VI looks eastwards to the Black Sea, India and the Far East.

Anthropology: Book VII discusses the human race, covering anthropology and ethnography, aspects of human physiology and assorted matters such as the greatness of Julius Caesar, outstanding people such as Hippocrates and Asclepiades, happiness and fortune.

Chapters from Book VI

Book VI looks eastwards to the Black Sea, India and the Far East. Some Chapters are produced below:

  • Chapter 38 - The comparative distances of places on the face of the earth
  • Chapter 39 - Division of the earth into parallels and shadows of equal length

Jat clans mentioned by Pliny

Here is partial list of the peoples or place names mentioned by Pliny (23–79 AD) in his book - 'Natural History', which have phonetic similarity with Jat clans or Jat Places. In list below those on the left are Jat clans (or Jat Places) and on right are people or place names mentioned by Pliny with chapter in bracket. There is further need to establish any inter-connection. References available from Jat History books connecting these terms have also been provided.

See Jat clans mentioned by Pliny

Jat History

According to Pliny, the original home of the Jattis or Jats happened to be Zotale or Y othale, irrigated by Margusriver. Their course from the Oxus to the Indus may, perhaps be dimly traced in the Xuthi of Dionysius of Samos and the Zuthi of Ptolemy who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana.[8]

Bhim Singh Dahiya[9] writes that Jats are known as Jatii by Pliny and Ptolemy.

Ram Swarup Joon[10] writes that Pliny has written that during a conflict between KhanKesh, a province in Turkey, and Babylonia, they sent for the Sindhu Jats from Sindh. These soldiers wore cotton uniforms and were experts in naval warfare. On return from Turkey they settled down in Syria. They belonged to Hasti dynasty. Asiagh Jats ruled Alexandria in Egypt. Their title was Asii.

External links

See also


  1. Natural History I:13
  2. Natural History XXXIII:154–751
  3. Natural History XXXIV
  4. Natural History XXXV:15–941
  5. Natural History XXXV:151–851
  6. Natural History XXXVI
  7. Natural History XXXVII
  8. Origins of the Jats: Myth and Reality by Vikas Malik, Publisher: International Journal of Advances in Social Sciences
  9. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Jats,p.25
  10. Ram Sarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter III, p.40-41

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