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date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter examines encyclopedic literature since its general characteristics directly influence the nature of the areas of knowledge they treat and the manner they are presented. All the works included in this chapter are sole authored and manifest a desire for comprehensiveness, organization, and utility. Encyclopedic literature was essentially a Roman invention. It was the product of a people for whom utility was an integral part of the rhetoric of self-identity, and whose extensive conquests were being arranged into a world empire: a mass of discrete political and geographical entities marshaled into a coherent unity. The treatment of science and medicine in encyclopedic literature highlights the difficulty of dividing ancient ideas into the scientific fields recognizable today. The five authors gathered for study are Varro, Vitruvius, Celsus, Columella, and Pliny.

Keywords: Celsus, Columella, Pliny, Varro, Vitruvius

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