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Deep Things out of DarknessA History of Natural History$
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John G. T. Anderson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273764

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273764.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

. The Spoils of an Empire

. The Spoils of an Empire

(p.22) THREE . The Spoils of an Empire
Deep Things out of Darkness

John G. T. Anderson

University of California Press

In which the collapse of Alexander’s empire sets the stage for the domination of the Mediterranean world by Rome. Ptolemy’s establishment of the great library at Alexandria ensured for the moment a centralized storehouse of early knowledge of natural history and its conveyance into Roman culture. Pliny the Elder becomes the first great “encyclopedist” in his attempt to summarize and catalog learning up to his day, while Galen and Dioscorides developed aspects of botany as applied to medicine. Unfortunately, the fall of Rome froze much of Western natural history into a reliance on the ancients rather than a true experimental science-a condition that lasted for much of the next millennium.

Keywords:   Pliny the Elder, Galen, Dioscorides, Ptolemy, library of Alexandria

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