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Pliny The Elder's Attitude To Warfare

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that in the Natural History, Pliny goes on the offensive, acknowledging and celebrating the advantages of an era of peace, but at the same time reinforcing warfare's contribution over the centuries to Rome's current prosperity and global domination. This is not to say that his stance conflicts with the prevailing imperial ideology: indeed, Vespasian and Titus were successful generals, who would have been interested in military affairs, which feature ubiquitously in the Natural History. In the chapter, the rôle of warfare will be considered from four distinct angles. It explores first, the pervasive way in which it is embedded in the narrative as a chronological marker; second, the fringe benefits of warfare through technological advances and other discoveries; third, its negative impact when conducted for the wrong reasons or by the wrong people; and finally, its ubiquitous presence in Pliny's representation of the natural world.

Keywords: Natural History; Pliny; warfare



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