Pliny the Fabulous

If you've never had the pleasure of reading or perusing the natural history writings of Pliny the Elder, you're missing out. A friend recently sent this gem along, reminding me of how much I've enjoyed my past excursions with the great naturalist of yore.

"Honey comes out of the air....At early dawn the leaves of trees are found bedewed with honey.... Whether this is the perspiration of the sky or a sort of saliva of the stars, or the moisture of the air purging itself, nevertheless it brings with it the great pleasure of its heavenly nature. It is always of the best quality when it is stored in the best flowers."—Pliny (A.D. 23-79) 'Natural History', book 20
Check out Pliny's encyclopedia of natural life, circa AD 77.

View or download Vol. 3 of the Pliny's Natural History here. In this edition, he writes of insects (including bees), with chapter headings such as:
  • The extreme smallness of insects
  • Happy omens sometimes afforded by a swarm of bees
  • The kinds of honey peculiar to various places
If this sort of thing is up your alley, consider joining the Yahoo listserve on Historical Honeybee Articles. It's a great list with wonderful archaic lit, articles, and news items of and pertaining to our friend the bee.


Eva YaaAsantewaa said...

What an amazing resource this Internet is!

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...


KC said...

that's very cool, but is he talking about dew?

Matthew said...

Sky sweat, star spit. Yum!