Pliny's Historia Naturalis (1513)

Here is a selection of images from our copy of the first illustrated edition of Pliny the Elder's Natural History (Historia naturalis). Printed by Melchior Sessa and edited by Alessandro Benedetto of Verona, it is very likely that the woodcuts of this edition were designed by Benedetto Bordon. Each of the 37 books of this work begins with a woodcut and an ornamented woodcut intial. For example, observe the layout of the Praefatio. Pliny is sitting at his desk; to the left we see the crowned figure of the emperor Titus, to whom the Natural History was dedicated; around him are other figures, plausibly the authorities that Pliny acknowledges as his sources. This composition, argues scholar Lilian Amstrong, reminds us of Bordon's miniatures in a vellum copy of the 1494 edition of Lucian. 

<p>Pliny (Title Page)</p>

Title Page

<p>Pliny (Praefatio)</p>

Praefatio

<p>Pliny (Book Three)</p>

Book Three

<p>Pliny (Book Five)</p>

Book Five

<p>Pliny (Book Six)</p>

Book Six

<p>PA6611Pliny</p>

Book Twenty-Four

Lucianus Samosatensis (1494)

Libro di Benedetto Bordone (1528)