Pliny the Elder: Caii Plynii Secundi naturalis historiae libri xxxvii
Parma: Stephanus Corallus, 1476Sp Coll Hunterian Bw.1.5
According to manuscript inscriptions within, this volume belonged to Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). As Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533-1556, Cranmer was a leader of the English reformation and responsible for establishing the basic structures and tenets of the Church of England. With Thomas Cromwell, he supported the translation of the Bible into English and in 1545 wrote a litany that is still used in the Church. He also helped to complete the Book of Common Prayer.
Throughout his life he amassed a significant devotional library which began with the medieval textbooks he had used as a student but which grew to reflect the broader and more liberal interests of the reformed Church. It was renowned amongst his contemporaries for both its size and range.
The author of this volume, Gaius Plinius Secundus, known as Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), was by profession a successful naval and military commander, but he was also a renowned expert and author on natural history and philosophy. His magnum opus was his encyclopaedia, Naturalis historia, which covered almost every aspect of ancient knowledge, and continued to be used as a reference work by scholars for several centuries.
Image: Ownership inscription in Plinius Secundus, Gaius (Pliny the Elder): Naturalis historia .
Go to the next book in the exhibition, previously owned by: Philip Melanchthon.