Myth and Mythography in Pliny’s Geography, Naturalis Historia 3–6

Academic Article


  • Pliny the Elder’s geographic description of the world in books 3–6 of the Naturalis Historia contains over 200 references to stories or figures from the spatium mythicum. This article offers the first study of the mythological references in Pliny’s geographical books and has three aims. After (1) an overview of Pliny’s critical approach toward myth, with special emphasis on rationalization and historicization, the essay (2) analyzes the ways in which Pliny deploys myth throughout the geographical books. A close examination of Pliny’s mythography reveals (3) that Pliny, far from parroting his sources, seeks to show how the Greek (mythical) world has, like so much else, become very much Roman. Two indices cataloging the mythical references are provided for future study.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • January 8, 2018
  • Published In

  • Polymnia  Journal
  • Start Page

  • 83
  • End Page

  • 116
  • Volume

  • 3