Pliny the Elder's World

Cover image of book: a ruined white stone monument with some remaining columns on a large rectangular base. The monument sits atop a hill with other hillsides and the ocean visible in the background. In a blue border at the top, the title appears in large white characters: "Pliny the Elder's World: Natural History, Books 2-6." In another blue border at the bottom, white text reads: "Translated by Brian Turner and Richard J.A. Talbert"This page provides access to a growing collection of digital resources related to geography and world view in the work of Pliny the Elder. These maps and research database extracts were developed by Brian Turner (Portland State University) and Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) concurrent with the preparation of their translation of books 2-6 of Pliny's Natural History, which is now available for purchase from Cambridge University Press.

Duane W. Roller's A Guide to the Geography of Pliny the Elder, the first detailed English commentary on Pliny's books 2-6, is available from Cambridge University Press.

Turner and Talbert are long-time ISAW collaborators. The research database they assembled while working on Pliny the Elder's World is being prepared for digital publication in collaboration with the Pleiades gazetteer of ancient places, which is hosted by ISAW under the editorial direction of Tom Elliott. Gabriel Moss, Ryan Horne, and Jamie Ditzel helped prepare the database.


The following maps serve as a schematic illustration of Pliny's geographic descriptions. The overview map shows the broad division of Pliny's four geographic books (3-6). On the individual book maps, the labels refer to paragraph numbers in each book. The Ancient World Mapping Center and Lindsay Holman helped prepare these maps. A digital and searchable map of the entire work is currently under production.

Research Database

The project's research database will underpin both the custom map currently in preparation, as well as the addition and enhancement of gazetteer entries in Pleiades. Users may send queries or corrections to

Version 1 (12 August 2022) of the database is available in two formats: