Article ID: CBB019043844

Hebraei Liquores: The Balsam of Judaea in Pliny’s Natural History (2015)


This article proposes a reading of the balsam in the Natural History (12.111–23) through the socio-historical construct of Botanical Imperialism: the physical and cognitive appropriations of flora to establish cultural primacy. Pliny’s construction of the balsam engages with Flavian preoccupations such as Rome’s economic recovery after the civil war, the integration of Judaea into the empire, Titus’ self-presentation as conqueror, and the influence of eastern luxury. Discerning the ideological dimensions of the balsam contributes towards scholarship on the literary qualities of the Natural History, and sets Pliny’s botany in the context of comparative work on imperialism and the natural sciences.

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Authors & Contributors
Doody, Aude
Aelianus, Claudius
Murphy, Trevor M.
Pollard, Elizabeth Ann
Gaillard-Seux, Patricia
McHam, Sarah Blake
Technai, An International Journal for Ancient Science and Technology
Journal of World History
Journal of the History of Ideas
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Cambridge University Press
Oxford University Press
Yale University Press
Princeton University
Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
Verlag C. H. Beck
Natural history
Transmission of texts
Encyclopedias (history)
Critical editions
Pliny, the elder
Dioscorides, Pedanios
Aelianus, Claudius
Aretaeus of Cappadocia
Petrarch, Francesco
Vitruvius Pollio, Marcus
Time Periods
Early modern
Roman Empire
Mediterranean region

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