Comments on Pliny's Natural History

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Pliny's Natural History

Programme information and audio


    • 1. At 09:45am on 08 Jul 2010, rachaeljr wrote:

      Not a very interesting programme. Should have had much more details on the actual content of Pliny's work and a more dynamic presentation rather than the format of a studio discussion.

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    • 2. At 10:49pm on 08 Jul 2010, benelford wrote:

      What a pity that even on a programme with these aspirations, it seems nobody knows how to pronounce 'zoology'.

      Zoology is not the study of zoos, but the study of zoa. Does anybody at the BBC still possess Dr Robert Burchfield's excellent (BBC) publication, The Spoken Word?

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    • 3. At 5:29pm on 09 Jul 2010, Kate McDonnell wrote:

      It's a nice parallel. Pliny had someone reading to him as he walked through the streets. I have In Our Time on my ipod educating me as I walk through the streets.

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    • 4. At 5:34pm on 09 Jul 2010, Jane wrote:

      So with weekly strides, another IOT year has clocked itself up. I felt a jolt within me as Melvyn told us this was the last programme 'til September and smiled as I imagined the identical response in lots of other regular listeners. Personally, I loved this programme. What I reveled in was the spirit in people...that we could be such moribund little entities...and we're not. That Pliny even contained such a vision and had the intrinsic curiosity, interest and desire to educate and enlighten is fabulous. We take so much for granted and miss how utterly incredible everything is.Boggling are the life force and diverse macro/micro structures inherent in nature; consciousness/ sentience; the human brain with its desire to fathom itself and all else as well as run the processes of the equally amazing human body; creativity/abstract thought/appreciation etc. etc. IOT is guilty of no studies each subject with the purity of a child scrutinizing a little creature cradled in its hands. This might sound crass, but it's certainly how I experience this programme. It's remarkable - and that's why many of us will be 'week counting' in the back of our minds until September. Huge thanks,once again,to Melvyn 'and all'. Warmest wishes as always...Jane. ps I'd better tell my mum and my nephew, who both have degrees which include zoology, that they might understand the subject... but they don't know how to pronounce it!

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    • 5. At 1:58pm on 10 Jul 2010, C E Loosen wrote:

      As an avid listener of this programme and one that cannot get to other information easily as I live in the spare and empty part of Spain it is essential for me to listen to your programme. However, on this programme on Plinny download on my ipod, I am more than disappointed. My system has an audio check. However, the Americanised voice of one of the females on your programme was not only annoying but damaging to anyone listening to a history programme. I dread to think what any students think if they listen to her voice. How to kill history. She droned, she was quiet - I had to change earphones to enable the system to pick up anything. The Italian talking was clear and and interesting to listen to. I do not know the name of the female she was too boring to consider futher. Surely the sound of the voice is important on radio and it is not as if historian on Plinny are short on the ground.

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    • 6. At 6:36pm on 10 Jul 2010, muswellnel wrote:

      Oh dear, what a sad person CE Losen must be to find so much to complain about in what was, as usual, a fascinating programme. I loved learning about Pliny, and am very glad to have sorted out which Pliny was which. Of course every speaker on every programme is not 4 star, [for guaranteed clarity you need the mathematicians, followed by the scientists] but the overall calibre, week after week of the speakers certainly takes the biscuit. A BIG thankyou to Melvyn and his team for so much wonderful and stimulating listening over this last year. I know you deserve a break, but the long summer weeks stretch barren ahead. However, I shall survive by listening again to some of my favourites.

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    • 7. At 4:21pm on 11 Jul 2010, Jane wrote:

      I've just listened to a superb programme from the archives (should have been gardening!) called 'Chance and Design' and think that people who enjoyed listening to this one on Pliny might find it very interesting. The three guests comfortably combine intelligent and informed perspectives in a way which I found almost therapeutic. I think that the elephant story which was quoted (one man felt the tail and thought it a snake, another felt a foot and thought......etc) is profoundly relevant to our thinking in a profoundly broad sense. Best wishes - Jane

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    • 8. At 08:42am on 12 Jul 2010, The Bloke wrote:

      The Historic Present!

      I like IOT, but have one tiny little improvement suggestion.

      Please, could contributors stop using the historic present? (Julius Caesar is crossing the Rubicon....A column of nationalist troops is heading towards Madrid...Napoleon realises he is losing the Battle of Waterloo...)

      It's a really irrititating verbal tick. I don't know why historians do it, and what they think it adds, apart from irritation and confusion, to what they are saying.

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    • 9. At 3:52pm on 14 Jul 2010, Peter Household wrote:

      Well, to restore the spirits of Melvyn and guests, let me just say that I class this episode as excellent and I intend to make detailed notes of large chunks of it. I was interested that Pliny made a critical evaluation of his sources, yet despite this it seems the monstrous races of medieval maps can be traced to him. So I'm curious to know whether the source who told him of people with eyes in their chests was one of those that Pliny found credible, or doubtful.

      May I add a couple of end-of-season comments : (1) a plea that the studio guests be encouraged to check this message board, and to consider replying if felt appropriate. This happens very seldom, and I for one would welcome it happening more often.

      (2) a topic suggestion - the Axial Age.

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    • 10. At 11:49am on 07 Aug 2010, allenlux wrote:

      I missed downloading the podcast for this IOT in July and now it appears that the podcast is no longer available - is this normal?

      I was able to record it from the iPlayer, and I thought it was a very good IOT, with a good balance between the studio guests and some unexpected insights.

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    • 11. At 4:42pm on 05 Sep 2010, polyglotinc wrote:

      I too am having problems accessing the IOT podcast recently after using it for years with no problems. Did somebody break something?
      OR WORSE, has a policy changed to only allow access via the web-based bbc player? A bad move, if so, because the whole point of podcasts is to be able to listen untethered to the internet.

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