Trinity University Press

Aelian’s On the Nature of Animals

Claudius Aelianus (author), Gregory McNamee (editor)

An entertaining, fanciful, and sometimes suspect Roman-era encyclopedia of off-color animal behaviors

The legends and innovations of the Roman Empire have been instilled in us since childhood. We know the great stories of legal and political governance, all-knowing gods and goddesses, military power and conquest, and developments in science and engineering. But we have known little, until now, about their knowledge of the animal kingdom—which was, by far, the most advanced in world history, thanks to the encyclopedic observations of Claudius Aelianus. Sometimes insightful, accurate, and scientific, and at other times fanciful, humorous, and bizarre, this collection of second-century insights offers the ultimate historically based entertainment for animal and nature lovers alike.


  • Winner of Independent Publisher's Gold Award (classics & philosophy)


“A  fascinating caricature of our tendency to imbue the minds of others, be they animal or human, with the characteristics, qualities, and motives of our own.”

Brain Pickings

“'If Aelian’s science is sometimes sketchy, the facts often fanciful, and the history sometimes suspect,' McNamee writes, 'it is clear enough that he had a grand time assembling the material.' And so does McNamee. As he points out, 'The Nature of Animals' is 'mostly randomly ordered,' but its often comic trifles make pleasant bedside reading.”

Washington Post

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Aelian’s On the Nature of Animals cover
  • Price: $15.95 buy »
  • Pages: 184
  • Size: 5 x 7
  • Published: Jun 2011
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595340757
  • Price: $15.95
  • Published: Aug 2012
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341112


Translation, Animals