Denis diderot

An old Encyclopaedia Britannica is a work to cherish

Two thousand years ago, a young Cilician named Oppian, wanting to rehabilitate his disgraced father, decided to write Halieutica, an account of the world of fishes, as a gift for Marcus Aurelius. It was a mixture of possible fact and definite fiction – if only there were octopuses that climb trees and fishes that fancy goats – and it was a success. His father was forgiven, and the son’s written work accepted as authoritative knowledge. In short, although Wikipedia, ‘the free encyclopaedia’, calls Halieutica ‘a didactic epic,’ it was an early encyclopaedia – a word taken from the Greek enkyklios paideia, meaning ‘knowledge in the round’, and which has come