Pliny refers to the Essenes in his Natural History as a peculiar group living an austere existence in the barren region west of the Dead Sea. His very brief description is a caricature, set within the genre of mirabilia, probably sourced from Mucianus, and focuses only on a few key features that were designed to indicate the paradoxical nature of a group eschewing sexual life yet maintaining its existence over time. Nevertheless, Pliny provides some useful historical information, most particularly that there were large numbers of the Essenes and they could be found north-west of the Dead Sea.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.