Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder) 23 AD to 79 AD
Gaius Plinius Secundus, otherwise known as Pliny the Elder, was a man from the first century that contributed to the cause of knowledge in a way not many appreciated in the beginning of the publication of his works. Like artist such as Vincent Van Gough, Pliny’s work did not gain the full recognition it deserved until a while after his death. This work, being the mega volume Naturalis Historia, was published in 77AD, two years before Pliny the Elders death at Pompeii. This 10 volume, 37 book collection was considered the first of its kind in terms of how the knowledge within was presented. This was the first encyclopedia, even if some of the ideas within the books have been shown to be wrong. It still exists today and is used as a way to get a glimpse into the Roman Era and what they knew. This work was used, even through Medieval times, as a guide for learning many subjects about the world. The book contained a plethora of 'facts' on a multitude of topics that would have been invaluable to individuals learning the 'sciences' of the time and to be used as a physically limited version of Google. Although that is a major oversimplification, the comparison just shows the magnitude of how valuable the work was to the people during those times. Sources in the volumes are cited as Pliny greatly disliked plagiarism and was created to provide everyday people information, not as something to promote a particular set of ideas or amass large sums of financial wealth.