Among the young Leonardo’s first books: The Metamorphoses of Ovid, and Natural History by Pliny the Elder, both translated into the vernacular—that is, into Italian. Leonardo could not read Latin. Ovid recounts the history of the world and humanity in the form of myth as a neverending sequence of metamorphosis, from which Leonardo will derive his own conception of Nature. Pliny, on the other hand, is the great encyclopedia of natural history, encompassing even the fantastical and miraculous.