Letters of Pliny
The largest surviving body of Pliny's work is his Epistulae (Letters), a series of personal missives directed to his friends, associates and the Emperor Trajan. These letters are a unique testimony of Roman administrative history and everyday life in the 1st century CE. Especially noteworthy among the letters are two in which he describes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in August 79, during which his uncle Pliny the Elder died (65 and 66 in this edition), and one in which he asks the Emperor for instructions regarding official policy concerning Christians (Trajan Letter 97). Other letters include a ghost story, a story about a dolphin, descriptions of Pliny's villa, and Pliny's opinions on legacy-hunting, the treatment of slaves and the decline in respect for orators.
First Page:THE LETTERS OF THE YOUNGER PLINY. WITH AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY BY JOHN B. FIRTH.
THE WALTER SCOTT PUBLISHING CO., LTD, LONDON AND FELLING ON TYNE. NEW YORK: 3 EAST 14TH STREET.
NOTE. In the following translation the Teubner text, edited by Keil, has been followed.
Some slight memoir and critical estimate of the author of this collection of Letters may perhaps be acceptable to those who are unfamiliar with the circumstances of the times in which he lived. Moreover, few have studied the Letters themselves without feeling a warm affection for the writer of them. He discloses his character therein so completely, and, in spite of his glaring fault of vanity and his endless love of adulation, that character is in the main so charming, that one can easily understand the high esteem in which Pliny was held by the wide circle of his friends, by the Emperor Trajan, and by the public at large. The correspondence of Pliny the Younger depicts for us the everyday life of a Roman gentleman in the best sense of the term. We see him practising at the Bar; we see him engaged in the civil magistracies at Rome, and in the governorship of the important province of Bithynia; we see him consulted by the Emperor on affairs of state, and occupying a definite place among the "Amici Caesaris... Continue reading book >>
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