Letters, and Panegyricus: Letters, Books VIII-X, and Panegyricus

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Harvard University Press, Jun 1, 1969 - History - 586 pages
2 Reviews

The Younger Pliny was born in 61 or 62 CE, the son of Lucius Caecilius of Comum (Como) and the Elder Pliny's sister. He was educated at home and then in Rome under Quintilian. He was at Misenum at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 (described in two famous letters) when the Elder Pliny died.

Pliny started his career at the Roman bar at the age of eighteen. He moved through the regular offices in a senator's career, held two treasury appointments and a priesthood, and was consul in September and October 100. On this occasion he delivered the speech of thanks to the Emperor Trajan which he afterwards expanded and published as the Panegyricus. After his consulship he returned to advocacy in the court and Senate, and was also president of the Tiber Conservancy Board. His hopes of retirement were cut short when he was chosen by Trajan to go out to the province of Bithynia and Pontus on a special commission as the Emperor's direct representative. He is known to have been there two years, and is presumed to have died there before the end of 113. Book X of the Letters contains his correspondence with Trajan during this period, and includes letters about the early Christians.

Pliny's Letters are important as a social document of his times. They tell us about the man himself and his wide interests, and about his many friends, including Tacitus, Martial and Suetonius. Pliny has a gift for description and a versatile prose style, and more than any of his contemporaries he gives an unprejudiced picture of Rome as he knew it.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Pliny the Younger is in two volumes; the first contains Books IVII of his Letters and an Introduction.

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Review: Letters, Volume I: Books 1-7

User Review  - Nathan - Goodreads

A few notable letters - in particular, describing his uncle's death while helping to evacuate Pompeii - otherwise the collection is noteworthy for being such a mundane description of first century empire jurisprudence, estate economy, and literary culture. Read full review

Review: Letters, Volume II: Books 8-10. Panegyricus

User Review  - Ann - Goodreads

Pliny is a conforming, brown-nosing, tedious writer. Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER
2
OHAPTBK
77
The empress Plotina
83
Copyright

3 other sections not shown

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About the author (1969)

Raised by his uncle Pliny the Elder, who was a scholar and industrious compiler of Natural History, Pliny the Younger intended his Letters for posterity and polished them with extreme care. He was an orator, statesman, and well-educated man of the world. He wrote with discretion on a variety of subjects, and without the bitterness of his friends Tacitus and Suetonius or the disgust for the social conditions of those troubled times found in the writings of his contemporaries Juvenal and Martial. In the introduction to the Loeb edition, Hutchinson wrote: "Melmoth's translation of Pliny's letters, published in 1746, not only delighted contemporary critics . . . but deservedly ranks as a minor English classic. Apart from its literary excellence, it has the supreme merit of reflecting the spirit of the original. . . . No modern rendering can capture the ease and felicity of Melmoth's; for they came of his living in a world like "Pliny's own."'

Peter Abelard (10791142) was the greatest logician of the twelfth century. He taught in Paris, where Heloise (11011164) was his pupil when they met.
Betty Radice was editor of the Penguin Classics during the 196070s and an acclaimed translator from Latin, Greek, and Italian.
M. T. Clanchy researches at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.