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Pliny the Younger
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{{short description|Roman writer}}{{For|the beer|Russian River Brewing Company}}{{Use mdy dates|date=April 2013}}













factoids
name Pliny the Younger
| birth_name = Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus
| image = Como 015.JPG
| caption = Statue of Pliny the Younger on the facade of Cathedral of S. Maria Maggiore in Como
| birth_date = 61 AD
| birth_place = Como
| death_date = c. 113 AD (aged approx. 52)
| death_place = Bithynia
| occupation = Politician, judge, author
| spouse =
| parents = Lucius Caecilius Cilo and Plinia Marcella
| children =
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – c. 113), better known as Pliny the Younger ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|p|l|ɪ|n|i}}), was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him.Pliny the Younger wrote hundreds of letters, of which 247 survive and are of great historical value. Some are addressed to reigning emperors or to notables such as the historian Tacitus. Pliny served as an imperial magistrate under Trajan (reigned 98–117),BOOK, Bennett, Julian, Trajan: Optimus Princeps: A Life and Times, New York & London, Routledge, 1997, 113–125, and his letters to Trajan provide one of the few surviving records of the relationship between the imperial office and provincial governors.ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, 2007, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 9780192801463,weblink John W. Roberts, 24 March 2014, Pliny the Younger, The tenth bk. of letters contains all of Pliny's correspondence with Trajan. [...] The provincial letters are the only such dossier surviving entire, and are a major source for understanding Roman provincial government., {{paywall}}Pliny rose through a series of civil and military offices, the cursus honorum. He was a friend of the historian Tacitus and might have employed the biographer Suetonius on his staff. Pliny also came into contact with other well-known men of the period, including the philosophers Artemidorus and Euphrates the Stoic, during his time in Syria.BOOK
, Shelton
, Jo-Ann
, The Women of Pliny's Letters
, Rutledge
, Women of the Ancient World Series
, 2013
, New York, NY
, 159–161
,
,weblink
, 978-0-203-09812-7
,

Background

Childhood

File:Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Como and Lake Como.jpg|thumb|right|Como and Lake Como in 1834, painted by Jean-Baptiste-Camille CorotJean-Baptiste-Camille CorotPliny the Younger was born in Novum Comum (Como, Northern Italy) around 61 the son of Lucius Caecilius Cilo, born there, and his wife Plinia Marcella, a sister of Pliny the Elder.BOOK, Salway, B., 1994, Journal of Roman Studies, 84, 124–145, He was the grandson of Senator and landowner Gaius Caecilius, revered his uncle, Pliny the Elder (who at this time was extremely famous around the Roman Empire), and provided sketches of how his uncle worked on the Naturalis Historia.Pliny Letters 3.5.8–12. See English translation (Plinius the Elder (2)) and Latin text (C. PLINII CAECILII SECVNDI EPISTVLARVM LIBER TERTIVS).Cilo died at an early age, when Pliny was still young. As a result, the boy probably lived with his mother. His guardian and preceptor in charge of his education was Lucius Verginius Rufus,{{citation needed|date=August 2016}} famed for quelling a revolt against Nero in 68 AD. After being first tutored at home, Pliny went to Rome for further education. There he was taught rhetoric by Quintilian, a great teacher and author, and Nicetes Sacerdos of Smyrna. It was at this time that Pliny became closer to his uncle Pliny the Elder. When Pliny the Younger was 17 or 18, his uncle Pliny the Elder died attempting to rescue victims of the Vesuvius eruption, and the terms of the Elder Pliny's will passed his estate to his nephew. In the same document the younger Pliny was adopted by his uncle. As a result, Pliny the Younger changed his name from Gaius Caecilius Cilo to Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (his official title was Gaius Plinius Luci filius Caecilius Secundus).BOOK, Radice, Betty, The Letters of the Younger Pliny, Penguin Classics, 1975, 13, (File:The Younger Pliny Reproved.jpg|thumb|left|The Younger Pliny Reproved, colorized copperplate print by Thomas Burke (1749–1815))There is some evidence that Pliny had a sibling. A memorial erected in Como (now {{CIL|5|5279}}) repeats the terms of a will by which the aedile Lucius Caecilius Cilo, son of Lucius, established a fund, the interest of which was to buy oil (used for soap) for the baths of the people of Como. The trustees are apparently named in the inscription: "L. Caecilius Valens and P. Caecilius Secundus, sons of Lucius, and the contubernalis Lutulla." The word contubernalis describing Lutulla is the military term meaning "tent-mate", which can only mean that she was living with Lucius, not as his wife. The first man mentioned, L. Caecilius Valens, is probably the older son. Pliny the Younger confirmsBOOK, Letters, I.8, To Saturninus, I am compelled to discourse of my own largesse, as well as those of my ancestors., that he was a trustee for the largess "of my ancestors". It seems unknown to Pliny the Elder, so Valens' mother was probably not his sister Plinia; perhaps Valens was Lutulla's son from an earlier relationship.{{Citation needed|date=January 2010}}

Marriages

Pliny the Younger married three times, firstly, when he was very young (about 18), to a stepdaughter of Veccius Proculus', who died at age 37; secondly, at an unknown date, to the daughter of Pompeia Celerina; and thirdly to Calpurnia, daughter of Calpurnius and granddaughter of Calpurnius Fabatus of Comum. Letters survive in which Pliny recorded this last marriage taking place, his attachment to Calpurnia, and his sadness when she miscarried their child.BOOK, Pliny, Letters, 8.10,

Death

Pliny is thought to have died suddenly during his convention in Bithynia-Pontus, around 113 AD, since no events referred to in his letters date later than that.BOOK, Hurley, Donna.W, Suetonius The Caesars, 2011, Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis/Cambridge, 978-1-60384-313-3, x,

Career

Pliny was by birth of equestrian rank, that is, a member of the aristocratic order of equites (knights), the lower (beneath the senatorial order) of the two Roman aristocratic orders that monopolised senior civil and military offices during the early Empire. His career began at the age of 18 and initially followed a normal equestrian route. But, unlike most equestrians, he achieved entry into the upper order by being elected Quaestor in his late twenties.Cf. Pliny: A Self-Portrait in Letters, The Folio Society, London (1978), Intro. pp.9–11 (See Career summary below.)Pliny was active in the Roman legal system, especially in the sphere of the Roman centumviral court, which dealt with inheritance cases. Later, he was a well-known prosecutor and defender at the trials of a series of provincial governors, including Baebius Massa, governor of Baetica; Marius Priscus, governor of Africa; Gaius Caecilius Classicus, governor of Baetica; and most ironically in light of his later appointment to this province, Gaius Julius Bassus and Varenus Rufus, both governors of Bithynia and Pontus.Cf. Pliny: A Self-Portrait in Letters, Intro. pp.10–16Pliny's career is commonly considered as a summary of the main Roman public charges and is the best-documented example from this period, offering proof for many aspects of imperial culture. Effectively, Pliny crossed all the principal fields of the organization of the early Roman Empire. It is an achievement for a man to have not only survived the reigns of several disparate emperors, especially the much-detested Domitian, but also to have risen in rank throughout.Cf. op. cit., Intro. p.15-18

Career summary

{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:left"
| One of the presiding judges in the centumviral court (decemvir litibus iudicandis)
Tribunus militum (staff officer) of Legio III Gallica>Legio III Gallica in Syria, probably for six months
equites>knights (sevir equitum Romanorum)
Roman Senate>Senate
| Quaestor attached to the Emperor's staff (quaestor imperatoris)
Tribune of the People (plebeian tribune>tribunus plebis)
| Praetor
| Prefect of the military treasury (praefectus aerarii militaris)
| Prefect of the treasury of Saturn (praefectus aerari Saturni)
Roman consul>Suffect consul with Cornutus Tertullus
| Propraetor of Bithynia
| Publicly elected Augur
| Superintendent for the banks of the Tiber (curator alvei Tiberis)
| Three times a member of Trajan's judicial council.
Roman governor>imperial governor (legatus Augusti) of Bithynia et Pontus province

Writings

Pliny penned his first work at age 14: a tragedy in Greek."quin etiam quattuordecim natus annos Graecam tragoediam scripsi.": Epistulae VII. iv Additionally, in the course of his life, he wrote numerous poems, most of which are lost. He was also known as a notable orator''; though he professed himself a follower of Cicero's, Pliny's prose was more magniloquent and less direct than Cicero's.Pliny's only oration that now survives is the Panegyricus Traiani. This was delivered in the Senate in 100 and is a description of Trajan's figure and actions in an adulatory and emphatic form, especially contrasting him with the Emperor Domitian. It is, however, a relevant document that reveals many details about the Emperor's actions in several fields of his administrative power such as taxes, justice, military discipline, and commerce. Recalling the speech in one of his letters, Pliny shrewdly defines his own motives thus:

Epistulae

File:Johan Christian Claussen Dahl 001.jpg|thumb|250px|Eruption of Vesuvius, 1826 painting by I.C. DahlI.C. DahlThe largest surviving body of Pliny's work is his Epistulae (Letters), a series of personal missives directed to his friends and associates. These letters are a unique testimony of Roman administrative history and everyday life in the 1st century AD. 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 (Epistulae VI.16, VI.20), and one in which he asks the Emperor for instructions regarding official policy concerning Christians (Epistulae X.96).

Epistles concerning the eruption of Mount Vesuvius

Pliny wrote the two letters describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius approximately 25 years after the event, and both were sent in response to the request of his friend, the historian Tacitus, who wanted to know more about Pliny the Elder's death. The two letters have great historical value due to their accurate description of Vesuvius' eruption; Pliny's attention to detail in the letters about Vesuvius is so keen that modern volcanologists describe those types of eruptions as "Plinian eruptions".WEB,weblink VHP Photo Glossary: Plinian eruption, United States Geological Survey, June 8, 2010,

Epistle concerning the Christian Religion

As the Roman governor of Bithynia-Pontus (now in modern Turkey) Pliny wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan around 112 AD and asked for counsel on dealing with Christians. In the letter (Epistulae X.96) Pliny detailed an account of how he conducted trials of suspected Christians who appeared before him as a result of anonymous accusations and asked for the Emperor's guidance on how they should be treated.The Early Christian Church Volume 1 by Philip Carrington (Aug 11, 2011) {{ISBN|0521166411}} Cambridge Univ Press page 429 Pliny had never performed a legal investigation of Christians and thus consulted Trajan in order to be on solid ground regarding his actions. Pliny saved his letters and Trajan's replies Pagan Rome and the Early Christians by Stephen Benko (1 Jul 1986) {{ISBN|0253203856}} pages 5-7 and these are the earliest surviving Roman documents to refer to early Christians.JOURNAL, St. Croix, G.E.M, Why Were the Early Christians Persecuted?, Past & Present, Nov 1963, 26, 6–38, 649902, 10.1093/past/26.1.6, Trajan's response to Pliny makes it clear that being a Christian was sufficient for punishment, but Christians were not to be tracked down and anonymous denunciations were to be ignored.The Power of Sacrifice: Roman and Christian Discourses in Conflict by George Heyman (Nov 2007) {{ISBN|0813214890}} pages xii-ix The correspondence between Pliny and Emperor Trajan shows that the Roman Empire, as a government entity, did not at this time “seek out” Christians for prosecution or persecution.WEB, Pliny the Younger on the Christ,weblink 10 May 2012,

Manuscripts

The first - incomplete - edition of Pliny's Epistles was published in Italy in 1471. Sometime between 1495 and 1500 Giovanni Giocondo discovered a manuscript in Paris of Pliny's tenth book of letters, containing his correspondence with Trajan, and published it in Paris, dedicating the work to Louis XII. The first complete edition was produced by the press of Aldus Manutius in 1508."Iohannem Iucundum architectum illum Veronensem, quem annos 1494–1506 in Gallia egisse novimus, codicem decem librorum Parisiis invenisse testis est Gulielmus Budaeus...Eodem ferme tempore Venetias ad Aldum Manutium editionem suam parantem, quae anno 1508 proditura erat, epistulas ex eodem vetustissimo codice descriptas misit ipse Iucundus." (R.A.B. Mynors, C. Plini Caecili Secundi Epistularum Libri Decem, Oxford University Press (1976), Praefatio xviii–xix (See Editio princeps for details.)

Villas

File:BellagiodiEst.JPG|thumb|255px|View of Bellagio in Lake Como. The institution on the hill is Villa SerbelloniVilla SerbelloniPliny loved villas. Being wealthy, he owned many, such as the one in Lake Como named "Tragedy" because of its location high on a hill.{{clarify| date= January 2018}} Another, on the shore of the lake, was named "Comedy" because it was sited low down.BOOK, 5, The villas of Pliny from antiquity to posterity, Pierre, de la Ruffinière Du Prey, illustrated, University of Chicago Press, 1994, 978-0-226-17300-9, Pliny's main estate in Italy was in the north of Umbria, under the passes of Bocca Trabaria and Bocca Serriola, where wood was harvested for Roman ships and sent to Rome via the Tiber.{{Citation needed|date=March 2009}}

See also

References

{{Reflist|30em}}

Further reading

  • JOURNAL, A Note on Revision and Authenticity in Pliny's Letters, American Journal of Philology, 1989, Albert A., Bell, 110, 3, 460–466, 10.2307/295220,
  • BOOK, Bell, Albert A., All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger, High Country Publishers, 2002, 978-0-9713045-3-6,
  • JOURNAL, Pliny the Younger's Depiction of Women, Classical Bulletin, 1982, E.S., Dobson, 58, 81–85,
  • BOOK, Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth, Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1949, 3rd, 2003, Oxford University Press, 0-19-860641-9,
  • BOOK, Radice, Betty, Betty Radice, The Letters of the Younger Pliny, Penguin Classics, 1963, London,weblink 978-0-14-044127-7,
  • JOURNAL, Pliny and the Panegyricus, Greece & Rome, 1968, Betty, Radice, 15, 2, 166–172, 642428, 10.1017/S0017383500017514,
  • EB1911, 1, Sands, John Edwin, Pliny the Younger, 21, 844–846,weblink
  • BOOK, Sherwin-White, A.N., A. N. Sherwin-White, The Letters of Pliny: A Social and Historical Commentary, Clarendon Press, 1966, Oxford,weblink 0-19-814435-0,
  • JOURNAL, Pliny, the Man and his Letters, Greece & Rome, 1969, A.N., Sherwin-White, 16, 1, 76–90, Cambridge University Press, 642902, 10.1017/S0017383500016375,
  • Stadler, Thiago David (2013). O Império romano em cartas: glórias romanas em papel e tinta (Plínio, o Jovem e Trajano 98/113 d.C.). Curitiba: Juruá Editora.
  • BOOK, Stout, Selatie Edgar, Plinius, Epistulae: A Critical Edition, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962,
  • JOURNAL, People in Pliny, Journal of Roman Studies, 1968, Ronald, Syme, 58, 1 & 2, 135–151, 10.2307/299703, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 299703,
  • BOOK, Wilken, Robert L., "Pliny: A Roman Gentleman" in The Christians as the Romans saw Them, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1984,

External links

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