Pliny the Younger
- Latin Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundusborn AD 61/62, Comumdied с 113, Bithynia, Asia MinorRoman author and administrator.The nephew of Pliny the Elder, he practiced law and held official posts, including consul and head of the military and senatorial treasuries. He is known for the nine books of private letters he published in AD 100–109. The carefully composed letter, at that time a fashion among the wealthy, was transformed by Pliny into an art. His are charming and meticulous occasional pieces on diverse literary, social, and domestic themes that intimately illustrate public and private life in the heyday of the Roman Empire.
* * *▪ Roman authorLatin in full Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundusborn AD 61/62, Comum [Italy]died c. 113, Bithynia, Asia Minor [now in Turkey]Roman author and administrator who left a collection of private letters of great literary charm, intimately illustrating public and private life in the heyday of the Roman Empire.Born into a wealthy family and adopted by his uncle, Pliny the Elder, Pliny began to practice law at 18. His reputation in the civil-law courts placed him in demand in the political court that tried provincial officials for extortion. His most notable success (100) was securing condemnation of a governor in Africa and a group of officials from Spain. Meanwhile he had attained the highest administrative posts, becoming praetor (93) and consul (100).Pliny had financial ability and successively headed the military treasury and the senatorial treasury (94–100). After administering the drainage board of the city of Rome (104–106), he was sent (c. 110) by Emperor Trajan to investigate corruption in the municipal administration of Bithynia, where apparently he died two years later.Like his contemporary, the historian Tacitus, Pliny was conventional, accepting the Roman Empire, serving under “good” and “bad” emperors, and making the conventional complaints against the latter in his writings. Between 100 and 109 he published nine books of selected, private letters, beginning with those covering events from the death of Emperor Domitian (October 97) to the early part of 100. The 10th book contains addresses to Emperor Trajan on sundry official problems and the emperor's replies.The private letters are carefully written, occasional letters on diverse topics. Each holds an item of recent social, literary, political, or domestic news, or sometimes an account of an earlier but contemporary historical event, or else initiates moral discussion of a problem. Each has a single subject and is written in a style that mixes, in Pliny's terminology, the historical, the poetical, and the oratorical manner, to fit the theme. The composition of these litterae curiosius scriptae (“letters written with special care”) was a fashion among the wealthy, and Pliny developed it into a miniature art form.There are letters of advice to young men, notes of greeting and inquiry, and descriptions of scenes of natural beauty or of natural curiosities. Pliny also left a detailed picture of the amateur literary world with its custom of reciting works to seek critical revision from friends. Estate business is a frequent theme, and letters concerned with such matters reveal the abilities for which Trajan chose him to reorganize the municipal finances and local government of Bithynia.Pliny's letters introduce many of the leading figures of Roman society in the 12 years after the death of Domitian—men of letters, politicians, administrators, generals, and rising young men of rank. They make possible the social reconstruction of an age for which there is otherwise no serious historical record. He was adept at brief character sketches, his works being less satirical, more kindly, and possibly more complete than those of Tacitus. He was also a devotee of literature.Pliny published his forensic and literary speeches with care, and late in life he took to the contemporary fashion for light verse in the style of Martial. Though fulsome in the praise of contemporary writers, his judgment of the dead Statius was fair: “He was ever writing poems with greater pains than ability.” His letters to his fellow advocate Tacitus, then occupied with his first major work, tell the little that is known about the date and circumstances of the composition of the Historiae, to which Pliny contributed his famous account of the eruption of Vesuvius. The biographer Suetonius was among his protégés.One of the best modern editions of the letters and his panegyric to Trajan is by M. Schuster in the Teubner series (2nd ed., 1952). W. Melmoth's English translation, The Letters of Pliny the Consul (1746), was revised by W.M. Hutchinson for the Loeb Classical Library (2 vol., 1915).Additional ReadingA.N. Sherwin-White, The Letters of Pliny (1966, reissued 1985); Federico Gamberini, Stylistic Theory and Practice in the Younger Pliny (1983).
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
Pliny the Younger — Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61/63 ca. 113), better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and natural philosopher of Ancient Rome. Pliny s uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and… … Wikipedia
Pliny the Younger — Pliny the Young|er (?61 113 AD) an ancient Roman politician and writer whose letters provide a detailed picture of Roman life at that time. He was the ↑nephew of Pliny the Elder … Dictionary of contemporary English
Pliny the Younger — noun Roman writer and nephew of Pliny the Elder; author of books of letters that commented on affairs of the day (62 113) • Syn: ↑Pliny, ↑Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author … Useful english dictionary
PLINY, THE YOUNGER — nephew of the preceding, the friend of Trajan; filled various offices in the State; his fame rests on his Letters, of special interest to us for the account they give of the treatment of the early Christians and their manner of worship, as… … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Pliny the Younger — n. (62 113 A.D.) nephew of Gaius Plinius Secundus, Roman writer and orator who was also a statesman … English contemporary dictionary
Pliny the Elder — Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, (AD 23 – August 25, AD 79), better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient author, naturalist or natural philosopher and naval and military commander of some importance who wrote Naturalis Historia . He is known… … Wikipedia
Pliny the Elder — Latin Gaius Plinius Secundus born AD 23, Novum Comum, Transpadane Gaul died Aug. 24, 79, Stabiae, near Mt. Vesuvius Roman scholar. Descended from a prosperous family, Pliny pursued a military career, held official positions (including procurator… … Universalium
Pliny the Elder — Plin|y the El|der (23 79 AD) an ancient Roman writer who wrote Natural History, a very long book about plants, animals, minerals etc. He was killed when Mount ↑Vesuvius ↑erupted, and he was the ↑uncle of Pliny the Younger … Dictionary of contemporary English
Agrippina the Younger — Julio Claudian dynasty caption=Roman aureus depicting Agrippina and Claudius, c. 50/54. Julia Agrippina; known as Agrippina Minor ( Latin for the ‘younger’ , Classical Latin: IVLIA•AGRIPPINA; from the year 50, called IVLIA•AVGVSTA•AGRIPPINA… … Wikipedia
Quintus Servilius Caepio the Younger — was a Roman soldier and statesman. He was elected praetor in 91 BC, and fought for Rome during the Marsic Wars of the Italian Rebellion against Rome. His father was Quintus Servilius Caepio the Elder. Caepio married Livia Drusa, sister of Marcus… … Wikipedia