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Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Secundus 61 – 112 CE.

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Presentation on theme: "Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Secundus 61 – 112 CE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Secundus 61 – 112 CE

2 Curriculum Vitae Born in Como, northern Italy; novus homo Born in Como, northern Italy; novus homo Name at birth Gaius Caecilius Secundus Name at birth Gaius Caecilius Secundus Adopted by his uncle Pliny the Elder Adopted by his uncle Pliny the Elder New name: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus New name: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus Inheritance from uncle in 79 CE Inheritance from uncle in 79 CE Minior magistracy Minior magistracy Military tribune in Syria (c. 82) Military tribune in Syria (c. 82)

3 Quaestor between 87, 88, 89 ? Quaestor between 87, 88, 89 ? Plebeian tribune Plebeian tribune Praetor in 93 (accellerated by Domition) Praetor in 93 (accellerated by Domition) Prefect (of aerarium militare for 3 years) Prefect (of aerarium militare for 3 years) Praefectus aerarium Saturni (3 years) together with Cornelius Tacitus – office would lead to consulship in 100 together with Tacitus Praefectus aerarium Saturni (3 years) together with Cornelius Tacitus – office would lead to consulship in 100 together with Tacitus 103? augur 103? augur Successful advocate at trials before Senate (required more oratorial skills than knowledge of the law) Successful advocate at trials before Senate (required more oratorial skills than knowledge of the law)

4 104 urban consular position – Curator of Tiber 104 urban consular position – Curator of Tiber 110 governor of Bythinia 110 governor of Bythinia Wealthy landowner: estates at Comum and Tifernum Tiberinum Wealthy landowner: estates at Comum and Tifernum Tiberinum 4 country villas near Rome 4 country villas near Rome His public career spanned principates of Domitian, Nerva, Trajan His public career spanned principates of Domitian, Nerva, Trajan

5 Pliny Circle of friends included Tacitus, Suetonius, Martial, members of most illustrious Roman families, as well as members of less prominent status Circle of friends included Tacitus, Suetonius, Martial, members of most illustrious Roman families, as well as members of less prominent status Patron of young advocates, of poets, literary artists Patron of young advocates, of poets, literary artists

6 Pliny’s letters epistulae Published letters, had only two predecessors: Cicero and Seneca Published letters, had only two predecessors: Cicero and Seneca 1. Cicero’s epistulae : genuine correspondence about current matters, written to a variety of recipients – without concern for technical literary rules 1. Cicero’s epistulae : genuine correspondence about current matters, written to a variety of recipients – without concern for technical literary rules 2. Seneca’s epistulae addressed to Lucilius and are epistles in moral philosophy, including anecdotes and information, do not pretend to be letters 2. Seneca’s epistulae addressed to Lucilius and are epistles in moral philosophy, including anecdotes and information, do not pretend to be letters

7 Pliny’s epistulae Different from both Different from both Closer in intent and content to Cicero’s but closer in concern for literary form to Seneca’s Closer in intent and content to Cicero’s but closer in concern for literary form to Seneca’s epistulae curatius scriptae - carefully polished letters epistulae curatius scriptae - carefully polished letters Collection formed by rewriting genuine correspondence and editing them according to rules of the literary letter Collection formed by rewriting genuine correspondence and editing them according to rules of the literary letter

8 Pliny’s letters Every letter written with attention to style, observes strict rule that limits each to a single subject, subject treated at moderate length Every letter written with attention to style, observes strict rule that limits each to a single subject, subject treated at moderate length Often makes references in his letters to literary rules when he apologizes for a particularly long letter, or when he includes more anecdotes to illustrate a point. Often makes references in his letters to literary rules when he apologizes for a particularly long letter, or when he includes more anecdotes to illustrate a point.

9 “The pleasurable experience of conversing with you has carried me along too far. But I will finish now, so as to avoid going beyond the limit which I think should be imposed on a speech as well.” “The pleasurable experience of conversing with you has carried me along too far. But I will finish now, so as to avoid going beyond the limit which I think should be imposed on a speech as well.”

10 Subject of Letters Wide variety of topics Wide variety of topics To friends, emperor, family To friends, emperor, family Topics: political, his governorship, literature, philosophy, private life, Topics: political, his governorship, literature, philosophy, private life, Great insight into many aspects of Roman society – offers counter balance to exaggerations of famous satirists of his age: Juvenal and Martial Great insight into many aspects of Roman society – offers counter balance to exaggerations of famous satirists of his age: Juvenal and Martial


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