Pliny the Younger

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Remains of an ancient honorary inscription for Pliny the Younger in the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio in Milan , 2nd century

Gaius Pliny Caecilius Secundus, also Pliny the Younger, in Latin Pliny minor (* between August 25, 61 and August 24, 62 in Novum Comum, now Como , Upper Italy ; † around 113 or 115 probably in the province of Bithynia et Pontus ), was Lawyer and senator during the Roman Empire under the rulers Domitian , Nerva and Trajan . Like his uncle, the natural scientist Pliny the Elder , he has remained significant for posterity primarily because of his literary work, some of which have been handed down, mainly the Pliny letters .

The letters edited by Pliny the Younger during his lifetime are an important testimony to the life and thinking of leading circles in Rome during this phase of the Principate . In addition to his description of the Vesuvius eruption in 79 (hence the geological term Plinian eruption ), his posthumous correspondence as governor of the province of Bithynia-Pontus with Emperor Trajan also achieved greater fame . This correspondence is a prime historical source on aspects of the Roman provincial administration of the time.

Nephew of the elder Pliny

Pliny was probably born as Gaius Caecilius in Northern Italy in the year 61 or 62 in Novum Comum, today's Como, who was raised to a colony of Roman citizens (colonia civium Romanorum) in the time of Gaius Julius Caesar . His mother was the sister of the elder Pliny, his father probably Lucius Caecilius Secundus, mentioned in an inscription from Como . The knightly family owned a number of estates and villas around Lake Como (Larius Lacus).

After the father's probably early death, the uncle took the sister's son under his care. The formative impression that this relative left on the adolescent can be clearly seen in his published letters. Pliny the Elder had come to Rome at an early age and came into contact with the leading families of the metropolis, had devoted himself primarily to Stoic philosophy and developed a sustained interest in natural history questions during frequent visits to the botanical garden of a Greek doctor. After the year 52 he carried out extensive studies and wrote several works, including the natural history, which compiled the available knowledge of his time in 37 books. Pliny the Younger describes the uncle's work and time allocation in detail and in the manner of an unattainable model:

“From the Vulcan festival on [the annual festival of the god Vulcan on August 22nd] he began to work under artificial lighting [...] long before day; in winter, however, it began at one o'clock or two o'clock at the latest, often as early as midnight - of course, he could sleep very well at any time, sometimes even in the middle of work, only to go straight on again. Before dawn he went to see Emperor Vespasian, for he too used the night to work and then to the business that was assigned to him. When he returned home, he devoted the rest of the time to his studies. "

The younger one attests to the uncle's sharp mind, hard work and a high degree of alertness. For a change of location in Rome, Pliny the Elder advised his nephew to use a litter instead of embarking on footpaths, because otherwise time would be lost for studies. When traveling, the naturalist always had a stenographer with a book and writing board at his side.

“That is why I usually laugh when certain people call me a hard-working scholar who, compared to him, am the greatest lazy lazy [desidiossimus] - but is it just me, partly because of my public obligations and partly those towards my friends? Who among those who devote their whole life to science should not blush next to him as a dreamer and idiot? "

For Pliny the Elder, the proximity to Emperor Vespasian combined with the assumption of various higher positions in the provincial administration since the early 1970s. He was last appointed prefect of the imperial fleet in the western Mediterranean in 77 . His sister and nephew accompanied him to the associated headquarters in Misenum .

Eyewitness to the Vesuvius eruption

Scheme of a Plinian eruption.
1: ash cloud
2: chimney
3: ash fall
4: ash and lava layers
5: rock layer
6: magma chamber

The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 became a biographical turning point for Pliny the Younger, who witnessed it at close quarters. In the course of this multi-day event, his uncle was killed while trying to evacuate those threatened by the eruption by sea. Since Pliny the Elder had adopted his nephew in his will, he took over the property of the deceased, his clientele and the access to the leading circles of the empire that he had made under the name of Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus .

In another respect as well, when Pliny wrote his letters later, he was aware of the importance of this event and of his own role in it with regard to the world and posterity. He wrote to his historian friend Tacitus :

“You want me to describe the end of my uncle to you, so that you can pass it on to posterity more truthfully. I thank you for this; for I know that his death, if he is portrayed by you, will have immortal glory. […] As a person, I consider those people happy who have been given by a gift from the gods either to do something worth describing or to write something worth reading, but for the happiest those who have been given both. My uncle will belong to them through his books and yours. The better to take over, yes I even ask for the task that you entrust to me. "

The description of the events begins in the early afternoon of August 24th, when the natural scientist is made aware of a cloud of a very unusual type and size by his sister. He decides to approach her with the help of a speed sailer for investigation purposes, and invites the nephew to join them; but he prefers to continue his studies. When an acquaintance who lived at the foot of Vesuvius wrote a letter asking for rescue by sea, Pliny the Elder changed his plan and steered a four-oars straight towards the disaster area. He dictated his observations of the increasingly threatening natural phenomenon to his scribe under increasing heat, with falling ash and threatened by falling black pumice stones .

The intended landing site turns out to be already buried. Instead of the planned reversal, the rescue expedition now switches to another accessible landing place, where Pliny the Elder seeks to influence his surroundings with calming explanations, bathes, dines, then demonstratively goes to sleep, waiting for a more favorable wind - and dies. According to Bütler, the nephew portrayed his uncle as the ideal of the stoic sage : fearless and guided by reason; in human solidarity and willingness to help, obeying duty until death.

After his uncle left, Pliny the Younger stayed on with his studies, bathed, ate and lay down, but is soon awakened by tremors that go far beyond what is already customary in Campania . He sits down with his worried mother in the area in front of the house between the house and the sea and resumes his studies at night with a book of Livius . When the danger of building collapse appeared everywhere after 6 o'clock in the morning with only pale light, one decided to leave Misenum in order to get to safety outside. In the midst of a dangerous crowd, pulling his mother with him, Pliny observes unknown phenomena such as the sea that has been swallowed up and receded by the earthquake and a multitude of marine animals that have remained on the beach. Despite requests from her mother to leave her behind and to flee alone as quickly as possible, Pliny refuses and, as the sky grows darker and darker, pulls her out of the crowd and away from the street, so as not to be able to take her under the feet of the panicked in the dark Amount to guess. Pliny draws a parallel here to Virgil's Aeneid , in which Aeneas ' father asks Anchises to be left behind in the burning Troy so that Aeneas can save himself.

“As soon as we consider this, it is night, not as with a moonless or cloudy sky, but as in a closed room when the light goes out. One heard the howling of the women, the whimpering of the children, the screaming of the men; some tried to reach their parents, others their children, and still others their wives by shouting, to recognize them by shouting; these lamented their fate, those of theirs; there were those who, in agony, wished death; many raised their hands to the gods, even more asserted that there were no gods now and that this was the eternal and last night for the world. "

When the distant fire gave off some light again, the ash rain subsided and the smoke dissolved in smoke and mist, they returned to Misenum, where everything was covered with ashes and looked like a thick layer of snow on Pliny. “Fear, however, prevailed; for the earthquake continued, and very many people who had lost their minds played their game with terrible prophecies about their own and other people's misfortunes. ”Despite the experienced and continuing danger, Pliny and his mother held out in Misenum as long as fate of the uncle or brother was still unclear.

Lawyer and judge

At the age of 18 (around the year 80) Pliny appeared as a court speaker. He had received his school education in Rome. Among his teachers was the famous rhetoric teacher Quintilian . A qualified lawyer, he married his first wife, whose name is not known. His second wife was the daughter of the wealthy Pompeia Celerina, but under Nerva (96-98) he was again a widower. Pliny entered into his third marriage to Calpurnia around the year 100 , to whom several of his letters are addressed. At about the same time as his beginnings as a court speaker, Pliny got into his first public office as decemvir stlitibus iudicandis and was thus also involved in the settlement of civil law disputes. Like the other offices of the Vigintivirate , it was usually at the beginning of a future senator's career.

Pliny goes into his experiences in the legal system several times in the published letters. In his own pleadings, it was primarily a matter of convincing through thoroughness and detail in the treatment of the matter. “Because in order to please and convince, you need oratorical abundance and time; But the sting in the heart of the listener can only be left behind by someone who not only scratches, but drills deeply. ”Anyone who only briefly and superficially touches what has to be imprinted, recorded and repeated, acts negligently. Admittedly, it is also important to keep moderation, but in both directions: Those who lag behind their object, do not exhaust it, keep the measure just as little as those who go beyond it, the substance.

Pliny is extremely dissatisfied with a trend towards increasingly shortening speaking time in court to two, one or even half a water meter :

“Because those who speak would rather have pleaded than plead, and those who listen would rather be finished than form an opinion. So great is the carelessness, so great the laziness, so great finally the disregard for the work and risks of the lawyers. Or are we wiser than our ancestors, fairer even than the laws that allow so many hours, so many meetings, so many adjournments? Were those dull and unusually slow, do we speak more clearly, do we understand more quickly, do we judge more conscientiously, those who hunt through the cases in less lengths than those earlier sessions needed to even explain them? "

In connection with the reference to working more as a judge than in a legal capacity, Pliny emphasizes that he himself always allows the maximum amount of speaking time required. You couldn't even estimate the dimensions of a case before the hearing. Patience is the most important quality of the judge and a fundamental part of justice.

The litigation at the time was very much in a mess for Pliny. He describes many of his younger colleagues as “obscure youngsters” (adulescentuli obscuri) who, unlike the most distinguished young people in the past, would not be properly introduced into the court sphere, but would break into the court without any respect. A corresponding atmosphere prevails in the court hall, where claqueurs are bought and move from trial to trial.

“If you stroll through the basilica and want to know how well or badly the individual speaks, you don't have to go to the tribunal first , you don't have to listen. You guess easily; he is the worst speaker who gets the loudest applause. "

Most of the paid claqueurs did not understand what the negotiation was about and, for their part, did not really listen, but raised an endless storm of applause upon signs. Such conditions increasingly spoiled Pliny for his own participation.

Senator in times of political upheaval

The offices that Pliny the Younger held partly as part of the cursus honorum before and during his membership in the Roman Senate , their sequence and the partly controversial chronological classification are mainly based on references that Pliny himself gave in his publications that have been preserved, as well as on one traditional inscription from his hometown Como. Accordingly, he was after the Decemvirate in the period of Domitian's rule (81-96) by 82 military tribune in Syria , about 88 quaestor , about 92 tribune of the people and praetor in one of the following years . At the time of the change of ruler from Domitian to Nerva (96–98) he was responsible as praefectus aerarii militaris from 95–97 for the administration of the fund, from which the pensions for disused legionaries were paid. Under Trajan (98–117), Pliny, as praefectus aerarii Saturni 98–100, was responsible for the aerarium , the state treasury that was kept in the temple of Saturn . In 100 he was a suffect consul , parallel to the third consecutive consulate of the Emperor Trajan. In 103 Pliny officiated as Augur and from 104 to 107 he held the cura alvei Tiberis et cloacarum urbis , the supervision of the river bed and water levels of the Tiber as well as of the sewers in Rome .

The importance and diversity of the offices held show that Pliny was able to build on the closeness to the Flavian imperial family established by his uncle and that he enjoyed a special trust of the rulers even after the change of power from Domitian to the adoptive emperors of Nerva and Trajan. His uninterrupted career has also brought him criticism from historical researchers, because he did not break away from the arbitrary regime of the last few years under Domitian. In his writing, Pliny himself tends to paint the picture of a top secret resistance that was only mentioned with extreme caution, even in private life. One of the letters focuses on the memory of the illness and death of his father's friend Corellius Rufus. Rufus suffered from severe gout which eventually spread from his feet to all limbs. “I visited him once during Domitian's time, when he was lying sick in his country house. The slaves withdrew from the room; this was so common with him when one of his trusted friends came to him. Even his wife, although privy to all secrets, left us. He looked around and said, 'Why do you think I am enduring this terrible pain for so long? - But probably because I want to outlive this villain by at least one day. '"

Pliny thus shows that his and his colleagues in the Senate required the elimination of this ruler to be explicitly reckoned with the terror practiced by Domitian since 92. In previous years, the Senate had been an anxiously silent assembly, which was called either for trivialities or to commit gross injustice, and which was fated as ridiculous as it was sad. Pliny expressly includes himself and his correspondent Aristo when he writes of evils that one has witnessed over many years, "whereby our spirit has also been dulled, broken and worn down for the subsequent period."

“The bondage of the past has cast a veil of oblivion, as it did over other fine traditions, also over the rights of the Senate. How few have the patience to want to learn what they cannot use later! Add that it is not easy to keep what you have learned if you don't keep practicing. Therefore, the return of freedom found us unprepared and inexperienced, and delighted with its sweetness [dulcedine], we see ourselves compelled to do some things before we understand anything about it. "

In another letter, however, Pliny also emphasizes his own active role in the opposition to one of Domitian's arbitrary measures with which he had the philosophers 88/89 and 93/94 expelled from Rome. Although seven of his own friends had already been executed or exiled, he, Pliny, even at the time of his particular exposure as praetor had his friend Artemidoros, who was also one of the expelled, the son-in-law of the Stoic Musonius , whom he admired , a visit to his house outside Rome and bailed him out financially with an interest-free loan, while other wealthy friends hesitated.

As a suffect consul, Pliny claimed in 100 that he had interrupted his official career when Domitian had admitted his "hatred of the good" (odium bonorum) . In research, this is sometimes viewed as a half-truth, sometimes as an outright lie, and it is pointed out that Pliny is silent about his last office under Domitian, the inscribed praefectura aeraris militaris , in his own surviving publications . This justifies the suspicion that Pliny wanted to deliberately suppress the fact that he still had Domitian's favor until the last year from his principal. Bag, who sees Pliny the Younger not as a man of open resistance, but as one of the opposition to Domitian, is more moderate. His behavior as a " follower " was consequently "not so offensive to the real 'resistance fighters' that the connection with them would have been damaged."

After Domitian's murder, the Senate made a demonstrative break with this ruler by outlawing his name ( Damnatio memoriae ). Pliny the Younger also set his own accents with regard to settling accounts with this past, as he underlines in the published collection of letters. Because he now had the opportunity to "pursue the guilty, to avenge their victims and thus to attract attention." In describing his advance in this regard in the Senate, Pliny sets dramatic accents and increases his personal willingness to take risks in advocating justice emerged. In 97, many of his Senate colleagues no longer wanted to be confronted with the past they had just got over happily and reacted negatively when Pliny requested a change in the agenda for the purpose of indicting an initially unnamed senator. Among other things, he was advised in confidence not to spoil himself with possible candidates for the dignity of the emperor in the still unresolved overall political situation. The turnaround was allegedly all the more impressive when Pliny, after negotiating other matters in the meantime, had a say in his case and formulated the indictment against Publius Certus, whom he pointed out as the mastermind behind the conviction of Senate colleague Helvidius Priscus in 93. The death sentence against him and other opposition leaders was considered the most gruesome crime of all of Domitian's era, according to Pliny. Even without the name Publius Certus having been mentioned, a number of members of the Senate defended it preventively, while two others supported the lawsuit of the injured family members of Helvidius, who were now back from exile and from whom Pliny had obtained an additional mandate.

“When it is my turn, I get up, begin […], answer each one. Strange, with what tension and with what applause they took everything that had just protested; such a change was brought about by the importance of the case, the success of my speech, or the firmness of the plaintiff. When I'm done, Veiento tries to answer. Nobody lets him have his say; you interrupt it, cross it ... "

The past under Domitian is only addressed in some of his letters, but it remained constantly topical for Pliny, because he kept coming back to it during the entire period of publication. He used the collection of letters both as a means of autobiographical stylization and to pursue politics on his own behalf. However, by combining references to the past and current political issues, he also sought to influence his contemporaries politically and morally.

Panegyric and proponent of a new principle of rule

The basic political stance adopted by Pliny in the phase after Domitian's elimination and in the early days of Trajan’s rule aimed to restore the Senate as a decisive decision-making body in Roman politics. The model for this was not to be found in one of the earlier phases of the Principate, as Beutel shows, not even with Augustus , but with the Senate of republican Rome . In the Panegyricus , Pliny welcomed the Emperor Trajan, among other things, as the new founder of political freedom (libertas) and security (securitas). After the lecture in the Senate, Pliny further elaborated his eulogy for Trajan in writing and then read it to friends in a three-day reading. He reports this in a letter in which he introduces the meaning and purpose of his panegyricus:

“My consulate has given me the duty to thank the princeeps on behalf of the state. When I had done this in the Senate, in accordance with custom, as time and place required, I thought that a good citizen should feel particularly obliged to summarize all this in a more elaborate manner and with more detailed information, once for the sake of our Emperor To show virtues in sincere praise, then also to remind future princes, not in a schoolmasterly tone, but nevertheless through the example, in which way they could best strive for equal glory. Because giving instructions as to how a principle should be made is a beautiful task, but arduous or presumably also presumptuous; but to praise the best principals and thus to show his successors a light that they can follow as if from a control room, also fulfills the purpose and has nothing presumptuous about it. "

Pliny stylized the process of the adoption of Trajan by Nerva into an election of the princeps by the people and the senate and above all by the gods. It is about choosing the best among all those qualified for it. The qualities that Pliny praises in Trajan and which are intended to underline his special aptitude to rule include a sense of justice, a sense of duty, moderation, prudence and self-control (iustitia, pietas, modestia, moderatio, disciplina). In this way, Trajan is able to fill his position within the framework of the law and in agreement with the Senate. By introducing Trajan as an exemplary emperor in this way, Pliny seeks to bind him to the role defined in this way and to establish it as a decisive model for the future rulers. With the draft of an ideal of rulership that is related to Trajan, but aims beyond him for the future, Pliny becomes a mentor for a principate to be redesigned:

“The adoption and its interpretation as the election of a princeps from the ranks of the senators by the senators shows itself to be an important part of the Plinian conception of the state, because by this interpretation of a process not unique in the history of the principate, Pliny succeeds in increasing the political weight of the senate to upgrade and at least apparently limit the power of the princeps. It is only through adoption that Pliny can theoretically substantiate his draft of the Principate as a state office and the position of the Princeps as primus inter pares. "

The political statements made by Pliny in the Panegyricus, however, are primarily a question of programmatic wishful thinking in the sense of the aspired recovery of decision-making powers for the Senate, not a description of reality. Instead of republican freedom or the libertas senatus propagated by Pliny, the libertas Augusti actually prevailed , “the freedom that the emperor grants his people.” Pliny was also aware of the actually modest possible effects of his own:

“Our letters, too, should contain something that is not quite ordinary, insignificant, limited only to private matters! Of course, everything depends on the will of the One who, for the common benefit, has taken on the troubles and cares for us all; but a few rivulets trickle down to us from this blessing source, which we can draw out ourselves and deliver to our friends in the distance by letter. "

The new principle ideal that can be grasped in the Panegyricus - as well as in the Histories of Tacitus - did not lead to a political resurgence of the Senate, but rather worked in the opposite direction: “The final result of the adoption ideology was nothing less than the final elimination of the Senate from the succession plan . In the future, he was given a purely acclamatory function. ”Accordingly, Pliny the Younger and Tacitus were the last significant but futile advocates of senatorial power in Roman politics. With Tacitus, the Roman coming to terms with the past in the form of historiography ended. After him, the biography of the ruler became the core of imperial historiography.

Personal ambitions and private lifestyle

What was particularly important to Pliny in his public appearance and in his private life was the concern for his own fame, which he sometimes made directly on the subject in the published letters, sometimes clearly identified as a motive. So he wrote:

"One considers this, the other that, to be the happiest person, I the one who has already enjoyed a good and lasting reputation in advance and, for posterity, lives in his future glory."

In his opinion, ideal conditions for this kind of happiness were found in those who distinguished themselves through deeds for the community and who left behind important works of writing. Especially with Cicero he saw this as exemplary, while he no longer saw it in the same way possible for his own present in view of the sovereign principle:

“All the more we want to extend this short span of fleeting time that is granted to us when it is not devoted to great deeds - the opportunity to do so is not in our hands - at least with intellectual work, and because we have a long life has failed, leaving behind something that shows that we have lived. "

The less the political situation offered the individual chances for outstanding statesmanship, the more the striving for survival in posterity was, the " immortalitas efforts", as Bütler put it, were "referred back to the study room". In this respect, however, Pliny was in some places extremely comfortably furnished in several places. He reports in detail about a property in Tuscany at the foot of the Apennines :

“At the back of the house you can see the Apennines, but quite a distance away; it receives a breeze from him, even on very clear, calm days, which is not excessively sharp, but weak and broken because of the long way. The main part looks to the south and invites the sun - from noon in summer, a little earlier in winter - to come under a wide, somewhat protruding columned hall. From this you can get into many rooms, even into an old style atrium . […] At the other corner of the portico, opposite the dining room, is a very large room; Some of the windows look out onto the terrace, the others onto the meadow, but first of all onto the fish pond, which, lying under the windows, serves to please the ears and eyes; because the water jumping down from the heights foams whitish when it is caught in the marble basin. This room is very warm in winter as it is very exposed to the sun. A boiler room is built on, and when the sky is overcast, the heat conducted in can replace the sun. This is followed by the spacious and friendly dressing room for the bathroom, then the cold water bath with a large, shady basin. If you want more space or warmer water for swimming, there is a pond in the yard; next to it a cistern, with the water of which one can cool down again, one has enough of the warmth. […] You now know the reasons why I prefer my property in Tuscany to the villas in Tusculum , Tivoli and Praeneste . Because in addition to all that I reported, there is also the deeper and more undisturbed and therefore carefree peace. No compulsion to put on the toga , no annoying person in the neighborhood; everything is peaceful and quiet, which contributes to the health of the area as well as the milder climate and the cleaner air. That is where my mind is, and there my body is in great shape. Because with scientific activity I keep the mind going, with the hunt my body. "

Pliny found historiography to be the most rewarding field for studies and a glorious written legacy, “because it seems to me above all nice not to let those who have a right to immortality fall into oblivion and to spread the glory of others with my own. [...] Namely, the art of speaking and poetry have only little respect if they are not of the highest perfection of expression; History, it may be written as it will [quoque modo scripta], pleased. "

The example of his uncle, who wrote two multi-volume historical works, spurred him on even further. But in the end he could only do one of both: prepare his many important cases in court for posterity in such a way that his pleadings were not forgotten with his death, or that he would dare to tackle history. Oratory and historical observation have a lot in common, but also some contradictions. While unworthy things are often discussed in court, the historian devotes himself to the precious and sublime. Different words, a different tone and structure would be needed. In the sense of Thucydides it depends very much on whether something is to be invested as a permanent possession in the form of historical experience or as a brilliant achievement aimed at the moment. In the end, Pliny encouraged his contact, Capito, to suggest suitable historical material for editing in view of existing doubts, but ultimately did not implement such a project.

With his letter publications, Pliny found another way to secure his own survival for posterity, namely as the first representative of the European letter literature to publish private letters and in this context as "the first author of an autobiography in the true sense". His effort to put himself in the right light is unmistakable. In some detail, Pliny emphasizes his own generosity and justifies written reflections on it:

"Because with this I achieved first of all that I dwell on honorable thoughts, then also that I discovered their full beauty after a longer occupation with them and finally armed myself against repentance, the companion of every spontaneous gift, from which a certain exercise in the contempt for money grew. All people naturally feel obliged to keep their money together; The ample and long-considered love of generosity freed me from the common bonds of avarice, and my munificence [generosity] must appear all the more praiseworthy because it arose not from a whim but from careful consideration. "

His enthusiasm for donations and founders extended, among other things, to the maintenance of needy children, the co-financing of rhetoric teachers , the construction and maintenance of a public library, the restoration of a Ceres shrine and the financing of a temple as well as debt relief measures and grants in his private environment. As a prerequisite for the others shown generosity, Pliny indicates moderation and economic efficiency in running his own household. For the huge sums he gave away, apart from various inheritances, only the income from his own goods was available as a source. Their scope is to be set accordingly.

According to his own report, he began his daily routine during a summer stay on the Tuscan estate at dawn, thinking quietly and undisturbed about his upcoming paperwork, then called his clerk and dictated to him. In the course of the morning he continued the same activity in the open air and also on trips in the carriage.

“The tension continues, just stimulated by the change. I sleep a little again, then I go for a walk, later I read a Greek or Latin speech loud and tense, not so much for my voice as for digestion; but that is also strengthened at the same time. Then I go for a walk again, apply anointing, do gymnastics and bathe. When I have dinner with my wife and a few friends, a book is read aloud; After dinner an actor or lyre player appears, afterwards I go for a walk with my people, some of whom are educated. So the evening is extended with various conversations, and although it was a very long day, it quickly comes to an end. "

In his journalistic endeavors to put himself in the limelight, Pliny sometimes resorted to the option of consulting third parties for a favorable judgment about him. Where he emphasizes the former consul Corellius Rufus as the most worthy, incontestable and subtle of all contemporaries, he adds that he treated him as a man of his age even as a very young man, even with respect himself. With Tacitus, on the other hand, he made little effort to claim him for his own fame:

“My dear Tacitus, I suspect it, and my suspicion does not deceive me, that your histories will be immortal; all the more - I will admit it frankly - I wish to find a place in it. For if we tend to ensure that our facial features are only reproduced by the best artists, then should we not wish that our deeds receive a writer and eulogist who is like you? "

What he proposes to Tacitus to include in his work as an act of glory is the support that Pliny impressively gave his Senate colleague Herennius Senecio before the consuls when Baebius Massa was attacked in a way that was also dangerous for Pliny. “Even Nerva, raised among the gods,” Pliny tells Tacitus, “in a most honorable letter addressed to me, wished luck not only to me, but also to our entire century, that he would set an example [...] worthy of the old Times that have come to pass. "

Tacitus is the addressee most frequently addressed by Pliny in his publications of letters. He admires his abilities, he tries to emulate him as a younger man, on the one hand as "the next one at a long distance" [longo intervallo], but on the other hand placing himself on a par with him:

“I am all the more pleased that when literature is mentioned, we are called together, that my name immediately comes to mind to those who talk about you. […] Yes, you must have noticed that even in wills - unless the deceased happened to be particularly friends with one of us - we receive the same bequests, together. This all boils down to the fact that we should love one another even more deeply when scientific activity, character, reputation and, finally, the last will of the people entwine with so many bonds. "

He can also be used as a joke advice Tacitus:

"You will laugh and you may laugh: I - you know me - have caught three boars, and they are magnificent animals. [...] I was sitting by the nets; Not a hunting spear or a lance lay very close by, but a pencil and a little notebook; I pondered something and wrote it down in order to bring back full pages, if my hands were empty. This way of working is not to be despised. It is peculiar how the mind is stimulated by physical activity and movement; just all around the woods, the loneliness and precisely this silence that belongs to the hunt invite you to think. So, if you go hunting, take bread basket and canteen, but also a notebook with you, following my example! You will find out that not only Diana wanders in the mountains, but also Minerva . "

When Pliny does not write to Tacitus, but about him, there is less talk of friendly familiarity and outstanding appreciation. Ludolph speaks of a well-calculated approach by Pliny towards this most important competitor.

For his old days, Pliny took the multiple consul Vestricius Spurinna as a model, whom he experienced as a 77-year-old retiree with good strength and diverse activities, including a regular morning walk of three miles , subsequent conversations or reading, a trip in the car and others composing lyric poems in the study. Before the afternoon bath, there was a walk and a phase of intense movement while playing ball. They read aloud until dinner and stayed together in good company until late at night. - He would like such a life, writes Pliny, and anticipate it in his mind, while countless business deals are still bothering him. But Spurinna gave him an example in this too, because he too had "as long as it could be done with honor, fulfilled his duties, held offices, administered provinces and earned this leisure with a lot of work."

Governor of Trajan in Bithynia

Trajan , head of a larger than life statue, Glyptothek, Munich

In the late forties, Pliny the Younger was appointed extraordinary governor of the province of Bithynia and Pontus (Latin: legatus pro praetore provinciae Ponti et Bithyniae consulari potestate ) by Emperor Trajan in the year 111 and given special powers. Until then, the administration of this province had been in the hands of the Senate, which had proconsuls that changed every year, following the pattern of the republican era. Abuses had recently emerged, especially in the financial system of the cities. As the former person in charge of the state treasury, Pliny could appear particularly suitable to restore order in this regard. Where others had failed, he now had the chance, as the emperor's personal agent, to take on an apparently important task in the east of the Roman Empire. After arriving there on September 17, 111, he traveled from his headquarters in Nicaea or Nicomedia to his new area of ​​responsibility in several stages.

Mainly from this activity of Pliny as a provincial governor who was chosen with certain expectations and given special powers, a collection of letters of a completely different kind has been preserved than the literarily ambitious letter publications of Books I to IX. The tenth book, published by unknown sources only after Pliny’s death under unclear circumstances, contains not only Pliny’s letter inquiries to Emperor Trajan, but mostly also his answers.

Pliny presents himself in a completely different way compared to the letters he published himself . While he is often found in those letters in the role of a wise advisor, he is now constantly seeking advice and reassurance. Obviously, it is important to him not to do anything wrong in this important mission, so as not to put reputation and prestige at the highest level at risk. "Pedantic conscientiousness" and "blatant weakness in decision-making" are sometimes critically attested to him not only in recent research. Even in the imperial letters of reply to Pliny there is occasionally a warning undertone regarding the need to exercise one's own decision-making powers and regarding the use of the resources and specialists available on site.

When Pliny told the emperor of an extremely expensive new theater building in Nicaea, which was not making progress due to a dubious subsurface and serious cracks in the substance, and of a grammar school , the statics of which were doubted, and of a public bath of enormous dimensions in Claudiopolis , the questionable one The place was built from the Imperial Foundation's funds, and finally asks to send an architect, the answer is:

“What must be done about the theater that was started in Nikaea, you will best judge and decide on the spot. It will be enough for me to receive news of what decision you have come to. […] You will have to decide for yourself what advice to the inhabitants of Claudiopolis because of their bath, which, as you write, they started in such an inhospitable place. You cannot lack architects. There is no province that does not have experienced and skilled people; just don't think it would be faster to send them from Rome, since they usually come to us from Greece. "

On another occasion, Pliny was asked to read that his hesitant action was inappropriate, as he was well aware of Trajan's resolution "not to gain respect for my name through fear and horror among people or through trials for libel of majesty". In one of the last surviving letters from Trajan to Pliny, his assessment is confirmed that oversized private parties and the associated financial expense should be counteracted; but it is linked to the fact that he was chosen for this function with his wisdom, "so that you yourself can take measures to regulate the behavior of the provincials there and issue decrees that should prove useful for the permanent calming of this province."

However, there are also examples of inquiries in which the proposals made by Pliny do not meet with approval in Rome and it turns out that reassurance is advisable. When Pliny once describes the problem of placing state loans at the usual interest rate of 12% and asks whether it would be better to lower the interest rate or to impose compulsory loans on the council members ( decurions ), Trajan replies:

“I see no other way out myself, my dear Secundus, than lowering the interest rate so that the community money can be invested more easily. The extent of this reduction will be determined by the amount of those who seek a loan. Forcing people to accept a loan against their will that might just be dead capital for them does not correspond to the sense of justice of our time. [non est ex iustitia nostrorum temporum] "

The most well-known part of the letters of Pliny relates to his question regarding the action against Christians:

“I have never been to court hearings against Christians; therefore I do not know what and to what extent it is customary to punish or investigate. I was also quite unsure whether the age made a difference, or whether very young people were treated in the same way as adults, whether the repentant would receive forgiveness or whether it would not help anyone who was once a Christian if he was no longer one whether the name 'Christian', even if there are no crimes, or only crimes connected with the name are punished.
For now, I used the following procedure with those who were reported to me as Christians. I asked them if they were Christians. I asked a second and third time who confessed, under threat of the death penalty; if he stayed that way, I had him taken away. No matter if they say what they wanted - stubbornness and unyielding stubbornness I felt I had to punish in any case. I have reserved other people trapped in the same madness because they were Roman citizens for transfer to Rome. "

Pliny summoned those denounced anonymously as Christians and decided their fate in each case according to whether they were prepared to sacrifice incense and wine to the image of Trajan and the statues of the traditional Roman gods, and whether they insulted Christ or not. Even those who claimed to have turned away from the Christian faith were spared by Pliny if the required sacrifices were made. It was, he said, probably no more than an immoderate superstition. As recent observations have shown, the high prevalence of this contagious superstition in towns and villages can be countered successfully. In view of the large number of accused, he initially suspended further proceedings in order to seek advice from the emperor. In Trajan's famous rescript it says:

“You, my secretary, have taken the correct position in examining the cases of those who were reported to you as Christians. For one cannot set up anything generally valid that would form a fixed rule, as it were. They shouldn't be tracked down; if they are reported and convicted, they should be punished, but in such a way that he who denies being a Christian and makes this evident through action, that is, by sacrificing to our gods, may be in the past have been suspicious - forgiveness is granted on the basis of his repentance. Anonymous writings, however, may not be taken into account in any indictment. Because that is a very bad example and not worthy of our century [nam et pessimi exempli nec nostri saeculi est]. "

In the third year of Pliny as governor, the correspondence suddenly breaks off. It can therefore be assumed that he died while he was in office.

The beginning of the letters of Pliny in the manuscript Cesena, Biblioteca Malatestiana , Ms. S.XX.2, fol. 1r (15th century)

The publicist and his work

Among other things, Pliny wrote a Greek tragedy and a few poems at the age of 14 , the text of which, however, has not survived. Under Emperor Nerva , he published a number of the speeches given by him, after an independent revision and expansion. However, these are also not preserved.

Speeches and letters form the core of the traditional public work of Pliny the Younger. These were related forms of activity at the time, "because the letter is part of literary production, so, like all ancient literature, it is part of rhetoric ."

The sources from which Pliny’s literary letter production is based are varied and difficult to identify precisely. According to Bütler, "countless thoughts and ideas were taken up in the letters as in the Panegyricus, the originators of which can no longer be determined today, which were carried along by the stream of tradition and which at that time had long been part of the general educational treasure." The moral theory of the Stoa and the "popular diatribe" . “From an author,” says Bütler, “to whom thoughts flow freely from all sides, no firmly established, self-contained worldview can be expected in a time of syncretism in all areas of life: he gives what he needs without to give himself an account of the origin every time. ”Some of the contradictions in the positions taken by Pliny in the course of his correspondence is probably due to the form of the letter; after all, it is not a coherent whole, but a collection of pieces, each shaped by the most varied of moods and circumstances.

Text output, comments and translations


sorted alphabetically by author

Overview representations

  • Michael von Albrecht : History of Roman literature from Andronicus to Boethius and its continued effect . Volume 2. 3., improved and expanded edition, De Gruyter, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-026525-5 , pp. 969–979.
  • Michèle Ducos: Pliny Caecilius Secundus (C.). In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques. Vol. 5, part 1, CNRS Éditions, Paris 2012, ISBN 978-2-271-07335-8 , pp. 871-876.


  • Frank Beutel: The Past as Politics. New aspects in the work of the younger Pliny (= studies on classical philology. Volume 121). Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 2000, ISBN 3-631-36103-3 (also dissertation, University of Freiburg 1998).
  • Hans-Peter Bütler: The spiritual world of the younger Pliny. Studies on the subject of his letters (= Library of Classical Classical Studies . New Series, Series 2, Volume 38). Winter, Heidelberg 1970 (also dissertation, University of Zurich 1967).
  • Luigi Castagna, Eckard Lefèvre (ed.): Pliny the Younger and his time (= contributions to antiquity . Vol. 187). Saur, Munich / Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-598-77739-6 .
  • Matthias Ludolph: Epistolography and self-expression. Investigations into the 'parade letters' Pliny the Younger (= Classica Monacensia. Volume 17). Narr, Tübingen 1997, ISBN 3-8233-4876-0 (also dissertation, University of Munich 1996).
  • Sven Page: The ideal aristocrat. Pliny the Younger and the social profile of the senators in the imperial era (= studies on ancient history. Volume 24). Verlag Antike, Heidelberg 2015, ISBN 978-3-938032-95-4 (also dissertation, Technical University Darmstadt 2012).
  • Katrin Schwerdtner: Pliny and his classics. Studies on literary citation in the letters of Pliny (= contributions to antiquity. Volume 340). De Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2015, ISBN 978-3-11-041740-1 (also dissertation, University of Trier 2014).


  • Louis Cellauro: Classical Pradigms: Pliny the Younger's Hippodrome at his Tuscan Villa and Renaissance Gardens . In: Die Gartenkunst  17 (1/2005), pp. 73–89.
  • Mayako Forchert: "The Roman garden style" in historicism. Gustav Meyer's formal design and his reconstruction of the Villa Tuscum by Plinius the Younger In: Die Gartenkunst 11 (1/1999), pp. 123–130.
  • Charlotte Kempf: Pliny the Younger (Gaius Caecilius Plinius Secundus minor), Epistulae .. In: Christine Walde (Ed.): The reception of ancient literature. Kulturhistorisches Werklexikon (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 7). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2010, ISBN 978-3-476-02034-5 , Sp. 727-738.

Web links

Wikisource: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus  - Sources and full texts (Latin)
Commons : Pliny Minor  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. a b CIL 5, 5262 .
  2. ^ AE 1983, 443 .
  3. ^ Roderich König, Gerhard Winkler : Pliny the Elder. Life and work of an ancient naturalist . Munich 1979, p. 10
  4. Pliny, Letters 3.5; Translation after: C. Plinius Secundus: Complete letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 111
  5. Pliny: Letters, 3.5
  6. Pliny, Letters 3.5; Translation after: C. Plinius Secundus: Complete letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 113
  7. ^ Roderich König, Gerhard Winkler: Pliny the Elder. Life and work of an ancient naturalist . Munich 1979, p. 19 f.
  8. Pliny, Letters 6.16; Translation after: C. Plinius Secundus: Complete letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 230
  9. Pliny: Letters, 6.16
  10. Bütler 1970, p. 80
  11. Virgil, Aeneis 2, 634-670; compare Woldemar Görler : Cold-blooded snoring. On the literary background of the younger Pliny’s letters to Vesuvius. In: Glen W. Bowersock et al. a. (Ed.): Arktouros. Hellenic Studies presented to Bernard MW Knox. De Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 1979, pp. 427-433.
  12. Pliny: Letters, 6.20; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 239
  13. Pliny: Letters, 6.20
  14. Judith Hindermann: similis excluso a vacuo limine recedo - Pliny's staging of his marriage as elegiac love affair . In: M. Formisano, T. Fuhrer (Hrsg.): Gender Studies in Ancient Studies: Gender Staging in Ancient Literature . Trier 2010, pp. 45-63 (Iphis 5).
  15. Etienne Aubrion: La 'correspondance' de Pline le jeune. Problèmes et orientation actuelle de la recherche , in: Rise and Fall of the Roman World , Part II, Volume 33, 3, De Gruyter, Berlin and New York 1989, p. 306.
  16. Pliny: Letters, 1.20; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 59
  17. Pliny: Letters, 1.20
  18. Pliny: Letters, 6.2; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 217
  19. Pliny: Letters, 6.2
  20. Pliny, Letters 2.14; Translation after Helmut Kasten (Ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 105.)
  21. "So far, however, my friends' interest and consideration for my age have kept me in this matter; I am afraid that it might look as if I have not left these outrageous conditions behind, but have only wanted to evade the effort and work. After all, I show myself less than usual and so start to gradually withdraw. "(Pliny, Briefe 2.14; translation after Helmut Kasten (Ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 105.)
  22. In Pliny, Letters 8.14, he reports on the desperate conditions in the camp, where efficiency was suspect, “indolence was high in prices, superiors had no authority, soldiers had no respect for them; Nowhere an order, nowhere obedience, everything in disintegration, confusion and downright the opposite, in short: conditions that are better forgets than remembered. "(Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 461.)
  23. "Unfortunately, Pliny is no different than his contemporary Martial [...] to those people who crouch and submit when their advantage and safety seem to demand, and only show courage towards the dead lion, but then all the more towards him Kick kicks in order to cover up their earlier pathetic behavior. "( Walter Otto : Zur Lebensgeschichte des Younger Pliny , session reports of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Philosophical-Philological and Historical Class, 1919, 10, p. 10; quoted in Beutel 2000 , P. 130)
  24. Pliny: Letters 1.12; quoted from: Pliny Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 46
  25. Karl Christ : History of the Roman Empire , 5th through. Ed., Munich 2004, p. 282
  26. Pliny: Letters, 8.14; Bütler 1970, p. 139
  27. Pliny, Letters 8.14.2–3 ; Translation after Helmut Kasten (Ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, pp. 458f.)
  28. Pliny: Letters, 3.11; Bag 2000, pp. 207f.
  29. Pliny, Panegyricus 95, 3
  30. Ludolph 1997, pp. 45ff.
  31. Beutel 2000, p. 235
  32. Pliny: Letters, 9.13; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 509.
  33. "I anticipated everything and considered it earlier in my heart and did not resist, if fate so dictates, to atone for an honorable deed while I avenge the most shameful one." (Pliny: Briefe, 9.13; quoted from Helmut Kasten ( Ed.): Pliny: Briefe. 1995, p. 513.)
  34. The Helvidius Priscus referred to here by Pliny was the son of the senator of the same name and a prominent Stoic at the time, who criticized Vespasian's succession plan and, in some cases demonstratively, had denied respect to the emperor. Vespasian finally had him sentenced to death. When, under Domitian, the senator Herennius Senecio wrote a boasting biography of the executed elder Helvidius, he was also sentenced to death. In his action against Publius Certus, whom he made primarily responsible for the condemnation of the younger Helvidius, Pliny the Younger took up this prehistory. (See Stefan Pfeiffer on the aforementioned prehistory: The time of the Flavians. Vespasian – Titus – Domitian. Darmstadt 2009, pp. 34 f. And 74 f.)
  35. Pliny: Letters, 9.13: inter multa scelera nullum atrocius videbatur ; Pouch comments on this: “Ultimately, it must remain unclear what role Publius Certus actually played in the conviction of Helvidius, since we have no further information on this. Certus was consul-designate in 97 and thus of a similar rank as Pliny. But that he played such a prominent role in the condemnation of Helvidius as Pliny assigns him is hardly to be suspected. It can therefore be assumed that Pliny’s motives had something to do not only with the past, but also with his present behavior in 97. It is not surprising that Pliny adheres to someone who is roughly equal in rank, since Pliny does himself held the office of praetor and an attack on former consuls would have been even more dangerous than his approach was. "(Beutel 2000, p. 194)
  36. Pliny: Letters, 9.13; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 515.
  37. Beutel 2000, pp. 177 and 269
  38. Beutel 2000, pp. 51-69. “In the reflections on the time of the republic, the existence of this libertas senatus becomes apparent for Pliny as a yardstick for his assessment of the individual phases of this epoch. The time after the abolition of royal rule, which granted a maximum of this libertas , appears particularly positive in his portrayal . From this phase, with the increasing loss of freedom for the period following up to the beginning of the so-called Roman revolution, a decline is noted, which at the end of the republic is concluded with the complete loss of libertas . "(P. 64)
  39. ^ Panegyricus VIII, 1: sed libertas et salus et securitas fundabatur.
  40. Pliny: Letters, 3.18; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 177.
  41. imperaturus omnibus elegi debet ex omnibus (Panegyricus VII)
  42. Beutel 2000, pp. 99-101
  43. Bag 2000, p. 77
  44. Bag 2000, p. 112
  45. Beutel 2000, p. 68
  46. Pliny: Letters, 3.20; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 185.
  47. Karl Christ: History of the Roman Empire , 5th through. Ed., Munich 2004, p. 288
  48. Bag 2000, p. 18
  49. Pliny: Letters, 9.3; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 334 f.
  50. Pliny: Letters, 3.7; Translation after Helmut Kasten (Ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 149.
  51. Bütler 1970, p. 23
  52. Pliny: Letters, 5.6; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 189 ff.
  53. Pliny: Letters, 5.8; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 197.
  54. Pliny: Letters, 5.8; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 199
  55. Ludolph 1997, pp. 16 and 35. Despite their alleged utility letter character, Ovid's letters in exile are not comparable, "because there the meter already shows its literary nature ." (Ibid. P. 16, note 25)
  56. Pliny: Letters, 1.8; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 23.
  57. Bütler 1970, p. 123
  58. Bütler 1970, p. 120
  59. Pliny: Letters, 9.36; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 367 f.
  60. Ludolph 1997, p. 16
  61. Pliny: Letters, 4.17
  62. Pliny: Letters, 7.33; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 294
  63. Beutel 2000, p. 216
  64. Pliny: Letters, 7.33; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 295
  65. Ludolph 1997, p. 80
  66. Pliny: Letters, 7:20; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 280 f.
  67. Pliny: Letters, 1.6; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 36
  68. Ludolph 1997, p. 81 f.
  69. Pliny: Letters, 3.1; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 105
  70. Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 665 f.
  71. Pliny: Letters 10.3a: “I hope you understand this compliance of mine, because it is my wish that everything I do and say will be approved by your exalted person.” (Quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed. ): Pliny: Briefe. 1995, p. 561).
  72. Ludolph 1997, p. 54 f.
  73. "Almost funny", Ludolph finds the first of Pliny 's feedback to Trajan during the journey to the province, in which he explains the adverse travel conditions (Ludolph 1997, p. 54). When responding to such important news, the emperor seemed unable to suppress a smile: "Your decision, depending on the location, to use the ships, sometimes the wagons, is reasonable." (Pliny: Letters 10.16; quoted from Helmut Kasten ( Ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 573).
  74. Pliny: Letters 10:39
  75. Pliny: Letters, 10:40; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 395
  76. Pliny: Letters, 10:82; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 420
  77. Pliny: Letters 10.117; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, p. 657.
  78. Pliny: Letters 10:54
  79. ^ Mi second carissime . Salutation with the cognomen adopted from the elder Pliny .
  80. Pliny: Letters 10.55; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, pp. 603-605
  81. Pliny: Letters 10.96; quoted from Helmut Kasten (ed.): Plinius: Briefe. 1995, pp. 641-643
  82. Pliny: Letters, 10.97; quoted from: C. Plinius Secundus: All letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 428
  83. C. Pliny Secundus: Complete Letters . Edited by Walter Rüegg. Introduced and translated by André Lambert. Licensed edition for the Gutenberg Book Guild (original edition: Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1969), p. 14
  84. ^ Judith Hindermann, Places of Inspiration in Plinius' Epistulae , in: Museum Helveticum 66 (2009), pp. 223-231
  85. Bütler 1970, p. 8