Author: Pliny the Pliny the Younger
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
The Letters of Pliny the Younger, translated by William Melmoth and revised by F. C. T. Bosanquet. GAIUS PLINIUS CAECILIUS SECUNDUS, usually known as Pliny the Younger, was born at Como in 62 A. D. He was only eight years old when his father Caecilius died, and he was adopted by his uncle, the elder Pliny, author of the Natural History. He was carefully educated, studying rhetoric under Quintilian and other famous teachers, and he became the most eloquent pleader of his time. The letters, on which to-day his fame mainly rests, were largely written with a view to publication, and were arranged by Pliny himself. They thus lack the spontaneity of Cicero's impulsive utterances, but to most modern readers who are not special students of Roman history they are even more interesting. They deal with a great variety of subjects: the description of a Roman villa; the charms of country life; the reluctance of people to attend author's readings and to listen when they were present; a dinner party; legacy-hunting in ancient Rome; the acquisition of a piece of statuary; his love for his young wife; ghost stories; floating islands, a tame dolphin, and other marvels. But by far the best known are those describing the great eruption of Vesuvius in which his uncle perished, a martyr to scientific curiosity, and the letter to Trajan on his attempts to suppress Christianity in Bithynia, with Trajan's reply approving his policy.