The Letters of the Younger Pliny
‘Of course these details are not important enough for history … you have only yourself to blame for asking for them’
A prominent lawyer and administrator, Pliny (c. AD 61–113) was also a prolific letter-writer, who numbered among his correspondents such eminent figures as Tacitus, Suetonius and the Emperor Trajan, as well as a wide circle of friends and family. His lively and very personal letters address an astonishing range of topics – from a deeply moving account of his uncle’s death in the eruption that engulfed Pompeii and observations on the early Christians – ‘a desperate sort of cult carried to extravagant lengths’ – to descriptions of everyday life in Rome, with its scandals and court cases, and of Pliny’s life in the country. Providing a series of fascinating views of imperial Rome, his letters also offer one of the fullest self-portraits to survive from classical times.
Betty Radice’s definitive edition was the first complete modern translation of Pliny’s letters. In her introduction, she examines the shrewd, tolerant and occasionally pompous man who emerges from these letters.
Appendix A: Inscriptions