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Pliny the Younger
William Heinemann / 1931
Over the course of his career, Pliny the Younger served as a high-ranking official during the reigns of three Roman emperors, including the tyrannical Domitian. He witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum and claimed the life of Pliny’s uncle, Pliny the Elder. These, and a wealth of other experiences, make Pliny the Younger’s Letters a fascinating lens into the ancient world. Included in these four volumes are Pliny’s personal correspondence with significant historical figures like Emperor Trajan and Tacitus the historian. Interestingly, most of these letters were originally written with the intention of some day being published. As an orator and a writer, Pliny sought to emulate Cicero, and the result was a series of highly literary letters that now offer insightful discussions of imperial life and political issues—including the persecution of early Christians, which Pliny had a direct role in. Pliny’s Letters provide valuable information about his contemporaries, such as Martial, Silius Italicus, Suetonius, Pliny the Elder, and others. Perhaps more importantly, the Letters reveal Pliny’s own intriguing character.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each volume is included in its original Latin with an English translation for easy side-by-side comparison. Noet’s language tools help you to go deeper into the Latin text and explore Pliny the Younger’s elegant language. Use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult Latin words and find every occurrence in your library for deeper contextual understanding. There’s never been a better way for students of history, culture, and Latin literature to absorb these classic works.
Gauius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (AD 61–ca. 112) was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Rome. Raised by his uncle, Pliny the Elder, he received an excellent education and rose beyond the typical ranks of the equestrian social class. He was elected quaestor in his late twenties, and proceeded to rise in rank throughout the reigns of emperors Domitian, Nerva, and Trajan, serving as praetor, prefect, consul, augur, a member of judicial court, and imperial governor, among other positions. Pliny the Younger witnessed and documented the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, which likely claimed the life of his uncle.