The two letters written by Pliny the Younger describing the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD
(Above) Artist's impression of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger by Barry Mount Vesuvius' long period of inactivity before the eruption, was a clear link to. Eye witness account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, 79 AD. This voice belongs to Pliny the Younger whose letters describe his experience the eruption while he was staying in the home of his Uncle, Pliny the Elder. Brief bios of Pliny the Elder and his nephew Pliny the Younger, ancient Roman scientists and choniclers Some wept for themselves, others for their relations. a town on the far side of the bay from Vesuvius, during the AD 79 eruption.
Close Reading questions for Pliny`s letters to Tacitus about the
He hurried to the place which everyone else was hastily leaving, steering his course straight for the danger zone. He was entirely fearless, describing each new movement and phase of the portent to be noted down exactly as he observed them. Ashes were already falling, hotter and thicker as the ships drew near, followed by bits of pumice and blackened stones, charred and cracked by the flames: For a moment my uncle wondered whether to turn back, but when the helmsman advised this he refused, telling him that Fortune stood by the courageous and they must make for Pomponianus at Stabiae.
He was cut off there by the breadth of the bay for the shore gradually curves round a basin filled by the sea so that he was not as yet in danger, though it was clear that this would come nearer as it spread. Pomponianus had therefore already put his belongings on board ship, intending to escape if the contrary wind fell. This wind was of course full in my uncle's favour, and he was able to bring his ship in.
He embraced his terrified friend, cheered and encouraged him, and thinking he could calm his fears by showing his own composure, gave orders that he was to be carried to the bathroom. After his bath he lay down and dined; he was quite cheerful, or at any rate he pretended he was, which was no less courageous.
Vesuvius from space Meanwhile on Mount Vesuvius broad sheets of fire and leaping flames blazed at several points, their bright glare emphasized by the darkness of night. My uncle tried to allay the fears of his companions by repeatedly declaring that these were nothing but bonfires left by the peasants in their terror, or else empty houses on fire in the districts they had abandoned. Then he went to rest and certainly slept, for as he was a stout man his breathing was rather loud and heavy and could be heard by people coming and going outside his door.
By this time the courtyard giving access to his room was full of ashes mixed with pumice stones, so that its level had risen, and if he had stayed in the room any longer he would never have got out. He was wakened, came out and joined Pomponianus and the rest of the household who had sat up all night.
They debated whether to stay indoors or take their chance in the open, for the buildings were now shaking with violent shocks, and seemed to be swaying to and fro as if they were torn from their foundations. Outside, on the other hand, there was the danger of failing pumice stones, even though these were light and porous; however, after comparing the risks they chose the latter.
In my uncle's case one reason outweighed the other, but for the others it was a choice of fears. As a protection against falling objects they put pillows on their heads tied down with cloths. Elsewhere there was daylight by this time, but they were still in darkness, blacker and denser than any ordinary night, which they relieved by lighting torches and various kinds of lamp. My uncle decided to go down to the shore and investigate on the spot the possibility of any escape by sea, but he found the waves still wild and dangerous.
Pliny the Elder (and the Younger)
A sheet was spread on the ground for him to lie down, and he repeatedly asked for cold water to drink. Pliny the Younger confirms  that he was a trustee for the largess "of my ancestors". It seems unknown to Pliny the Elder, so Valens' mother was probably not his sister Plinia; perhaps Valens was Lutulla's son from an earlier relationship.
Letters survive in which Pliny recorded this last marriage taking place, his attachment to Calpurnia, and his sadness when she miscarried their child. His career began at the age of 18 and initially followed a normal equestrian route. But, unlike most equestrians, he achieved entry into the upper order by being elected Quaestor in his late twenties.General History - Mount Vesuvius - Gaius Plinius Secundus - Death Of Plivi Teh Elder - Lecture 23
Pliny was active in the Roman legal system, especially in the sphere of the Roman centumviral courtwhich dealt with inheritance cases.
Later, he was a well-known prosecutor and defender at the trials of a series of provincial governors, including Baebius Massagovernor of Baetica ; Marius Priscusgovernor of Africa ; Gaius Caecilius Classicusgovernor of Baetica ; and most ironically in light of his later appointment to this province, Gaius Julius Bassus and Varenus Rufusboth governors of Bithynia and Pontus. Like Pliny, he had come from the equestrian class, rising through the ranks of the army and public offices and defeating the other contenders for the highest office.
His main tasks were to re-establish peace under imperial control and to place the economy on a sound footing. He needed in his administration all the loyalty and assistance he could find. Pliny, apparently trusted without question, perhaps reading between the lines recommended by Vespasian's son Titus, was put to work immediately and was kept in a continuous succession of the most distinguished procuratorships, according to Suetonius.
The empire was perpetually short of, and was always seeking, office holders for its numerous offices. Throughout the latter stages of Pliny's life, he maintained good relations with Emperor Vespasian. As is written in the first line of Pliny the Younger's avunculus meus: Ante lucem ibat ad Vespasianum imperatorem nam ille quoque noctibus utebaturdeinde ad officium sibi delegatum "Before dawn he was going to the Emperor Vespasian for he also made use of the nightthen he did the other duties assigned to him".
- Close Reading questions for Pliny`s letters to Tacitus about the
- Pliny the Elder
- Pliny the Younger
In this passage, Pliny the Younger conveys to Tacitus that his uncle was ever the academic, always working. The word ibat imperfect, "he used to go" gives a sense of repeated or customary action. In the subsequent text, he mentions again how most of his uncle's day was spent working, reading, and writing. He notes that Pliny "was indeed a very ready sleeper, sometimes dropping off in the middle of his studies and then waking up again.
However, two does not satisfy Suetonius' description of a continuous succession. He seems to have a "familiarity with the provincia", which, however, might otherwise be explained. The procuratorship of Hispania Tarraconensis was next. A statement by Pliny the Younger that his uncle was offeredsesterces for his manuscripts by Larcius Licinius while he Pliny the Elder was procurator of Hispania makes it the most certain of the three.
He stops short of mentioning them all for fear of "wearying the reader". The capital of the province was Augusta Treverorum Triernamed for the Treveri surrounding it. Pliny says that in "the year but one before this" a severe winter killed the first crops planted by the Treviri; they sowed again in March and had "a most abundant harvest.
Using 77 as the date of composition Syme  arrives at AD as the date of the procuratorship, when Pliny is presumed to have witnessed these events. The argument is based entirely on presumptions; nevertheless, this date is required to achieve Suetonius' continuity of procuratorships, if the one in Gallia Belgica occurred.
THE TWO LETTERS WRITTEN BY PLINY THE YOUNGER ABOUT THE ERUPTION OF VESUVIUS IN 79 A.D.
Pliny was allowed home Rome at some time in AD 75— He was presumably at home for the first official release of Natural History in Whether he was in Rome for the dedication of Vespasian's Temple of Peace in the Forum in 75, which was in essence a museum for display of art works plundered by Nero and formerly adorning the Domus Aurea, is uncertain, as is his possible command of the vigiles night watchmena lesser post.
No actual post is discernible for this period. On the bare circumstances, he was an official agent of the emperor in a quasiprivate capacity. Perhaps he was between posts. In any case, his appointment as prefect of the fleet at Misenum took him there, where he resided with his sister and nephew. Vespasian died of disease on June 23, Pliny outlived him by two months. Noted author[ edit ] During Nero's reign of terror, Pliny avoided working on any writing that would attract attention to himself.
His works on oratory in the last years of Nero's reign 67, 68 focused on form rather than on content. He began working on content again probably after Vespasian's rule began in AD 69, when the terror clearly was over and would not be resumed. It was to some degree reinstituted and later cancelled by his son Titus when Vespasian suppressed the philosophers at Rome, but not Pliny, who was not among them, representing, as he says, something new in Rome, an encyclopedist certainly, a venerable tradition outside Italy.
In his next work, he "completed the history which Aufidius Bassus left unfinished, and He had begun his history with some unknown date, certainly before the death of Cicero,  so probably the Civil Wars or the death of Julius Caesarending with the reign of Tiberius. It was cut short when Bassus died slowly of a lingering disease, with such spirit and objectivity that Seneca remarked that Bassus seemed to treat it as someone else's dying.
Pliny's continuation of Bassus's History was one of the authorities followed by Suetonius and Plutarch.
Pliny the Elder (and the Younger), Italy
He is mentioned concerning the loyalty of Burruscommander of the Praetorian Guardwhom Nero removed for disloyalty. Pliny seems to have known it was going to be controversial, as he deliberately reserved it for publication after his death: By this means I confer an obligation on those who occupy the same ground with myself; and also on posterity, who, I am aware, will contend with me, as I have done with my predecessors.
Natural History Pliny Pliny's last work, according to his nephew, was the Naturalis Historia literally "Natural History"an encyclopedia into which he collected much of the knowledge of his time. His sources were personal experience, his own prior works such as the work on Germanyand extracts from other works.
These extracts were collected in the following manner: One servant would read aloud, and another would write the extract as dictated by Pliny. He is said to have dictated extracts while taking a bath. In winter, he furnished the copier with gloves and long sleeves so his writing hand would not stiffen with cold Pliny the Younger in avunculus meus. His extract collection finally reached about volumes, which Larcius Licinius, the Praetorian legate of Hispania Tarraconensis, vainly offered to purchase forsesterces.
Pliny bequeathed the extracts to his nephew. When composition of the Natural History began is unknown. Since he was preoccupied with his other works under Nero and then had to finish the history of his times, he is unlikely to have begun before The procuratorships offered the ideal opportunity for an encyclopedic frame of mind.
The date of an overall composition cannot be assigned to any one year. The dates of different parts must be determined, if they can, by philological analysis the post mortem of the scholars. Laocoon and his Sonsa sculpture admired by Pliny The closest known event to a single publication date, that is, when the manuscript was probably released to the public for borrowing and copying, and was probably sent to the Flavians, is the date of the Dedication in the first of the 37 books.