The Letters of the Younger Pliny
by Pliny the Younger , Late Betty Radice
Editor: Penguin Books Ltd
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Offering a series of beautiful views of Imperial Rome, Les Lettres de Pline le Jeune also offer full self-portraits of surviving from the classical eraThis Penguin Classics edition is translated with an introduction by Betty RadiceA prominent lawyer and administrator, Pliny was also prolific letter-writer, who counted among his correspondents such prominent figures as Tacitus, Suetonius and Emperor Trajan, as well as a large circle of friends and familyHis lively and very personal letters address an astonishing range of subjects, from a moving account of his uncle’s death in the eruption which engulfed Pompeii, to observations on the early Christians -‘a desperate sort of cult carried by the extravagant lengths’ – from descriptions of daily life in Rome, with its scandals and court affairs, to Pliny’s life in the landBetty Radice’s final edition was the first complete modern translation of Pliny’s lettersIn her introduction, she examines the evil, tolerant and sometimes pompous man who emerges from these lettersGaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (c61-113), better known as Pliny the Younger, and nephew of Pliny the Elder, was born in Como, ItalyThe beginning of his career at the helm when he was eighteen years old, Pliny managed to emerge unscathed from Domitian’s “reign of terror” even while being appointed a treasury official103 he received the priesthood, in recognition of his outstanding public service, and distinguished himself in several major pursuitsHis nine books of personal letters were selected by Pliny himself and published during his lifetime, while his official correspondence with Trajan was published as his tenth book, after his death, and contains a famous exchange of letters on the early ChristiansIf you liked Les Lettres de Pline le Jeune, you could, like Tacitus’ Les Annales de la Rome Impériale, also available in Penguin Classics
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