dinsdag 1 december 2009

Pliny the Younger

C.Plinius L.f.Ouf. Caecilius Secundus, born in Comum (Como, Italy) in A.D. 61 or 62, was the son of L.Caecilius C.f.Secundus, praefectus fabrum, and of a Plinia.

Plinius, better known as Pliny the Younger, was the adoptive-son of C.Plinius, praefectus classis, uncle on his mother’s side.

His father died at an early age before A.D.76; Pliny the Elder, writer of the encyclopaedical Naturalis Historia, helped raise and educate him and they were both witnesses to the eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79, the day of the elder's death.

After the death of Pliny the Elder the famous L.Verginius Rufus, of Mediolanum (Milan), consul III in 97, who had suppressed the revolt of Julius Vindex and refused the Imperial power, was appointed as guardian to Pliny the Younger, helped by two more consulars, Julius Frontinus, curator aquarum, and Corellius Rufus, cossuff.78, all family friends.

His career is rather normal:
Decemvir stlitibus iudicandis (presiding in the Centumviral Court, where he was to spend a great part of his public life)
Early in Domitian’s reign (82/83) he served as tribunus militum in the legion III Gallica in Syria under the leg. Aug. T.Atilius Rufus.
Quaestor Augusti 87 (89?) (these were regularly chosen (elected without contest) from the candidati Caesaris)
Tribunus plebis 91. Praetor 93 (in this year he first took part in a public prosecution, acting with Herennius Senecio for the people of Baetica when they successfully accused Baebius Massa of extortion)
Praefectus aerarium militare ca. 94-96.
Praef. aerarium Saturni 97-99 (the Chest and Record Office of the senatorial administration, appointed before the death of Nerva, and was continued in office by Trajan)
Consulsuffectus Sept.- Oct.100. Augur 103 or 104 (instead of Julius Frontinus;
Plinius was already flamen divi Titi at Vercellae)
Curator alvei Tiberis et riparum et cloacarum urbis 104-106 ? (consular curator of the Tiber banks and the city sewers)
Legatus Augusti pro praetore consulari potestate Bithynia and Pontus from Sept.110 or 111 till Febr. 112 or 113.
(Title is sign of transition from senatorial to imperial rule)

His first wife is unknown.
His second marriage was to the daughter of Pompeia Celerina (Celerina’s husband is unknown; Celerina – to whom Pliny gave his house in Alsium left to him by Verginius Rufus - was the daughter of L.Pompeius Vopiscus C.Catellius Celer, cossuff. 77)

Plinius wife died in 96 or 97.

Married 3. in ca.100-102 with Calpurnia, daughter of Calpurnius, son of L. Calpurnius Fabatus. eques from Comum, who had also a daughter, Calpurnia Hispulla, aunt of Plinius’ third wife.

Plinius is known for his hundreds of surviving letters which, carefully composed and arranged in a non chronological order as they are, miss the spontanious outspokenness of Cicero’s letters, but they are an invaluable historical source for the period. The first nine books contain 247 personal letters, the tenth book his official correspondence with Trajan (or his ab epistulis) from Bithynia. Also preserved is his Panegyricus, an in accordance with tradition thanksgiving and praising of Trajan for granting him the consulship.

Plinius was the somewhat condescending benefactor of the historian Suetonius for whom he arranged a small estate at a reasonable price.

Pliny the Younger probably died in A.D.112 or 113 in Bithynia, being the time that his correspondence with the Emperor Trajan suddenly stopped.

Tacitus, Rome’s greatest historian, spoke an eulogy on the occasion of his friends death.

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