Monday, 23 May 2016

Pliny - Selected Letters


I have managed to get hold of a Loeb edition of Pliny’s Letters translated by William Melmoth (revised by W.M.L. Hutchinson) LOEB, Harvard University Press in two volumes, 1953, so I will be using this version to refer to the following suggested selection of letters for us to focus on when we meet again in June.
I must add a note of caution here since I have immediately noticed (as perhaps you have too!) that the numbering of the letters can vary depending on the version you are reading. The Loeb version I have divides the letters into ten books (I-X) over two volumes and I will refer to the letter by its book number first, followed by its individual letter number (both in Roman numerals) and finally as an aid to those reading from different hymnals as it were, the name of the addresses and my own brief descriptive docket title.
I have tried to make a selection based on the more general interest letters that give us a glimpse into the personal life of Pliny, his leisure pursuits, friends and descriptions of remarkable events that happened to catch his attention.

Here then is a draft list of the letters which I think we could take a closer look at. I will give the book number followed by the letter number, addressee and a very brief docket description to aid location. Please let me know if you have any suggestions either way (subtraction or addition!).

Book 1/3 To Caninnus Rufus. Retreat to the country and leisure studies
Book 1/9 To Minucius Fundaminus. Books v trifling work duties
Book 2/6 To Avitus. The treatment of dinner guests.
Book 2/17 To Gallus. My Laurens  Villa.
Book 6/16 and 20. To Tacitus. The Eruption of Vesuvius
Book 7/27 To Sura. Ghosts and the supernatural.
Book 8/19 To Maximus ' Et gaudium mihi et solacium in litteris nihilque tam laetum, quid his laetius, tam triste, quid non per has sit minus triste. The overlooked wonders on your doorstep.
Book 9/33 To Caninnus. Miraculous dolphin.
Book 10/33 Fire in Nicomedia.
Book 10/96 To Trajan. Dealing with Christians