Time Spent With the Harvard Classics: Pliny’s Letters

This was to be blogged yesterday.  Unfortunately, sometimes not feeling well gets the better of me.  I chose sleep over blogging.  Okay, truth be told, my body did.  I had duly set an alarm.  Better living through chemicals and a need for sleep prevailed.    Excuses having been rendered and no sympathy expected, here’s an abbreviated post to keep us on track.

We have previously discussed Pliny’s biography.  We have also previously discussed his brilliant letter describing the classic volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the subsequent death of his uncle who found observing this as a matter of science and valiantly rescuing others meant more to him than his own life.  Still holding true to the classic tutorial that ambles through the Harvard classics as a guideline, there is need for an additional posting with respect to further letters from Pliny.

The letters in Book X are those to or from the Emperor Trajan.  They offer unique insight into the machinations of the Roman patronage system and cultural mores of Rome.  An interesting part of these is that there is among the earliest external accounts of Christian worship and the execution of early Christians who died for their faith.  The letter exchange regarding Christians reveals a very harsh set of policies and bare witness to much of what legend had also handed down.  It’s well worth the read particularly in these days when so many are beginning again to judge Christians harshly and for we who are Christian to understand the very essence of what has come before and may yet come again.

Pliny’s letters to the Emperor Trajan may be read beginning here:


Additionally, you may continue listening to these letters read in an audiobook format here:

About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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