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date: 28 November 2020

Pliny (1) the Elderlocked

, 23/24–79 ce
  • Nicholas Purcell

Extract

Gaius Plinius Secundus, prominent Roman equestrian, from Novum *Comum in Gallia Cisalpina (see gaul (cisalpine)), commander of the fleet at *Misenum, and uncle of *Pliny (2) the Younger, best known as the author of the 37-book Naturalis Historia, an encyclopaedia of all contemporary knowledge—animal, vegetable, and mineral—but with much that is human included too: natura, hoc est vita, narratur (‘Nature, which is to say Life, is my subject’, pref. 13).Characteristic of his age and background in his range of interests and diverse career, Pliny obtained an equestrian command through the patronage of Q. Pomponius Secundus (consul 41), and served in Germany, alongside the future emperor *Titus. Active in legal practice in the reign of *Nero, he was then promoted by the favour of the Flavians (and probably the patronage of *Licinius Mucianus, whose works he also often quotes) through a series of high procuratorships (including that of Hispania *Tarraconensis), in which he won a reputation for integrity.

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