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Pliny (2) the Younger, 61/62–c. 112 CE  

Christopher Whitton

Pliny the Younger is the best-documented private individual of the early Roman principate, and one of the most accomplished writers of Latin prose. Nephew of Pliny the Elder, he rose from provincial equestrian origins to serve as suffect consul in 100 ce and governor of Pontus-Bithynia in c. 110–112. His nine-book Epistles is an innovative collection of purportedly authentic letters, crafted into a literary work of minute artistry. It sketches a fragmented portrait of Trajanic elite society, with Pliny as the exemplary individual at its centre. Among its varied contents are eleven letters to Tacitus, including celebrated narratives of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, several accounts of senatorial trials, and fulsome descriptions of two villas belonging to Pliny. The Panegyricus, the only extant Latin speech from the two hundred years following the death of Cicero, is a founding example of imperial encomium, praising Trajan and vilifying Domitian. The book of letters to and from Trajan known as Epistles 10 bears unique witness to Roman provincial governance, and to early Roman views of Christianity.


Pompeius Trogus  

Alexander Hugh McDonald and Antony Spawforth

Trogus Pompeius, a Romanized Vocontian from Gallia Narbonensis (see gaul (transalpine)), author of zoological, and perhaps botanical works, now lost, and the Philippic Histories (Historiae Philippicae), usually dated to the reign of *Augustus and known only through the *epitome of *Justin and the tables of contents (prologi). Beginning with the ancient Near East and Greece (bks. 1–6), he covered Macedon (bks. 7–12) and the Hellenistic kingdoms to their fall before Rome (bks. 13–40); books 41–2 contained Parthian history to 20 bce, books 43–4 the regal period of Rome, and Gallic and Spanish history to Augustus' Spanish wars. His sources continue to be debated. Although heavy or even exclusive reliance on *Timagenes of Alexandria is now thought unlikely, he may have used extensively the Histories of *Posidonius (2), perhaps through an intermediary source.


Pompeius Lenaeus  

John Wight Duff

Pompeius Lenaeus, a learned *freedman of *Pompey, taught in Rome and, loyal to his patron's memory, attacked the character and style of *Sallust who had described Pompey as ‘honest on the surface, but in fact without shame’ (Suet.Gram. 15). At Pompey's request he made a Latin translation of the writings of *Mithradates VI on *pharmacology, according to *Pliny (1) (HN 25.


Pomponius Atticus, Titus, b. 110 BCE  

Ernst Badian

Titus Pomponius Atticus, b. 110 bce as the son of a cultured eques of a family claiming descent from *Numa Pompilius, was later adopted by a rich uncle (Q. Caecilius), whose wealth he inherited. He was a friend of *Cicero from boyhood (Cicero's brother Quintus married Atticus' sister), and Cicero's Letters to Atticus, probably published in the reign of *Nero (though parts were known to some before), are the best source for his character, supplemented by an encomiastic biographical sketch by his friend Nepos (see cornelius nepos). In 85 Atticus left Italy after selling his assets there, in order to escape the civil disturbances he foresaw. He lived in Athens until the mid-60s (hence his cognomen), among other things studying Epicurean philosophy (see epicurus), to which however he never wholly committed himself. Henceforth he combined a life of cultured ease (otium) with immense success in various business activities and an infallible instinct for survival.


Pomponius Secundus, Publius [?Calv]isius Sabinus  

John Wight Duff and Barbara Levick

Publius [?Calv]isius Sabinus Pomponius Secundus (Quint.Inst. 8. 3. 31; 10. 1. 98), was *suffect consul 44 ce after governing *Crete and *Cyrene. Endangered by prosecution in 31, he survived (Tac.Ann. 5. 8). He was uterine brother of Caesonia, *Gaius (1)'s wife. His brother Quintus (suffect consul ce 41), who favoured the restoration of the republic after Gaius' death, perished as an accomplice of L. *Arruntius Camillus Scribonianus in 42. *Pliny (1) the Elder, who saw the handwriting of the *Gracchi in his possession (HN 13. 83), wrote his biography (Pliny, Ep. 3. 5), calling him ‘consular poet’ and ‘bard and most distinguished citizen’ (HN 7. 80; 13. 83). He wrote Aeneas, a praetexta (see fabula). In 47 his verses on the stage drew insults from the crowd (Tac.Ann. 11. 13). Legate (see legati) of Upper Germany (see germania), he checked the *Chatti in 50, winning triumphal ornaments (see ornamenta)—to be rated less highly than his literary achievement (ibid.


Res gestae  

Nicholas Purcell

Res gestae (of *Augustus). Augustus left four documents with the Vestal Virgins (see vesta) to be read, after his death, in the senate (Suet. Aug.101). One of these was a record of his achievements (Index rerum a se gestarum), in the style of the claims of the triumphatores of the Roman past, which was to be erected on bronze pillars at the entrance of his mausoleum in the *Campus Martius at Rome. This is known to us from a copy, updated after Augustus' death, which was piously affixed (with a Greek translation) to the antae of the front of the cella of the temple of Rome and Augustus at *Ancyra, capital of *Galatia and therefore centre of the imperial cult of the province. Small fragments of other copies have been found at *Apollonia and *Antioch (2) in Pisidia (also in the province of Galatia); it is likely but not established that copies were widely set up in the provinces.


Sempronius Asellio, Roman historian and military tribune  

Christopher Pelling

Roman historian and military tribune at *Numantia in 134–3 bce. He wrote a history (res gestae) of his own time. In the proem he distinguished his work from annals: he would not just list events, but explain motives and reasons (this may reflect the influence of *Polybius (1)): that was the way to inspire virtue and patriotism. His work perhaps began in 146 (possibly continuing Polybius); it covered the year 137 in bk. 4, Ti. *Sempronius Gracchus (3)'s death in bk. 5, and M. *Livius Drusus (2)'s death (91 bce) in bk 14. *Cicero thought it artistically retrograde (Leg. 1. 6).


Severus, Sulpicius  

Arnaldo Momigliano and Antony Spawforth

Latin historian who was born in Aquitania c. ce360. A member of a prominent family, he studied law in Bordeaux and became a convert to Christianity c.389 together with his friend *Paulinus of Nola. After the death of his aristocratic wife, he organized under the influence of Bishop Martin of Tours a sort of monastic life on his own estates for himself and his friends. In old age he seems to have passed through a period of Pelagianism (see pelagius). He died c.ce 420. Gennadius wrote a brief biography of him (Viris illustribus 19), and we have also thirteen letters to him by Paulinus. His extant works are: (1) a life of (Saint) Martin of Tours which is an apology for *asceticism and is supplemented by three letters on Martin's miracles and death and by a dialogue which compares Martin's feats with those of the Egyptian hermits;(2) a universal chronicle to ce 400 which is an important source for the history of 4th-cent.


Suetonius, Roman biographer, b. c. 70 CE  

Keith Bradley

Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus) was the son of the equestrian (see equites, Imperial period) Suetonius Laetus, tribune (see tribuni militum) of Legio XIII (see legion) at *Bedriacum in 69 ce, and originated perhaps from Pisaurum in Umbria or (see umbrians), more likely, *Hippo Regius (mod. Bône) in Numidia. From the correspondence of the younger *Pliny (2), he appears already to have attracted attention in Rome as an author and scholar by c. 97 ce, and also to have gained experience in advocacy. Perhaps intending to pursue the equestrian cursus, he secured through Pliny's patronage a military tribunate in Britain c.102, which in the event he declined to hold; c. 110 ce, however, he probably travelled with Pliny to *Bithynia as a member of the provincial governor's retinue, gaining soon after, again through Pliny's intercession, the ius trium liberorum (see ius liberorum).


Tacitus (1), Roman historian  

Ellen O'Gorman

Cornelius Tacitus, Roman historian, orator, and politician. His dates are usually assumed to be 56–120 ce and he is likely to have come from Narbonese Gaul. He was politically active from the reign of Vespasian to that of Trajan or Hadrian and was consul in 97 ce and proconsular governor of Asia in 112 ce. In the reigns of Nerva and Trajan he turned to historical writing, producing three short works (a biography, an ethnography, and a dialogue on oratory) and two long histories. The biography of his father-in-law Agricola (Agricola) includes extensive discussion of the province of Britain and Agricola’s campaigns there in 77–84 ce. The ethnography (Germania) focuses on Germany and the dialogue (Dialogus) investigates how oratory has changed in the Principate. The first of the longer works (Histories) starts with the civil war of 69 ce and treats the three emperors of the Flavian dynasty, probably ending with Domitian’s assassination in 96 ce.


Timagenes, of Alexandria (1), Greek rhetor and historian  

Livia Capponi

Timagenes of Alexandria (1), according to Suda the son of a royal banker (βασιλικοῦ ἀργυραμοιβοῦ υἱός), was a Greek rhetor and historian, who came to Rome as a captive in 55 bce with Gabinius(2) and was ransomed and subsequently set free by Sulla’s son Faustus Cornelius Sulla (FGrH 88 T1).1 He lived and worked in Rome, and is mentioned alongside Caecilius (1) of Caleacte and Craton as a distinguished rhetor (T 1 and 2). Initially a favourite of the Emperor Augustus, he later incurred the princeps’ displeasure by his “reckless wit” (temeraria urbanitas) and went to live at the house of C. Asinius Pollio, where he enjoyed continuing popularity (T 2 and 3). “He wrote many books” (T 1), but all that is extant is the title of On Kings (peri basileōn), an attempt at writing a universal history of foreign kings from the earliest times to Augustus. Two historical fragments on papyri of the Roman period, respectively, P.


Velleius Paterculus, Roman historical writer  

A. J. Woodman

Velleius Paterculus, Roman historical writer, provides details of himself in his work. Among his maternal ancestors were Minatus Magius of Aeclanum and Decius Magius of Capua (2. 16. 2–3); his paternal grandfather was C. Velleius, praefectus fabrum (see praefectus) to *Pompey, *Brutus, and Ti. *Claudius Nero, father of the emperor *Tiberius (2. 76. 1); the senator Capito, who helped to prosecute the Caesaricide *Cassius in 43 bce, was a paternal uncle (2. 69. 5). Velleius himself was born in (probably) 20 or 19 bce. Having begun his career as military tribune around the turn of the millennium (2. 101. 3), he joined the staff of C. *Iulius Caesar (3) in the east (2. 101–102. 1); later he became praefectus equitum (see praefectus), as his father had been, and spent ce 4–12 serving under the future emperor Tiberius in Germany (twice; see germania), *Pannonia, and *Dalmatia (2.