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The younger, Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, nephew and adopted son of the elder Pliny, born 62 A.D. at Novum Comum. After the early death of his father Caecilius, he was carefully brought up by his mother Plinia, and by his adoptive father. He was trained in rhetoric under Quintilian, and began his public career as an advocate in the nineteenth year of his age. After serving in Syria as military tribune, he devoted himself under Domitian to the service of the State, and became the emperor's qucestor, and also a tribune of the people and praetor (93). Under Trajan, he held the consulship in 100, and about 112 governed the province of Bithynia as imperial legate. He died about 114, very widely respected on account of his mild and benevolent character, his exemplary private life, his ability as an orator, his refined taste, and his services to letters. He was distinguished by the favour of the emperor, and was in friendly intercourse with the most celebrated men of his time, and the representatives of literature. Among his friends appear Quintilian [Ep. ii 14 § 9], Silius Italicus [iii 7], Martial [iii 24, Suetonius [i 8; iii 8; v 10; ix 34], and above all Tacitus [i 6, 20; iv 13; vi 6, 16, 20; vii 20, 33; viii 7; ix 10, 14], to whom he was bound by the most genuine mutual attraction. Of his poems and forensic speeches, which he published himself, nothing has been preserved, with the exception of a panegyric addressed to Trajan, which he pronounced in the Senate in 100 A.D. in order to thank the emperor for the consulship conferred upon him. This he afterwards published in a revised form. It is composed in an affected and artificial style, and is full of the most exaggerated pieces of flattery addressed to the emperor; it served as a pattern for the later panegyrists. Besides this, we possess a collection of letters in nine books, dating from the years 97-108, edited by himself. To this collection there is added a tenth book, consisting of the official correspondence between him and Trajan, belonging chiefly to the time of his Bithynian governorship, published, we may presume, after his death. [The best known letters in this book are that on the punishment of the Christians No. 97, and the emperor's reply, No. 98.] His letters, in which he happily imitates Cicero, give a clear picture of his own personality, his studies, and his intercourse with his friends, as well as of the public, social, and literary life of his time, and are therefore valuable as authorities for the history of the same.
Type: Standard
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