Pliny the Elder
1st-century Roman military commander and writer / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/24 – AD 79), called Pliny the Elder (/ˈplɪni/), was a Roman author, naturalist, natural philosopher, and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of the emperor Vespasian. He wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia (Natural History), which became an editorial model for encyclopedias. He spent most of his spare time studying, writing, and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field.
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus
|Born||AD 23 or 24|
Novum Comum (Como), Roman Italy, Roman Empire
|Died||AD 79 (aged 55)|
Stabiae, Roman Italy, Roman Empire
|Occupation(s)||Lawyer, author, natural philosopher, historian, naturalist, military commander, provincial governor|
|Notable work||Naturalis Historia|
|Children||Pliny the Younger (nephew, later adopted son)|
|Parent(s)||Gaius Plinius Celer and Marcella|
His nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus:
For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading; above measure blessed are those on whom both gifts have been conferred. In the latter number will be my uncle, by virtue of his own and of your compositions.
Among Pliny's greatest works was the twenty-volume work Bella Germaniae ("The History of the German Wars"), which is no longer extant. Bella Germaniae, which began where Aufidius Bassus' Libri Belli Germanici ("The War with the Germans") left off, was used as a source by other prominent Roman historians, including Plutarch, Tacitus and Suetonius. Tacitus may have used Bella Germaniae as the primary source for his work, De origine et situ Germanorum ("On the Origin and Situation of the Germans").
Pliny the Elder died in AD 79 in Stabiae while attempting the rescue of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.