Tuesday, January 26, 2021

"I Love Her As My Own..." Pliny the Younger Ep. 6.32 And Roman Masculinity

Roman men could form loving, parental bonds with their friends' children.


1 Quamvis et ipse sis continentissimus, et filiam tuam ita institueris ut decebat tuam filiam, Tutili neptem, cum tamen sit nuptura honestissimo viro Nonio Celeri, cui ratio civilium officiorum necessitatem quandam nitoris imponit, debet secundum condicionem mariti <uti> veste comitatu, quibus non quidem augetur dignitas, ornatur tamen et instruitur. 2 Te porro animo beatissimum, modicum facultatibus scio. Itaque partem oneris tui mihi vindico, et tamquam parens alter puellae nostrae confero quinquaginta milia nummum plus collaturus, nisi a verecundia tua sola mediocritate munusculi impetrari posse confiderem, ne recusares. Vale.   

--Pliny the Younger, Letters 6.32

From: Pliny 

To: My Dear Quintilianus 


(1) Although you are very fiscally responsible, and you have raised your daughter to act according to her station as child of yours and as the granddaughter of Tutilius, the fact of the matter is that she is going to marry Nonius Celer, a very socially prominent man who requires a certain elevated lifestyle because of his political obligations. Your daughter therefore ought to have lifestyle fitting for a husband of such stature—including clothes and servants. These will not increase her social standing, but they will reveal it and enhance it.  

I know that although you are blessed in spirit, you are not blessed in funds. Therefore, I will take it upon myself to provide part of the financial burden, and give “our” girl with $500,000 (for I feel I am like another parent to her). I give such a paltry sum knowing that your pride would not hinder you from accepting it. Take care.   



Name: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus  

Date:  61 BCE – 113 CE

Works:  Letters



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Pliny the Younger was an Italian born noble and nephew of the famous natural historian Pliny the Elder. He is best known for publishing his private correspondence, in which he flouts his connections with other illustrious Romans (including the Emperor Trajan and the author Tacitus). Two of the most famous examples of these are his “eyewitness” account of the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE and his letter to the emperor Trajan regarding the treatment of Christians.


Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

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