Saturday, November 27, 2021

Going Back to School: Roman Masculinity and Fatherhood, Pliny the Younger, Ep. II.18

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


1 Quid a te mihi iucundius potuit iniungi, quam ut praeceptorem fratris tui liberis quaererem? Nam beneficio tuo in scholam redeo, et illam dulcissimam aetatem quasi resumo: sedeo inter iuvenes ut solebam, atque etiam experior quantum apud illos auctoritatis ex studiis habeam. 2 Nam proxime frequenti auditorio inter se coram multis ordinis nostri clare iocabantur; intravi, conticuerunt; quod non referrem, nisi ad illorum magis laudem quam ad meam pertineret, ac nisi sperare te vellem posse fratris tui filios probe discere. 3 Quod superest, cum omnes qui profitentur audiero, quid de quoque sentiam scribam, efficiamque quantum tamen epistula consequi potero, ut ipse omnes audisse videaris. 4 Debeo enim tibi, debeo memoriae fratris tui hanc fidem hoc studium, praesertim super tanta re. Nam quid magis interest vestra, quam ut liberi - dicerem tui, nisi nunc illos magis amares - digni illo patre, te patruo reperiantur? quam curam mihi etiam si non mandasses vindicassem. 5 Nec ignoro suscipiendas offensas in eligendo praeceptore, sed oportet me non modo offensas, verum etiam simultates pro fratris tui filiis tam aequo animo subire quam parentes pro suis. Vale.

--Pliny the Younger, Ep. II.18

To: Mauricus

From: Pliny

What can be a more fun favor for me to do for you, than to find a tutor for your brother’s kids? For now, thanks to you, I can go back to school & return to the best days of my life: I get to sit in on classes with the youngins, as I used to, and I get to experience their respect for me in their studies. (2) Recently, I entered the noisy classroom where they were all chatting amongst each other with their peers, and as soon as I entered the room, they quieted down. I’m only mentioning this to show off their good behavior, not my own, and because I don’t want to you worry about your brother’s kids not getting a good education. (3) I’ll observe the teachers and I’ll tell you what I think about them in a letter that is so detailed that you’ll think you’ve heard them teaching yourself. (4) I’m going to do this with concern and care, because I owe this to you and to the memory of your brother. For what’s more important for these kids—I would say *your* kids, because I know how much you love them as your own—than that they get the education that is worthy of their father, and worthy of you, their uncle? And I’ll do this for you, even if you haven’t asked me to. (5) I know that when I find the perfect tutor for these kids, I’ll make whoever isn’t chosen angry, but I don’t care. Let them be mad. This is for your brother’s kids, and I’ll deal with it calmly as if they were my own.



Name: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus  

Date:  61 BCE – 113 CE

Works:  Letters





 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.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.