Pliny the Younger, Panegyricus

LCL 59: 322-323



11. Bene ac sapienter, patres conscripti, maiores instituerunt ut rerum agendarum ita dicendi initium a precationibus capere, quod nihil rite nihil providenter homines sine deorum immortalium ope consilio2 honore auspicarentur. Qui mos cui potius quam consuli aut quando magis usurpandus colendusque est, quam cum imperio senatus, auctoritate rei publicae ad agendas optimo principi gratias excitamur?3 Quod enim praestabilius est aut pulchrius munus deorum, quam castus et sanctus et dis simillimus4 princeps? Ac si adhuc dubium fuisset, forte casuque rectores terris an aliquo numine darentur, principem tamen nostrum liqueret divinitus constitutum.5 Non enim occulta potestate fatorum, sed ab Iove ipso coram ac palam repertus electus est: quippe inter aras et altaria, eodemque loci quem deus ille tam manifestus ac praesens quam caelum ac6 sidera insedit. Quo magis aptum piumque est te, Iuppiter optime, antea conditorem, nunc conserva­torem



The Panegyricus of Plinius Secundus Delivered to The Emperor Trajan

1. Our ancestors in their wisdom, Conscript Fathers, laid down the excellent rule that a speech no less than a course of action should take its start from prayers: thinking that nothing could be properly and prudently begun by mortal men without the aid and counsel of the immortal gods and the honour due to them. Who should duly observe this custom if not the consul? And what occasion could be more appropriate for doing so than the day when by the Senate’s command we are called on to express thanks in the name of our country to the best of emperors? For what gift of the gods could be greater and more glorious than a prince whose purity and virtue make him their own equal? If it were still in doubt whether the rulers of the earth were given us by the hazards of chance or by some heavenly power, it would be evident that our emperor at least was divinely chosen for his task; for it was no blind act of fate but Jupiter himself who chose and revealed him in the sight and hearing of us all, among the many altars of the Capitol, in the very place where the god makes his presence as clearly felt as in the heavens and stars. Wherefore, mighty Jupiter, once the founder and now the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_younger-panegyricus.1969