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Lives of Illustrious Men

Vita plinii secundi

Plinius Secundus Novocomensis equestribus militiis industrie functus procurationes quoque splendidissimas et continuas summa integritate administravit, et tamen liberalibus studiis tantam operam dedit, ut non temere quis plura in otio scripserit. Itaque bella omnia, quae unquam90 cum Germanis gesta sunt, XX91 voluminibus comprehendit, itemque “Naturalis Historiae” XXXVII libros absolvit. Periit clade92 Campaniae; cum enim Misenensi classi praeesset et flagrante Vesuvio ad explorandas propius causas liburnica93 pertendisset,94 nec adversantibus ventis remeare posset, vi pulveris ac favillae oppressus est, vel ut quidam existimant a servo suo occisus, quem aestu deficiens ut necem sibi maturaret oraverat.95

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Pliny The elder

The Life of Pliny The Elder

Plinius Secundus of Novum Comum, after performing with energy the military service required of members of the equestrian order, administered several important stewardships in succession with the utmost justice. Yet he gave so much attention to liberal studies that hardly anyone who had complete leisure wrote more than he. For instance, he gave an account in twenty volumes of all the wars which were ever carried on with Germany, besides completing the thirty-seven books of his “Natural History.” He lost his life58 in the disaster in Campania. He was commanding the fleet at Misenum, and setting out in a Liburnian galley59 during the eruption of Vesuvius to investigate the causes of the phenomenon from nearer at hand, he was unable to return because of head winds. He was suffocated by the shower of dust and ashes, although some think that he was killed by a slave, whom he begged to hasten his end when he was overcome by the intense heat.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.suetonius-lives_illustrious_men_pliny_elder.1914