The Letters of Pliny Essay

The Letters of Pliny Essay

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The Letters of Pliny entail of letters written back and forth from the governor; Pliny and the Emperor Trajan. The letters portray the responsibilities of a Roman governor of a province in ancient times. Responsibilities of a governor included matters such as; public defense, construction, celebrations, citizenship, and basic law enforcement. Letters 30, 31, 42, and 43 all discuss public safety. Letters 30 and 31 describe how to deal with guarding the prisons of several cities, the question comes up as to whether Pliny should employ a party of soldiers or just to use public slave as sentries. However, Trajan cleared up the issue by stating that public slaves should be used, Trajan goes on further and states; "...And the fidelity with which they shall execute their duty will depend much upon your care and strict discipline" (31). Letters 42 and 43 discuss the matter of extinguishing fires and whether or not to have a brigade of people specifically for that purpose. Letters 34, 35, 46, 47, 75, and 76 all refer to construction, four of which refer solely to one building project. Letters 34, 35, 75, and 76 illustrate the procedures for building a public bath from gaining the emperor's approval to finding a proper building site; all is left up to the governor; "This new erection I purpose dedicating to you...I have sent you a copy of the will...I will, however, make the strictest enquiry after them that I am able" (75). Letters 46 and 47 discuss finishing an aqueduct that was left unfinished and allowed to fall into a state of ruin. The emperor ordered Pliny to discover why such funds had been thrown away and whether or not the money had been taken for private purposes. Letters 44 and 45 describe the citizens of Rome renewing annual vo...


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... Trajan was a codependent one, a worker and his supervisor. I am not shocked by Emperor Trajan's orders to kill Christians, however I do believe they were unnecessary and sadistic spurred from sheer trepidation of losing control of those he ruled. However, I am surprised that Trajan told Pliny not to seek them out or to bring anonymously posted allegations into the prosecutions. Nonetheless, Trajan's actions towards the Christians were unjust and immoral, no matter how accurate his fear might have been.




Works Cited

Pliny, Secundus. "Correspondence of Pliny and Trajan." Letter to Emperor Trajan. ad 111-113. Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. .

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morals. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1887. Print.

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