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Selected Letters from Pliny the Younger's Epistulae

Commentary by Jacqueline Carlon

Jacqueline Carlon

Publication Date - 09 March 2016

ISBN: 9780199340613

216 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A comprehensive introduction to Pliny the Younger's Epistulae, complete with extensive commentary


This anthology offers a comprehensive introduction to Pliny the Younger's Epistulae for intermediate and advanced Latin students, with the grammatical, lexical, and historical support to enable them to read quickly and fluidly. As the only selection of the letters with extensive commentary, it provides instructors with a unique and complete resource for students.


The Oxford Greek and Latin College Commentaries is designed for students in intermediate or advanced Greek or Latin. Each volume includes a comprehensive introduction. The placement, on the same page, of the ancient text, a running vocabulary, and succinct notes focusing on grammar, syntax, and distinctive features of style provides students with essential learning aids.

Series Editors: Barbara Weiden Boyd, Bowdoin College, Stephen Esposito, Boston University, and Mary Lefkowitz, Wellesley College

Also Available

Ovid: Ars Amatoria, Book 3, Christopher M. Brunelle, St. Olaf College

Forthcoming Latin Volumes

Suetonius's Life of Augustus
Darryl Phillips, Connecticut College

Lucan's De Bello Civile, Book 5
Jonathan Tracy, Massey University, New Zealand


  • Comprehensive commentary makes this volume ideal for use on its own, without supplementary materials
  • Letters on a variety of topics offer insights into the Roman society and culture of Pliny's time
  • Groups of letters with common themes that can be traced throughout enable students to compare letters and consider such things as audience and rhetorical structure
  • Frequent vocabulary appears throughout the volume

About the Author(s)

Jacqueline Carlon is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Classics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is the author of Pliny's Women: Constructing Virtue and Creating Identity in the Roman World (2009).


"Jacqui Carlon's Selected Letters from Pliny the Younger's Epistulae is a welcome addition to the ongoing resurgence in studies on Roman epistolary literature, Pliny especially. Carlon's text is well balanced: the notes are equally attentive to both cultural and grammatical elements. Grammatical and syntactical glosses are meticulously researched and appropriately referenced: Carlon's degree of accuracy in this regard is exceptional. Intermediate students, in particular, will find these explanations clear and helpful. The Introduction is organized and well written, with wide-ranging, accurate, and insightful content. The bibliographic references and suggestions for further reading reflect current scholarship and seminal works that every new Pliny student should read."--Noelle K. Zeiner-Carmichael, College of Charleston

Table of Contents

    Commentary Abbreviations
    Glossary of Rhetorical and Grammatical Terms
    Frequent Vocabulary
    Book I
    I Dedication of the Epistulae
    VI Hunting and more
    IX City life vs. country life
    XIII Promising poets and middling audiences
    XVIII Interpreting ominous dreams
    XXIV A farm for Suetonius
    Book II
    IV Helping a female relative
    VI How to treat dinner guests
    XIII Recommending an old friend
    XVII Pliny's Laurentian Villa
    XX Regulus the legacy hunter
    Book III
    III Recommending a tutor
    VI Dedicating a statue
    XIV Slaves murder their master
    XV Evaluating a friend's poetry
    XXI In tribute to Martial
    Book IV
    II Regulus the contemptible mourner
    VIII Becoming an augur like Cicero
    XI Domitian executes the Vestal Cornelia
    XIX Calpurnia, the ideal wife
    XXIII Proper retirement
    XXV Electoral misbehavior
    Book V
    XVI Minicia Marcella, the ideal betrothed
    XIX Pliny's freedman Zosimus
    Book VI
    IV 1st love letter to Calpurnia
    VII 2nd letter to Calpurnia
    X Disgrace of an unfinished tomb
    XI Praise of Pliny's protégés
    XVI Eruption of Vesuvius and the Elder Pliny
    XX Eruption of Vesuvius and the Younger Pliny
    XXVII How to praise Trajan
    Book VII
    XVIII Creating lasting generosity
    XIX Fannia, the ideal matron
    XXIV Ummidius Quadratus' feisty grandmother
    XXVII Do ghosts exist?
    Book VIII
    XII Literary obligations
    XVI Humane treatment of slaves
    Book IX
    III Pursuing immortal fame
    VI Chariot racing's allure
    XVII To each his own taste
    XIX Quest for immortality
    XXIII Achieving literary fame
    XXXVI A day away from Rome
    XXXIX Rebuilding the Temple of Ceres
    Book X
    XXXIX Shoddy building practices
    XL Trajan responds
    LXV Status of freeborn foundlings
    LXVI Trajan responds
    XCVI How to deal with Christians
    XCVII Trajan responds