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January 2017

Pliny the Younger: Letters

The Letters (Latin: Epistulae) of Pliny the Younger (61-c.113 CE) stand alongside those of Cicero as one of the most intimate records left to us by any individual from the ancient world, although the fact that Pliny published them during his lifetime should give us pause about how candid a picture they really present.

Pliny was a politically active member of the equestrian order, who rose to become governor of Bithynia under Trajan. His correspondence with the Emperor famously illustrates the centralisation of Roman administration with advice sought and given on matters great and small. This includes a discussion of how to deal with the rising sect of Christianity, an important piece of evidence on the early history of the Church.

The Letters also shed light on Pliny's role in the leading literary circles in the time. A number of them show Pliny in the role of patron to Suetonius, who may have served on his staff in Bithynia. It was in a letter to another historian, Tacitus, that Pliny recounted the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, the author of the Natural History, while attempting to investigate the eruption of Vesuvius.

The Letters of Pliny the Younger at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Letters of Pliny

Glossa.dk: C. Plinii Caecilii Secundi epistulae. Latin text, html format.

Internet Classics Archive/Internet Archive: Pliny's Epistles In Ten Books, translated 1723. HTML format.

Latin Library: Epistularum Libri Decem. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L055 - Pliny the Younger -- Letters I: Books 1-7. Also available at the Internet Archive.
Loebulus. L059 - Pliny the Younger -- Letters II: Books 7-10. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Letters. Latin text, html and xml formats.

Pomona.edu (Trevor Chinn): Letters Books 1-5 (complete), Letters Books 6-9 (excerpts) and Book 10 (complete). English text, HTML format.

Wikisource: Epistularum Libri Decem, Latin text, HTML and other formats. Letter II, IX. Latin and English text, HTML and other formats.

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Cicero: Philippics

La_Mort_de_Cicéron_-_François_Perrier_-_Bad_HomburgThe Philippics (Latin: Philippicae) are a series of speeches delivered by Cicero in 44-43 BCE attacking Mark Anthony. Their name reflects the fact that they were modelled on speeches of the great Athenian orator Demosthenes against King Philip of Macedon in the 4th Century BCE.

The Philippics were delivered in the period following the assassination of Julius Caesar, when Cicero emerged as a leader of the senatorial party, despite his exclusion from the assassination plot itself. Several of the speeches sought to exploit the emergence of Octavian as a potential rival to Mark Anthony for leadership of the Caesarian party. However, after Octavian and Mark Anthony formed the second triumvirate, Anthony insisted on Cicero's inclusion in the  proscriptions being drawn up against their political opponents. When Cicero was caught and executed, Anthony notoriously ordered the hands that wrote the Philippics cut off.

The Philippics at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Philippics, translated by Walter Ker. Multiple formats, Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Latin Library: Philippicae. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L189 - Cicero - Philippics. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: The fourteen orations against Marcus Antonius (Philippics), translated by C. D. Yonge (1903). HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: In M. Antonium Philippicae. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Philippics - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Cicero - Philippicae.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Cicero on Rhetoric

Orator - Brutus - On the Orator.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Mommsen: The History of Rome

The History of Rome (German: Römische Geschichte) by Theodor Mommsen is one of the most important works of nineteenth century classical scholarship. Mommsen moved beyond the criticism of literary sources pioneered by Niebuhr, rejecting much of the traditional narrative of Rome's foundation as mythical, and introducing other forms of evidence such as inscriptions painstakingly collected from around the former Roman world. Still occasionally cited today, Mommsen's history combines an extended narrative of Rome's internal and external political development from its earliest years to the reign of Augustus, with frequent digressions on the culture and society of the republic and its neighbours. 

E.H. Carr conjectured that Mommsen's admiration for Caesar reflected his frustration with the failure of the revolution of 1848 in Germany. It may be that very sense of involvement that brings this work to life.

The History of Rome at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

ClassicLiterature.co.uk: History of Rome. English text, HTML format.

Gutenberg: The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5). English text, Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The History of Rome, translated by W.P Dickson - Vol I - Vol II - Vol III - Vol IV - Vol V. English text, multiple formats.

Wikisource: The History of Rome (Mommsen). English text, HTML format. Currently first few chapters only.

Zeno.org: Römische Geschichte. German text, html format.

Other Resources

Librivox: Römische Geschichte. German language audiobook.

Wikipedia: Theodor Mommsen - History of Rome (Mommsen).

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Polybius: The Histories

Livy: From the Founding of the City

Butler: Atlas of Ancient Geography.