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1. Complete Letters (Oxford World's
$24.30
2. The Letters of the Younger Pliny
$9.55
3. Ashen Sky: The Letters of Pliny
$19.20
4. Letters and Panegyricus I, Books
5. The Letters of Pliny the Younger
$9.95
6. A Sixth-Century Fragment of the
$44.97
7. The Anxieties Of Pliny the Younger
$9.41
8. The Blood of Caesar: A Second
$13.26
9. The Letters Of The Younger Pliny
$17.13
10. Fifty Letters of Pliny
$10.00
11. All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case
 
12. Stylistic Theory and Practice
 
$23.54
13. The Letters Of Pliny The Younger:
$19.75
14. Letters of the Younger Pliny,
$13.88
15. The Letters of Pliny the Younger
 
$178.98
16. Onomasticon to the Younger Pliny:
$23.55
17. The letters of the younger Pliny;
$38.64
18. Selected Letters Of The Younger
$20.00
19. A Sixth-Century Fragment of the
 
$24.99
20. The Letters of Pliny the Younger

1. Complete Letters (Oxford World's Classics)
by Pliny the Younger
Paperback: 432 Pages (2009-06-15)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 0199538948
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In these letters to his friends and relations, Pliny the Younger, lawyer, author, and natural philosopher, provides a fascinating insight into Roman life in the period 97 to 112 AD. Part autobiography, part social history, they document the career and interests of a senator and leading imperial official whose friends include the historians Tacitus and Suetonius. Pliny's letters cover a wide range of topics, from the contemporary political scene to domestic affairs, the educational system, the rituals and conduct of Roman religion, the treatment of slaves, and the phenomena of nature. He describes in vivid detail the eruption of Vesuvius, which killed his uncle, and the daily routines of a well-to-do Roman in the courts and at leisure, in the city, or enjoying rural pursuits at his country estates.
This is a lively new translation by eminent scholar Peter Walsh, based on the Oxford Classical Text and drawing on the latest scholarship. In his introduction, Walsh considers the political background of the letters, the span of Pliny's career, the range of topics covered in the letters, and Pliny's literary style. Invaluable notes identify the letters' recipients and explain allusions to historical events and terms. A general index is supplemented by two specific indexes on aspects of social life and Pliny's correspondents. This classic will make great reading for those with an interest in classical literature and ancient history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars How things change
A collection of letters from about 1900 years ago might be dusty, out of date and a mere curiosity, but the letters of Pliny are far from this. I am no latinist and know little of ancient Rome, so it was a delight to find such an approachable translation. The freshness of the letters surprises me. The things that exercised Pliny are very similar to those that concern us now. Political infighting, intrigue, character assassination, banishment and death over those things so familiar to us: theft, nepotism and the kind of cynical respectable corruption where the rich amass more at the expense of the less wealthy. Pliny seems to me to be at his best when he loses his consciousness of self and tells the story of his trials, his successes and his failures. He was clever and conscientious and a Good Man, but what a peacock! Pliny's arch references to his abilities and his sensitivity to the good opinion of others is amusing and more than a little embarrassing. I suppose we all have friends like that whose company we seek out until they speak of themselves.

I was left with the strong impression that life in Ancient Rome was far more like our own than ever I imagined it to be. The details of life were different but the principles were much the same. Romans had the same civic concerns as we do now, but failure then was a more serious business. Exile, confiscation of estates, a requirement to commit suicide and judicial or illegal death were the lot of those who judged it wrong.

Things were different, and I'm glad (and perhaps relieved) that my life is not forfeit should I choose wrong, but these letters give us much insight into a world 1900 years older than their writer. Perhaps Pliny was not outstanding at all of this in Ancient Rome, but he wrote and it is he we know when others are forgotten.

I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in human nature.

3-0 out of 5 stars O fortune, how you sport with us
Pliny's letters give an eminent impression of the life of a wealthy barrister at the end of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd one in the Roman Empire. He was also an honest civil servant of his country.

Pliny was a tolerant (`anyone who hates faults, hates mankind'), honest and loyal man. He loved liberty (which was regained in Rome with Trajan after the harsh dictatorship of Domitian) and profited as much as he could of his wealth, because `nothing is so short and fleeting as the longest of human lives'.
Politically he was a staunch defender of the state religion (he condemned Christians) and an opponent of secret ballot, because it lead to `wanton irresponsibilities'.
His view on mankind was rather pessimistic: `very few people are as scrupulously honest in secret as in public, and many are influenced by public opinion, but scarcely anyone by conscience.'
Also, he saw his country as a state, `which has long offered the same (or even greater) rewards to dishonesty and wickedness as it does to honor and merit, and `the prevailing habits of the day and the laws judge a man's income to be of primary importance.'
He understood the all importance of education.
As a big lover of literature (`no book so bad that some good could not be got out of it') he saw the greatness of his friend Cornelius Tacitus: `I believe that your histories will be immortal.'

Most of the letters are rather unimportant exhortations, recommendations, discussions about wills and legacies, or about the Roman bar, with barristers speeches of 5 hours, `sold counsel', fake lawsuits, `compulsion' pleading, `dinner-clappers' and `bravo-callers'.

This book is only for historians and lovers of classical literature.
... Read more


2. The Letters of the Younger Pliny
by Pliny
Paperback: 242 Pages (2009-12-22)
list price: US$24.30 -- used & new: US$24.30
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Asin: 1150391510
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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General Books publication date: 2009Original publication date: 1890Original Publisher: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A look backin history.
This is a honest look back in history.He tells how things really are at this time.So many writers write how they wish things were or embellish the truth.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Letters of Plinius Secundus
A readable translation of the many letters of one of history's most famous letter writers, and also a good source on his eventful life.Caius Plinius Secundus had correspondence with many of the great men of his time, including Emperor Trajan and the historians Tacitus and Suetonius, and wrote of such fascinating topics as the Dacian Wars, Christians in his province of Bithynia, the excesses of the recently murdered Emperor Domitianus, and various obscure topics from hunting to an alleged haunted house in Greece.A great book for someone, who, like me, likes to read about the Romans from their own pens.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great primary source to compare and contrast culture
Pliny the Younger (whether he knew it or not) painted quite a detailed picture of culture in his time, and it is quite exciting and entertaining to compare this culture with the cultures of today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Stoics
Pliny the Younger was a disciple of Musonius Rufus, the great Stoic teacher who taught Epictetus. Epictetus wrote discourses which influenced Emperor Marcus Aurelius. A reading of Pliny the Younger will shed light on Stoic thoughts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life from near the top during Rome's golden age
Pliny's self-selected letters comprise a fascinating bit of ancient autobiography, and should be of interest to a wide variety of readers.His descriptions of trials, and of his often slimy opposing counsel, will amuse modern attorneys.The letters between Pliny and the Emperor Trajan read much like modern e-mails between a CEO and a diligent corporate manager.I first read Pliny at the same time as the "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius; the two books provide a striking contrast between two typically Roman world-views-- Pliny wanting nothing so much as posthumous fame, Aurelius musing on the vanity of all earthly pursuits given their utter meaninglessness after we turn to dust.

Ms. Radice's translation is smooth and enjoyable, retaining a certain air of distance given the source's antiquity but not becoming stilted or precious. ... Read more


3. Ashen Sky: The Letters of Pliny The Younger on the Eruption of Vesuvius
by Pliny
Hardcover: 40 Pages (2007-09-17)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892369000
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Barry Moser's extraordinarily detailed and evocative relief engravings decorate this translation of Pliny the Younger's two famous letters to Tacitus about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 and the death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder. The text includes a brief description of the eruption of the volcano, concise biographies of Tacitus and of both Plinys, and a summary of how the texts of the two letters have survived until today.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pliny the Younger Writes About the Eruption of Vesuvius
This book was all that it was advertized to be.It is a translation of two letters that Pliny the younger wrote to Taticus describing the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.The real interest of this book is not the translation so much as the "woodcut" illustrations by Barry Moser.This was an ideal medium to portray the dark and foreboding conditions that ensued during and after the eruption.

There is enough introductory material included in the book to assist if the reader is not familiar with the history of this epic catastrophe.I enjoyed the text as well as the dramatic woodcut illustrations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moser on Vesuvivus
I bought this book because the illustrations were done by Barry Moser. As always, his art does not disappoint. The brief text by Pliny is equally worthy of admiration.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving Art
Much of what we know about the A.D. 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius - the eruption that sealed Pompeii and Herculaneum in time and volcanic ash - comes from the letters written by Pliny the Younger to his friend Tacitus. Pliny was an eyewitness, and his uncle died in the eruption.<
These texts have been available for a long time. What is new and impressive about this book are its illustrations, relief engravings by artist Berry Moser, Professor in Residence in the Art Department of Smith College in Massachusetts.<
The letters are freshly translated by Benedicte Gilman, who has also provided biographies of Tacitus and Pliny the Younger, as well as an essay describing how it was that the letters themselves came to be preserved into modern times. This is solid, readable, exciting work in and of itself.<
But the real force in this book is the illustrations. Using a technique generally confined to wood engraving, Moser has given us a series of 16 vital illustrations that bring a terrible life to the horrible events of the eruption. As slim as it is, this volume is a literal "must have" for all lovers of art and history.
... Read more


4. Letters and Panegyricus I, Books 1-7 (Loeb Classical Library)
by Pliny the Younger
Hardcover: 563 Pages (1969-01-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$19.20
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Asin: 0674990617
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Younger Pliny was born in 61 or 62 CE, the son of Lucius Caecilius of Comum (Como) and the Elder Pliny's sister. He was educated at home and then in Rome under Quintilian. He was at Misenum at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 (described in two famous letters) when the Elder Pliny died.

Pliny started his career at the Roman bar at the age of eighteen. He moved through the regular offices in a senator's career, held two treasury appointments and a priesthood, and was consul in September and October 100. On this occasion he delivered the speech of thanks to the Emperor Trajan which he afterwards expanded and published as the Panegyricus. After his consulship he returned to advocacy in the court and Senate, and was also president of the Tiber Conservancy Board. His hopes of retirement were cut short when he was chosen by Trajan to go out to the province of Bithynia and Pontus on a special commission as the Emperor's direct representative. He is known to have been there two years, and is presumed to have died there before the end of 113. Book X of the Letters contains his correspondence with Trajan during this period, and includes letters about the early Christians.

Pliny's Letters are important as a social document of his times. They tell us about the man himself and his wide interests, and about his many friends, including Tacitus, Martial and Suetonius. Pliny has a gift for description and a versatile prose style, and more than any of his contemporaries he gives an unprejudiced picture of Rome as he knew it.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Pliny the Younger is in two volumes; the second contains Books VIII–X of his Letters and Panegyricus.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, Be Careful of Editions
As a university graduate in Ancient Roman history, I particularly love Pliny's letters for the insight they provide on a wide range of issues from the Ancient world. However one must take care when purchasing this Loeb - Pliny wrote 10 books of letters and a panegyricus, but this edition ONLY contains the first 7 books of his letters! There is a second edition with the last 3 books and his panegyric which can be purchased seperately. It is the 10th book which was published after Pliny's death that contains his correspondances with the Emperor Trajan. And just to set the record straight (see below), it was the Elder Pliny (This Pliny's uncle and adopted father) who was present at the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, and he died there. The Younger Pliny's account of this therefore should be read with caution. The Younger Pliny was at Misenum at the time of the eruption in AD79 and was approximately 17 years old then.

Pliny is one of my favourite ancient authors - it is a pleasure to read his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needed for my research
This is not the sort of book that most readers would purchase for their coffee tables.However, for someone engaged in research who needs access to primary sources, the Loeb Classical Library is an indispensable tool.I'm working on a book that deals with the reign of Trajan, and Pliny's Panegyric to that emperor is crucial for understanding his policies, his desired public image, and his relationship with the Senate.This isn't the sort of volume that you generally find on the shelves at your local Waldenbooks, which is why I appreciate the convenience and prompt service of an Amazon order; even the most abstruse book can usually be on my doorstep in a few days.

4-0 out of 5 stars Letters on Life
His actual name is Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus.Gotta love those Roman names.I bought all of Pliny's letters because they offer a terrific insight into daily life in ancient Rome.Plus they read so easily.The Loeb translation is by far the best.Reading these letters is like reading a letter you might write to someone today.His prose are translated with a modern twist, but true to form.Of course, the Loeb books also give you the original Latin text on one side of the sheet as well.Pliny wrote about the eruption of Vesuvius from a first hand account.He was on a boat and witnessed the eruption then wrote about it as it was happening.Very cool.Pliny wanted to create a distinctly different type of literature with these letters.They are individually based on events of the times, but without abstractions like many of the other letter writers of the time (namely Seneca).He was successfully able to do this by creating a picture of his times with his words.He writes about philosophy, slavery, Trajan, Rome, literature, the Senate, and all of his friends (namely Tacitus and Seutonius).All of which are very interesting and Loeb has arranged them in a way so they are easy to follow.This series of Pliny's letters culminates into Book X which are all of his letters to the emperor Trajan.Trajan had called upon Pliny to govern the province of Bithynia-Pontus.The letters are very important in understanding how Rome governed the provinces.They are also some of the earliest writings on Christianity in the provinces.

4-0 out of 5 stars Letters on Life
His actual name is Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus.Gotta love those Roman names.I bought all of Pliny's letters because they offer a terrific insight into daily life in ancient Rome.Plus they read so easily.The Loeb translation is by far the best.Reading these letters is like reading a letter you might write to someone today.His prose are translated with a modern twist, but true to form.Of course, the Loeb books also give you the original Latin text on one side of the sheet as well.Pliny wrote about the eruption of Vesuvius from a first hand account.He was on a boat and witnessed the eruption then wrote about it as it was happening.Very cool.Pliny wanted to create a distinctly different type of literature with these letters.They are individually based on events of the times, but without abstractions like many of the other letter writers of the time (namely Seneca).He was successfully able to do this by creating a picture of his times with his words.He writes about philosophy, slavery, Trajan, Rome, literature, the Senate, and all of his friends (namely Tacitus and Seutonius).All of which are very interesting and Loeb has arranged them in a way so they are easy to follow.This series of Pliny's letters culminates into Book X which are all of his letters to the emperor Trajan.Trajan had called upon Pliny to govern the province of Bithynia-Pontus.The letters are very important in understanding how Rome governed the provinces.They are also some of the earliest writings on Christianity in the provinces.

4-0 out of 5 stars A snapshot of Roman life
Pliny the Younger's letters offer a glimpse into the political and literay life of Rome at the height of her power.Included in the letters are two riveting accounts of the erruption of Mt. Vesuvius, and Pliny the Younger'scorrespondance with the likes of Suetonius and the Emperer Trajan.Abeautifully made book with both English and the original Latin. ... Read more


5. The Letters of Pliny the Younger (Halcyon Classics)
by Pliny the Younger
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-06-22)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B003TO6M7Y
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This Halcyon Classics ebook contains the collected surviving letters of Roman scholar, author, lawyer, and magistrate Pliny the younger (62-c. 112 AD).Together with his uncle, the Elder Pliny, Pliny the Younger witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD (the Elder Pliny died in the eruption).

From the introduction:

Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, usually known as Pliny the Younger, was born at Como in 62 AD. He was only eight years old when his father Caecilius died, and he was adopted by his uncle, the elder Pliny, author of the Natural History. He was carefully educated, studying rhetoric under Quintilian and other famous teachers, and he became the most eloquent pleader of his time. In this and in much else he imitated Cicero, who had by this time come to be the recognized master of Latin style. While still young he served as military tribune in Syria, but he does not seem to have taken zealously to a soldier s life. On his return he entered politics under the Emperor Domitian; and in the year 100 A. D. was appointed consul by Trajan and admitted to confidential intercourse with that emperor. Later while he was governor of Bithynia, he was in the habit of submitting every point of policy to his master, and the correspondence between Trajan and him, which forms the last part of the present selection, is of a high degree of interest, both on account of the subjects discussed and for the light thrown on the characters of the two men. He is supposed to have died about 113 AD. Pliny's speeches are now lost, with the exception of one, a panegyric on Trajan delivered in thanksgiving for the consulate.

This ebook is DRM free.
... Read more


6. A Sixth-Century Fragment of the Letters of Pliny the Younger A Study of Six Leaves of an Uncial Manuscript Preserved in the Pierpont Morgan Library New York
by Edward Kennard Rand
Paperback: 82 Pages (2006-11-03)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1406918768
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more


7. The Anxieties Of Pliny the Younger (American Classical Studies)
by Stanley E. Hoffer
Hardcover: 256 Pages (1999-05-01)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$44.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0788505653
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This book provides a new understanding of Pliny's letters by combining historical analysis of the social pressures that shape Pliny's authorial pose with close literary analysis of the letters themselves. It demonstrates how ruling-class ideology is disseminated and how it shapes the literary persona and personal identity of a ruling-class member. The powerful heuristic tool of examining the interplay between confidence and anxieties in the letters will help restore Pliny's relatively neglected masterpiece to a more prominent place in undergraduate Latin and Roman Civilization courses. ... Read more


8. The Blood of Caesar: A Second Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
by Jr Albert A. Bell
Paperback: 260 Pages (2008-06-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932158820
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Pliny the Younger and Tacitus have another mystery to solve - actually layers of mysteries. During dinner at the emperor Domitian's palace, a workman is discovered dead in the archives. Why is this humble man's death important to the ruler of Rome? Domitian assigns Pliny to uncover references to an unknown heir of Augustus Caesar in a memoir of Nero's mother. Why does Domitian suspect his own copy of the memoir is incomplete? And how does his suspicion relate to the niece of Pliny's old friend and mentor? Is Tacitus' father-in-law Agricola a villain or a potential victim? Like a sinister red line slashed through a carefully prepared manuscript, the legacy of the great Augustus marks the connections to slaves of Pliny's own household. Pliny and Tacitus must descend to the Stygian underworld of Nero's buried "golden house" to find answers. Will the answers save the peace of Rome, or mark its doom?
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars historic mystery
The Amazon customer reviews of this book and "All Roads Lead To Murder", Albert Bell jr.'s first Pliny and Tacitus adventures are solid endorsements for this author.My comments are more of an evaluation of the author.Mr. Bell has shown his creativity by picking two less known but exemplary historic figures from history, Pliny the Younger, a lawyer, author and magistrate and Cornelius Tacitus a senator and historian of the Roman Empire and placed them in two mysteries as young men in their early 20's.They are uniquely different and yet their skills complement each other and they create an enjoyable "buddy" ambience for the books somewhat like what HBO did with Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo in their TV series "Rome." Mr. Bell creates an historic setting that fits neatly into the recorded history of the period without the the factual distraction that other writers sucumb to.Mr. Bell is a very good story teller and he weaves a warm cozy and personal environment to envelop the reader. I have no reservation in placing his work right up there with my other period authors i.e., S. Saylor, R. Rowe, L. Davis, R. Harris, and P. B. Kerr's Bernie Gunther series.I look forward to his future works in this series with considerable anticipation.

1-0 out of 5 stars Skip this...there are too many GOOD Roman mysteries to read
As a person fascinated with ancient history I read quite a lot of historical fiction as well as non-fiction.Having gone through the series by the better known authors: Steven Saylor,Lindsey Davis,John Roberts Maddox, Robert Harris,Rosemary Rowe, Simon Scarrow and some others like Ben Pastor, Gillian Bradshaw and David Wishart, I eagerly picked up this mystery story set in the time of the Emperor Domitianon.His family were the first imperials NOT to have descent from the first Emperor (I know they weren't using that term yet, but for simplicity....) the so-called "First Citizen" Octavian Augustus, grand-nephew and heir of Julius Caesar. Domitian's father, General Vespasian, had taken over control of the empire as generals sometimes do; and his unstable younger son Domitian became emperor after his father and brother.

The author takes two real historical personages, Pliny the Younger and the future historian Tacitus and uses them as his lead characters, (especially Pliny the Younger). They are asked, on the basis of the mystery solved in Mr Bell's first book, to look into the possibility of any existing persons descended from the Augustan/ Caesar family.Domitian, of course, would find such people to be dangerous rivals and have them killed. (Its actually more convoluted than that, at first they are not sure what they are being asked to do...and neither are we.The reality of the situation comes later.)

At first I was quite interested, and expected a good story and mystery with a believable historical background.




NOTE: some SPOILERS: stop here if you haven't read it and plan to:

THEN....more and more odd and unbelievable coincidences occur.People who are frankly unbelievable appear in the story....mainly, a young country girl with a mysterious past and an odd physical abnormality....from the moment she is brought into the story it goes downhill in credibility and interest.


The young woman'svery existance, let alone being the ward of a friend of Pliny's (though he'd never heard of her before) strains credibility.The unbelievable continues as Domitian himself comes out to a remote country spot with only a small bodyguard and is OF COURSE immediately captured and forced to do what the "good guys" want him to do....It became very fast a story full of holes, inconsistancies and absolutelyunbelievable coincidences that anyone could see coming---and where they were leading---from the time they were introduced.One point: the young lady mentioned above changes her personality entirely two or three times in a period of a few weeks...innocent country girl who doesn't want to leave her boyfriend....strong-willed heroine who teases and flirts with Pliny... a sophisticated city woman who totally rejects the beforesaid boyfriend after only a short time away from him....then eventually a girl who can grab a sword off the ground and fight armed, trained men with it....oh, and she is the last person in the world who can fluently read ancient Etruscan, which she picked up by seeing old Etruscan words carved on bridges and statuary on her ward's country estate.Sort of like being able to fluently read Greek by spending a lot of time in a museum looking at the artifacts....but anyway.....

Then secret letters come to light which of course explain in a neat and tidy way (much like the old Hardy Boys mysteries) EXACTLY who is who.Why the person who wrote the letter (in Etruscan of course) WROTE it, therefore endangering the very person she claimed to love, is the only real mystery in the book.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


End of Spoiler's section:

Unlike some other reviewers I also didn't feel Mr Bell "got" the ancient mindset.I read the entire book, and wanted to like it...but could not possibly recommend it to anyone else. Read the authors mentioned above, any of them give more exciting and interesting stories of ancient Rome than this book does.












































































































































4-0 out of 5 stars Right on
It should be a bad thing when an author leads by telling you how hard it was to write his book, in this case the second in a series. Is it going to be equally hard to read?? Definitely not in this case. Bell's interests and mine just "clicked" in this novel.

This quasi-historical novel goes right to the top of my list of Classic Roman mysteries. Not because it is so mysterious--the mystery is pretty simple, one you'll solve long before sleuth Pliny does--but it absolutely hits my sweet spot of mystery-character-historical setting. While not as profound as Saylor, or forcedly funny as Davis, I found a fuller immersion in Roman customs without ever being lectured at. Roman mores are just normal parts of daily affairs here, just natural observations on the passing flow of events as people enter or leave, or stroll through the Forum or ride the countryside. There are no snide, 21st century, authorial animadversions here. The characters are diverse, often historical (once real), and well contrasted. In the early going, Pliny the Younger (who is actually famous for his meticulous description ofthe eruption of Vesuvius) has flashes of forensic insight gained from his scientific father, to impress the fearful emperor Domitian. That sleuthing goes by the roadside as the naive young Pliny becomes personally enmeshed in the plotting over a possible pretender to the throne, and rescues a charming young lady as a complication (or romance?), but central to the plot as well. The story felt palpable, easy to visualize from the minor details strategically scattered about, and, uniquely, from the appropriate, small illustrations cut in on many pages. From solving an imperial genealogical mystery, the story transforms into the question, how will Pliny save his neck and his family from Domitian's sword? The ending is a bit of a sad shock, something the author must have thought necessary for historical plausibility.

4-0 out of 5 stars A well-written, intelligent mystery of early imperial Rome
An invitation to dine alone with the princeps (the historically accurate title used by emperors of this period) Domitian is not necessarily a good thing, and Pliny the Younger's friend Tacitus tells him that an astrologer has predicted that it will change their lives forever. As it turns out, Domitian has heard about Pliny's powers of observation and talent for detection, honed at the feet of his uncle, the naturalist and polymath Pliny the Elder, and has a job for him.

Pliny is shown an old letter from Nero's mother to her son taunting him with the fact that other descendants of Augustus, who could be his rivals for power, still live. Domitian, as a representative of a family with no relationship to the Julian-Claudian line whatsoever, is even more concerned, and asks Pliny to ferret out the truth of the matter.

This is the second book in what promises to be an enjoyable, well-written series featuring the historical figures of Pliny the Younger and the historian Tacitus. Pliny soon finds out that the dead man he was shown by Domitian as a test of his deductive abilities not only did not die by accident as he was told, but has a connection to the mystery, as well as to his own family. He also must deal with the domestic issues that come with being the relatively new master of a large household, as well as his mother's increasingly close relationship to two of their Jewish slaves and her apparent interest in their religion.

The central mystery in THE BLOOD OF CAESAR is not a complicated one to unravel; rather, the enjoyment comes from the author's detailed picture of Roman life in the late first century and anticipation of how what seems like an impossible situation will be resolved. Since I've read about that time period, I'm somewhat familiar with the tortuous complexity of the Julian-Claudian family tree, so I'm not sure how clear it will be to those without such familiarity. There is a helpful glossary and timeline at the back, as well as numerous illustrations scattered throughout the book, but maybe a simplified family tree would also have come in handy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Blood - Just OK
I recently purchased and read both books by Bell in this genre - "All Roads Lead To Murder" and "The Blood of Caesar." When an author apologizes for having writers' block for six years (first book out in 2002, second out in 2008), one can't help but notice the 'forced' nature of Blood.The Acknowledgements set a tone of 'this isn't my best, but here it is anyway' which is not what a reader wants to hear.

All Roads was a better read and Bell should probably steer away from a genre that is much better handled by other authors. ... Read more


9. The Letters Of The Younger Pliny First Series Vol 1
by Pliny
Paperback: 148 Pages (2004-06-17)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$13.26
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Asin: 141916919X
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What treasures you have in your villas at Ocriculum, at Narnia, at Carsola and Perusia! Even a bathing place at Narnia! My letters--for now there is no need for you to write--will have shown you how pleased I am, or rather the short letter will which I wrote long ago. The fact is, that some of my own property is scarcely so completely mine as is some of yours. ... Read more


10. Fifty Letters of Pliny
by Pliny the Younger
Paperback: 230 Pages (1969-09-15)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$17.13
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Asin: 0199120102
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This selection of Pliny's letters is designed to be used with A Level classes. The commentary helps students who have no special knowledge of the social and political history of the Roman empire. The selection provides a wide illustration of the private, public, and literary life of the capital of the Roman empire in the early second century A.D. Includes vocabulary and notes. ... Read more


11. All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case From the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger
by Albert A. Bell Jr., William Martin Johnson
Hardcover: 248 Pages (2002-01-15)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 097130453X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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First-century Smyrna comes alive as the scene of a horrific murder.Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Luke, travelers in a caravan bound for Rome, become investigators when no Roman magistrates are available. Suspects abound: gamblers, arcane priestesses and Christians.What is the secret of one of the victim'ss own slaves, a beautiful blond, and the German giant shadowing her? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars A case from the notebooks of an indignant Plinyist
It can be hard, being a fan of Pliny the Younger, who, having left us a collection of dainty and gentlemanly correspondence and an embarrassingly fulsome panegyric of the emperor Trajan, has long considered the lightweight of early second century Latin prose.

It is even more difficult for would-be Plinyists in that Pliny himself makes much of his friendship and literary co-equality with Tacitus: next to that hard-nosed and cynical chronicler of imperial Roman history and the decline of the senatorial class, Pliny, with his loving catalogs of his villas and careful cultivation of aristocratic friendships, only looks worse.

I spend so much time on this background because it is the best way to understand Albert Bell's rather startling premise for his mystery series: Bell's young Pliny the Younger is actually a brilliant sleuth à la Sherlock Holmes; his sidekick Tacitus is a rather dim, superstitious, and conventionally loutish exemplar of the Roman upper class, a surprise to anyone who has read even a translation of any part of the historian's works!

Bell uses the conceit of "lost notebooks" of the Elder Pliny (he of the "Natural History" to give his hero (the Younger Pliny) access to forensic ideas and techniques that would never have occurred to an ancient amateur detective, but he turns backflips in order to present Pliny as older, wiser, more socially prominent, and more advanced in his career than Tacitus (the opposite appears to have been the case, to judge from the (admittedly) scanty evidence of Pliny's own letters).

The mystery itself involves murder, missing wills, long-lost heirs, and -- for Bell is by profession a scholar of early Christianity -- encounters with St. Luke and a party of Christians.Here, too, Pliny turns out to be surprisingly interested and accepting of Christian doctrines, when one compares his attitude here to the one expressed in his famous Letter on the Christians.The mystery is not as clever as many, and, while there is a great deal of attention to period details of life and mental habits in many respects, Bell too-often drops out the 1st century when he really wants to make Pliny shine with modern virtue.

It is not surprising, then, that one turns to the acknowledgments and finds that Bell is proud to tell us how much his friends compare him to Pliny the Younger!And indeed, this sort of casual, apparently obliviously-naive self-promotion of quite mediocre and unexceptional "virtues" is precisely the version of Pliny that Bell is fighting against.

1-0 out of 5 stars slogging thruslops in old smyrna
I am interested in classical civilization and i have enjoyed previously the spqr series. I thought i'd give this author a chance. I'm sorry i did. There is absolutely no mystery involved; rather, the author uses this as a vehicle for a set-up plot: Pliny the Younger and young Tacitus (The Clueless, or perhaps The Hardy Boys) meet the Christians (Luke and Timothy, no less) and together vanquish the Bad Guys (various pagan Romans).Every single plot point is telegraphed and Pliny and Tacitus behave in ways that have little resemblence to what might have been expected of young men of high Roman birth in the first century. The jokes are lame and much of the book involves Pliny pining for his father's books, thinking beautiful thoughts about the Christians, or having dinner conversations whose only purpose appears to be to delineate differences between Roman and Christian practices.

All that having been said,if you are a young Christian, say about 19, and have no knowledge of the period, this could be a valuable starting point for a more serious investigation into the early history of your faith. If so, I give you all best wishes for a happy journey.

atlee








3-0 out of 5 stars Roman road trip
"All Roads Lead to Murder" has some interesting story ambitions--the murder of a wealthy traveler in Smyrna to be solved by two prominent figures in Roman history before they achieved their fame.A sub-theme is the contrast of two religions of the period--the cult of Hecate and the growing cult of Christianity, the latter featuring the Apostle Luke.

Author Albert Bell develops a plausible, if somewhat convoluted, plot, but is less adept in his portrayal of believable characters.He aims to make the dialogue between his characters snappy repartee, but somehow they don't often come off that way.I suspect that this partly because he has chosen to put his protagonists, Pliny and Tacitus, in their early twenties.They seem to lack both consistent wit and gravitas.The secondary characters are also given less than credible dialogue and personalities as well.

I couldn't help but compare this book to Lindsay Davis' excellent Marcus Didius Falco series which takes place in roughly the same time period, but somehow makes murder and humor work well together.In this book, Pliny does not touch the hem of Falco's tunic.

A later book in the Pliny series is better, in my judgement, than "All Roads...". I would start with that book and skip this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars Interesting plot, terrible character development
Bell has come up with an interesting story line but downright silly character development.He presents Pliny as some sort of modern day "touchy-feely" metrosexual and this spoils what could have been a good historical mystery.Pliny's attitudes toward slavery, Roman justice and his falling for a slave girl are an excellent example of the worst sort of writing error - giving a first century Roman character a 21th century mentality and ethos.Honest to goodness, by the time I was halfway through the book I expected Pliny to be spouting theories of modern forensic science, DNA testing and possible slavery "reparations."This book doesn't even begin to compare favorably with the writings of Davis and Saylor.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok for a light read
Not up to par as a mystery but a colorful array of characters. It was a fair read. I never got the flavor or could picture the place in my mind, it had great characters but I think there could have been more about their surroundings so that you could better feel at one with the story, ... Read more


12. Stylistic Theory and Practice in the Younger Pliny (Alpha-Omega)
by Federico Gamberini
 Hardcover: 546 Pages (1983-01)

Isbn: 3487074486
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13. The Letters Of Pliny The Younger: Selected And Edited Together With A Companion To Pliny's Letters
by Helen H. Tanzer
 Paperback: 316 Pages (2010-09-10)
list price: US$24.76 -- used & new: US$23.54
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Asin: 1163173711
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Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more


14. Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series - Volume 1
by the Younger Pliny
Paperback: 106 Pages (2010-03-06)
list price: US$19.75 -- used & new: US$19.75
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Asin: 1153637456
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Rome; Authors, Latin; Latin letters; History / Ancient / General; History / Ancient / Rome; Literary Collections / Letters; Literary Criticism / Ancient ... Read more


15. The Letters of Pliny the Younger
by Pliny the Younger
Paperback: 244 Pages (2007-06-11)
list price: US$20.99 -- used & new: US$13.88
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Asin: 1434626016
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Translated by William Melmoth Revised by F. C. T. Bosanquet ... Read more


16. Onomasticon to the Younger Pliny: Letters and Panegyric (Philology, History, History of Literature, History of Religion)
by A. Birley
 Hardcover: 124 Pages (2001-02)
list price: US$58.50 -- used & new: US$178.98
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Asin: 3598730012
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17. The letters of the younger Pliny; literally translated by John Delaware Lewis
by John Delaware Lewis
Paperback: 408 Pages (2010-08-17)
list price: US$34.75 -- used & new: US$23.55
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Asin: 1177326825
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The book has no illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from the publisher's website (GeneralBooksClub.com). You can also preview excerpts of the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Original Publisher: London Trübner; Publication date: 1879; Subjects: History / Ancient / Rome; ... Read more


18. Selected Letters Of The Younger Pliny
Hardcover: 528 Pages (2007-07-25)
list price: US$55.95 -- used & new: US$38.64
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Asin: 0548179190
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This scarce antiquarian book is included in our special Legacy Reprint Series. In the interest of creating a more extensive selection of rare historical book reprints, we have chosen to reproduce this title even though it may possibly have occasional imperfections such as missing and blurred pages, missing text, poor pictures, markings, dark backgrounds and other reproduction issues beyond our control. Because this work is culturally important, we have made it available as a part of our commitment to protecting, preserving and promoting the world's literature. ... Read more


19. A Sixth-Century Fragment of the Letters of Pliny the Younger
by E. A. Lowe
Paperback: 70 Pages (2010-03-07)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 1153588498
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Manuscripts, Latin; Paleography, Latin; Literary Collections / General; ... Read more


20. The Letters of Pliny the Younger
by Frederick Charles Findal Bosanquest
 Unknown Binding: Pages (2010-01-01)
-- used & new: US$24.99
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Asin: B003I82W7A
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