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Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.11

nanTo Arrianus. I know you are always delighted when the senate behaves in a way befitting its rank, for though your love of peace and quiet has caused you to withdraw from Rome, your anxiety that public life should be kept at a high level is as strong as it ever was. So let me tell you what has been going on during the last few days. The proceedings are memorable owing to the commanding position of the person most concerned; they will have a healthy influence because of the sharp lesson that has been administered; and the importance of the case will make them famous for all time. Marius Priscus, on being accused by the people of Africa, whom he had governed as proconsul, declined to defend himself before the senate and asked to have judges assigned to hear the case. * Cornelius Tacitus and myself were instructed to appear for the provincials, and we came to the conclusion that we were bound in honesty to our clients to notify the senate that the charges of inhumanity and cruelty brought against Priscus were too serious to be heard by a panel of judges, inasmuch as he was accused of having received bribes to condemn and even put to death innocent persons. Fronto Catius spoke in reply, and urged that the prosecution should be confined within the law dealing with extortion Well, the witnesses who were summoned came to Rome, viz., Vitellius Honoratus and Flavius Martianus. Honoratus was charged with having bribed Priscus to the tune of three hundred thousand sesterces to exile a Roman knight and put seven of his friends to death; Martianus was accused of having given Priscus seven hundred thousand sesterces to sentence a single Roman knight to still more grievous punishment, for he was beaten with rods, condemned to the mines, and then strangled in prison. Honoratus - luckily for him - escaped the investigation of the senate by dying; Martianus was brought before them when Priscus was not present. Consequently Tuccius Cerealis, a man of consular rank, pleaded senatorial privileges and demanded that Priscus should be informed of the attendance of Martianus, either because he thought that Priscus by being present would have a better chance of awakening the compassion of the senate or to increase the feeling against him, or possibly, and I think this was his real motive, because strict justice demanded that both should defend themselves against a charge that affected them both, and that both should be punished if they could not rebut the accusation. The subject was postponed to the next meeting of the senate, and a very august assembly it was. The Emperor presided in his capacity as consul; besides, the month of January brings crowds of people to Rome and especially senators, † and moreover the importance of the case, the great notoriety it had obtained, which had been increased by the delays that had taken place, and the ingrained curiosity of all men to get to know all the details of an unusually important matter, had made everybody flock to Rome from all quarters. You can imagine how nervous and anxious we were in having to speak in such a gathering and in the presence of the Emperor on such an important case. It was not the first time that I had pleaded in the senate, and there is nowhere where I get a more sympathetic hearing, but then the novelty of the whole position seemed to afflict me with a feeling of nervousness I had never felt before. For in addition to all that I have mentioned above I kept thinking of the difficulties of the case and was oppressed by the feeling that Priscus, the defendant, had once held consular rank and been one of the seven regulators of the sacred feasts, and was now deprived of both these dignities. † So I found it a very trying task to accuse a man on whom sentence had already been passed, for though the shocking offences with which he was charged weighed heavily against him, he yet was protected to a certain extent by the commiseration felt for a man already condemned to punishment that one might have thought final. However, as soon as I had pulled myself together and collected my thoughts, I began my address, and though I was nervous I was on the best of terms with my audience. I spoke for nearly five hours, for, in addition to the twelve water-clocks - the largest I could get - which had been assigned to me, I obtained four others. And, as matters turned out, everything that I thought before speaking would have proved an obstacle in the way of a good speech really helped me during my address. As for the Emperor, he showed me such kind attention and consideration - for it would be too much to call it anxiety on my behalf - that he frequently nodded to my freedman, who was standing just behind me, to give me a hint not to overtax my voice and lungs, when he thought that I was throwing myself too ardently into my pleading and imposing too great a burden on my slender frame. Claudius Marcellinus answered me on behalf of Martianus, and then the senate was dismissed and met again on the following day. For there was no time to begin a fresh speech, as it would have had to be broken off by the fall of night. On the following day, Salvius Liberalis, a man of shrewd wit, careful in the arrangement of his speeches, with a pointed style and a fund of learning, spoke for Marius, and in his speech he certainly brought out all he knew. Cornelius Tacitus replied to him in a wonderfully eloquent address, characterised by that lofty dignity which is the chief charm of his oratory. Then Fronto Catius made another excellent speech on Marius's behalf, and he spent more time in appeals for mercy than in rebutting evidence, as befitted the part of the case that he had then to deal with. The fall of night terminated his speech but did not break it off altogether, and so the proceedings lasted over into the third day. This was quite fine and just like it used to be for the senate to be interrupted by nightfall, and for the members to be called and sit for three days running. Cornutus Tertullus, the consul-designate, a man of high character and a devoted champion of justice, gave as his opinion that the seven hundred thousand sesterces which Marius had received should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Marius should be banished from Rome and Italy, and that Martianus should be banished from Rome, Italy, and Africa. Towards the conclusion of his speech he added the remark that the senate considered that, since Tacitus and myself, who had been summoned to plead for the provincials, had fulfilled our duties with diligence and fearlessness, we had acted in a manner worthy of the commission entrusted to us. The consuls-designate agreed, and all the consulars did likewise, until it was Pompeius Collega's turn to speak. He proposed that the seven hundred thousand sesterces received by Marius should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Martianus should be banished ‡ for five years, and that Marius should suffer no further penalty than that for extortion - which had already been passed upon him. Opinion was largely divided, and there was possibly a majority in favour of the latter proposal, which was the more lenient or less severe of the two, for even some of those who appeared to have supported Cornutus changed sides and were ready to vote for Collega, who had spoken after them. But when the House divided, those who stood near the seats of the consuls began to cross over to the side of Cornutus. Then those who were allowing themselves to be counted as supporters of Collega also crossed over, and Collega was left with a mere handful. He complained bitterly afterwards of those who had led him to make the proposal he did, especially of Regulus, who had failed to support him in the proposal that he himself had suggested. But Regulus is a fickle fellow, rash to a degree, yet a great coward as well. Such was the close of this most important investigation; but there is still another bit of public business on hand of some consequence, for Hostilius Firminus, the legate of Marius Priscus, who was implicated in the matter, had received a very rough handling. It was proved by the accounts of Martianus and a speech he made in the Council of the Town of Leptis that he had engaged with Priscus in a very shady transaction, that he had bargained to receive from Martianus 50,000 denarii and had received in addition ten million sesterces under the head of perfume money - a most disgraceful thing for a soldier, but one which was not at all inconsistent with his character as a man with well-trimmed hair and polished skin. It was agreed on the motion of Cornutus that the case should be investigated at the next meeting of the senate, but at that meeting he did not put in an appearance, either from some accidental reason or because he knew he was guilty. Well, I have told you the news of Rome, you must write and tell me the news of the country. How are your shrubs getting on, your vines and your crops, and those dainty sheep of yours? In short, unless you send me as long a letter I am sending you, you mustn't expect anything more than the scrappiest note from me in the future. Farewell.

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

12 results
1. Cicero, Letters To His Friends, 5.12 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, In Verrem, 2.4.73, 2.4.135, 2.5.127 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Livy, Per., 51 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

4. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 7.20, 36.32 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Plutarch, Moralia, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. Pliny The Younger, Letters, None (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Pliny The Younger, Letters, None (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 6.72 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

6.72. He maintained that all things are the property of the wise, and employed such arguments as those cited above. All things belong to the gods. The gods are friends to the wise, and friends share all property in common; therefore all things are the property of the wise. Again as to law: that it is impossible for society to exist without law; for without a city no benefit can be derived from that which is civilized. But the city is civilized, and there is no advantage in law without a city; therefore law is something civilized. He would ridicule good birth and fame and all such distinctions, calling them showy ornaments of vice. The only true commonwealth was, he said, that which is as wide as the universe. He advocated community of wives, recognizing no other marriage than a union of the man who persuades with the woman who consents. And for this reason he thought sons too should be held in common.
9. Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 4.9.1-4.9.3 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4.9.1. To Minucius Fundanus. I have received an epistle, written to me by Serennius Granianus, a most illustrious man, whom you have succeeded. It does not seem right to me that the matter should be passed by without examination, lest the men be harassed and opportunity be given to the informers for practicing villainy. 4.9.2. If, therefore, the inhabitants of the province can clearly sustain this petition against the Christians so as to give answer in a court of law, let them pursue this course alone, but let them not have resort to men's petitions and outcries. For it is far more proper, if any one wishes to make an accusation, that you should examine into it. 4.9.3. If any one therefore accuses them and shows that they are doing anything contrary to the laws, do you pass judgment according to the heinousness of the crime. But, by Hercules! If any one bring an accusation through mere calumny, decide in regard to his criminality, and see to it that you inflict punishment.Such are the contents of Hadrian's rescript.
10. Epigraphy, Lscg, 52

11. Epigraphy, Lss, 108

12. Epigraphy, Ils, 212

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
adam (biblical figure),adana,turkey,clock-tower in Goldhill (2022) 72
africa,,repetundae trials Talbert (1984) 510
africa Rutledge (2012) 53
alexander the great,and the alexander mosaic Rutledge (2012) 53
antoninus pius,spurious letter concerning christians Bickerman and Tropper (2007) 815
apollinaris (grandfather) Hanghan (2019) 70; Hitch (2017) 70
baebius macer Talbert (1984) 500
baetica,,repetundae trials Talbert (1984) 510
bithynia/pontus,,repetundae trials Talbert (1984) 510
bithynia Esler (2000) 43
bureaucrats,roman Esler (2000) 43
caecilius classicus Talbert (1984) 510
campaigns for office Tacoma (2020) 101
carthage,and restoration of cultural property Rutledge (2012) 53
clark,chris Goldhill (2022) 72
cornelius priscianus Talbert (1984) 510
cornelius scipio aemilianus,p.,repatriates art works to sicily Rutledge (2012) 53
corruption,by governors Esler (2000) 43
crates the cynic Rutledge (2012) 78
delphi,phrynes statue at Rutledge (2012) 78
domitian Tacoma (2020) 101
elections Tacoma (2020) 101
governors,roman Esler (2000) 43
hartog,françois Goldhill (2022) 72
history,and pliny Keeline (2018) 332
history and memory,political engagement with Goldhill (2022) 72
hostilius firminus Talbert (1984) 510
humour Tacoma (2020) 101
intertextuality,plinian Keeline (2018) 332, 333
islam Goldhill (2022) 72
koselleck,reinhart Goldhill (2022) 72
law Hanghan (2019) 71; Hitch (2017) 71
letters,transmission to third party Bickerman and Tropper (2007) 815
luhman,niklas Goldhill (2022) 72
marchesi,ilaria Keeline (2018) 332
marcus aurelius,spurious letter in favor of christianity Bickerman and Tropper (2007) 815
marius priscus,trial of,,duration Talbert (1984) 500
marius priscus,trial of Talbert (1984) 510
marius priscus Esler (2000) 43; Rutledge (2012) 53
maturus arrianus Keeline (2018) 333
modern concept of time Goldhill (2022) 72
nerva Tacoma (2020) 101
noricum,,repetundae trial Talbert (1984) 510
objects,repatriation of Rutledge (2012) 53
pflips,heribert Keeline (2018) 332
phryne Rutledge (2012) 78
pliny,epistulae Hanghan (2019) 71; Hitch (2017) 71
pliny,letter to trajan on christians Bickerman and Tropper (2007) 815
pliny (younger),consul,,describes sessions Talbert (1984) 500
pliny the younger,as second cicero by implication Keeline (2018) 332
pliny the younger,cicero at book-ends and beginnings in Keeline (2018) 332
pliny the younger Esler (2000) 43
politics,telling time as means of political control Goldhill (2022) 72
pollenius sebennus Talbert (1984) 510
preference for realism,on scipios restoration of property Rutledge (2012) 53
prosecutes marius priscus Rutledge (2012) 53, 78
pyrrhus,healing powers of Rutledge (2012) 53
repetundae,res Keeline (2018) 332
repetundae (misgovernment),trials for,,table Talbert (1984) 510
roman empire,emperor and governor Bickerman and Tropper (2007) 815
rome,temple of divus augustus,victoria in Rutledge (2012) 53
rome (city) Hanghan (2019) 71; Hitch (2017) 71
scott,walter Goldhill (2022) 72
secundus Hanghan (2019) 70; Hitch (2017) 70
senate,in latin and greek,,advocates Talbert (1984) 500
senate,in latin and greek,,duration Talbert (1984) 500
senate Esler (2000) 43
senators Esler (2000) 43
sicily,cultural property restored to Rutledge (2012) 53
tacitus Rutledge (2012) 53, 78
telling time,historical overview of Goldhill (2022) 72
telling time,in greco-roman world Goldhill (2022) 72
telling time,political control,as means of Goldhill (2022) 72
telling time Goldhill (2022) 72
time,modern concept of Goldhill (2022) 72
time Goldhill (2022) 72
trajan Goldhill (2022) 72; Tacoma (2020) 101
travel' Hanghan (2019) 70
travel Hitch (2017) 70
tullius cicero,m.,on scipio aemilianus Rutledge (2012) 53
varenus rufus Talbert (1984) 510
verres,c.,looting of sicily Rutledge (2012) 53
whitton,christopher Keeline (2018) 332