Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > Pliny the Younger > Letters
Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113).  Letters.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
LXVI. To the Emperor Trajan
WHEN I cited the judges, Sir, to attend me at a sessions 1 which I was going to hold, Flavius Archippus claimed the privilege of being excused as exercising the profession of a philosopher. 2 It was alleged by some who were present that he ought not only to be excused from that office, but even struck out of the roll of judges, and remanded back to the punishment from which he had escaped by breaking his chains. At the same time a sentence of the proconsul Velius Paullus was read, by which it appeared that Archippus had been condemned to the mines for forgery. He had nothing to produce in proof of this sentence having ever been reversed. He alleged, however, in favour of his restitution, a petition which he presented to Domitian, together with a letter from that prince, and a decree of the Prusensians in his honour. To these he subjoined a letter which he had received from you; as also an edict and a letter of your august father confirming the grants which had been made to him by Domitian. For these reasons, notwithstanding crimes of so atrocious a nature were laid to his charge, I did not think proper to determine anything concerning him, without first consulting with you, as it is an affair which seems to merit your particular decision. I have transmitted to you, with this letter, the several allegations on both sides.  1
Domitian’s Letter to Terentius Maximus

“Flavius Archippus, the philosopher, has prevailed with me to give an order that six hundred thousand sesterces 3 be laid out in the purchase of an estate for the support of him and his family, in the neighbourhood of Prusias, 4 his native country. Let this be accordingly done; and place that sum to the account of my benefactions.”
From the Same to L. Appius Maximus

“I recommend, my dear Maximus, to your protection that worthy philosopher, Archippus; a person whose moral conduct is agreeable to the principles of the philosophy he professes; and I would have you pay entire regard to whatever he shall reasonably request.”
The Edict of the Emperor Nerva

“There are some points, no doubt, Quirites, concerning which the happy tenor of my government is a sufficient indication of my sentiments; and a good prince need not give an express declaration in matters wherein his intention cannot but be clearly understood. Every citizen in the empire will bear me witness that I gave up my private repose to the security of the public, and in order that I might have the pleasure of dispensing new bounties of my own, as also of confirming those which had been granted by predecessors. But lest the memory of him 5 who conferred these grants, or the diffidence of those who received them, should occasion any interruption to the public joy, I thought it as necessary as it is agreeable to me to obviate these suspicions by assuring them of my indulgence. I do not wish any man who has obtained a private or a public privilege from one of the former emperors to imagine he is to be deprived of such a privilege, merely that he may owe the restoration of it to me; nor need any who have received the gratifications of imperial favour petition me to have them confirmed. Rather let them leave me at leisure for conferring new grants, under the assurance that I am only to be solicited for those bounties which have not already been obtained, and which the happier fortune of the empire has put it in my power to bestow.”
From the Same to Tullius Justus

“Since I have publicly decreed that all acts begun and accomplished in former reigns should be confirmed, the letters of Domitian must remain valid.”
Note 1. The provinces were divided into a kind of circuits called conventus, whither the proconsuls used to go in order to administer justice. The judges here mentioned must not be understood to mean the same sort of judicial officers as with us; they rather answered to our juries M. [back]
Note 2. By the imperial constitutions the philosophers were exempted from all public functions. Catanæus. M. [back]
Note 3. About $24,000. [back]
Note 4. Geographers are not agreed where to place this city; Cellarius conjectures it may possibly be the same with Prusa ad Olympum, Prusa at the foot of Mount Olympus in Mysia. M. [back]
Note 5. Domitian. [back]


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.