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Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113).  Letters.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
LXXI. To the Emperor Trajan
 
 
A VERY considerable question, Sir, in which the whole province is interested, has been lately started, concerning the state 1 and maintenance of deserted children. 2 I have examined the constitutions of former princes upon this head, but not finding anything in them relating, either in general or particular, to the Bithynians, I thought it necessary to apply to you for your directions: for in a point which seems to require the special interposition of your authority, I could not content myself with following precedents. An edict of the emperor Augustus (as pretended) was read to me, concerning one Annia; as also a letter from Vespasian to the Lacedæmonians, and another from Titus to the same, with one likewise from him to the Achæans, also some letters from Domitian, directed to the proconsuls Avidius Nigrinus and Armenius Brocchus, together with one from that prince to the Lacedæmonians: but I have not transmitted them to you, as they were not correct (and some of them too of doubtful authenticity), and also because I imagine the true copies are preserved in your archives.  1
 
Note 1. That is, whether they should be considered in a state of freedom or slavery. M. [back]
Note 2. “Parents throughout the entire ancient world had the right to expose their children and leave them to their fate. Hence would sometimes arise the question whether such a child, if found and brought up by another, was entitled to his freedom, whether also the person thus adopting him must grant him his freedom without repayment for the cost of maintenance.” Church and Brodribb. [back]
 

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