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Pliny the elder
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Pliny the elder

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  • 1. Ginnings, Cameron<br />Latin- A3<br />Hustwit<br />May17, 2010<br />Pliny the Elder<br />Gaius Plinius Secundus, known in English as Pliny the Elder, was born in Novum Comum which is modern day Como in Italy in 23 AD. Pliny was an author, philosopher, and at one time, a soldier in the military. He is well known for these works which are still studied today as insight into the Roman world.<br /> Not much is known about his family other than the fact that he had a sister and his father was a part of the equestrian class. Some sources say that he was the son of Gaius Plinius Celer, and his wife, Marcella. What is known for sure, though, is that Pliny had a nephew who later on became his adopted son and is known by the name Pliny the Younger. Pliny received his education in Rome where he studied literature, oratory, law, and military training. When he was twenty-three years old, he served in the army in Germany. Pliny became fond of the military and was eventually promoted a commander of the cavalry. It is from his experiences in the army that led him to write his first book that involved his knowledge of German military tactics such as spear throwing that he wanted to share with those that had not shared his experiences. Though, Pliny’s best-known work, as well as the only surviving work, is his book, Historia Naturalis (Natural History). In this book, Pliny describes many topics including, zoology, botany, astronomy medicine, cosmology, mineralogy, metallurgy, agriculture, and geography. It was made up of 37 books. During the middle ages, this book was used as a source of education.<br />The story of Pliny the Elder’s death is an interesting one as told by his nephew and adopted son, Pliny the Younger. When Pliny the Elder heard about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which was responsible for the destruction of Pompeii, he and a crew of men went on a ship to try and rescue a friend and his family. As, the story goes, the wind kept was so strong that it kept the ship from leaving the Vesuvius area and the toxic fumes from the volcano caused his death. The fact that no one else that was a part of the crew died suggests that he may have died from natural causes, but nonetheless Pliny the Elder died in 79 AD.<br />

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