Pliny: A Novel

Who was Pliny the Elder?

Pliny the Elder, or Gaius Plinius Secundus, was an ancient Roman scientist, essayist, and thinker, probably the greatest mind of the first century AD. He had an office right next door to what later became the Porta Nigra in Trier.

What was he doing there, hundreds of miles away from his home in Rome? Trier was the oldest Roman city in Germany. He had been appointed Governor of the Province of Germany probably by the Emperor Vespasian and his son, the Emperor Titus. No doubt he studied the birds there as well as the flora and fauna since he was the first to write an encyclopedia called the Natural History, which was influential for centuries.

He was carrying on business as usual here early in the summer of 79AD before packing his bags and returning home for a summer at the seaside south of Rome at one of his villas near the Vesuvius Volcano which unknown to any mortal that summer was about to erupt.

According to legend that is how Pliny died. He was leading an expedition to save those too near the volcano when the volcano sent a rain of ash down upon him. Italian archaeologist now think they may have discovered his remains in a ship in the Bay of Naples near the volcano.  See article on the website.

But the novel offers a different explanation for his mysterious disappearance. He was being pursued by German warriors for writing a derisive work about their peoples and culture called the Germania.

But did he escape or not? Pliny: A Novel may present surprising answers. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.

 

 

Karl Bryullov’s “The Last Day of Pompeii”

Coin depicting the Emperor Titus.

Was Pliny the Elder the unsung hero of the Vesuvius eruption?

 

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