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Elder And Better: The Naturalis Historia And The Letters Of The Younger Pliny

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the early reception of the Natural History in the Letters of Pliny's nephew and adopted son, and tackles two main issues. First, the author offers evidence against the assumption that the Younger Pliny cared little about or had scant knowledge of the actual contents of the Natural History and, more importantly, argues that the Younger expected his readers to be familiar with the text of that work. Secondly, the author looks at the puzzle of the Younger's own placement of the Natural History in final position as the crowning opus of Pliny's literary career (in Ep. 3.5), in direct contravention of the latter's estimate of the relative value of his final works in the preface to the Natural History.

Keywords: Natural History; Pliny



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