Pliny the Younger to his wife, Calpurnia

The Lovers
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus
(A.D. 61/62-c. 113)
Roman lawyer and writer known as Pliny the Younger, left a collection of letters that gives the most complete picture available of public and private life in Rome at the end of the 1st century. He was born in northern Italy at Novum Comum (now Como) and adopted as heir by his uncle, the scientist and historian Pliny the Elder. Practicing law from the age of 18, his honesty and financial skills brought him success in inheritance cases and as the prosecutor of corrupt officials. His various administrative poets included president of the board in charge of Rome's drainage, head of the military and senatorial treasuries, and the high state offices of praetor in 93 and consul in 100. In 111 he was sent by the emperor Trajan to investigate municipal incompentence and corruption in the Black Sea provinces of Bithynia and Pontus, but died there two years later at the age of 50. Pliny married three times, his first two wives dying young and childless. His marriage to Calpurnia took place in A.D. 100, the year he became consul. His wide interests included literature, civil engineering, practical farm management, building plans for is villas (including elaborate watering systems for the gardens), and the quiet beauties of landscape and nature.
(c. A.D. 86-d.?)
Like Pliny, was born in Comum. Orphaned at an early age, she was brought up by her wealthy grandfather, Calpurnius Fabatus, the manager of Pliny's large estates, and by her aunt Calpurnia Hispula. She married Pliny when she was probably in her early teens, and traveled with him to Bithynia. In his last surviving letter, he told the emperor Trajan that he had issued her a permit (which he should not have done without the emperor's permission) enabling her to return home quickly so that she could be with her bereaved aunt after the death of her grandfather. While she was away, Pliny himself died.

c. A.D. 100

You say that you are feeling my absence very much, and your only comfort when I am not there is to hold my writings in your hand and often put them in my place by your side. I like to think that you miss me and find relief in this sort of consolation. I, too, am always reading your letters, and returning to them again and again as if they were new to me--but this only fans the fire of my longing for you. If your letters are so dear to me, you can imagine how I delight in your company; do write as often as you can, although you give me pleasure mingled with pain.

Their Story




Text from
Famous Love Letters
Messages of Intimacy and Passion
Edited by Ronald Tamplin