In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny Kindle ↠
- In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny
- Daisy Dunn
- 09 September 2019 Daisy Dunn
Ash spewed into the sky All eyes were on Vesuvius Pliny the Elder sailed towards the phenomenon A teenage Pliny the Younger waited His uncle did not come backIn a dazzling new literary biography, Daisy Dunn introduces Pliny the Younger, the survivor who became a Roman lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, curator of drains, and representative of the Emperor He was confidant and friend to the great and good, an unparalleled chronicler of the Vesuvius catastrophe, and eyewitness to the terror of Emperor DomitianThe younger Pliny was adopted by his uncle, admiral of the fleet and author of the Natural History, an extraordinary compendium of knowledge and the world s first full length encyclopaedia The younger Pliny inherited his uncle s notebooks and carried their pearls of wisdom with him down the yearsDaisy Dunn breathes vivid life back into the Plinys Reading from the Natural History and the Younger Pliny s Letters, she resurrects the relationship between the two men to expose their beliefs on life, death and the natural world in the first century Interweaving their work, and positioning the Plinys in relation to the devastating eruption, Dunn s biography is a celebration of two outstanding minds of the Roman Empire, and their lasting influence on the world thereafter The author is so well informed with the material that one feels as though one is experiencing the present as the first century AD. This book puts you right in the heart of life in the foothills of Vesuvius.A good read. Remarkable feat that the life of Pliny turned out to be an interesting and sometimes gripping read The reviews said as much so it felt worth a go The book is finely sculpted, perhaps to disguise quite well that there isn t that much to actually work with. I loved this book about Pliny the Elder and his adopted son Pliny the Younger The older man wrote an encyclopedia full of fascinating details about nature, but left very little information about himself Therefore it was down to his adopted son to record what he was like If it wasn t for Pliny the Younger we d hardly know anything about Pliny the Elder So this book looks at Pliny the Elder through the eyes of his adopted son, who is interesting in his own right, as well as the Roman world Through the writings of these two Plinies we see Rome as it was its emperors, religion and ways of life The book is arranged by the seasons of the year, which reflects their interest in the turning of nature, and makes it into something quite different from your standard history book The author s style is poetic and deserves to be savoured by being read slowly I found myself totally immersed and though new to ancient history felt I d been transported back in time. Entertaining, informative and immensely readable, Daisy Dunn s account of the life of Pliny the Younger is arranged thematically rather than chronologically, allowing her scope to explore the concentric circles that made up his world We see Pliny the lawyer, Pliny the landlord, Pliny the emperor s fixer, Pliny the husband, Pliny the nephew, and Pliny the philanthropist.The picture that emerges is of a complicated man who sometimes lacked confidence but was always determined to achieve Bullied by the sadistic emperor Domitian, infuriated by his ruthless legal colleague, Regulus, overshadowed by his friend Tacitus, devoted to his wife Calpurnia, Pliny does not always appear in as admirable a light as he would wish but he is always sympathetic.I particularly enjoyed the sense that we get of Pliny the Elder always there in the background The author of the first real encyclopaedia and a man who believed in never wasting a moment that could be spent working, Pliny the Elder was a hard act to follow and perhaps his nephew never quite lived up to the status of the great man What Daisy Dunn has managed to achieve, however, is to convey his humanity and, in doing so, she effortlessly bridges the gap between our modern age and antiquity.1 like This is an exquisitely written account of the life of Pliny the Younger Dr Dunn has created a masterpiece Nature, politics, Roman life, moral dilemmas and the frailty of the human race all have starring roles Packed full of historical details, delivered seemingly effortlessly through Dr Dunn s thorough academic research a diligence Pliny himself surely would have admired , it is also a compelling and empathetic character study Pliny may have been a pedant and a perfectionist, but he was also a devoted husband, a romantic who loved deeply and felt losses keenly, and a loyal nephew to his arguably better known uncle, Pliny the Elder He was also hyper anxious about his legacy to the world Pliny need not have worried in Dr Dunn s capable hands his fascinating story will delight thousands not just today but for generations to come. I took this book with me on vacation and it did not disappoint The author weaves in the right amount of history, natural history and human character while creating a very palpable atmosphere of a time long gone Roman empire While many people associate the name Pliny with Pompeii only, this volume covers the life of both Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Young and they both come alive as very distinctive characters.Even if your knowledge of Roman history is not very strong I encourage you to give it a try It might wet your curiosity for. I was really hoping for a book which would engage my attention and tell me a lot about Pliny and his times What I got was a bizarre lucky dip of information, of variable relevance, which I found it increasingly difficult to process, never mind absorb In the end I gave up, which is rare for me.