6.16.4-6: A Strange Cloud
This post belongs to a serialized translation and commentary of Pliny the Younger’s letters (6.16 and 6.20) to the historian Tacitus about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. This is the second installment for letter 6.16.
The Younger Pliny now begins the tale that Tacitus has asked him to share. It is critical to remember that the real subject of, and reason for, these letters, is to honor the life and memory of the Elder Pliny–not to describe a volcanic eruption and its effects–though it was the latter that the Elder Pliny was interested in recording that day, as we will see later on.
This post will also consider the date of the eruption in some detail.
4 Erat Miseni classemque imperio praesens regebat. Nonum kal. Septembres hora fere septima mater mea indicat ei adparere nubem inusitata et magnitudine et specie.
4 He (Elder Pliny) was at Misenum and he was in command of the fleet. On the ninth day before the first of September at about the seventh hour, my mother indicates to him that a cloud of unusual size and shape is appearing. Continue reading