• Translating Pliny’s Letters about Vesuvius – update

    The blog posts about the Vesuvius eruption are on hold while I complete my book, Pliny and the Destruction of Vesuvius (Routledge, 2021). The book is about Letters 6.16 and 6.20, and has these chapters:

    1. Two Plinys: Short biographies of the Elder and Younger Pliny, setting the context for the Vesuvian letters;
    2. Two Letters: A reconstruction of the transmission history of Epp. 6.16 and 6.20 within the context of the whole manuscript tradition of the Epistulae. This is based on the collation of every known extant manuscript and early printed edition of the text of those letters (which has never been done before). It will show, among other things, how ‘November’ crept into the manuscript tradition as an error, how that error was propagated, and why the textual tradition cannot be used as a basis for arguing that the eruption happened in October or November, despite the repeated citation of problematic 17th-/18th-c. scholarship and recent press favoring a non-August date. Previews of my argument and evidence will be given at public lectures in Tampa Bay (Archaeological Institute of America, 6:00 p.m., 29 Oct. 2019), San Francisco St. University (18 Nov. 2019), Milwaukee (Archaeological Institute of America, 9 Feb. 2020), Spokane (Archaeological Institute of America, 20 Feb. 2020), and Knoxville (Archaeological Institute of America, 10 Mar. 2020).
    3. Two Days: a reconstruction, based on the latest volcanological studies and a new complete GIS model of the AD-79 topography of the Bay of Naples, of the eruption sequence, its effects upon the landscape and people of the Bay of Naples, and how those new studies enlighten the accounts in Pliny’s Epistulae, including the likely location of the Pliny’s villa from which the eruption was first spotted.
    4. Epistulae 6.16, The Elder’s Story: Text, new translation, and commentary;
    5. Epistulae 6.20, The Younger’s Story: Text, new translation, and commentary;
    6. An appendix of the manuscripts and printed editions, with a link to spreadsheets of the collations of Epp. 6.16 and 6.20, which will then be posted on this blog for public availability and study.

    Thank you kindly for your patience.