Two reviews of Pliny and the Eruption of Vesuvius have come out, one by Margot Neger in BMCR, and one by Paolo Bernardini in La Provincia di Como (here is the PDF and a translation). I should note that the Addenda et Corrigenda on the publisher’s website has also been updated, in order to address the few but unfortunate errors in the text; thank you to colleagues and reviewers for pointing those out.
Tag Archives: Pliny
Herculaneum Society: Pliny the Younger and the Date and Sequence of the Vesuvian Eruption
Two talks for the Herculaneum Society, based at Oxford, 26 February 2022, now on YouTube:
- Professor Pedar Foss, DePauw University, on “Ashy Tuesday-Wednesday: The Date and Sequence of the AD 79 Eruption;”
- Professor Roy Gibson, Durham University, on “From Como to the Bay of Naples: Pliny’s Epistolary Italy.”
Pliny and the Eruption of Vesuvius – publication March 2022
Pliny and the Eruption of Vesuvius (Routledge, March 2022) is in press. Here is how to order for your library at a 20% discount. My blog posts about the Vesuvius eruption are well obsolete, but I will leave them as-is for archival purposes. The book is about Letters 6.16 and 6.20, and contains these chapters:
- Two Plinys: Short biographies of the Elder and Younger Pliny, setting the context for the Vesuvian letters.
- 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 and available extant manuscript and early printed edition of the text of those letters (which has never been done before).
- 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. In addition, this chapter treats the date of the eruption, both in the manuscript tradition, and in the archaeological evidence. It shows, 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.
- Epistulae 6.16, The Elder’s Story: Text, textual variants, new translation, and detailed commentary.
- Epistulae 6.20, The Younger’s Story: Text, textual variants, new translation, and detailed commentary.
Routledge will also host the data files behind the arguments in their Online Resources. Those will include:
- A side-by-side continuous Latin and English translation of Epp. 6.16, 6.20, including the collation markers (PDF).
- Ep. 6.16 Inventory of Sources and Collation (Excel spreadsheet).
- Ep. 6.20 Inventory of Sources and Collation (Excel spreadsheet).
- Epp. 6.16 and 6.20 Collation “Fingerprints” — the key readings that decipher the manuscript tradition (Excel spreadsheet).
- Select Collation of Epp. 1.8, 12, 23-24 — key readings to understand the manuscript tradition for Epp. 1.1-5.6 and the F source (PDF).
- Select Collation of Book 8 Letters — key readings to understand the manuscript tradition for the theta branch of the manuscript tradition (PDF).
- Collation Encoding Key (how manuscript abbreviations in items 2-6 are encoded in the collation spreadsheets) (PDF).
- Continuous Color Diagram for the Manuscript Tradition (PDF).
- Continuous Halftone Diagram of the Eruption Sequence (PDF).
- Geographic Information System (GIS) of the pre-eruption Bay of Naples in AD 79 (ArcGIS folder).
Please cite my work appropriately. Thank you.
Translating Pliny’s letters about Vesuvius, pt. 1. The Manuscripts
This post begins 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 was the disaster that buried Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other sites. These posts are part of a book project that intends to understand the scholarly and popular reception of those letters. I am teaching these letters for LAT 223 at DePauw in Fall 2012; it’s a good time to start.