In the Shadow of Vesuvius - A Life of Pliny

by Daisy Dunn

Hardcover, 2019



Call number



William Collins (2019), 324 pages


""A wonderfully rich, witty, insightful, and wide-ranging portrait of the two Plinys and their world."-Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live. When Pliny the Elder perished at Stabiae during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, he left behind an enormous compendium of knowledge, his thirty-seven-volume Natural History, and a teenaged nephew who revered him as a father. Grieving his loss, Pliny the Younger inherited the Elder's notebooks-filled with pearls of wisdom-and his legacy. At its heart, The Shadow of Vesuvius is a literary biography of the younger man, who would grow up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, and chronicler of the Roman Empire from the dire days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of Emperor Trajan. A biography that will appeal to lovers of Mary Beard books, it is also a moving narrative about the profound influence of a father figure on his adopted son. Interweaving the younger Pliny's Letters with extracts from the Elder's Natural History, Daisy Dunn paints a vivid, compellingly readable portrait of two of antiquity's greatest minds"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member janerawoof
Unusual and spellbinding biography of Pliny the Younger, with much mention of Pliny the Elder and the latter's influence on him. Divided thematically into several parts, called by the names of seasons, from "Aut-" cycling through to another "umn" each begins with something of that season, branching
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off into other facets of Pliny's life, times, and personality. The impressive Como Cathedral is graced with statues of Como's two native sons, "pagans" though they be. Pliny the Younger was especially generous to his hometown.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member VictoriaJZ
Enjoyed reading this, learning a lot about both Pliny’s and history of Rome in the first Century.


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Physical description

324 p.; 6.26 inches


0008211094 / 9780008211097

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