Speeches in the Letters of Pliny

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Speeches in the Letters of Pliny
COTTERMAN, BILLIE J. ( Author, Primary )
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Copyright 2006 by Billie J. Cotterman


iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank the me mbers of my thesis committ ee, Dr. Victoria Pagán, Dr. Lewis Sussman, and Dr. Jennifer Rea, for thei r guidance and advice during the writing of this thesis. I would like to thank my mo m for her support throughout my undergraduate and graduate career. And finally, I would like to thank P.G. Wodehouse and Stephen Fry for keeping me sane.


iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..v CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW................................................................................1 2 SPEECHES OF OTHERS............................................................................................9 Contemporary Orators..................................................................................................9 Historical Orators........................................................................................................17 3 SPEECHES OF PLINY..............................................................................................22 Prosecution Cases.......................................................................................................22 Defense Cases.............................................................................................................25 Summary of Speeches.................................................................................................28 4 THE PANEGYRICUS OF PLINY..............................................................................31 Background of the Panegyricus..................................................................................31 Letters Specifically Refe rring to the Panegyricus......................................................33 Praise......................................................................................................................... ..36 Brevity........................................................................................................................ 38 Revision and Publication............................................................................................39 5 CONCLUSION...........................................................................................................41 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................43 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................45


v Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts SPEECHES IN THE LETTERS OF PLINY By Billie J. Cotterman August 2006 Chair: Victoria Pagán Major Department: Classics Pliny the Younger was one of the leading men during the reigns of Domitian, Nerva, and Trajan, and as such he was a fr iend to those who suffered and perished during the reign of Domitian and those who survived to see the period known as "The Five Good Emperors." During his lifetime, Pliny wrote and published ten books of personal correspondence and several speeches, only one of which, the Panegyricus , survives. This thesis compares the references about speeches in Pliny's letters to Pliny's only surviving speech, the Panegyricus , in order to learn some of P liny's ideals for oratory and how those ideals translated to actual practice. The first chapter is a brief overview of le tters and speeches in general, and Pliny's letters and speeches in particular. The second chapter is concerned wi th the speeches of other people whom Pliny writes about in his letters and is br oken down into historical and contemporary orators. The third chapter is concerned with the accounts of speeches that Pliny delivers and some of their general char acteristics. The second and third chapters rely on letters alone for Pliny's attitudes towa rds oratory. Finally, th e fourth chapter is a


vi case study of the Panegyricus and how Pliny discusses it. In the concluding chapter, I shall draw out Pliny's oratorical idea ls and changes of attitude over time.


1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW If we compare the references about speech es in Pliny's letters to Pliny's only surviving speech, the Panegyricus , then we can learn some of Pliny's ideals for oratory and how those ideals translated to actual practice. While it may be useful to compare the letter s of any author to his speeches, I have chosen to concentrate my study on Pliny for several reasons. Pliny was writing during a time of relative political, economic, and social stability, because of which, many variables that may influence either the lett ers or the speech have been reduced. This reduction offers a clearer picture of the transfer of theory into practic e. In addition, Pliny liked to write about literature. He was a high ly educated aristocrat and was therefore able to turn his attention to matters of oratory and poetry. His discussion of oratory in the letters and the extant Panegyricus provide an unusual opportunity to study two interrelated facets of his literary career. There are, of course, some shortcomings to the project; most obvious is the fact that only the Panegyricus survives. The rest of Pliny's sp eeches have not, including all of his forensic speeches. Second, the characteristics of the genre of epideictic oratory mean that Pliny wrote his Panegyricus in a prescribed way. The Panegyricus contains excessive praise, ornate style, the free use of rhet orical devices, and is extraordinarily long. These shortcomings, however, are balanced by several advantages. First, at least the Panegyricus has survived in its entirety. It was greatly influential for the later panegyrics of the third and fourth centurie s. We know the circumstances surrounding its


2 production, and we have Pliny's letters which discuss the Panegyricus . Although an epideictic speech is a one-sided speech, it is complete in the sense that the other side is not missing, as is usually the case in forensic sp eeches. It is important to remember that the conclusions drawn in this thesis come fr om this exceptional case; however, I believe that this thesis, despite these draw backs, will be useful and helpful. A letter follows certain conventions. It is a form of communica tion that is written by one person and directed to another. The a ddresser and addressee may be either real or fictional.1 Letters can be formal or informal, structured or freely written, and filled with information or gossip. The Greeks recognized th e letter as a form similar to a dialogue, but there is little precedent for the pub lication of actual co rrespondence until Cicero (Sherwin-White 1966, 1-2). The earliest physic ally surviving letter s were written onto thin lead sheets and date to roughly 500 BCE (Trapp 2003, 6). The first letters written and later published seem to be those of the philosopher Epicurus (Trapp 2003, 12). Trapp breaks collections of le tters down into five categories: (1) letters written to be sent and never published, (2) letters writ ten to be sent and later released for publication, (3) letters written w ithout the intention of sending to the addressee but rather for publication only, (4) letters written by an impersonator and in tended for publication, and finally (5) letters written by and addre ssed to invented char acters (Trapp 2003, 3). Pliny's letters fall in to the second category. There are three reasons to publish letters orig inally written to a private audience: to enhance one's reputation by building persona l monuments; to document a period of history or an event; to preser ve lessons or fine writing. Unlike Cicero's collection of 1 Examples of fictional addresser/addressees include the Heroides of Ovid. There are also the letters of Paul, whose addressees are collective groups of people.


3 correspondence, most of PlinyÂ’s letters we re published during Pliny's lifetime (Trapp 2003, 12). Pliny's Epistulae is divided into ten books: Books 1-9 are written to various people concerning various topics while Book 10 is Pliny's official correspondence to Trajan during Pliny's governorship of Bithynia, whic h includes the emperor's replies. As a general rule, each letter deals with a specific topic and is short (Sherwin-White 1966, 3). For the purpose of this study, I have not in cluded any letters from Book 10. First, because the letters in Book 10 are official correspondence and are all written to one addressee, they differ vastly in tone and content to Books 19. Letters to friends cover a wide range of topics, while th e letters to Trajan deal mainly with official problems and concerns in Bithynia. Second is the i ssue of audience. The addressee of the Panegyricus is Trajan. I am concerned with what Pliny sa ys to his friends about literature and oratory, not what he says in official correspo ndence to the man for whom he wrote the Panegyricus . Two questions have yet to be answered defini tively: are the letters real letters and if they are real letters, how extensively we re they revised before publication? The authenticity of the letters and their subseque nt revision also beg the question of when and how were the letters published. Unlike Seneca' s collection of letters that were clearly written for publication, the case of Pliny's lette rs is not so clear-cut. Pliny could have either written his letters expressly for publi cation or as private correspondence, which were then revised for publica tion. I believe that the latter is more probable because the addressees are "real" people who appear in external sources and because the content of the letters is so varied and occasional.


4 If the letter is intended for publication, then the integrity of the letter changes. On the other hand, if the letter is intended only for the eyes of th e addressee, it is likely to convey a greater degree of honesty. Letters often provide mundane details about everyday life or details about it ems that would most likely no t be contained in a speech, such as Pliny's letters about ghost stories and dolphins or the love letter to Pliny's third wife. The format and content of the letter ar e up to Pliny's imagination, unlike a forensic speech whose subject is dictated by necessity. Such speeches are composed on behalf of a client; letters are concerne d with countless scenarios. Letters contain humor and colloquialisms that the aristocracy of the period thought proper to use, items excluded from the genre of oratory. Letters also aim at a different audience. Unlike a speech in which the orator is speaking before the senate or law courts (incl uding the judge and jury ), the people, or the princeps (whose general personality traits are known), a letter is written to a specific person with a unique personality. Sometimes Pliny writes to a person in an official capacity, but more often he writes to him or her as a friend and a colleague. The perspectives of each addressee change, and so does Pliny's perspective and objective. Letters show the writer's hope for the pa st, present, and future. Letters and speeches are both "in the moment"; that is, they are written for a specific event. Letters can display either the persona lity of an individual or th e personality expected by the audience. Thus, letters can demonstrate acceptable versus unacceptable behavior. Letters are a private genre which can be published publicly, while speeches are a public genre which can be published privately. For ex ample, Cicero sent a copy of his improved speech to Milo and published his orations against Verres without actually performing


5 them. Finally, letters can show the change of opinion or attitude over time. As I hope to demonstrate in the fourth chapter, Pliny's attitude towards revision and other literary concerns changes as the letters (and thus the years) progress. There are some things that letters cannot do. Letters cannot prove or disprove honesty or partiality, and they cannot prove sin cerity. Letters create their own reality and interact with the sec ond half of a dialogue that is missi ng. The writer anticipates what the addressee is thinking and modi fies his words to suit the addressee (Stirewalt 1993, 3). While the second half of the dialogue may be r ecreated to a point, it can never be fully realized since only one part of the interaction survives. The goal of this thesis is to compare the letters to a speech, so we need to define the art of speaking as Pliny practiced it. Oratory is the art of elo quent speech and is a part of rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Oratory is divided into thr ee main categories: judicial, deliberative, and epideictic. Judicial oratory (both defense and prosecution) takes place in the courts and deals with both criminal and ci vil cases. Trials were held either in one of the assemblies (usually presided over by a praetor), the centumviral court, which took over civil cases such as propert y and inheritance disputes, or special judicial commissions (called quaestiones ) (Kennedy 1972, 1-17). Deliberative oratory includes speeches befo re the various assemblies or the army, or for the purpose of political campai gning. Two of the most common types are contio (any speech not given in the Senate) and sententiae (the advice of a senator given during a session of the Senate) (Kennedy 1972, 18-21) . During the empire, the need for deliberative oratory declined greatly; few desired to challenge the emperor or his


6 supporters. However, deliberative oratory was used to advise or inform the princeps (Kennedy 1972, 430-1). Epideictic oratory was not as prominent in Rome during the Republic. It consisted mainly of the laudatio funebris or funeral speech which praised the deceased and his or her family (Kennedy 1972, 21-2). Du ring the first century CE, the actio gratiarum became more important (Kennedy 1972, 429). The actio gratiarum is a speech of thanks in return for election to the consulship. During the republic, this speech was addressed to the people; during the principa te, it was addressed to the gods and princeps (Nixon 1994, 2-3; Kennedy 1972, 429). When Pliny became consul, the gratiarum actio that he delivered became known as the Panegyricus (which I will discuss in more detail in chapter 4) and thus it falls into the category of epideictic oratory. Pliny, however , tells us that he wr ote and gave several judicial speeches in the courts as well as served as a memb er of the centumviral court and the advisory council of Trajan. Both Tacitus and he were regarded as the premier orators of their day. Pliny himsel f studied under Quintilian. There are several reasons why it is useful to compare the letters of Pliny with the Panegyricus . First, the change in audience offers a change in the information presented. It is obvious that Pliny may say one thing to flatter in a public speech but something completely different when the letter is priv ate and to a different audience. Although we are unable to decide what Pli ny truly believed, this dissonan ce between the letters and the speech (and among the individual letters themselv es) can show the ultimate goal, ideals, and the thought process of th e author and especially any changes to these ideas over a


7 period of years. Thus, such a study compleme nts the biography of P liny that we receive through his letters alone. The Panegyricus is significant because it is the first extant speech which follows the development of the gratiarum actio of the consuls and the Pro Marcello of Cicero, an epideictic speech praising and advi sing the new dictator, Caesar. The Panegyricus is also part of a smaller group of speeches in which there is a corresponding set of letters by the author (for example, Cicero, Fronto, and Saint Augustine). Letters allow for an analysis of the writing process of speeches by providing information not available from a speech itself, such as the circumstances, audience reaction, and author reaction. Third, the letters give a background for th e speech that is both historical and personal. The speech itself means less when the circumstances surrounding its composition and delivery are unknown. In this same way, the letters also provide a resolution to the action, acting as a sort of epilogue, and can provide us with the information as to whether or not the speech was successful. I have made some basic assumptions a bout Pliny that affect how I read and interpret the letters. Pliny wrote these letter s as real letters intende d to be sent to the addressee. He then revised them to an uns pecified degree for publication, keeping them in basic chronological orde r but not precisely so. As Pliny writes in 1.1.1, collegi non servato temporis ordine neque enim hist oriam componebam, sed ut quaeque in manus venerat . PlinyÂ’s revisions of both the letters and the Panegyricus were at least partially concerned with enhancing his own reputation. I also assume some degree of honesty in PlinyÂ’s writings and presentation of hims elf. Finally, I follow Sherwin-White's


8 chronology, with a few exceptions, for both the da tes of the letters/books and the dates of publication (1966, 41). This thesis now proceeds into three major parts. Chapter 2 is concerned with the speeches of other people whom Pliny writes a bout in his letters and is broken down into historical and contemporary or ators. Chapter 3 is con cerned with the accounts of speeches that Pliny delivers and some of thei r general characteristics. Chapters 2 and 3 rely on letters alone for Pliny's attitudes to wards oratory. Finally, Chapter 4 is a case study of the Panegyricus and how Pliny discusses it. In the concluding chapter, I draw out Pliny's oratorical ideals a nd changes of atti tude over time.


9 CHAPTER 2 SPEECHES OF OTHERS This chapter looks at the way in which P liny refers to the speeches of others. Specifically I look at the rela tionships of Pliny's contempor aries with Pliny himself and how they meet or do not meet Pliny's ideals for a good orator. This chapter is further broken down into contemporary an d historical personalities. None of the speeches of the contemporaries of Pliny surv ive, and so we rely on the letters alone; however, the speeches of the hist orical orators do survive. Rather than compare Pliny's assessments to the extant speeches, for the purpose of this paper it is more useful to focus on Pliny's assessments of the historical orat ors and compare them with the judgment of himself that emerges in the next chapter. To a certain extent, Pliny shapes what we think about Demo sthenes, Aeschines, and Cicero. Contemporary Orators Publius Cornelius Tacitus was born in 55-57 CE, the son (or nephew) of the procurator of Belgica.1 In 77 CE, he was betrothed to the daughter of Julius Agricola, whose biography he later wrote. He served as quaestor in 81 or 82 CE and then praetor in 88 CE, during which he also gained a prie sthood. During the second half of 97 CE, he became suffect consul, and his only know activ ity during his consulship is the funeral oration of Verginius Rufus ( Ep . 2.1). Tacitus and Pliny we re instructed to act as advocates for the provincials during the tria l of Marius Priscus, over which trial the 1 For the problem of dating Tacitus' birth, see Syme 1958, 63. For the problem of the identification of Tacitus' father as the procurator of Belgica, see Syme 1958, 63 n.5.


10 princeps Trajan presided ( Ep. 2.11). After the case ended in January 100 CE, Tacitus left Rome several times, once to be proconsul of Africa in either 112 or 113 CE. His career after his proconsulship and the date when he died are unknown, althoug h it is thought that he outlived Pliny (Syme 1958, 63-70). As far as we know, Tacitus wrote five works. Agricola is a biography about his father-in-law written around 97-8 CE. Germania is an ethnographical treatise written around 98-9 CE (Syme 1958, 129). Dialogus is a dialogue about or atory whose date of publication is unknown. Syme speculates that the Dialogus was published sometime after 107 CE (1958, 112-113). The Historiae is a history coveri ng the years 69-96 CE, and was published in chunks between 105-109 CE (Syme 1958, 117-9). The Annales is another history covering the years 14-68 CE. There is doubt as to whether the work was completed, although it seems that Tacitu s at least starte d to publish the Annales in 116 CE (Syme 1958, 360; 471). 2 Tacitus seems to be one of Pliny's most cherished acquaintances and one of the few contemporary men whom Pliny looked up to and tr ied to emulate. Pliny refers to Tacitus as an eloquentissimus laudator ( Ep . 2.1.6). After the trial of Pr iscus, Cornutus Tertullus (suffect consul in 100 CE with Pliny) stated in a speech that both Tacitus and Pliny had discharged their duties correctly ( Ep . 2.11.19). Pliny introduces Asinius Rufus to Minicius Fundanus (the addre ssee of 4.15) and adds that Asinius Rufus is a friend of Tacitus. Pliny writes that if Minicius likes both Tacitus and him, then he will like Asinius Rufus. In 9.23, Pliny writes that he is delighted to be confused with Tacitus by 2 Rutledge puts preliminary research in 108-9 CE and completion of the first two books at 114-5 CE (1998, 143).


11 others and that both he and Tacitus are fam iliar to others via their forensic oratory (Sherwin-White 1966, 605). Pliny writes several le tters to Tacitus, two of which are the famous letters about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and th e death of Pliny the Elder ( Ep . 6.16; 6.20). In 1.20 Pliny details an argument about brevity, which he has had with another orator. He asks if Tacitus agrees, but playfully says that if T acitus agrees with the proponents of brevity, then he should write a long letter in response. Proinde, si non errare videor , id ipsum quam voles brevi epistula, sed tamen scribe (confirmabis enim iudicium meum); si er raro, longissimam para. Num corrupi te, qui tibi si mihi accederes brevis epistulae necessitatem, si dissentires longissimae imposui? ( Ep . 1.20.25) Pliny and Tacitus edit each other's material , and Pliny often writes that an eternal literary relationship between Pli ny and Tacitus w ould please him ( Ep. 7.20; 8.7; 9.14). Pliny is confident that Tacitus' Historiae will be immortal and thus is anxious to appear in them ( Ep. 7.33), even though Tacitus is ne ver satisfied with himself ( Ep . 9.14). If Tacitus is Pliny's ideal orator, then M. Aquilius Regul us is the opposite. Regulus was a praetorian senator and the half -brother of Vipstanus Messalla (Tac. His . 4.42). Pliny details that Regulus has weak lungs, poor articulation, a stammer, the inability to choose correct words, and no memory ( Ep . 4.7.4). Not only did Regulus suffer as an orator because of these poor physical qualities, but also he possessed a flawed character and reputation. He made his fame as a delator in the time of Nero and Domitian, and in 1.5 Pliny contemplates prosecuting Regulus in re taliation for the trap that Regulus had set in the Senate. Regulus had attempted to pres s Pliny into either sp eaking in favor of an exile (who was an important witness in the defe nse's case) or to condemn him. If Pliny spoke in favor of the exile, then he would be criticizing Domitian; if Pliny condemned the


12 exile, then he would condemn the case. Pli ny managed to give a non-answer to Regulus' question, but never forgave Regulus for trying to get him into trouble. In the letter to Tacitus on oratory, Pliny writes that Regulus prefers to aim straight for the main point and hang onto it ( Ep . 1.20). Pliny wryly adds that Regulus often misses the point and hangs onto whatever he grabs. Regulus is a man who abandons his associat es. He possesses an unstable and rash character, and he often ac ts before he thinks ( Ep . 2.11). He also has no qualms about visiting wealthy, sick people and forci ng them to add him to their wills ( Ep. 2.20), which is one of the ways he has become so very wealthy. Pliny writes about the death and funeral of RegulusÂ’ son in terms that are somewhat surprising in their nastiness ( Ep. 4.2; 4.7). Regulus used the boy to obtain more money and uses the boyÂ’s death as an excuse for extravagance nec dolor erat ille, sed ostentatio doloris ( Ep . 4.2.4). Regulus even has all sorts of statues and portraits made of his son and recites the life of the young boy in public, which Pliny says is more suitable for laughter than tears ( Ep . 4.7). Pliny marvels at the pe ople who hate Regulus but flock to him in public, and is disgusted that Regul us has spoken about remarrying while still in a period of mourning ( Ep . 4.2.6-7). Pliny mourns the loss of what good deeds could have been done if only Regulus had applied himself positively ( Ep . 4.7.3). In 6.2, Pliny writes that he often misses Regulus because he valued oratory, although he lacked the necessary skills of or atory and was highly superstitious. In the courts, Regulus would invite an audience a nd apply for an unlimited amount of speaking time, which worked to the advantage of a nyone who was working with Regulus. Pliny


13 then adds that the best thi ng Regulus has done was die, a nd he should have died sooner ( Sed utcumque se habent ista, bene fec it Regulus quod est mortuus: melius, si ante ). Let us now turn our attention to some of PlinyÂ’s other contemporaries. Herennius Senecio was a senator from Baetica in Spai n, where he also served as quaestor ( Ep. 7.33.5). Dio states that Domitia n had Herennius Senecio killed because he chose to hold no office after the quaestorship and because he wrote a biography of Helvidius Priscus (67.13). Tacitus states in Agricola 2 that Senecio's biography of Priscus was banned and ordered to be burned. Tacitus laments the d eath of Senecio and the shame of those who stood by ( Ag . 45). The wife of Helvidius Priscus, Fa nnia, testified at Senecio's trial that she had asked Senecio to write the biography about her husband, and as a result she was sent into exile. However, she was able to take with her copies of Senecio's biography, thus saving it from being burned ( Ep . 7.19). In 1.5, written several years after the deat h of Herennius Senecio, Regulus speaks so violently about Senecio that the man who prosecuted Senecio, Mettius Carus, asked why Regulus kept talking about him (Sherw in-White 1966, 752). Apparently Senecio used to make fun of Regulus' oratorical style ( Ep . 4.7.5). In 7.33, written to Tacitus, Pliny is con cerned that he will appear in Tacitus' immortal works and thus writes an account of what happened after the trial of Baebius Massa, when Massa asked for the consuls to listen to his request for restitution.3 Senecio asked Pliny to work with him as they did dur ing the trial. Pliny eventually agreed, and they pled before the consuls. Massa prot ested that Senecio held personal animosity 3 See also 3.4 and 6.29, although Senecio is not mentioned in either of these letters.


14 toward him. There is confusion as to what exactly Massa accused Senecio of doing,4 but it is fairly certain that this is not the in stance in which Mettius Carus accused Senecio and had him condemned to death. In addition, Se necio spoke on behalf of Licinianus, who was accused of hiding one of the Vestal Virgin's servants on his estate ( Ep. 4.11.12). Licinianus had been accused because Domitian was angry at the backlash over his dealings with the supposedly defiled Vestal Virgin. Pompeius Saturninus was an advocate a nd a new friend of Pliny (Sherwin-White 1966, 755).5 Of the seven letters that mention Satu rninus, five of thes e are addressed to Saturninus himself. In 1.8, Saturninus has as ked to see one of Pliny's newest works, and Pliny replies that he was about to send to hi m the dedicatory speech for the new library of Comum. In 1.16 to Erucius Clarus (the eque strian advocate or his son, the consul of 117 CE), Pliny commends Pompeius Saturninus a nd his talents both in oratory and poetry. Specifically, Pliny mentions his aphorisms, pe riodic sentences, vocabulary, and says that he can be compared to the orators of old. Saturninus also writes excellent histories and poetry, and is fortunate enough to be married to a woman who can wr ite letters in the style of Plautus or Terence. Both 5.21 and 7.7 are short letters written to Saturninus, the former a response to Saturninus' news that two of Pliny's friends have died, and the latt er about their mutual friendship with Priscus, and Saturninus' compla ints about being very busy. 7.8 is written to the Priscus mentioned in 7.7; Pliny prai ses Saturninus' loyalty and virtue. In 7.15, 4 Sherwin-White states that Seneci o could not be charged with a crime by Massa because Massa had lost his right to be an accusator (1966, 446); Jones states that it is doubtful whether Domitian would have cared about such a technicality or if this technicality even ap plied to the case (1968, 1 34-5). Rogers agrees with Sherwin-White that Senecio was charged and executed at a later date, and was actually charged with treason (1960, 23). 5 Jones does not find any evidence that Pompeius Saturninus is new (1968, 132).


15 Pliny praises Saturninus' continuing friendship wi th Priscus. The final letter to Pompeius Saturninus concerns a mutual friend, Rufus, whom Saturninus has recommended to Pliny ( Ep . 9.38). Satrius Rufus was a praetorian senator whose life and career is otherwise unknown. He appears in only two letters, but ones wh ich are very important for this study, 1.5 and 9.13. At 1.5.11, Pliny recounts how Regulus asked if Pliny was still insulted about what Regulus had said several years before to P liny and Satrius Rufus. Regulus said that Rufus did not copy Cicero and was happy with the quality of or atory today. In 9.13 (written some years after the events in 1.5) , Rufus spoke in the Senate in support of Publicius Certus. Pliny says that Rufus' comment is medius and ambiguus . Pliny records Rufus' comment in oratio recta : Puto inquit iniuriam factam Publicio Certo, si non absolvitur; nominatus est ab amicis Arriae et Fanniae, nominatus ab amicis suis. Nec debemus solliciti esse; idem enim nos, qui bene sentimus de homi ne, et iudicaturi sumus. Si innocens est, sicut et spero et malo et, donec aliquid probetur, credo, poteritis absolvere. ( Ep . 9.13.17) It is unusual for Pliny to record direct quotes, although he does do so occasionally in other letters; however, it is ra re for Pliny to quote someone wh ose speech is not worthy to quote. Gaius Ummidius Quadratus was the grandson of Ummidia Quadratilla ( Ep . 7.24). He was suffect consul in 118 CE, and Sher win-White states that he was the same Ummidius Quadratus whom Hadrian persecuted (1966, 762), although Jones disagrees.6 In 6.11 to Maximus, Pliny names Ummidius Quadratus as one of two promising men pleading in the court. The favorable characteri stics that he lists include honesty, strength 6 Jones says that the man persecuted by Hadrian was a Marcus Ummidius Quadratus (1968, 130).


16 of character, pleasing appearance, accent and voice, excellent memo ry, and discretion. Pliny also states that Ummidius Qu adratus looks to him as a teacher. Pliny writes two letters to Ummidius Qu adratus. 6.29 details several of Pliny's speeches. Pliny writes that ofte n an orator is compelled to take a case that he would not normally take, although he hopes that he will be able to take cases from now on that he wishes to take. In 9.13, Ummidius Quadratus has apparently asked for the details surrounding Pliny's speech in vindication of Helvidiu s. It is one of Pliny's longest letters, and will be analyzed in more detail in the next chapter about Pliny's own speeches. While Tacitus is Pliny's ideal orator a nd the man whom Pliny admires, Pliny does not spend much time describing the reasons why T acitus is so great an orator and writer. Pliny spends more time describing the good qualities of Ummidius Quadratus and even more time denigrating the poor skills and character of Regulus. Ummidius is honest and has strength of character. He possesses a pleasing voice and accent, a good memory, and he is discrete. Ummidius employs his skills in the law courts on pr oper cases as a way of gaining prestige and celebrity. Regulus, howev er, is dishonest and has an unstable, rash character. His lungs are weak, he stam mers, and he possesses a poor memory. Moreover, he lacks discretion. He walks into the homes of ill or old people and demands to be made heirs in their wills. He employs the death of his son as a way of gaining sympathy and notoriety. PlinyÂ’s criticism of Regulus is hyperbolic . The invective in the letters about Regulus is similar in exaggeration and inte nsity as the praise in the letters about Ummidius Quadratus and in the Panegyricus . Rutledge says that PlinyÂ’s criticism of RegulusÂ’ oratorical skills should be questio ned because when Regulus appears in the


17 poetry of Martial and the Dialogus of Tacitus, he is regarded as an excellent orator and one of the best men of the city. The speeches of Regulus are apparently even circulated and admired as late as the fift h century CE (Rutledge 2001, 196-7). Historical Orators Pliny offers several historical precedents for his methods and styles of writing and oratory, but I have chosen three on which to concentrate. Demosthe nes, Aeschines, and Cicero are mentioned more often than any other famous orator. Since Pliny never mentions Aeschines without Demosthenes, I gi ve both of their biographies below so that I can discuss them together. Demosthenes was born in 384 BCE to a wea lthy family. He was trained by Isaeus in rhetoric and in the art of speaking by an actor, Satyrus. Demosthenes started as a logographer or professional speechwriter a nd eventually moved into politics. In 351 BCE, Demosthenes delivered the First Philippic against Philip of Macedonia, and in 349 BCE delivered the three Olynthiacs , which urged the Athenians to fight Philip in Olynthus rather than in Greece. In 346 BCE, Demosthenes was sent, with Aeschines, as part of a peace embassy to Philip. This em bassy produced the Peace of Philocrates and a bitter hatred between Demost henes and Aeschines. In 330 BCE, Demosthenes delivered De Corona in answer to Aeschines' In Ctesiphontem , and finally won agai nst his rival. In 324 BCE, he was accused of accepting bribes from Harpalus, Alexander the Great's treasurer, and was sent into exile. He wa s recalled in 323 BCE after Alexander's death, but fled Athens again when Antipater defeat ed the Athenian army in 322 BCE. He was tracked down by Antipater's soldiers, and kill ed himself before he could be captured (Sharrock 2002, 118-125).


18 Aeschines was born in 390 BCE to a reputab le, but low class family. His father was a teacher, and Aeschines worked as a publ ic clerk and then an actor. Aeschines' family was not able to send him to school to learn rhetoric, so he learned about oratory and rhetoric through his job as a public clerk. This job taught him about how to use the public records to add facts to his speeches and gave him ample opportunity to develop his voice, which was further develope d by his career as an actor. He was prosecuted several times, once by Timarchus, and repeatedly by Demo sthenes. Aeschines retaliated against Timarchus with In Timarchum and won; after several ba ttles with Demosthenes, Aeschines lost the case In Ctesiphontem and was publicly humiliated. Aeschines left Athens to teach rhetoric in Rhodes (Carey 2000, 8-12). In 1.2.2, Pliny states that he has tried to model himself on Demosthenes, as is the habit of the addressee, Maturus Arrianus. When Pliny writes to Tacitus about the disagreement he has had with a nother orator as to whether or not a speech should be brief or fulsome, Pliny's opponent chose Lysias while Pliny himself chose Demosthenes and Aeschines as examples of his side ( Ep . 1.20.4). Pliny is pleased when several of his friends – for the second time – have said that his speech on behalf of Attia Viriola is his De Corona ( Ep . 6.33.11), and later Julius Genitor compared Pliny's speech in vindication of Helvidius with Demosthenes' speech against Meidias ( Ep . 7.30.8). In 9.26, Lupercus has complained that some of the passages in Pliny's writings were pompous. In response, Pliny refers to Demosthenes as "the true model and exemplar of oratory" and quotes De Corona, Philippic I , De Falsa Legatione, Olynthiac II , and In Aristogeitonem by Demosthenes as well as In Ctesiphontem and In Timarchum by Aeschines. By citing these speeches, Pliny tries to demonstrate that quality of writing should be judged by


19 more than just one man at one time. Pli ny points out that Aeschi nes, the critic of Demosthenes, was not free from the fau lts of which he accused Demosthenes. Pliny tells several anecdot es about Aeschines and Demosthenes. In 2.3 while trying to prove the point that the spoken word is always better than reading a speech, Pliny tells the story that Aeschines had r ead a speech of Demosthenes in Rhodes, and after the applause said, " ". In 4.5, Pliny writes that Aeschines had read a speech of his ow n and a speech of Demosthenes and both were well received. Pliny then states that Pliny's own speech, the Panegyricus , was well received without the need for comparison or competition. In 9.23, Pliny refers to a story that appears in Cicero's Tusculanae Disputationes (5.103). In this st ory, Demosthenes is recognized by an Attic woman, and Pliny likens this story to his own experiences with Tacitus. Pliny also quotes Demosthene s in two of his vitriolic letters about Regulus. In 2.20.12, Pliny quotes De Corona 142, " ". This is a rhetorical question that leads Pliny to e xplain why he is upset about Regulus' behavior even though Regulus is not bothering Pliny himself. In 4.7.7, Pliny asks if any of his or Catius Lepidus' friends have had to read in public Re gulus' work on his son either by shouting or " " ( De Cor . 291). So much for Greek precedents; among Latin orators, Cicero is the major influence. Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on January 3, 106 BCE in Arpinum. He made his name with the Pro Roscio in 80 BCE and then served as qu aestor of Sicily in 75 BCE. In 70 BCE, he was asked to prosecute Verres, the governor of Sicily, on charges of extortion and won the case. Cicero became consul in 63 BCE, during which time he put down the


20 Catilinarian conspiracy. In 58 BCE, Cicero was prosecuted and then exiled by Clodius for executing five Catilinarian conspirators with out a trial, but then recalled from exile in 57 BCE. After the Civil Wars, Cicero was pard oned by Caesar and returned to Rome. After Caesar's assassination, Cicero wrote a series of fourteen speeches called the Philippics against Antony, which were named after Demosthenes' speech against Philip of Macedonia. When Octavian and Antony join ed forces, Cicero was proscribed. Cicero fled, but was captured and killed on December 7, 43 BCE (Sharrock 2002, 203-4). In the letter to Maturus Arri anus, Pliny states that he has tried to model himself on Demosthenes for the speech he is sending to Maturus, but has not abandoned Cicero's "lavish coloring" ( Ep . 1.2.4). Pliny writes in 1.5.11-12 th at he models himself on Cicero. Pliny writes to Silius Procul us that Silius was clever to remind him that Cicero used to encourage the talents of poets, and adds that he would be happy to read some of Silius' poems during his free time ( Ep . 3.15). In 4.8, Maturus Arrianus has told Pliny that he is happy to see Pliny be granted the same priest hood that Cicero held, because Pliny holds Cicero as a model of his literar y work. Pliny replies that he has obtained the priesthood and consulship at much earlier ages than Ci cero and hopes that he will receive some of Cicero's wisdom as well. Pliny, however, rega rds such wisdom as the sort that is only granted by the gods. Twice Pliny excuses his own writing of poetry as proper because Cicero wrote light verse in his spare time ( Ep . 5.3.8; 7.4). In his discussion of brevity versus fulsomen ess, Pliny writes th at Cicero's longest speech is generally considered his best ( Ep . 1.20.4). Pliny also cites In Verrem II as an example of a speech that is perfect because its delivery was as close as possible to the


21 written version ( Ep . 1.20.10). In 9.2, Pliny laments that he cannot follow Cicero's example because he lacks subjects to write about.7 It is little surprise that Pliny thinks so highly of both Cicer o and Demosthenes. Cicero was regarded even then as the great est Roman orator, and Cicero modeled himself on Demosthenes. Both Cicero and Demosthenes represent the Attic style of oratory, a fact that Pliny often utiliz es. Cicero and Demosthenes al so share a few coincidental events in their lives. They were both exiled, recalled from exile, and then were forced to flee their attackers. Cicero and Demosthe nes are linked by Quintilian, who lists them respectively as the greatest Latin and Greek orators ( Ins . 10.105; 10.76). It is also worthy to note that Pliny as a criti c applauds speeches that possess Ciceronian attributes and disapproves of speeches that veer away from Cicero. This at titude shows the training and influence of Quintilian, his teacher. 7 This is a point strongly made in Tacitus' Dialogus . Cf. Murgia (1980).


22 CHAPTER 3 SPEECHES OF PLINY This chapter looks at the way in whic h Pliny refers to his own speeches. Specifically I look at the speeches Pliny delivers (except for the Panegyricus , which will be dealt with in the next chapter), and how his ideals measure up to his practices, what problems he faces, the solutions he devises, as well as his perception and portrayal of himself. Since the only speech of Pliny that has survived is the Panegyricus , the analysis of his forensic speeches is based on testimonia in the letters. Gleaned from the letters are eight court cases in which Pliny has acted as an advocate. Pliny was a prosecutor in three of these cases: In Priscum , In Baebium Massam , and In Caecilium Classicum . Pliny was an advocate in the other five cases: Pro Bassum , Pro Corellia , Pro Helvidio , Pro Vareno , and Pro Clario . Pliny may have delivered more speeches than this, but these are the speeches that ap pear in the letters. Prosecution Cases In the year 99 CE, Marius Priscus, the ex-governor of Africa, had been charged with extortion and pled guilty ( Ep . 2.11). After that trial had ended, the Africans then accused Priscus of taking bribes in return for enacting false punishments, tortures, and executions; Pliny and Tacitus, who were acting for the provincials, informed the Senate of these additional charges. After intense debate, Julius Ferox, the consul-elect, proposed that the original punishment (that a commission assess repara tions to be paid by Priscus to the province) be carried out until witnes ses could be brought forward. Two witnesses, Vitellius Honoratus and Flavius Marcianus, we re summoned. Honorat us died before he


23 could appear, but Flavius Marc ianus appeared before the Senate, accused of bribing Priscus to imprison, flog, and eventually execute a Roman knight. Before the trial could continue, Tuccius Cerialis demanded that Pr iscus appear with Marcianus because they were both being charged. The trial was put on hold until the next meeting of the Senate, at which Trajan presided. Pliny remarks that they (presumably both he and Tacitus) had been nervous at speaking befo re the princeps, especially since they were prosecuting a man who was both a colleague and an ex-consul . Nevertheless, Pliny was able to speak for about five hours. Claudius Marcellinus rebutted, and the case was adjourned until the next day. Salvius Liberalis spoke in defens e, a precise and methodical speaker, then Tacitus replied very eloquently, and finally Ca tius Fronto replied in defense of Priscus. Judgment was moved to the third day. It wa s finally decided that Marius Priscus would pay the bribe he had received to the treasury and be exiled from Italy and that Marcianus would be banished from Italy and Africa ( Ep . 2.11). In the next two cases, Pliny represents the citizens of Baetica. In 7.33, Pliny details the account of the case against Baebius Massa to Tacitus, for inclusion into his Historiae . Pliny was ordered to act with Herennius Sene cio for the Baeticans against Massa. Massa was convicted and his property seized by the stat e. Senecio learned th at the consuls were willing to hear Massa's request for restituti on, and asked Pliny to act with him again. Pliny pointed out that they had only worked together before because the Senate had requested it. Senecio replied that Pliny c ould do whatever his cons cience said, but that Senecio was born in Baetica so he felt it necessa ry to help them. Pliny agreed to support Senecio. Before the consuls, Massa accused Senecio of acting out of personal hatred rather than an advocate's honor. Pliny replied that because Massa did not include Pliny in


24 his charge, Massa accused him of conspiring with him. Pliny's words were praised by all, including Nerva (at that time, not yet emperor): Quae vox et statim excepta, et postea multo sermone celebrata est ( Ep . 7.33.8). Pliny's next case for the Baeticans was ag ainst Caecilius Classicus, the ex-governor of Baetica. He died either naturally or by his own hand before the trial commenced, and so in his place the provincials decided to charge his friends and accomplices ( Ep . 3.9.25). In 3.4, Pliny writes that the Baeticans had applied to the Senate for Pliny to represent them during the case. Pliny took the case beca use he felt that it was his duty as a good Roman to protect the rights of people with whom he held a bond of hospitality, because Classicus was dead and Pliny was reluctant to act against a fellow senator, and because if he took a third prosecution case, then he woul d feel better about re fusing such a case in future. Pliny appears with Lucceius Albinus, with whom he continues to be friends after the end of the case ( Ep . 3.9). Because of the number of accused persons in this case, Pliny and Albinus decided to concentrate fi rst on proving Classicus guilty, otherwise his accomplices could not be found guilty, and then proving Baebius Probus and Fabius Hispanus – two of his accomplices – guilty. Classicus was easy to prove guilty because he had left behind financial records and a le tter to his mistress. Probus and Hispanus were more difficult because they were not pleading innocent but that they had been forced. Pliny writes that their defender, Cl audius Restitutus, was blind-sided by Probus and Hispanus' sudden change of plea, although Pliny says that he did not show this confusion at the time. The verdict was that all Classicus owned before his governorship


25 should be given to his daughter and that the rest should be gi ven back to the provincials. Hispanus and Probus were both banished for five years. At the second hearing, Classicus' son-in-l aw was acquitted, and Classicus' tribune was banished for two years. At the third hear ing, Pliny admits that the enthusiasm for the case was waning, partially because the people being charged were less known and less important, except for Classicus' wife, whom Pliny thought guilty but against whom there was little evidence. In the official decree, the Senate thanked Pliny and Albinus for their hard work. Defense Cases Pro Corellia is a case, details otherwise unknown, that Pliny takes because Corellia is the daughter of the much admired Corelliu s Rufus (whose suicide to escape the pain from a terminal illness Pliny mourns in 1.12). Pliny agrees to defend Corellia even though he is moving against a man who is a fr iend and who holds a dignified position in government ( Ep . 4.17). Pro Clario is a speech which Pliny has sent to Voconius Romanus ( Ep . 9.28). No other details are known about the case, other than that this is another speech to which Pliny has decide d to add information after the speech was delivered (like he did in the Panegyricus ). Tertia epistula continebat esse tibi re dditam orationem pro Clario eamque visam uberiorem, quam dicente me audiente te fuerit. Est uberior; multa enim postea inserui. ( Ep . 9.28.5) This addition of material after the delivery of a speech tells us that Pliny habitually made significant alterations to his speeches before they were published, and not just to the Panegyricus because it was a speech of praise to the princeps. This lett er is dated to the later years of PlinyÂ’s life, suggesting that he was consistent in th is practice (SherwinWhite 1958, 510).


26 In 9.13, Pliny gives background information to his speech, Pro Helvidio , at the request of Ummidius Quadratus. After the assassination of Domitian, Pliny decided to speak on behalf of Helvidius and against P ublicius Certus, his accuser. Certus had accused Helvidius of alluding to Domitian's di vorce in his farcical play about Paris and Oenone, and therefore Helvidius was put to death ( Ep . 3.9.3; Suet. Dom . 10; cf. Tac. Agr. 45). There was a general uproar in the Se nate, and speeches were delivered on both sides. When it came time for Pliny to ta ke his turn, his speech was so moving that nobody could speak afterward. After the Senate had been dismissed for the day, Pliny received the congratulations of several member s of the Senate for his desire to avenge Helvidius in spite of the personal hatred that he might incur. Although the princeps did nothing personally, the consulship was given to someone else and Certus was removed from his post as treasurer. A few days later Certus died, and Pliny wonders whether this was a coincidence or if Certus felt threatened by Pliny. One of PlinyÂ’s curiously forthright pieces of advice is given in this letter. Pliny states that if you have made up your mind, do not speak to people whose advice you have to take (9.13.6). Pliny likes ev asive tactics. This reminds me of PlinyÂ’s pithy advice, that he is never so prepared that he does not welcome a delay ( Ep . 5.9.2). In 4.9, Pliny defends Julius Bassus, a man who had suffered much during the reigns of the last few emperors. Despite being a friend of Domitian, Domitian exiled Bassus. Bassus was then recalled by Nerva and ma de governor of Bithynia. Pliny was responsible for laying out Bassus' entire defens e and so decided to concentrate on Bassus' career, the profits gained by his informers, and the reasons why his accusers dislike him. Pliny was also instructed by Bassus to deal with the main charge of the Bithynians,


27 namely that Bassus had accepted gifts while he had been quaestor. Pliny says his problem as the defender was that Bassus admitted to accepting presents and the law made this illegal. Pliny could not deny the truth of the charge, but he did not want to rely on begging for mercy. Pliny spoke for three and a half hours befo re the end of the day, and had another one and a half hours left, but decided not to risk ruining his excelle nt speech by starting up in the morning; however, Bassus asked that Pliny keep speaking, and so Pliny relented the next day. Lucceius Albinus spoke on beha lf of Bassus and spoke so carefully that it seemed as though Pliny and he had planned their speeches beforehand. Herennius Pollio made an excellent reply, but then Theophanes spoke. Pliny criticizes Theophanes for two reasons: lack of discretion (he addressed the audience after two men of consular rank had spoken) and length of his speech (he spoke so long that night fell, and lamps had to be brought in): Fecit enim hoc quoque ut cetera im pudentissime, quod post duos et consulares et disertos tempus sibi et quidem laxius vindica vit. Dixit in noctem atque etiam nocte inlatis lucernis ( Ep . 4.9.14). The next day, Homulus and Fronto delivered their defense speeches, and then on the fourth day, witnesses were questioned. When the vote was taken, the Senate decided that a co mmission would be set up to determine how much Bassus should return but that he would not lose his status. Pro Varenio is another case in which the B ithynians charged their governor, now Varenius, whom the Bithynians had accepted to conduct their case agai nst Bassus. Pliny defended Varenius but was not sure of the success of his speech. Pliny was rebutted by a Bithynian who, according to Pliny, being a Greek, believed that loudness and wordiness made a convincing speech. On the next day, ev entually it was decided to allow time for


28 both sides to collect their evidence before the trial c ontinued (5.20). When Varenius asked for and was granted the chance to call witnesses in his defense, it was such an unusual request that there was dissent in th e Senate. PlinyÂ’s a ttention in 6.5 centers around the actions of Licinius Nepos and Juventius Celsus, who spoke so violently toward each other that Pliny replies that he doe s not wish to repeat what he heard to his addressee. By the time Pliny writes 6.13, Vare nius has won his case, but is still being harassed by the Bithynians who have just threatened to take their complaints to the princeps. Now that the motion has been pa ssed, only a few senators still disapprove of Varenius' application to call witnesses a nd are willing to challenge the verdict. Summary of Speeches In 6.29, Pliny gives Ummidius Quadratus four reasons why an advocate should take a case and then lists five cases that he has undertake n. Pliny says that one should take a case because of friendship, because no one else will take the case, because the case will establish a precedent, or because the case will bring fame and recognition. Then Pliny lists five cases in which he had been asked by the Senate to act as an advocate: In Baebium Massam , In Caecilium Classicum , In Priscum , Pro Bassum , and Pro Varenio . Pliny finally says that in the future he hopes to take only cases that he wishes to take. This letter is also similar to 3.5, in which P liny gives a list of Pliny the Elder's books to Baebius Macer, except that 6.29 is not a comple te list, but includes on ly some of Pliny's forensic speeches, and none of his poetry. Pliny's summary of cases tells us that he does have a valid reason to complain about the lack of opportunity ( Ep . 9.2). Granted, Pliny does not appear to write about every case in which he has participated, but if th is letter does date to 106-7 CE as SherwinWhite claims, then that puts Pliny at roughly 44 years old with only fi ve notable cases to


29 his name (1966, 388). Pliny is very specific about general chronology in these particular letters. In the case of Classicus, Pliny write s that this is the third such case he has undertaken ( Ep . 3.4.8). The representatives of Baet ica requested Pliny's assistance a second time ( Ep . 3.4.4). Despite this lack of opportuni ty, Pliny's forensic career is very important to him. The letters analyzed in th is chapter fall in almost all of the books ( Ep . 2.11, 3.4, 3.9, 4.9, 4.17, 5.20, 6.5, 6.13, 6.29, 7.33, 9.13, 9.28), with the exception of Books 1 and 8. Each book is a representative sample of different types of letters and different aspects of PlinyÂ’s persona.1 This distribution shows th at the speeches were an integral part of Pliny's life and legacy. As these letters are distributed throughout the books, they are also distributed th rough the years, and as such can tell us if PlinyÂ’s ideals have changed. Pliny does not mind complimenting the other side's speaking abilities and reasoning skills or chastising his fellow senators for misb ehavior. While Pliny is not reluctant to criticize his fellow senators for offensive be havior, he does not like to prosecute other senators, even when the charges are valid. In 3.4, Pliny is more eager to take the case now that the accused senator is dead, and in 4.17, Pliny takes the case for Corellia because his friendship is stronger with her fath er than his class ties to her accuser, even though he speaks of his reluctance to prosecu te a fellow government official. PlinyÂ’s nervousness at speaking agai nst Priscus is due to his former consular status ( Ep . 2.11.12). Despite his hatred of Regulus , Pliny apparently never pros ecuted the man for his crimes as a delator , presumably for the reasons why he he sitates to prosecute him in 1.5: his 1 Hoffer states that the first book sets out the 'thema tic showcase' and lists 1.7 as the start of the letters about Pliny's speech es (1999, 3-4).


30 wealth, influence, and ability to inspire people via fear ( Ep . 1.5.15). There is no indication that this relu ctance changes dramatically as Pliny gets older. Another characteristic of Pliny that does not change is his adherence to duty (that is, his adherence to duty as expressed in his le tters; whether this is borne out consistently in reality is impossible to prove completely). Pliny backs Herennius Senecio despite his unpopularity with Domitian and other powerful senators ( Ep . 7.33). In 3.4, Pliny takes the case for the Baeticans because he feels that it is his duty as a Roman citizen to uphold personal bonds of hospitia ( Ep . 3.4.5). Pliny does not pr osecute Regulus, but he does speak up against Publicius Certus, who had prosecuted Helvidius during the reign of Domitian ( Ep . 9.13). Pliny states in 9.13.2 that th e death of Domitian gave him the opportunity to gain vengeance and praise ( occiso Domitiano statui mecum ac deliberavi, esse magnam pulchramque materiam ins ectandi nocentes, miseros vindicandi, se proferendi ). This last letter brings us to a third tre nd: PlinyÂ’s obsession with praise. Pliny seeks and receives his praise in 9.13. Pliny is also noticed by the future emperor, Nerva, in 7.33: Quae vox et statim excepta, et postea multo sermone celebrata est. Divus quidem Nerva (nam privatus quoque attendebat his quae recte in publico fierent) missis ad me gravissimis litteris non mihi colum, verum etiam saeculo est gratulatus, cui exemplum (sic enim scripsit) simile antiquis contigisset. ( Ep . 7.33.9) Not only does Pliny receive praise from the future divus emperor, but he is able to praise this emperor as well. Pliny is officially thanked by the Senate twice for his duties as advocate (Ep. 2.11.19; 3.9.23). As we shall see more clearly in the next chapter, PlinyÂ’s obsession with praise does not change.


31 CHAPTER 4 THE PANEGYRICUS OF PLINY If we compare what Pliny says in his le tters about praise, br evity, revision and publication in relation to the Panegyricus , his speech in praise of Trajan, then we can learn some of Pliny's ideals for a panegyricus , how these ideals change over time, and whether what he says in hi s letters contradicts what he says and publishes in the Panegyricus . Along the way, we shall see how PlinyÂ’ s praise of others does or does not reflect back on himself. In order to find specific lette rs for this study, I developed a series of keywords to look for while surveying Books 1-9 in Eng lish. These keywords included: oratory, revision, delivery, speech, Panegyr ic, Cicero, criticism, praise, style, and brevity. I then reread these letters and chose more specifica lly letters dealing with the qualities of speeches: the Panegyricus itself ( gratiarum actio ); praise ( laus and adulatio ) of himself, his friends, and his acquaintances thr ough speeches and other means; brevity ( brevitas ); revision ( adnotare and retractare ), and publishing or published speeches ( indicere ).1 Four categories emerged. Background of the Panegyricus The word panegyricus is derived originally from an oration by Isocrates called Panegyrikos , written for the Olympic festival in 380 BCE. It is also related to the word for a public festival, panegyris . In Isocrates' speech, he give s political advice, but he also 1 I deliberately left out some letters that mentioned revi sion when they were not specific. A few letters of Pliny simply say, "I got your book", "I haven't got your book", and "Have you got my book?" ( Ep . 4.26, 9.38)


32 engages heavily in praise of Athens and cri ticism of Sparta. Afterward in the ancient world, Panegyrikos could refer either to Isocrates' speech or to a speech written for a festival. However, a panegyrikos or panegyricus was taken by ancien t writers to also include praise or criticism (Nixon 1994, 1). On September 1, 100 CE Pliny delivered his speech of thanks to the princeps in front of the Senate. He refers to his speech as a gratiarum actio ( Pan . 1.2.1: ad agendas gratias ; Ep . 3.18.1: gratias agerem ). In the four letters in wh ich he mentions this speech, he never calls it Panegyricus . This title was a later edition and appears on the manuscript through which this and later 3rd and 4th century speeches of praise to the princeps were transmitted (Nixon 1994, 2-3). Pliny's speech itself derives from two precedents. First, during the Republic it was customary for consuls upon their election to deliver a gratiarum actio to the Senate and people. By the early years of the principate, this had evolved into a speech of thanks to the princeps and the gods for be ing elected to the consulshi p. Pliny's speech happens to be the first of this type to survive. Second, although Cicero re garded this type of oratory, called epideictic or genus demonstrativum according to ancient classification,2 as Greek and therefore less favorable, because he was alive during the beginning of the concentration of power in one man, Cicero is forced to give two similar speeches, Pro Lege Manilia and Pro Marcello , which influenced later praise speeches (Nixon 1994, 23). 2 The other two categories are genus iudicale (forensic) and genus deliberativum (deliberative); above p. 5, and see also MacCormack 143.


33 As we shall see, after its delivery Pliny spent a lot of time and effort revising and adding information (including perhaps Trajan's victory at Dacia in 102 CE). The speech was published sometime in 102 CE (Sherwin-White 1966, 250). Modern scholars tend to regard the Panegyricus as virtually unreadable although important for historical studies (Radice 1968, 169; Sherwin-White 1969, 77). It is quite long and repetitive, and features a jumble of elaborate rhetorical devices, obscure passages, and overly sweet praise of the emperor. Yet the Panegyricus is virtually unique in ancient Roman literary history because it is one of few panegyrici to survive. Not only is it one of the few panegyrici to survive, but it is the only panegyricus to survive with an extant set of corresponding letters by the author. Letters Specifically Referring to the Panegyricus Pliny writes about the Panegyricus in four letters. 3.13 is addressed to Voconius Romanus, who wanted the text of the speech. Pliny cautions Voconius that this speech has nothing new in it, so someone reading s hould concentrate on the form and rhetorical devices in the speech. Pliny then jokingly as ks Voconius to make any corrections as proof that he enjoyed the speech. In 3.18 addres sed to Vibius Severus, Pliny says that he feels it is his duty to publish a more elabor ate account of his speech both to encourage Trajan and to offer an example for future emperors. His pleasure is increased by the enthusiasm of his friends when they attended three days of readi ngs. Their enthusiasm proves Trajan's virtue because this type of speech used to be hated for its dull and insincere qualities. He applauds himself on using a 'light' style instead of terse because terse can be interpreted as 'strai ned', although he prefers simplicity. In 4.5, addressed to Julius Sparsus, Pliny is worried that his speech does not have the benefit of competition to add to its popularity. Julius Sparsus should judge the


34 published version for himself. Pliny asks to be excused for writing so short a letter, and so long a speech, but deems the speech justifia bly long in relation to its subject. And finally, 6.27 is addressed to Ve ttenius Severus, who has writ ten to Pliny for advice in writing his own speech of thanks for his consulsh ip. Pliny writes that Trajan has a lot of good qualities, but hesitates to mention them b ecause excessive praise could be construed as flattery. Pliny knows the emperor well enough to realize that the be st praise is not to say anything because it is expected of him, but to write something that nobody else has written. He also does not hide his intention as proof that he did not forget. This way is not for everyone or for all occasions, and Ve ttenius does have ample material in the achievements of Trajan since Pliny's speech was given and published. In her analysis of the Panegyricus , Bartsch says, "The Panegyricus is an obsessive attempt to prove its own si ncerity" (1994, 149). Pliny seek s to do this by completely removing the space that usually exists betw een the public transcript and the hidden transcript. Bartsch uses the terms public transc ript and hidden transcri pt as defined by J. C. Scott. Public transcript is "the open interaction between s ubordinates and those who dominate" that represents not only the values of those who dominate but also the happy submission of the subordinates. The language of the public transcript is shaped by the ideology and propaganda of the person in power (Bartsch 1994, 150-1). The hidden transcript is the communicati on that takes place away from the direct observation of the rulers. "It consists of those offstage sp eeches, gestures, and practices that conform, contradict, or inflect what appears in the public transcript" (Bartsch 1994, 151). Scott also points out that it is impossi ble “to know how contri ved or imposed” a public transcript is unless the person speaking the public transcript either declares in the


35 open that this transcript is false or once re moved from the power of the dominator they reveal that their words are false (Scott 1990, 4). He adds later that it is wrong to assume, in this study of public versus hidden transcript, that the public transcript is automatically true and necessary while the hi dden transcript is always false (Scott 1990, 5). What Pliny wants his audience to believe is that the hi dden transcript has changed from insincerity under Domitian to sincerity under Trajan, and th erefore the public transcript must also change (Bartsch 1994,150-3). This is evid ent in 3.18, where Pliny states that people used to hate this type of speech because it was insincere and boring. Pliny's point is undermined both by constant repetition and because a panegyricus has always been a record of public transcript , and thus is not expected to be impartial (Bartsch 1994, 153). Pliny attempts to pr eempt negative readings of the speech by offering a template for reading his speech in hi s letters. Pliny knows very well that praise can signify its opposite (Bartsch 1994, 155-6; Riggsby 1995, 132). Mayer points out that Pliny uses his le tters to add further information on the speech, the type of information that cannot it self be included in the speech, such as additional background details, audience reac tion, and case outcome (Mayer 2003, 230). While the Panegyricus , being an epideictic speech, has neither an outcome nor a verdict as one would find after a forensic speech, th e outcome can be construed as being the reaction of the audience, the object (in this sp eech, Trajan), and the author himself. Pliny writes detailed background letters for seve ral speeches, and in reference to the Panegyricus , in 3.18 and 6.27. Pliny states that the speech was well received by both the Senators who listened to the original vers ion and the audience who later attended a reading of Pliny's enhanced version.


36 Praise In 1.8, Pliny sends a speech that he gave previously to Pompeius Saturninus because he wants to revise it before decidi ng whether to publish it or not. Pliny hesitates to publish this speech because it contains a lot of self-praise, especially about his generosity. Deeds are resented when either unacknowledged or published, and only forgotten deeds avoid this resentment. Sin ce Pliny does not hesitate to publish other speeches (including the Panegyricus ), the indecisiveness over this speech is curious. This may be due to the audience r eception. Pliny states that the Panegyricus was well received when he delivered it, as are the other speeches that he mentions in his letters. Of course, no writer wants to publish something th at he thinks is bad, but Pliny has stated before that a good published speech has to be a good speech when it is delivered ( Ep . 1.20). Has Pliny written a bad speech or is he just being self-depreciating? 5.8 is addressed to Titinius Capito, who sugge sted that Pliny write history. Pliny says that history is a good pursuit because it preserves the memory of great people and spreads the glory of good deeds. He delays because he is busy revising several speeches so that they do not die with him. In 7.20, P liny is waiting for Cornelius Tacitus to send back his work upon which he has been asked to comment. Pliny is pleased that posterity might record their friendship and literary achievements as linked together. Pliny mentions this link with his friend and fellow writer again in 9.23 (addr essed to Maximus). Pliny relates to him several instances when Pliny and Tacitus were mistaken for each other. Pliny then says that he is not too afra id of appearing overly self-praising if he is repeating others' opinions. 6.27 refers to the dangers of praise being confused with flattery. 7.28 is addressed to Septicius Clarus, who has informed Pliny that some people have criticized Pliny for


37 praising his friends excessively. Pliny res ponds that he does not care because it is genuine praise. He knows his friends better th an anyone, and he prefers to think of them so. 9.8 is also concerned with mistaken sinc erity. Pliny is worried that if he praises Sentius Augurinus after Sentius has praised him, then it will look like Pliny is only praising Sentius out of gratitude. He adds that all of Sentius' works are good, but especially the ones about Pliny because they are friends. 8.3 is addressed to Julius Sparsus, who has written a favorable letter in response to a work of Pliny's. Pliny says that he wants hi s latest work to be his masterpiece. He has written another speech that he is sendi ng, but Julius may be disappointed in it. Pliny's obsession with obtaining immortal glory ( Ep . 5.8, 7.20) may have contributed to the leng th and detail of the Panegyricus . He mentions the sincerity of praise versus its insincerity in 1.8, 6.27, 7.28, 9.8, and 9.23. Roland Mayer has made the case that Pliny published his lette rs as a way of securing his fame as an orator (Mayer 2003, 229). Pliny may even have been a novus homo and "was regarded as an expert in financial and practical ad ministration" (Mayer 2003, 227; Sherwin-White 1969, 76). Such new men or men of equest rian rank were not trusted by th e senatorial class. Pliny, like Cicero, would have been fighting generations of prejudice to be let into the clique. Gibson shows that self-praise is acceptable in certain situatio ns, but that modern people tend to write about themselves impe rsonally (Gibson 2003, 236). Self-praise to the ancient Romans was regarded as necessary in certain situations su ch as self-defense. Cicero ( ad Att . 1.16.8) states that he does not feel ba d about bragging, since he is writing a letter that only his friend is supposed to read (Gibson 2003, 237-244). Admittedly, Pliny's letters are eventually intended for publication, but it is interesting that Pliny may


38 have adopted the paradigm of Cicero's publis hed private letters for his own letters. Gibson's article lists six techni ques that Pliny uses to write "inoffensive self-praise," the most important of these for our purposes is "pra ise others – all the better if they resemble yourself" (Gibson 2003, 245). So in praising gr eat men like Tacitus and the best of all men, Trajan, Pliny is elevating himself from his novus homo status to be a literary friend of Tacitus and an advisor to Trajan. However, Gibson also adds that Pliny's se lf-praise could be construed as offensive because the need for self-defense is missing in the letters (Gibson 2003, 249). I think that this is not the case. Pliny was apparently very much aware that he owed his political success to Domitian (Sherwin-White 1969, 84). Pliny attempts to say that Domitian was about to bring him to trial, and would have if Domitian had not been assassinated ( Ep . 7.27). This comment comes curiously in the mi ddle of a letter about ghosts. He admits that he did nothing to help the heroic Fannia ( Ep . 7.19). Pliny does a thorough job of criticizing Domitian in the Panegyric and in his letters, but one cannot help but question his motives in doing so. Brevity In 4.5, Pliny asks to be excused for writi ng so short a letter, and so long a speech (i.e., the Panegyricus ), but deems the speech justifiably l ong in relation to its subject. In 9.4, addressed to Caecilius Macrinus, Pliny wa rns that Caecilius may find a different speech too long, but it has been segmented so that the sections themselves are short. Pliny insists that brevity cannot allow "t he full exposition and precision... except in very restricted cases" ( Ep . 1.20), and that the law supports th is view because it allows for unlimited time for pleading. Pliny wants to us e as many different reasons and devices in order to convince the widest group of peopl e. He searches for the lowest common


39 denominator with which he can convince his au dience. Pliny does not seem to think that he has convinced Tacitus of his opinion (and from reading Tacitus, I tend to doubt if Pliny would have ever done so), so he tells T acitus to write him a shor t letter if he agrees and a long letter that sets out his reasons if he does not. Modern scholars, such as Ra dice and Sherwin-White, find the Panegyricus too long for its topic, and it seems that this must ha ve been a complaint in Pliny's day, since he spends considerable time apologizing for long speeches (and a few times for long letters). In Panegyricus 53 Pliny says, "No service of our empero r's has spread so far in its effects as the freedom he allows us to criticize bad rulers with impunity." By this point, Pliny attempts to prove the sincerity of the sp eech by its very existence (Bartsch 1994, 160). By making it longer, Pliny may be attempting to further prove its sincerity. It is interesting that in a letter some years later than 1.20, Pliny says th at silence can be the best eloquence ( Ep . 7.6). This suggests again a change in Pliny's ideas about brevity. Revision and Publication 3.13 and 3.18 both mention revising the Panegyricus . Pliny may have enlarged it by as much as a third (Radice 1976, 329). If one works on the assumption that the letters have been arranged in a basi c chronological order, then the progression of thought on revision is revealing. In 1.20, Pliny says that most points gain weight and emphasis by a fuller treatment and are more easily remember ed. In 2.19, Pliny says that speeches lose their character when not given in court beca use the tensions and pressures of performing in the court add to the speech. By comparison, in 5.20 Pliny says that whether a speech (not the Panegyricus ) was good or bad will be decided when it is publishe d (implying that it was not judged when it was delivered). In 9.10, Pliny tells Corneliu s Tacitus that he detests revising speeches,


40 and in 9.35, Pliny says that Atrius should lim it his revisions because they can obscure the details and prevent the finishing of one work and the start of another. So, towards the end of his writing career, Pl iny decided that revision can be a bad idea. Granted, he may have disliked the revision process all al ong and not bothered to write to anyone about it, but if the letters were published in groups of two to four books each (as Sherwin-White suggests) rather than all at once (1966, 27-41), then Pliny may have re-evaluated his opinion of revi sion based on public response to the Panegyricus . His comments also bring to the surface his edit ing process in relation to the publication of his letters, but that is be yond the scope of this paper.


41 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION Pliny wanted people to believe the Panegyricus . He wanted to control how his audience read his speech, and this shows in his letters. He knew that he would have problems controlling audience inte rpretation, and this seems to be such a concern later in his career that he devotes at least five letter s to that topic alone, four of which were written after the publication of the Panegyricus . Pliny does seem to have changed his mind on a few things. By the last letters of Book 9, Pliny has written that he dislikes revising speeches, and that revision can obscure the details of the speech. It is impossible to know for certain, but I think that this may come from his experience with the Panegyricus . He spent up to tw o years revising this speech, sending it to others for corrections, and giving readings of it. It is amazing that he does not speak more of the Panegyricus in the later books. In the last letter in which he mentions the Panegyricus , 6.27, Pliny hesitates to tell the new consul to write his speech exactly the way Pliny did. Would Pliny write with such detail about a speech which he took such pains to create if he did not get quite the respons e he was looking for? I doubt it. And finally, Pliny's obsession with prai se, derived perhaps from his less than senatorial background, possibly drove him to expand his speech to Trajan, so that by elevating the emperor he elevated himself. This seems to have backfired, and Pliny continued with the publication of his letter s, which are the sources from which most modern scholars come into contact with Pli ny. If our only source of knowledge of Pliny


42 had chanced to be the Panegyricus , then I doubt many scholars would know about Pliny at all, and that would be ironic.


43 LIST OF REFERENCES Bartsch, Shadi. 1994. Actors in the Audience: Theatric ality and Doublespeak from Nero to Hadrian . Cambridge, MA. Gibson, Roy K. 2003. "Pliny and the Ar t of (In)offensive Self-Praise." Arethusa 36: 235-54. Hoffer, Stanley E. 1999. The Anxieties of Pliny the Younger . Atlanta. Jones, C. P. 1968. "A New Commen tary on the Letters of Pliny." Phoenix 22: 111-42. Kennedy, George. 1972. The Art of Rhetoric in the Roman World . Princeton. Mayer, Roland. 2003. "Pliny and Gloria Dicendi ." Arethusa 36: 227-34. MacCormack, Sabine. 1975. "Latin Pros e Panegyrics." In T. A. Dorey, ed. Empire and Aftermath: Silver Latin II . Boston. 143-205. Murgia, Charles E. 1980. "The Date of Tacitus' Dialogus." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 84: 99-125. Nixon, C.E.V. and Barbara Saylor Rodgers. 1994. In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The Panegyrici Latini . Berkeley. Radice, Betty. 1968. "Pliny and the 'Panegyricus'." Greece & Rome 15: 166-72. -. 1976. Pliny: Letters and Panegyricus , 2 vols. Cambridge, MA. Riggsby, Andrew M. 1995. "Pliny on Cicero and Oratory: Self-Fashioning in the Public Eye." American Journal of Philology 116: 123-35. Rogers, Robert Samuel. 1960. "A Gr oup of Domitianic Treason-Trials." Classical Philology 55: 19-23. Rutledge, Steven H. 2001. Imperial Inquisitions: Prosecutors and Informants from Tiberius to Domitian . London. -. 1998. "Trajan and Tacitus' Audience: Reader Reception of Annals 1-2." Ramus 27:141-60. Scott, James C. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance . New Haven.


44 Sherwin-White, A. N. 1966. The Letters of Pliny: A Historical and Social Commentary. Oxford . -. 1969. "Pliny, the Man and His Letters." Greece & Rome 16: 76-90. Stirewalt, M. Luther, Jr. 1993. Studies in Ancient Greek Epistolography . Atlanta. Syme, Ronald. 1958. Tacitus , 2 vols. Oxford. Trapp, Michael, ed. 2003. Greek and Latin Letters: An Anthology with Translation . Cambridge.


45 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Billie J. Cotterman was born in Tallahassee, Florida, on August 25, 1980. She graduated from Amos P. Godby High School and then attended Florida State University where she received her BA in Latin. She will receive her MA in Latin in August 2006.