Pliny and Symmachus

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Pliny might seem an obvious model for his fellow letter-writer and orator, Symmachus (early 340s to 402). But even though both authors' letters are in nine books of personal letters and one of imperial letters, there are problems in identifying Pliny's letters as a significant structural, intellectual, or linguistic model for Symmachus's letters, or even in demonstrating beyond doubt that Symmachus knew Pliny's letters (Section 1). By contrast, Symmachus can be shown to have known and engaged intertextually with Pliny's Panegyric in both speeches and letters (Section 2). I then turn to—and expand—a cluster of allusions from the period after Gratian succeeded his father Valentinian as ruler of the west (375-78) (Section 3), and reflect on why that period and political situation suited engagement with Pliny's praise of Trajan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-287
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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