Pliny the Younger Quotes
“Some very elegant dishes were served up to himself and a few more of us, whilst those placed before the rest of the company consisted simply of cheap dishes and scraps. There were, in small bottles, three different kinds of wine; not that the guest might take their choice, but that they might not have any option in their power; one kind being for himself, and for us; another sort for his lesser friends (for it seems he has degrees of friends), and the third for his own freedmen and ours. My neighbour . . . asked me if I approved the arrangement. Not at all, I told him. "Pray, then," he asked, "what is your method upon such occasions?" "Mine," I returned, "is to give all my visitors the same reception; for when I give an invitation, it is to entertain, not distinguish, my company: I place every man upon my own level whom I admit to my table." . . . He replied, "This must cost you a great deal." "Not in the least." "How can that be?" "Simply because, although my freedmen don't drink the same wine as myself, yet I drink the same as they do." And, no doubt about it, if a man is wise enough to moderate his appetite, he will not find it such a very expensive thing to share with all his visitors what he takes himself. Restrain it, keep it in, if you wish to be true economist. You will find temperance a far better way of saving than treating other people rudely can be. . . . Remember, then, nothing is more to be avoided than this modern alliance of luxury with meanness; odious enough when existing separate and distinct, but still more hateful where you meet with them together.”
“Being lately engaged to plead a cause before the Court of the Hundred, the crowd was so great that I could not get to my place without crossing the tribunal where the judges sat. And I have this pleasing circumstance to add further, that a young nobleman, having had his tunic torn, an ordinary occurrence in a crowd, stood with his gown thrown over him, to hear me, and that during the seven hours I was speaking, whilst my success more than counterbalanced the fatigue of so long a speech. So let us set to and not screen our own indolence under pretence of that of the public. Never, be very sure of that, will there be wanting hearers and readers, so long as we can only supply them with speakers and writers worth their attention.”
“I have spent these several days past, in reading and writing, with the most pleasing tranquility imaginable. You will ask, "How that can possibly be in the midst of Rome?" It was the time of celebrating the Circensian games; an entertainment for which I have not the least taste. They have no novelty, no variety to recommend them, nothing, in short, one would wish to see twice. It does the more surprise me therefore that so many thousand people should be possessed with the childish passion of desiring so often to see a parcel of horses gallop, and men standing upright in their chariots. If, indeed, it were the swiftness of the horses, or the skill of the men that attracted them, there might be some pretence of reason for it. But it is the dress they like; it is the dress that takes their fancy. And if, in the midst of the course and contest, the different parties were to change colours, their different partisans would change sides, and instantly desert the very same men and horses whom just before they were eagerly following with their eyes, as far as they could see, and shouting out their names with all their might. Such mighty charms, such wondrous power reside in the colour of a paltry tunic! And this not only with the common crowd (more contemptible than the dress they espouse), but even with serious-thinking people. When I observe such men thus insatiably fond of so silly, so low, so uninteresting, so common an entertainment, I congratulate myself on my indifference to these pleasures: and am glad to employ the leisure of this season upon my books, which others throw away upon the most idle occupations.”
“Ashes were already falling, not as yet very thickly. I looked round: a dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood.
'Let us leave the road while we can still see,'I said,'or we shall be knocked down and trampled underfoot in the dark by the crowd behind.'
We had scarcely sat down to rest when darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room.
You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore. ~Pliny the Younger
Trust me…history will record the battle at the Puerto Rico Trench the same way. ~High Commander Mustafa”