Pliny the Younger

This letter was written by Pliny the Younger to the Emperor Trajan while he was serving as the Governor of the Roman Province of Asia Minor during the time frame 111 through 113. This letter was written after Pliny had his first interactions with the Chirsitans. This letter seems to have been written as a letter of concern, asking the Emperor for guidance on how to handle legalities of his interactions with Christians. This concern was seen in his opening statement to the Emperor, It is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of removing my scruples, or informing my ignorance. ”1 In my opinion, I believe that Pliny is clear in his communication to the Emperor. “I am unacquainted not only with the nature of their crimes, or the measures of their punishment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them.

”2 This statement to me, clarifies his concern of the religion, in whether or not the practice of Christianity is unishable. This letter signifies the importance of the changing world and the concern of how to handle those changes. I think that Pliny voiced that concern throughout this letter. He seemed to have been disturbed and unaware of how to handle these changes, and, if in fact these changes could be punishable; as this was not the way of the Roman beliefs. This was put clearly toward the end of Pliny’s letter, “This contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infection mong the neighboring villages. ”3 In summary, I feel that this letter is of significant concern and is an interesting account into the history of how Christianity was observed and dealt with in the Roman Empire. Bibliography Pliny the Younger.

The Letters of Pliny (Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus): Book 10, Letters 97 and 98, Translated by Melmoth, Revised by the Rev. F. C. T. Bosanquet, 1905. http://wadsworth. com/history_d/special_features/ilrn_legacy /wawc 1c01c/content/wciv1/readings/pliny.


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