Le monde romain dans les lettres de Pline le Jeune: espace et valeurs

in Mnemosyne
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Abstract

In this article the geographical allusions are considered which the reader can find in Pliny's letters, with special reference to those containing the writer's appreciation. They suggest a mental representation of the contemporary Roman world. The ancient ciceronian distinction between parua patria and magna patria still remains valid. But Pliny is conscious of belonging to a much larger territory that is neither his native land of northern Italy nor the city of Rome, in which he had his political career: the Roman empire. However, in Pliny's mind this empire is not a completely united one. It is divided into a Roman or occidental and a Greek or oriental half. This distinction is both geographical and moral. Each part is associated with ethical notions, which are for the former part positive ones, for the latter part negative ones. Even if he is periodically aspiring to reject even his Roman roots or links, in order to find an ideal place for intellectual work, Pliny only feels himself as belonging to the western part, which can no longer be only Rome, because of its moral decline, but also includes the most ancient provinces.

Mnemosyne

A Journal of Classical Studies

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