2015 | 18 | 311-334
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Some intellectuals in Tacitus and Pliny the Younger

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The paper provides a (far from exhaustive) overview of references found in Tacitus’ historical works (Annales, Historiae, Agricola) and in Pliny the Younger’s Epistulae to people who may be defined as “intellectuals”, notably to orators, historians and philosophers. The historian Tacitus is, in general terms, somewhat uninterested in those people in their capacity as men of letters; his focus is, rather, on their involvement in Roman politics (but he makes some interesting side-comments on their intellectual activity). Pliny, on the other hand, is more inclined to emphasize their mental pursuits and, also, to praise their achievements. However, a closer reading of passages devoted to such intellectuals in the Epistulae reveals that he uses them to promote his own image as an ideal Roman, devoted not only to studia but also to officia publica and officia amicorum, and an upholder of humanitas.
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