Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder was the governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor and lived between 23-79. We find that already before Pliny became governor, it was generally recognized as a capital crime to be connected with the church, and it had become the custom to put an accused Christian to the test by requiring him to sacrifice to the image of the emperor. Information was laid against the Christians before the younger Pliny. Pliny appealed to the emperor Trajan for guidance, and which we have the record. The younger Pliny writes his emperor Trajan from Bithnia that he is puzzled about the Christians. Shall he punish a Christian just because he admits to being a Christian, or must he have evidence of the horrid crimes that Christians were alleged to commit? Trajan repled to Pliny "Do not seek them out; but if they are denounced and are convicted, they must be put to death. Let apostates be declared free."

Pliny the Elder is almost the only Roman who won renown as an investigator of the phenomena of nature. The great work of his that has been spared to us is his Natural History, a sort of Roman encyclopedia. Pliny lost his life investigating the eruption of Vesuvius.
[12, 350]

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