orichalcum: (Pompeii)
So, lots of my sources seem very distant from modern times and issues. But occasionally, you get glimpses into Roman life that could be memos written in any business today.

Pliny the Younger was sent by the Emperor Trajan (one of the more competent Roman Emperors) to govern the province of Bithynia, which is in northeastern modern Turkey, thousands of miles away from Rome, in the late 1st century CE. I've described Pliny to people before as "the guy who decided he'd rather stay home and do his homework than try and rescue people from the eruption of Vesuvius." In this case, he had a habit of writing Trajan for advice about every decision that he was called on to make as governor (even though this would delay by months any decision getting made.) In this case, he had written Trajan a letter saying that he thought a local theater was being badly built, as well as some other buildings, and he wanted Trajan to send out an architect from Rome to examine the foundations.

Trajan to Pliny: Since you are on the spot, you are in the best position to resolve what should be done about the theater under construction in Nicaea. I shall be content to have some note of your decision. Wait until the theater is finished before pressing members of the community to follow through on projects meant to accompany it. Decide for yourself what to tell the citizens of Claudiopolis about their ill-located bath. It is not possible that you have no architects; there are men with experience and talent in every province. At least you shouldn't imagine that it saves time to have them sent from Rome, as we usually get them from Greece ourselves."

Or, in other words, OMG, Pliny, do I have to do everything around here?

Given the success of the Facebook Aeneid, I'm mildly tempted to start a Pliny or Cicero IM or Twitter, except I have no Time.

EDIT: Things I don't love about doing research - finding that the last major study on Roman Decadence (before the one I plan to write) was written in 1939 by a German author who claimed that the Romans declined and became sexually profligate due to "the mixing of races." I probably need to read this for my research, unfortunately. I will, um, be taking a different approach.

Also, in honor of the recent babies born to [livejournal.com profile] stone_and_star, [livejournal.com profile] jendaviswilson, and [livejournal.com profile] redhound, I offer: Jack Jack Attack, for those of you who have not seen it.
Mood:: 'sore' sore


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