AD 79. Above the Bay of Naples, Vesuvius is spewing thick ash into the sky. Pliny the Elder, historian, admiral of the fleet and author, dares to draw closer to the phenomenon. He perishes beneath the volcano. His 17-year-old nephew, Pliny the Younger, survives.
Adopted as his son, Pliny the Younger inherited his uncle’s vast compendium of notebooks and knowledge including his extraordinary encyclopaedia Natural History. One of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire, it covers all ancient knowledge - from observations on the moon, to elephants, to the efficacy of ground millipedes in healing ulcers.
In Pliny, Daisy Dunn resurrects this famed ‘father and son’ to explore their beliefs about life, death and the natural world in the first century AD. At its heart is a literary biography of the younger Pliny, who grew up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, curator of drains, and personal representative of the emperor overseas.
Daisy Dunn is a classicist, art historian and cultural critic. She read Classics at Oxford, before completing a doctorate in Classics and History of Art at UCL. She writes and reviews for a number of newspapers and magazines, and is editor of Argo, a Greek culture journal. Her first books Catullus’ Bedspread and The Poems of Catullus, were published in 2016.