There are a few fragmentary inscriptions referring to Pliny, the longest of which (C.I.L. V. 5262) is known only from a fifteenth-century copy and one fragment remaining in Milan. The whole had evidently stood over the baths at Comum, but was afterwards cut up to make a tomb and sent to Milan in the middle ages, where it was found in the church of St Ambrose.
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, son of Lucius of the tribe Oufentina, consul: augur: praetorian commissioner with full consular power for the province of Pontus and Bithynia, sent to that province in accordance with the Senate’s decree by the Emperor Nerva Trajan Augustus, victor over Germany and Dacia, the Father of his Country: curator of the bed and banks of the Tiber and sewers of Rome: official of the Treasury of Saturn: official of the military Treasury: praetor: tribune of the people: quaestor of the Emperor: commissioner for the Roman knights: military tribune of the Third Gallic legion: magistrate on board of Ten: left by will public baths at a cost of… and an additional
The following fragment can still be seen, built into the wall of Como Cathedral (C. I. L. V. 5263).
To Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, son of Lucius of the tribe Oufentina, consul: augur: curator of the bed and banks of the Tiber and sewers of Rome…
p.5 His [Pliny’s] career is known in detail principally from an inscription at Comum, CIL V 5262 = ILS 2927, and from some other, even more fragmentary cursus-inscriptions (listed in PIR P 490), notably one from Hispellum, CIL VI 1552 = XI 527212. The main Comum inscription, parts of it, now lost, only known from manuscript readings, the one from Hispellum, and the other less complete ones (set up before the appointment to Pontus-Bithynia) gave his cursus honorum, in descending order, modified (as often in such inscriptions) by the consulship and priesthood (augurship in his case), being placed straight after the name, out of chronological order.
G. Alföldy has published a new and convincing restoration of CIL V 5262 and XI 5272, in particular affecting the part referring to the governorship of Pontus-Bithynia13. He shows that14 Pliny was legate of Trajan not “with consular power” but “with proconsular power”: not consulari but proconsulari potestate, and restores lines 2—
augur legat pro pr provinciae Pon[ti et Bithyniae pro]
consulari potesta[te] in eam provinciam e[x senatus consulto ab]
Imp Caesar Nerva Traiano Aug German[ico Dacico p p missus]
In the equivalent part of CIL XI 5272, Hispellum, he reads the following (the last part of line 4 and lines 5—
ex s c pro
[consulari potestate legatus pr pr provinciae Ponti] et Bithyniae et legatus
[in eam ab Imp Caes Nerva Traiano Aug missus (vacat) testame]nto fieri iussit
Pliny’s cursus as registered by CIL V 5262 may be set out here, with each office separated for clarity, taking account of the revision by Alföldy15:
|C Plinius L f Ouf Caecilias [Secundus cos.]/|
legat pro pr provinciae Pon[ti et Bithyniae pro] / (line 3) consulari potestate in eam provinciam e[x senatus consulto ab] / (line 4) imp Caesar Nerva Traiano Aug German[ico Dacico p p missus]/
|(line 5)||curator alvei Tiberis et riparum e[t cloacarum urbis /|
|(line 6)||praef aerari Saturni praef aerari mil[itaris|
trib plebis] /
|(line 7)||quaestor imp|
sevir equitum [Romanor turmae…]/
|(line 8)||trib milit leg III Gallicae in pro[vincia Syria|
X vir stli]/ (line 9) tib iudicand
The remainder of line 9 and lines 10—
12They are (mostly) reproduced in the Teubner edition, pp. 456 ff., the Bude edition, I pp. XLIX ff., S-W 732 f. and Radice II 550 ff.
13“Die Inschriften des jüngeren Plinius und seine Mission in Pontus et Bithynia”, GCis 221—
14As originally proposed by E. Bormann, AEM 15 (1892) 42.
15See also his reconstruction drawings of the inscription and of that from Hispellum, GCis 243 and the photographs, Taf. VI 1—