Sorry … I’m grumpy this a.m.. A piece in the Express about letter writers begins with these three brief paragraphs:
PLINY the Younger had a strong sense of description. The eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD looked like a pine tree, he told the historian Tacitus in a graphic letter, “for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches”.
It was actually his uncle Pliny the Elder who had passed the description on to his nephew. But it was such an accurate pictorial account of the natural catastrophe that engulfed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum that volcanologists still use the term “Plinian eruption” as a scientific category.
Pliny the Elder was unable to write about the eruption himself because he died trying to rescue friends from Pompeii. He had taken a ship across the Bay of Naples but collapsed and died on the beach. How do we know? Because his nephew also wrote vividly about that event in another letter to Tacitus..
How can someone write in one paragraph that Pliny the Elder passed a description on to his nephew and in the very next one talk about his death on the beach. Doesn’t anyone at the Express make the connection???