(Added on Sat. 04/13/02)
If one wonders how it is that we may examine the works of Pliny the Younger with such a critical eye and associate his writings with the New Testament and Christianity – it must be remembered (and realized) that the precedent has already been set by all of the correlations found between the works of Flavius Josephus (presently numbering over 115). And this is in addition to all of the other evidence that had already been found associating Pliny with Flavius Josephus (Arrius Piso) and the other writers of his time – all of whom were a part of the oligarchy controlling all that was being written for the general public at the time.
Continuing on with our examination, we find Pliny using the phrase, “all with a show (pretense) of setting posterity an example…” (Book I, pg. 553). Pliny talks in places (as do the other authors of his day) about “making a show of things” or of pretense (pretext), or of “pretending.” This is actually very important to note as we compile our evidence and information to make the case that these authors were in fact writing and using their works deliberately for specific purposes – in order to mislead and deceive the reader who is not privy to what they were actually doing or how they were doing it.
The next line just after the one above, in reality, actually appears to be a pointed remark at the Jews. But of course, as crafty as Pliny and the other writers of his time were, he knew how to well conceal what he was doing and saying. He says, “But it isn’t worth my indignation; better to laugh (i.e. ridicule and make fun), or such people will think that have really achieved something when their lucky chance has brought them no more than ridicule.” Who are the “people” (not “person”) who, “by luck, had a chance” and ended up being ridiculed (in the New Testament)? The Jews. Who at that time consisted of the Pharisees and Scribes. And so I say to you, the researcher, “you must look closely, it is true; but notice with all good assurance what you will find when you finally do.” (by Roman Piso, Sunday 04/13/02)
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XI
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book I of II] (Wed. 04/17/02, Roman Piso)
Written Tuesday, 04/16/02, for Wed.’s online class…
There is something else that I would like to talk about before we go on and that is to mention that at the end of his “secular” (which really was not tolerated, but instead may be called “public,” superficially non-Christian) letters or epistles, Pliny uses the word “Vale.” Whether or not other writers of his time do likewise is not really the issue, as our interest in this has to do with the fact that this can be seen as a pattern, just as the use of the word “Amen” at the end of the epistles of the New Testament.
The pattern is that the one word “Vale” being used at the end of Pliny’s public letters and “Amen” being used at the end of Christian letters; both in the canon NT (New Testament) and the non-canon (apocryphal) NT letters/texts. Also, note that in the English translation in the Loeb edition, “Vale” is not given at the end of the letters, but IS found in the original Latin version.
As we have already found in previous examinations, “Amen” is actually a secret acknowledgement of or salute to the Egyptian sun god Ra (as “Amon Ra.” See the info on Ancestor Worship, inherited name/titles, etc. ”). And knowing these things, it appears that the use of “Vale” is also a secret way of saluting, alluding to and/or remembering the god “Bal,” and in turn the Roman Balbi family whose name and ancestry derive from “Bal.” We must remember, for instance, that these people (the ancient writers and their relatives) saw themselves as the incarnate of past gods (who were really only men playing gods, making use of alias names), whom they claimed descent from. We have much more research to do in order to understand such things as we need to about these things. And we must remember to bear in mind that we are discovering and learning more about these things all the time. “Vale,” it would appear then, accordingly, could be seen as “Bal(ae),” in other words, as “gods” (plural). (example, Book I, pg. 553).
An allusion to “ego feed” (indicating that Pliny knew all about how religion works upon the mind) is found in Pliny, Book I, pg. 559, when he quotes Xenophon when saying, “praise is the sweetest thing to hear” (in Greek). Pliny teased at belief, living on (in fame) after death, and HE is playing the role of prophet by saying, “I believe (!) that your histories will be immortal; a prophecy which will surely prove correct.” (Book I, pg. 559).
In a letter, speaking to Tacitus, Pliny says, “distinguished by the testimony of your genius.” He means the WAY in which they (the writers of the time) wrote what they did, hid their true identities, meanings and got away with it – for as long as it would take for mankind to discover it all (Book I, pg. 561).
Pliny speaks of Nerva congratulating him for what he had done for the good of the state (helping to kill Domitian?), as well as the Roman royals of his (Pliny’s) generation, for being so “blessed” (a word that we associate with Christianity) with an example so much in the best tradition. And therefore, in this very same letter (to Tacitus), he charges Tacitus with giving the facts of “the incident” saying, “whatever the merit of this incident, you can make it better known and increase its fame and importance, but I am not asking you to go beyond what is due to the facts. History should always confine itself to the truth, which in its turn is enough for honest deeds.” (Book I, pg. 563). He is saying that history SHOULD be told truthfully (also apparently meaning ‘forthrightly’) if it tells of honest deeds (by honest men)… but it also infers that deception and concealing facts is required if the deeds done and/or recorded by certain parties are NOT honest.
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XII
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Fri. 04/19/02, Roman Piso)
Omission is a device that is also often used by ancient writers, and Pliny the Younger is no exception; as omission can be used several ways to create a variety of effects. For instance, omitting words or information can be used to create the illusion that a person has nothing to do with a particular subject (such as Christianity), thus, creating a measure of deniability – while at the same time using that literary creation to “prod” people into thinking along certain lines that are a part of or an element of a particular religion or belief system.
A line from, let’s say, a New Testament epistle, can be taken as the basis for the construction of a line in an extra-Biblical text and disguised or made to appear differently (unrelated) – the same meaning or concept may be used, without using the same words as those which were in the original (in this instance, Biblical) text.
And things that are said by excluding a word or words can change or disguise what the actual (original) intended meaning of the author is. This could be something done by the author himself or by another individual or others who may have edited his text. I say this because given the evidence that I’ve seen regarding this, it appears that those ancient writers had to submit what they wrote to an official authority (whether that was a body of inspectors or an individual remains to be determined, but at this time I am leaning towards there having been a mandatory approval made by a counsel, perhaps afterwards being assigned to an individual editor) before it could be published as a work in which the public may have access to or sold to the reading public at large.
Omission is a prime device that is used to create sentences that INFER certain things. That is to say that they ‘say’ things without ever really having to ‘say’ them outright with actual words. Yes, and that means that would could be ‘said’ could be done with impunity as long as the reader never understood what was actually ‘there’ but only made virtually invisible. In many instances where things are only inferred the proper or correct understanding of the textual meaning depends upon the knowledge and/or ability of the intended or anticipated reader; in much the same way that an “inside joke” can only be understood by a person who is likewise “in” on the joke. Welcome to the exciting world of literary devices.
An example of this can be found in what Pliny says in a letter to Septicus Clarus, “But the gods promise happier things.” Pliny himself is not religious and does NOT believe in “the gods” in the same way that he pretends to. He says what he does on purpose so that it is seen and taken by non-royal readers/listeners on a superficial level, while other royals are able to “see” (understand) what he has omitted. The sentence to THEM reads, “But the (concept of) gods promise happier things (for US royals)” (Book II, pg. 3).
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XIII
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Wed. 04/24/02, Roman Piso)
Pliny alludes to a passage in the New Testament when he says, “each individual according to his past merits” as this is basically an echoing of…… (Book II, pg. 7). Further on, he teases (in what he wrote) about the name of God as being “I am” when he says, “I am (is) not a person who holds in equal honor the wicked and the good.” In fact, this passage (like many others) can be split into two and read as; “I am (i.e. God) is not a person.” Meaning “God” is not a real person (being) and not any one certain individual only, such as a king but a concept and a name that is inherited and wore as a title. And, “who holds in equal honor the wicked and the good?” (as a question). Which, of course, alludes to the judgment of the conceptual God that the royals had invented. It is a line to prod people into thinking about themselves in relation to the judgment of the conceptual God that they had invented and were promoting.
This is the way that these accounts of history and literature during those times were written and why they should be examined in an extremely critical manner by highly educated intelligent people who have been trained so as to have the ability to do so on a sophisticated level. What this means to me in terms of achieving that goal is that an education in this area should really start at a fairly young age – at least in terms of building a foundation of background knowledge such as regular readings of classical material.
In various places and in various ways, Pliny’s works are seen purely as a facilitator of his propaganda campaign. Now that our work has exposed the primary intent and purpose of the writings of the authors of first and second century history as propaganda, it should from now on always be considered such and examined accordingly.
While giving the illusion of humility, Pliny alludes to ego-feed (a part of the process of auto-self-hypnosis which results from the ego-centric state of irrational belief) by saying, “… I like to flatter myself.” As he was writing what he did he said such things that point out that he fully understood about “ego-feed” and those things which builds egocentricity within people so as to inform us as to just how ingenious he really was (Book II, pg. 7). And, to the superficial reader, his line, “you will tell of a king driven from his capital and finally to death,” this is ONLY about king Decebalus of Dacia; but in reality, this was written to parallel what happened to Nero. They were always alluding to and deriding Nero because he was one of the main obstacles to the creation of the Christian religion as he refused to allow the Pisos to create and promote it as he was pro-Pharisee. It also appears that Nero’s intent was to leave control of the Roman Empire itself to the Pharisees once he died. Which, of course, was something that those who were fighting against the Pharisees could not allow to happen (Book II, pg. 9).
In a letter addressed to Caninius Rufus he says, “So call the gods to your aid.” On the surface he appears to be talking about the Roman gods, while at the same time alluding to the Christian “gods” (plural, i.e. the Trinity). As we have already seen in many examples before, Pliny and the other writers of his time were busy laying down a lot of information in their works by disguising it in any number of ways. But most particularly, by the practice of speaking of one thing while actually meaning or alluding to another (Book II, pg. 9). He continues on in that one line saying, “that divine hero whose exploits, achievements and wisdom you are going to celebrate…” and, of course, is actually alluding to “Jesus.” He can’t say that outright in his writings as Pliny, because then he would not be able to get away with the hoax that he was a part of (Book II, pg. 9).
It is only when one is privy to what the writers themselves were privy to that one is then able to understand the meaning of so many of the things that they were stating within their works. For example, Pliny the Younger played the part of Paul and the character Paul was placed in a generation just prior to Pliny’s own generation. And so, when one knows this, they are then able to understand such statements made by Pliny as this; “How glad I am that my lot did not fall in those days — for which I blush AS IF I had lived in them.” In this statement, he alludes to playing the part of someone from an earlier generation (as Paul), because the story that is told in the New Testament was set in that earlier generation (Book II, pg. 21).
Also, once one knows who to identify instances of thinly veiled, but altogether deliberate pieces of advertising. Yes, that is right. There are very few scholars who up to this point have ever even thought that some of what was being said in ancient literary works was in fact written as advertising! Nonetheless, it most certainly will be known now. Though Pliny’s mention of Christians in his epistles appear superficially one way, the actual purpose (intent) was to make Christians better known before the people of the Roman Empire – it was, in reality, a piece of advertisement. And other such instances have been found and identified as such. On page 25 (of Book II), he is giving ideas for spreading the word about the fictional “Jesus” and Christianity by giving an example of another successful idea regarding religion and that is to make it all appear so attractive and beautiful by mentioning a place this is so, where people could travel to for a great mutual experience in a wonderful scenic environment (Book II, pg. 25).
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XIV
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Fri. 04/26/02, Roman Piso)
Pliny makes many statements promoting all of the necessary elements to perpetuate and promote ignorance and superstition within the minds of the masses of the Roman Empire in much the same way as Arrius Piso writing as Flavius Josephus did and as Titus Antonius (Antoninus) did while writing as Suetonius. He constantly makes remarks that give the impression that he is religious (as nearly all royals, writers and religious leaders did then, in order to make being religious appear to be “normal” so that people would not feel uneasy about it and accept it as a natural inclination), and these served to promote various elements of the Christian religion while also appearing (superficially) to refer to strictly Roman conventions of religion.
But when one realizes that ALL of these elements are a) there, and b) consistent throughout these works it becomes apparent that all of it is intentional; especially when weighed against all of the other evidence. Again, Pliny’s favorite “style” appears to be inserting already constructed lines and phrases into other pieces of text or to build text AROUND those already created phrases and statements. To this observer, it seems that a lot of thought has gone into the creation and use of many of the words and phrases that Pliny used and that these were probably written down long before ever using them in his works – when seen all together, they show up as a literary arsenal, something on the order of a propagandist’s workshop.
Perhaps Pliny wrote down some of these lines while he was busy doing other things such as sitting around a campfire while traveling around the Empire helping to create churches, renovating old worship sites into new Christian ones and building the little stalls used for confession and prostitution at those churches. He may have even been thinking of, writing down and collecting these phrases since he was a very young man. It is entirely possible that he was writing some of these ideas down while Mount Vesuvius was erupting in 79 C.E. and just used them later on, by inserting them within other text or by writing other text around them in order to hide them within other contexts as I had just explained above.
Here is another phrase that he had used, “… you should thank the gods…” This is an example of what the view of Christianity at the time was really like, as when Christianity was first beginning the Christian believers saw it as a religion with three central gods (plural) who were also ONE god in total (the Trinity).
What this does, having a trinity in a religion, is a psychological aspect of propaganda and it gives the mind more to work with in terms of certain aspects of reinforcing what is conceptualized by the believer. It means things on a subconscious level particularly. One of those things is that the believer will not get tired of praying to ONE god only and may place blame upon himself before assigning any to the god or before losing faith in that god, because he may then realize that he needs to appease ALL of the three gods or aspects of the one god in order to receive favor from him/them.
Another part of this psychologically is that it makes it seem that there is a majority or more than just the believer and the one god who is involved in seeing to it that the believer gets/receives what they desire, whether that is things that are asked for in prayer or if it is saving the “soul” of the believer himself. On a subconscious level, the believer may be able to trick his own mind into thinking that he is “hedging his bets” by paying homage to all three aspects of the god. So, there is really quite a lot going on by the use of the concept of the Trinity in the Christian religion. In saying, “you should thank the gods,” he means by praying, worshiping, sacrificing and the whole nine yards (Book II, pg. 27).
They also knew that simple-minded people were much like parrots, who did not really think, but who DID repeat many of the things that they had heard or were told. As Oscar Wilde put it, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’ opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” And this is something else that they put to full use when they were creating their propaganda as a psychological device. This is something that we will also be discussing and illustrating in detail as we go on in our studies of this subject. There are so many things which are right there in front of so many people. It is like the saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Many of these things are at least within their grasp should they so choose to accept the opportunity to learn and understand them; but in the majority of cases it is not until these have been pointed out, isolated, illustrated and finely described that they may finally register within so many minds. And most certainly, these things are indeed no exception.
As that grand observer Bruno Bauer had pointed out in his “Christ And The Caesars,” the authors of Christianity used basic pre-existing ideas and concepts by refining, improving and re-wording them. Even though some do appear to be wholly original on the surface. But a truly thorough and critical study of a subject such as this must never be confined to a superficial examination. One must call in all available tools and technology as well as those items which are peripheral to that subject or otherwise involve it. Bruno Bauer’s work in “Christ And The Caesars,” dealt largely with a critical examination of the works of Seneca and Flavius Josephus, although he does also discuss items (instances) which are found in the works of other writers of that time – including Pliny’s. Now, back to OUR examination of the works of Pliny.
Pliny the Younger displays his talent for re-wording ideas and concepts in this works. And he is definitely a master of allusion by using this talent to disguise and hide phrases that were actually referring to New Testament passages regarding particular ideological concepts which were developed into pieces of propaganda. In one line from his Epistles, Pliny says, “we may hope from this evidence…” This phrase, to those who are able to recognize it from the elements of it alludes to the New Testament passage about what “faith” is defined as by the NT author of that passage, while at the same time mixing in “hope” (false hope) as a means of disguising what he is actually referring to. Also, by mentioning “hope” he is recalling a statement that he had made earlier on in his Epistles where he speaks of letting him be happy in his delusions – as such a person would not be a real thinking person, but would think in terms of faith and (groundless/baseless) hope (Book II, pg. 29).
As was already observed, Pliny peppers his letters with words that are synonyms for the word “innocent” such as “blameless.” And in addition to this he gives conceptual lines or phrases that indicate the same thing or that have the same meaning, as in the statement, “… no fault of her own…” I.e. she was “innocent” (Book II, pg. 29). Simple lines are also used. Lines that would appear on the surface to be incidental were perfect to say, indicate, allude to and infer certain things. One of those was the use of “I am” as was already discussed.
But there were certain words and phrases that were exclusive to the New Testament in their meaning (at that time) because of what they referred to specifically. For instance, the phrase “one day.” In a letter to Cornelius Minicianus, he inserts the simple phrase “one day,” which most people would gloss right over without a second thought. But it is this phrase which refers (secretly, of course) to the rising of Jesus after three days. This is because in the story it really was not actually three days – but two! “One day” was missing! (Book II, pg. 31).
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XV
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Wed. 05/01/02, Roman Piso)
In Book II, pg. 33, Pliny hints at his having been Pope when he says, “so I feel that I am performing a pious duty.” He was, as stated in his works, for a time, he was the official Roman overseer of religion under Trajan. And realizing that Christianity was created by the Romans, this would make him Pope.
Pliny says things to infer jokes such as when he says in Book II, pg. 47, “Otherwise, I shall have to erase all I write, good or bad, and use the paper (over) again… (this time, to wipe my a** with).” What people need to understand is that because history did not happen in the way that people have thought it had, but instead happened in a totally different way, the writers had the luxury of being able to “say” things without having to actually say them outright or with written words – all they had to do was to merely INFER them.
That is because all that they wrote was “pristine” in the sense that ONLY those who were authorized to write were writing and with everyone who was writing in on what was going on, they did not need to explain it to each other. Instead, what they did was to give the REST of their meaning in other places and in other ways. One of those ways was by setting precedent examples regarding alternate word meanings. This means that if one of them wrote somewhere, in some passage that a word somehow meant something in addition to its regular meaning that they could use that word as a euphemism or secretly to infer a meaning that would not be readily detected.
And Pliny again alludes to the passage in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 7:20-21) where it says, “Let each man remain in the same state (that he is in) when he is called (to heaven/death). Are you being called (going to die) as a slave? Never mind.” What is he jokingly saying is that if a slave dies as a slave that he will remain as one always. There is a surface joke that infers that if a slave dies as a slave that he will go to heaven as a slave or to a “slave heaven.” But beneath that meaning, he is also saying what is obvious to all other royals and that is simply that if he was not born royal then he is a subject (slave) and that there is no escape from that situation, he will die as one no matter what. In other words, he is teasing that the very (false) hope that the Christian religion offered to slaves was futile and that they were really all just fools for believing it. But of course, the slaves would never know that this is what he was saying or joking about.
That corresponding passage in Pliny’s epistles is, “I am always ready to grant my slaves their freedom, so I don’t free their death is so untimely when they die free men…” (Book II, pg. 47). This statement says something else if we examine closer and understand Pliny as he REALLY was. Pliny is supposed to have granted his slaves their freedom upon this death and has been praised for this act of kindness; in fact, a great deal of his fame is based upon his granting his many slaves their freedom. But in reality, what this statement exposes is what really happened. Upon his death, he had left orders to give his slaves a “mock” freedom and then be immediately killed. This is another play on words by Pliny as the says that he is always ready to grant his slaves their “freedom.” But what he means is their “liberty,” which is secretly saying “their death.” This is because liberty is synonymous with death. Seneca wrote about “liberating” the soul from the body at death. And the Roman god Jupiter is called “the liberator” because he liberated (freed) people of their life. A key to the true meaning of his statement is that he says, “I don’t feel that their death is so untimely.” No, it wouldn’t be “untimely” if it occurred anytime that Pliny wished it to. Which is exactly the case.
Pliny and the other Roman royals of his time were so power drunk and used to their position of power over other human beings that they admired the practice of the ancient Pharaohs to take their slaves with them into death when they had died that they desired the very same thing. As I had explained before, these Romans who were creating Christianity and writing the history of the time considered what they were doing to be the same as building their own literary pyramids as monuments to themselves – and that made them (secretly) like a new kind of “Roman” Pharaoh.
There was no way that Pliny was going to let his slaves outlive him and Pliny or no other royals were going to allow them to be free. That slaves were granted freedom appears to have been only another one of the illusions that ancient writers had created out of necessity – to give slaves one other false hope to hold onto. It would have been a dangerous thing to royals to let someone who was intimately familiar with them, all of their dealings, habits and all manner of things “loose” to let all of those secrets also escape their household.
It just did not make sense for royals to grant their slaves freedom, especially when most royals did not view slaves as being entitled to anything at all resembling rights or entitlement no matter what. Slaves were to be used in whatever manner their owners wished and were expected to comply or die. Their “lot” or fate was sealed upon birth and lasted to death. Any perversion, sexual whim or desire that a slave owner had no matter how depraved or what time of day or place, he had a “right” to do with his slave and was generally met with no resistance at all because the slaves were used to it and knew that resistance meant death. Those slave owners had the power of life and death over other human beings; this is precisely what caused the war that eventually led to the creation of the Christian religion.
Pliny uses a key phrase which is a very obvious parallel to similar statements which are found in the New Testament when he says, “Not that I would wish to be harder of heart…” (Book II, 49). The “hard of heart” phrases as used in the NT are there to set up precedent examples so as to make certain words and terms synonymous with each other, particularly making the word “stone” (which they had already made synonymous with “son” i.e., Jesus the Son of God) with “heart.” And knowing this, now you will better understand just why you find the “sacred heart” in the Catholic religion. This is something that I will illustrate better later on (Book II, pg. 49).
And Pliny makes some rather strange statements as times such as this one, “Even grief has its pleasure…” He says this in the context of what people would consider “comfort” in a time of grief; but comfort is NOT the same as “pleasure.” So, what he is really saying is that from SOME people’s suffering, SOMEONE ELSE may derive pleasure, IF it is the grief or suffering of those whom you hate or are MAKING suffer. He was alluding to the fact that he and his comrades enjoyed making and seeing other people suffer. This was a sick and depraved “pleasure” that they shared in common. It brings to mind a statement by Suetonius where he is talking about Domitian when he first became Emperor spending his time trapping and torturing flies (which became the source for the saying, “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”). Now why would Suetonius make such a big deal of something such as this to put this in his works? Because the royal Roman view of this is that he was so stupid for torturing flies when he had the power to do so many other things! If he wished, he could be torturing other human beings and do so in the cruelest ways. Or he could be with any number of sex partners or whatever else he pleased. So, that was stated to make fun of how he was “wasting” his time and power (Book II, pg. 49).
When speaking of a “mirror,” Pliny alludes to his famous statement in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 13:12) saying in his epistles (Book II, pg. 53), “There is certainly no truth in the popular belief that a man’s will is a mirror (of his character).” If one will but examine the statement closer, they will find that within it is a statement which acts as a disclaimer for Christianity, “There is certainly no truth in the popular belief,” that “popular belief,” being Christianity. So, just as there are many other instances of disclaimers found in the works of that time, this is just one more of those.
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XVI
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Fri. 05/03/02, Roman Piso)
Something that Pliny says in his epistle to Maturus Arrianus (Book II, pg. 65) may remind a person of the extremes found in the New Testament; from the grave image of Jesus upon the cross, to the (false) promise of salvation. He says, “In literature, as in life, I think it a becoming sign of humanity to mingle grave and gay (happy), lest the one becomes too austere and the other indelicate; and this is the principle which leads me to intersperse my more serious (literary) works with trifles for amusement.”
Now, there are a few things here to discuss. The first thing that I’d like to point out is what the very first part of what he says is analogous to – a mirror. What he says is, “In literature, as in life…” (today’s version of this is “In art, as in life…”). He is saying that they “mirror” each other; of course, alluding to his famous New Testament statement once again. Isn’t he just so clever? But that is not all… this is something else there that is just a bit more difficult to notice on the surface, because there is another NT passage that this relates to another one that indicates a parallel or “mirror.” And this one is key to understanding the true meaning of many other NT passages. There is a passage in Luke (11:2) that states, “Let (it) be done as it is in heaven, also upon the earth.” “Heaven” to them was a euphemism for death or “non-life” and therefore fiction or literature. And “earth” is used euphemistically here for “life.” And so, we see what was said as saying that “art (literature) mirrors life.”
The part about mixing “grave and gay” alludes to the NT and it can also refer to what he has said before about his taking pleasure in the pain or grief of others. And this portion, “which leads me to intersperse my more serious works with trifles for amusement,” means two things that I’d like to explain and possibly alludes to another. Firstly, he says “intersperse.” That means or could mean “inserting” lines or phrases which he had already created beforehand, as was already discussed.
Secondly, he says “for amusement,” but does not indicate specifically if it is for HIS amusement or that of the reader (this is much like the trick that we find in the works of Flavius Josephus where he says “and where it must be reproachful to write lies, when they must be known by the READER as such.” He is saying that an awful thing if the READER knows that what he is reading is a lie!!! Oh, it would be just the most terrible thing if the reader knows that what he is reading is a lie! Yes, it would. Because then the fraud would not continue to work! But even though he has said it THIS way, he make it appear as if he has accidentally written READER when he meant to say WRITER (“The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, Whiston Translation, pg. 428). Superficially, it appears to mean that he (Pliny) does this to entertain and keep the interest/attention of his readers. But, knowing what we do, we know that Pliny produced many inside jokes (gay/happy) within texts that were written superficially to be taken by non-privy persons as serious or solemn (grave); such as with the New Testament material.
And he speaks throughout his epistles about his “other” great literary works. However, all of the literary work that he have that was written by Pliny the Younger under own name as Pliny are his epistles and the Panegyricus, which was written supposedly, to honor Trajan. Which begs the question, just what ARE these other great literary works that Pliny refers to??? He makes them seem gigantically monumental.
So, these OTHER great works that he refers to appear to be the literary contributions that he had made to the New Testament! He has alluded to them and very nearly has referred directly to them on a constant basis throughout his epistles; and in fact, if one were to take those particular portions OUT of his epistles there would scarcely be anything left! In the same epistle to Maturus Arrianus, Pliny inserts the line, “I began by hoping…” This alludes to the (false) hope that Christianity would give to its believers (Book II, pg. 65).
Regarding his literary work, Pliny says, “but mine is more guileless and affectionate…” (Book II, pg. 65). He is alluding or pointing to the passages regarding “guile” in the New Testament, one of which is “But being crafty, I caught you with guile…” (2 Co. 12:16). Guile means deceit, trickery, the deliberate misleading of people, sometimes with “bait.” While, Pliny claims that his writings are more “guileless” (innocent, without blame) than others. However, as we are studying the literary complexities of Pliny’s writings, this does make me think of what royals might have gotten away with had they been able to use what we might term “antonyms.”
Traditionally, an antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of a word. This can be taken to mean that another word is used in addition to one which was already given; but it could likewise mean a single word that when used in a sentence has the opposite meaning to what people would think that it does. An example of such a word that people are familiar with would be the word “rationalizing.” If this is so, then they could have gotten away with saying virtually anything and saying that it was “true” even though it was indeed a lie!
When we researchers consider everything else, we can’t help take note of Pliny’s use of the phrase “good book” and realize the implied reference to the New Testament Gospels, especially when the NT was seen as a collection of literary “good news”; for those who were royal and wanted to keep their position of power over everyone else, that is. So, to them, the New Testament was seen as the “Good Book”… a term that would later be applies to the Bible as a whole (Book II, pg. 67).
There is another phrase that stands out here as well. It is one that the Oxford professors who were compiling the Oxford Encyclopedia Biblica had identified as a euphemism for a phallus and which in the Roman writings of the time appears as “the greater part,” “the secret (sacred) part,” or as Pliny puts it, “the better part” (Pliny, Book II, pg. 67). Pliny is obviously alluding to a sexual instance depicted in the New Testament where Mary the Magdalene (as Jesus says therein), “hath chosen THE BETTER PART” (Luke 10:42). James Ballantyne Hannay discusses this very thing in his “The Rise, Decline & Fall of the Roman Religion,” pg. 57-58. The “better part” as we find, on one level is supposed to be his FEET. So that when people read the passage, they innocently think that it is Jesus’ FEET that Mary is attending to. But, we researchers know more than the general public does about what was really going on with regards to these writings and so we understand the true nature of what was being said in them. The words for “foot” and “feet” were used as euphemisms for the male sex organ (Book II, pg. 67).*
* James Ballantyne Hannay, author of “The Rise, Decline & Fall of the Roman Religion,” published in 1925; reprinted in 1972. Distributed by Health Research, P.O. Box 70, Mokelumne Hill, Calif. 95245. Hannay says that Forlong gives examples of “foot” and “feet” used in a phallic sense. He is referring to British Major-General Forlong, circa WWI (i.e. 1914-1918).
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XVII
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Wed. 05/08/02, Roman Piso)
Here is one particular phrase that I have noted about Pliny the Younger had used in his epistles, and it is a phrase which is also found used in the New Testament. That phrase is “my mind’s eye” (Book II, pg. 71).
And, as you have already seen, there are many, many instances that can be found in Pliny’s epistles where a correlation exists between his works and the New Testament, just has we have already shown with the works of Flavius Josephus.
In an epistle addressed to Valerius Maximus he makes the statement “… or else it would be better for you to remain ignorant.” This echoes the New Testament statement “If a man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” Or “If a man IS ignorant, let him REMAIN ignorant.” (Book II, pg. 73).
And Pliny states just how their planned propaganda was based upon the appearance of genuine love and concern in order to gain their desired results when he says, “affection is far more effective than fear in gaining you your ends.” Which, when one thinks of it, is very similar to the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey and you can with vinegar” (Book II, pg. 75). This is the apparent basic rule which is found throughout the New Testament – make it appear adorable, good and loving; and as attractive as possible while playing down the fear factor involved, once it is made abundantly clear.
We can see that Pliny actively plants seeds of particular thought and ideology within his writings; just as we find in the New Testament. One such phrase that he uses is, “there is no danger of excess where there ought to be no limits.” And with Christianity having been made to appear synonymous with love, he means this to be said to those Christian believers so as to plant the idea within their heads that they cannot be over-zealous in their idea of Christian love and belief (Book II, pg. 77).
In an epistle addressed to Valerius Paulinus, Pliny plants the seeds of thoughts of martyrdom for Christian believers saying, “… the truly happy man is of one who enjoys the anticipation of a good and lasting reputation, and, confident in the verdict of posterity, lives in the knowledge of the fame that is to come” (Book II, pg. 85). He goes on to say in that same epistle, “that fame (once won), is imperishable or (else) man is (only) mortal.” This statement is extremely telling as to how Pliny and other royals saw life. And, of course, in the statement about “the fame that is to come,” Pliny is no doubt referring to himself and the “fame” that is to come to HIM once it is realized that he had a great part in the creation of the Christian religion. He realized, as did his fellow writers of the time, that their writings, since they contain the information that we need to work out the puzzle that they had created, would be essential for the study and research of all students and scholars of the subject.
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XVIII
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Fri. 05/10/02, Roman Piso)
Pliny jokes about the euphemistic meaning in the use of the word “eyes” in the New Testament by saying, “use your eyes and you will see.” This alludes to the NT statement, “they have eyes, but do not see; they hear, but do not understand” (Book II, pg. 97).
And Pliny very slyly mimics what Arrius Piso as Jesus had said in the New Testament, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone…” But Pliny says it this way, “surely everyone is liable to make mistakes and everyone has his own foibles.”
Also, Pliny appears to be echoing what Suetonius had said about boys (“Boys will be boys!”). Or is it the other way around? Did Suetonius echo what Pliny had said before him? Well, all of this anyway from what Pliny had said in his epistles, “Remember that he is a boy, and you have (also) been a boy (once) yourself…”
Once again, Pliny alludes to the “Never Mind” joke in the New Testament (which was mentioned and explained earlier), as he uses that phrase “Never Mind” in an epistle to Ummidius Quadratus (Book II, pg. 103). And he also teases us readers again about the fact that he had played the part of a prophet by saying, “All (this) have I foreseen and (it has) gone through my mind.” This is actually from a line that he had lifted from The Aeneid.
As we have observed in our research and which we have learned from the research of others such as Bruno Bauer, there are quite a few passages that the New Testament is actually comprised of which had originated in the writings of people like Homer and the great Roman Poets and philosophers. This is a very interesting aspect of this when one thinks about it. And, again, is very telling as it exposes the greater extent of Roman involvement in the creation of the Christian religion and the compilation of the New Testament. (Book II, pg. 103).
When it comes to certain phrases that Pliny uses in his works, I had just had to skip over many of the instances where he has used the phrase “blameless” as it would be a rather exhaustive task to cover each and very one of these currently. However, where other instances are that are not as numerous, I have done what I could to make you aware of those. Such is the case with the phrase “mind’s eye.” Pliny uses this phrase once again in Book II, pg. 109. In that same epistle, he gives us the phrase, “(you) have only yourself to blame.” Come to think of it, this may be the key phrase to all of those “disclaimers” that we have so far identified through the writings of that time.
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XIX
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Wed. 05/15/02, Roman Piso)
There is, as I have said before, so much of value to us as researchers within the epistles or letters of Pliny the Younger that I cannot hope to cover it all – but I find that I must restrict myself to those things which I know that readers (who are also researchers) will be able to related to and use in their own research.
When and if the time comes that some readers may reach a more difficult level of study they may go on to tackle things which are decidedly more complicated. And hopefully, I will have written enough so as to aid them in that transition by then.
Now, with all that having been said, we find Pliny making a “testes” joke by writing the line “… with all that in the bag…” (Book II, pg. 113). By the way, in that very same sentence he alludes to the Isopsephia or “numbers game” which the authors of the time used in order to say or indicate things in cypher. He says, “… that the numbers couldn’t be counted.” (Book II, pg. 113).
Still in that same epistle to Pomponius Mamilianus, he used the phrase “new wine” – which is referenced to a particular passage in the New Testament where it is talking about “new wine in old bottles.” (Book II, pg. 113).
But Pliny really pushed it as far as he could in terms of all of the alluding to passages in the New Testament because he could not stop himself from doing so at every opportunity; even though these were disguised and he must have felt fairly safe in doing so, he really had no control over it as in essence he was so egotistic that he needed to brag about what he had done. It is as if he was power-drunk and addicted to bragging about his part in the authorship of the New Testament.
He writes, “I can bear witness to this myself…” (Book II, pg. 117). This is a direct reference to the passage in the New Testament where Jesus says that if he bears witness to himself that he is a liar; and then a few lines later he does just that!
And it appears that Pliny is referring to his sex slaves by use of euphemism calling them “little sparrows and doves,” in a letter to Pomponius Mamilianus (Book II, pg. 129). Pliny says, apparently of Arrius Piso, “his only fault is that he is faultless.” Meaning that he got away with it all flawlessly. (Book II, pg. 129). Come to think of it, this may be an indication of what was said about Titus, because Arrius Piso was also called Titus and had Titus as an inherited name (from the Flavians). It may well be that several of the things that are said apparently about Titus the Emperor were really being said of Arrius Piso as Titus. Such as being “the darling of the human race” and of what Suetonius says of Titus, “only a single sin lay on his conscience.” (Suetonius, ‘The Twelve Caesars,’ in the section on Titus).
Oh, and it is Pliny who was apparently the first to use the phrase “a snail’s pace.” (Book II, pg. 129). If not the first then surely one of the first. Pliny himself was well-versed in metaphor and simile, he never hides the fact that he is quite proud of his literary talents, and is always critical of the works of others. He says in a letter to Lupercus, “… he is, so pleased with this metaphor that he (often) repeats it…” (Book II, pg. 135).
And not only here, but in several places throughout the letters of Pliny do we find him very nearly bragging about this literary ability and being very specific in stating that he is a master of. And he mentions these things by name such as above where he states his knowledge of metaphor. So, this is proof that he indeed was well aware and capable of doing all that has been indicated.
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XX
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Fri. 05/17/02, Roman Piso)
While examining the epistles of Pliny we have seen many references and allusions to various passages in the New Testament texts. This is something that Abelard Reuchlin has already said existed within those epistles several years ago. In fact, the way that he had put this was that there are phrases and/or passages that are used by Pliny in his epistles that correspond to the epistles of Paul in the New Testament. So, I had expected to find a few of these phrases; but not nearly as many as have been found!
And in addition to this, we also find quite a few disguised bawdy jokes. These are obviously deliberate and original to the epistles. The manner in which these jokes are disguised is very similar to the way in which the same type of jokes and bawdy comments are found in the New Testament texts; and by observing the words and phrases that are used by Pliny we find that several of these actually correspond to those which are found within the New Testament texts. In the New Testament, for example, we find the use of the word “groan” as a part of a crude sexual joke. In Pliny’s epistles, we find his use of the same word in relation to a phallic joke as he had inserted the phrase in this particular epistle as, “… the rudder groans…” (Book II, pg. 137). The “rudder,” of course, is a phallic reference.
Pliny demonstrates his desire to keep people guessing about things by creating little riddles and mysteries. In this instance, he does so by saying, “Up came the friends (a phallic reference) of someone I won’t name” and only a few lines later in the same letter he says, “… for information withheld only sharpens men’s curiosity to hear (know) it.” (Book II, pg. 137).
This time he does so in a letter to “Plinius Paternus” – I wonder WHO that might be? Well, I have no doubt that Pliny, like Arrius Piso writing as Josephus, was in fact writing TO HIMSELF; at least in part. I am not saying that the people whom he addresses the letters to did not exist; in fact, the purpose of his mention of them by certain names is to inform the privy reader of the various alias names used either by or to identify royal family members and other royal individuals. A study of that particular aspect of Pliny’s letters will have to be done separate and apart from this examination of the words and phrases used in his letters.
As we have also seen previously in this examination of Pliny’s epistles, there are also a number of sayings and what might be called prototypes for what would later become sayings in those epistles. Those who have been critically studying the classics for a while now, will note that this is something that is also found in the works of Suetonius – whom Pliny admits he knows. And we have already discussed a potential connection between a “prototype” saying and one that shows up as a fully formed saying in the works of Suetonius. That saying is “Boys will be boys.”
The origin of the saying “robbing Peter to pay Paul” may have its basis in these words of Pliny, “other smart characters rob one person to give (pay) to another…” For one thing, they (Peter and Paul) were both “characters” alright – created fictional characters. And for another thing, regarding these two, one was Arrius Piso (Peter) and the other one was Pliny (Paul). Also, Arrius Piso as Jesus, worked miracles. And so, borrowing or “robbing” from that or another character (Peter), the “Paul” character was created and in so doing, also worked miracles. (Book II, pg. 143).
It is very interesting to note all of the instances that we find in Pliny’s epistles that relate directly to the New Testament in various ways. Restating one of the main themes of the New Testament with regards to the aim in its propaganda (used to placate slaves and those who were living miserably poor lives), Pliny says, “… be content with your own lot (in life.” (Book II, pg. 143). This echoes not only of various lines in the New Testament, but also of the kind of ideologies that Seneca was trying to put forth within his writings as a philosopher.
As researchers of the history of the time in which the New Testament was written, we are well aware of the fact that there were many uprisings going on and that these were long-standing. These uprisings consisted of or were described as being attributed to certain groups; at times, these groups were be described as “slaves” who were uprising. In other places, there were common citizens and others from within the Roman empire, even joining in with slaves in these uprisings.
Besides these, the Roman Empire was busy fighting long on-going wars and battles throughout the Empire and those lands which Rome was trying to either conquer and gain for itself and/or those that it wished to retain. All of this, was a very heavy drain upon the resources of Rome. And so, it was a strategic tactic to find a solution to all of these uprising and to get people to become more content in living their lives as poor people, slaves and others. That is, to just accept their station or “lot” in life and not make trouble for those who were enjoying lives of extreme wealth and privilege. That is why we see these Roman authors repeating the NEED for people to be content and be “humble.” As they were also obliged to include this same theme and make a point of it in the New Testament.
SOME COMMENTARY ON PLINY THE YOUNGER’S EPISTLES – PART XXI
[Keyed to the Loeb Classical Library Edition, Book II of II] (Wed. 05/22/02, Roman Piso)
Later, in other studies, we will recall many of the examples that we have examined in the works of Pliny the Younger. Here is an example of one which we may return to later on. It is about Tacitus in the company of Pliny telling him how someone had brought up the close association between the two authors. Pliny says of Tacitus (to Maximus), “He was describing how at the last Races he had sat next to a Roman knight who engaged him in conversation on several learned subjects and then asked if he had come from Italy or the provinces.” “You know me,” said Tacitus, “from your reading.” At which, the man said, “Then are you Tacitus or Pliny?” (Book II, pg. 125). But what had Pliny published BEFORE that which he was to become well-known for?
When you read Pliny’s letters you will find just how overly excited he is at the fact that his name was so closely associated with Tacitus in several instances. However, “Pliny” was a pen name just as “Tacitus” was a pen name for that author. So, in order to receive the “credit” that they knew that would receive far off in the distant future (from the time in which they were writing), they would have to make certain that they true identities would one day become known. And so, this too, will be a point that we will be examining later.
And Pliny goes on in this same epistle (addressed to Maximus), to give us an example of deduction. He says, “A similar thing happened to me a day or two ago. I had a distinguished neighbor at dinner, Fadius Rufinus, and on his other side was someone from his native town who had come to Rome on his first visit that same day. Pointing to me, Rufinus said to him, “do you see my friend here?” Then he spoke at length about my work, and the man exclaimed, “It must be Pliny!” (Book II, pg. 125). This shows just how much pleasure these authors derived from fooling people into thinking that they were someone who they were not.
The phrase “reopening old wounds” appears to have come from Pliny’s use of the phrase by quoting “reopening old wounds” in an epistle to Lupercus (Book II, pg. 135). And here is an interesting bit of information, Pliny uses the Greek word “politeias” (in his Latin text, which isn’t that unusual in and of itself), but it is the same passage and I thought it worth mentioning that this word is a variant of the name “Pilate” (“Pilatos”). The word “politeias” is “State” (i.e. the “Roman State” or government in Greek. (Book II, pg. 135).
Pliny may or may not be the first to use the phrase “peace and quiet,” but it is worth noting his use of the phrase. He does so in a letter to the poet Caninius Rufus (Book II, pg. 149. Pliny puts forth the illusion that he believes in “soothsayers” so as to promote irrational thought and superstition. In a letter addressed to Mustius, he says, “I am told by the soothsayers that I must rebuild the temple of Ceres which stands on my property…” This too, gives the reader that impression that Pliny believes in the (old) Roman gods and puts a distance between him and his involvement in the creation and promotion of the Christian religion. This was done, of course, in an attempt to deflect suspicion away from Pliny (Book II, pg. 159). So, he pretended to keep up the worship of the old Roman deities.
And I really cannot make note of all of the times that Pliny used the word “pray.” He never missed the chance to use that word. “I pray you” is a phrase used by him quite often in his epistles, in case I had failed to mention it before (Book II, pg. 175).
Trajan alludes to the fact that royals would adapt religion to the particular regions (and kingdoms) in which they ruled by saying, “You are wise to adapt yourself to local conditions…” The use of the word “wise” in this sentence makes the sentence “say” to the person it is addressed to (in this instance it is Pliny the Younger) that he is a “wise man,” alluding to the Egyptian “Veru.” And Pliny was a “veru,” just as Arrius Piso was. “Veru” was the inherited name that Arrius Piso and his relatives used to establish the Roman dynasty known as the Annii Verii (Book II, pg. 187).
Pliny, like Suetonius and other writers of the time, put forth irrational ideas including the belief in good and bad omens; as religion and superstition went hand in hand. He speaks of a “good omen” in a letter addressed to Trajan (Book II, pg. 189).
End of book sample 2.