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Sunday, October 10, 2010

(Spanish translation below)

Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 AD – ca. 112 AD)

Model of Pliny's Villa at Laurentium




To Fuscus:

You want to know how I portion out my day, in my summer villa at Tuscum? I get up just when I please; generally about sunrise, often earlier, but seldom later than this. I keep the shutters closed, as darkness and silence wonderfully promote meditation.

Thus free and abstracted from those outward objects which dissipate attention, I am left to my own thoughts; nor suffer my mind to wander with my eyes, but keep my eyes in subjection to my mind, which, when they are not distracted by a multiplicity of external objects, see nothing but what the imagination represents to them. If I have any work in hand, this is the time I choose for thinking it out, word for word, even to the minutest accuracy of expression. In this way I compose more or less, according as the subject is more or less difficult, and I find myself able to retain it. I then call my secretary, and, opening the shutters, dictate to him what I have put into shape, after which I dismiss him, then call him in again, and again dismiss him. About ten or eleven o'clock (for I do not observe one fixed hour), according to the weather, I either walk upon my terrace or in the covered portico, and there I continue to meditate or dictate what remains upon the subject in which I am engaged.

This completed, I get into my chariot, where I employ myself as before, when I was walking, or in my study; and find this change of scene refreshes and keeps up my attention. On my return home, I take a little nap, then a walk, and after that repeat out loud and distinctly some Greek or Latin speech, not so much for the sake of strengthening my voice as my digestion; though indeed the voice at the same time is strengthened by this practice. I then take another walk, am anointed, do my exercises, and go into the bath. At supper, if I have only my wife or a few friends with me, some author is read to us; and after supper we are entertained either with music or an interlude. When that is finished, I take my walk with my family, among whom I am not without some scholars. Thus we pass our evenings in varied conversation; and the day, even when at the longest, steals imperceptibly away. Upon some occasions I change the order in certain of the articles above - mentioned. For instance, if I have studied longer or walked more than usual, after my second sleep, and reading a speech or two aloud, instead of using my chariot I get on horseback; by which means I ensure as much exercise and lose less time.

The visits of my friends from the neighboring villages claim some part of the day; and sometimes, by an agreeable interruption, they come in very seasonably to relieve me when I am feeling tired. I now and then amuse myself with hunting, but always take my tablets into the field, that, if I should meet with no game, I may at least bring home something. Part of my time too (though not so much as they desire) is allotted to my tenants; whose rustic complaints, along with these city occupations, make my literary studies still more delightful to me.


Ruins of Pliny's Villa at Tifernum

Carta de Plinio el Joven a Fusco:Me preguntas cómo paso la jornada de verano en mi casa de Tuscum, en Etruria. Me despierto cuando quiero, habitualmente a las seis, con frequencia antes, rara vez mas tarde. . . . Reflexiono sobre el trabajo que estoy haciendo y lo hago con gran cuidado, como si lo escribiera palabra por palabra y lo corrigiera . . . Después llamo a mi secretario, le hago abrir las ventanas y le dicto lo que he elaborado en la mente . . . Hacia las diez o las once –no subdivido las horas de manera rígida, precisa, sino según aconseje el tiempo -, voy a la terraza o al atrio, sigo reflexionando, y dicto lo que he pensado. Después, subo a la carroza y también en ella continúo haciendo lo que hago, caminando o acostado. La tensión mental permanence, revigorizada por el cambio. A continuación, me echo una siesta y doy otro paseo; al final leo algún discurso griego o latino, en voz alta y clara, más para el beneficio del estómago que para el entrenamiento de la voz; aunque, de todos modos, esto sirve también para fortalecer la voz. Doy un nuevo paseo, vienen después los masajes, la gimnasia y el baño. A la mesa, cuando está mi mujer o un par de amigos, hago leer algún libro; tras la cena, la comedia o el sonido del laúd; doy a continuación, un paseo con mi gente, que incluye también a hombres cultos. De este modo transcurre la velada en discursos varios y agradables, y hasta el día más largo pasa como un soplo . . . . A veces voy a cazar, aunque nunca sin mi mesita de escribir, que gracias a ella, aunque no cace nada, siempre llevo a casa algo de valor . . . También dedico algún tiempo a mis arrendatarios (coloni), aunque, según ellos, nunca es suficiente; sus quejas labriegas despiertan en mí el deseo de pensar en nuestras ciencias y en las actividades y asuntos politicos de la ciudad.
Me despido.

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