|death_place = Stabiae, Campania, Roman Empire
|occupation = Lawyer, author, natural philosopher, naturalist,
|spouse = None
|parents = Celer and Marcella
|children = Pliny the Younger (adopted son, originally nephew)
|citizenship = Roman
|relations = Sister (Plinia),
|residence = Rome, provincial locations, Misenum
|death_cause = Died in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (AD 79) on the beach at Stabiae; Pliny had asthma and therefore died due to breathing difficulties induced by the toxic gases emitted by the volcano.
|education = Rhetoric, grammar
|notable works = ''Historia Naturalis''
Gaius Plinius Secundus (c. AD 23 August 25, AD 79), better known by his Anglicized name Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian.
Spending most of his spare time studying, writing or investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, he wrote an encyclopedic work, ''Naturalis Historia'', which became a model for all other encyclopedias. Pliny the Younger, his nephew, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus:
Pliny is referring to the fact that Tacitus relied on his uncle's now missing work on the ''History of the German Wars''. Pliny the Elder died on August 25, AD 79, whilst attempting to rescue Pomponianus (a friend of Pliny's) and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that had just destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. When Pliny arrived, Pomponianus had packed his bags ready for a swift getaway, but having arrived, Pliny ordered for a bath to be drawn in order to calm Pomponianus' fears. A swift getaway was not possible due to the wind directly facing Stabiae, and so it appears that Pliny used his initiative in this instance. It is subtly implied in Pliny the Younger's letter to Tacitus (The death of my Uncle), that Pliny drew this bath to allow time for him to decide what to do next. However, it is also implied that he felt the necessity to bathe because he thought it would help his asthma. For in his letter, Pliny the Younger describes how anybody walking past the room in which Pliny was bathing (the door was closed) could hear his wheezing. Therefore, it is thought that Pliny commanded a bath not only to gather a revised plan, but furthermore to recuperate himself somewhat. From this we know that the toxic gas was already beginning to take effect on Pliny.
It is known that when the pumice stones began to fall seemingly 'from the sky', Pliny the Elder and the entire team on his ship tied pillows to their heads and fastened them with thin strips of linen. Pliny the Younger makes sure to detail this, which implies that he wanted his uncle's meticulous, creative and perhaps even thoughtful (as he provided pillows to his slaves too) nature to be properly conveyed.
The unfavourable prevailing wind would not allow his ship to leave the shore, and thus travel away from the toxic fumes. His companions attributed his collapse and death on the beach at Stabiae to toxic fumes, but they were unaffected by the fumes, as Pliny had asthma and therefore was affected more severely.〔
==Life and times==
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