Pliny the Younger is a favourite correspondent, warm, cantankerous, impatient of news.  He gets mad as hell with friends who claim to have no time to write, and tells them roundly not to bother him with excuses about being busy in the Senate or other such nonsense.

Here, having received a gift of dates he is in a softer mood, mollified by the sweetness of sharing.  I wonder if he sent a basket of figs to Octavius in return.

Dates and figs, what a feast.  See also the disciple Andrew praising Jericho for its dates.


‘Your excellent dates have joined me here, and they must now engage with my figs and mushrooms.’


Source: Pliny the Younger, Pliny the Younger, Complete Letters, trans. P.G. Walsh (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2006), Book I, 7 – To his friend Octavius Rufus, September 97, p. 8

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