Theory and practise of the Roman Law based on Book X from the collection of correspondence between Pliny the Younger and Emperor Trajan



The aim of the project was to translate and publish Book X from the collection of correspondence between Pliny the Younger and Emperor Trajan. Another aim was to write a commentary to the letters.

Book X of Pliny’s letters is unique in the way it represents the character and scale of the problems faced by the Roman administration in the provinces. This work is an invaluable addition to the body of information that can be found in in this respect in the sources of a literary character (especially in the writings of Roman historians and early Christian writers), epigraphic sources and papyrologist evidence. So far, Pliny’s letters have been referred to as comparative material in research conducted from other perspectives.

The present research is aimed at bringing closer one of the monuments of classical writings to the reader who may not be fluent enough in Latin. The results of the present study will be significant in the development of other scientific disciplines: legal history, theory of law, classical studies, history,  studies of Polish literature or political science.

In a unique way and on concrete examples this source shows to what extent the Roman “law in the books”, preserved till the present times thanks to Justinian’s codification (6th c. AD), was applied in practice as “law in action”. The critical publication of the text, accompanied by a translation, will undoubtedly prove popular in the circles of Romanists and law historians.

In our work we intended to refer to the idea of M. Bloch and L. Febvre, the founders of the Annales School, according to which scholars should cross the boundaries between different humanistic and social sciences. The studied text is very complex in its nature and this is why it requires an interdisciplinary approach. Attempting to write a commentary to the letter-writing between Pliny and Trajan we decided to disrupt the order accepted by the editors of the letters. So far, commentaries by E.G. Hardy, A.N. Sherwin-White, W. Williams, F. Bracci have treated each letter on its own, as a separate entity. Of course, when it cannot be avoided, all the above-mentioned authors refer to the content of other works. Still, they preserve the order accepted by the editors and they discuss particular letters in the same order. We have decided on a more risky approach, but one which is more effective in highlighting the wealth of content of the letters between Pliny and Trajan. That is, we have gathered the letters into twelve chapters, which are at the same time thematic sections.



1. Dębiński A., Jońca M., Leraczyk I., Łuka A., Korespondencja Pliniusza Młodszego z cesarzem Trajanem. Tekst i tłumaczenie, Lublin 2017 (summary);

2. Dębiński A., Jońca M., Leraczyk I., Łuka A., Pliniusz Młodszy, Korespondencja z cesarzem Trajanem. Komentarz, Lublin 2017 (summary);

3. Jońca M., Problemy paszportowe w korespondencji Pliniusza Młodszego i cesarza Trajana, "Edukacja Prawnicza" 3 (2015), s. 42-45;

4. Jońca M., Łuka A., Problem podwójnego obywatelstwa egipskiego terapeuty Harpokrasa (Plin. ep. 10.5, 6, 7, 10), "Zeszyty Prawnicze" 16.2 (2016), s. 211-219; 

5. Jońca M., Pliny the Younger and the problem of translatio cadaveris, "Krytyka prawa" 8.2 (2016), s. 17-26;

6. Jońca M., Audiatur utraque pars w 10 księdze korespondencji Pliniusza Młodszego, [w:] Pecunia servire debet sed non regere. Księga jubileuszowa dedykowana Księdzu Profesorowi Stanisławowi Dubielowi, red. P. Kaleta, K. Wiak, Lublin 2017, s. 149-160.



The research project no. 2014/13/B/HS5/03590 (UMO-2014/13/B/HS5/03590), funded by the National Science Centre.