The Letters of the Younger Pliny (Penguin Classics) - Pliny the Younger I'll admit that at the time, reading the Letters of Pliny the Younger for my Classics courses was one of my least favorite assignments. Compared to Seneca, Suetonis, and Tacitus, Pliny seemed a bit dry and too run-of-the-mill for my tastes.

Looking back, however, the Letters are what remain in my mind the most.

The Letters opened the doors to the world of the everyday Roman. In his lively, pompous style, Pliny the Younger painted a vivid picture of the real Rome: the state of the crops, the design of one villa or another, procedural judiciary concerns that arose... In some letters, I can almost hear the emperor Trajan sigh wearily as he takes a moment from his busy schedule to scrawl an "OK" to one of Pliny's minor requests.

Not many people would appreciate Pliny's correspondance. I would say you need interest in Roman society and a healthy dose of curiosity to get through the Letters. But despite this, the Letters are worth their weight in gold, and we are lucky that such precious writings describing an ancient civilization have survived until this day.