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Numbers Rule by George Szpiro

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CHAPTER TWO

THE LETTER WRITER

Like the administrators in the ancient Greek cities, the civil servants of the Roman Empire were concerned with governing well and dispensing justice. The magistrate and state official Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secun-dus, generally known as Pliny the Younger, raised a profound question about the proper way to vote on a particular issue. Born in AD 61 or 62 in what is now the Italian city of Como, Pliny had lost his father, a landowner, while still a child and was brought up by his mother. The main influence on his education was his mother’s brother, Pliny the Elder, a Roman naval commander and avid natural philosopher.

In the year AD 79 a catastrophe of unimaginable magnitude befell Campania, a densely populated region ...

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