Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Pliny the Younger goes shopping for a slave with secretarial skills to help him prepare his letters for publication.

First century Rome was a dangerous place. The Emperor had informers everywhere; no one was safe. One person who survived Domitian's purges was Pliny the Younger. Orphaned at an early age, Pliny was adopted and brought up by his famous uncle, the scientist Pliny the Elder, who died in the eruption of Vesuvius when his nephew was just 18.

In this first episode Pliny and his mother go shopping for a new slave. Pliny wants someone with secretarial skills to help him get his letters ready for publication. His mother has other needs in mind. They choose a man who was captured by the Romans when they invaded Wales and who has learned Latin and Greek from his previous master. Back at the villa the nervous new member of the household meets Doris, the Greek cook, an unsuccessful prophetess who was pipped to the post of Oracle at Delphi by another girl. If Pliny and his household are to survive the snake-pit of Imperial Rome, they must negotiate a political minefield, keep their eyes peeled for spies and most of all, not do anything to annoy the Emperor. Hattie Naylor's drama is based on real letters written by Pliny to his friends and colleagues nearly two thousand years ago.

Music composed by Pete Flood and performed by Pete Flood (percussion), Laura Cannell (recorder, crumhorn), Rhodri Davies (harp), and Paul Sartin (oboe, cor anglais)
Historical Consultant: Dr Peter Jones
Sound: Nigel Lewis
Production Coordinator: Eleri McAuliffe

Produced and Directed by Kate McAll.

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 26 Oct 2015 19:45

Credits

Role Contributor
Pliny the Younger Kieran Hodgson
Venta, the Slave Nigel Barrett
Marcella, Pliny's Mother Joanna Scanlan
Doris, the Cook Mia Soteriou
Regulus Matthew Gravelle
Domitian Matthew Gravelle
Martial Matthew Gravelle
Director Kate McAll
Producer Kate McAll
Writer Hattie Naylor

Broadcasts

4 Stories - Great readings and drama

4 Stories - Great readings and drama

A selection of highlights available to download via the iPlayer Radio app

Audio Books

Audio Books

Download these highlights and all our programmes via the iPlayer Radio app.