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Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

LXIV. To the Emperor Trajan

I RETURN you my warmest acknowledgments, Sir, that, among the many important occupations in which you are engaged, you have condescended to be my guide on those points on which I have consulted you: a favour which I must now again beseech you to grant me. A certain person presented himself with a complaint that his adversaries, who had been banished for three years by the illustrious Servilius Calvus, still remained in the province: they, on the contrary, affirmed that Calvus had revoked their sentence, and produced his edict to that effect. I thought it necessary, therefore, to refer the whole affair to you. For as I have your express orders not to restore any person who has been sentenced to banishment either by myself or others, so I have no directions with respect to those who, having been banished by some of my predecessors in this government, have by them also been restored. It is necessary for me, therefore, to beg you would inform me, Sir, how I am to act with regard to the above-mentioned persons, as well as others, who, after having been condemned to perpetual banishment, have been found in the province without permission to return; for cases of that nature have likewise fallen under my cognizance. A person was brought before me who had been sentenced to perpetual exile by the proconsul Julius Bassus, but knowing that the acts of Bassus, during his administration, had been rescinded, and that the senate had granted leave to all those who had fallen under his condemnation of appealing from his decision at any time within the space of two years, I enquired of this man whether he had accordingly stated his case to the proconsul. He replied he had not. I beg then you would inform me whether you would have him sent back into exile, or whether you think some more severe and what kind of punishment should be inflicted upon him, and such others who may hereafter be found under the same circumstances. I have annexed to my letter the decree of Calvus, and the edict by which the persons above-mentioned were restored, as also the decree of Bassus.