Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
LXXV. To the Emperor Trajan
I HAVE enquired, Sir, at Prusa, for a proper place on which to erect the bath you were pleased to allow that city to build, and I have found one to my satisfaction. It is upon the site where formerly, I am told, stood a very beautiful mansion, but which is now entirely fallen into ruins. By fixing upon that spot, we shall gain the advantage of ornamenting the city in a part which at present is exceedingly deformed, and enlarging it at the same time without removing any of the buildings; only restoring one which is fallen to decay. There are some circumstances attending this structure of which it is proper I should inform you. Claudius Polyænus bequeathed it to the emperor Claudius Cæsar, with directions that a temple should be erected to that prince in a colonnade-court, and that the remainder of the house should be let in apartments. The city received the rents for a considerable time; but partly by its having been plundered, and partly by its being neglected, the whole house, colonnade-court and all, is entirely gone to ruin, and there is now scarcely anything remaining of it but the ground upon which it stood. If you shall think proper, Sir, either to give or sell this spot of ground to the city, as it lies so conveniently for their purpose, they will receive it as a most particular favour. I intend, with your permission, to place the bath in the vacant area, and to extend a range of porticoes with seats in that part where the former edifice stood. This new erection I purpose dedicating to you, by whose bounty it will rise with all the elegance and magnificence worthy of your glorious name. I have sent you a copy of the will, by which, though it is inaccurate, you will see that Polyænus left several articles of ornament for the embellishment of this house; but these also are lost with all the rest: I will, however, make the strictest enquiry after them that I am able.