The Roman polymath, officer and administrator Gajus Plinius Secundus Major (23-79), better known by the name of „Pliny the Elder", was among other things also a viticultural expert of his time. He studied philosophy and law in Rome, then took up the state military career and attained high ranks under Emperor Titus (39-81). He was governor in several Roman provinces and finally commander of the Roman fleet in the Tyrrhenian Sea. From the age of 55 he resided near Pompeii and witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius. He then died trying to save some of the threatened people during the eruption of Vesuvius. His death is recorded in detail in a letter from his nephew and stepson Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus (55-120).