Despite the frequent use of the antithesis of parua and magna in Latin literature, the expression parua magnis in Pliny 5,6,43–44 need not be read as proverbial but as a quotation of Vergil, georg. 4,176. This attribution follows from the naming of Vergil and of Aratus in epist . 5,6,43–44. Combined allusions as in 5,6,43–44, consisting of a quotation, the naming of the author and/or narrative structures, are a pattern in the corpus of the younger Pliny’s correspondence. The context of georg . 4,169–179, too, supports the attribution of the phrase as a quotation, since in Vergil’s lines a comparison of genres is made, which Pliny adopts for his own literary positioning in the descriptions of villas in epist. 2,17 und 5,6. Further, the attribution to Vergil’s didactic poem, in combination with the reference to Aratus, which other interpretations hardly take into account, permits a new understanding of the narrative structure of the villa descriptions and their allusive affinity not only to ecphrasis but also to didactic poetry.