Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Att.].
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DC (A XIII, 1)


In your letter to my son you spoke with a serious gravity, and yet with a moderation which nothing could surpass. It is exactly what I should have wished. Your letters to the Tullii [Note] also are extremely wise. So either these letters will fulfil their object or we must think of other measures.

As to money moreover I perceive that you are making every effort or rather have done so. If you succeed, I shall owe the suburban pleasure-grounds to you. There is indeed no other kind of property that I should prefer, principally of

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course for the purpose which I have resolved to carry out. And in regard to this you relieve my impatience by your promise, or rather your undertaking as to this summer. In the second place, there is nothing that can possibly be better adapted for my declining years and for an alleviation of my melancholy. My eagerness for this drives me at times to wish to spur you on. But I suppress the impulse: for I have no doubt that, when you know me to be very much set on a thing, your eagerness will surpass my own. Accordingly I look upon it as already done.

I am anxious to hear what those friends of yours [Note] decide as to the letter to Caesar. Nicias is as devoted to you as he is bound to be, and is greatly delighted at your remembering him. I am indeed strongly attached to our friend Peducaeus. For I have on the one hand transferred to him all the esteem which I had for his father, and on the other I love him for his own sake as much as I loved the other,—but it is you that I love the most for wishing us to be thus mutually attached. If you inspect the pleasure-grounds and tell me about the letter, you will give me something to write to you about: if not, I shall yet write something. For a subject will never be quite wanting.


DCI (A XIII, 2.1)


Your promptitude pleases me better than the contents of your letter. [Note] For what could be more insulting? However,

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I am by this time hardened to such things, and have divested myself of all human feelings. I look forward to your letter today, not that I expect anything new, for what should there be? But all the same—


DCV (A XIII, 2, ¤¤ 1, 2)


Please order the letters to be delivered to Oppius and Balbus; and, by the way, see Piso whenever you can about the gold. If Faberius comes to town, you will please see that I am credited with the right amount, if there is to be any crediting at all. [Note] You will learn what it is from Eros. Ariarathes son of Ariobarzanes [Note] has come to Rome. He wants, I suppose, to buy some kingdom from Caesar. For, as at present situated, he hasn't a foot of ground to call his own. After all, our friend Sextus—as a sort of official entertainer-has monopolized him, for which I am not sorry. However, as I am very intimate with his brothers, owing to the great services I did them, I am writing to invite him to stay in my house. As I was sending Alexander for that purpose, I have given him this letter to take.

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So the auction of Peducaeus is tomorrow. Come when you can, therefore. Although perhaps Faberius will delay you; yet as soon as you are free. Our friend Dionysius complains loudly, and with some justice after all, that he is so long away from his pupils. He has written a long letter to me, and I believe also to you. In my opinion he will be still longer away. Yet I could have wished it were otherwise, for I miss him much. I am hoping for a letter from you: that is, not just yet, for I am writing this answer early in the morning.




Yes, the debtors you mention appear to be so satisfactory that my only hesitation arises from the fact that you seem to have doubts. The fact is, I don't like your referring the matter to me. What! was I to manage my own business without your advice? But, after all, I quite understand that you do so more from your habitual caution than because you doubt the soundness of the debtors. The fact is, you don't think well of Caelius, and you don't want a multiplicity of debtors. In both sentiments I concur. We must therefore be content with the present list. [Note] Sooner or later, indeed, you would have had to go security for me even in the auction with which we are now concerned. [Note] All then

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shall be provided from my own pocket: but as to the delay in getting in the debts, I think—if we do but hit upon what we want—that a time of grace may be obtained from the auctioneer, and at any rate from the heirs.

See about Crispus and Mustela, and let me know what the share of the two is. I had already been informed of the arrival of Brutus; [Note] for my freedman Aegypta brought me a letter from him. I am sending it to you, because it is expressed in obliging terms.




I have received the result of your kind labours as to the ten legates. I agree with you about Tuditanus; it was his son that was quaestor the year after the consulship of Mummius. [Note]

Well, since you repeatedly ask me whether I am satisfied about the debtors, I also repeatedly tell you in answer that I am satisfied. [Note] If you can come to any settlement with Piso, do so. For I think Avius will fulfil his obligations. I wish you could come before Brutus; but if you can't, at least stay with me when he comes to Tusculum. It is of

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great importance to me that we should be together. And you will be able to ascertain the day if you tell your servant to ask.




I had thought that Spurius Mummius was one of the ten legates; but he was, of course—as was natural—a legatus to his brother. For he was at the capture of Corinth. I am sending "Torquatus" [Note] to you. Yes, do talk to Silius, as you suggest, and urge him on. He said the day for payment was not in May; [Note] he didn't deny that it was the day you mention. But pray be careful about this business, as you always are. As to Crispus and Mustela [Note] —of course: as soon as you have come to any settlement. As you promise to be with me by the time Brutus comes, that's enough: especially as the intervening days are being spent in important business of my own.


DLIII (A XIII, 6.1-3)


ABOUT the aqueduct you did quite right. You may perhaps find that I am not liable to the pillar-tax. However, I think I was told by Camillus that the law had been altered. What more decent answer can be given to Piso than the absence of Cato's guardians? Nor was it only from the heirs of Herennius that he borrowed money, as you know, for you discussed the matter with me, but also from the young Lucullus: and this money his guardian had raised in Achaia. I mention this because it is one element in the case also. [Note] But Piso is behaving well about it, for he says that he will do nothing against my wishes. So when we meet, as you say, we will settle how to untangle the business. You ask me for my letter to Brutus: I haven't got a copy of it, but it is in existence all the same, and Tiro says that you ought to have it. To the best of my recollection, along with his letter of remonstrance I sent you my answer to it also. Pray see that I am not troubled by having to serve on a jury.

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The Tuditanus you mention—great-grandfather of Hortensius—I was quite unacquainted with, and I had imagined it to have been the son, who at that time could not have been a legatus. [Note] I hold it to be certain that Spurius Mummius was at Corinth. For the Spurius of our time, lately dead, frequently used to recite to me his letters written in witty verse sent to his friends from Corinth. But I feel sure he was legatus to his brother, not one of the ten. And, besides, I have been taught that it was not the custom of our ancestors to nominate on a commission men who were related to the imperators, as we—in our ignorance of the best principles of government, or rather from carelessness of them-sent Marcus Lucullus and Lucius Muraena and others closely connected with him as commissioners to Lucius Lucullus. [Note] But it is exceedingly natural that he should have been among the first of his brother's legates. What an amount of trouble you have taken—in busying yourself with such matters as these, in clearing up my difficulties, and in being much less earnest in your own business than in mine!

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Sestius came to see me yesterday and so did Theopompus. He told me that a letter had arrived from Caesar to the effect that he was resolved to remain at Rome, [Note] and that he gave as his reason the one mentioned in my letter [Note] —for fear of his laws being disregarded if he were away, just as his sumptuary law had been. That is reasonable, and is what I had suspected. But one must give in to your friends, unless you think I might urge this same conclusion. He also told me that Lentulus had certainly divorced Metella. But you know all that better than I. Write back

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therefore anything you choose, so long as you write some-thing. For at the moment I cannot think of anything you are likely to write about, unless by any chance you have seen your way at all in regard to Mustela, or have had an interview with Silius.


Brutus arrived at his Tusculan villa yesterday between four and five in the afternoon. Today therefore he will see me, and I could have wished that you were here. I have myself given orders that he should be told that you had waited for his arrival as long as you could and would come if you were told of it, and that I would inform you at once, as I hereby do. [Note]




I have absolutely nothing to say to you. For you have only just left me, and shortly after your departure have sent me back my note-book. Please see that the accompanying packet is delivered to Vestorius, and instruct some one to inquire whether there is any land of Quintus Staterius's, on his Pompeian or Nolan properties, for sale. Please send me Brutus's epitome of the annals of Caelius; and ask Philoxenus for Panaetius "On Foresight." Be sure I see you and your party on the thirteenth.




You had only just left me yesterday when Trebonius arrived and a little later Curtius—the latter merely intending to call, but he stayed on being pressed. We have Trebatius with us. Early this morning Dolabella arrived. We had much talk to a late hour in the day. I cannot exaggerate its cordial and affectionate tone. However, we came at last to the subject of Quintus. [Note] He told me many things beyond words-beyond expression: but there was one of such a kind that, had it not been notorious to the whole army, I should not have ventured, I don't say to dictate to Tiro, but even to write it with my own hand. But enough of that. Very opportunely, while I had Dolabella with me Torquatus arrived; and in the kindest manner Dolabella repeated to him what I had been saying. For I had been just speaking

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with very great earnestness in his cause, [Note] an earnestness which seemed to gratify Torquatus. I am waiting to hear what news you have about Brutus. However, Nicias thinks that the matter is settled, but that the divorce [Note] does not find favour.

All the more am I anxious for the same thing as you are. [Note] For if any scandal has been caused, this step may put it right. I must go to Arpinum: for in the first place my small property there needs putting straight, and in the second place I fear I may not be able to leave town when once Caesar has come, as to whose arrival Dolabella has the same opinion as you had-founded on your letter from Messalla. [Note] When I have got there and ascertained what amount of business there is to do, I will write and tell you the days of my return journey. [Note]




I am not at all surprised either at your sorrow in regard to Marcellus or at your misgiving as to increased sources of danger. For who would have feared such a thing as this

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—a thing that had never happened before and which nature seemed to forbid the possibility of happening? Therefore there is nothing that may not be feared.

But this is an historical slip of yours—the last person I should have expected to make it—that "I am the sole remaining consular." Why, what do you think of Servius? [Note] However, this survival has of course no value of any sort-especially to me, who think that their fate is no less happy than my own. For what am I, and what influence do I possess? Is it at home or abroad? Well, if it had not occurred to me to write my poor books, I shouldn't have known what to do with myself. Yes, as you say, I think I must dedicate to Dolabella some treatise of a more general kind and more political in tone. Something certainly I must compose for him; for he is very desirous that I should do so. If Brutus takes any step, [Note] pray be careful to let me know. I think he ought to do it as soon as possible, especially if he has made up his mind. He will thereby either entirely stop, or at any rate mitigate, any little talk there may be about it. For there are people who talk even to me. But he will settle these things best himself, especially if he also consults you. I intend starting on the 21st: for I have nothing to do here, nor, by Hercules! there either, or anywhere: yet there, after all, there is something. Today I am expecting Spinther; for Brutus has sent him to me. He writes to clear Caesar in regard to the death of Marcellus—on whom no suspicion would have fallen, even if his assassination had been the consequence of a plot. As it is, as there is no doubt whatever about Magius. Does not his madness account for the whole thing? I don't clearly understand what he means. Please explain therefore. However, for myself my only doubt is as to the cause of Magius's mad fury. Marcellus had even gone security for him. No doubt that is the true

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explanation—he was insolvent. I suppose he had asked some indulgence from Marcellus, who—as was his way—had answered him somewhat decidedly.




"Not the same look." [Note]

I thought I shouldn't mind. It was quite the reverse, when I found myself more widely separated from you. But I had to do it, both in order to settle the small rents of my properties, and to avoid burdening Brutus with the necessity of shewing me attention. For at a future time we shall be able to keep up our acquaintance at Tusculum on easier terms. But at the present juncture, when he wanted to see me every day and I could not go to him, [Note] he was losing all enjoyment of his Tusculan villa. Please therefore write and tell me whether Servilia [Note] has arrived, whether Brutus has taken any decided step, even if he has determined on doing so, and when he starts to

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meet Caesar- anything in fact that I ought to know. If you can, call on Piso : [Note] you see how pressing it is. [Note] Yet only if it is no inconvenience to you.




Your letters about our dear Attica stung me to the heart. However, they also healed the wound. For the fact that you consoled yourself in the same letter gave me sufficient assurance to alleviate my distress. You have given my speech for Ligarius [Note] a famous start. Henceforth, whenever I write anything, I shall intrust the advertising to you. As to what you say in your letter about Varro, you are aware that heretofore my speeches and writings of that nature have been composed in a way that made the introduction anywhere of Varro impossible. But when I began these more literary works, Varro had already announced to me a dedication of an important treatise. Two years have passed, and that "Callippides," [Note] though perpetually on the move, has not advanced a yard. I, on the other hand, am preparing to return anything he sent me, "measure and all and even better"—if I had but the power: for even Hesiod adds the proviso "if you can." [Note]

As things stand at present

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I have plighted to Brutus, as you advised, my treatise de Finibus, of which I think very highly, and you wrote to say that he was not unwilling to accept it. So let us transfer to Varro my Academica, in which the speakers are men of rank, as far as that goes, but being in no respect men of learning are made to speak with a subtlety beyond them. It contains the doctrines of Antiochus, with which he is in full agreement. [Note] I will make it up to Catulus and Lucullus in some other work. However, this depends on your approval, so pray write me an answer on this point.

I have had a letter from Vestorius about the auction of Brinnius's estate. He says that the direction of the business has been unanimously confided to me [Note] —they presumed evidently that I should be at Rome or at Tusculum on the 24th of June. Please therefore speak to my co-heir, your friend Spurius Vettius, or to our friend Labeo, to put off the auction a short time, and say that I shall be at Tusculum about the 7th of July. Yes, please settle with Piso. You have Eros with you. Let us give our whole minds to Scapula's pleasure-grounds. The day is close at hand.




Under the influence of your letter-because you wrote to me on the subject of Varro—I have taken my Academica

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bodily from men of the highest rank and transferred it to our friend and contemporary. I have also rearranged it so as to form four books instead of two. [Note] They Certainly have a more imposing effect than the previous edition, yet after all a good deal has been cut out. But I should much like you to write and tell me how you discovered that he wished it. This much at any rate I long to know—of whom you perceived him to have been jealous: unless perchance it was Brutus! By heaven, that's the last straw! However, I should be glad to know. The books themselves have left my hands—unless I am deceived by the usual author's self-love—so well elaborated, that there is nothing on the subject even among Greek writers to be compared with them. Pray do not be annoyed at your own loss in having had the treatise on the Academics now in your hands copied out in vain. [Note] This second edition, after all, will be much more brilliant, concise, and better. In these circumstances, however, I don't know which way to turn. I wish to satisfy Dolabella's earnest desire. I don't see my way to anything, and at the same time "I fear the Trojans." [Note] Now, even if I do hit on something, shall I be able to escape adverse criticism? I must therefore be idle or strike out some other kind of subject.

But why concern ourselves about these trivialities? Pray tell me how my dear Attica is. She causes me deep anxiety. But I pore over your letter again and again: I find comfort in it. Nevertheless, I wait anxiously for a fresh one.

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Brinnius's freedman—my coheir-has written to tell me that the joint heirs wish, if lam willing, that he and Sabinus Albius should come to see me. I won't have that at any price: the inheritance isn't worth it. Nevertheless they will be easily able to be present at the day of the sale—it is on the 9th 'of July—if they meet me at my Tusculan villa on the morning of the 6th. But if they wish to postpone the day of sale farther, they can do so for two or three days, or any time they choose. It makes no difference. Therefore, unless these gentlemen have started, please keep them from doing so. If any more news about Brutus or about Caesar has come to your knowledge, pray write and tell me.

I should like you again and again to consider the question as to whether you think what I have written [Note] should be sent to Varro. Although it is not altogether without interest to yourself personally; for let me tell you that you have been put in as a third interlocutor in that dialogue. In my opinion, then, we ought to think the matter over. Though the names have been entered, they can be crossed out or changed.




Pray let me know how our dear Attica is. For this is the third day since I received any letter from you. I am not

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surprised at that, for no one has come here; and there was perhaps no reason for sending. Accordingly, I have not anything to write about. But on the day on which I give this letter to Valerius I am expecting one of my men. If he arrives and brings anything from you, I see that I shall have no lack of subject-matter for a letter.




THough my object was to find streams [Note] and solitary spots, in order the easier to keep up my spirits, I have not as yet stirred a foot outside my villa: so violent and persistent is the rain which we are having. The "Academic treatise" I have transferred bodily to Varro. At one time it was in the mouths of Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius. Next, as there seemed a lack of appropriateness in that, because those men were notoriously, I don't say ill-educated, but unversed in those particular subjects, immediately upon my arrival at the villa I transferred the same discourses to Cato and Brutus. Then came your letter about Varro. The argument of Antiochus seemed to suit him better than anyone else. Yet, after all, I should like you to write and say, first, whether you wish me to dedicate anything to him, and if so, whether this particular treatise.

What about Servilia? Has she yet arrived? Brutus, too, is he taking any steps, and when ? [Note] About Caesar, what news? I shall arrive by the 7th of July, as I said. Yes, come to a settlement with Piso, if you can.

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I was expecting some news from Rome on the 27th, so I could wish that you had given your men some message. [Note] As you have not, I have only the same questions to ask as before: What is Brutus doing? Or, if he has already taken any step, is there any news from Caesar? But why talk of these things which I care less about? What I am anxious to know is how Attica is. Though your letter—which however is now rather out of date-bids me hope for the best, yet I am anxious for something recent. You see what advantage there is in our being near each other. By all means let us get suburban pleasure-grounds: we seemed to be conversing with each other when I was in my Tusculan villa—so frequent was the interchange of letters. But that at least will soon be the case again. Meanwhile, acting on your hint, I have completed some books-really quite clever ones - addressed to Varro. Nevertheless I await your answer to what I wrote to you: first, how you learnt that he wanted something of the sort from me, since he has never, for all his extraordinary literary activity, addressed a line to me: secondly, of whom he was jealous, unless I am to think it to be Brutus. For if he is not jealous of him, much less can he be so of Hortensius or of the interlocutors in the de Republica. I should like you to make this quite clear to me: especially whether you abide by your opinion that I should send him what I have written, or whether you think it unnecessary. But of this when we meet.

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Hilarus the copyist had just left me on the 28th, to whom I had delivered a letter for you, when your letter-carrier arrived with yours dated the day before: in which the sentence that pleased me most was, "Our dear Attica begs you not to be cast down," and that in which you say that all danger is over. To my speech for Ligarius I see that your authority has served as an excellent advertisement. For Balbus and Oppius have written to say that they like it extremely, and have therefore sent that poor little speech to Caesar. So this is what you meant by what you wrote to me before. As to Varro, I should not be influenced by the motive you mention, that is, to avoid being thought fond of great men—for my principle has always been not to include any living person among the interlocutors of my dialogues. But as you say that it is desired by Varro and that he will value it highly, I have composed the books and finished a complete review of the whole Academic philosophy in four books—how well I can't say, but with a minute care which nothing could surpass. In them the arguments so brilliantly deduced by Antiochus against the doctrine of ἀκαταληψία (impossibility of attaining certainty) I have assigned to Varro. To them I answer in person. You are the third personage in our conversation. If I had represented Cotta and Varro as keeping up the argument, according to the suggestion contained in your last letter, I should have been myself a persona muta. This is often the case with graceful effect in ancient dramatis personae—for instance, Heraclides did it in many of his dialogues, and so did I in the six books of the de Republica. So again in my three books de Oratore with which I am fully satisfied. In these too the persons represented are of such a character that silence on my part was natural. For the speakers are

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Antonius, the veteran Catulus, Gaius Iulius, the brother of Catulus, Cotta, and Sulpicius. The conversation is represented as taking place when I was a mere boy, so that I could have no part in it. On the other hand, my writings in the present period follow the Aristotelian fashion—the conversation of the other characters is so represented as to leave him the leading part. My five books de Finibus were so arranged as to give L. Torquatus the Epicurean arguments, Marcus Cato the Stoic, Marcus Piso the Peripatetic. I thought that could rouse no jealousy, as all those persons were dead. This new work Academica, as you know, I had divided between Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius. It was quite inappropriate to their characters: for it was more learned than anything they would appear likely to have ever dreamed of. Accordingly, I no sooner read your letter about Varro than I caught at the idea as a godsend. For there could be nothing more appropriate than Varro to that school of philosophy, in which he appears to me to take the greatest pleasure, and that my part should be such as to avoid the appearance of having arranged to give my side of the argument the superiority. For in fact the arguments of Antiochus are very convincing. As carefully translated by me they retain all the acuteness of Antiochus, with the polish peculiar to the language of our countrymen—if there is indeed any such to be found in me. But pray consider carefully whether I ought to present these books to Varro. Certain objections occur to me—but of those when we meet.




I have received a letter of consolation from Caesar, dated 31st of May, at Hispalis. [Note] I did not understand the nature of the bill published for extending the boundaries of the City: I should much like to know about it. [Note] I am glad that Torquatus is satisfied with what I have done for him, and I will not cease adding to those services. To the speech for Ligarius it is not now either possible to add a clause about

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Tubero's wife and step-daughter [Note] —for the speech is by this time very widely known-nor do I wish to annoy Tubero: for he is astonishingly sensitive. You certainly had a good audience! For my part, though I get on very comfortably in this place, I nevertheless long to see you. So I shall be with you as I arranged. I suppose you have met my brother. I am therefore anxious to know what you said to him. As to "reputation," I am not at all inclined to trouble myself, though I did say foolishly in that letter that it was "better than anything else." For it is not a thing for me to be anxious about. And don't you see how truly philosophical this sentiment is—"that every man is bound not to depart a nail's breadth from the strict path of conscience"? Do you think that it is all for nothing that I am now engaged in these compositions ? [Note] I would not have you feel distressed by that remark, which amounted to nothing. For I return to the same point again. Do you suppose that I care for anything in the whole question except not to be untrue to my past? I am striving, forsooth, to maintain my reputation in the courts! Not in them I trust! I only wish I could bear my home sorrows as easily as I can disregard that! But do you think that I had set my heart on something that has not been accomplished? Self-praise is no commendation: still, though I cannot fail to approve of what I did then, [Note] yet I can with a good grace refrain from troubling myself about it, as in fact I do. But I have said too much on a trivial subject.

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DCXLIX (A XIII, 21, ¤¤ 1-3)


I have despatched a very bulky letter to Hirtius which I recently wrote at Tusculum. That which you have sent me I will answer another time. For the present I prefer other subjects. What can I do about Torquatus [Note] unless I hear something from Dolabella? As soon as I do you shall know at once. I expect letter-carriers from him today, or at latest tomorrow. As soon as they arrive they shall be

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sent on to you. I am expecting to hear from Quintus. For as I was starting from Tusculum on the 25th, as you know, I sent letter-carriers to him. Now to return to business: the word inhibere suggested by you, [Note] which I thought very attractive, I am now strongly against. For it is an entirely nautical word. Of course I knew that, but I thought that the vessel was "held up" (sustineri) when the rowers were ordered inhibere. But that that is not the case I learnt yesterday, when a ship was being brought to land opposite my villa. For when ordered inhibere the rowers don't hold up the vessel, they backwater. Now that is a meaning as remote as possible from ἐποχή ("suspension of judgment"). Wherefore pray let it stand in the book as it was. Tell Varro this also, if by any chance he has made an alteration. One can't have a better authority than Lucilius: "Bring to a halt (sustineas) chariot and horses, as oft doth a skilful driver." Again, Carneades always uses the guard (προβολη) of a boxer and the pulling up (retentio) of a charioteer as metaphorical expressions for "suspension of judgment" (ἐποχή): but the inhibitio of rowers connotes motion, and indeed an unusually violent one—the action of the oars driving the vessel backwards. You see how much more eager and interested I am on this point than either about rumours or about Pollio. Tell me too about Pansa, whether there is any confirmation—for I think it must have been made public: also about Critonius, whatever is known, and at least about Metellus and Balbinus.

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Now just tell me—do you think it right, to begin with, to publish at all without an order from me? Hermodorus himself used not to do that—the man who made a practice of circulating Plato's books, whence came the line: "In

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note-books Hermodorus makes his gain." [Note] And again: do you think it right to shew it to anyone before Brutus, to whom, on your advice, I dedicate it? For Balbus has written to tell me that you have allowed him to take a copy of the fifth book of the de Finibus, in which, though I have not made very many alterations, yet I have made some. I shall be very much obliged to you if you will keep back the other books, so that Balbus may not have what is uncorrected, and Brutus what is stale. But enough of that, lest I seem "to make a fuss about trifles." [Note] Yet, in the present circumstances, these things are of the utmost consequence in my eyes. For what else is there to care about? What I have written [Note] I am in such haste to send to Varro, as you advise, that I have already despatched it to Rome to be copied out. This you shall have at once, if you so wish. For I have written to tell the copyists that your men should have permission to make a copy of them if you chose. Please, however, keep it to yourself till I see you, as you always do with the greatest care when you have been told by me to do so. But how did it escape me to tell you? Caerellia—wonderfully inflamed no doubt by a zeal for philosophy—is taking a copy from yours: she already has those very books of the de Finibus. Now I assure you—though I am mortal and fallible—that she did not get them from mine, for they have never been out of my sight: and so far from my men having made two copies, they scarcely completed one copy of each book. However, I don't charge your men with any dereliction of duty, and so I would have you think: for I omitted to say that I did not wish them to get abroad yet. Dear me! what a time I am talking about trifles! The fact is, I have nothing to say on business. About Dolabella I agree with you. Yes, I will meet my co-heirs, as you suggest, at my Tusculan villa. As to Caesar's arrival, Balbus writes to say that it will not be before the 1st of August. I am very glad to hear about Attica, that her attack is lighter and less serious, and that

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she bears it cheerfully. You mention that idea of ours, in which I am as earnest as yourself. As far as my knowledge goes, I strongly approve of the man, the family, and the fortune. What is most important of all, though I don't know him personally, I hear nothing but good of him, among others recently from Scrofa. We may add, if that is of any consequence, that he is better born even than his father. Therefore when we meet I will talk about it, and with a predisposition in favour of him. I may add that I am—as I think you know-with good reason attached to his father, and have been so for a long time past, more even than not only you but even he himself is aware. [Note]




As to Varro, I had my reasons for being so particular to ascertain your opinion. Certain objections occur to me, but of them when we meet. For yourself, I have introduced your name with the greatest possible pleasure, and I shall do it still more frequently; for from your last letter I have for the first time satisfied myself that you are not unwilling that it should be so. About Marcellus, [Note] Cassius had written to me before; Servius sent details. What a melancholy thing! To return to my subject. There are no hands in which I would rather my writings were than yours: but I wish them not to be published before we both agree upon doing so. For my part, I absolve your copyists from all blame, nor do I find any fault with you; and yet, after all, what I mentioned in a previous letter was a breach of this understanding—that Caerellia had certain of my writings which she could only have had from you. As for Balbus, I quite understand that it was necessary to gratify him: only I don't like either Brutus being given anything stale, or Balbus anything unfinished. I will send it to Varro as soon as I see you, if you approve. Why I have hesitated about it, however, I will tell you when we meet. I fully approve of your calling in the money from the debtors assigned to me. I am sorry that you are being troubled about Ovia's estate. It is a great nuisance about our friend Brutus: but such is life! The ladies, however, don't shew very good feeling in their hostile attitude to each other—though both of them do all that propriety requires. [Note] There was nothing in the possession of

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my secretary Tullius for you to demand if there had been I would have instructed you to do so. The fact is that he holds no money that was set apart for the vow, though there is something of mine in his hands. That sum I have resolved to transfer to this purchase. So we were both right—I in telling you where it was, he in denying it to you. But let us at once pounce upon this very money also. In the case of a shrine for human beings I don't think well of a grove, because it is not much frequented: yet there is something to say for it. However, this point too shall be settled in accordance with your opinion, as everything else is. I shall come to town the day I fixed: and I hope to heaven you will come the same day. But if anything prevents you—for a hundred things may do so—at any rate the next day. Why, think of the co-heirs, and of my being left to their tender mercies without your cunning! This is the second letter I have had without a word about Attica. However, I put a very hopeful construction on that. I don't lay the blame on you, but on her, that there isn't so much as a "kind regards." However, give my kindest, both to her and Pilia, and don't in spite of all hint that I am angry. I am sending you Caesar's letter, in case you have not read it.




Your morning letter of yesterday I answered at once. I will now answer your evening letter. I had rather that Brutus had asked me to come to Rome. For it would have been fairer, considering that a journey both unexpected and long was before him. And, by heaven! nowadays, as the state of our feelings forbids our getting on frankly together—for I certainly need not tell you what constitutes being "good company "-I should be glad if our meeting were at Rome rather than at Tusculum.

The books dedicated to Varro [Note] won't be long delayed. They are completed, as you have seen. There only remains the correction of the mistakes of the copyists. About these books you know that I had some hesitation, but I leave it to you. Also those I am dedicating to Brutus [Note] the copyists have in hand. Yes, as you say in your letter, get my business through. However, Trebatius says that everybody makes that rebate you mention; what, then, do you suppose those fellows will do ? [Note] You know the gang. So settle the affair without any friction. You'd scarcely believe how indifferent I am about such things. I solemnly declare to you, and pray believe me, that those trumpery properties are more a bore than a pleasure to me. For I grieve more at not having anyone to whom to transmit them than at being in want of

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immediate cash. [Note] And so Trebatius says that he told you. Now perhaps you were afraid that I should be sorry to hear your report. That was like your kindness, but believe me I am now quite indifferent about those things. Wherefore devote your energies to these conferences: get your knife well in and finish the business. When talking to Polla consider that you are talking with that fellow Scaeva, [Note] and don't imagine that men who are accustomed to try to lay hands on what is not owed to them will abate anything that is. Only see that they keep their day, and even as to that be easy with them.


DCXXXVII (A XIII, 24 AND 25, ¤ 1)


What is this about Hermogenes Clodius having said that Andromenes told him that he had seen my son at Corcyra? I supposed that you must have heard it. Didn't he then give any letter even to him? Or didn't he see him? Pray therefore let me know. What answer am I to give you about Varro? You have the four parchment rolls in your hands: whatever you do I shall approve. It isn't after all a case of "fearing the Trojans." [Note] Why should I? But I am more afraid of his own disapprobation of the business. But since you undertake it—I shall sleep on both ears. [Note]

About the "abatement" I have answered your full and careful letter. Please therefore settle the business, and that too without hesitation or reserve. This ought and must be done.


DCXXXIX (A XIII, 25, ¤¤ 2 AND 3)


About Andromenes, I thought what you say was the case. For you would have known and told me. Yet your letter is so full of Brutus, that you don't say a word about yourself. But when do you think he is coming? For I intend to arrive in Rome on the 14th. I meant in my letter to tell Brutus—but since you say that you have read it, I was not perhaps quite clear—that I understood from your letter that he did not wish me to come to Rome now out of compliment as it were to himself. But since my arrival in town is now approaching, pray take care that the Ides (the 15th) [Note] don't prevent him from being at Tusculum if that suits his convenience. For I am not likely to want him at the auction. In a business of that kind why are you not sufficient by yourself? But I do want him at the making of my will. This, however, I wish to be on another day, that I may not appear to have come to Rome for that express purpose. I have written to Brutus, therefore, to say that there was not the occasion for his presence on the 15th, which I had contemplated. So I should like you to direct the whole of this business in such a way as to prevent our inconveniencing Brutus in any particular, however small.

But pray, why in the world are you in such a fright at my bidding you send the books to Varro at your own risk? Even at this eleventh hour, if you have any doubt, let me know. Nothing can be more finished than they are. I want Varro to take a part in them, especially as he desires it himself: but he is, as you know, Keen-eyed for faults, to blame the blameless prone. [Note] The expression of his face often occurs to me as he

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perhaps complains, for instance, that in these books my side in the argument is defended at greater length than his own. That, on my honour, you will find not to be the case if you ever get your holiday in Epirus—for at present my works have to give place to Alexion's business letters. But after all I don't despair of the book securing Varro's approval, and I am not sorry that my plan should be persisted in, as I have gone to some expense in long paper; [Note] but I say again and again—it shall be done at your risk. Wherefore, if you have any hesitation, let us change to Brutus, for he too is an adherent of Antiochus. What an excellent likeness of the Academy itself, with its instability, its shifting views, now this way and now that! But, please tell me, did you really like my letter to Varro? May I be hanged if I ever take so much trouble again about anything! Consequently I did not dictate it even to Tiro, [Note] who usually takes down whole periods at a breath, but syllable by syllable to Spintharus. [Note]


DXC (A XIII, 26)


ABOUT Vergilius's share I quite approve. [Note] Settle it that way therefore. And indeed it will be my first choice, next to Clodia. If neither comes off, I fear I shall cast prudence to the winds and go for Drusus. [Note] My eagerness for the object with which you are acquainted deprives me of all self-control. Accordingly, I come back again and again to the idea of Tusculum. Anything rather than not have it completed this summer. For myself, considering my circumstances, there is no place where I can live at greater ease than Astura. But because my people—I suppose from being unable to endure my melancholy—are in a hurry to get to Rome, though there is nothing to prevent my staying on, yet, as I told you, I shall leave this place, that I may not appear altogether stranded. But whither? From Lanuvium my endeavour is to go to Tusculum. [Note] But I will let you know at once. Yes, please write the letters for me. The amount I write is in fact beyond belief—for I work in the night hours also, as I cannot sleep. Yesterday I even finished a letter to Caesar; for you thought I ought to do so. There was no harm in its being written, in case you thought that it was by any chance needed. As things stand now, there is certainly no necessity to send it. But that is as you shall think good. However, I will send you a copy perhaps from Lanuvium, unless it turns out that I come to Rome. But you shall know tomorrow.

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I had always determined, and on very good grounds, that your friends should read my letter to Caesar before it was sent. If I had acted otherwise, I should have been wanting in courtesy to them, and almost rash in regard to my own danger in case my letter should prove offensive to him. Now your friends have acted frankly, and have obliged me by not suppressing their opinion; but best of all by suggesting so many alterations, that I have no reason for writing it all over again. And yet, in the matter of the Parthian war, what ought I to have kept in view except what I thought was Caesar's wish ? [Note] What, in fact, was the point of my letter at all except to say smooth things to him ? [Note] Do you suppose that if I had wanted to give him the advice which I thought best, I should have been at a loss for language? Therefore the whole letter is altogether superfluous. For when no great "hit" is possible, and a "miss," however slight, would bring unpleasant consequences, what need to run the risk? Especially as it occurs to me that, as I have not written to him before, he will think that I should probably not have written had not the war been over. Moreover, I fear his thinking that I meant

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this as a sop for my "Cato." There is no more to be said. I am extremely sorry I wrote it; nor could anything in this affair have fallen out more in accordance with my wishes, than to find that my intrusion is not approved. For I should have found myself also involved with that party, and among them with your relative. [Note] But to return to the pleasure-grounds. I absolutely will not have you go to them unless entirely convenient to yourself. There is no hurry. Whatever happens let us devote our efforts to Faberius. How ever, tell me the day of the auction, if you know it. The bearer of this has just come from Cumae, and as he reported that Attica was quite recovered, and said that he had a letter from her, I have sent him straight to you.


DCIII (A XIII, 28, 29.1)


As you are going to inspect the pleasure-grounds today, I shall hear of course tomorrow what you think of them. About Faberius again you will write when he has arrived. As to the letter to Caesar, believe my solemn assertion, -I cannot! Nor is it the dishonour of the thing that deters me, though it ought to do so most of all. For where is the disgrace of flattery, in view of the disgrace of living at all? But as I began by saying, it is not the dishonour that deters me: and, indeed, I only wish it could—for then I should have been the man I ought to be—but I cannot think of anything to say. For those exhortations addressed to Alexander by men of eloquence and learning-think of the circumstances in which they were delivered! Here was a young man fired with ambition for the purest glory, desiring to have some suggestions made to him as to how to win undying fame, and they exhort him to follow honour.

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There is no lack of something to say in such a case. But what can I say? Nevertheless, I had roughhewn what seemed to me a kind of model. Because there were some things in it which were slightly coloured beyond the actual facts-present and past-adverse criticism is provoked, and I am not sorry for it. For if that letter had reached its destination, believe me, I should have repented it. Why, don't you see that even that famous pupil of Aristotle, distinguished for the very best ability and the most perfect conduct, no sooner got the title of king than he became haughty, cruel, and ungovernable? Well now, do you think that this god of the procession, this messmate of Quirinus, [Note] is likely to be gratified by temperate letters such as I should write? In truth, I would rather that he felt annoyed at not receiving what I had not written, than disapprove of what I had. In fine, let it be as he pleases. What was goading me on to action, at the time I put the "Archimedian problem" [Note] before you, is now all gone. By Heaven, I am now actually desirous—and much more earnestly—of that same misfortune of which I was then afraid, [Note] or any other he chooses. Unless anything else prevents you, pray come to me: you will be very welcome. Nicias having been urgently summoned by Dolabella—for I read the letter-has gone against my will, yet at the same time on my advice. What follows I have written with my own hand.

While I was by way of questioning Nicias about other matters in regard to men of learning, we fell upon the subject of Thalna. He did not speak highly of his genius, but said that he was steady and of good character. But what follows did not seem to me to be satisfactory. He said that he knew him to have lately tried to marry Cornificia, daughter of Quintus, who was quite an old woman and had often

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been married before: that the ladies did not accept his proposal because they found that his property did not amount to more than 800 sestertia. I thought you ought to know this. [Note]


DCIV (A XIII, 29.2-3)


I was informed about the suburban pleasure-grounds by your letter and by Chrysippus. In the villa, the vulgarity of which I have known of old, I see that nothing or very little has been changed: however, he praises the larger bath, and says that of the smaller one winter apartments might be made. Therefore, a small covered passage will have to be added, the building of which on the same scale as the one I constructed at Tusculum will cost about half less in that district. For the erection of the fane also, which I desire, nothing could be better suited than the grove which I used to know. But at that time it was not at all frequented, now I hear it is very much so. I couldn't have anything I should like better. In this matter "in heaven's name indulge my whim." [Note] All I have to say more is—if Faberius pays his debt, don't stop to inquire the price: outbid Otho. I don't think, however, that he will lose his head about it, for I think I know the man. Moreover, I am told that he has been so hard hit, that I don't think that he is a buyer. Otherwise would he have let it come to the hammer? But why discuss that? If you get the money from Faberius, let us purchase even at a high price: if not, we can't do it even at a low one. So then we must go to Clodia. From her also I seem to have more hope, because, in the first place,

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the property is much less costly, and in the next place, Dolabella's debt [Note] seems so safe that I feel certain of being also able to get ready money to pay for it. Enough about the pleasure-gardens. Tomorrow I shall see you, or hear some reason for your not coming: I expect it will be in connexion with Faberius. But do come, if you can.




I am sending you back Q. Cicero's letter. [Note] How hard-hearted of you not to be agitated by his dangers! He has something to say against me also. I am sending you half the letter. For the other half, with the account of his achievements, I think you have in duplicate. I have sent a letter-carrier to Cumae today. I have given him your letter to Vestorius, which you had given Pharnaces. I had just sent Demeas to you when Eros arrived, but there was nothing new in the letter he brought except that the auction was to last two days. So you will come after it is over, as you say; and I hope with the Faberius affair settled. But Eros says that he won't settle today: he thinks he will tomorrow morning. You must be very polite to him. But such flatteries are almost criminal. I shall see you, I hope, the day after tomorrow. If you can do so from any source, find out who Mummius's ten legates were. Polybius doesn't give their names. I remember the consular Albinus and

-- 268 --

Spurius Mummius: I think Hortensius told me Tuditanus; but in Libo's annals Tuditanus was praetor fourteen years after Mummius's Consulship. That certainly doesn't square with it. I have in my mind a Political Conference, to be held at Olympia or where you will, after the manner of your friend Dicaearchus. [Note]




On the morning of the 28th Demeas handed me a letter written the day before, according to which I should expect you today or tomorrow. But while longing for your arrival, it is I after all, as I think, who will hinder you. For I don't suppose the Faberius business will be so promptly settled, even if it is ever to be so, as not to cause some delay. Come when you can then, since your arrival is still deferred. I should be much obliged if you would send me the books of Dicaearchus which you mention: add also the book of the "Descent." [Note] As to the letter to Caesar, my mind is made up. And yet the very thing which your friends assert that be writes—that he will not go against the Parthians until everything is settled at home—is exactly the advice I gave all through that letter. I told him to do whichever he chose: that he might rely on my support. No doubt he is waiting for that, and is not likely to do anything except on my advice! Pray let us dismiss all such follies, and let us at least be half-free. That we can obtain by holding our tongues and living in retirement.

Yes, approach Otho as you suggest, and finish that business, my dear Atticus: for I can hit on no other place where I can at once keep away from the forum and enjoy your society. As to the price however, the following occurs to me. Gaius Albanius is the nearest neighbour: he bought 1,000 iugera of M. Pilius, as far as I can remember, for 11,500 sestertia. [Note] Prices are lower all round now. But we must add a great desire to buy, in which, with the exception

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of Otho, I do not think we shall have any competitor. But you will be able to influence him personally: you could have done so still more easily if you had had Canus with you. What vulgar gluttony! I am ashamed of his father. [Note] Write by return if you want to say anything.




Having received a second letter from you today I did not wish you to be content with only one from me. Yes, pray do as you say about Faberius. For on our success in that

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depends entirely what I have in my mind. If that idea had never occurred to me I should, believe me, have been as in different to that as I am about everything else. Wherefore as you are doing at present—and I am sure it cannot be improved upon-push the matter on: don't let it rest: carry it through. Please send me both the books of Dicaearchus—on the "Soul" and on the "Descent." I can't find his "Tripoliticus" and his letter to Aristoxenus. I should be specially glad to have these three books; they would bear upon what I have in my mind. "Torquatus" is at Rome: I have ordered it to be given to you. "Catulus" and "Lucullus" I think you have already. To these books a new preface has been added, in which both of them are spoken of with commendation. I wish you to have these compositions, [Note] and there are some others. You didn't quite understand what I said to you about the ten legates, I suppose, because I wrote in shorthand. What I wanted to know was about Tuditanus. Hortensius once told me that he was one of the ten. I see in Libo's annals that he was praetor in the consulship of P. Popilius and P. Rupilius. [Note] Could he have been a legatus fourteen years before he was praetor, unless his quaestorship was very late in life? [Note] And I don't think that that was so. For I notice that he easily obtained which Polybius was employed to explain to the inhabitants. The labours of the commissioners occupied six months, and Polybius thinks that they did a very noble piece of work in the way of constitution-building. Hence Cicero meant to choose them as speakers in a dialogue on constitutions, which, however, was never composed (Polyb. 39.15-16).

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the curule magistracies in his regular years. However, I did not know that Postumius, whose statue you say you remember in the Isthmus, was one of them. He is the man who was consul with L. Lucullus. [Note] I have to thank you for this addition of a very suitable person to my "Conference." So please see to the rest, if you can, that I may make a fine show even with my dramatis personae.


DCXV (A XIII, 33, ¤¤ 1-3)


Astonishing carelessness! Do you suppose that Balbus and Faberius only once told me that the return was made?

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Why, I even sent a man at their bidding to make the return. For they said that that was what the law required. [Note] My freedman Philotimus made the return. I believe you know my copyist. But write, and tell me too that it has been settled. I am sending a letter to Faberius as you think I ought. But with Balbus I think you have come to some arrangement in the Capitol today. [Note]

I have no scruple about Vergilius: for I am not bound to consider him, and if I purchase, what right will he have to expostulate? But see that he is not in Africa when the time comes, like Caelius. As to the debt, please look into the matter along with Cispius: but if Plancus bids, [Note] then a difficulty arises. Yes, both of us wish you to come here, but this business on which you are engaged must on no account be abandoned. I am very glad to hear you say that you hope that Otho can be outbidden. As to the assignment on valuation we will consider, as you say, when we have begun discussing terms: although he did not say a word in his letter, except about the amount of land. Yes, talk to Piso, in case he may be able to do anything. I have received Dicaearchus's book, and I am waiting for his "Descent." [Note] If you will commission some one, he will find the information in the book containing the decrees of the senate in the consulship of Gnaeus Cornelius and Lucius Mummius. [Note] Your opinion about Tuditanus is very reasonable, that at the time that he was at the siege of Corinth—for Hortensius did not speak at random—he was quaestor or military tribune, and I rather think it was so. You will be able to ascertain from Antiochus, of course, in what year he was quaestor or military tribune. If he was neither,

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hunt him up and see whether he was among the praefecti [Note] or the attachŽs-always provided that he was engaged in that war at all.




We were talking of of a wolf, you know. [Note] For he arrived at my house, and at such an hour of the day has married or is going to marry Porcia, daughter of Cato and widow of Bibulus. Naturally the Caesarians thought it a dangerous alliance, and especially his mother Servilia—the warm friend and perhaps mistress of Caesar. Cicero says that it is a pity the two ladies are unfriendly to each other, but, he adds, they keep up appearances and do all that their respective positions demand.

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that he had to be kept [Note] But I didn't quite "tear his cloak" [Note] in my efforts to keep him (for I remember that expression of yours), and they were a large party and I was not prepared. How did that help me? Soon after came Gaius Capito with Titus Carrinas. I hardly laid a finger on their cloaks; yet they stopped, and very ˆ propos (though by chance) Capito fell to talking about the enlargement of the city: the Tiber is to be diverted, starting from the Milvian bridge along the Vatican Hills: the Campus Martius is to be covered with buildings; while the Vatican plain is to become a kind of new Campus Martius. "What do you say?" said I, "why, I was going to the auction, to secure Scapula's pleasure-grounds if I could safely do so." "Don't do anything of the sort," said he, "for the law will be carried. [Note] Caesar wishes it." [Note] I didn't betray any annoyance at the information, but I am annoyed at the scheme. What do you say to it? But I needn't ask: you know what a quidnunc Capito is, always finding some mare's nest: he is as bad as Camillus. [Note] So let me know about the 15th : [Note] for it is that business which is bringing me to Rome: I had combined some other pieces of business with it, which, however, I shall be easily able to do two or three days later. However, I don't want you to be tired out with travelling: I even excuse Dionysius. As to what you say in your letter about Brutus, I have left him quite free to do as he likes as far as I am concerned: for I wrote yesterday to tell him that I had no occasion for his assistance on the 15th.

-- 301 --




I arrived at Astura on the evening of the 25th. For in order to avoid the heat I had rested three hours at Lanuvium. Pray, if it won't be a trouble to you, contrive that I shall not have to come to Rome before the 5th of next month-you can arrange it by means of Egnatius Maximus. Above all, come to a settlement with Publilius in my absence: as to which, write and tell me what people say. [Note] "Much the people, of course, concern themselves about that!" [Note] No, by heaven, I don't suppose they do. For it is already a nine days' wonder. But I wanted to fill my page. I need say no more, for I am all but with you unless you put me off. For I have written to you about the pleasure-grounds. [Note]

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DCXL (A XIII, 35 AND 36)


What a disgraceful thing! A countryman of yours [Note] enlarges the city, which he had never seen two years ago, and regards it as too small to hold the great man, too! So I am longing for a letter from you on the subject.

You say that you will hand the books to Varro as soon as

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he comes to town. So by this time they have been presented and the matter is out of your hands. Ah, well, if you could but know what a risk you are running I Or perhaps my letter has caused you to put it off; though you had not read it when you wrote your last. I am therefore in a flutter to know how the matter stands. [Note]

About Brutus's affection and the walk you had together, though you have nothing new to tell me, only the old story, yet the oftener I hear it the more I like it. It gives me the greater gratification that you find pleasure in it, and I feel all the surer of it that it is you who report it.




THIS is my second letter today. As to Xenon's debt to you and the forty sestertia due to you in Epirus, no arrangement could be more convenient or suitable than what you suggest in your letter. Balbus the younger had made the same suggestion to me in conversation.

I have absolutely no news except that Hirtius has kept up a keen controversy with Quintus [Note] on my behalf: that the latter talks violently in all kinds of places and especially at dinner parties: that much of this talk is directed against me, but that he also falls upon his father. Nothing he says, however, has a greater vraisemblance than his assertion that we are bitterly opposed to Caesar: that we are neither of us to be trusted, while I personally ought to be regarded with suspicion-this would have been truly terrible had I not perceived that our monarch knew that I had no courage left. Lastly, that my son is being bullied by me. But that he may say as much as he chooses.

I am glad I had handed Porcia's funeral oration to Lepta's letter-carrier before I got your letter. Take care then, as you love me, that it is sent to Domitius and Brutus—if it is going to be sent—in the form you mention.

About the gladiators and the other things, which you call in your letter "airy nothings," give me particulars day by day. I should wish, if you think it right, to apply to Balbus

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and Offilius. About giving notice of the auction I myself spoke to Balbus. He agreed—I presume that Offilius has a complete inventory, and so has Balbus—well, he agreed that it should be on an early day and at Rome: but that, if Caesar's arrival was delayed, it might be put off from day to day. [Note] But the latter seems to be on the point of arriving. Therefore consider the whole business: for Vestorius is content.




As I was writing against the Epicureans before daybreak, I scratched a hasty note to you by the same lamp and in the same breath, and despatched it also before daybreak. Then, after going to sleep again and getting up at sunrise, a letter from your sister's son [Note] is put into my hands, which I herewith send to you in the original copy. It begins with a gross insult. But perhaps he didn't stop to think. Well, this is how it begins: "Whatever can be said to your discredit I___" He will have it that much can be said to my discredit, but says that he does not endorse it. Could anything be in worse taste? Well, you shall read the rest—for I send it on to you—and judge for yourself. My belief is that it was because the fellow was disturbed by the daily and persistent compliments of our friend Brutus—the expression of which by him in regard to us has been reported to me by a very large number of people—that he has at length deigned to write to me and to you. Please let me know if that is so. For what he has written to his father about me

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I don't know. About his mother, how truly filial! "I had wished," he says, "to be with you as much as possible, and that a house should be taken for me; and I wrote to you to that effect. You have neglected to do it. Therefore we shall see much less of each other: for I cannot bear the sight of your house; you know why." The reason to which he alludes, his father tells me, is hatred of his mother. Now, my dear Atticus, assist me with your advice: Scale the high-built wall shall I By justice pure and verity? That is, shall I openly renounce and disown the fellow, or shall I proceed "by crooked wiles"? For as was the case with Pindar, "My mind divided cannot hit the truth." [Note] On the whole the former is best suited to my character, the latter to the circumstances of the time. However, consider me as accepting whatever decision you have come to. What I am most afraid of is being caught at Tusculum. [Note] In the crowd of the city these things would be less difficult. Shall I go to Astura then? What if Caesar suddenly arrives? [Note] Help me with your advice, I beg. I will follow your decision, whatever it may be.

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What astonishing duplicity! He writes to his father that he must abstain from entering his house on account of his mother: to his mother he writes a letter full of affection! My brother however is taking it more easily, and says that his son has reason for being angry with him. But I am following your advice: for I see that your opinion is in favour of "crooked ways." I shall come to Rome, as you think I ought, but sorely against the grain: for I cling strongly to my writing. "You will find Brutus," say you, "on the same journey." No doubt. But had it not been for this affair, that inducement would not have overcome my reluctance. For he has not come from a quarter which I should have preferred, nor has he been long away, nor has he written a syllable to me. But after all I am anxious to know what the net result of his trip has been to him. Please send me the books of which I wrote to you before, and especially Phaedrus [Note] "On Gods" and... [Note]

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REALLY? Does Brutus say that Caesar is going to join the Optimates? That's good news! But where will he find them? Unless he should by chance hang himself. [Note] But what about Brutus? You say, "It is no good." What became, then, of that chef-d'oeuvre of yours which I saw in his "Parthenon"-I mean the Ahala and Brutus pedigree? [Note] But what is he to do?

That's excellent hearing! "Not even has the prime author of the whole black business [Note] a good word to say of our nephew." Why, I was beginning to be afraid that even Brutus was fond of him. For that seemed the meaning of the sentence in his letter to me: "But I could wish that you had a taste of his conversations with me." But, as you say, of this when we meet. And yet, which do you advise me to do? Am I to hurry to meet him or to stay where I am? The fact is, I am glued to my books, and on the other

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hand don't want to entertain him here. His father, as I am told, is gone as far as Saxa [Note] to meet him in a high state of exasperation. He went in such an angry frame of mind that I was forced to remonstrate. But then I am much of a weather-cock myself. So we must wait and see. However, please consider your view as to my coming to Rome and the whole situation; if it appears plain to you tomorrow, let me know early in the day.




Yes, I sent Quintus the letter for your sister. When he complained that his son was on bad terms with his mother, and said that on that account he intended to give up the house to his son, I told him that the latter had written a becoming letter to his mother, but not a word to you. He expressed surprise at the former, but said that in regard to you the fault was his own, because he had frequently written in indignant terms to his son as to your unfairness to him. In this respect he says that his feelings have softened; so I read him your letter, and on the "crooked paths" [Note] principle indicated that I would not stand in the way. The fact is, we went on to talk of Cana. [Note] Certainly, if that were decided upon, it would be necessary for me to act thus. But, as you say, we must have some regard to our dignity, and both of us ought to take the same line, although the wrongs he has done me are the more serious, or at least the more notorious, of the two. If however Brutus also has some

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reasons to allege, all hesitation is at an end. But of this when we meet: for it is a very serious business and needs great caution. Tomorrow therefore, unless I get something from you this evening. [Note]




He [Note] has been to see me and with a very dejected air. Said I to him: "Why so gloomy ?" "Can you ask," said he, "when I am about to start on a journey, and a journey to the seat of war—a journey, too, that is not only dangerous, but discreditable as well ? " [Note] "What is the compulsion, then?" said I. "Debt," said he, "and yet I haven't even money enough for the journey." At this point I took a hint from your kind of eloquence. I held my tongue. He went on: "But what gives me most pain is my uncle. " [Note] "Why is that?" said I. "Because he is angry with me," said he. "Why do you allow him to be so," said I-for I prefer using that word to "Why do you incur it ?" "I won't allow it," said he, "for I will remove the reason." "Excellent !" said I; "but if it won't be disagreeable to you, I should like to know what the reason is." "Because, while hesitating as to whom to marry, I vexed my mother, and consequently him too. However, nothing can make up for doing that in my eyes. I will do what they wish." "I wish you good luck," I said, "and I commend your resolution. But when is it to be?" "Oh, I don't care about the time," he said, "since I accept the thing." "Well, my

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opinion is," said I, "that you should do it before starting. You will thus oblige your father also." "I will do as you think right," said he. This was the end of our conversation.

But listen to me! You know the 3rd of January is my birthday. You must come to dinner therefore.

I had written thus far, when lo and behold comes a summons to Rome from Lepidus. I suppose the augurs want me for consecrating a temple-site. [Note] Well, I must go. Don't let's have any rumpus. [Note] I shall see you therefore. [The following letters of introduction cannot be dated. They probably were written early in the year.]




Yes, I shall avail myself of the postponement of the day ; [Note] and it was exceedingly kind of you to inform me, especially as I received the letter at a time when I wasn't expecting one, and you wrote it from your seat at the games. [Note] I have in any case some matters of business to attend to at Rome, but I will settle them two days later.

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What a delightful letter! Though the procession was odious, it is nevertheless not odious "to know everything"—even about Cotta. The people were splendid not to clap even the figure of Victory owing to its impious neighbour. Brutus has been to see me, and is very strongly in favour of my writing something to Caesar. I assented, but this procession puts me off it. [Note]

Well, after all, did you venture to make the presentation to Varro? I am anxious for his opinion: but when will he read it through?

As to Attica, I quite approve: for it is something that her melancholy should be relieved both by taking part in the spectacle, as well as by the feeling of its sacred associations and the general talk about it.

Please send me a Cotta; I have got a Libo with me, and

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I had already possessed a Casca. [Note] Brutus brought me a message from Titus Ligarius that the mention of L. Corfidius in my speech for Ligarius was a mistake of mine. But it was only what is called "a lapse of memory." I knew that Corfidius was very closely connected with the Ligarii, but I see now that he was already dead. Please therefore instruct Pharnaces, Antaeus, and Salvius to erase that name from all the copies. [Note]




Lamia [Note] came to see me after your departure and brought me a letter which he had received from Caesar. This letter, though dated earlier than that brought by Diochares, yet made it quite clear that he would arrive before the Roman games. [Note] At the end of the letter there was a sentence ordering him to make all necessary preparations for the games, and not allow him to hurry back for nothing. Certainly from this letter it seemed beyond doubt that he would come before that day, and Lamia said that Balbus thought so too after reading that letter.

I perceive I have thus some additional days holiday, [Note] but pray, as you love me, let me know how many. You will be able to ascertain from Baebius and your other neighbour Egnatius. You exhort me to spend these days in an exposition of philosophy. You are spurring a willing horse, [Note] but you see that I am obliged to have Dolabella constantly with me on the days you mention. But had I not been detained by this business of Torquatus, [Note] there would have been a sufficient

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number of days to allow of making an excursion to Puteoli [Note] and returning in time. Lamia indeed has heard from Balbus, as it seems, that there is a large sum of ready money in the house, which ought to be divided as soon as possible, as well as a great amount of silver plate: that the auction of everything except the real property ought to take place at the first possible opportunity. Please write and tell me your opinion. For my part, if I had to pick out a man from the whole world, I couldn't easily have selected anyone more painstaking, obliging, or, by heaven, more zealous to serve me than Vestorius. [Note] I have written him a very full and frank letter, and I suppose you have done the same. I think that is enough. What do you say? My only uneasiness is the fear of seeming too careless. So I shall wait for a letter from you.




POLLEX, for his part, having appointed to meet me by the 13th of August, has in fact done so at Lanuvium on the 12th. But he was true to his name—a thumb and not a finger, he pointed to nothing. You must get your information, therefore, from his own lips. I have been to call on Balbus; for Lepta, being anxious about his own contract for the wine, [Note] had induced me to go and see him. He was staying in that villa at Lanuvium which he has made over to Lepidus. The first thing he said to me was: "I recently received a letter from Caesar, in which he positively asserts that he will arrive before the Roman games." I read the

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letter. There was a good deal about my "Cato." He says that by repeatedly reading it he had increased his command of language: when he had read the "Cato" of Brutus he thought himself eloquent. Next I learnt from him that acceptance of Cluvius's inheritance (oh, careless Vestorius!) was to be an unconditional acceptance in the presence of Witnesses within sixty days. I was afraid I should have to send for Vestorius. As it is, I need only send him a commission to accept on my order. This same Pollex therefore shall go. I also discussed the question of Cluvius's suburban pleasure-grounds with Balbus. Nothing could be more liberal: he said that he would write to Caesar at once: but that Cluvius had left Terentia a legacy of fifty sestertia (£48o), charged on Hordeonius's share, as also money for his tomb and many other things, but that my share had no charge on it. Pray give Vestorius a gentle rebuke. What could be less proper than that the druggist Plotius should have employed his servants to give Balbus full particulars so long in advance, while he gave me none even by my own? I am sorry about Cossinius; I was very fond of him. I will assign to Quintus whatever surplus there is after paying my debts and purchases. The latter I expect will force me to borrow more. About the house at Arpinum I know nothing. P.S.-There is no occasion for you to scold Vestorius. For after I had sealed this packet my letter-carrier arrived after dark bearing a letter from him with full particulars and a copy of the will.




"When your order, Agamemnon, reached my ears," not "to come"—for that, too, I should have done, had it not been for Torquatus [Note] —but to write, "I at once" gave up what I

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had begun, threw aside what I had in hand, and "hewed out a model of thy design." [Note] I wish you would ascertain from Pollex the state of my accounts. It is not becoming that my son should be straitened in this his first year at Athens. Afterwards we will be more particular in keeping down his expenses. Pollex also must be sent back to Puteoli, in order that Vestorius may accept the inheritance. [Note] It is clear that I must not go there, both for the reasons mentioned in your letter and because Caesar is near at hand. Dolabella writes to say that he is coming to see me on the 14th. What a tiresome instructor! [Note]




YESTERDAY evening I got a letter from Lepidus dated Antium, for he was there in a house which I sold him. He asks me earnestly to be in the senate on the 1st, saying that I shall greatly gratify both Caesar and himself by so doing. [Note] I think, for my part, that there is nothing in it: for perhaps Oppius would have said something to you, as Balbus is ill. However, I preferred to come for nothing rather than be absent if I was wanted: I should have regretted it afterwards. So today I shall be at Antium; tomorrow, at my town house before noon. Pray dine with me, if nothing prevents you, on the 31st and bring Pilia. I hope you have settled with Publilius. I mean to hurry back to Tusculum on the 1st; for I prefer all negotiations with them to go on in my absence. I am sending you my brother Quintus's letter; it is not indeed a very kind response to mine, but still sufficient to satisfy you, as I imagine. That is your affair.




YESTERDAY, in the midst of the noise, I seem to have caught a remark of yours, that you were coming to Tusculum. Oh, that it may be so! Oh, that it may! I repeat. But only if convenient to yourself. Lepta begs me to hurry to Rome if he wants me in any way. For Babullius is dead. Caesar, I imagine, is heir to a twelfth—though I don't know anything for certain as yet—but Lepta to a third. Now he is in a fright that he may not be allowed to keep the inheritance. His fear is unreasonable, but nevertheless he is afraid. So if he does summon me, I will hurry to town: if he doesn't, it won't be in any way necessary. [Note] Yes, send Pollex as soon as you can. I am sending you Porcia's funeral oration corrected: I have been expeditious in order that, if it is by any chance being sent to Domitius's son or to Brutus, it may be this edition that is sent. [Note] If it isn't inconvenient to you I should like you to see to this very

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carefully; and please send me the funeral orations written by Marcus Varro and Ollius, at any rate that of Ollius. For though I have read the latter, I want to have a second taste of it. There are some things in it that I can scarcely believe that I have read. [Note]




First, health to Attica, whom I imagine to be in the country, so I wish her much health, as also to Pilia. If there is anything fresh about Tigellius, let me know it. He is—as Fadius Gallus has written me word—bringing up a most unfair accusation against me, on the ground that I left Phamea in the lurch after having undertaken to plead his cause. This cause, indeed, I had undertaken against the sons of Gnaeus Octavius, much against my will—but I did also wish well to Phamea. For, if I remember rightly, when I was standing for the consulship he sent me a promise through you to do anything he could; and I was no less mindful of that courtesy than if I had availed myself of it. He called on me and told me that the arbitrator had arranged to take his case on the very day on which the jury were bound by the Pompeian law to consider their verdict on our friend Sestius. For you are aware that the days in those suits have been fixed by law. I replied that he was not ignorant of my obligations to Sestius: if he selected any other day he chose, I would not fail to appear for him. So on that occasion he left me in a rage. I think I told you about it. I didn't trouble myself, of course, nor did I think that the wholly groundless anger of a man not in the least connected with me required any attention from me. But the last time I was in Rome I told Gallus what I had heard, without however mentioning the younger Balbus. Gallus made it his business to go into the matter, as he writes me word. He says that the allegation of Tigellius is that I suspect him because I have it on my conscience that I left Phamea in the lurch. Wherefore all I ask you to do is to get anything you can from our friend the younger Balbus, but not to trouble yourself about me. It is a sop to one's dignity to have some one to hate without restraint and not to be a slave to everybody (as the man was

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not "asleep to everybody"). [Note] Yet, by heaven, as you know very well, those men [Note] are rather acting as slaves to me, if to pay a man constant attentions is being a slave.




YOU gave me a hint in one of your letters, that I should set about writing a letter to Caesar on a larger scale. Balbus also recently, at our meeting at Lanuvium, informed me that he and Oppius had written to tell Caesar that I had read his books against Cato and warmly admired them. Accordingly, I have composed an epistle to Caesar to be transmitted to Dolabella. But I sent a copy of it to Oppius and Balbus, and wrote also to them, saying that they should only order it to be transmitted to Dolabella, if they themselves approved of the copy. So they have written back to say that they never read anything better, and they have ordered my letter to be delivered to Dolabella.

Vestorius has written to ask me to authorize the conveyance—as far as I am concerned—of the estate of Brinnius to a slave of their own for a certain Hetereius, to enable him to make the conveyance himself in due form to Hetereius at Puteoli. [Note] If you think it is all right send that slave to me. For I presume that Vestorius has written to you also.

As to Caesar's arrival, I have had the same information in a letter from Oppius and Balbus as from you. I am surprised that you have not yet had any conversation with

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Tigellius. For instance, I should much like to know how much he got-yet, after all, I don't care a straw. Where do you think I ought to go, [Note] if it is not to be Alsium? And in fact I have written to Murena to ask him to put me up, but I think he has started with Matius. Sallustius therefore shall have the burden of my entertainment.

After I had written the above line, Eros informed me that Murena had answered him with the greatest kindness. Let him be our host, therefore. For Silius has no cushions: while Dida, I believe, has given up his whole villa to guests.




THE reason of my not sending you at the time a copy of the letter which I wrote to Caesar was that I forgot. Neither was the motive what you suspected it to have been-shame of appearing in your eyes to be ridiculously time-serving [Note] nor, by heaven, did I write otherwise than I should have written to an equal and a man like myself. For I really do think well of those books of his, [Note] as I told you when we met. Accordingly, I wrote without any flattery, and at the same time in such a tone as I think will give him as much pleasure to read it as possible.

At last I have certain news of Attica. So please congratulate her all over again. Tell me all about Tigellius, and that promptly; for I am feeling uneasy. Now listen to this: Quintus [Note] arrives tomorrow, but whether at my house or yours I don't know. He wrote me word that he would be at Rome on the 25th. But I have sent a man to invite him here: though, by heaven, I must come to Rome, lest Caesar should make a descent there before me.

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WELL, I have no reason after all to repent my formidable guest! For he made himself exceedingly pleasant. But on his arrival at the villa of Philippus on the evening of the second day of the Saturnalia, [Note] the villa was so choke full of soldiers that there was scarcely a dining-room left for Caesar himself to dine in. Two thousand men, if you please! I was in a great taking as to what was to happen the next day; and so Cassius Barba came to my aid and gave me guards. A camp was pitched in the open, the villa was put in a state of defence. He stayed with Philippus on the third day of the Saturnalia till one o'clock, without admitting anyone. He was engaged on his accounts, I think, with Balbus. Then he took a walk on the beach. After two he went to the bath. Then he heard about Mamurra without changing countenance. [Note] He was anointed: took his place at the table. He was under a course of emetics, [Note] and so ate and drank without scruple and as suited his taste. It was a very good dinner, and well served, and not only so, but "Well cooked, well seasoned food, with rare discourse: A banquet in a word to cheer the heart." [Note] Besides this, the staff were entertained in three rooms in a very liberal style. The freedmen of lower rank and the slaves had everything they could want. But the upper sort

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had a really recherchŽ dinner. In fact, I shewed that I was somebody. However, he is not a guest to whom one would say, "Pray look me up again on your way back." Once is enough. We didn't say a word about politics. There was plenty of literary talk. In short, he was pleased and enjoyed himself. He said he should stay one day at Puteoli, another at Baiae. That's the story of the entertainment, or I might call it the billeting on me—trying to the temper, but not seriously inconvenient. I am staying on here for a short time and then go to Tusculum. When he was passing Dolabella's villa, the whole guard formed up on the right and left of his horse, and nowhere else. [Note] This I was told by Nicias.

Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Att.].
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