Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Att.].
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16.11

DCCXCVI (A XVI, 11)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME) PUTEOLI, 5 NOVEMBER

I RECEIVED two letters from you on the 5th, one dated on the 1st, the other on the day previous. So first for the earlier one. I am delighted that you like my pamphlet, from which you have picked the plums. They seem all the more brilliant to my eyes for your approval of them. For I was mortally afraid of those little red wax wafers [Note] of yours As to Sicca, it is as you say. I could scarcely refrain from the subject you mention. [Note] So I will pass over the matter lightly, and without fixing any opprobrium upon Sicca and Septimia, only just enough to let our children's children know, without any Lucilian ambiguity, that Antony had had children by the daughter of Fadius Gallus. [Note] And I only wish I may live to see the day when that oration may have such free circulation in Rome as to find its way even into Sicca's house. "But we must have a return to the state of things under the triumvirs!" [Note] Hang me, if that isn't a good

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joke! However, please read it to Sextus Peducaeus, and write and tell me his opinion of it. Better his one than ten thousand in my eyes. Be on your guard against the appearance of Calenus and Calvena [Note] on the scene. You fear that I shall think you long-winded. who less so? As Aristophanes [Note] thought of the iambics of Archilochus—the longest letter from you ever seems the best. As to your "admonishing me "—why, even if you reprimanded me, I should bear it not merely with patience, but with real pleasure, for in your reprimand there were both wisdom and kindly purpose. Therefore I shall cheerfully correct faults pointed out by you. I will write "by the same right as you did the property of Rubrius," instead of "the property of Scipio": [Note] and I will soften down my excessive praise of Dolabella. Yet, after all, there seems a very neat piece of irony in saying "that he had fought three battles against his fellow citizens." [Note] Again, I prefer your suggestion: "It is the most inequitable thing in the world that this man should be living" to "What could be more inequitable?" [Note] I am not jealous of your admiring Varro's Peplographia. [Note] But I haven't yet got out of him his "Essay in the style of Heracleides." [Note] You urge me to write. It is very friendly

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of you, but the fact is I do nothing else. I am very sorry to hear of your cold. Pray attend to it with all your accustomed care. I am very glad my "Oh Titus" [Note] does you good. The "men of Anagnia" [Note] are Mustela, captain of his ruffians, and Laco who is a notorious toper. The book for which you ask me I will polish up and send you.

Now for your later letter. The de Officiis—as far as Panaetius goes—I have completed in two books. His treatise is in three. But at the beginning he had defined the cases in which duty has to be determined to be three: one when we deliberate as to whether a thing is right or wrong; another whether it is expedient or inexpedient; and a third when there seems to be a contest between the right and the expedient; on what principle we are to decide-as, for instance, in the case of Regulus, it was right to return, expedient to stay. Well, having begun by defining these three categories, he discussed the first two in brilliant style; on the third he promised an essay in due course, but never wrote it. That topic was taken up by Posidonius. I, however, both sent for the latter's book, and also wrote to Athenodorus Calvus to send me an analysis of it. I am now waiting for this, and I should be obliged if you would give him a reminder and ask him to send it as soon as possible. In that treatise there are remarks upon "relative duty." As to your question about the title, I have no doubt about officium representing καθῆκον—unless you have something else to suggest—but the fuller title is de Officiis. Finally, I address it to my son. It seemed to me to be not inappropriate.

About Myrtilus [Note] you make all clear. Oh, what a vivid picture you always give of that set! Does he really try to implicate Decimus Brutus? Heaven confound them! I have not gone into hiding at Pompeii, as I told you I should do. In the first place owing to the weather, which has been most abominable; and in the second because I get a letter from Octavian every day, begging me to undertake the business, to come to Capua, once more to save the Republic, and in any case to go at once to Rome:

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Ashamed to shrink and yet afraid to take. [Note] After all, his action has been extremely vigorous, and still is so. He will come to Rome with a large body of men, but he is very green. He thinks he can have a meeting of the senate at once. Who will come to it? Who, if he does come, will venture to oppose Antony in the present undecided state of things? On the 1st of January he will perhaps be a protection to them, or before that time a pitched battle will perhaps be fought. The municipal towns shew astonishing enthusiasm for the boy. For instance, on his way into Samnium he came to Cales and stopped at Teanum. There was a wonderful procession to meet him, and loud expressions of encouragement. Would you have thought that? It makes me resolve to go to Rome earlier than I had intended. As soon as I have made up my mind, I will write.

Though I have not yet read the terms of agreement—for Eros has not yet arrived-yet I would have you settle the business on the 12th. I shall be able to send letters to Catina, Tauromenium, and Syracuse with greater ease, if Valerius the interpreter will send me the names of the influential people. For such men vary from time to time, and our special friends are mostly dead. However, I have written some circular letters for Valerius to use if he chooses, or he must send me names. About the holidays for Lepidus's inauguration, [Note] Balbus tells me that they will extend to the 30th. I shall look anxiously for a letter from you, and I think I shall learn about that little affair of Torquatus. I am forwarding you a letter from Quintus, to shew you how strongly attached he is to the youth, [Note] whom it vexes him that you do not love enough. As Attica is inclined to be merry—the best sign in children-give her a kiss for me.

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