During this year
or some of his country villas, till the death of his daughter Tullia after
childbirth. In deep grief he retired to Astura, where he sought consolation
partly in prosecuting a design for building a temple in her memory, partly in
writing. He produced a Consolatio, and the two treatises, de Finibus and
Academica (the latter first in two books, afterwards rearranged in four). He
also projected, but did not carry out, a treatise on the reconstruction of the
constitution, to be addressed to Caesar. In December of the previous year
Caesar had started for Rome
to attack the Pompeian army commanded by Gnaeus and Sextus Pompeius. The
victory of Munda (17th March) and the subsequent death of Gnaeus seemed to
settle the question of Spain - though the opposition under Sextus Pompeius
survived many years - and Caesar returned to Rome in October. Much of the
correspondence of this year concerns Spain 's
grief for his daughter. When he touches on political affairs, however, his
discontent with the Caesarian government and general policy is made very
DXXXIII (F VI. 18)
Immediately on the receipt of the letter from your servant Seleucus I sent a note to Balbus asking him what the provision of the law was. He answered that auctioneers in actual business were excluded from being municipal counsellors, retired auctioneers were not excluded.1 Wherefore certain friends of yours and mine need not be alarmed, for it would have been intolerable, while those who were now acting as haruspices were put on the roll of the senate at Rome, all who had ever been auctioneers should be excluded from becoming counsellors in the municipal towns.
There is no news from
I am much delighted that you approve so highly of my Orator.3 My own view of it is that I have put into that book all the critical power I possessed in the art of speaking. If the book is such as you say that you think it to be, then I too am somewhat. If not, then I do not decline to allow the same deduction to be made from my reputation for critical judgment as is to be made from the book. I am desirous that our dear Lepta4 should take pleasure in such writings. Though his age is not yet ripe for them, yet it is not unprofitable that his ears should ring with the sound of such language.
I am kept at
1] In the lex Iulia Municipalis, passed this year, qui praeconium designationem libitinamve faciet, i.e., "auctioneers and undertakers," are excluded from any magistracy, or from being senator or decurio in a colonia, municipium, or praefectura (Bruns, Fontes Juris Romani, p. 106).
2] Servius Sulpicius Galba, of whom we shall hear again. He was great-grandfather of the Emperor Galba, who, it is interesting to note, maintained his ancestor's "carefulness" in money.
3] Written the previous year.
4] Son of the recipient of this letter
5] To be repaid by Dolabella after his divorce from Tullia.
6] Hesiod, WD 289: τῆς δ᾽ ἀρετῆς ἱδρῶταθεοὶ προπάροιθεν ἔθηκαν.
DXL (F XV. 17)
(AT BRUNDISIUM) –
You have most unreasonable letter-carriers, though I am not personally angry with them. But, after all, when they are leaving me they demand a letter, when they come to me they bring none. And even as to the former, they would have consulted my convenience better if they had given me some interval for writing; but they come to me with their travelling caps on, declaring that their company is waiting for them at the city gate. Therefore you must pardon me: you shall have here another short note, but expect full details presently. Yet why should I apologize to you, when your men come to me with empty hands and return to you with letters. Here - for after all I will write something to you - we have the death of P. Sulla the elder: according to some from an attack of footpads, according to others from an attack of indigestion. The people don't trouble themselves, for they are assured that he is dead and burnt. Your philosophy will enable you to bear this; though we have lost a well-known "feature of the city." People think that Caesar will be vexed for fear of his auctions becoming flat. Mindius Marcellus1 and Attius the paintseller are delighted at having lost a rival bidder.
There is no news from
, and a very great anxiety for
some: the rumours are rather gloomy, but are not authenticated. Our friend
Pansa left town in military array 2 on the 29th of
December. It is enough to convince anyone of what you have recently begun to
doubt, that "the good is desirable for its own sake." 3 For because he has relieved many
of their misfortunes, and has shewn humanity in these evil times, he was
attended by an extraordinary display of affection on the part of good men. I
very much approve of your having stayed on at Brundisium, and I am very glad
you have done so, and, by Hercules, I think that you will act wisely if you
don't trouble yourself about vain things. 4 Certainly I,
who love you, shall be glad if it is so. And pray, next time you are sending a
packet home, don't forget me. I will never allow anyone, if I know it, to go to
you without a letter from me. Spain
1] Madvig conjectures macellarius, "victualler,"to correspond with the trade of Attius. But it is not necessary.
2] As proconsul of Gallia Cisalpina.
3] The Stoic doctrine, which Cassius had abandoned for Epicurism.
4] ἀταραξίαν, apparently a Stoic word
DXLIII (F XIII. 16)
Of all our men of rank there is no one of whom I have been fonder than of Publius Crassus the younger; and though I have had very great hopes of him from his earliest years, I began at once to entertain brilliant ideas of his abilities when I was informed of your high opinion of him. His freedman Apollonius I always valued and thought well of even when Crassus was alive: for he was very attentive to Crassus and extremely well suited to promote his best tastes: and, accordingly, was much liked by him. But after the death of Crassus he seemed the more worthy of admission to my confidence and friendship, because he regarded it as his duty to be attentive and polite to those whom the late Crassus had loved and by whom he had been beloved. Accordingly, he came to stay with me in
[The death of
DXLIV (A XII. 13)
ASTURA (7 MARCH) 45 B.C.
1I am disturbed about
Attica, though I agree with
Brutus's letter, full of wisdom and affection as it is, has yet cost me many
tears. This solitude is less painful to me than the crowds of . The only person I miss is yourself; but
although I find no more difficulty in going on with my literary work than if I
were at home, yet that passionate unrest haunts and never quits me, not, on my
word, that I encourage it, I rather fight against it: still it is there. As to
what you say about Appuleius, I don't think that there is any need for your
exerting yourself, nor for applying to Balbus and Oppius, to whom he undertook
to make things right, and even sent me a message to say that he would not be
troublesome to me in any way. But see that my excuse of ill-health for each
separate day is put in. Laenas undertook this. Add C. Septimius and L
Statilius. In fact, no one, whomsoever you ask, will refuse to make the
affidavit. But if there is any difficulty, I will come and make a sworn
deposition myself of chronic ill-health.3 For since I am to absent myself from the entertainments, I would
rather be thought to do so in virtue of the augural law, than in consequence of
grief. Please send a reminder to Cocceius, for he does not fulfil his promise:
while I am desirous of purchasing some hiding-place and refuge for my sorrow. Rome
1] The dates of this and the following letters to Atticus are deduced from DLX and DLXI, which give us the first indication - 23rd of March. As
2] A doctor mentioned by Horace, Sat. ii. 3, 161.
3]The augurs met regularly on the Nones of each month. The only admissible excuse for non-attendance (besides absence from
DXLV (A XII. 14)
ASTURA (8 MARCH) 45 B.C.
I wrote to you yesterday about making my excuses to Appuleius. I think there is no difficulty. No matter to whom you apply, no one will refuse. But see Septimius, Laenas, and Statilius about it. For three are required. Laenas, however, undertook the whole business for me. You say that you have been dunned by Iunius: Cornificius1 is certainly a man of substance, yet I should nevertheless like to know when I am said to have given the guarantee, and whether it was for the father or son. None the less pray do as you say, and interview the agents of Cornificius and Appuleius the land-dealer.
You wish me some relaxation of my mourning: you are kind, as usual, but you can bear me witness that I have not been wanting to myself. For not a word has been written by anyone on the subject of abating grief which I did not read at your house. But my sorrow is too much for any consolation. Nay, I have done what certainly no one ever did before me - tried to console myself by writing a book, which I will send to you as soon as my amanuenses have made copies of it. I assure you that there is no more efficacious consolation. I write all day long, not that I do any good, but for a while I experience a kind of check, or, if not quite that - for the violence of my grief is overpowering - yet I get some relaxation, and I try with all my might to recover composure, not of heart, yet, if possible, of countenance. When doing that I sometimes feel myself to be doing wrong, sometimes that I shall be doing wrong if I don't. Solitude does me some good, but it would have done me more good, if you after all had been here: and that is my only reason for quitting this place, for it does very well in such miserable circumstances. And even this suggests another cause of sorrow. For you will not be able to be to me now what you once were: everything you used to like about me is gone. I wrote to you before about Brutus's letter to me: it contained a great deal of good sense, but nothing to give me any comfort. As to his asking in his letter to you whether I should like him to come to see me - by all means: he would be sure to give me some help, considering his strong affection for me. If you have any news, pray write and tell me, especially as to when Pansa goes.2 I am sorry about
1] There are two men named Q. Cornificius, father and son, mentioned in the correspondence. The former was a candidate with
2]I.e., to his province. Pansa had left
DXLVI (A XII. 15)
ASTURA (9 MARCH) 45 B.C.
Since you do not approve of a standing plea of ill-health, please see that my excuse is made each day to Appuleius.1 In this lonely place I have no one with whom to converse, and plunging into a dense and wild wood early in the day I don't leave it till evening. Next to you, I have no greater friend than solitude. In it my one and only conversation is with books. Even that is interrupted by tears, which I fight against as long as I can. But as yet I am not equal to it. I will answer Brutus, as you advise. You will get the letter tomorrow. Whenever you have anyone to take it, write me a letter.
DXLVII (A XII. 16)
I don’t wish you to come to me to the neglect of your business. Rather I will come to you, if you are kept much longer. And yet I should never have gone so far as to quit your sight, had it not been that I was getting absolutely no relief from anything. But if any alleviation had been possible, it would have been in you alone, and as soon as it will be possible from anyone, it will be from you. Yet at this very moment I cannot stand being without you. But to stay at your town house was not thought proper, and it was impossible at mine; nor, if I had stopped at some place nearer
1] L. Marcius Philippus, step-father of Augustus.
DXLVIII (A XII. 18)
ASTURA (11 MARCH) 45 B.C.
To fly from recollections, which make my soul smart as though it were stung, I take refuge in recalling my plans to your memory. Pray pardon me, whatever you think of this one. The fact is that I find that some of the authors, whom I am now continually reading, suggest as a proper thing to do just what I have often discussed with you, and for which I desire your approval. I mean about the shrine - pray think of it as earnestly as your affection for me should suggest.1 About the design I do not feel any doubt, for I like that of Cluatius, nor about the building of it at all - for to that I have made up my mind: but about the site I do sometimes hesitate. Pray therefore think over it. To the fullest capacity of such an enlightened age, I am quite resolved to consecrate her memory by every kind of memorial borrowed from the genius of every kind of artist, Greek or Latin. This may perhaps serve to irritate my wound: but I look upon myself as now bound by a kind of vow and promise. And the infinite time during which I shall be non-existent has more influence on me than this brief life, which yet to me seems only too long. For though I have tried every expedient, I find nothing to give me peace of mind. For even when I was composing that essay, of which I wrote to you before, I was in a way nursing my sorrow. Now I reject every consolation, and find nothing more endurable than solitude, which Philippus did not, as I feared, disturb. For after calling on me yesterday, he started at once for
DXLIX (A XII. 17)
Marcianus has written to tell me that my excuse was made to Appuleius by Laterensis, Naso, Laenas, Torquatus, Strabo: please see that a letter is sent to each of them in my name, thanking them for their kindness. As for the assertion of Flavius that more than twenty-five years ago I gave a guarantee for Cornificius, though he is a man of substance, and Appuleius is a respectable dealer in land, yet I should like you to take the trouble to ascertain by inspecting the ledgers of my fellow guarantors whether it is so. For before my aedileship I had no dealings with Cornificius, yet it may be the case all the same, but I should like to be sure. And call upon his agents for payment, if you think it right to do so. However, what does it matter to me? Yet, after all write and tell me of Pansa's departure for his province when you know. Give my love to
DL (A XII.
Having learnt yesterday from the letters of others of
1] This is the "return from Narbo," of which
3] Brother of his second wife.
DLI (A XII. 19)
ASTURA (14 MARCH) 45 B.C.
This is certainly a lovely spot, right in the sea, and within sight of Antium and Cerceii: but in view of the whole succession of owners - who in the endless generations to come may be beyond counting, supposing the present empire to remain - I must think of some means to secure it being made permanent by consecration.1 For my part, I don't want large revenues at all, and can put up with a little. I think sometimes of purchasing some pleasure-grounds across the
Balbus also in conjunction with Oppius wrote me a full account, and said that
you had wished them to write to save me from anxiety.2 I have written to thank them. I should wish you
to know however, as I have already written to tell you, that I was not alarmed
by that news, and am not going to be alarmed by any in future. If Pansa has
started for his province today, as you seemed to expect, begin telling me
henceforward in your letters what you are expecting about the return of Brutus,
that is to say, about what days.3
You will be easily able to guess that, if you know where he is. I note what you
say to Tiro about Terentia: pray, my dear Atticus, undertake that whole
business. You perceive that there is at once a question of duty on my part
involved - of which you are cognizant - and, as some think, of my son's
For myself, it is the former point that affects my feelings much the more
strongly: it is more sacred in my eyes and more important, especially as I do
not think we can count on the latter as being either sincerely intended or what
we can rely upon. Antony
1] If consecrated, the building would not change hands with a change of owners of the property.
2] In the second Philippic (§ 77)
3] Ad quos dies. Perhaps the plural may allude to the several stages his journey, stopping - as we have often seen
4] As getting an allowance from his mother when her dower was refunded.
DLII (A XII. 20)
ASTURA (15 MARCH) 45 B.C.
You don't yet appear to me to be fully aware how indifferent I have been about
1] We know nothing of this Caepio. Boot quotes Seneca (Consol. ad Helviam, 16, 7) to show that Rutilia survived her son. C. Aurelius Cotta, consul B.C. 75, was a great orator. These antiquarian questions, as well as the whole tone of the letter, shew that
DLIII (A XIII. 6.1-3)
ASTURA (16 MARCH) 45 B.C.
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.1 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.
1] We cannot explain this, because we don't know the circumstances. The son of Cato Uticensis, still a minor, seems to have borrowed money through his guardian, payment of which was being claimed by Piso.
DLIV (F IV. 5)
SERVIUS SULPICIUS TO CICERO (AT ASTURA) –
When I received the news of your daughter Tullia's death, I was indeed as much grieved and distressed as I was bound to be, and looked upon it as a calamity in which I shared. For, if I had been at home, I should not have failed to be at your side, and should have made my sorrow plain to you face to face. That kind of consolation involves much distress and pain, because the relations and friends, whose part it is to offer it, are themselves overcome by an equal sorrow. They cannot attempt it without many tears, so that they seem to require consolation themselves rather than to be able to afford it to others. Still I have decided to set down briefly for your benefit such thoughts as have occurred to my mind, not because I suppose them to be unknown to you, but because your sorrow may perhaps hinder you from being so keenly alive to them.
Why is it that a private grief should agitate you so deeply? Think how fortune has hitherto dealt with us. Reflect that we have had snatched from us what ought to be no less dear to human beings than their children - country, honour, rank, every political distinction. What additional wound to your feelings could be inflicted by this particular loss? Or where is the heart that should not by this time have lost all sensibility and learn to regard everything else as of minor importance? Is it on her account, pray, that you sorrow? How many times have you recurred to the thought - and I have often been struck with the same idea - that in times like these theirs is far from being the worst fate to whom it has been granted to exchange life for a painless death? Now what was there at such an epoch that could greatly tempt her to live? What scope, what hope, what heart's Solace? That she might spend her life with some young and distinguished husband? How impossible for a man of your rank to select from the present generation of young men a son-in-law, to whose honour you might think yourself safe in trusting your child! Was it that she might bear children to cheer her with the sight of their vigorous youth? who might by their own character maintain the position handed down to them by their parent, might be expected to stand for the offices in their order, might exercise their freedom in supporting their friends? What single one of these prospects has not been taken away before it was given? But, it will be said, after all it is an evil to lose one's children. Yes, it is: only it is a worse one to endure and submit to the present state of things.
I wish to mention to you a circumstance which gave me no common consolation, on the chance of its also proving capable of diminishing your sorrow. On my voyage from Asia, as I was sailing from Aegina towards
Finally - since we are reduced by fortune to the necessity of taking precautions on this point also - do not allow anyone to think that you are not mourning so much for your daughter as for the state of public affairs and the victory of others. I am ashamed to say any more to you on this subject, lest I should appear to distrust your wisdom. Therefore I will only make one suggestion before bringing my letter to an end. We have seen you on many occasions bear good fortune with a noble dignity which greatly enhanced your fame: now is the time for you to convince us that you are able to bear bad fortune equally well, and that it does not appear to you to be a heavier burden than you ought to think it. I would not have this be the only one of all the virtues that you do not possess.
As far as I am concerned, when I learn that your mind is more composed, I will write you an account of what is going on here, and of the condition of the province. Good-bye.
DLV (A XII. 12)
ASTURA (16 MARCH) 45 B.C.
As to the dowry, make a clean sweep of the business all the more. To transfer the debt to Balbus is a rather high and mighty proceeding.1 Settle it on any terms. It is discreditable that the matter should hang fire from these difficulties. The "island" at Arpinum might suit a real "dedication," but I fear its out-of-the-way position would diminish the honour of the departed. My mind is therefore set on suburban pleasure -grounds: but I will wait to inspect them when I come to town. As to Epicurus,2 it shall be as you please: though I intend to introduce a change in future into this sort of impersonation. You would hardly believe how keen certain men are for this honour. I shall therefore fall back on the ancients: that can create no jealousy. I have nothing to say to you; but in spite of that, I have resolved to write every day, to get a letter out of you. Not that I expect anything definite from your letters, but yet somehow or another I do expect it. Wherefore, whether you have anything or nothing to say, yet write something and - take care of yourself.
1] Apparently Terentia owed Balbus money; she proposed that
DLVI (A XII. 21)
ASTURA (17 MARCH) 45 B.C.
I have read Brutus's letter, and hereby return it to you. it was not at all a well-informed answer to the criticisms which you had sent him. But that is his affair. Yet it is discreditable that he should be ignorant of this. He thinks that Cato was the first to deliver his speech as to the punishment of the conspirators, whereas everyone except Caesar had spoken before him. And whereas Caesar's own speech, delivered from the praetorian bench, was so severe, he imagines that those of the consulars were less so - Catulus, Servilius, the Luculli, Curio, Torquatus, Lepidus, Gellius, Volcatius, Figulus, Cotta, Lucius Caesar, Gaius Piso, Manius Glabrio, and even the consuls-designate Silanus and Muraena. "Why, then," you may say, "was the vote on Cato's motion?" Because he had expressed the same decision in clearer and fuller words. Our friend Brutus again confines his commendation of me to my having brought the matter before the senate, without a word of my having unmasked the plot, of my having urged that measures should be taken, of having made up my mind on the subject before I brought it before the senate. It was because Cato praised these proceedings of mine to the skies, and moved that they should be put on record, that the division took place on his motion. Brutus again thinks he pays me a high compliment in designating me as "the most excellent consul." Why, what opponent ever put it in more niggardly terms? But to your other criticisms what a poor answer! He only asks you to make the correction as to the decree of the senate. He would have done that much even at the suggestion of his copyist. But once more that is his affair.
As to the suburban pleasure-grounds, as you approve of them, come to some settlement. You know my means. If, however, we get any more out1 of Faberius, there is no difficulty. But even without him I think I can get along. The pleasure-grounds of Drusus at least are for sale, perhaps those of
About Terentia I can say nothing more to the point than you say in your letter. Duty must be my first consideration: if I have made any mistake, I would rather that I had reason to be dissatisfied with her than she with me. A hundred sestertia have to be paid to Ovia, wife of C. Lollius. Eros says he can't do it without me: I suppose because some land has to pass at a valuation between us.2 I could wish that he had told you. For if the matter, as he writes, is arranged, and he is not lying on that very point, it could have been settled by your agency. Pray look into and settle the business.
You urge me to reappear in the forum: that is a place which I ever avoided even in my happier days. Why, what have I to do with a forum when there are no law courts, no senate-house, and when men are always obtruding on my sight whom I cannot see with any patience? You say people call for my presence at
1] Reading accedit. But the MSS. have recedit, and many other emendations have been proposed. Faberius (Caesar's secretary) owed
2] Ovia it seems had to take a property at a valuation for her debt. See Letter DCXXXII (A XIII, 22), cp. p.93, note. Eros is Atticus a steward.
DLVII (A XII. 22)
ASTURA (18 MARCH) 45 B.C.
I do not recognize your usual consideration for me in throwing the whole burden upon my shoulders in regard to Terentia. For those are precisely the wounds which I cannot touch without a loud groan. Therefore I beg you to make the fairest settlement in your power. Nor do I demand of you anything more than you can do; yet it is you alone who can see what is fair.
As to Rutilia, since you seem to be in doubt, please write and tell me when you ascertain the truth, and do so as soon as possible. Also whether Clodia survived her son Decimus Brutus, the ex-consul. The former may be ascertained from Marcellus, or at any rate from Postumia; the latter from M. Cotta or Syrus or Satyrus.
As to the suburban pleasure-grounds, I am particularly urgent with you. I must employ all my own means, and those of men whom I know will not fail to help me: though I shall be able to do it with my own. I have also some property which I could easily sell. But even if I don't sell, but pay the vendor interest on the purchase money - though not for more than a year - I can get what I want if you will assist me. The most readily available are those of Drusus, for he wants to sell. The next I think are those of
DLVIII (A XII. 23)
ASTURA (19 MARCH) 45 B.C.
I thought that your letter was going to tell me some news, to judge from the opening sentence, which said that though I did not care about what was going on in
I am sorry to hear about
1] B.C. 155 Carneades the Academic, Diogenes the Stoic, and Critolaus the Peripatetic came to
2] We know nothing of the persons named. It seems to refer to some instances mentioned by
DLIX (A XII. 24)
ASTURA (20 MARCH) 45 B.C.
I am much obliged to Aulus Silius for having settled the business: for I did not wish to disavow him, and yet I was nervous as to what I could afford. Settle about Ovia on the terms you mention. As to my son, it seems time to arrange. But I want to know whether he can get a draft changed at
To return to my own triflings, pray inform me whether Publius Crassus, son of Venuleia, died in the lifetime of his father P. Crassus the ex-consul, as I seem to remember that he did, or after it. I also want to know about Regillus, son of Lepidus, whether I am right in remembering that his father survived him. Pray settle the business about Cispius, as also about Precius. As to
DLX (A XII. 25)
ASTURA (21 MARCH) 45 B.C.
Sicca has written to me fully about Silius, and says that he has reported the matter to you - as you too mention in your letter. I am satisfied both with the property and the terms, only I should prefer paying ready money to assigning property at a valuation. For Silius will not care to have mere show-places: while, though I can get on with my present rents, I can scarcely do so with less. How am I to pay ready money? You can get 600 sestertia (about £4,800) from Hermogenes, especially if it is absolutely necessary, and I find I have 6oo in hand. For the rest of the purchase money I will even pay interest to Silius, pending the raising of the money from Faberius or from some debtor of Faberius. I shall besides get some from other quarters. But manage the whole business yourself. I, in fact, much prefer these suburban pleasure-grounds to those of Drusus: and the latter have never been regarded as on a level with them. Believe me, I am actuated by a single motive, as to which I know that I am infatuated. But pray continue as before to indulge my aberration. You talk about a "solace for my old age": that is all over and done with; my objects now are quite different.
DLXI (A XII. 26)
Sicca says in his letter that, even if he has not concluded the business with Aulus Silius, he is coming to me on the 23rd. Your engagements are sufficient excuse in my eyes, for I know what they are. Of your wish to be with me, or rather your strong desire and yearning, I feel no doubt. You mention Nicias :1 if I were in a frame of mind to enjoy his cultivated conversation, there is no one whom I would have preferred to have with me. But solitude and retirement are now my proper sphere. And it was because Sicca is likely to be content with them, that I am the more looking forward to his visit. Besides, you know how delicate our friend Nicias is, how particular about his comforts and his habitual diet. Why should I consent to be a nuisance to him, when I am not in a state of mind to receive any pleasure from him? However, I am gratified by his wish. Your letter was all on one subject,2 as to which I have resolved to make no answer. For I hope I have obtained your consent to relieve me of that vexation. Love to Pilia and Attica.
1] A learned grammarian of Cos, who was with
2] As to the arrangements with Terentia for the repayment of her dowry.
DLXII (A XII. 27)
As to the bargain with Silius, though I am acquainted with the terms, still I expect to hear all about it today from Sicca. Cotta's property, with which you say that you are not acquainted, is beyond Silius's villa, which I think you do know: it is a shabby and very small house, with no farm land, and with sufficient ground for no purpose except for what I want it. What I am looking out for is a frequented position. But if the bargain for Silius's pleasure-grounds is completed, that is, if you complete it - for it rests entirely with you - there is of course no occasion for us to be thinking about Cotta's. As to my son, I will do as you say: I will leave the date to him. Please see that he is able to draw for what money he needs. If you have been able to get anything out of Aledius, as you say, write me word. I gather from your letter, as you certainly will from mine, that we neither of us have anything to say. Yet I cannot omit writing to you day after day on the same subjects - now worn threadbare - in order to get a letter from you. Still, tell me anything you know about Brutus. For I suppose he knows by this time where to expect Pansa. If; as usual, on the frontier of his province, it seems likely that he will be at
DLXIII (A XII. 28)
I have learnt nothing more about Silius from Sicca in conversation than I knew from his letter: for he had written in full detail If; therefore, you have an interview with him, write and tell me your views. As to the subject on which you say a message was sent to me, whether it was sent or not I don't know; at any rate not a word has reached me. Pray therefore go on as you have begun, and if you come to any settlement on such terms as to satisfy her - though I, for my part, think it impossible - take my son with you on your visit, if you think it right. It is of some importance to him to seem to have wished to do something to please. I have no interest in it beyond what you know, which I regard as important.
You call upon me to resume my old way of life: well, it had long been my practice to bewail the republic, and that I was still doing, though somewhat less violently, for I had something capable of giving me ease. Now I positively pursue the old way of life and old employments; nor do I think that in that matter I ought to care for the opinion of others. My own feeling is more in my eyes than the talk of them all. As to finding consolation for myself in literature, I am content with my amount of success. I have lessened the outward signs of mourning: my sorrow I neither could, nor would have wished to lessen if I could.
About Triarius you rightly interpret my wishes. But take no step unless the family are willing. I love him though he is no more, I am guardian to his children, I am attached to the whole household. As to the business of Castricius, - if Castricius will accept a sum for the slaves, and that at the present value of money, certainly nothing could be more advantageous. But if it has come to the point of his taking the slaves themselves away, I don't think it is fair, as you ask me to tell you what I really think: for I don't want my brother Quintus to have any trouble, and in that I think I have gathered that you agree with me. If Publilius is waiting for the aequinox - as you say that Aledius tells you - I think he must be on the point of sailing. He told me, however, that he was going by way of Sicily.1 Which of the two it is, and when, I should like to know. And I should like you some time or other, when convenient to yourself, to see young Lentulus,2 and assign to his service such of the slaves as you may think right. Love to Pilia and
1] Publilius, brother of
2] The young son of Dolabella and Tullia. Dolabella had been adopted into the plebeian family of Lentulus in B.C.
DLXIV (A XII. 29)
ASTURA, 25 MARCH 45 B.C.
Silius, you say, sees you today. Tomorrow therefore, or rather as soon as you can, you will write and tell me, if there is anything to tell after you have seen him. I neither avoid Brutus, nor after all expect any consolation from him. But there are reasons for my not wishing to be at
I am quite convinced - and the more so because I perceive that you think the same - that I am regarded with warm affection by Oppius and Balbus. Inform them how strongly and for what reason I wish to have suburban pleasure-grounds, and that it is only possible if the business of Faberius1 is settled; and ask them therefore whether they will promise the future payment. Even if I must sustain some loss in taking ready money, induce them to go as far as they can in the matter - for payment in full is hopeless. You will discover, in fact, whether they are at all disposed to assist my design. If they are so, it is a great help; if not, let us push on in any way we can. Look upon it - as you say in your letter - as a solace for my old age, or as a provision for my grave. The property at
1] Caesar's secretary - now in
DLXV (A XII. 33)
ASTURA (26 MARCH) 45 B.C.
As I wrote to you yesterday, if Silius is the sort of man you think and Drusus will not be obliging, I would have you approach Damasippus. He, I think, has broken up his property on the
1] This man's name was Q. Caecilius Epirota, a freedman of Atticus (taking his patron's adoptive name). The scandal seems to have got abroad, see Suet. Gramm. 16. That
DLXVI (A XII. 30)
ASTURA, 27 MARCH 45 B.C.
I am trying to think of something to say to you; but there is nothing. The same old story every day. I am much obliged to you for going to see Lentulus. Assign some slaves to his service: I leave the number and choice of them to you. As to Silius being willing to sell, and on the question of price, you seem to be afraid first that he won't sell, and secondly not at that price. Sicca thought otherwise; but I agree with you. Accordingly, by his advice I wrote to Egnatius. Silius wishes you to speak to Clodius: you have my full consent; and it is more convenient that you should do so than, as he wished me to do, that I should write to Clodius1 myself. As to the slaves of Castricius I think Egnatius is making a very good bargain, as you say that you think will be the case. With Ovia pray let some settlement be made. As you say it was night when you wrote, I expect more in today's letter.
1] There is nothing to shew who this is. It may be the Hermogenes of Letter DCXXXVII.
DLXVII (A XII. 31. 3, 32)
ASTURA, 28 MARCH 45 B.C.
Egmatius has written to me. If he has said anything to you, as the matter can be settled most conveniently through him, please write and tell me. I think too that the negotiation should be pressed. For I don't see any possibility of coming to terms with Silius. Love to Pilia and
What follows is by my own hand. Pray see what is to be done. Publilia has written to tell me that her mother, on the advice 'of Publilius, is coming to see me with him and that she will come with them if I will allow it: she begs me in many words of intreaty that she may be allowed to do so, and that I would answer her letter. You see what an unpleasant business it is. I wrote back to say that it would be even more painful than it was when I told her that I wished to be alone, and that therefore I did not wish her to come to see me at this time. I thought that, if I made no answer, she would come with her mother: now I don't think she will. For it is evident that her letter is not her own composition. Now this is the very thing I wish to avoid, which I see will occur - namely, that they will come to my house: and the one way of avoiding it is to fly away. I would rather not, but I must. I beg you to find out the last day I can remain here without being caught. Act, as you say, with moderation.
I would have you propose to my son, that is, if you think it fair, to adapt the expenses of this sojourn abroad to what he would have been quite content with, if; as he thought of doing, he had remained at Rome and hired a house - I mean to the rents of my property in the Argiletum and Aventine and in making that proposal to him, pray arrange the rest of the business for our supplying him with what he needs from those rents. I will guarantee that neither Bibulus nor Acidinus nor Messalla, who I hear are to be at
DLXVIII (A XII. 31.1-2)
Sicca expresses surprise at Silius having changed his mind. He makes his son the excuse, and I don't think it a bad one, for he is a son after his own heart. Accordingly, I am more surprised at your saying that you think he will sell, if we would include something else which he is anxious to get rid of, as he had of his own accord determined not to do so. You ask me to fix my maximum price and to say how muck I prefer those pleasure grounds of Drusus. I have never set foot in them. I know Coponius's villa to be old and not very spacious, the wood a fine one, but I don't know what either brings in, and that after all I think we ought to know. But for me either one or the other is to be valued by my occasion for it rather than by the market price. Pray consider whether I could acquire them or not. If I were to sell my claim on Faberius, I don't doubt my being able to settle for the grounds of Silius even by a ready money payment, if he could only be induced to sell. If he had none for sale, I would have recourse to Drusus, even at the large price at which Egnatius told you that he was willing to sell. For Hermogenes can give me great assistance in finding the money. But I beg you to allow me the disposition of an eager purchaser; yet, though I am under the influence of this eagerness and of my sorrow, I am willing to be ruled by you.
DLXIX (A XII. 34. 35.1)
ASTURA, 30 MARCH 45 B.C.
I could get on here even without Sicca - for Tiro is better - very comfortably considering my troubles, but as you urge me to take care not to be caught1 (from which I am to understand that you are unable to fix a day for the departure I mentioned), I thought it would be more convenient to go to Rome, which I see is your opinion also. Tomorrow therefore I shall be in Sicca's suburban villa; thence, as you advise, I think I shall stay in your house at Ficulea.2 We will talk about the subject you mention when we meet, as I am coming in person. I am extraordinarily touched by your kindness, thoroughness, and wisdom, both in carrying out my business and in forming and suggesting plans to me in your letters. However, if you come to any understanding with Silius, even on the very day on which I am to arrive at Sicca's house, please let me know, and above all, what part of the site he wishes to withdraw from the sale. You say "the farthest" - take care that it isn't the very spot, for the sake of which I thought about the matter at all.3 I enclose a letter from Hirtius just received, and written in a kindly spirit.
1] By Publilius and his mother and sister. 2] Some villa of Atticus's at Ficulea or Ficulnea, about ten miles from
DLXX (F XII. 15)
ASTURA (MARCH) 45 B.C.
“But in my breast my heart he ne'er could move.” For I heard our nobles shouting: “ Be staunch, and unborn men shall speak thee fair.
He spake, and on him fell black clouds of woe.”
However, these same men give me consolation also: they wish even now - though once singed - to inflame me with the fire of glory, and speak thus:
"Nay, not a coward's death nor shorn of fame, But after some high deed to live for aye."2
But they move me less than of yore, as you see. Accordingly from the high style of Homer I transfer myself to the true maxims of Euripides: “Out on the sage that cannot guide himself!” This is a verse that the elder Precilius praises to the skies, and says that a man may be able to see both "before and behind," and yet “Still may excel and rise above the crowd.” But to return to what I began with: you will greatly oblige me, if you give this young man the benefit of the kindness which so distinguishes you, and will add to what I think you would do for the sake of the Precilii themselves as much as my recommendation may be worth. I have adopted a new style of letter to you, that you might understand that my recommendation is no common one.3
1] I leave this letter in the position it occupies in Tyrrell and Purser's work with great doubt. On the one hand, it seems very unlikely to have been written after Tullia's death; on the other, Cicero - who is careful in such matters - gives Caesar the title of imperator, with which his soldiers greeted him on the 19th of February. Mueller puts it close to Letter CXLII. 2] Il 22.304, quoted more than once before.
The quotations from Homer are from Hom. 0d. 7.258; Hom. Od. 1.302; Hom. Od. 24.315; Hom. 51.22.304-5; Hom. 51.1.343; Hom. 51.11784.The line of Euripides is a fragment of some play not known.
DLXXIII (F IV. 6)
(FICULEA, APRIL) 45 B.C.
Yes, indeed, my dear Servius, I would have wished - as you say - that you had been by my side at the time of my grievous loss. How much help your presence might have given me, both by consolation and by your taking an almost equal share in my sorrow, I can easily gather from the fact that after reading your letter I experienced a great feeling of relief. For not only was what you wrote calculated to soothe a mourner, but in offering me consolation you manifested no slight sorrow of heart yourself. Yet, after all, your son Servius by all the kindnesses of which such a time admitted made it evident, both how much he personally valued me, and how gratifying to you he thought such affection for me would be. His kind offices have of course often been pleasanter to me, yet never more acceptable. For myself again, it is not only your words and (I had almost said) your partnership in my sorrow that consoles me, it is your character also. For I think it a disgrace that I should not bear my loss as you - a man of such wisdom - think it should be borne. But at times I am taken by surprise and scarcely offer any resistance to my grief, because those consolations fail me, which were not wanting in a similar misfortune to those others, whose examples I put before my eyes. For instance, Quintus Maximus, who lost a son who had been consul and was of illustrious character and brilliant achievements, and Lucius Paullus, who lost two within seven days, and your kinsman Gallus and M. Cato, who each lost a son of the highest character and valour; - all lived in circumstances which permitted their own great position, earned by their public services, to assuage their grief. In my case, after losing the honours which you yourself mention, and which I had gained by the greatest possible exertions, there was only that one solace left which has now been torn away. My sad musings were not interrupted by the business of my friends, nor by the management of public affairs: there was nothing I cared to do in the forum: I could not bear the sight of the senate-house; I thought - as was the fact - that I had lost all the fruits both of my industry and of fortune. But while I thought that I shared these losses with you and certain others, and while I was conquering my feelings and forcing myself to bear them with patience, I had a refuge, one bosom where I could find repose, one in whose conversation and sweetness I could lay aside all anxieties and sorrows. But now, after such a crushing blow as this, the wounds which seemed to have healed break out afresh. For there is no republic now to offer me a refuge and a consolation by its good fortunes when I leave my home in sorrow, as there once was a home to receive me when I returned saddened by the state of public affairs. Hence I absent myself both from home and forum, because home can no longer console the sorrow which public affairs cause me, nor public affairs that which I suffer at home. All the more I look forward to your coming, and long to see you as soon as possible. No reasoning can give me greater solace than a renewal of our intercourse and conversation. However, I hope your arrival is approaching, for that is what I am told. For myself, while I have many reasons for wishing to see you as soon as possible, there is this one especially - that we may discuss beforehand on what principles we should live through this period of entire submission to the will of one man who is at once wise and liberal, far, as I think I perceive, from being hostile to me, and very friendly to you. But though that is so, yet it is a matter for serious thought what plans, I, don't say of action, but of passing a quiet life by his leave and kindness, we should adopt. Good-bye.
DLXXVI (A XII. 35.2)
(IN SICCA'S SUBURBAN VILLA, 1 OR 2 MAY?) 45 B.C.
Before I left your house1 last it never occurred to me that if a sum was spent on the monument in excess of some amount or other allowed by the law, the same sum has to be paid to the exchequer.2 This would not have disturbed me at all, except that somehow or another - perhaps unreasonably - I should not like it to be known by any name except that of a "shrine." That being my wish, I fear I cannot accomplish it without a change of site. Consider, please, what to make of this. For though I am feeling the strain less than I did, and have almost recovered my equanimity, yet I want your advice. Therefore I beg you again and again-more earnestly than you wish or allow yourself to be intreated by me - to give your whole mind to considering this question.
1] During April Cicero seems to have been at or near
DLXXVII (A XII. 36)
ASTURA (2 MAY) 45 B.C.
I wish to have a shrine built, and that wish cannot be rooted out of my heart. I am anxious to avoid any likeness to a tomb, not so much on account of the penalty of the law as in order to attain as nearly as possible to an apotheosis. This I could do if I built it in the villa itself, but, as we often observed to each other, I dread the changes of owners. Wherever I constructed it on the land, I think I could secure that posterity should respect its sanctity.1 These foolish ideas of mine - for I confess them to be so - you must put up with: for I don't feel such confidence in taking even myself into my own confidence as I do in taking you. But if you approve of the idea, the site, and the plan, pray read the law and send it to me. If any method of evading it occurs to you, I will adopt it.
If you are writing to Brutus at all, reproach him, unless you think you had better not, for not staying at my Cuman villa for the reason he gave you. For when I come to think of it I am of opinion that he couldn't have done anything ruder. Finally, if you think it right to carry out the idea of the shrine as we began, pray urge on Cluatius and stir him up: for even if we decide on a different site, I think I must avail myself of his labour and advice. Perhaps you'll be at your villa tomorrow.
1] By exempting it from following the proprietorship of the land. Such monuments had on them the letters H. M. N. S., "this monument does not go with (the land)"; or H. M. H. N. S., hoc monumentum heredem non sequitur, "does not belong to the heir." It was a regulation as old as the Twelve Tables, see de Leg. 2.61.
DLXXVIII (A XII. 37.1-3)
ASTURA (4 MAY) 45 B.C.
I received two letters from you yesterday, the first delivered on the previous day to Hilarus, the other on the same day to a letter-carrier; and I learnt from my freedman Aegypta, on the same day, that Pilia and
As to the shrine, if you don't find me some sort of suburban pleasure-grounds, which you really must find me, if you value me as highly as I am sure you do, I much approve of your suggestion as to the Tusculan site. However acute in hitting on plans you may be, as you are, yet unless you had been very anxious for me to secure what I greatly wished, that idea could never have come into your head so aptly. But somehow or other what I want is a frequented spot. So you must manage to get me some suburban pleasure-grounds. This is best to be found on Scapula's land: besides, there is the nearness to the city, so that you can go there without spending the whole day at the villa. Therefore, before you leave town, I should much like you to call on Otho,1 if he is at
1] L. Roscius Otho, the proposer of the lex theatralis. Scapula apparently had died in
DLXXIX (A XII. 37.4)
ASTURA (5 MAY) 45 B.C.
Hirtius has written to tell me that Sextus Pompieus has quitted Cordova and fled into Northern Spain, and that Gnaeus has fled I don't know whither, nor do I care.1 I know nothing more. Hirtius wrote from Narbo on the 18th of April. You mention Caninius's shipwreck as though the news was doubtful. Please write, therefore, if there is any more certain intelligence. You bid me dismiss my melancholy: you will have done much to remove it if you secure me a site for the shrine. Many thoughts occur to me in favour of an apotheosis; but I must certainly have a site. Therefore, go and call on Otho also.
1] Gnaeus Pompeius was no favourite of
DLXXX (A XII. 38. 1-2)
ASTURA (MAY) 45 B.C.
I have no doubt that your being overwhelmed with business accounts for your not sending me a letter. But what a rascal not to wait for your convenience, when that was the sole motive for my having sent him! By this time, unless anything has happened to detain you, I suspect that you are in your suburban villa. But I am here, writing from one day's end to another without getting any relief, though I do at any rate distract my thoughts. Asinius Pollio has written to me about my infamous relation.1 The younger Balbus told me about him pretty plainly, Dolabella in dark hints, and now Pollio has done so with the utmost openness. I should have been much annoyed, if there had been room in my heart for any new sorrow. Yet, could there be anything more blackguardly? What a dangerous fellow! Though in my eyes indeed. But I must restrain my indignation! As there is nothing that is pressing, only write to me if you have time.
1] His nephew, still calumniating him in Caesar's camp.
DLXXXI (A XII. 38.3-4)
You think that by this time my composure of spirit ought to be en evidence, and you say that certain persons speak with more severity of me than either you or Brutus repeat in your letters: if anybody supposes me to be crushed in spirit and unmanned, let them know the amount of my literary labours and their nature. I believe, if they are only reasonable men, they would think, if I am so far recovered as to bring a disengaged mind to writing on difficult subjects, that I am not open to their criticism; or if I have selected a diversion from sorrow in the highest degree noble and worthy of a scholar, that I even deserve to be praised. But though I do everything I can to relieve my sorrow, pray bring to a conclusion what I see that you are as much concerned about as I am myself. I regard this as a debt, the burden of which cannot be lightened unless I pay it, or see a possibility of paying it, that is, unless I find a site such as I wish. If Scapula's heirs, as you say that Otho told you, think of cutting up the pleasure-grounds into four lots, and bidding for them between themselves, there is of course no room for a purchaser. But if they are to come into the market we will see what can be done. For that ground once belonging to Publicius, and now to Trebonius and Cusinius, has been suggested to me. But you know it is a town building site. I don't like it at all. Clodia's I like very much, but I don't think they are for sale. As to Drusus's pleasure-grounds, though you say that you dislike them, I shall take refuge in them after all, unless you find something. I don't mind the building, for I shall build nothing that I should not build even if I don't have them. "Cyrus, books IV and V" pleased me about as much as the other works of Antisthenes1 - a man of acuteness rather than of learning.
1] Founder of the
DLXXXII (A XII. 39)
ASTURA (8 MAY) 45 B.C.
As the letter-carrier arrived without a letter from you, I imagined the your reason for not writing was what you mentioned yesterday in the very epistle to which I am now replying. Yet, after all, I was expecting to hear something from you about Asinius Pollio's letter. But I am too apt to judge of your leisure by my own. However, if nothing imperative occurs, I absolve you from the necessity of writing, unless you are quite at leisure. About the letter-carriers I would have done as you suggest, had there been any letters positively necessary, as there were some time ago, when, though the days were shorter, the carriers nevertheless arrived every day up to time, and there was something to say - about Silius, Drusus, and certain other things. At present, if Otho had not cropped up, there would have been nothing to write about: and even that has been deferred. Nevertheless, I feel relieved when I talk to you at a distance, and much more even when I read a letter from you. But since you are out of town - for so I suppose - and there is no immediate necessity for writing, there shall be a lull in our letters, unless anything new turns up.
DLXXXIII (A XII. 40)
ASTURA (9 MAY) 45 B.C.
What the nature of Caesar's invective in answer to my panegyric1 is likely to be, I have seen clearly from the book, which Hirtius has sent me, in which he collects Cato's faults, but combined with very warm praise of myself. Accordingly, I have sent the book to Musca with directions to give it to your copyists. As I wish it to be made public: to facilitate that please give orders to your men. I often try my hand at an "essay of advice."2 I can't hit upon anything to say: and yet I have by me Aristotle and Theopompus "to Alexander." But where is the analogy? They were writing what was at once honourable to themselves and acceptable to Alexander. Can you find any similar circumstance in my case? For my part nothing occurs to me. You say in your letter that you fear that both our popularity and influence will suffer by such mourning as mine. I don't know what people object to or expect. That I should not grieve? How can that be? That I should not be prostrated? Who was ever less so? While I was finding consolation in your house, who was ever refused admittance to me? Who ever came to see me who felt any awkwardness? I came to Astura from your house. Those cheerful friends of yours who find fault with me cannot read as much as I have written. Well or ill is not the question: but the substance of my writings was such as no one could have composed who was broken down in spirit. I have been thirty days in your suburban villa.3 Who ever failed to find me at home or reluctant to converse? At this very moment the amount of my reading and writing is such that my people find a holiday more laborious than I do working days. If anyone wants to know why I am not at Rome, - "because it is the vacation." Or why I am not staying at the humble places of mine on this coast, which are now in season, - "because I should have been annoyed by the crowd of visitors there." I am therefore staying at the place, where the man who considered Baiae the queen of watering-places used year after year to spend this part of the season. When I come to Rome I will give no cause for unfavourable remark either by my look or my conversation. That cheerfulness by which I used to temper the sadness of the situation I have lost for ever; but firmness and fortitude either of heart or speech will not be found wanting. As to Scapula's pleasure-grounds, it seems possible that as a favour, partly to you and partly to me, we might secure their being put up to auction. Unless that is done, we shall be cut out. But if we come to a public auction, we shall outbid Otho's means by our eagerness. For as to what you say about Lentulus, he is not solvent.4 If only the Faberian business is certain,5 and you are making an effort, as I am sure you are doing, we shall get what we want. You ask how long I am staying on here. Only a few days: but I am not certain. As soon as I have settled, I will write to you: and write to me yourself, and tell me how long you intend to be in your suburban villa. The day on which I am sending this to you, I have the same news as you give me about Pilia and Attica, both by letter and messenger.
1] That is, an answer to Cicero's Cato. Hirtius - under Caesar's direction - appears to have published an answer, which was meant to be a prologue to a fuller one by Caesar himself, which appeared afterwards in two books (Suet. Iul. 56). 2] Addressed to Caesar, on the resettlement of the constitution. Aristotle addressed a treatise to Alexander περὶ βασιλείας. Theopompus (b. B.C. 378） wrote among his orations (συμ βουλευτικοὶ λόγοι) one addressed to Alexander on the state of his native Chios.
3] That is during April, in which there are no letters to Atticus. I do not think in hortis can refer to Astura. It is always used of a suburban residence or grounds.
4] I suggest non estsolvendo for non estin eo (cp. Phil. 2.4). Others suggest non extimesco (Madvig), non timeo (Tyrrell and Purser). Taking solvendo, the reference would be to some (to us unknown) Lentulus who was said to be wishing to buy the horti Scapulani.
5] The recovery of his debt from Faberius.
DLXXXV (A XII. 42.1-3)
CICERO TO ATTICUS
(AT ROME OR A SUBURBAN VILLA) -
ASTURA (10 MAY) 45 B.C.
I never desired you to have a regular day for writing: for I understood the state of things you mention,1 and yet I suspected or rather was quite aware that there was nothing for you to tell me. On the 10th of the month, indeed, I think you must be out of town and quite see that you have no news to give. However, I shall continue sending you a letter nearly every day. For I prefer writing for nothing to your not having a carrier at hand to whom to give a letter, if anything does turn up which you think I ought to know. Accordingly, I have received on the 10th your letter with its dearth of news. For what was there for you to send? To me however that was not unpleasing, whatever it contained, even if I learnt nothing else but that you had nothing to tell me. Yet, after all, you did say something - about Clodia. Where then is she, and when does she arrive? I like her property so much, that I put it next to Otho's above all others. But I don't think that she will sell, for she likes it and is rich: and as for that other, you are quite aware of the difficulty. But pray let us exert ourselves to hit upon some way of obtaining what I desire. I think of leaving this place on the 16th: but it will be either to Tusculum or my town house, and thence perhaps to Arpinum. when I know for certain I will write you word.
1] Of Atticus being very busy.
DLXXXVII (A XII. 41)
CICERO TO ATTICUS (AT OR NEAR ROME) –
ASTURA, (11 MAY) 45 B.C.
I have nothing to write about. However, I want to know where you are: if you are out of town or about to be so, when you intend to return. Please, therefore, let me know. And, as you wish to be informed when I leave this place, I write to tell you that I have arranged to stay at Lanuvium on the 16th, thence next day at Tusculum or Rome. Which of the two I am going to do you shall know on the day itself. You know how misery is inclined to grumble. It is not at all in regard to yourself, yet I feel a restless desire as to the shrine. I don't say unless it is built, but unless I see it being built - I venture to say this much, and you will take it as you ever do words of mine - my vexation will redound upon you, not that you deserve that it should do so; but you will have to endure what I say, as you endure and always have endured everything that affects me. Pray concentrate all your methods of consoling me upon this one thing. If you want to know my wishes, they are these: first Scapula's, second Clodia's; then, if Silius refuses and Drusus does not behave fairly, the property of Cusinius and Trebonius. I think there is a third owner; I know for certain that Rebilus was one. If however you are for Tusculum, as you hinted in one of your letters, I will agree to your suggestion. Pray bring this business to a conclusion in any case, if you wish me to feel consoled. You are already finding fault with me in somewhat severer terms than is customary with you; but you do so with the utmost affection, and perhaps tired out by my weakness. Yet all the same, if you wish me to be consoled, this is the very greatest of consolations and, if you would know the truth, the only one.
If you have read Hirtius's letter, which appears to me to be a kind of "first sketch" of the invective which Caesar has composed against Cato, please let me know, when you can conveniently do so, what you think of it. To return to the shrine: unless it is finished this summer, which you perceive is all before us, I shall not consider myself cleared of positive guilt.
DLXXXVIII (A XII. 42.3, 43)
CICERO TO ATTICUS (AT ROME) –
ASTURA, (12 MAY) 45 B.C.
It has occurred to me to remind you to do the very thing which you are doing. For I think you can transact the business you have in hand more conveniently at home by preventing any interruption. For myself, I intend, as I told you before, to stay at Lanuvium on the 16th, and thence to go to Tusculum or Rome. You shall know which of the two. You say truly that this erection will be a consolation to me. Thank you for saying so: but it is a consolation to a degree beyond what you can conceive.1 It is a sufficient proof of how keenly desirous I am for it, that I venture to confess it to you, though I think you do not approve of it so very warmly. But you must put up with my aberration in this matter. Put up with it, do I say? Nay, you must even assist it. About Otho I feel uncertain: perhaps because I am eager for it. But after all the property is beyond my means, especially with a competitor in the field anxious to purchase, rich, and one of the heirs. The next to my taste is Clodia's. But if that can't be secured, make any bargain you please. I regard myself as under a more sacred obligation than anyone ever was to any vow. See also about the pleasure-grounds of Trebonius, though the owners are away. But, as I said yesterday, please also consider the Tusculan suggestion, lest the summer slip away. That must not be allowed on any account.
1] The text of this clause is very corrupt. I have translated the reading of Tyrrell and Purser.
DLXXXIX (A XII. 44. 45.1)
CICERO TO ATTICUS (AT ROME) –
ASTURA, 13 MAY 45 B.C.
That Hirtius wrote to you in an agitated tone about me does not trouble me - for he meant it kindly - and that you did not forward me his letter troubles me much less. For that was even kinder of you. His book which he sent me about Cato I wish to be published by your copyists, to enhance Cato's reputation from the nature of their invectives.
So you are negotiating through Mustela: well, he is well suited for the purpose, and much attached to me since the affair of Pontianus. Therefore make some bargain or other. Why, what else is wanted except an opening for a purchaser? And that could be secured by means of any one of the heirs. But I think Mustela will accomplish that, if you ask him. For myself, you will have secured for me not only a site for the purpose I have at heart, but also a solace for my old age. For the properties of Silius and Drusus do not seem to me to be sufficiently suited to a paterfamilias. What! spend whole days in the country house!1 My preference therefore is - first Otho's, second Clodia's. If neither of them comes off; we must try and outwit Drusus, or have recourse to the Tusculan site. You have acted prudently in shutting yourself in your house. But pray finish off your business and let me find you once more at leisure. I leave this place for Lanuvium, as I told you, on the 16th. Next day I shall be at Tusculum. For I have well disciplined my feelings, and perhaps conquered them, if only I keep to it.2 You shall know, therefore, perhaps tomorrow, at the latest the day after.
But what does this mean, pray? Philotimus reports that Pompeius is not invested at Carteia, and that a serious war remains to be fought. Oppius and Balbus had sent me a copy of a letter written to Clodius of Patavium on this investment, saying that they thought it was so. It is just like Philotimus to act the second-rate Fulvinius.3 Nevertheless, tell me anything you know. About the shipwreck of Caninius also I want to know the truth.
While here I have finished two long treatises.4 It was the only way I had to give my unhappiness the slip, if I may use the expression. As for you, even if you have nothing to tell, as I foresee will be the case, still write to say that you have nothing to say - so long as you don't use these exact words.
1] That is, the property is too far from Rome, and would necessitate staying a night there. It could not be visited for a few hours. 2]From these and some similar expressions afterwards it has been inferred that Tullia died at Tusculum. From p. 181 it would seem to be more likely that it was at Rome. 3] We know nothing of Fulvinius: he must have been notorious for spreading false news. Philotimus was so also (see vol. ii., p. 384). Very characteristically the report was true in fact, though only half the truth. Gnaeus Pompeius was not invested at Carteia, for he escaped on board ship. But not long afterwards he was killed when landing to take in water.4] The Academica and the de Finibus. Or, as some think, the two books of the original edition of the Academica.
XC (A XIII. 26)
CICERO TO ATTICUS (AT ROME) –ASTURA, 14 MAY 45 B.C.
About Vergilius's share I quite approve.1 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.2 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.3 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.
1] Vergilius was one of the co-heirs of Scapula.
2] Who was asking an unfair price.
3Though my etablishment want to go to Rome.