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[7] But as to yourself, men are wont to call you wise in a somewhat different way, not only because of your mental endowments and natural character, but also because of your devotion to study and because of your culture, and they employ the term in your case, not as the ignorant do, but as learned men employ it. And in this sense we have understood that no one in all Greece was “wise” except one in Athens, and he,1 I admit, was actually adjudged “most wise” by the oracle of Apollo—for the more captious critics refuse to admit those who are called “The Seven” into the category of the wise. Your wisdom, in public estimation, consists in this: you consider all your possessions to be within yourself and believe human fortune of less account than virtue. Hence the question is put to me and to Scaevola here, too, I believe, as to how you bear the death of Africanus, and the inquiry is the more insistent because, on the last Nones,2 when we had met as usual for the practice3 of our augural art in the country home of Decimus Brutus, you were not present, though it had been your custom always to observe that day and to discharge its duties with the most scrupulous care.

1 The reference is to Socrates. Cicero often quotes this oracle: infra, 2. 10; ib. 4. 13; C.M. 21. 78; Acad. i. 4. 16.

2 The Augurs regularly met in their college on the Nones (i.e. the 7th of March, May, July, and October, the 5th of other months).

3 Commentandi, i.e. practising the augural art under the open sky. Cf. Cic. N.D. ii. 11; De rep. i. 14.

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