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CCCLXXXIII (A X, 5)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
CUMAE, 16 APRIL
ABOUT my plans as a whole I have written to you, I think, before in sufficient detail. About the day of my departure I can state nothing for certain, except this: not before the new moon. Curio's conversation on the second day's inter-view amounted to much the same, except that he indicated still more candidly that he did not see what was to be the end of the business.

As to your charge to me to control Quintus ... 'tis a case of asking for Arcadia. 1 However, I will omit nothing. And would that you—but I will not be over troublesome. I at once forwarded the packet to Vestorius, and, indeed, he was always asking for it. Vettienus was more obliging in what he said to you than in what he had written to me. But I cannot wonder enough at the man's carelessness. For Philotimus having told me that he could buy that lodge of Canuleius for 50 sestertia, and could get it for even less, if I asked Vettienus to act, I did ask the latter to obtain a deduction from that sum if he could. He promised to do so. He told me that he had bought it for 30 sestertia, and asked me to let him know to whom I wished it conveyed; saying that the day for payment was the 13th of November. I wrote back somewhat crossly, and yet with a familiar jest. 2 For the present, as he is acting handsomely, I refrain from finding any fault with the man, and I have written to tell him that you have given me full information. Pray let me know about your journey, what you are thinking of doing, and when.

16 April.


1 You ask me to do what is very difficult. This is explained by Hdt. 1.66, where the Delphic oracle is said to have answered a Spartan envoy who asked for Arcadia: “Arcady askest thou, truly a great boon, give it I will not.” “Ἀρκαδίαν μ᾽ ai᾿τεῖς, μέγα μ᾽ ai᾿τεῖς, οὔτοι δώσω”.

2 As Vettienus got the lodge for £240 instead of £450, it is not easy to see why Cicero was offended. At the end of Letter CCCXCV it appears that one offence was that he addressed the letter to "Cicero proconsul" instead of "imperator." Another, perhaps, was something unceremonious in the style of the letter itself, or unbusinesslike in the arrangement for payment. The lodge purchased was one of those small houses of call (deversoria) which rich men purchased along the great high roads, in which to put up for the night, rather than burden their friends who might have villas in the neighbourhood (see vol. i., p. 256). Italy was not without inns, rather celebrated for goodness and cheapness (Polyb. 2.15), but men of high position seemed to think it undignified to use them.

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