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DLVI (A XII, 21)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ASTURA (17 MARCH)
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 out 1 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 Lamia and Cassius also. But this when we meet.

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 Rome, and are unwilling to allow me to be absent, or at any rate beyond a certain time: I assure you that it is long since I have valued your single self higher than all those people. Nor do I undervalue myself even, and I much prefer abiding by my own judgment than by that of all the rest. Yet, after all, I go no farther than the greatest philosophers think allowable, all whose writings of whatever kind bearing on that point I have not only read—which is itself being a brave invalid and taking one's physic—but have transcribed in my own essay. That at least did not look like a mind crushed and prostrate. From the use of these remedies do not call me back to the crowds of Rome, lest I have a relapse.


1 Reading accedit. But the MSS. have recedit, and many other emendations have been proposed. Faberius (Caesar's secretary) owed Cicero money, and was slow in paying.

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.

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