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DLVIII (A XII, 23)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ASTURA (19 MARCH)
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 Spain, you would yet write and tell me of it: but in point of fact you only answered my remark about the forum and senate-house. "But your town-house," you say, "is a forum." What do I want with a town-house itself, if I have no forum? Ruined, ruined, my dear Atticus! That has been the case for a long while, I know: but it is only now that I confess it, when I have lost the one thing that bound me to life. Accordingly, I seek solitude: and yet, if any necessity does take me to Rome, I shall try, if I possibly can—and I know I can—to let no one perceive my grief except you, and not even you if it can by any means be avoided. And, besides, there is this reason for my not coming. You remember the questions Aledius asked you. If they are so troublesome even now, what do you think they will be, if I come to Rome? Yes, settle about Terentia in the sense of your letter; and relieve me from this addition—though not the heaviest—to my bitter sorrows. To shew you that, though in mourning, I am not prostrate, listen to this. You have entered in your Chronicle the consulship in which Carneades and the famous embassy came to Rome. I want to know now what the reason of it was. It was about Oropus I think, but am not certain. And if so, what were the points in dispute? 1 And farther, who was the best known Epicurean of that time and head of the Garden at Athens? Also who were the famous political writers at Athens? These facts too, I think, you can ascertain from the book of Apollodorus.

I am sorry to hear about Attica; but since it is a mild attack, I feel confident of all going well. About Gamala I had no doubt. For why otherwise was his father Ligus so fortunate ? 2 For what could I say of myself, who am in-capable of having my grief removed, though all my wishes should be gratified. I had heard of the price put on Drusus's suburban pleasure-grounds, which you mention, and, as I think, it was yesterday that I wrote to you about it: but be the price what it may, what one is obliged to have is a good bargain. In my eyes, whatever you think—for I know what I think of myself—it brings a certain alleviation, if not of sorrow, yet of my sense of solemn obligation. I have written to Sicca because he is intimate with L. Cotta. If we don't come to terms about pleasure-grounds beyond the Tiber, Cotta has some at Ostia in a very frequented situation, though confined as to space. Enough, however, and more than enough for this purpose. Please think the matter over. And don't be afraid of the cost of the pleasure-grounds. I don't want plate, nor rich furniture coverings, nor particular picturesque spots: I want this. I perceive too by whom I can be aided. But speak to Silius about it. There's no better fellow. I have also given Sicca a commission. He has written back to say that he has made an appointment with him. He will therefore write and tell me what he has arranged, and then you must see to it.


1 B.C. 155 Carneades the Academic, Diogenes the Stoic, and Critolaus the Peripatetic came to Rome to plead against the fine of 500 talents imposed on Athens for a raid upon Oropus.

2 We know nothing of the persons named. It seems to refer to some instances mentioned by Cicero in his Consolatio of a son (or daughter) of eminent qualities lost in the father's lifetime.

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