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I regard you as the one man who is less of a flatterer than myself, and if we both are sometimes such towards some one else, we are never so to each other. So listen to what I say in all plainness and sincerity. May I perish, my dear Atticus, if, I don't say my Tusculan villa-where in other respects I am very happy—but even "the islands of the blest" are in my eyes worth an absence of so many days from you. Wherefore let us harden ourselves to endure these three days-assuming you to be in the same state of feeling as myself, which is surely the case. But I should like to know whether you are coming today immediately after the auction, or on what day. Meanwhile I am busy with my books, and am much inconvenienced by not having Vennonius's history. 1

However, not to omit business altogether, that debt which Caesar assigned to me admits of being recovered in three ways: first, purchase at the auction—but I would rather lose it, although, let alone the disgrace, that is as good as losing it. Secondly, a bond payable a year hence from the purchaser—but who is there I can trust, and when will that "year of Meton" come? Thirdly, accepting half down on the proposal of Vettienus. 2 Look into the matter therefore. And indeed I am afraid Caesar may now not have the auction at all, but when the games are over 3 will hurry off to the aid of (Q. Pedius), 4 lest such a great man should be treated with neglect But I will see to it. Pray take good care of Attica, and give her and Pilia, as well as Tullia, the kindest messages from me.

1 A writer on early Roman history, see de Leg. I, 2.

2 Apparently the property of some Pompeian who owed Cicero money was confiscated. From such confiscated properties as a rule debts and dowries were paid, the exchequer or the sector taking the balance. Caesar had admitted Cicero's debt, which he says he may deal with in three ways. (1) He may purchase the estate at the auction, deducting the amount of his claim, and then sell it for what it would fetch, but probably there were other debts on it and he would get no balance; besides, to act as a sector (making money by one's friends' misfortunes) was undignified (2 Phil. §§ 64-65). (2) He might transfer the whole business to another purchaser at the auction (manceps), who would undertake to pay him in a year's time. But he did not know whom to trust. (3) He might accept an offer of Vettienus, the banker, to pay him half down, Vettienus taking the risk of recouping himself by dealing in some way with the estate. The "year of Meton" was a proverb for indefinite postponement, "Meton's year" meaning the solar cycle of nineteen years, which he discovered (about B.C. 430-400 at Athens).

3 Apparently the great games given by Caesar at the dedication of the temple of Venus soon after his return from Africa (Dio, 43, 22-23).

4 The MSS. have clypo, for which Boot—as does Mueller—reads ἀτύπῳ and explains it to refer to Balbus "the stammerer." But there seems no reason to suppose that Caesar should bestir himself just now about Balbus. It seems to me that the reference needed is to the coming campaign in Spain. Cicero is afraid Caesar will be in a hurry to leave home and not stay to see to the sales of confiscated properties. Now Q. Pedius—Caesar's nephew-was one of the commanders sent with the army in advance to Spain, from which urgent messages were coming (B. Hisp. 1-2). I therefore suggest Q. Pedio for clypo.

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