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DLXXXIII (A XII, 40)

TO ATTICUS (IN HIS SUBURBAN VILLA)
ASTURA (9 MAY)
What the nature of Caesar's invective in answer to my panegyric 1 is likely to be, I have seen clearly from the book, which Hirtius has sent me, in which he collects Cato's faults, but combined with very warm praise of myself. Accordingly, I have sent the book to Musca with directions to give it to your copyists. As I wish it to be made public: to facilitate that please give orders to your men. I often try my hand at an "essay of advice." 2 I can't hit upon anything to say: and yet I have by me Aristotle and Theopompus "to Alexander." But where is the analogy? They were writing what was at once honourable to themselves and acceptable to Alexander. Can you find any similar circumstance in my case? For my part nothing occurs to me. You say in your letter that you fear that both our popularity and influence will suffer by such mourning as mine. I don't know what people object to or expect. That I should not grieve? How can that be? That I should not be prostrated? Who was ever less so? While I was finding consolation in your house, who was ever refused admittance to me? Who ever came to see me who felt any awkwardness? I came to Astura from your house. Those cheerful friends of yours who find fault with me cannot read as much as I have written. Well or ill is not the question: but the substance of my writings was such as no one could have composed who was broken down in spirit. I have been thirty days in your suburban villa. 3 Who ever failed to find me at home or reluctant to converse? At this very moment the amount of my reading and writing is such that my people find a holiday more laborious than I do working days. If anyone wants to know why I am not at Rome,—"because it is the vacation." Or why I am not staying at the humble places of mine on this coast, which are now in season,—"because I should have been annoyed by the crowd of visitors there." I am therefore staying at the place, where the man who considered Baiae the queen of watering-places used year after year to spend this part of the season. When I come to Rome I will give no cause for unfavourable remark either by my look or my conversation. That cheerfulness by which I used to temper the sadness of the situation I have lost for ever; but firmness and fortitude either of heart or speech will not be found wanting. As to Scapula's pleasure-grounds, it seems possible that as a favour, partly to you and partly to me, we might secure their being put up to auction. Unless that is done, we shall be cut out. But if we come to a public auction, we shall outbid Otho's means by our eagerness. For as to what you say about Lentulus, he is not solvent. 4 If only the Faberian business is certain, 5 and you are making an effort, as I am sure you are doing, we shall get what we want. You ask how long I am staying on here. Only a few days: but I am not certain. As soon as I have settled, I will write to you: and write to me yourself, and tell me how long you intend to be in your suburban villa. The day on which I am sending this to you, I have the same news as you give me about Pilia and Attica, both by letter and messenger.


1 That is, an answer to Cicero's Cato. Hirtius—under Caesar's direction-appears to have published an answer, which was meant to be a prologue to a fuller one by Caesar himself, which appeared afterwards in two books (Suet. Iul. 56).

2 Addressed to Caesar, on the resettlement of the constitution. Aristotle addressed a treatise to Alexander περὶ βασιλείας. Theopompus (b. B.C. 378) wrote among his orations (συμβουλευτικοὶ λόγοι) one addressed to Alexander on the state of his native Chios.

3 That is during April, in which there are no letters to Atticus. I do not think in hortis can refer to Astura. It is always used of a suburban residence or grounds.

4 I suggest non est solvendo for non est in eo (cp. Phil. 2.4). Others suggest non extimesco (Madvig), non timeo (Tyrrell and Purser). Taking solvendo, the reference would be to some (to us unknown) Lentulus who was said to be wishing to buy the horti Scapulani.

5 The recovery of his debt from Faberius. See p.223.

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