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CDLXIX (A XII, 5, §§ I, 2)

"Quintus the elder for the fourth time" 1 (or rather for the thousandth time)——is a fool, for being rejoiced at his son's appointment as a Lupercus, 2 and at Statius 3 —that he may see his family overwhelmed with a double dishonour! I may add a third in the person of Philotimus. What unparalleled folly, unless indeed mine can beat it! But what impudence to ask a subscription from you for such a purpose! 4 Granted that he did not come to a "fount athirst," but a "Peirene" and a "holy well-spring of Alphaeus " 5 —to drain you as though you were a fountain, as you say, and that, too, at a time when you are so seriously embarrassed! 6 Where will such conduct end? But that's his affair. I am much pleased with my Cato : 7 but so is Lucilius Bassus with his compositions.

1 The beginning of a line of Ennius, Quintu' pater quartum consul. The phrase nihil sapere is a common euphemism; it means "to be a fool" (Phil. 2.8).

2 The Lupercalia had apparently more or less fallen into desuetude, and Caesar had restored them and endowed the Luperci with funds, of which the senate deprived them after his death (Phil. 13.31). Augustus revived the festival again (Suet. Aug. 31 ; Monum. Ancyr. 4), and it continued till nearly the end of the fifth century A.D. But it seems to have been thought undignified in Republican times. Cicero's objection to his nephew being a Lupercus, however, was probably as much on the ground of its being a Caesarian restoration as anything else.

3 What had happened about Quintus's favourite freedman and secretary Statius, or about Philotimus, Terentia's freedman of doubtful honesty, we do not know.

4 Apparently for his nephew's expenses as Lupercus.

5 Words of Pindar (N. i. I) describingthe place at Syracuse, where the river Alpheus, after flowing beneath the sea, rose to the surface and was called Arethusa.

6 There is, I think, some irony intended. Atticus was always rich, and Cicero more than once hints that he was a little over "careful" of his money (vol. i., p.234; vol. ii., p.139).

7 His panegyric on Cato (lost), which was answered by Caesar's Anticato.

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