previous next


Your letters about our dear Attica stung me to the heart. However, they also healed the wound. For the fact that you consoled yourself in the same letter gave me sufficient assurance to alleviate my distress. You have given my speech for Ligarius 1 a famous start. Henceforth, whenever I write anything, I shall intrust the advertising to you. As to what you say in your letter about Varro, you are aware that heretofore my speeches and writings of that nature have been composed in a way that made the introduction anywhere of Varro impossible. But when I began these more literary works, Varro had already announced to me a dedication of an important treatise. Two years have passed, and that "Callippides," 2 though perpetually on the move, has not advanced a yard. I, on the other hand, am preparing to return anything he sent me, "measure and all and even better"—if I had but the power: for even Hesiod adds the proviso "if you can." 3 As things stand at present I have plighted to Brutus, as you advised, my treatise de Finibus, of which I think very highly, and you wrote to say that he was not unwilling to accept it. So let us transfer to Varro my Academica, in which the speakers are men of rank, as far as that goes, but being in no respect men of learning are made to speak with a subtlety beyond them. It contains the doctrines of Antiochus, with which he is in full agreement. 4 I will make it up to Catulus and Lucullus in some other work. However, this depends on your approval, so pray write me an answer on this point.

I have had a letter from Vestorius about the auction of Brinnius's estate. He says that the direction of the business has been unanimously confided to me 5 —they presumed evidently that I should be at Rome or at Tusculum on the 24th of June. Please therefore speak to my co-heir, your friend Spurius Vettius, or to our friend Labeo, to put off the auction a short time, and say that I shall be at Tusculum about the 7th of July. Yes, please settle with Piso. You have Eros with you. Let us give our whole minds to Scapula's pleasure-grounds. The day is close at hand.

1 Delivered in B.C. 46 before Caesar at his house in defence of Q. Ligarius, accused of maiestas.

2 Callippides appears to have been someone who, like Mr. Pecksniff's horse, made a great show but did little; but whether he was an actor or a runner seems uncertain.

3 Hes. WD 347-348: “ From neighbour take full measure, and pay him back no lower,
Measure and all or better still, if thou but hast the power.

4 The first edition of the Academica was in two books, and the chief speakers were Catulus and Lucullus. It was afterwards arranged in four books, in which Varro takes the chief part in the dialogues. Antiochus of Ascalon was lecturing at Athens when Cicero was there in B.C. 79. He had also been a friend of Lucullus. His school is sometimes called the " Fifth Academy," approaching nearer to Stoicism and receding from the full scepticism of the New Academy.

5 That is, as Manutius explains, Cicero has been named magister auctionis by his co-heirs, i.e., he is to direct the realization and distribution of the estate.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: