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DCXLIX (A XIII, 21, §§ 1-3)

I have despatched a very bulky letter to Hirtius which I recently wrote at Tusculum. That which you have sent me I will answer another time. For the present I prefer other subjects. What can I do about Torquatus 1 unless I hear something from Dolabella? As soon as I do you shall know at once. I expect letter-carriers from him today, or at latest tomorrow. As soon as they arrive they shall be sent on to you. I am expecting to hear from Quintus. For as I was starting from Tusculum on the 25th, as you know, I sent letter-carriers to him. Now to return to business: the word inhibere suggested by you, 2 which I thought very attractive, I am now strongly against. For it is an entirely nautical word. Of course I knew that, but I thought that the vessel was "held up" (sustineri) when the rowers were ordered inhibere. But that that is not the case I learnt yesterday, when a ship was being brought to land opposite my villa. For when ordered inhibere the rowers don't hold up the vessel, they backwater. Now that is a meaning as remote as possible from ἐποχή ("suspension of judgment"). Wherefore pray let it stand in the book as it was. Tell Varro this also, if by any chance he has made an alteration. One can't have a better authority than Lucilius: "Bring to a halt (sustineas) chariot and horses, as oft doth a skilful driver." Again, Carneades always uses the guard (προβολη) of a boxer and the pulling up (retentio) of a charioteer as metaphorical expressions for "suspension of judgment" (ἐποχή): but the inhibitio of rowers connotes motion, and indeed an unusually violent one—the action of the oars driving the vessel backwards. You see how much more eager and interested I am on this point than either about rumours or about Pollio. Tell me too about Pansa, whether there is any confirmation—for I think it must have been made public: also about Critonius, whatever is known, and at least about Metellus and Balbinus.

1 That is, about effecting his recall. See p.235.

2 The question is as to the right Latin equivalent for ἐπέχειν and ἐποχή, the technical terms of the Academies for "suspension of judgment" in consequence of the impossibility of arriving at scientific certainty.

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