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DCXXX (A XIII, 21, §§ 4-7)

Now just tell me—do you think it right, to begin with, to publish at all without an order from me? Hermodorus himself used not to do that—the man who made a practice of circulating Plato's books, whence came the line: "In note-books Hermodorus makes his gain." 1 And again: do you think it right to shew it to anyone before Brutus, to whom, on your advice, I dedicate it? For Balbus has written to tell me that you have allowed him to take a copy of the fifth book of the de Finibus, in which, though I have not made very many alterations, yet I have made some. I shall be very much obliged to you if you will keep back the other books, so that Balbus may not have what is uncorrected, and Brutus what is stale. But enough of that, lest I seem "to make a fuss about trifles." 2 Yet, in the present circumstances, these things are of the utmost consequence in my eyes. For what else is there to care about? What I have written 3 I am in such haste to send to Varro, as you advise, that I have already despatched it to Rome to be copied out. This you shall have at once, if you so wish. For I have written to tell the copyists that your men should have permission to make a copy of them if you chose. Please, however, keep it to yourself till I see you, as you always do with the greatest care when you have been told by me to do so. But how did it escape me to tell you? Caerellia—wonderfully inflamed no doubt by a zeal for philosophy—is taking a copy from yours: she already has those very books of the de Finibus. Now I assure you—though I am mortal and fallible—that she did not get them from mine, for they have never been out of my sight: and so far from my men having made two copies, they scarcely completed one copy of each book. However, I don't charge your men with any dereliction of duty, and so I would have you think: for I omitted to say that I did not wish them to get abroad yet. Dear me! what a time I am talking about trifles! The fact is, I have nothing to say on business. About Dolabella I agree with you. Yes, I will meet my co-heirs, as you suggest, at my Tusculan villa. As to Caesar's arrival, Balbus writes to say that it will not be before the 1st of August. I am very glad to hear about Attica, that her attack is lighter and less serious, and that she bears it cheerfully. You mention that idea of ours, in which I am as earnest as yourself. As far as my knowledge goes, I strongly approve of the man, the family, and the fortune. What is most important of all, though I don't know him personally, I hear nothing but good of him, among others recently from Scrofa. We may add, if that is of any consequence, that he is better born even than his father. Therefore when we meet I will talk about it, and with a predisposition in favour of him. I may add that I am—as I think you know-with good reason attached to his father, and have been so for a long time past, more even than not only you but even he himself is aware. 4

1 Hermodorus, a pupil of Plato, was said to have made money in Sicily by selling his master's discourses, which he had taken down. Cicero, as usual, does not give the whole quotation: λόγοισιν Ἑρμόδωρος ἐμπορεύεται.

2 περὶ μικρὰ σπουδάζειν.

3 The Academica, second edition.

4 What all this refers to we cannot be sure. Possibly it is to a pro-posed husband for Attica, who eventually married the great minister of Augustus—M. Vipsanius Agrippa. But she was only about ten years old.

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