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DCXXXIV (A XIII, 33, §§ 4, 5)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
TUSCULUM (9 JULY)
We were talking of Varro...talk of a wolf, you know. 1 For he arrived at my house, and at such an hour of the day has married or is going to marry Porcia, daughter of Cato and widow of Bibulus. Naturally the Caesarians thought it a dangerous alliance, and especially his mother Servilia—the warm friend and perhaps mistress of Caesar. Cicero says that it is a pity the two ladies are unfriendly to each other, but, he adds, they keep up appearances and do all that their respective positions demand. that he had to be kept 2 But I didn't quite "tear his cloak" 3 in my efforts to keep him (for I remember that expression of yours), and they were a large party and I was not prepared. How did that help me? Soon after came Gaius Capito with Titus Carrinas. I hardly laid a finger on their cloaks; yet they stopped, and very à propos (though by chance) Capito fell to talking about the enlargement of the city: the Tiber is to be diverted, starting from the Milvian bridge along the Vatican Hills: the Campus Martius is to be covered with buildings; while the Vatican plain is to become a kind of new Campus Martius. "What do you say?" said I, "why, I was going to the auction, to secure Scapula's pleasure-grounds if I could safely do so." "Don't do anything of the sort," said he, "for the law will be carried. 4 Caesar wishes it." 5 I didn't betray any annoyance at the information, but I am annoyed at the scheme. What do you say to it? But I needn't ask: you know what a quidnunc Capito is, always finding some mare's nest: he is as bad as Camillus. 6 So let me know about the 15th : 7 for it is that business which is bringing me to Rome: I had combined some other pieces of business with it, which, however, I shall be easily able to do two or three days later. However, I don't want you to be tired out with travelling: I even excuse Dionysius. As to what you say in your letter about Brutus, I have left him quite free to do as he likes as far as I am concerned: for I wrote yesterday to tell him that I had no occasion for his assistance on the 15th.


1 Like our "talk of the devil." But I don't know what the fable alluded to is.

2 I.e., to dinner.

3 Both German and French have equivalent expressions; but I do not know of any in English. I agree with Dr. Reid in referring this proverb to a remark of Atticus which Cicero remembered.

4 This scheme was never carried out, though both Dio (43, 58) and Aulus Gellius (13, 14) say that Caesar did enlarge the pomaerium.

5 The horti Scapulae which Cicero wanted to buy seem to be included in the new district that Caesar meant to make into a Campus Martius, and so Cicero would have been obliged to surrender them, probably at a loss. See p.296.

6 C. Furius Camillus. He was an authority on property law (vol. ii., p.237).

7 The day of the auction of Scapula's horti.

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