previous next


DCCXXIX (A XV, 2)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
VESCIA, 18 MAY
After despatching a letter to you on the 18th of May as I was starting from the lodge at Sinuessa, I stopped at the villa at Vescia. There a letter-carrier delivered me a letter from you in which you say more than enough about Buthrotum; for that business is not a source of more anxiety to you than to me. It is but right that you should care for my business, I for yours. Wherefore I have taken up that matter with the determination to regard it as of the first importance.

I know from your letter and others that Lucius Antonius had delivered a miserably poor speech, but I don't know its purport: for you say nothing in your letter. About Menedemus—that's a good thing! 1 Yes, Quintus certainly habitually says what you mention in your letter. I am relieved to find that you approve of my resolution of not writing the sort of thing which you once demanded of me, and you will approve all the more when you read the speech of which I have written to you today. 2 What you say of the legions is true. But you do not appear to me to have sufficiently convinced yourself of it, when you retain a hope that the business of our friends at Buthrotum can be settled by the senate. 3 In my opinion—for I can see as far as that—I don't think we are likely to prevail. But supposing me to be mistaken in that view, you will not be disappointed about Buthrotum. As to Octavius's speech my opinion agrees with yours: and I don't like his grand set-out for the games, nor Matius and Postumius acting as his agents for them. 4 Saserna is a worthy colleague. 5 But all those fellows, as you perceive, are as much afraid of peace as we are of war. I should like to be the means of relieving Balbus of the popular prejudice against him, but he does not even himself feel any confidence of that being possible. So he is thinking of other measures.

I am rejoiced that you find the first book of my Tusculan Disputations arm you against the fear of death: there is, in fact, no other refuge either better or more available. 6 I am not sorry that Flamma uses language that is satisfactory. What the case of the people of Tyndaris 7 is, about which he is anxious, I do not know: yet they are men whom I shall be glad to assist. The circumstances you mention appear to agitate our "last of five," 8 especially the withdrawal of public money. 9 I am sorry about Alexio: but since he had fallen into so painful a disease, I think he must be esteemed fortunate. Yet I should like to know whom he appointed heirs in the second reversion and the day for acceptance named in the will.


1 That he has been executed by Trebonius in Asia. The report turned out to be false, or at any rate premature (see p. 57; Phil. 13.33). Menedemus a Greek claiming to have been enfranchised by Caesar.

2 That of Brutus, discussed in the morning's letter.

3 Atticus had mentioned the fact of Antony's summoning the legions from Macedonia, left there by Caesar. If that were true, Antony evidently meant to carry his views by force of arms, and the senate would have little say in this or any other matter.

4 The games which Iulius Caesar had intended to be held on the 21st April (the Palilia) in celebration of his victories in Spain had been postponed, and were now about to be given by Octavius (Augustus). They had been intended to accompany the dedication of the completed temple of Venus Victrix begun after Pharsalia (App. B.C. 2.102; Dio, 43, 2; 45, 6-7). Matius Calvinus and Postumius were two warm friends of the late dictator (see vol. ii., p. 350; vol. iii., p.127; Suet. Aug. 10). At these games the comet was seen which some believed to be the soul of the dictator on its way to heaven (Suet. Iul. 88; Pliny, N. H. ii. §93).

5 We know nothing of Saserna, except that Cicero speaks contemptuously of him as one of Antony's set in Phil. 13.28.

6 The subject of the first book of the Tusculans is "Is death an evil?"

7 A city in Sicily.

8 Hirtius. See p.46.

9 The money in the temple of Ops, which Antony was appropriating, as well as Dolabella. See pp.41, etc.

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: