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CCVI (A V, 15)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
LAODICEA, 3 AUGUST
I arrived at Laodicea on the 31st of July. From this day, therefore, count the beginning of my year. Nothing could be more warmly, more affectionately welcomed, than my arrival. But you can scarcely believe how bored I am with the business. Has not that intellectual range, which you know so well, wide enough field? and is my splendid industry likely to rust unemployed? Why, just look at this! That I should be sitting in court at Laodicea, while A. Plotius is doing so at Rome! And that, while our friend has that great army, I should have nominal command of two wretched legions! But the fact is, that it is not such things as these that I miss: it is the broad daylight of life, the forum, the city, my town house, you that I miss. But I will endure it as best I may, provided that it does not last more than a year. If there is any extension, I am lost! But this may easily be resisted, if only you are in Rome.

You ask me what I am doing. Why, upon my life, I am living at a vast expense. I am wonderfully pleased with this course. My disinterested conduct, founded on your injunctions, is so admirable, that I am afraid that the money I took up from you will have to be paid by a fresh loan. I avoid reopening any wounds inflicted by Appius, but they are patent and cannot be concealed. I am starting today, the 3rd of August, on which I despatch this letter, from Laodicea to the camp in Lycaonia: thence I think of going to the Taurus, that by means of a pitched battle with Moeragenes 1 I may, if possible, settle the question of your slave. “The saddle's on the ox: no load for us:” But I shall put up with it, only, as you love me, let me be only kept a year. Mind you are in town at the right moment, to keep every senator up to the mark. I am feeling wonderfully anxious, because I have had no news of what is going on among you for a long time. Wherefore, as I have said before in my letters, see that I am kept acquainted with politics as well as everything else. I know this letter will be somewhat long in reaching you, but I am entrusting it to a familiar and intimate friend, C. Andronicus of Puteoli. You, however, will have frequent opportunities of giving letters to the letter-carriers of the publicani by the favour of the head contractors for the pasture-tax and harbour dues of our districts. 2


1 A robber chief, with whom a runaway slave of Atticus had taken refuge.

2 Sciptura is the money paid for the pasturing of cattle on the public lands in a province. magistri are the magistri societatum, the managers of the companies of publicani. Diaecesis (which Cicero sometimes writes in Greek letters, διοίκησις) is a "jurisdiction" or conventus, a district of a province. Thus in Fam. 13.67, Cicero says that the province of Cilicia had three Asiatic "dioceses," viz., Laodicea, Synnada, Apamea. The districts here must include those south of the Taurus and bordering on the sea.

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