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CLXXXVI (A V, 4)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
BENEVENTUM, 12 MAY
I ARRIVED at Beneventum on the 11th of May. There I received the letter which in your previous letter (answered by me the same day from Pontius's Trebulanum) you had mentioned having sent. And, indeed, I have received two letters from you at Beneventum, one delivered to me by Funisulanus early in the morning, and a second handed to me by my secretary Tullius. I am much obliged by the pains you have taken about my first and most important commission : but your leaving town rather damps my hopes.

As to the man you mention, I am coming round in that direction, not that -, but we are forced to be content with him for want of a better. About the other one, of whom you say that he appeared to you to be not unsuitable—I am afraid my daughter could not be persuaded, and you admit that there is not a pin to choose between them. For my part, I am not unreasonable ; but you will be away, and will not, therefore, have a hand in the business in my absence. For if either of. us were on the spot, some fairly satisfactory arrangement might be made with Servius, with Servilia to back him. As at present situated, even though it should be a thing I like, I don't see how I can do anything. 1

Now I come to the letter delivered to me by Tullius. You have been very energetic about Marcellus. Accordingly, if the decree has passed the senate, please write me word : but if not, do your best to get the business through ; for a grant must be made to me, as also to Bibulus. 2 I have no doubt of the decree of the senate being passed without difficulty, especially considering that it is a gain to the people. As to Torquatus, excellent! As to Mason and Ligur, that will do when they have come. As to the request of Chaerippus : since in this case also you have given me no "tip," 3 . . . "Bother your province! Must I look after him too?" Yes ; but only so far as to prevent there being any obstructive "debate!" or "count!" in the senate. 4 For as to the rest—, however, thank you for speaking to Scrofa. 5 As to what you say about Pomptinus, I quite agree. For the upshot is that, if he is going to be at Brundisium before the 1st of June, M. Annius and L. Tullius 6 need not have been so much hurried. As to what you have heard from Sicinius, 7 I quite assent, provided only that this restriction does not apply to anyone who has done me a service. But I will turn the matter over, for I quite approve of it in principle. I will let you know what I have settled as to the plan of my journey, and also what Pompey means to do about the five prefects, when I have learnt it from himself. As to Oppius, you have acted quite rightly in having assured him of the 800 sestertia ; and since you have Philotimus 8 with you, pray see the business through ; examine the account, and, as you love me, settle it before leaving town. 9 You will have relieved me of a great anxiety.

Now I have answered all your letter : but stay! I almost omitted your being short of paper. The loss is mine, if for lack of it your letter to me is curtailed. Why, you cost me a couple of hundred sesterces : 10 though how stingy I am in this particular the cramped nature of this page shews you : while in return I expect from you a gazette of events, rumours, or even anything you know for certain about Caesar. 11 Be sure you give a letter to Pomptinus, as well as to others, on every imaginable topic.


1 This paragraph refers to the selection of a husband for Tullia. She had been left a widow in B.C. 57 by the death of C. Calpurnius Piso, and her betrothal to Furius Crassipes (B.C. 56) had either not ended in a marriage, or the marriage had been quickly dissolved. The two suitors now under consideration are P. Cornelius Dolabella and Servius Sulpicius Rufus. I have translated Schuetz's text, nec me absente habebis rei rationem and Servio fieri probable. Professor Tyrrell's emendations seem to me to be very difficult. I take the meaning to be that Cicero thinks that Sulpicius might "do," with Servilia's support ; perhaps because something good might be got for him from Caesar (her reputed lover), though he is himself inclining to Dolabella, and is uneasy at the negotiations going on when neither himself nor Atticus is in Rome. Atticus was a great friend of Servilia.

2 Bibulus, like Cicero, had not taken a province after his consulship, and was now, in consequence of Pompey a law and the decree of the senate, forced to draw lots for one. Syria had fallen to him, where there were rumours of a Parthian invasion. There is no need, I think, to read alteram before conficies (with Tyrrell): the additional troops and the money grant might be included in one decree. The former had been discussed before Cicero left Rome, and practically assented to ; but the consul Sulpicius had made difficulties, and Cicero is afraid that outside influence may have been brought to bear upon senators against it.

3 πρόσνευσιν, "a nod," to shew your wish. Chaerippus had been with Quintus and was afterwards in Africa with Cornificius. He was probably a Greek secretary.

4 If the magistrate chose he could put a question to the senate to be voted on without debate. Such business would be usually non-contentious or routine. If the senators, however, thought otherwise, they cried Consule, i.e., ask the opinions (sententiae) of the members. If he gave way, speeches might follow, and the matter would be prolonged perhaps beyond several sittings (which always ended at sunset). The cry of "count" was like that in the House of Commons, demanding that those present should be counted, to see whether there was a quorum. We do not know what that quorum was, except in certain special cases, but that a fixed number is mentioned in them e.g., the decree de Bacchanalibus) seems to shew that business was often done with less.

5 Cn. Tremellius Scrofa, who had been a judex in the Verres case, seems to have been with Cicero for a time in Cilicia.

6 Three of Cicero's four legati, the fourth being his brother Quintus

7 Some provision in the edict which Cicero meant to publish in his province.

8 A freedman of Terentia's, who seems to have managed her business affairs for her.

9 The debt to Caesar. See Letter CLXXXIII.

10 Two hundred sestertii. Others read sexcentas, i.e., chartas. I have ventured to read aufers, instead of the common aufer, from which I think no satisfactory sense can be elicited. Cicero, in answer to Atticus's remark that he hadn't a good stock of paper by him, says jestingly that he is sorry he is so hard up, hut he is the same, for his letters to Atticus put him to great expense in paper. He (according to my interpretation) alludes to the jest again at the end of Letter CXCIX, where see note, p. 32. Auferre, "swallow up," "absorb"; cp. 1 Verr. 31, hi ludi dies xvi auferunt'.

11 Therefore, he implies, how much greater must your expenditure on paper be.

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