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DCCXXXIII (F XII, 16)

GAIUS TREBONIUS TO CICERO
ATHENS, 25 MAY
IF you are well, I am glad. I arrived at Athens on the 22nd of May, and there, as I was very anxious to do, I saw your son devoting himself to the best kinds of learning, and enjoying an excellent reputation for steadiness. How much pleasure that gave me you can imagine without a word from me: for you are not ignorant of my high esteem for you, and how much our very old friendship and very sincere affection make me rejoice in everything good that happens to you, however small, to say nothing of such a great blessing as this. Do not imagine, my dear Cicero, that I send you this report merely to please you. Nothing could be more popular with everybody at Athens than your young man-indeed I should call him ours, for I can have no interest disconnected with yourself. Nor could there be greater devotion than his to the studies which you love above everything, that is, to the most excellent. Accordingly, as I can do with sincerity, I am delighted to congratulate you—and myself quite as much—that we have in him, whom we should be obliged to love in any case, whatever his conduct, one whom we can love with pleasure as well. In the course of conversation he remarked to me that he would like to visit Asia, and was not only invited but pressed by me to do so if possible while I was governing the province. You ought to have no doubt that in affection and love I shall be a father to him in your place. Another thing I shall take care of is that Cratippus accompanies him, that you may not imagine him in Asia as taking a complete holiday from the studies to which he is inspired by your admonitions. For though I see that he is fully prepared, and has already taken a great stride in that direction, I will not omit my exhortations, to induce him to make farther progress every day by learning and keeping himself in practice.

What you at home are doing in politics I am at the moment of despatching this quite ignorant. I hear rumours of certain revolutionary proceedings: but I hope they are false, that we may at length have the enjoyment of liberty and peace-two things that up to now have really never fallen to my lot. However, as I got a brief time of repose during my voyage, I have composed a trifle to send you, as I had designed to do. I have included in it a bon mot of yours which implied a high compliment to myself, and have added a footnote ascribing it to you. In these poor verses, if I seem to you in certain passages to be un peu libre, the abominable character of the man against whom I am too freely inveighing will plead my excuse. You will also pardon my passion, which is no more than is right against people of that kind, both as men and as citizens. Again, why should Lucilius have been allowed to claim this amount of liberty any more than ourselves ? 1 For even if his wrath against the objects of his attack was as keen as ours, those objects themselves were certainly not more deserving of being attacked with all that freedom of speech. In return I claim your promise of being introduced in one of your dialogues at the earliest opportunity. For I feel certain that, if you write anything about Caesar's death, you will not allow me to sustain the least distinguished part either in actual deed 2 or in the expression of your affection. Good-bye. I commend my mother and family to your care.

Athens, 25 May.


1 The great freedom with which Lucilius (B.C. 148-103) attacked living people is noticed by Juvenal (i. 165) and Persius (i. 114). The epigrams or satire of Trebonius appear to have been directed against Antony, who afterwards expressed satisfaction at the death which before many months were over he met with at the hands of Dolabella (Phil. 13.22).

2 Trebonius did not actually strike a blow in the assassination, but was employed in keeping Antony at a distance under pretence of making him some communication.

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