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CCXXXIV (F XIII, 64)

TO P. SILIUS NERVA (IN BITHYNIA)
CILICIA
My friend Nero 1 thanks me in terms of quite astonishing and incredible warmth, saying that no mark of honour which could have been given him was omitted by you. You will be richly rewarded by him, for he is the most grateful young fellow in the world. But, by heaven, I too am exceedingly obliged to you: for of all our men of rank I value none more than him. And so, if you do what he wished me to ask of you, I shall be supremely obliged: first, in the matter of Pausanias of Alabanda, if you would keep the business back till Nero arrives—I have gathered that he is very interested in him, and so I put this request strongly—and next if you would regard as specially commended to your care the people of Nysa, 2 whom Nero regards as his special friends and is most energetic in protecting and defending, so that this city may feel that its best protection consists in Nero being its patron. I have often recommended Servilius Strabo 3 to you: I now do so with the greater earnestness that Nero has taken up his case. I only ask you to push on the business, so as not to leave an innocent man a prey to the greed of some governor unlike yourself. This will be a favour to me; but I shall also consider it an instance of your natural kindness. The upshot of this letter is that you should advance Nero in all possible ways, as you have started doing and have done. Your province, unlike this of mine, offers a wide theatre 4 for displaying the glorious reputation of a young man of high birth, genius, and disinterested conduct. Wherefore, if he enjoys your support, as I am sure he will do and has done, he will be enabled to secure and bind to his interests most respectable bodies of clients which are a heritage from his ancestors. In this respect, if you give him your assistance, with the man himself you will have made a splendid investment of your kindness, but you will also have exceedingly obliged me.


1 T. Claudius Nero, the future husband of Livia. He seems to have visited Cicero with a view to marrying Tullia, but was too late, Terentia having already betrothed her to Dolabella. See Letter CCLXXV.

2 Nysa, in Caria, was known at this time for several eminent philosophers and rhetoricians, and was therefore probably visited by Roman Youths, and had need of a patronus (Strabo, 14.2.43-48).

3 Nothing is known of this man, apparently. He seems to be a Carian Greek, a freedman of some Servilius. It is a curious coincidence that the geographer Strabo studied at Nysa, are probably not long after this time.

4 What Cicero means by calling Bithynia a "theatre" is explained by reference to vol. i., p. 85.

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