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DCCLXXIII (F VII, 19)

TO GAIUS TREBATIUS (AT ROME)
RHEGIUM, 28 JULY
SEE how greatly I value you: and it is no more than your due, for I do not surpass you in affection. However, what I almost refused, or at any rate did not give you, when you were with me, I could not make up my mind to continue to owe you now that you are away. Accordingly, no sooner had I begun my voyage from Velia than I set to work to translate Aristotle's Topica, having been reminded by the sight of a city so warmly attached to you. I send you this book from Rhegium written in as clear a style as the subject admitted. But if certain parts appear to you to be somewhat obscure, you must reflect that no art can be learnt out of books without some one to explain it and without some practical exercise in it. You will not have to go far for an instance. Can the art of you jurisconsults be learnt out of books? Though there are a great number of them, they yet require a teacher and actual practice. However, if you read this with attention and repeatedly, you will be able to grasp the whole subject by yourself—at least so far as to understand it. But that such loci communes should at once occur to your own mind upon any question being proposed, you can only secure by practice. To this, indeed, I shall keep you, if I get home safe and find things safe at Rome.

28 July, Rhegium.


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