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"Concerning those Greeks, son Marcus, I will speak to you more at length on the befitting occasion. I will show you the results of my own experience at Athens, and that, while it is a good plan to dip into their literature,1 it is not worth while to make a thorough acquaintance with it. They are a most iniquitous and intractable race, and you may take my word as the word of a prophet, when I tell you, that whenever that nation shall bestow its literature upon Rome it will mar everything; and that all the sooner, if it sends its physicians among us. They have conspired among themselves to murder all barbarians with their medicine; a profession which they exercise for lucre, in order that they may win our confidence,2 and dispatch us all the more easily. They are in the common habit, too, of calling us barbarians, and stigmatize us beyond all other nations, by giving us the abominable appellation of Opici.3 I forbid you to have anything to do with physicians."

1 "Illorum literas inspicere."

2 On the principle that that which costs money must be worth having.

3 The Opici or Osci were an ancient tribe of Italy, settled in Campania, Latium, and Samnium. From their uncivilized habits the name was long used as a reproachful epithet, equivalent to our words "bumpkin," "clodhopper," or "chawbacon."

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