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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2313
Cicero, Letters, 14.14.5
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Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

8 results
1. Cicero, On Laws, 1.5 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, Letters, 14.14.2, 14.14.4 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Cicero, Letters, 14.14.2, 14.14.4-14.14.5 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Cicero, Letters, 14.14.2, 14.14.4-14.14.5 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Cicero, Letters To His Friends, 7.23 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

6. Cicero, Letters, 14.14.2, 14.14.4-14.14.5 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

7. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 5.8 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5.8. To Titinius Capito. You urge me to write history, nor are you the first to do so. Many others have often given me the same advice, and I am quite willing to follow it, not because I feel confident that I should succeed in so doing - for it would be presumption to think so until one had tried - but because it seems to me a very proper thing not to let people be forgotten whose fame ought never to die, and to perpetuate the glories of others together with one's own. Personally, I confess that there is nothing on which I have set my heart so much as to win a lasting reputation, and the ambition is a worthy one for any man, especially for one who is not conscious of having committed any wrong and has no cause to fear being remembered by posterity. Hence it is that both day and night I scheme to find a way "to raise myself above the ordinary dull level" Again, there is a precedent in my own family which impels me towards writing history. My uncle, who was also my father by adoption, was a historian of the most scrupulous type, and I find all wise men agree that one can do nothing better than follow in the footsteps of one's ancestors, provided that they have gone in the right path themselves. Why, then, do I hesitate? For this reason, that I have delivered a number of pleadings of serious importance, and it is my intention to revise them carefully - though my hopes of fame from them are only slight - lest, in spite of all the trouble they have given me, they should perish with me, just for want of receiving the last polishing and additional touches. For if you have a view to what posterity will say, all that is not absolutely finished must be classed as incomplete matter. You will say I began to plead in the forum in my nineteenth year, and it is only just now that I begin to see darkly what an orator ought to be. What would happen if I were to take on a new task in addition to this one? Oratory and history have many things in common, but they also differ greatly in the points that seem common to both. There is narrative in both, but of a different type; the humblest, meanest and most common-place subjects suit the one; the other requires research, splendour, and dignity. In the one you may describe the bones, muscles, and nerves of the body, in the other brawny parts and flowing manes. In oratory one wants force, invective, sustained attack; in history the charm is obtained by copiousness and agreeableness, even by sweetness of style. Lastly, the words used, the forms of speech, and the construction of the sentences are different. For, as Thucydides remarks, it makes all the difference whether the composition is to be a possession for all time or a declamation for the moment; † oratory has to do with the latter, history with the former. Hence it is that I do not feel tempted to hopelessly jumble together two dissimilar styles which differ from one another just because of their great importance, and I am afraid I should become bewildered by such a terrible medley and write in the one style just where I ought to be employing the other. For the meantime, therefore, to use the language of the courts, I ask your gracious permission to go on with my pleading. However, do you be good enough even now to consider the period which it would be best for me to tackle. Shall it be a period of ancient history which others have dealt with before me? If so, the materials are all ready to hand, but the putting them together would be a heavy task. On the other hand, if I choose a modern period which has not been dealt with, I shall get but small thanks and am bound to give serious offence. For, besides the fact that the general standard of morality is so lax that there is much more to censure than to praise, you are sure to be called niggardly if you praise and too censorious if you censure, though you may have been lavish of appreciation and scrupulously guarded in reproach. However, these considerations do not stay me, for I have the courage of my convictions. I only beg of you to prepare the way for me in the direction you urge me to take, and choose a subject for me, so that, when I am at length ready to take pen in hand, no other overpowering reason may crop up to make me hesitate and delay my purpose. Farewell.
8. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 5.8 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5.8. To Titinius Capito. You urge me to write history, nor are you the first to do so. Many others have often given me the same advice, and I am quite willing to follow it, not because I feel confident that I should succeed in so doing - for it would be presumption to think so until one had tried - but because it seems to me a very proper thing not to let people be forgotten whose fame ought never to die, and to perpetuate the glories of others together with one's own. Personally, I confess that there is nothing on which I have set my heart so much as to win a lasting reputation, and the ambition is a worthy one for any man, especially for one who is not conscious of having committed any wrong and has no cause to fear being remembered by posterity. Hence it is that both day and night I scheme to find a way "to raise myself above the ordinary dull level" Again, there is a precedent in my own family which impels me towards writing history. My uncle, who was also my father by adoption, was a historian of the most scrupulous type, and I find all wise men agree that one can do nothing better than follow in the footsteps of one's ancestors, provided that they have gone in the right path themselves. Why, then, do I hesitate? For this reason, that I have delivered a number of pleadings of serious importance, and it is my intention to revise them carefully - though my hopes of fame from them are only slight - lest, in spite of all the trouble they have given me, they should perish with me, just for want of receiving the last polishing and additional touches. For if you have a view to what posterity will say, all that is not absolutely finished must be classed as incomplete matter. You will say I began to plead in the forum in my nineteenth year, and it is only just now that I begin to see darkly what an orator ought to be. What would happen if I were to take on a new task in addition to this one? Oratory and history have many things in common, but they also differ greatly in the points that seem common to both. There is narrative in both, but of a different type; the humblest, meanest and most common-place subjects suit the one; the other requires research, splendour, and dignity. In the one you may describe the bones, muscles, and nerves of the body, in the other brawny parts and flowing manes. In oratory one wants force, invective, sustained attack; in history the charm is obtained by copiousness and agreeableness, even by sweetness of style. Lastly, the words used, the forms of speech, and the construction of the sentences are different. For, as Thucydides remarks, it makes all the difference whether the composition is to be a possession for all time or a declamation for the moment; † oratory has to do with the latter, history with the former. Hence it is that I do not feel tempted to hopelessly jumble together two dissimilar styles which differ from one another just because of their great importance, and I am afraid I should become bewildered by such a terrible medley and write in the one style just where I ought to be employing the other. For the meantime, therefore, to use the language of the courts, I ask your gracious permission to go on with my pleading. However, do you be good enough even now to consider the period which it would be best for me to tackle. Shall it be a period of ancient history which others have dealt with before me? If so, the materials are all ready to hand, but the putting them together would be a heavy task. On the other hand, if I choose a modern period which has not been dealt with, I shall get but small thanks and am bound to give serious offence. For, besides the fact that the general standard of morality is so lax that there is much more to censure than to praise, you are sure to be called niggardly if you praise and too censorious if you censure, though you may have been lavish of appreciation and scrupulously guarded in reproach. However, these considerations do not stay me, for I have the courage of my convictions. I only beg of you to prepare the way for me in the direction you urge me to take, and choose a subject for me, so that, when I am at length ready to take pen in hand, no other overpowering reason may crop up to make me hesitate and delay my purpose. Farewell.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
consulship of. see consulship, ciceros, self-praise of Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 326
history, and pliny Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 326
intertextuality, plinian Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 326
ops, temple' Clark, Divine Qualities: Cult and Community in Republican Rome (2007) 301