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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9460
Pliny The Younger, Letters, 4.1.5-4.1.6


nanTo Septicius. You have constantly urged me to collect and publish the more highly finished of the letters that I may have written. I have made such a collection, but without preserving the order in which they were composed, as I was not writing a historical narrative. So I have taken them as they happened to come to hand. I can only hope that you will not have cause to regret the advice you gave, and that I shall not repent having followed it; for I shall set to work to recover such letters as have up to now been tossed on one side, and I shall not keep back any that I may write in the future. Farewell.. ,To Arrianus. As I see that your arrival is likely to be later than I expected, I forward you the speech which I promised in an earlier letter. I beg that you will read and revise it as you have done with other compositions of mine, because I think none of my previous works is written in quite the same style. I have tried to imitate, at least in manner and turns of phrase, your old favourite, Demosthenes, and Calvus, to whom I have recently taken a great fancy; for to catch the fire and power of such acknowledged stylists is only given to "the heaven-inspired few". * I hope you will not think me conceited if I say that the subject-matter was not unworthy of such imitation, for throughout the whole argument I found something that kept rousing me from my sleepy and confirmed indolence, that is to say, as far as a person of my temperament can be roused. Not that I abandoned altogether the pigments of our master Cicero; when an opportunity arose for a pleasant little excursion from the main path of my argument I availed myself of it, as my object was to be terse without being unnecessarily dry. Nor must you think that I am apologising for these few passages. For just to make your eye for faults the keener, I will confess that both my friends here and myself have no fear of publishing the speech, if you will but set your mark of approval against the passages that possibly show my folly. I must publish something, and I only hope that the best thing for the purpose may be this volume which is ready finished. That is the prayer of a lazy man, is it not? but there are several reasons why I must publish, and the strongest is that the various copies I have lent out are said to still find readers, though by this time they have lost the charm of novelty. Of course, it may be that the booksellers say this to flatter me. Well, let them flatter, so long as fibs of this kind encourage me to study the harder. Farewell. ,To Caninius Rufus. How is Comum looking, your darling spot and mine? And that most charming villa of yours, what of it, and its portico where it is always spring, its shady clumps of plane trees, its fresh crystal canal, and the lake below that gives such a charming view? How is the exercise ground, so soft yet firm to the foot; how goes the bath that gets the sun's rays so plentifully as he journeys round it? What too of the big banqueting halls and the little rooms just for a few, and the retiring rooms for night and day? Have they full possession of you, and do they share your company in turn? or are you, as usual, continually being called away to attend to private family business? You are indeed a lucky man if you can spend all your leisure there; if you cannot, your case is that of most of us. But really it is time that you passed on your unimportant and petty duties for others to look after, and buried yourself among your books in that secluded yet beautiful retreat. Make this at once the business and the leisure of your life, your occupation and your rest; let your waking hours be spent among your books, and your hours of sleep as well. Mould something, hammer out something that shall be known as yours for all time. Your other property will find a succession of heirs when you are gone; what I speak of will continue yours for ever - if once it begins to be. I know the capacity and inventive wit that I am spurring on. You have only to think of yourself as the able man others will think you when you have realised your ability. Farewell. ,To Pompeia Celerina, his mother-in-law. What treasures you have in your villas at Ocriculum, at Narnia, at Carsulae and Perusia! Even a bathing place at Narnia! My letters - for now there is no need for you to write - will have shown you how pleased I am, or rather the short letter will which I wrote long ago. The fact is, that some of my own property is scarcely so completely mine as is some of yours; the only difference being that I get more thoroughly and attentively looked after by your servants than I do by my own. You will very likely find the same thing yourself when you come to stay in one of my villas. I hope you will, in the first place that you may get as much pleasure out of what belongs to me as I have from what belongs to you, and in the second that my people may be roused a little to a sense of their duties. I find them rather remiss in their behaviour and almost careless. But that is their way; if they have a considerate master, their fear of him grows less and less as they get to know him, while a new face sharpens their attention and they study to gain their master's good opinion, not by looking after his wants but those of his guests. Farewell. ,To Voconius Romanus. Did you ever see a man more abject and fawning than Marcus Regulus has been since the death of Domitian? His misdeeds were better concealed during that prince's reign, but they were every bit as bad as they were in the time of Nero. He began to be afraid that I was angry with him and he was not mistaken, for I certainly was annoyed. After doing what he could to help those who were prosecuting Rusticus Arulenus, he had openly exulted at his death, and went so far as to publicly read and then publish a pamphlet in which he violently attacks Rusticus and even calls him "the Stoics' ape," adding that "he is marked with the brand of Vitellius." * You recognise, of course, the Regulian style! He tears to pieces Herennius Senecio so savagely that Metius Carus said to him, "What have you to do with my dead men? Did I ever worry your Crassus or Camerinus?" - these being some of Regulus's victims in the days of Nero. Regulus thought I bore him malice for this, and so he did not invite me when he read his pamphlet. Besides, he remembered that he once mortally attacked me in the court of the centumviri. ** I was a witness on behalf of Arionilla, the wife of Timon, at the request of Rusticus Arulenus, and Regulus was conducting the prosecution. We on our side were relying for part of the defence on a decision of Metius Modestus, an excellent man who had been banished by Domitian and was at that moment in exile. This was Regulus's opportunity. "Tell me, Secundus," said he, "what you think of Modestus." You see in what peril I should have placed myself if I had answered that I thought highly of him, and how disgraceful it would have been if I had said that I thought ill of him. I fancy it must have been the gods who came to my rescue. "I will tell you what I think of him," I said, "when the Court has to give a decision on the point." He returned to the charge Well, now the fellow is conscience-stricken, and buttonholes first Caecilius Celer and then implores Fabius Justus to reconcile me to him. Not content with that, he makes his way in to see Spurinna, and begs and prays of him - you know what an abject coward he is when he is frightened - as follows. "Do go," says he, "and call on Pliny in the morning - early in the morning, for my suspense is unbearable - and do what you can to remove his anger against me." I was early awake that day, when a message came from Spurinna, "I am coming to see you." I sent back word, "I will come and see you." We met at the portico of Livia, just as we were each of us on the way to see the other. He explained his commission from Regulus and added his own entreaties, but did not press the point too strongly, as became a worthy gentleman asking a favour for a worthless acquaintance. This was my answer That practically closed the conversation. I did not wish it to go any further, so that I might not commit myself until Mauricus arrived. Moreover, I am quite aware that Regulus is a difficult bird to net. He is rich, he is a shrewd intriguer, he has no inconsiderable body of followers and a still larger circle of those who fear him, and fear is often a more powerful factor than affection. But, after all, these are bonds that may be shattered and weakened, for a bad man's influence is as little to be relied upon as is the man himself. Moreover, let me repeat that I am waiting for Mauricus. He is a man of sound judgment and sagacity, which he has learned by experience, and he can gauge what is likely to happen in the future from what has occurred in the past. I shall be guided by him, and either strike a blow or set aside my weapons just as he thinks best. I have written you this letter because it is only right, considering our regard for one another, that you should be acquainted not only with what I have said and done, but also with my plans for the future. Farewell. ,To Cornelius Tacitus. You will laugh, and I give you leave to. You know what sort of sportsman I am, but I, even I, have bagged three boars, each one of them a perfect beauty. "What!" you will say, "YOU!" Yes, I, and that too without any violent departure from my usual lazy ways. I was sitting by the nets; I had by my side not a hunting spear and a dart, but my pen and writing tablets. I was engaged in some composition and jotting down notes, so that I might have full tablets to take home with me, even though my hands were empty. You need not shrug your shoulders at study under such conditions. It is really surprising how the mind is stimulated by bodily movement and exercise. I find the most powerful incentive to thought in having the woods all about me, in the solitude and the silence which is observed in hunting. So when next you go hunting, take my advice and carry your writing tablets with you as well as your luncheon basket and your flask. You will find that Minerva loves to wander on the mountains quite as much as Diana. Farewell. ,To Octavius Rufus. See on what a pinnacle you have placed me by giving me the same power and royal will that Homer attributed to Jupiter, Best and Greatest ,To Saturninus. Your letter, asking me to send you one of my compositions, came at an opportune moment, for I had just made up my mind to do so. So you were spurring a willing horse, and you have not only spoiled your only chance of making excuses for declining, but have enabled me to press work upon you without feeling ashamed at asking the favour. For it would be equally unbecoming for me to hesitate about accepting your offer as for you who made it to look upon it as a bore. However, you must not expect anything of an original kind from a lazy man like me. I shall only ask you to find time to again look through the speech which I made to my townsfolk at the dedication of the public library. I remember that you have already criticised a few points therein, but merely in a general way, and I now beg that you will not only criticise it as a whole, but will apply your pencil to particular passages as well, in your severest manner. For even after a thorough revision it will still be open to us to publish or suppress it as we think fit. Very likely the revision will help us out of our hesitation and enable us to decide one way or the other. By looking through it again and again we shall either find that it is not worth publication or we shall render it worthy by the way we revise it. What makes me doubtful is rather the subject-matter than the actual composition. It is perhaps a shade too laudatory and ostentatious. And this will be more than our modesty can carry, however plain and unassuming the style in which it is written, especially as I have to enlarge on the munificence of my relatives as well as on my own. It is a ticklish and dangerous subject, even when one can flatter one's self that there was no way of avoiding it. For if people grow impatient at hearing the praises of others, how much more difficult must it be to prevent a speech becoming tedious when we sing our own praises or those of our family? We look askance even at unpretentious honesty, and do so all the more when its fame is trumpeted abroad. In short, it is only the good action that is done by stealth and passes unapplauded which protects the doer from the carping criticism of the world. For this reason I have often debated whether I ought to have composed the speech, such as it is, simply to suit my own feelings, or whether I should have looked beyond myself to the public. I am inclined to the former alternative by the thought that many actions which are necessary to the performance of an object lose their point and appositeness when that object is attained. I will not weary you with examples further than to ask whether anything could have been more appropriate than my gracing in writing the reasons which prompted my generosity. By so doing, the result was that I grew familiar with generous sentiments; the more I discussed the virtue the more I saw its beauties, and above all I saved myself from the reaction that often follows a sudden fit of open-handedness. From all this there gradually grew up within me the habit of despising money, and whereas nature seems to have tied men down to their money bags to guard them, I was enabled to throw off the prevailing shackles of avarice by my long and carefully reasoned love of generosity. Consequently my munificence appeared to me to be all the more worthy of praise, inasmuch as I was drawn to it by reason and not by any sudden impulse. Again, I also felt that I was promising not mere games or gladiatorial shows, but an annual subscription for the upbringing of freeborn youths. The pleasures of the eye and ear never lack eulogists; on the contrary, they need rather to be put in the background than in the foreground by speakers Beyond all this, however, there is a special obstacle in the way of publishing the speech. I delivered it not before the people but before decurions, * not in public but in the Council Chamber. So I am afraid that it may look inconsistent if, after avoiding the applause and cheers of the crowd when I delivered the speech, I now seek for that applause by publishing it, and if, after getting the common people, whose interests I was seeking, removed from the threshold and the walls of the Chamber - to prevent the appearance of courting popularity - I should now seem to deliberately seek the acclamations of those who are only interested in my munificence to the extent of having a good example shown them. Well, I have told you the grounds of my hesitation, but I shall follow the advice you give me, for its weight will be reason sufficient for me. Farewell. ,To Minucius Fundanus. It is surprising how if you take each day singly here in the city you pass or seem to pass your time reasonably enough when you take stock thereof, but how, when you put the days together, you are dissatisfied with yourself. If you ask any one, "What have you been doing to-day?" he will say, "Oh, I have been attending a coming-of-age function; I was at a betrothal or a wedding; so-and-so asked me to witness the signing of a will; I have been acting as witness to A, or I have been in consultation with B." All these occupations appear of paramount importance on the day in question, but if you remember that you repeat the round day after day, they seem a sheer waste of time, especially when you have got away from them into the country; for then the thought occurs to you, "What a number of days I have frittered away in these chilly formalities!" That is how I feel when I am at my Laurentine Villa and busy reading or writing, or even when I am giving my body a thorough rest and so repairing the pillars of my mind. I hear nothing and say nothing to give me vexation; no one comes backbiting a third party, and I myself have no fault to find with anyone except it be with myself when my pen does not run to my liking. I have no hopes and fears to worry me, no rumours to disturb my rest. I hold converse with myself and with my books. It is a genuine and honest life; such leisure is delicious and honourable, and one might say that it is much more attractive than any business. The sea, the shore, these are the true secret haunts of the Muses, and how many inspirations they give me, how they prompt my musings! Do, I beg of you, as soon as ever you can, turn your back on the din, the idle chatter, and the frivolous occupations of Rome, and give yourself up to study or recreation. It is better, as our friend Attilius once very wittily and very truly said, to have no occupation than to be occupied with nothingness. Farewell. ,To Attius Clemens. If ever there was a time when this Rome of ours was devoted to learning, it is now. There are many shining lights, of whom it will be enough to mention but one. I refer to Euphrates the philosopher. * I saw a great deal of him, even in the privacy of his home life, during my young soldiering days in Syria, and I did my best to win his affection, though that was not a hard task, for he is ever easy of access, frank, and full of the humanities that he teaches. I only wish that I had been as successful in fulfilling the hopes he then formed of me as he has been increasing his large stock of virtues, though possibly it is I who now admire them the more because I can appreciate them the better. Even now my appreciation is not as complete as it might be. It is only an artist who can thoroughly judge another painter, sculptor, or image-maker, and so too it needs a philosopher to estimate another philosopher at his full merit. But so far as I can judge, Euphrates has many qualities so conspicuously brilliant that they arrest the eyes and attention even of those who have but modest pretensions to learning. His reasoning is acute, weighty, and elegant, often attaining to the breadth and loftiness that we find in Plato. His conversation flows in a copious yet varied stream, strikingly pleasant to the ear, and with a charm that seizes and carries away even the reluctant hearer. Add to this a tall, commanding presence, a handsome face, long flowing hair, a streaming white beard - all of which may be thought accidental adjuncts and without significance, but they do wonderfully increase the veneration he inspires. There is no studied negligence in his dress, it is severely plain but not austere; when you meet him you revere him without shrinking away in awe. His life is purity itself, but he is just as genial; his lash is not for men but for their vices; for the erring he has gentle words of correction rather than sharp rebuke. When he gives advice you cannot help listening in rapt attention, and you hope he will go on persuading you even when the persuasion is complete. He has three children, two of them sons, whom he has brought up with the strictest care. His father-in-law is Pompeius Julianus, a man of great distinction, but whose chief title to fame is that though, as ruler of a province, he might have chosen a son-in-law of the highest social rank, he preferred one who was distinguished not for social dignities but for wisdom. Yet why describe at greater length a man whose society I can no longer enjoy? Is it to make myself feel my loss the more? For my time is all taken up by the duties of an office - important, no doubt, but tedious in the extreme. I sit on the magistrates' bench; I countersign petitions, I make out the public accounts; I write hosts of letters, but what unliterary productions they are! ** Sometimes - but how seldom I get the opportunity - I complain to Euphrates about these uncongenial duties. He consoles me and even assures me that there is no more noble part in the whole of philosophy than to be a public official, to hear cases, pass judgment, explain the laws and administer justice, and so practise in short what the philosophers do but teach. But he never can persuade me of this, that it is better to be busy as I am than to spend whole days in listening to and acquiring knowledge from him. That makes me the readier to urge you, whose time is your own, to let him put a finish and polish upon you when you come to town, and I hope you will come all the sooner on that account. I am not one of those - and there are many of them - who grudge to others the happiness they are debarred from themselves; on the contrary, I feel a very lively sense of pleasure in seeing my friends abounding in joys that are denied to me. Farewell. 0 ,To Fabius Justus. It is quite a long time since I had a letter from you. "Oh," you say, "there has been nothing to write about." But at least you might write and say just that, or you might send me the line with which our grandfathers used to begin their letters ,To Calestrius Tiro. I have suffered a most grievous loss, if loss is a word that can be applied to my being bereft of so distinguished a man. Corellius Rufus is dead, and what makes my grief the more poignant is that he died by his own act. Such a death is always most lamentable, since neither natural causes nor Fate can be held responsible for it. When people die of disease there is a great consolation in the thought that no one could have prevented it; when they lay violent hands on themselves we feel a pang which nothing can assuage in the thought that they might have lived longer. Corellius, it is true, felt driven to take his own life by Reason - and Reason is always tantamount to Necessity with philosophers - and yet there were abundant inducements for him to live. His conscience was stainless, his reputation beyond reproach; he stood high in men's esteem. Moreover, he had a daughter, a wife, a grandson, and sisters, and, besides all these relations, many genuine friends. But his battle against ill-health had been so long and hopeless that all these splendid rewards of living were outweighed by the reasons that urged him to die. I have heard him say that he was first attacked by gout in the feet when he was thirty-three years of age. He had inherited the complaint, for it often happens that a tendency to disease is handed down like other qualities in a sort of succession. While he was in the prime of life he overcame his malady and kept it well in check by abstemious and pure living, and when it became sharper in its attacks as he grew old he bore up against it with great fortitude of mind. Even when he suffered incredible torture and the most horrible agony - for the pain was no longer confined, as before, to the feet, but had begun to spread over all his limbs - I went to see him in the time of Domitian when he was staying at his country house. His attendants withdrew from his chamber, as they always did whenever one of his more intimate friends entered the room. Even his wife, a lady who might have been trusted to keep any secret, also used to retire. Looking round the room, he said His malady had become worse, though he tried to moderate it by his careful diet, and then, as it still continued to grow, he escaped from it by a fixed resolve. Two, three, four days passed and he refused all food. Then his wife Hispulla sent our mutual friend Caius Geminius to tell me the sad news that Corellius had determined to die, that he was not moved by the entreaties of his wife and daughter, and that I was the only one left who might possibly recall him to life. I rushed to see him, and had almost reached the house when Hispulla sent me another message by Julius Atticus, saying that now even I could do nothing, for his resolve had become more and more fixed. When the doctor offered him nourishment he said, "My mind is made up" {Κέκρικα}, and the word has awakened within me not only a sense of loss, but of admiration. I keep thinking what a friend, what a manly friend is now lost to me. He was at the end of his seventy-sixth year, an age long enough even for the stoutest of us. True. He has escaped a lifelong illness; he has died leaving children to survive him, and knowing that the State, which was dearer to him than anything else, was prospering well. Yes, yes, I know all this. And yet I grieve at his death as I should at the death of a young man in the full vigour of life; I grieve - you may think me weak for so doing - on my own account too. For I have lost, lost for ever, the guide, philosopher, and friend of my life. In short, I will say again what I said to my friend Calvisius, when my grief was fresh ,To Socius Senecio. This year has brought us a fine crop of poets ,To Junius Mauricus. You ask me to look out for a husband for your brother's daughter, and you do well to select me for such a commission. For you know how I looked up to him, and what an affection I had for his splendid qualities; you know, too, what good advice he gave me in my early years, and how by his warm praises he actually made it appear that I deserved them. You could not have given me a more important commission or one that I should be better pleased to undertake, and there is no charge that I could possibly accept as a greater compliment to myself than that of being set to choose a young man worthy of being the father of grandchildren to Arulenus Rusticus. I should have had to look carefully and long, had it not been that Minucius Acilianus was ready to hand, - one might almost say that Providence had prepared him for the purpose. He has for me the close and affectionate regard of one young man for another - for he is only a few years younger than myself - yet at the same time he pays me the deference due to a man of years, for he is as anxious that I should mould and form his character as I used to be that you and your son should mould mine. His native place is Brixia, a part of that Italy of ours which still retains and preserves much of the old-fashioned courtesy, frugality and even rusticity. His father, Minucius Macrinus, was one of the leaders of the equestrian order, because he did not wish to attain higher rank; he was admitted by the divine Vespasian to praetorian rank, * and to the end of his days preferred this modest and honourable distinction to the - what shall I say? - ambitions or dignities for which we strive. His grandmother on his mother's side was Serrana Procula, who belonged to the township of Patavium. You know the character of that place - well, Serrana was a model of austere living even to the people of Patavium. His uncle was Publius Acilius, a man of almost unique weight, judgment, and honour. In short, you will find nothing in the whole of his family which will fail to please you as much as if the family were your own. As for Acilianus himself, he is an energetic and untiring worker, and the very pink of courtesy. He has already acquitted himself with great credit in the quaestorship, tribunate, and praetorship, and so he has thus spared you the trouble of having to canvass in his behalf. He has a frank, open countenance, fresh-coloured and blooming; a handsome, well-made figure, and an air that would become a senator. These are points which, in my opinion, are not to be neglected, for I regard them as just rewards to a girl for her chastity. I don't know whether I should add that his father is a well-to-do man, for when I think of you and your brother for whom we are looking out for a son-in-law, I feel disinclined to speak of money. On the other hand, when I consider the prevailing tendencies of the day and the laws of the state which lay such prominent stress upon the matter of income, I think it right not to overlook the point. Moreover, when I remember the possible issue of the marriage, I feel that in choosing a bridegroom one must take his income into account. Perhaps you will imagine that I have let my affection run away with me, and that I have exaggerated my friend's merits beyond their due. But I pledge you my word of honour that you will find his virtues to be far in excess of my description of them. I have the most intense affection for the young man, and he deserves my love, but it is one of the proofs of a lover that you do not overburden the object of your regard with praise. Farewell. ,To Septicius Clarus. What a fellow you are! You promise to come to dinner and then fail to turn up! Well, here is my magisterial sentence upon you. You must pay the money I am out of pocket to the last as, and you will find the sum no small one. I had provided for each guest one lettuce, three snails, two eggs, spelt mixed with honey and snow (you will please reckon up the cost of the latter as among the costly of all, since it melts away in the dish), olives from Baetica, cucumbers, onions, and a thousand other equally expensive dainties. You would have listened to a comedian, or a reciter, or a harp-player, or perhaps to all, as I am such a lavish host. But you preferred to dine elsewhere, - where I know not - off oysters, sow's matrices, sea-urchins, and to watch Spanish dancing girls! You will be paid out for it, though how I decline to say. You have done violence to yourself. You have grudged, possibly yourself, but certainly me, a fine treat. Yes, yourself! For how we should have enjoyed ourselves, how we should have laughed together, how we should have applied ourselves! You can dine at many houses in better style than at mine, but nowhere will you have a better time, or such a simple and free and easy entertainment. In short, give me a trial, and if afterwards you do not prefer to excuse yourself to others rather than to me, why then I give you leave to decline my invitations always. Farewell. ,To Erucius. I used to be very fond of Pompeius Saturninus - our Saturninus, as I may call him - and to admire his intellectual powers, even before I knew him; they were so varied, so supple, so many-sided; but now I am devoted to him body and soul. I have heard him pleading in the Courts, always keen and impassioned, and his addresses are as polished and graceful when they are impromptu as when they have been carefully prepared. He has a never-failing flow of apt sentiment; his style is weighty and dignified, his language is of the sonorous, classical school. All these qualities charm me immensely when they come pouring forth in a streaming rush of eloquence, and they charm me too when I read them in book form. You will experience the same pleasure as I do when you take them up, and you will at once compare them with some one of the old masters whose rival indeed he is. You will find even greater charm in the style of his historical compositions, in its terseness, its lucidity, smoothness, brilliancy and stateliness, for there is the same vigour in the historical harangues as there is in his own orations, only rather more compressed, restricted, and epigrammatic. Moreover, he writes verses that Catullus or Calvus might have composed. They are positively brimming over with grace, sweetness, irony and love. He occasionally, and of set design, interpolates among these smooth and easy-flowing verses others cast in a more rugged mould, and here again he is like Catullus and Calvus. A little while ago he read me some letters which he declared had been written by his wife. I thought, on hearing them, that they were either Plautus or Terence in prose, and whether they were composed, as he said, by his wife or by himself, as he denies, his credit is the same. It belongs to him either as the actual author of the letters or as the teacher who has made such a polished and learned lady of his wife - whom he married when she was a girl. So I pass the whole day in the company of Saturninus. I read him before I set pen to paper; I read him again after finishing my writing, and again when I am at leisure. He is always the same but never seems the same. Let me urge and beg of you to do likewise, for the fact that the author is still alive ought not to be of any detriment to his works. If he had been a contemporary of those on whom we have never set eyes, we should not only be seeking to procure copies of his books but also asking for busts of him. Why then, as he is still amongst us, should his credit and popularity dwindle, as though we were tired of him? Surely it is discreditable and scandalous that we should not give a man the due he richly deserves, simply because we can see him with our own eyes, speak to him, hear him, embrace him, and not only praise but love him. Farewell. ,To Cornelius Titianus. Faith and loyalty are not yet extinct among men 0 ,To Suetonius Tranquillus. You say in your letter that you have been troubled by a dream, and are afraid lest your suit should go against you. So you ask me to try and get it postponed, and that I will have to put it off for a few days, or at least for one day. It is not an easy matter, but I will do my best, for, as Homer says, "A dream comes from Zeus." However, it makes all the difference whether your dreams usually signify the course of future events or their opposite. When I think over a certain dream I once had, what causes you fear seems to me to promise a splendid termination to your case. I had undertaken a brief for Julius Pastor, when there appeared to me in my sleep a vision of my mother-in-law, who threw herself on her knees before me and begged that I would not plead. I was quite a young man at the time of the action, which was to be heard in the Fourfold Court, * and I was appearing against the most powerful men of the State, including some of the Friends of Caesar. All these things or any one of them might well have shattered my resolution after such an ominous dream. Nevertheless, I went on with the case, remembering the well-known line of Homer 0 ,To Romatius Firmus. You and I were born in the same township, we went to school together, and shared quarters from an early age; your father was on terms of friendship with my mother and my uncle, * and with me - as far as the disparity in our years allowed. These are overwhelming reasons why I ought to advance you as far as I can along the path of dignities. The fact of your being a decurion in our town shows that you have an income of a hundred thousand sesterces, and so that we may have the pleasure of enjoying your society not only as a decurion, but as a Roman knight, I offer you 300,000 sesterces, to make up the equestrian qualification. The length of our friendship is sufficient guarantee that you will not forget this favour, and I do not even urge you to enjoy with modesty the dignity which I thus enable you to attain, as perhaps I ought, just because I know you will do so without any urging from without. People ought to guard an honour all the more carefully, when, in so doing, they are taking care of a gift bestowed by the kindness of a friend. Farewell. ,To Cornelius Tacitus. I am constantly having arguments with a friend of mine who is a learned and practised speaker, but who admires in pleading nothing so much as brevity. I allow that brevity ought to be observed, if the case permits of it; but sometimes it is an act of collusion to pass over matters that ought to be mentioned, and it is even an act of collusion to run briefly and rapidly over points which ought to be dwelt upon, to be thoroughly driven home, and to be taken up and dealt with more than once. For very often an argument acquires strength and weight by being handled at some length, and a speech ought to be impressed on the mind, not by a short, sharp shock, but by measured blows, just as a sword should be used in dealing with the body of an opponent. Thereupon he plies me with authorities, and flourishes before me the speeches of Lysias among the Greeks, and those of the Gracchi and Cato from among Roman orators. The majority of these are certainly characterised by conciseness and brevity, but I quote against Lysias the examples of Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides, and a multitude of others, while against the Gracchi and Cato I set Pollio, Caesar, Caelius, and, above all, Marcus Tullius, whose longest speech is generally considered to be his best. * And upon my word, as with all other good things, the more there is of a good book, the better it is. You know how it is with statues, images, pictures, and the outlines of many animals and even trees, that if they are at all graceful nothing gives them a greater charm than size. It is just the same with speeches, - even the mere volumes themselves acquire a certain additional dignity and beauty from mere bulk. These are but a few of the many arguments I usually employ to establish my point; but there is no pinning my friend down in an argument. He is such a slippery fellow that he wriggles off the pin and declares that these same orators, whose speeches I instance, spoke at less length than their published addresses seem to show. I hold the contrary to be the case, and there are many speeches of many orators in favour of my opinion, as, for example, the 'Pro Murena' and the 'Pro Vareno' of Cicero, in which he indicates by headings alone, and quite barely and briefly, how he dealt with certain charges against his clients. From these it is clear that he actually spoke at much greater length and left out a considerable number of passages when he published the addresses. Cicero indeed says that in his defence of Cluentius "he had simply followed the ancient custom and compressed his whole case into a peroration," and that in defending Caius Cornelius "he had pleaded for four days." ** Hence it cannot be questioned that after speaking somewhat discursively for several days, as he was bound to do, he subsequently trimmed and revised his oration and compressed it into a single book - a long one, it is true, but yet a single book. But, argues my friend, a good indictment is a different thing from a good speech. I know some people hold that view, but I - of course I may be wrong - feel persuaded that though it is possible to have a good indictment without a good speech, it is not possible for a good speech not to be a good indictment. For a speech is the exemplar of an indictment - one might even call it its archetype. Hence in every first-class oration we find a thousand extempore figures of speech, even in those which we know to have been carefully edited. For example, in the Speech against Verres Regulus once said to me when we were in Court together Nor do I forget that in his eulogy of that consummate orator, Pericles, the comedy-writer Eupolis used the following language But, you say, the mean is the best. Quite so, but the mean is as much neglected by those who fail to do justice to their subject as by those who overdo it, by those who restrain themselves as by those who give themselves their heads. And so you often hear the criticism that a speech was "frigid and weak," just as you hear that another was "overloaded and a mass of repetition." The one speaker is said to have over-elaborated his subject, the other not to have risen to the occasion. Both are at fault; one through weakness, the other through too much strength, and the latter, though he may not show the more refined intellect, certainly shows the more robust mind. When I say this it must not be supposed that I am approving Homer's Thersites - the man who was a torrent of words - but rather his Ulysses, whose "words were like snow-flakes in winter," though at the same time I admire his Menelaus, who spoke "Few words, but well to the point." Yet, if I had to choose, I should prefer the speech that is like the winter snow- storm - viz. fluent, flowing, and of generous width; and not only that, but divine and celestial. It may, I know, be said that many people prefer a short pleading. No doubt, but they are lazy creatures, and it is ridiculous to consult the tastes of such sloths as though they were critics. For if you take their opinion as worth anything, you will find that they not only prefer a short pleading, but no pleading at all. Well, I have told you what I think. I shall change my opinion if you do not agree with me, but in that case I beg of you to give me clear reasons for your disagreement; for although I feel bound to bow to a man of your judgment, yet in a point of such importance, I consider that I ought to give way rather to a reasoned statement than to an ipse dixit. But even if you think I am right, still write and tell me so, and make the letter as short as you like - for you will thus confirm my judgment. If I am wrong, see that you write me a very long letter. I feel sure I have not estimated you wrongly in thus asking you for a short note if you agree with me, while laying on you the obligation of writing at length if you disagree. Farewell. ,To Paternus. Let me acknowledge not only the keenness of your judgment but the sharpness of your eyesight, not because you are full of wisdom - no, don't plume yourself on that - but because you are just as wise as I am, and that is saying a great deal. Yet, joking apart, I think the slaves which I bought on your recommendation are a tidy-looking lot. It now remains to be seen whether they are honest; because in judging the value of a slave, it is better to trust one's ears than one's eyes. Farewell. ,To Catilius Severus. Here am I still in Rome, and a good deal surprised to find myself here. But I am troubled at the long illness of Titus Aristo, which he cannot shake off. He is a man for whom I feel an extraordinary admiration and affection You would marvel, if you were by his side, at the patience with which he endures his illness, how he fights against his suffering, how he resists his thirst, how, without moving and without throwing off his bed- clothes, he endures the dreadful burning heats of his fever. Just recently he sent for me and a few others of his especial friends with me, and begged us to consult his doctors and ask them about the termination of his illness, so that if there were no hope for him he might voluntarily give up his life, but might fight against it and hold out if the illness only threatened to be difficult and long. He owed it, he said, to the prayers of his wife, the tears of his daughter, and the regard of us who were his friends, not to cheat our hopes by a voluntary death, providing those hopes were not altogether futile. I think that such an acknowledgment as that must be especially difficult to make, and worthy of the highest praise; for many people are quite capable of hastening to death under the impulse of a sudden instinct, but only a truly noble mind can weigh up the pros and cons of the matter, and resolve to live or die according to the dictates of Reason. However, the doctors give us reassuring promises, and it now remains for the Deity to confirm and fulfil them, and so at length release me from my anxiety. The moment my mind is easy, I shall be off to my Laurentine Villa - that is to say, to my books and tablets, and to my studious ease. For now as I sit by my friend's bedside I can neither read nor write, and I am so anxious that I have no inclination for such study. Well, I have told you my fears, my hopes, and my future plans; it is your turn now to write and tell me what you have been doing, what you are doing now, and what your plans are, and I hope your letter will be a more cheerful one than mine. If you have nothing to complain about, it will be no small consolation to me in my general upset. Farewell. ,To Pompeius Falco. You ask me whether I think you ought to practise in the courts while you are tribune. The answer entirely depends on the conception you have of the tribuneship, whether you think it is a mere empty honour, a name with no real dignity, or an office of the highest sanctity, and one that no one, not even the holder himself, ought to slight in the least degree. When I was tribune, I may have been wrong for thinking that I was somebody, but I acted as if I were, and I abstained from practising in the courts. In the first place, I thought it below my dignity that I, at whose entrance every one ought to rise and give way, should stand to plead while all others were sitting; or that I, who could impose silence on all and sundry, should be ordered to be silent by a water- clock; that I, whom it was a crime to interrupt, should be subjected even to abuse, and that I should make people think I was a spiritless fellow if I let an insult pass unnoticed, or proud and puffed up if I resented and avenged it. Again, there was this embarrassing thought always before me. Supposing appeal was made to me as tribune either by my client or by the other party to the suit, what should I do? Lend him aid, or keep silence and say not a word, and thus forswear my magistracy and reduce myself to a mere private citizen? Moved by these considerations, I preferred to be at the disposal of all men as a tribune rather than act as an advocate for a few. But, to repeat what I said before, it makes all the difference what conception you happen to have of the office, and what part you essay to play. Providing you carry it through to the end, either will be quite consistent with a man of wisdom. Farewell. ,To Baebius Hispanus. My comrade Tranquillus wishes to buy a bit of land which your friend is said to be offering for sale. I beg that you will see that he purchases it at a fair price, for in that case he will be glad to have bought it. A bad bargain is always annoying, and especially so as it seems to show that the previous owner has played one a scurvy trick. As to the plot in question, if only the price is right, there are many reasons that tempt my friend Tranquillus to buy - the nearness of the city, the convenient road, the modest dimensions of his villa and the extent of the farm, which is just enough to pleasantly disengage his thoughts from other things, but not enough to give him any worry. In fact learned schoolmen, like Tranquillus, on turning land-owners, ought only to have just sufficient land to enable them to get rid of headaches, cure their eyes, walk lazily round their boundary paths, make one beaten track for themselves, get to know all their vines and count their trees. I have gone into these details that you might understand what a regard I have for Tranquillus, and how greatly I shall be indebted to you if he is enabled to purchase the estate which has all these advantages to commend it at such a reasonable price that he will not regret having bought it. Farewell.


nanTo Fabatus, his Wife's Grandfather. You say you wish to see your granddaughter again, and me with her, after not having seen us for so long. Both of us are charmed to hear you say so, and, believe me, we are equally anxious to see you. For I cannot tell you how we long to see you, and we shall no longer delay our visit. To that end we are even now getting our luggage together, and we shall push on as fast as the state of the roads will permit. There will be one delay, but it will not detain us long. We shall branch off to see my Tuscan estate - not to inspect the farms and go into accounts, as that can be postponed - but merely to perform a necessary duty. There is a village near my property called Tifernum Tiberinum, which selected me as its patron when I was still almost a boy, and showed, by so doing, more affection than judgment. The people there flock to meet me when I approach, are distressed when I leave them, and rejoice at my preferment. In this village, as a return for their kindness - for it would never do to be outdone in affection - I have, at my own expense, built a temple, and now that it is completed it would be hardly respectful to the gods to put off its dedication any longer. So we shall be present on the dedication day, which I have arranged to celebrate with a banquet. We may possibly stay there for the following day as well, but, if we do, we shall get over the ground with increased speed to make up for lost time. I only hope that we shall find you and your daughter * in good health, for I know we shall find you in good spirits if we arrive in safety. Farewell. ,To Attius Clemens. Regulus has lost his son - the only misfortune he did not deserve, because I doubt whether he considers it as such. He was a sharp-witted youth, whatever use he might have made of his talents, though he might have followed honourable courses if he did not take after his father. Regulus freed him from his parental control in order that he might succeed to his mother's property, but after freeing him - and those who knew the character of the man spoke of it as a release from slavery - he endeavoured to win his affections by treating him with a pretended indulgence which was as disgraceful as it was unusual in a father. It seems incredible, but remember that it was Regulus. Yet now that his son is dead, he is mad with grief at his loss. The boy had a number of ponies, some in harness and others not broken in, dogs both great and small, nightingales, parrots and blackbirds - all these Regulus slaughtered at his pyre. Yet an act like that was no token of grief; it was but a mere parade of it. It is strange how people are flocking to call upon him. Everyone detests and hates him, yet they run to visit him in shoals as though they both admired and loved him. To put in a nutshell what I mean, people in paying court to Regulus are copying the example he set. He does not move from his gardens across the Tiber, where he has covered an immense quantity of ground with colossal porticos and littered the river bank with his statues, for, though he is the meanest of misers, he flings his money broadcast, and though his name is a byword, he is for ever vaunting his glories. Consequently, in this the most sickly season of the year, he is upsetting every one's arrangements, * and thinks it soothes his grief to inconvenience everybody. He says he is desirous of taking a wife, and here again, as in other matters, he shows the perversity of his nature. You will hear soon that the mourner is married, that the old man has taken a wife, displaying unseemly haste as the former and undue delay as the latter. If you ask what makes me think he will take this step, I reply that it is not because he says he will - for there is no greater liar than he - but because it is quite certain that Regulus will do what he ought not to do. Farewell. ,To Arrius Antoninus. That you, like your ancestors of old, have been twice consul, that you have been proconsul of Asia with a record such as not more than one or two of your predecessors and successors have enjoyed - for your modesty is such that I do not like to say that no one has equalled you - that in purity of life, influence and age, you are the principal man of the State, - all these things inspire respect and give distinction, and yet I admire you even more in your retirement. For to season, as you do, all your strict uprightness with charm of manner equally striking, and to be such an agreeable companion as well as such a man of weight, that is no less difficult than it is desirable. Yet you succeed in so doing with wonderful sweetness both in your conversation and above all, when you set pen to paper. For when you talk, all the honey of Homer's old man eloquent * seems to flow from your tongue, and when you write, the bees seem to be busy pouring into every line their choicest essences and charging them with sweetness. That certainly was my impression when I recently read your Greek epigrams and iambics. ** What breadth of feeling they contain, what choice expressions, how graceful they are, how musical, how exact! I thought I was holding in my hands Callimachus or Herodas, or even a greater poet than these, if greater there be, yet neither of these two poets attempted or excelled in both these forms of verse. Is it possible for a Roman to write such Greek? I do not believe that even Athens has so pure an Attic touch. But why go on? I am jealous of the Greeks that you should have elected to write in their language, for it is easy to guess what choice work you could turn out in your mother-tongue, when you have produced such splendid results with an exotic language which has been transplanted into our midst. Farewell. 0 ,To Sosius Senecio. I have the greatest regard for Varisidius Nepos; he is hardworking, upright, and a scholar - a point which with me outweighs almost any other. He is a near relative and, in fact, a son of the sister of Caius Calvisius, my old companion and a friend too of yours. I beg that you will give him a tribuneship for six months and so advance him in dignity, both for his own and for his uncle's sake. By so doing you will confer a favour on me, on our friend Calvisius, and on Varisidius himself, who is quite as worthy to be under an obligation to you as we are. You have showered kindnesses on numbers of people, and I will venture to say that you have never bestowed one that was better deserved, and have but rarely granted one that was deserved so well. Farewell. ,To Julius Sparsus. There is a story that Aeschines was once asked by the Rhodians to read them one of his speeches, that he afterwards read them one of Demosthenes' as well, and that both were received with great applause. I cannot wonder that the orations of such distinguished men were applauded, when I think that just recently the most learned men in Rome listened for two days together to a speech of mine, with such earnestness, applause, and concentration of attention, though there was nothing to stir their blood, no other speech with which to compare mine, and not a trace of the conflict of debate. While the Rhodians had not only the beauties of the two speeches to kindle them but also the charm of comparison, my speech was approved though it lacked the advantages of being controversial. Whether it deserved its reception you will be able to judge when you have read it, and its bulk does not allow of my making a longer preface. For I ought certainly to be brief here where brevity is possible, so that I may be the more readily excused for the length of the speech itself, though it is not longer than the subject required. Farewell. ,To Julius Naso. My Tuscan farms have been lashed by hail; from my property in the Transpadane region I get news that the crops are very heavy but the prices rule equally low, and it is only my Laurentian estate that makes me any return. It is true that all my belongings there consist of but a house and a garden, yet it is the only property which brings me in any revenue. For while I am there I write hard and I till - not fields, for I have none - but my own wits, and so I can show you there a full granary of manuscripts, * as elsewhere I can show you full barns of wheat. Hence if you are anxious for sure and fruitful farms, you too should sow your grain on the same kind of shore. Farewell. ,To Catius Lepidus. I am constantly writing to tell you what energy Regulus possesses. It is wonderful the way he carries through anything which he has set his mind upon. It pleased him to mourn for his son - and never man mourned like him; it pleased him to erect a number of statues and busts to his memory, and the result is that he is keeping all the workshops busy; he is having his boy represented in colours, in wax, in bronze, in silver, in gold, ivory, and marble - always his boy. He himself just lately got together a large audience and read a memoir of his life - of the boy's life; he read it aloud, and yet had a thousand copies written out which he has scattered broadcast over Italy and the provinces. He wrote at large to the decurions * and asked them to choose one of their number with the best voice to read the memoir to the people, and it was done. What good he might have effected with this energy of his - or whatever name we should give to such dauntless determination on his part to get his own way - if he had only turned it into a better channel! But then, as you know, good men rarely have this faculty so well developed as bad men; the Greeks say, "Ignorance makes a man bold; calculation gives him pause," ** and just in the same way modesty cripples the force of an upright mind, while unblushing confidence is a source of strength to a man without conscience. Regulus is a case in point. He has weak lungs, he never looks you straight in the face, he stammers, he has no imaginative power, absolutely no memory, no quality at all, in short, except a wild, frantic genius, and yet, thanks to his effrontery, and even just to this frenzy of his, he has got people to regard him as an orator. Herennius Senecio very neatly turned against him Cato's well-known definition of an orator by saying, "An orator is a bad man who knows nothing of the art of speaking," † and I really think that he thereby gave a better definition of Regulus than Cato did of the really true orator. Have you any equivalent to send me for a letter like this? Yes, indeed, you have, if you will write and say whether any one of my friends in your township, or whether you yourself have read this pitiful production of Regulus in the forum, like a Cheap Jack, pitching your voice high, as Demosthenes says, †† shouting with delight, and straining every muscle in your throat. For it is so absurd that it will make you laugh rather than sigh, and you would think it was written not about a boy but by a boy. Farewell. ,To Maturus Arrianus. You congratulate me on accepting the office of augur. You are right in so doing, first, because it is a proper thing to obey the wishes of an emperor with a character like ours, and, secondly, because the priestly office is in itself an ancient and sacred one, and inspires respect and dignity from the very fact that it is held for life. For other offices, though almost equal in point of dignity to this, may be bestowed one day and taken away the next, while with the augurship the element of chance only enters into the bestowal of it. I think too that I have special reasons for congratulating myself in that I have succeeded Julius Frontinus, one of the leading men of his day, who for many years running used to bring forward my name, whenever the nomination day for the priesthoods came round, as though he wished to co-opt me to fill his place. Now events have turned out in such a way that my election does not seem to have been the work of chance. You, however, as you write, are chiefly delighted at my being augur because M. Tullius * was one. You rejoice, that is, at my stepping into the honours of one whom I long to emulate in my intellectual pursuits. I can only hope that as I have attained to the priesthood and the consulship at a much earlier age than he did, I may, when I am old, at least in some degree acquire his serenity of mind. But all that man can give has fallen to my lot and to many another; the other thing, which can only be bestowed by the gods, is as difficult to attain to as it is presumptuous to hope for it. Farewell. ,To Cornelius Ursus. For some days past Julius Bassus has been on trial. He is a much harassed man whose misfortunes have made him famous. An accusation was lodged against him in Vespasian's reign by two private individuals; the case was referred to the senate, and for a long time he has been on tenterhooks, but at last he has been acquitted and his character cleared. He was afraid of Titus because he had been a friend of Domitian, yet he had been banished by the latter, was recalled by Nerva, and, after being appointed by lot to the governorship of Bithynia, returned from the province to stand his trial. The case against him was keenly pressed, but he was no less loyally defended. Pomponius Rufus, a ready and impetuous speaker, opened against him and was followed by Theophanes, one of the deputation from the province, who was the very life and soul of the prosecution, and indeed the originator of it. I replied on Bassus' behalf, for he had instructed me to lay the foundations of his whole defence, to give an account of his distinctions, which were very considerable - as he was a man of good family, and had faced many hazards - to dilate upon the conspiracy of the informers and the gains they counted upon, and to explain how it was that Bassus had roused the resentment of all the restless spirits of the province, and notably of Theophanes himself. He had expressed a wish that I too should controvert the charge which was damaging him most. For as to the others, though they sounded to be even more serious, he deserved not only acquittal but approbation, and the only thing that troubled him was that, in an unguarded moment and in perfect innocence, he had received certain presents from the provincials as a token of friendship, for he had served in the same province previously as quaestor. His accusers stigmatised these gifts as thefts * and plunder In such a case what was I to do, what line of defence was I to take up? If I denied them altogether, I was afraid that people would immediately regard as a theft the presents which I was afraid to confess had been received. Moreover, to deny the obvious truth would have been to aggravate and not lessen the gravity of the charge, especially as the accused himself had cut the ground away from under the feet of his counsel. For he had told many people, and even the Emperor, that he had accepted, but only on his birthday or at the feast of the Saturnalia, some few trifling presents, and had also sent similar gifts to some of his friends. Was I then to acknowledge this and plead for clemency? Had I done so, I should have put a knife to my client's throat by confessing that he had committed offences and could only be acquitted by an act of clemency. Was I to defend his conduct and justify it? That would have done him no good, and would have stamped me as an unblushing advocate. In this difficult position I resolved to take a middle course, and I think I succeeded in so doing. Night interrupted my pleading, as it so often interrupts battles. I had been speaking for three hours and a half, and I had another hour and a half still left me. The law allowed the accuser six hours and the defendant nine, and Bassus had arranged the time at his disposal by giving me five hours, and the remainder to the advocate who was to speak after me. The success of my pleading persuaded me to say no more and make an end, for it is rash not to rest content when things are going well. Besides, I was afraid I might break down physically if I went over the ground again, as it is more difficult to pick up the threads of a speech than to go straight on. There was also the risk of the remainder of my speech meeting with a chilly reception, owing to the threads being dropped, or of it boring the judges if I gathered them up anew. For, just as the flame of a torch is kept alight if you wave it continually up and down, but is difficult to resuscitate when it has been allowed to go out, so the warmth of a speaker and the attention of his audience are kept alive if he goes on speaking, but cool off at any interruption which causes interest to flag. But Bassus begged and prayed of me, almost with tears in his eyes, to take my full time. I gave way, and preferred his interests to my own. It turned out well, for I found that the senators were so attentive and so fresh that, instead of having had quite enough of my speech of the day before, it seemed to have only whetted their appetites for more. Lucceius Albinus followed me and spoke so much to the point that our speeches were considered to have all the diversity of two addresses but the cohesion of one. Herennius Pollio replied with force and dignity, and then Theophanes again rose. He showed his usual effrontery in demanding a more liberal allowance of time than is usually granted - even after two advocates of ability and consular rank had concluded - and he went on speaking until nightfall, and actually continued after that, when lights had been brought into court. On the following day Titius Homullus and Fronto made a splendid effort on behalf of Bassus, and the hearing of the evidence took up the fourth day. Baebius Macer, the consul-designate, proposed that Bassus should be dealt with under the law relating to extortion, while Caepio Hispo was in favour of appointing judges to hear the case, ** but urged that Bassus should retain his place in the senate. Both were in the right. How can that be? you may ask. For this reason, because Macer, looking at the letter of the law, was justified in condemning a man who had broken the law by receiving presents; while Caepio, acting on the assumption that the senate has the right - which it certainly has - both to mitigate the severity of the laws and to rigorously put them in force, was not unreasonably desirous of excusing an offence which, though illegal, is very often committed. Caepio's proposal carried the day; indeed, when he rose to speak he was greeted with the applause which is usually reserved for speakers upon resuming their seats. This will enable you to judge how unanimously the motion was received while he was speaking, when it met with such a reception on his rising to put it. However, just as there was difference of opinion in the senate, so there is the same with the general public. Those who approved the proposal of Caepio find fault with that of Macer as being vindictive and severe; those who agree with Macer condemn Caepio's motion as lax and even inconsistent, for they say it is incongruous to allow a man to keep his place in the senate when judges have been allotted to try him. There was also a third proposal. Valerius Paulinus, who agreed in the main with Caepio, proposed that an inquiry should be instituted into the case of Theophanes, as soon as he had concluded his work on the deputation. It was urged that during his conduct of the prosecution he had committed a number of offences which came within the scope of the law under which he had accused Bassus. However, the consuls did not approve this proposal, though it found great favour with a large proportion of the senate. Nonetheless, Paulinus gained a reputation thereby for justice and consistency. When the senate rose, Bassus came in for an ovation; crowds gathered round him and greeted him with a remarkable demonstration of their joy. † Public sympathy had been aroused in his favour by the old story of the hazards he had gone through being told over again, by the association of his name with grave perils, by his tall physique and the sadness and poverty of his old age. You must consider this letter as the forerunner of another ,To Statius Sabinus. You tell me that Sabina, who left us her heirs, never gave any instructions that her slave Modestus was to be granted his freedom, though she left him a legacy in these words ,To Cornelius Minicianus. Have you heard that Valerius Licinianus is teaching rhetoric in Sicily? I do not think you can have done, for the news is quite fresh. He is of praetorian rank, and he used at one time to be considered one of our most eloquent pleaders at the bar, but now he has fallen so low that he is an exile instead of being a senator, and a mere teacher of rhetoric instead of being a prominent advocate. Consequently in his opening remarks he exclaimed, sorrowfully and solemnly You will say that this is all very sad and pitiful, but that a man who defiled his profession of letters by the guilt of incest deserves to suffer. It is true that he confessed his guilt, but it is an open question whether he did so because he was guilty or because he feared an even heavier punishment if he denied it. For Domitian was in a great rage and was boiling over with fury because his witnesses had left him in the lurch. His mind was set upon burying alive Cornelia, the chief of the Vestal Virgins, as he thought to make his age memorable by such an example of severity, and, using his authority as pontifex maximus, or rather exercising the cruelty of a tyrant and the wanton caprice of a ruler, he summoned the rest of the pontiffs not to the Palace but to his Villa at Alba. There, with a wickedness just as monstrous as the crime which he pretended to be punishing, he declared her guilty of incest, without summoning her before him and giving her a hearing, though he himself had not only committed incest with his brother's daughter but had even caused her death, for she died of abortion during her widowhood. He immediately despatched some of the pontiffs to see that his victim was buried alive and put to death. Cornelia invoked in turns the aid of Vesta and of the rest of the deities, and amid her many cries this was repeated most frequently Moreover, when Celer, the Roman knight who was accused of having intrigued with Cornelia, was being scourged with rods in the forum, he did nothing but cry out, "What have I done? I have done nothing." Consequently Domitian's evil reputation for cruelty and injustice blazed up on all hands. He fastened upon Licinianus for hiding a freedwoman of Cornelia on one of his farms. Licinianus was advised by his friends who interested themselves on his behalf to take refuge in making a confession and beg for pardon, if he wished to escape being flogged in the forum, and he did so. Herennius Senecio spoke for him in his absence very much in the words of Homer, "Patroclus is fallen;" ** for he said, "Instead of being an advocate, I am the bearer of news You see how careful I am to obey your wishes, as I not only give you the news of the town, but news from abroad, and minutely trace a story from its very beginning. I took for granted that, as you were away from Rome at the time, all you heard of Licinianus was that he had been banished for incest. For rumour only gives one the gist of the matter, not the various stages through which it passes. Surely I deserve that you should return the compliment and write and tell me what is going on in your town and neighbourhood, for something worthy of note is always happening. But say what you will, provided you give me the news in as long a letter as I have written to you. I shall count up not only the pages, but the lines and the syllables. Farewell. ,To Maturus Arrianus. You have a regard for Egnatius Marcellinus and you often commend him to my notice; you will love him and commend him the more when you hear what he has recently done. After setting out as quaestor for his province, he lost by death a secretary, who was allotted to him, before the day when the man's salary fell due, and he made up his mind and resolved that he ought not to keep the money which had been paid over to him to give to the secretary. So when he returned he consulted first Caesar and then the senate, on Caesar's recommendation, as to what was to be done with the money. It was a trifling question, but, after all, it was a question. The secretary's heirs claimed it should pass to them; the prefects of the treasury claimed it for the people. The case was heard, and counsel for the heirs and for the people pleaded in turn, and both spoke well to the point. Caecilius Strabo proposed that it should be paid over to the treasury; Baebius Macer that it should be given to the man's heirs; Strabo carried the day. I hope you will praise Marcellinus for his conduct, as I did on the spot, for, although he thinks it more than enough to have been congratulated by the Emperor and the senate, he will be glad to have your commendation as well. All who are anxious for glory and reputation are wonderfully pleased with the approbation and praise even of men of no particular account, while Marcellinus has such regard for you that he attaches the greatest importance to your opinion. Besides, if he knows that the fame of his action has penetrated so far, he cannot but be pleased at the ground his praises have covered and the rapidity and distance they have travelled. For it somehow happens that men prefer a wide even to a well-grounded reputation. Farewell. ,To Cornelius Tacitus. I am delighted that you have returned to Rome, for though your arrival is always welcome, it is especially so to me at the present moment. I shall be spending a few more days at my Tusculan villa in order to finish a small work which I have in hand, for I am afraid that if I do not carry it right through now that it is nearly completed I shall find it irksome to start on it again. In the meanwhile, that I may lose no time, I am sending this letter as a sort of forerunner to make a request which, when I am in town, I shall ask you to grant. But first of all, let me tell you my reasons for asking it. When I was last in my native district a son of a fellow townsman of mine, a youth under age, came to pay his respects to me. I said to him, "Do you keep up your studies?" "Yes," said he. "Where?" I asked. "At Mediolanum," he replied. "But why not here?" I queried. Then the lad's father, who was with him, and indeed had brought him, replied, "Because we have no teachers here." "How is that?" I asked. "It is a matter of urgent importance to you who are fathers" - and it so happened, luckily, that a number of fathers were listening to me - "that your children should get their schooling here on the spot. For where can they pass the time so pleasantly as in their native place; where can they be brought up so virtuously as under their parents' eyes; where so inexpensively as at home? If you put your money together you could hire teachers at a trifling cost, and you could add to their stipends the sums you now spend upon your sons' lodgings and travelling money, which are no light amounts. I have no children of my own, but still, in the interest of the State, which I may consider as my child or my parent, I am prepared to contribute a third part of the amount which you may decide to club together. I would even promise the whole sum, if I were not afraid that if I did so my generosity would be corrupted to serve private interests, as I see is the case in many places where teachers are employed at the public charge. There is but one way of preventing this evil, and that is by leaving the right of employing the teachers to the parents alone, who will be careful to make a right choice if they are required to find the money. For those who perhaps would be careless in dealing with other people's money will assuredly be careful in spending their own, and they will take care that the teacher who gets my money will be worth his salt when he will also get money from them as well. So put your heads together, make up your minds, and let my example inspire you, for I can assure you that the greater the contribution you lay upon me the better I shall be pleased. You cannot make your children a more handsome present than this, nor can you do your native place a better turn. Let those who are born here be brought up here, and from their earliest days accustom them to love and know every foot of their native soil. I hope you may be able to attract such distinguished teachers that boys will be sent here to study from the towns round about, and that, as now your children flock to other places, so in the future other people's children may flock hither." I thought it best to repeat this conversation in detail and from the very beginning, to convince you how glad I shall be if you will undertake my commission. As the subject is one of such importance, I beg and implore you to look out for some teachers from among the throng of learned people who gather round you in admiration of your genius, whom we can approach about the matter, but in such a way that we do not pledge ourselves to employ any one of them. For I wish to give the parents a perfectly free hand. They must judge and choose for themselves; my responsibilities go no further than a sympathetic interest and the payment of my share of the cost. So if you find anyone who is confident in his own abilities, let him go to Comum, but on the express understanding that he builds upon no certainty beyond his own confidence in himself. Farewell. ,To Paternus. Perhaps you are asking and looking out for a speech of mine, as you usually do, but I am sending you some wares of another sort, exotic trifles, the fruit of my playtime. You will receive with this letter some hendecasyllables of mine with which I pass my leisure hours pleasantly when driving, or in the bath, or at dinner. They contain my jests, my sportive fancies, my loves, sorrows, displeasures and wrath, described sometimes in a humble, sometimes in a lofty strain. My object has been to please different tastes by this variety of treatment, and I hope that certain pieces will be liked by everyone. Some of them will possibly strike you as being rather wanton, but a man of your scholarship will bear in mind that the very greatest and gravest authors who have handled such subjects have not only dealt with lascivious themes, but have treated them in the plainest language. I have not done that, not because I have greater austerity than they - by no means, but because I am not quite so daring. Otherwise, I am aware that Catullus has laid down the best and truest regulations governing this style of poetry in his lines You may guess from this what store I set on your critical judgment when I say that I prefer you should weigh the whole in the balance rather than pick out a few for your special praise. Yet pieces, perfect in themselves, cease to appear so the moment they are all on a dead level of perfection. Besides, a reader of judgment and acumen ought not to compare different pieces with one another, but to weigh each on its own merits and not to think one inferior to another, if it is perfect of its kind. But why say more? What more foolish than to excuse or commend mere trifles with a long preface? Still there is one thing of which I think I should advise you, and it is that I am thinking of calling these trifles "Hendecasyllables," a title which simply refers to the single metre employed. So, whether you prefer to call them epigrams, or idylls, or eclogues, or little poems, as many do, or any other name, remember that I only offer you "Hendecasyllables." I appeal to your candour to speak to me frankly about my tiny volume as you would to a third person, and this is no hard request. For if this trifling work of mind were my masterpiece, or my one solitary composition, it might perhaps seem harsh to say, "Seek out some other employment for your talent," but it is perfectly gentle and kindly criticism to say, "You have another sphere in which you show to greater advantage."Farewell. ,To Fundanus. If I have ever been guided by judgment, it has been in the strength of regard I have for Asinius Rufus. He is one of a thousand, and a devoted admirer of all good men among whom why may I not include myself? He is on the very closest of terms of friendship with Cornelius Tacitus, and you know what an honourable man Tacitus is. So if you have any high opinion of both Tacitus and myself, you must also think as highly of Rufus as you do of us, since similarity of character is perhaps the strongest bond for cementing friendships. Rufus has a number of children. Even in this respect he has acted the part of a good citizen, in that he was willing to freely undertake the responsibilities entailed upon him by the fruitfulness of his wife, in an age when the advantages of being childless are such that many people consider even one son to be a burden. * He has scorned all those advantages, and has also become a grandfather. For a grandfather he is, thanks to Saturius Firmus, whom you will love as I do when you know him as intimately. I mention these particulars to show you what a large and numerous household you can oblige by a single favour, and I am induced to ask it from you, in the first place, because I wish to do so, and in the second, owing to a good omen. For we hope and prophesy that next year you will be consul, and we are led to make that forecast by your own good qualities, and by the opinion that the Emperor has of you. But it also happens that Asinius Bassus, the eldest son of Rufus, will be quaestor in the same year, and he is a young man even more worthy than his father, though I don't know whether I ought to mention such a fact, which the modesty of the young fellow would deny, but which his father desires me to think and openly declare. Though you always repose confidence in what I say, it is difficult, I know, for you to credit my account of an absent man when I say that he possesses splendid industry, probity, learning, wit, application, and powers of memory, as you will discover for yourself when you have tried him. I only wish that our age was so productive of men of high character that there were others to whom you ought to give preference over Bassus; if it did, I should be the first to advise and exhort you to take a good look round, and consider long and carefully on whom your choice should fall. But as it is - yet no, I do not wish to boast about my friend, I will merely say that he is a young man well deserving of adoption by you as a son in the old-fashioned way. ** For prudent men, like yourself, ought to receive as children from the State children such as we are accustomed to hope that Nature will bestow upon us. When you are consul it will become you to have as quaestor a man whose father was praetor, and whose relatives are of consular rank, especially as he, although still young, is in his turn already in their judgment an honour to them and their family. So I hope you will grant my request and take my advice. Above all, pardon me if you think I am acting prematurely, first, because in a State where to get a thing done depends on the earliness of the application, those who wait for the proper time find the fruit not only ripe but plucked, and, secondly, when one is anxious to get a favour it is very pleasant to enjoy in advance the certainty of obtaining it. Give Bassus the opportunity of respecting you even now as consul, and do you entertain a friendly regard for him as your quaestor, and let us who are devoted to both of you have the enjoyment of this double satisfaction. For while our regard for you and Bassus is such that we shall use all our resources, energy, and influence to obtain the advancement of Bassus, no matter to what consul he is assigned as quaestor - as well as the advancement of any quaestor that may be allotted to you - it would be immensely gratifying to us if we could at one and the same time prove our friendship and advance your interests as consul by helping the cause of our young friend, and if you of all people, whose wishes the senate is so ready to gratify, and in whose recommendations they place such implicit trust, were to stand forth as the seconder of my desires. Farewell. 0 ,To Valerius Paulinus. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, on my account, on your own, and on that of the public. The profession of oratory is still held in honour. Just recently, when I had to speak in the court of the centumviri, I could find no way in except by crossing the tribunal and passing through the judges, all the other places were so crowded and thronged. Moreover, a certain young man of fashion who had his tunic torn to pieces - as often happens in a crowd - kept his ground for seven long hours with only his toga thrown round him. For my speech lasted all that time; and though it cost me a great effort, the results were more than worth it. Let us therefore prosecute our studies, and not allow the idleness of other people to be an excuse for laziness on our part. We can still find an audience and readers, provided only that our compositions are worth hearing, and worth the paper they are written on. Farewell. ,To Asinius Gallus. You recommend and press me to take up the case of Corellia, in her absence, against Caius Caecilius, the consul-designate. I thank you for the recommendation, but I am a little hurt at your pressing me; it was right of you to recommend me to do so, and so inform me of the case, but I needed no pressing to do what it would have been scandalous for me to leave undone. Am I the man to hesitate a second about protecting the rights of a daughter of Corellius? It is true that I am not only an acquaintance, but also a close friend of him whom you ask me to oppose. Moreover, he is a man of position and the office for which he has been chosen is a great one, one indeed for which I cannot but feel all the greater respect, inasmuch as I recently held it myself. It is natural that a man should desire the dignities to which he has himself attained to be held in the very highest esteem. However, all those considerations seem unimportant and trifling when I consider that I am about to champion the daughter of Corellius. I picture to myself that worthy gentleman, a man second to none in our age for gravity, uprightness of life, and quickness of judgment. I began to love him because I admired him so much, and the better I learned to know him the more my admiration grew - a result that rarely happens. Yes, and I knew his character thoroughly; he had no secrets from me, I knew him in his sportive and serious moods, in his moments both of sorrow and joy. I was but a young man, yet, young as I was, he held me in honour, and I will make bold to say that he paid me the respect he would have paid to one of his own years. When I sought advancement, it was he who canvassed and spoke for me; when I entered upon an office he introduced me and stood by my side; in all administrative work he gave me counsel and kept me straight; in short, in all my public duties, despite his weakness and his years, he showed himself to have the energy and fire of youth. How he helped to build up my reputation at home and in public, and even with the Emperor himself! For when it so happened that the conversation in the presence of the Emperor Nerva turned upon the subject of the promising young men of the day, and several speakers sang my praises, Corellius kept silence for a little while - a fact which added material weight to his remarks - and then he said in that grave manner you knew so well, "I must be careful how I praise Secundus, for he never does anything without taking my advice." The words were a tribute such as it would have been unreasonable for me to ask for or expect, for they amounted to this, that I never acted except in the most prudent manner, since I invariably acted on the advice of a man of his consummate prudence. Nay, even on his deathbed he said to his daughter, as she is never tired of repeating, "I have procured for you a multitude of friends, and, even had I lived longer, I could hardly have got you more, but best of all I have won you the friendship of Secundus and Cornutus." When I think of those words, I feel that it is my duty to work hard, that I may not seem to have fallen short in any particular of the confidence reposed in me by such an excellent judge of men. So I will take up Corellia's case without loss of time, nor will I mind giving offence to others by the course I adopt. Yet I think that I shall not only be excused, but receive the praises even of him who, as you say, is bringing this new action against Corellia, possibly because she is a woman, if during the hearing I explain my motives, more fully and amply than I can in the narrow limits of a letter, either in order to justify or even to win approval of my conduct. Farewell. ,To Arrius Antoninus. How can I better prove to you how greatly I admire your Greek epigrams than by the fact that I have tried to imitate some of them and turn them into Latin? I grant they have lost in the translation, and this is due in the first place to the poorness of my wits, and in the second place - and even more - to what Lucretius calls the poverty of our native tongue. * But if these verses, writ in Latin and by me, seem to you to possess any grace, you may guess how charming the originals are which were written in Greek and by you. Farewell. ,To Calpurnia Hispulla. As you yourself are a model of the family virtues, as you returned the affection of your brother, who was the best of men and devoted to you, and as you love his daughter as though she were your own child, and show her not only the affection of an aunt but even that of the father she has lost, I feel sure you will be delighted to know that she is proving herself worthy of her father, worthy of you, and worthy of her grandfather. She has a sharp wit, she is wonderfully economical, and she loves me - which is a guarantee of her purity. Moreover, owing to her fondness for me she has developed a taste for study. She collects all my speeches, she reads them, and learns them by heart. When I am about to plead, what anxiety she shows; when the pleading is over, how pleased she is! She has relays of people to bring her news as to the reception I get, the applause I excite, and the verdicts I win from the judges. Whenever I recite, she sits near me screened from the audience by a curtain, and her ears greedily drink in what people say to my credit. She even sings my verses and sets them to music, though she has no master to teach her but love, which is the best instructor of all. Hence I feel perfectly assured that our mutual happiness will be lasting, and will continue to grow day by day. For she loves in me not my youth * nor my person - both of which are subject to gradual decay and age - but my reputation. Nor would other feelings become one who had been brought up at your knee, who had been trained by your precepts, who had seen in your house nothing that was not pure and honourable, and, in short, had been taught to love me at your recommendation. For as you loved and venerated my mother as a daughter, so even when I was a boy you used to shape my character, and encourage me, and prophesy that I should develop into the man that my wife now believes me to be. Consequently my wife and I try to see who can thank you best, I because you have given her to me, and she because you gave me to her, as though you chose us the one for the other. Farewell. ,To Nonius Maximus. You know my opinion of your volumes singly, for I have written to tell you as I finished each one; now let me give my broad view of the whole work. It is beautifully written, with power, incisiveness, loftiness, and variety of treatment, in elegant, pure language, with plenty of metaphor, while it is comprehensive and covers an amount of ground that does you great credit. You have been carried far by the sweeping sails of your genius and your resentment, both of which have been a great help to you; for your genius has lent a lofty magnificence to your resentment, which in turn has added power and sharpness to your genius. Farewell. ,To Velius Cerealis. What a terribly sad fate has overtaken those two sisters, the Helvidiae! Both to have given birth to daughters, and both to have died in childbirth! I am very, very sorry, yet I keep my grief within bounds. What seems to me so lamentable is that two honourable ladies should in the very spring-time of life have been carried off at the moment of becoming mothers. I am grieved for the infants who are left motherless at their birth; I am grieved for their excellent husbands, and grieved also on my own account. For even now I retain the warmest affection for their dead father, as I have shown in my pleading and my books. Now only one of his three children is alive, and he alone remains to support a house which a little time ago had so many props to sustain it. But my grief will be greatly relieved should Fortune preserve him at least to robust and vigorous health, and make him as good a man as his father and grandfather were before him. I am the more anxious for his health and character now that he is the only one left. You know the tenderness of my mind where my affections are engaged and how nervous I am, so you must not be surprised if I show most anxiety on behalf of those of whom I have formed the greatest hopes. Farewell. ,To Sempronius Rufus. I have been called in by our excellent Emperor to take part and advise upon the following case. Under the will of a certain person, it has been the custom at Vienna * to hold a gymnastic contest. Trebonius Rufus, a man of high principle and a personal friend of mine, in his capacity of duumvir, discontinued and abolished the custom, and it was objected that he had no legal authority to do so. He pleaded his case not only with eloquence but to good effect, and what lent force to his pleading was that he spoke with discretion and dignity, as a Roman and a good citizen should, in a matter that concerned himself. When the opinion of the Council was taken, Junius Mauricus, who stands second to none for strength of will and devotion to truth, was against restoring the contest to the people of Vienna, and he added, "I wish the games could be abolished at Rome as well." That is a bold consistent line, you will say. So it is, but that is no new thing with Mauricus. He spoke just as frankly before the Emperor Nerva. Nerva was dining with a few friends; Veiento was sitting next to him and was leaning on his shoulder - I need say no more after mentioning the man's name. The conversation turned upon Catullus Messalinus, who was blind, and had that curse to bear in addition to his savage disposition. He was void of fear, shame, and pity, and on that account Domitian often used him as a tool for the destruction of the best men in the State, just as though he were a dart urging on its blind and sightless course. All at table were speaking of this man's villainy and bloody counsels, when the Emperor himself said ,To Pomponius Bassus. I have been delighted to hear from our mutual friends that you map out and bear your retirement in a way that is worthy of your ripe wisdom, that you live in a charming spot, that you take exercise on both sea and land, that you have plenty of good conversation, that you read a great deal and listen to others reading, and that, though your stock of knowledge is vast, you yet add thereto every day. That is just the way a man should spend his later years after filling the highest magistracies, after commanding armies, and devoting himself wholly to the service of the State for as long as it became him to do so. For we owe our early and middle manhood to our country, our last years are due to ourselves - as indeed the laws direct which enforce retirement when we reach a certain age. When will that appointed time come to me? When shall I attain the age at which I may honourably retire and imitate the example of beautiful and perfect peace that you set me? When shall I be able to enjoy calm retreat without people calling it not peaceful tranquillity but laziness and sloth? Farewell. ,To Fabius Valens. Just recently, after pleading before the centumviri in the fourfold Court, * I happened to remember that in my younger days I had also pleaded in the same court. My thoughts, as usual, began to take a wider range, and I commenced to recall to my memory those whom I had worked with in this court and in that. I found I was the only one left who had practised in both, so sweeping were the changes effected by the slenderness of human life and the fickleness of fortune. Some of those who used to plead in my young days are dead, others are in exile; age and ill health have convinced others that their speaking days are over; some are enjoying of their own free will the pleasures of retirement, or are in command of armies, or have been withdrawn from civil employments by becoming the personal friends of the Emperor. Even in my own case how many changes I have gone through! I first owed my promotion to my literary studies; then they brought me into danger, and then again won me still further advancement. My friendships with worthy citizens likewise first helped me, then stood in my way, ** and now again they assist me. If you count the years, the time seems but short; but count the changes and the ups and downs, and it seems an age. This may be taken by us as a lesson never to despair of anything, and never to impose a blind trust in anything, when we see so many vicissitudes brought about by this inconstant world of ours. I deem it a mark of friendship on my part to make you the confidant of my thoughts, and to admonish you by the precepts and examples with which I admonish myself. That is the whole purpose of this letter. Farewell. 0 ,To Messius Maximus. I wrote and told you that there was a danger of the ballot leading to abuses. * Events have confirmed my view. At the last comitia a number of flippant jests were written on some of the voting cards and even obscenities, while on one of them were found, not the names of the candidates, but those of the voters. The senate was furious, and loudly called upon the offended Emperor to punish the writer. But the guilty person kept quiet and was not discovered - he possibly was one of those who professed the greatest indignation. Yet what conduct may we not consider him capable of at home when he plays such disgraceful jokes in a matter of such importance and at such a serious moment, and yet in the senate is an incisive, courteous, and witty speaker? However, people of no principle are encouraged to act in this shameful way when they feel they can safely say, "Who will find me out?" Such a man asks for a voting card, takes a pen in his hand, bends his head, has no fear of anyone, and holds himself cheap. That is the origin of scurrilities only worthy of the stage and the platform. But where can one turn, and where is one to look for a cure? On every hand the evils are more powerful than the remedies. Yet "all these things will be seen to by one above us," ** whose daily working hours are lengthened and whose labours are considerably increased by this lumpish, yet unbridled, perversity. Farewell. 0 ,To Maecilius Nepos. You ask me to be sure to look over and correct my speeches, which you have taken the greatest pains to get together. I will with pleasure, for what duty is there that I ought to be better pleased to undertake, especially as it is you who ask me? When a man of your weight, scholarship, and learning, and, above all, one who is never idle for a moment, and is about to be governor of an important province, sets such store on having my writings to take with him on his travels, surely I ought to do my best to prevent this part of his luggage from appearing useless in his eyes. So I will do what I can, first, to make those companions of your voyage as agreeable as possible, and, secondly, to enable you to find on your return others that you may like to add to their number. Believe me, the fact that you read what I write is no small incentive to me to produce new works. Farewell. ,To Pompeius Falco. This is the third day that I have been attending the recitals of Sentius Augurinus, which I have not only enjoyed immensely, but admired as well. He calls his work "Poetical Pieces." Many are airy trifles; many deal with noble themes, and they abound in wit, tenderness, sweetness, and sting. Unless it is that my affection for him, or the fact that he has lavished praises upon me, warps my judgment, I must say that for some years past there have been no such finished poems of their class produced. Augurinus took as his theme the fact that I occasionally amuse myself with writing verses. I will enable you to act the critic of my criticism if I can recall the second line of the piece. I remember the others, and now I think I have them all. I sing songs in trifling measures, which Catullus, Calvus, and the poets of old have employed before me. But what matters that to me? Pliny alone I count my senior. When he quits the forum, his taste is for light verses; he seeks an object for his love, and thinks that he is loved in return. What a man is Pliny, worth how many Catos! Go now, you who love, and love no more. You see how smart, how apposite, how clear-cut the verses are, and I can promise you that the whole book is equally good. I will send you a copy as soon as it is published. Meanwhile, give the young man your regard and congratulate the age on producing such genius, which he enhances by the beauty of his morals. He passes his time with Spurinna and Antoninus; he is related to the one, and shares the same house with the other. You may guess from this that he is a youth of finished parts, when he is thus loved by men of their years and worth. For the old adage is wonderfully true, "You may tell a man by the company he keeps." * Farewell. ,To Vibius Severus. Herennius Severus, a man of great learning, is anxious to place in his library portraits of your fellow-townsmen, Cornelius Nepos and Titus Catius, and he asks me to get them copied and painted if there are any such portraits in their native place, as there probably are. I am laying this commission upon you rather than on any one else, first, because you are always kind enough to grant any favour I ask; secondly, because I know your reverence for literary studies and your love of literary men; and, lastly, because you love and reverence your native place, and entertain the same feelings for those who have helped to make its name famous. So I beg you to find as careful a painter as you can, for while it is hard to paint a portrait from an original, it is far more difficult to make a good imitation of an imitation. Moreover, please do not let the painter you choose make any variations from his copy, even though they are for the better. Farewell. ,To Romatius Firmus. Do be careful, my dear friend, and the next time there is business afoot, see to it that you come into court, whatever happens. It is no good your putting your confidence in me and so continuing your slumber; if you stay away, you will have to suffer for it. For look you, Licinius Nepos, who is making a sharp and resolute praetor, has levied a fine even on a senator. The latter pleaded his case in the senate, but he did so in the form of suing for forgiveness. The fine was remitted, yet he had an uneasy time; he had to ask for pardon, and he was obliged to sue for forgiveness. You will say, "Oh, but all praetors are not so strict." Don't make any mistake! For though it is only a strict praetor who would make or revive such a precedent, when once it has been made or revived even the most lenient officials can put it into execution. Farewell. ,To Licinius Sura. * I have brought you as a present from my native district a problem which is fully worthy even of your profound learning. A spring rises in the mountain-side; it flows down a rocky course, and is caught in a little artificial banqueting house. After the water has been retained there for a time it falls into the Larian lake. There is a wonderful phenomenon connected with it, for thrice every day it rises and falls with fixed regularity of volume. Close by it you may recline and take a meal, and drink from the spring itself, for the water is very cool, and meanwhile it ebbs and flows at regular and stated intervals. If you place a ring or anything else on a dry spot by the edge, the water gradually rises to it and at last covers it, and then just as gradually recedes and leaves it bare; while if you watch it for any length of time, you may see both processes twice or thrice repeated. Is there any unseen air which first distends and then tightens the orifice and mouth of the spring, resisting its onset and yielding at its withdrawal? We observe something of this sort in jars and other similar vessels which have not a direct and free opening, for these, when held either perpendicularly or aslant, pour out their contents with a sort of gulp, as though there were some obstruction to a free passage. Or is this spring like the ocean, and is its volume enlarged and lessened alternately by the same laws that govern the ebb and flow of the tide? Or again, just as rivers on their way to the sea are driven back on themselves by contrary winds and the opposing tide, is there anything that can drive back the outflow of this spring? Or is there some latent reservoir which diminishes and retards the flow while it is gradually collecting the water that has been drained off, and increases and quickens the flow when the process of collection is complete? Or is there some curiously hidden and unseen balance which, when emptied, raises and thrusts forth the spring, and, when filled, checks and stifles its flow? Please investigate the causes which bring about this wonderful result, for you have the ability to do so; it is more than enough for me if I have described the phenomenon with accuracy. ** Farewell.


nanTo Annius Severus. I have come in for a legacy, inconsiderable in amount, yet more gratifying than even the handsomest one could be. Why so? I will tell you. Pomponia Galla, who had disinherited her son Asudius Curianus, had left me her heir and had given me as co-heirs Sertorius Severus, a man of praetorian rank, and other Roman knights of distinction. Curianus begged me to make my portion over to him, and so strengthen his position with the court by declaring in his favour beforehand, * promising at the same time to make the amount good to me by a secret compact. My answer was that my character did not allow me to act in one way before the world and in another in private, and I further urged that it would not be a proper thing to make over sums of money to a wealthy and childless man. ** In short, my argument was that I should not benefit him by making over the amount, but that I should benefit him if I renounced my legacy, and that this I was perfectly willing to do, if he could satisfy me that he had been unjustly disinherited. His reply to this was to ask me to investigate the case judicially. After some hesitation I said, "I will, for I do not see why I should appear less honourable in my own eyes than I do in yours. But remember even now that I shall not hesitate to pronounce in favour of your mother if I feel honourably bound to do so." "Do as you will," he replied, "for what you will is sure to be just and right." I called in to assist me two of the most thoroughly honourable men that the State could boast of possessing, Corellius and Frontinus. With these by my side I sat in my private room. Curianus then laid his case before us; I replied briefly, for there was no one else present to defend the motives of the deceased. Then I withdrew, and, in accordance with the views of Corellius and Frontinus, I said, "Curianus, we think that your mother had just grounds for resentment against you." Subsequently, he lodged an appeal before the centumviri against the other heirs but not against me. The day for the hearing approached, and my co-heirs were disposed to agree to a compromise and come to terms, not because they doubted their legal position, but owing to the troubled state of the times. † They were afraid that what had happened to many others might happen to them, and that they might leave the centumviral court with some capital charge against them. Moreover, there were some among their number who were open to the charge of having been friends of Gratilla and Rusticus, so they begged me to speak with Curianus. We met in the Temple of Concord, and I addressed him there in the following terms I have reaped the reward not only of my scrupulously fair dealing, but also of my reputation. Curianus left me a legacy, and, unless I flatter myself unduly, he has given signal distinction to the honest course of action I pursued. I have written to tell you this because it is my custom to discuss with you any matters which give me pain or pleasure, as freely as though I were talking to myself. Besides, I thought it would be unkind to defraud you, who have such a great regard for me, of the pleasure which I have received from this. For I am not such a perfect philosopher as to think it makes no difference whether I receive or not the approbation of others - which is itself a kind of reward - when I think that I have acted in an honourable manner. Farewell. ,To Calpurnius Flaccus. I received the very fine sea-carp which you sent me. The weather is so stormy that I cannot return you like for like, either from the market here at Laurentum or from the sea. So all you will get is a barren letter, which frankly makes no return and does not even imitate Diomedes' clever device in exchanging gifts. * But your kindness is such that you will excuse me all the more readily because I confess in my letter that I do not deserve it. Farewell. ,To Titius Aristo. While I gratefully acknowledge your many acts of kindness to me, I must especially thank you for not concealing from me the fact that my verses have formed the subject of many long discussions at your house, that such discussions have been lengthened owing to the different views expressed, and that some people, while finding no fault with the writings themselves, blamed me in a perfectly friendly and candid way for having written on such themes and for having read them in public. Well, in order to aggravate my misdeeds, here is my reply to them Nor does it annoy me that people should form such opinions about my character, when it is plain that those who are surprised that I should compose such poems are unaware that the most learned of men and the gravest and purest livers have regularly done the same thing. But I feel sure that I shall easily obtain permission from those who know the character and calibre of the authors in whose footsteps I am treading, to stray in company with men whom it is an honour to follow, not only in their serious but in their lightest moods. I will not mention the names of those still living for fear of seeming to flatter, but is a person like myself to be afraid that it will be unbecoming for him to do what well became Marcus Tullius, Caius Calvus, Asinius Pollio, Marcus Messalla, Quintus Hortensius, M. Brutus, Lucius Sulla, Quintus Catulus, Quintus Scaevola, Servius Sulpicius, Varro, Torquatus - or rather the Torquati, - Caius Memmius, Lentulus Gaetulicus, Annaeus Seneca, Lucan, and, last of all, Verginius Rufus? If the names of these private individuals are not enough, I may add those of the divine Julius, Augustus and Nerva, and that of Tiberius Caesar. I pass by the name of Nero, though I am aware that a practice does not become any the worse because it is sometimes followed by men of bad character, while a practice usually followed by men of good character retains its honesty. Among the latter class of men one must give a pre-eminent place to Publius Vergilius, Cornelius Nepos, and to Attius and Ennius, who should perhaps come first. These men were not senators, but purity of character is the same in all ranks. But, you say, I recite my compositions and I cannot be sure that they did. Granted, but they may have been content with their own judgment, whereas I am too modest to think that any composition of mine is sufficiently perfect when it has no other approbation but my own. Consequently, these are the reasons why I recite in public, first, because a man who recites becomes a keener critic of his own writings out of deference to his audience, and, secondly, because, where he is in doubt, he can decide by referring the point to his listeners. Moreover, he constantly meets with criticism from many quarters, and even if it is not openly expressed, he can tell what each person thinks by watching the expression and eyes of his hearers, or by a nod, a motion of the hand, a murmur, or dead silence. All these things are tolerably clear indications which enable one to distinguish judgment from complaisance. And so, if any one who was present at my reading takes the trouble to look through the same compositions, he will find that I have either altered or omitted certain passages, in compliance perhaps with his judgment, though he never uttered a word to me. But I am arguing on this point as though I invited the whole populace to my reading room and not merely a few friends to my private chamber, while the possession of a large circle of friends has been a source of pride to many men and a reproach to none. Farewell. ,To Julius Valerianus. The incident is trifling in itself, but it is leading up to important consequences. Sollers, a man of praetorian rank, asked permission of the senate to establish a market on his property. The delegates of the people of Vicetia opposed it ,To Nonius Maximus. I have been told that Caius Fannius is dead, and the news has greatly upset me, in the first place, because I loved him for his taste and learning, and, secondly, because I used to avail myself of his judgment. He was naturally keen-witted; experience had sharpened his acumen, and he could detect the truth without hesitation. I am troubled, too, owing to the circumstances in which he died, for he has died without revoking an old will which contains no mention of those for whom he had the greatest affection, and is in favour of those with whom he has been on bad terms. However, this might have been got over - what is most serious is that he has left unfinished his finest work. Although his time was taken up with his profession as a pleader, he was engaged in writing the lives of those who were put to death or banished by Nero. He had already finished three books, in an unadorned, accurate style and in the Latin language. They are something between narrative and history, and the eagerness which people displayed to read them made him all the more desirous to finish the remaining volumes. It always seems to me hard and untimely when people die who are engaged upon some immortal work. For those who are devoted to their pleasures and live a sort of day-to-day existence exhaust every day the reasons why they should go on living, whereas when people think of posterity and keep alive their memory by their works, their death, come as it may, is always sudden, inasmuch as it cuts short something that is still unfinished. However, Caius Fannius had had for a long time a presentiment of what was to befall him. He dreamt in the quiet of the night that he was lying on his bed dressed for study and that he had a writing desk before him, as was his habit. Then he thought that Nero came to him, sat down on the couch, and after producing the first volume which Fannius had written about his crimes, turned over the pages to the end. He did the same with the second and third volumes, and then departed. Fannius was much alarmed, and interpreted the dream to mean that he would leave off writing just where Nero had left off reading, and so the event proved. When I think of it I feel grieved to think how many wakeful hours and how much labour Fannius toiled through in vain. I see before me my own mortality and my own writings. Nor do I doubt that you have the same thought and anxiety for the work which is still on your hands. Let us do our best, therefore, while life lasts, that death may find as few works of ours as possible for him to destroy. Farewell. ,To Domitius Apollinaris. I was charmed with the kind consideration which led you, when you heard that I was about to visit my Tuscan villa in the summer, to advise me not to do so during the season when you consider the district unhealthy. Undoubtedly, the region along the Tuscan coast is trying and dangerous to the health, but my property lies well back from the sea; indeed, it is just under the Apennines, which are the healthiest of our mountain ranges. However, that you may not have the slightest anxiety on my account, let me tell you all about the climatic conditions, the lie of the land, and the charms of my villa. It will be as pleasant reading for you as it is pleasant writing for me. In winter the air is cold and frosty The contour of the district is most beautiful. Picture to yourself an immense amphitheatre, such as only Nature can create, with a wide-spreading plain ringed with hills, and the summits of the hills themselves covered with tall and ancient forests. There is plentiful and varied hunting to be had. Down the mountain slopes there are stretches of timber woods, and among these are rich, deep-soiled hillocks - where if you look for a stone you will have hard work to find one - which are just as fertile as the most level plains, and ripen just as rich harvests, though later in the season. Below these, along the whole hillsides, stretch the vineyards which present an unbroken line far and wide, on the borders and lowest level of which comes a fringe of trees. Then you reach the meadows and the fields - fields which only the most powerful oxen and the stoutest ploughs can turn. The soil is so tough and composed of such thick clods that when it is first broken up it has to be furrowed nine times before it is subdued. The meadows are jewelled with flowers, and produce trefoil and other herbs, always tender and soft, and looking as though they were always fresh. For all parts are well nourished by never-failing streams, and even where there is most water there are no swamps, for the slope of the land drains off into the Tiber all the moisture that it receives and cannot itself absorb. The Tiber runs through the middle of the plain; it is navigable for ships, and all the grain is carried downstream to the city, at least in winter and spring. In summer the volume of water dwindles away, leaving but the name of a great river to the dried-up bed, but in the autumn it recovers its flood. You would be delighted if you could obtain a view of the district from the mountain height, for you would think you were looking not so much at earth and fields as at a beautiful landscape picture of wonderful loveliness. Such is the variety, such the arrangement of the scene, that wherever the eyes fall they are sure to be refreshed. My villa, though it lies at the foot of the hill, enjoys as fine a prospect as though it stood on the summit; the ascent is so gentle and easy, and the gradient so unnoticeable, that you find yourself at the top without feeling that you are ascending. The Apennines lie behind it, but at a considerable distance, and even on a cloudless and still day it gets a breeze from this range, never boisterous and rough, for its strength is broken and lost in the distance it has to travel. Most of the house faces south; in summer it gets the sun from the sixth hour, and in winter considerably earlier, inviting it as it were into the portico, which is broad and long to correspond, and contains a number of apartments and an old-fashioned hall. In front, there is a terrace laid out in different patterns and bounded with an edging of box; then comes a sloping ridge with figures of animals on both sides cut out of the box-trees, while on the level ground stands an acanthus-tree, with leaves so soft that I might almost call them liquid. Round this is a walk bordered by evergreens pressed and trimmed into various shapes; then comes an exercise ground, round like a circus, which surrounds the box-trees that are cut into different forms, and the dwarf shrubs that are kept clipped. Everything is protected by an enclosure, which is hidden and withdrawn from sight by the tiers of box-trees. Beyond is a meadow, as well worth seeing for its natural charm as the features just described are for their artificial beauty, and beyond that there stretches an expanse of fields and a number of other meadows and thickets. At the head of the portico there runs out the dining-room, from the doors of which can be seen the end of the terrace with the meadow and a good expanse of country beyond it, while from the windows the view on the one hand commands one side of the terrace and the part of the villa which juts out, and on the other the grove and foliage of the adjoining riding-school. Almost opposite to the middle of the portico is a summer-house standing back a little, with a small open space in the middle shaded by four plane-trees. Among them is a marble fountain, from which the water plays upon and lightly sprinkles the roots of the plane-trees and the grass plot beneath them. In this summer-house there is a bed-chamber which excludes all light, noise, and sound, and adjoining it is a dining-room for my friends, which faces upon the small court and the other portico, and commands the view enjoyed by the latter. There is another bed-chamber, which is leafy and shaded by the nearest plane-tree and built of marble up to the balcony; above is a picture of a tree with birds perched in the branches equally beautiful with the marble. Here there is a small fountain with a basin around the latter, and the water runs into it from a number of small pipes, which produce a most agreeable sound. In the corner of the portico is a spacious bed-chamber leading out of the dining-room, some of its windows looking out upon the terrace, others upon the meadow, while the windows in front face the fish-pond which lies just beneath them, and is pleasant both to eye and ear, as the water falls from a considerable elevation and glistens white as it is caught in the marble basin. This bed-chamber is beautifully warm even in winter, for it is flooded with an abundance of sunshine. The heating chamber for the bath adjoins it, and on a cloudy day we turn in steam to take the place of the sun's warmth. Next comes a roomy and cheerful undressing room for the bath, from which you pass into a cool chamber containing a large and shady swimming bath. If you prefer more room or warmer water to swim in, there is a pond in the court with a well adjoining it, from which you can make the water colder when you are tired of the warm. Adjoining the cold bath is one of medium warmth, for the sun shines lavishly upon it, but not so much as upon the hot bath which is built farther out. There are three sets of steps leading to it, two exposed to the sun, and the third out of the sun though quite as light. Above the dressing-room is a ball court where various kinds of exercise can be taken, and a number of games can be played at once. Not far from the bath-room is a staircase leading to a covered passage, at the head of which are three rooms, one looking out upon the courtyard with the four plane-trees, the second upon the meadow, and the third upon the vineyards, so each therefore enjoys a different view. At the end of the passage is a bed-chamber constructed out of the passage itself, which looks out upon the riding-course, the vineyards, and the mountains. Connected with it is another bed-chamber open to the sun, and especially so in winter time. Leading out of this is an apartment which adjoins the riding-course of the villa. Such is the appearance and the use to which the front of my house is put. At the side is a raised covered gallery, which seems not so much to look out upon the vineyards as to touch them; in the middle is a dining-room which gets the invigorating breezes from the valleys of the Apennines, while at the other side, through the spacious windows and the folding doors, you seem to be close upon the vineyards again with the gallery between. On the side of the room where there are no windows is a private winding staircase by which the servants bring up the requisites for a meal. At the end of the gallery is a bed-chamber, and the gallery itself affords as pleasant a prospect from there as the vineyards. Underneath runs a sort of subterranean gallery, which in summer time remains perfectly cool, and as it has sufficient air within it, it neither admits any from without nor needs any. Next to both these galleries the portico commences where the dining-room ends, and this is cold before mid-day, and summery when the sun has reached his zenith. This gives the approach to two apartments, one of which contains four beds and the other three, and they are bathed in sunshine or steeped in shadow, according to the position of the sun. But though the arrangements of the house itself are charming, they are far and away surpassed by the riding-course. It is quite open in the centre, and the moment you enter your eye ranges over the whole of it. Around its borders are plane-trees clothed with ivy, and so while the foliage at the top belongs to the trees themselves, that on the lower parts belongs to the ivy, which creeps along the trunk and branches, and spreading across to the neighbouring trees, joins them together. Between the plane-trees are box shrubs, and on the farther side of the shrubs is a ring of laurels which mingle their shade with that of the plane-trees. At the far end, the straight boundary of the riding-course is curved into semi-circular form, which quite changes its appearance. It is enclosed and covered with cypress-trees, the deeper shade of which makes it darker and gloomier than at the sides, but the inner circles - for there are more than one - are quite open to the sunshine. Even roses grow there, and the warmth of the sun is delightful as a change from the cool of the shade. When you come to the end of these various winding alleys, the boundary again runs straight, or should I say boundaries, for there are a number of paths with box shrubs between them. In places there are grass plots intervening, in others box shrubs, which are trimmed to a great variety of patterns, some of them being cut into letters forming my name as owner and that of the gardener. Here and there are small pyramids and apple-trees, and now and then in the midst of all this graceful artificial work you suddenly come upon what looks like a real bit of the country planted there. The intervening space is beautified on both sides with dwarf plane-trees; beyond these is the acanthus-tree that is supple and flexible to the hand, and there are more boxwood figures and names. At the upper end is a couch of white marble covered with a vine, the latter being supported by four small pillars of Carystian marble. Jets of water flow from the couch through small pipes and look as if they were forced out by the weight of persons reclining thereon, and the water is caught in a stone cistern and then retained in a graceful marble basin, regulated by pipes out of sight, so that the basin, while always full, never overflows. The heavier dishes and plates are placed at the side of the basin when I dine there, but the lighter ones, formed into the shapes of little boats and birds, float on the surface and travel round and round. Facing this is a fountain which receives back the water it expels, for the water is thrown up to a considerable height and then falls down again, and the pipes that perform the two processes are connected. Directly opposite the couch is a bed-chamber, and each lends a grace to the other. It is formed of glistening marble, and through the projecting folding doors you pass at once among the foliage, while both from the upper and lower windows you look out upon the same green picture. Within is a little cabinet which seems to belong at once to the same and yet another bed-chamber. This contains a bed and it has windows on every side, yet the shade is so thick outside that very little light enters, for a wonderfully luxuriant vine has climbed up to the roof and covers the whole building. You can fancy you are in a grove as you lie there, only that you do not feel the rain as you do among trees. Here too a fountain rises and immediately loses itself underground. There are a number of marble chairs placed up and down, which are as restful for persons tired with walking as the bed-chamber itself. Near these chairs are little fountains, and throughout the whole riding-course you hear the murmur of tiny streams carried through pipes, which run wherever you please to direct them. These are used to water the shrubs, sometimes in one part, sometimes in another, and at other times all are watered together. I should long since have been afraid of boring you, had I not set out in this letter to take you with me round every corner of my estate. For I am not at all apprehensive that you will find it tedious to read about a place which certainly would not tire you to look at, especially as you can get a little rest whenever you desire, and can sit down, so to speak, by laying down the letter. Moreover, I have been indulging my affection for the place, for I am greatly attached to anything that is mainly the work of my own hands or that someone else has begun and I have taken up. In short - for there is no reason is there? why I should not be frank with you, whether my judgments are sound or unsound - I consider that it is the first duty of a writer to select the title of his work and constantly ask himself what he has begun to write about. He may be sure that so long as he keeps to his subject-matter he will not be tedious, but that he will bore his readers to distraction if he starts dragging in extraneous matter to make weight. Observe the length with which Homer describes the arms of Achilles, and Virgil the arms of Aeneas - yet in both cases the description seems short, because the author only carries out what he intended to. Observe how Aratus hunts up and brings together even the tiniest stars - yet he does not exceed due limits. For his description is not an excursus, but the end and aim of the whole work. It is the same with myself, if I may compare my lowly efforts with their great ones. I have been trying to give you a bird's eye view of the whole of my villa, and if I have introduced no extraneous matter and have never wandered off my subject, it is not the letter containing the description which is to be considered of excessive size, but rather the villa which has been described. However, let me get back to the point I started from, lest I give you an opportunity of justly condemning me by my own law, by not pursuing this digression any farther. I have explained to you why I prefer my Tuscan house to my other places at Tusculum, Tibur and Praeneste. For in addition to all the beauties I have described above, my repose here is more profound and more comfortable, and therefore all the freer from anxiety. There is no necessity to don the toga, no neighbour ever calls to drag me out; everything is placid and quiet; and this peace adds to the healthiness of the place, by giving it, so to speak, a purer sky and a more liquid air. I enjoy better health both in mind and body here than anywhere else, for I exercise the former by study and the latter by hunting. Besides, there is no place where my household keep in better trim, and up to the present I have not lost a single one of all whom I brought with me. I hope Heaven will forgive the boast, and that the gods will continue my happiness to me and preserve this place in all its beauty. Farewell. ,To Calvisius Rufus. It is beyond question that a community cannot be appointed heir and cannot take a share of an inheritance before the general distribution of the estate. None the less, Saturninus, who left us his heirs, bequeathed a fourth share to our community of Comum, and then, in lieu of that fourth share, assigned them permission to take 400,000 sesterces before the division of the estate. As a matter of strict law, this is null and void, but if you only look at the intentions of the deceased, it is quite sound and valid. I don't know what the lawyers will think of what I am going to say, but to me the wishes of the deceased seem worthy of more consideration than the letter of the law, especially as regards the sum which he wished to go to our common birthplace. Moreover, I, who gave 1,600,000 sesterces our of my own money to my native place, am not the man to refuse it a little more than a third part of 400,000 sesterces which have come to me by a lucky windfall. I know that you too will not refuse to fall in with my views, as your affection for the same community is that of a thoroughly loyal citizen. I shall be glad, therefore, if at the next meeting of the decurions, you will lay before them the state of the law, and I hope you will do so briefly and modestly. Then add that we make them an offer of the 400,000 sesterces, in accordance with the wishes of Saturninus. But be sure to point out that the munificence and generosity are his, and that all we are doing is to obey his wishes. I have refrained from writing in a public manner on this business, firstly, because I knew very well that our friendship was such, and that your judgment was so ripe, that you could and ought to act for me as well as for yourself, and then again I was afraid that I might not preserve in a letter that exact mean which you will have no difficulty in preserving in a speech. For a man's expression, his gestures, and even the tones of his voice help to indicate the precise meaning of his words, while a letter, which is deprived of all these advantages, is exposed to the malignity of those who put upon it what interpretation they choose. Farewell. ,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. ,To Rufus. I had gone down to the Basilica Julia to listen to the speeches of the counsel to whom I had to reply from the last postponement. The judges were in their places; the decemvirs had arrived; the advocates were moving to and fro, and then came a long silence, broken at last by a message from the praetor. The centumviri were dismissed and the hearing was put off, at which I was glad, for I am never so well prepared that I am not pleased at having extra time given me. The postponement was due to Nepos, the praetor-designate, who hears cases with the most scrupulous attention to legal forms. He had issued a short edict warning both plaintiffs and defendants that he would strictly carry out the decree of the senate. Attached to the edict was a copy of the decree, which provided "that all persons engaged in any lawsuit are hereby ordered to take an oath before their cases are heard, that they have neither given nor promised any sum to their advocates, nor have entered into any contract to pay them for their advocacy." In these words and other long sentences as well, advocates were forbidden to sell their services and litigants to buy them, although, when a suit is over, the latter are allowed to offer their counsel a sum not exceeding ten thousand sesterces. The praetor, who was presiding over the court of the centumviri, was embarrassed by this decree of Nepos and gave us an unexpected holiday, while he made up his mind whether or not he should follow the example that had been set. Meanwhile, the whole town is discussing the edict of Nepos, some favourably, others adversely. Many people are saying ,To Suetonius Tranquillus. Do, I beg of you, fulfil the promise I made in my verses * when I pledged my word that our common friends should see your compositions. People are asking for them every day, clamouring for them even, and, if you are not careful, you may find yourself served with a writ to publish them. ** I myself am very slow to make up my mind to publish, but you are far more of a slow-coach than even I am. So either decide at once, or take care that I do not drag those books of yours from you by the lash of my satire, † as I have failed to coax them out by my hendecasyllables. The work is absolutely finished, and if you polish it any more you will only impair it without making it shine the more brightly. Do let me see your name on the title page; do let me hear that the volumes of my friend Tranquillus are being copied, read, and sold. It is only fair, considering the strength of our attachment, that you should afford me the same gratification that I have afforded you. Farewell. ,To Calpurnius Fabatus, his Wife's Grandfather. I have received your letter, from which I gather that you have dedicated a most beautiful portico in the joint names of yourself and your son, and that on the following day you promised a sum of money for the decoration of the gates, so as to mark the completion of your earlier act of generosity by immediately beginning a new one. I am delighted to hear it, in the first place, on account of the reputation you will secure, of which some part will extend to me, owing to the closeness of our friendship; secondly, because I see that the name of my father-in-law will be perpetuated by these choice works; and, lastly, because our country is in such a flourishing state. Pleasant as it is to see her honoured by anyone, it is trebly gratifying when the honour is paid by yourself. It only remains for me to pray Heaven to confirm you in this habit of mind, and bestow upon you long length of years. For I venture to prophesy that, when your latest promise is complete, you will set about something else. When once a man's generosity has been aroused it knows not where to stop, for the more it is practised the more beautiful it becomes in the eyes of the generous. Farewell. ,To Terentius Scaurus. Before giving a recital of a little speech which I had some thoughts of publishing, I called a few friends to hear it, so as to put me on my mettle, but not many, so that I might get candid criticism. For there are two reasons why I give these recitals, one that I may screw myself up to the proper pitch by their anxiety that I should do myself justice, and the other that they may correct me if I happen to make a mistake and do not notice it because the blunder is my own. I got what I wanted and I found some friends who gave me their advice freely; while I myself noticed certain passages which required correction. I have revised the speech which I am sending you. You will see what the subject is from the title, and the speech itself will explain all other points. It ought now to become so familiar to people as to be understood without any preface. But I trust that you will write and tell me what you think of it as a whole as well as in parts, for I shall be the more careful to suppress it, or the more determined to publish it, according as your critical judgment inclines one way or the other. Farewell. ,To Valerianus. In compliance with your request - and the promise I made to comply in case you asked me - I will write and tell you the upshot of the demand of Nepos in the matter of Tuscilius Nominatus. * Nominatus was brought into the senate, and he pleaded his own case. There was no one to accuse him, for the legates of the Vicetini, so far from making matters difficult for him, smoothed his path. The substance of his defence was that in his conduct of the case he had failed not in loyalty but in resolution, that he had come down with the intention of pleading and had been seen in the senate-house, but had been discouraged by what his friends told him in conversation, and so had left the chamber. He had been advised, he said, not to oppose, especially in the senate, a member of that body who was now fighting hard not so much to get leave to establish a market on his estate, as to maintain his influence, reputation, and position, and he was warned that if he did not give way he would come in for greater ill-will than had been recently shown him. It was true that he had been hissed as he left the chamber on the previous hearing, but only by a few people. He spoke in a very appealing way and shed a number of tears, and, throughout his pleading, he used his undoubted abilities as a speaker to make it seem that he was not so much defending his conduct as asking pardon for it, which was certainly the safest and best course for him to adopt. He was acquitted on the motion of the consul-designate, Afranius Dexter, whose speech may be summarised as follows. He argued that Nominatus would have done much better if he had gone through with the cause of the Vicetini with the same resolution with which he had undertaken it, but that since his conduct, though blameworthy, was not fraudulent, and he had not been convicted of having committed any crime, he had better be acquitted on the understanding that he should return to the Vicetini the fees he had received from them. All present agreed, with the exception of Fabius Aper, who proposed that Nominatus should be disbarred for the term of five years, and he continued firmly in that opinion though he drew no one over to side with him. He even produced the law under which the meeting of the senate had been convened, and forced Dexter, who had been the first to propose the resolution opposed to his, to swear that his proposal was for the good of the State. Though this demand was perfectly legal, certain members loudly protested against it, on the ground that Aper seemed to be accusing Dexter of showing undue favour to Nominatus. But before any further speeches were made to the motion, Nigrinus, a tribune of the plebs, read out a learned and weighty remonstrance in which he complained that counsel were bought and sold, that they would sell their clients' cases, that they conspired together to make litigation, and that, instead of being satisfied with fame, they drew large and fixed amounts at the expense of citizens. He recited the headings of various laws, he recalled to their memories certain decrees of the senate, and at last proposed that, as the laws and the decrees of the senate were treated as a dead letter, they should petition their excellent Emperor to find a remedy for such a scandal. A few days elapsed, and then the Emperor issued an edict which was at once moderate and severe. You will be able to read the text of it, for it appears in the official register. Imagine how delighted I am that I have always made a point of refusing for my services as counsel not only to enter into any understanding to receive presents and gifts in any shape, but even friendly acknowledgments! We ought indeed to refrain from doing anything that is not quite honourable, not because it is forbidden, but because we should be ashamed to do it; still it is gratifying to see a custom which you have never allowed yourself to follow publicly forbidden. Very likely - and in fact there is no doubt on the point - I shall reap fewer praises and my reputation will not shine as brightly when all the members of my profession find themselves compelled to behave as I did quite of my own free will. In the meantime I enjoy the pleasure of hearing some of my friends say that I must have foreseen what was coming, while others banter me by declaring that the new edict has been designed to put a stop to my plunder and greed. Farewell. ,To Pontius. I had already retired to my township when the news was brought to me that Cornutus Tertullus had accepted the curatorship of the Aemilian Way. I cannot tell you how delighted I am, both for his own sake and for mine. I am pleased for his sake, because, though he is unquestionably entirely void of all ambitious aspirations, he cannot but be gratified at being offered a post without seeking it; and I am pleased on my own account, because I am all the more satisfied with my own employment now that Cornutus has had a position of equal eminence given to him. * For it is just as gratifying to be placed on an equality with worthy citizens as to receive a step up in one's official position. And where is there a better man than Cornutus, or a man of more noble life? Where will you find one who follows more closely the ancient pattern in all that is praiseworthy? I know his virtues not by hearsay alone, though he enjoys a richly deserved reputation everywhere, but from a personal experience extending over many years. We both of us entertain an affectionate regard, and have done for years, for all the worthy persons of both sexes whom our age has produced, and this community of friendships has thrown us together into the most intimate relations. Another link in the chain has been the closeness of our public connection. As you know, he was my colleague as prefect of the Treasury - thus realising, so to speak, my dearest wish - and again he was associated with me in the consulship. It was there that I obtained my clearest insight into the character and real greatness of the man, when I followed his judgment as a magistrate and reverenced him as a parent, while my veneration was inspired not so much by the ripeness of his years as by the ripeness of his general character. Hence it is that I congratulate both him and myself, for public reasons quite as much as for personal ones, in that now at last a virtuous life leads a man not to peril, as it used to do, but to public honours. I should let my pen run on for ever if I were to give my joy a free course, so I will turn back to tell you how I was engaged when the messenger came and found me. I was with my wife's grandfather and her aunt, and in the company of friends I had long wished to see. I was going the round of the estate, hearing no end of complaints from my tenants, reading over with an unwilling eye and in a cursory fashion the accounts - for I have been consecrating my energies to papers and books of quite a different style - and I had even begun to make preparations for my journey. For I am rather pressed owing to the shortness of my leave, and I am reminded of my own public duties by hearing of those which have been entrusted to Cornutus. I hope that your Campanian villa may spare you about the same time, lest, when I return to town, I should lose a single day of your company. Farewell. ,To Arrius Antoninus. It is when I try to equal your verses that I most fully appreciate how excellent they are. For just as painters rarely succeed in putting a perfectly beautiful face on their canvas without doing injustice to the original, so, though I slave hard with your verses as my model, I always fall short. Let me urge you then to publish as many as possible, so good that everyone will burn to imitate them, and yet no one, or but very few, will succeed in the attempt. Farewell. ,To Marcellinus. I am writing to you in great distress. The younger daughter of your friend Fundanus is dead, and I never saw a girl of a brighter and more lovable disposition, nor one who better deserved length of days or even to live for ever. She had hardly completed her fourteenth year, yet she possessed the prudence of old age and the sedateness of a matron, with the sweetness of a child and the modesty of a maiden. How she used to cling round her father's neck! How tenderly and modestly she embraced us who were her father's friends! Her nurses, her teachers and tutors, how well she loved them, each according to his station! With what application and quickness she used to read, while her amusements were never carried to excess and never overstepped the mark. What resignation, patience and fortitude she showed during her last illness! She obeyed her doctor's orders, she cheered her sister and father, and when her body had lost all its strength, she kept herself alive by the vigour of her mind. This never failed her right up to the end, nor was it broken down by her long illness or by the fear of death, and this has made us miss her all the more severely and made our sorrow all the heavier to bear. What a sad, heart-rending funeral it was! The moment of her death seemed even more cruel than death itself, for she had just been betrothed to a youth of splendid character; the day of the wedding had been decided upon, and we had already been summoned to attend it. Think into what terrible grief our joy was changed! I really cannot tell you in words how acutely I felt it when I heard Fundanus himself, for one sorrow always leads on to other bitter sorrows - giving the order that the money he had intended to lay out upon wedding raiment, pearls and gems, should be spent upon incense, unguents and scents. He is, it is true, a man of learning and wisdom, who from early years has devoted himself to the deeper studies and the nobler arts, but, at a moment like this, all the philosophy he has ever heard from others or uttered himself is put on one side. All virtues but one are disregarded for the time being - he can only think of parental love. You will forgive and even praise him for this, if you consider the loss he has suffered. For he has lost a daughter who reflected in herself, not only his face and feature, but his character, and one who was the living image of her father in every particular. If you send him a letter in the midst of this rightful grief of his, be careful to use words of solace which will not flay the heart or deal roughly with his sorrow, but which will soothe and ease his pain. The time which has elapsed will make him the more likely to admit your words of consolation, for, just as a raw wound first shrinks from the touch of the doctor's hand, then bears it without flinching and actually welcomes it, so with mental anguish we reject and fly from consolation when the pain is fresh, then after a time we look for it and find relief in its soothing application. Farewell. ,To Spurinna. I know what an interest you take in the liberal arts, and how delighted you are when young men of rank do anything worthy of their ancestry. That is why I am losing no time to tell you that to-day I made one of the audience of Calpurnius Piso. He was reading his poem on the Legends of the Stars, and it was a learned and very excellent composition. It was written in fluent, graceful, and smooth elegiacs, and rose even to lofty heights as occasion demanded. The style was cleverly varied, in some places it soared, in others it was subdued; passing from the grand to the commonplace, from thinness to richness, and from lively to severe, and in each case with consummate skill. The sweetness of his voice lent it an additional charm, and his modesty made even his voice the sweeter, while his blushes and his nervousness, which were very plain to see, still further set off the reading. I don't know why, but diffidence becomes a man of letters much more than over-confidence. However, to cut the story short, - though I would gladly say more, because such performances are all the more charming when given by a young man, and all the rarer when he is of noble birth, - as soon as the reading was concluded, I embraced the youth with great cordiality, and by showering praises upon him - which are always the best incentive when giving advice - I urged him to go on as he had begun, and hold out to his descendants the light which his own ancestors had held out to him. I congratulated his excellent mother and also his brother, who made one of the audience, and indeed achieved as much reputation for brotherly feeling as his brother Calpurnius did for his eloquence, for while the latter was reading everybody noticed first the nervous look on the brother's face, and then the expression of joy. I pray Heaven that I may often have such news for you, for I am very partial to the age I live in, and I hope that it may not prove barren and worthless. I am really most anxious that our young men of rank should have some other beautiful objects in their houses besides the busts of their ancestors, and it seems to me that the latter tacitly approve and encourage these two young men, and even recognise them as their true descendants, which is in itself a sufficiently high compliment to both. Farewell. ,To Calpurnius Macer. As all is well with you, all is well with me. You have your wife with you, and your son; you enjoy your sea-view, your fountains, greenery, estate, and your charming villa. I cannot doubt that the latter is most charming, inasmuch as it was the home of the man who was even happier there than when he became the happiest man on earth. * I am staying at my Tuscan house; I hunt and I study, sometimes in turns, sometimes both together, ** and I cannot as yet tell you whether I find it more difficult to catch anything or to compose anything. Farewell. 0 ,To Paulinus. I notice how kindly you treat your servants, so I will be quite frank with you, and tell you with what indulgence I treat mine. I always bear in mind that phrase in Homer, "like a father mild," and our own Latin phrase, "father of his family." Even if I had naturally been of a harsher and less genial disposition, the weakness of my freedman Zosimus would melt my harshness, for one has to show him greater kindness just in proportion as he needs it more at his time of life. He is an honest fellow, devoted to his duties and well-educated, but his chief accomplishment and, so to speak, his particular recommendation is his skill in playing comedy, in which he is really admirable. For his delivery is sharp, intelligent, to the point, and even graceful, and he plays the lyre much better than is usually expected from a comedian. He is also so clever in reading speeches, history and poetry, that you would fancy he had never studied anything else. I have gone into all this detail to show you how many services this one man can render me, and how pleasant they are. Moreover, I have long entertained a great regard for him, which has been increased by his serious ill-health, for Nature has so arranged it that nothing fires and stimulates our affection so much as the fear of losing the object of it, and I have on more than one occasion been afraid of losing Zosimus. Some years since, while he was reciting with great earnestness and fire, he spat blood, and I sent him on that account to Egypt, from which country he recently returned with his health restored. Then, after severely taxing his voice for days together, he was warned of his old malady by a slight cough, and once more brought up some blood. So I have decided to send him to the farm which you own at Forum Julii, * for I have often heard you say that the air there is healthy, and the milk peculiarly beneficial to complaints of this kind. I should be glad, therefore, if you will write to your people to take him in at the house and give him lodging, and accommodate him with anything he may require at his expense. His needs will be very small, for he is so sparing and abstemious that his frugality leads him to deny himself, not only dainties, but even that which is necessary for his weak health. When he sets out, I will give him sufficient travelling money for one who is going to your part of the country. Farewell. ,To Ursus. Within a short time of their impeaching Julius Bassus * the Bithynians brought a second action, this time against Rufus Varenus, their proconsul, the very man whom, in their action against Bassus, they had received permission, at their own request, to retain as their advocate. On being brought into the senate they applied for a commission to be appointed to investigate their charges, and Varenus sought leave to be allowed to bring witnesses from the province in his defence. To this the Bithynians objected, and the matter came to a debate. I acted on behalf of Varenus, and my pleading was not without good results. I am justified in saying this, as my written speech will show whether I spoke well or badly. For in delivering a speech chance has a controlling influence on success or failure. A speech either gains or loses a good deal according to the memory, voice, and gesture of the speaker, and even the time taken in delivery, to say nothing of the popularity or unpopularity of the accused; whereas a written speech profits nothing from these advantages, loses nothing by these disadvantages, and is subject neither to lucky nor unlucky accidents. Fonteius Magnus, one of the Bithynians, replied to me at great length, but he made very few points. Like most of the Greeks, he mistakes volubility for fullness of treatment, and they pour forth in a single breath a perfect torrent of long-winded and frigid periods. Julius Candidus rather wittily says apropos of this that eloquence is one thing and loquacity another. For there have been only one or two people who can be described as eloquent - not one indeed if Marcus Antonius is to be believed, - but scores of persons possess what Candidus calls loquacity, and loquacity and impudence usually go together. On the following day, Homullus spoke on behalf of Varenus, and delivered a skilful, powerful, and polished speech, while Nigrinus replied with terseness, dignity, and elegance. Acilius Rufus, the consul-designate, proposed that the Commission of Enquiry asked for by the Bithynians should be allowed, and said not a word about the request of Varenus, which was tantamount to proposing that it should be refused. Cornelius Priscus, the consular, moved that the requests of both the accusers and the accused should be granted, and he carried a majority with him. The point we asked for was not within the four corners of the law and was not quite covered by precedent, but none the less it was entirely reasonable, though why it was reasonable I shall not tell you in this letter, in order to make you ask for a copy of my pleading. For if it be true, as Homer says, that "men always prize the song the most which rings newest in their ears," ** I must beware lest by allowing myself to go chattering on in this letter I destroy all the charm of novelty in that little speech of mine, which is the main thing it has to commend itself to you. Farewell. 0 ,To Saturninus. Your letter has aroused in me conflicting emotions, for part of the news it contained made me glad, and part made me sorrowful. I was glad to hear that you were detained in town, for though you say it was much against your will, it was not against mine, especially as you promise that you will give a reading as soon as I arrive. So I thank you for waiting my coming. The bad news was that Julius Valens is lying seriously ill, although even this should not sadden us, if we only think of what is best for him, for it will be much better for him to obtain as speedy a release as possible from a disease which is past all cure. No, the real sad news, or rather heartrending news is that Julius Avitus died on ship-board while returning from his quaestorship, miles away from the brother who was devoted to him, and from his mother and sisters. Those are circumstances which do not affect him now that he is dead, but they did affect him on his death-bed, and they are a great trouble to his surviving relatives, especially as he was a young man of such promise and would have reached the highest offices in the State if only his qualities had had time to ripen. And now he has been cut down in the very flower of manhood! What a keen and enthusiastic student he was, how well read, and what a number of essays he had made in writing! Yet all have perished with him and left no fruit for posterity to reap. But it is useless for me to indulge my sorrow, for if once one gives it free play, even the slightest occasions for grief are magnified into crushing blows. I will write no more, and so check the tears which this letter has made to flow. Farewell.


nanTo Tiro. While I was staying across the Po and you were in Picenum, I did not miss you so much ; but since I have been in Rome, and you are still away in Picenum, I have missed you much more. Perhaps it is that the places where we are usually in one another's society remind me of you more sharply, or else it must be that there is nothing like being in the neighbourhood of absent friends to make you miss them, and the nearer you get to hoping to enjoy their society, the more impatiently you bear their absence. However, whatever the cause may be, do relieve me from my torment. Either come to me or I shall return to the place which I left rather hurriedly and foolishly. If I do, my only reason will be just this, to see whether you will send me letters like the one I am now writing, when you begin to find yourself in Rome without me. Farewell. ,To Arrianus. When I am in the courts I frequently find myself regretting Marcus Regulus, though I hardly mean to say that I want him back again. Why then, you may ask, do I regret him? For these reasons. He used to hold the profession in great respect; he used to be nervous and anxious to succeed and write out his speeches beforehand, though he could never thoroughly commit them to memory. Even his practice of smearing ointment over either his right or left eye - the former if he were appearing for the plaintiff, and the latter when he was pleading for a defendant - and his habit of changing the white patch from one eyebrow to the other, and consulting the soothsayers as to how his cases would go, though due to gross superstition on his part, were also to be partly explained by the great regard in which he held our profession. Again, his other practice of always demanding that we should be allowed to speak as long as we desired, and the way in which he succeeded in getting an audience together, were very gratifying to those who were engaged in the same cases as he was. For what can be more pleasant than to go on speaking to your heart's content, when someone else gets all the odium, and to speak at your leisure to an audience which another has brought together, as though you had no choice in the matter ? However, be that as it may, Regulus did well to die, and he would have done better still if he had died earlier, for he might have lived without any harm to the public under an emperor in whose reign he could do no damage. And so I am justified in now and then regretting his loss, for after his death the custom gradually crept in and became firmly established for counsel to ask for, and for the judges to grant, a time-limit for speeches of two water-clocks, * or even one apiece, and sometimes only half a one. Those who plead prefer to get their speeches over rather than go on pleading, and those who listen to them are more anxious to have done than to come to a right decision. Such is the general carelessness, laziness, and disrespect of our profession, and of the hazards which we advocates undergo. Are we wiser than our ancestors were ? Are we more just than the very laws which apportion so many hours, days, and adjournments for each case? Were they dull-witted and slow-coaches, or are we clearer speakers, quicker thinkers, and more conscientious judges than they, that we should hurry through a case in fewer water-glasses than they took days for the finishing of them? O Regulus! to think that your ambition should have gained you from all sides the favour which is rarely accorded to the most conscientious pleader! For my own part, whenever I am on the bench, and I am oftener there than pleading, I grant counsel as much time ** as they desire, no matter what amount they ask for. For I consider it rash to form any opinion as to what time a case will take while it has yet to be heard, and to set a fixed time-limit to a trial, the length of which you do not now, especially as the first duty of a conscientious judge is to show patience, a virtue which forms no small part of justice itself. But, people argue, a good deal of irrelevant matter is spoken. It may be so, but it is better that it should be so than that any necessary points should be omitted; and again, there are no means of telling whether an argument is irrelevant or not until you have heard it. However, it will be better to discuss these matters, as well as numerous other public shortcomings, in person, for you, like myself, have such a regard for the common good that you desire to see many things put straight which will be no easy undertaking at this time of day. But just a word for our private affairs ! Is everything going on well with you at home? With me there is no news, but I am all the better pleased with my good fortune because it continues, and as for the inconveniences of life, well, they seem to grow lighter, because I am getting well used to them. Farewell. 0 ,To Verus. I am much obliged to you for undertaking to look after the plot of land which I gave to my old nurse. When I made her a present of it it was worth a hundred thousand sesterces, but afterwards its value diminished as the produce from it grew less. However, now that you are looking after it, it will pick up again. I want you to remember that I am commending to your care, not so much the trees and the soil - though I do not forget these - as the present itself, for she to whom it belongs cannot be more anxious that it should produce good crops than I am who gave it to her. Farewell. ,To Calpurnia. Never before have I chafed so much at being so busy that I could not accompany you when you set out for Campania to recover your health, nor yet follow and overtake you after you had started. For now especially I should like to be with you to see with my own eyes how much strength you are gaining, what weight that delicate frame of yours is putting on, and whether you are enjoying yourself without let or hindrance in the relaxation and among the rich, generous pleasures of Campania. I am quite anxiously longing to hear that you are strong again, for it makes one nervous and troubled to get no news of those whom we love very dearly, when they are away from us, and your absence, coupled with your weak state of health, keeps me constantly upon the rack. I am afraid of all sorts of things; I fancy anything may have happened, and, like all anxious people, I am especially given to conjuring up the thoughts that I most dread. I entreat you, therefore, to remember how nervous I am about you, and write me once, or even twice a day. For while I am reading your letters, I shall feel easier in my mind, though, when I have read through to the end, my fears will immediately recur. Farewell. ,To Ursus. I have already told you * that Varenus was given permission to bring witnesses on his behalf from his province. This seemed just to a majority of the senate, but unjust to certain others, and the latter clung obstinately to their view, especially Licinius Nepos, who at the next meeting of the senate, on a debate dealing with a totally different subject, began to discuss the resolution of the previous sitting, and re-opened a matter which was already closed. He even went on to say that the consuls should be asked to bring in a motion relating to the law against extortion, under the head of the law against bribery, and say whether they thought it right that an addition should be made to the law, giving those who were accused of the offence the same powers to make inquiries and denounce the guilty parties as were granted to the accusers and to the witnesses. Many considered that this speech of Nepos was belated, untimely, and quite out of place, inasmuch as he had allowed the proper time for opposing the proposal to pass by, and now declaimed against it after it had been carried, though he might have done so before. The praetor Juventius Celsus vehemently upbraided him in a long speech, in which he taunted him with seeking to reform the senate. Nepos replied; Celsus answered him back, and neither spared reproaches and insults. I do not wish to repeat the words which pained me when I heard them spoken, but I blame even more some of our number who kept running first to Celsus and then to Nepos, according as one or other was speaking, in their desire to hear every word. At one moment they seemed to be encouraging and inflaming their passions, at another to be seeking to reconcile them and smooth matters over, and then they kept on appealing to Caesar to take the side of each, or even of both, just as actors do in a farce. What annoyed me most of all was that each was told what his opponent was going to say, for Celsus replied to Nepos from his note-book, and Nepos answered Celsus from his tablets. The friends of each kept talking to such an extent that the two disputants knew exactly what each was going to say, as though it had all been arranged beforehand. Farewell. ,To Fundanus. If ever I wished you to be in Rome it is now, and I do hope you may come. I want a friend to second my desires and share my labours and anxieties. Julius Naso is seeking office, and there are a number of excellent candidates. It will be a splendid thing for him to beat them, but he will find it a very difficult matter. So I am all on tenterhooks of hope and fear, and I can hardly realise that I have been consul, for it seems to me that I am a candidate again for all the offices which I have held in turn. Naso's long attachment to me justifies the worry I am going through. I can hardly say that I am bound to him as a friend of his father - for I was too young to enjoy such friendship - yet, when I was quite a young man, people used to point his father out to my notice, and speak of him in the highest terms. He was not only a scholar himself, but was devoted to other scholars, and almost every day he used to go to hear the discourses of Quintilian * and Nicetes Sacerdos, ** which I at that time regularly attended. He was, moreover, a distinguished and honourable man, and his reputation ought to stand his son in good stead. However, there are now many members of the senate to whom he was unknown, and many again who knew him yet pay no honour to any except those who are alive. Consequently the son will have to struggle and work all the harder now that the high position gained by his father is lost to him. It will, doubtless, be a great ornament to him, but its practical value, as influencing votes, is nearly nil. Naso has always been sensible of this, and with an eye to a time like the present, he has made friends and cultivated their acquaintance. Myself in particular he chose as a person to be loved and imitated as soon as he allowed himself to trust his own judgment. Whenever I am pleading he is careful to stand at my side ; when I give a recital he always sits near me; whenever I am planning and beginning a new work he always takes the greatest interest therein. Of late he has done so alone, but previously his brother used to join him, and now that the brother is dead I must take his place and fill the part he played. For I grieve to think of his untimely death, and of Naso being deprived of the assistance of such an excellent brother, and dependent solely upon the good offices of friends. This is why I beg you to come and join your solicitations to mine. It will be of the utmost value to me to take you round with me and show you as my backer. Your influence is such that I think I shall be more sure of being successful, even with my own friends, if you are with me. If any engagements detain you, break them 0 ,To Calpurnia. You say that you are quite distressed at my absence, and that your only solace is to embrace my writings instead of me, and to constantly put them in the place I usually occupy. I am glad you miss me, and glad too that you find comfort in such consolations, while I in my turn continually read over your letters, and take them up again and again as though they were new ones. Yet this only makes me feel your absence the more keenly, for if your letters have such a charm for me, you can imagine how sweet I find your conversation. However, do not fail to write as often as you can, even though your letters torture as well as delight me. Farewell. ,To Priscus. You know Atilius Crescens, and love him too, for who is there held in any respect at all who fails to know and love him ? But my affection for him is that of an intimate friend, not of a mere acquaintance. The townships where we reside are only a day's journey apart, and our regard for one another began when we were young men, and when love burns strongest. It has lasted till now, nor has it cooled with riper judgment, but rather grown in strength, and this is well known to all our intimate friends. For he always boasts of my friendship in the most open manner, and I too am proud to declare how highly I value his modesty, how anxious I am that his quiet and security should not be disturbed. When on one occasion he was afraid of being treated in a high-handed way by a person who was about to become tribune of the plebs, and communicated his fears to me, I replied, "No-one shall harm you as long as I live." * But why tell you all this? you ask. It is that you may know that Atilius is protected from injury as long as I am safe. But what of that? you say again. Well, Valerius Varus owed him a sum of money, and the heir of Varus is our friend Maximus, whom I have a great regard for, though he is a closer friend of yourself. I beg you, therefore, in fact I insist, as my friendship entitles me to do, that you will see to it that my Atilius not only gets back his capital intact, but also the interest due over several years. He is a man who never nibbles at anyone else's property ; he is careful of his own ; he has no business to support him and no income save that which he saves by his frugal living. For though he is an admirable scholar, he studies only for pleasure and reputation. Even the slightest loss is a serious matter to him, because it is always a tax upon a man to have to make good what he has lost. So do remove my anxieties and his in this matter, and enable me to continue to enjoy his sweet disposition and charming wit. I cannot bear to see a friend sad whose cheerfulness forbids sadness in me. In brief, you know what a witty man he is, and I want you to take care that no injury shall sour his good spirits and turn them to gall and bitterness. You may be sure that, if he is wronged, his resentment will be as strong as his affection, for his noble and independent spirit will not brook a monetary loss coupled with an affront. Moreover, however he may bear it, I shall consider the loss as mine, and the affront a personal one, but my wrath will be even greater than if mine were the actual loss. But there, why am I indulging in these fiery warnings, which sound almost like threats ? It is better that I should ask you, as I did at the outset of this letter, and implore you to do what you can to prevent him from thinking - as I am very much afraid he will - that have neglected him, and also prevent me from thinking that you have neglected me. I am sure you will do so, if you are as anxious to obviate the latter as I am the former. Farewell. ,To Tacitus. You commend to my notice the candidature of Julius Naso. But fancy commending Naso to me ! Why, it is like commending to me a candidature of my own ! However, I don't mind, and I forgive you. I should have sent a similar recommendation to you, if I had been out of Rome and you had been staying in town. When one is really anxious, one thinks that everything is of pressing importance. Nevertheless, I think you had better go on asking others for their interest, and I will back your entreaties, and second them and assist them as far as I can. Farewell. ,To Albinus. When I visited the country house of my mother-in-law at Alsium, which at one time belonged to Rufus Verginius, the place revived painful memories of the loss I suffered in the death of that excellent and noble man. * For it was here that he sought retirement, and he even used to speak of it as the nest of his old age. Whichever way I turned, my spirit sought his presence, my eyes looked to find him. It even gave me pleasure to see his monument, though I was sorry I had seen it, for it is still unfinished, not because of any difficulty in executing the work, which is on a very modest, and I might say meagre scale, but because of the negligence of the person to whom it was entrusted. I felt grieved and indignant that ten years should have elapsed since his death, and that his remains and neglected ashes should still be lying without an inscription and a name, though his memory and fame have traversed the whole world. Moreover, he had particularly left instructions that his glorious and immortal behaviour should be inscribed in the verses ,To Maximus. What a joyful day this has been ! The prefect of the city called me in to assist him in hearing his cases, and I listened to two young men of the highest promise and conspicuous abilities pleading against each other. They were Fuscus Salinator and Ummidius Quadratus, a striking pair, who will prove not only an ornament to our age, but also to literature. Both of them are wonderfully upright, steady of purpose, and modest in their dress. They have the true Latin countenance, manly voices, strong memories, conspicuous wit, and level judgment. I was delighted with each and all of these qualities, and especially with the way in which they kept looking up to me, as their adviser and teacher, while those who listened to them thought they were imitating me and walking in my footsteps. Again let me say it was a delightful day, and one that I shall long treasure in my memory. For what could be of happier augury for the public interest than that young men of the highest rank should seek reputation and glory in a learned profession what more gratifying to me than to find myself taken as an example by those who are pressing on towards an honourable goal ? I pray Heaven that this may be a joy I shall continually receive, and I call you to witness that I implore the gods that all who set such store on imitating me may desire to be even better men than myself. Farewell. ,To Fabatus. You of all people should not hesitate a moment about commending to my favour any persons whose interests you think I ought to look after, for it becomes you to assist as many as you can, and me to undertake anything in which you are interested. So I will do all I possibly can for Vettius Priscus, especially in my particular sphere of interest, which is the court of the centumviri. You bid me think nothing more of the letter in which, as you put it, you unburdened your heart to me, but, on the contrary, there is none which I shall more gladly keep in remembrance. For it is that letter more than any other which shows me how much you love me, inasmuch as you treated me therein as you used to treat your own son. Nor will I refrain from telling you that it was all the more gratifying to me just because I felt I had a perfectly clear conscience in the matter, for I had worked my very hardest to carry out your wishes. So I earnestly desire that you will always take me to task in exactly the same straightforward way whenever you think I have been at all remiss - I say whenever you think I have been remiss, for I never shall be so in reality. If you do, I shall understand that your scolding proceeds from the deep affection you bear me, and that you will rejoice to find I did not deserve it. Farewell. ,To Ursus. Did you ever see any one so much harried and worried as my friend Varenus? He has had to fight hard to retain the concession which was granted him, and practically had to sue for it over again. * The Bithynians have had the audacity to go before the consuls and complain about the decree of the senate, and seek to get it set aside, and they have even appealed against it to the Emperor, who is away from Rome. He referred them back to the senate, and yet they have not ceased their efforts. Claudius Capito's speech may be described as a piece of impertinence rather than dogged resolution, for he impeached the senate for its own decree. Catius Fronto answered him with dignity and firmness, and the senate acted amazingly well, for even those members who were opposed to granting the petition of Varenus, spoke in favour of confirming the grant after it had once been made, on the ground that, while it was open for any individual member to express dissent before a decision had been arrived at, all should observe the wishes of the majority when the decision had once been reached. Only Acilius Rufus and seven or eight others - seven I should say - continued to stand by their previous opinions, and some members of this little handful were much laughed at for their temporary gravity, or rather for their assumption of it. However, you may judge for yourself what a tussle is in store for us when the real struggle begins, if the prelude and opening exchanges, as it were, have occasioned such squabbling as this. Farewell. ,To Mauricus. You press me to stay with you at your villa near Formiae. Well, I will come on condition that you do not inconvenience yourself at all - a stipulation in which I consult my own interest as well as yours. For it is not the sea and the shore which will tempt me, but yourself and retirement, and leave to do as I please. Otherwise it were better to remain in town, for one ought to refer everything either to someone else's judgment or to one's own, and, as far as I am personally concerned, my taste is to desire nothing, unless it is perfect and flawless. * Farewell. ,To Romanus. You have missed being present at a wonderfully funny scene. I was not there myself, but I heard all about it just after it had taken place. Passennus Paullus, a distinguished Roman knight, and a man of real learning, is given to writing elegiacs. The habit runs in the family, for he belongs to the same township as Propertius did, * and he even reckons that poet among his ancestors. He was about to give a reading, and began thus 0 ,To Tacitus. You ask me to send you an account of my uncle's death, so that you may be able to give posterity an accurate description of it. I am much obliged to you, for I can see that the immortality of his fame is well assured, if you take in hand to write of it. For although he perished in a disaster which devastated some of the fairest regions of the land, and though he is sure of eternal remembrance like the peoples and cities that fell with him in that memorable calamity, though too he had written a large number of works of lasting value, yet the undying fame of which your writings are assured will secure for his a still further lease of life. For my own part, I think that those people are highly favoured by Providence who are capable either of performing deeds worthy of the historian's pen or of writing histories worthy of being read, but that they are peculiarly favoured who can do both. Among the latter I may class my uncle, thanks to his own writings and to yours. So I am all the more ready to fulfil your injunctions, nay, I am even prepared to beg to be allowed to undertake them. My uncle was stationed at Misenum, where he was in active command of the fleet, with full powers. On the 24th of August *, about the seventh hour, my mother drew his attention to the fact that a cloud of unusual size and shape had made its appearance. He had been out in the sun, followed by a cold bath, and after a light meal he was lying down and reading. Yet he called for his sandals, and climbed up to a spot from which he could command a good view of the curious phenomenon. Those who were looking at the cloud from some distance could not make out from which mountain it was rising - it was afterwards discovered to have been Mount Vesuvius - but in likeness and form it more closely resembled a pine-tree than anything else, for what corresponded to the trunk was of great length and height, and then spread out into a number of branches, the reason being, I imagine, that while the vapour was fresh, the cloud was borne upwards, but when the vapour became wasted, it lost its motion, or even became dissipated by its own weight, and spread out laterally. At times it looked white, and at other times dirty and spotted, according to the quantity of earth and cinders that were shot up. To a man of my uncle's learning, the phenomenon appeared one of great importance, which deserved a closer study. He ordered a Liburnian galley to be got ready, and offered to take me with him, if I desired to accompany him, but I replied that I preferred to go on with my studies, and it so happened that he had assigned me some writing to do. He was just leaving the house when he received a written message from Rectina, the wife of Tascus, who was terrified at the peril threatening her - for her villa lay just beneath the mountain, and there were no means of escape save by shipboard - begging him to save her from her perilous position. So he changed his plans, and carried out with the greatest fortitude the task, which he had started as a scholarly inquiry. He had the galleys launched and went on board himself, in the hope of succouring, not only Rectina, but many others, for there were a number of people living along the shore owing to its delightful situation. He hastened, therefore, towards the place whence others were fleeing, and steering a direct course, kept the helm straight for the point of danger, so utterly devoid of fear that every movement of the looming portent and every change in its appearance he described and had noted down by his secretary, as soon as his eyes detected it. Already ashes were beginning to fall upon the ships, hotter and in thicker showers as they approached more nearly, with pumice-stones and black flints, charred and cracked by the heat of the flames, while their way was barred by the sudden shoaling of the sea bottom and the litter of the mountain on the shore. He hesitated for a moment whether to turn back, and then, when the helmsman warned him to do so, he exclaimed, "Fortune favours the bold ; try to reach Pomponianus." The latter was at Stabiae, separated by the whole width of the bay, for the sea there pours in upon a gently rounded and curving shore. Although the danger was not yet close upon him, it was none the less clearly seen, and it travelled quickly as it came nearer, so Pomponianus had got his baggage together on shipboard, and had determined upon flight, and was waiting for the wind which was blowing on shore to fall. My uncle sailed in with the wind fair behind him, and embraced Pomponianus, who was in a state of fright, comforting and cheering him at the same time. Then in order to calm his friend's fears by showing how composed he was himself, he ordered the servants to carry him to the bath, and, after his ablutions, he sat down and had dinner in the best of spirits, or with that assumption of good spirits which is quite as remarkable as the reality. In the meantime broad sheets of flame, which rose high in the air, were breaking out in a number of places on Mount Vesuvius and lighting up the sky, and the glare and brightness seemed all the more striking owing to the darkness of the night. My uncle, in order to allay the fear of his companions, kept declaring that the country people in their terror had left their fires burning, and that the conflagration they saw arose from the blazing and empty villas. Then he betook himself to rest and enjoyed a very deep sleep, for his breathing, which, owing to his bulk, was rather heavy and loud, was heard by those who were waiting at the door of his chamber. But by this time the courtyard leading to the room he occupied was so full of ashes and pumice-stones mingled together, and covered to such a depth, that if he had delayed any longer in the bedchamber there would have been no means of escape. So my uncle was aroused, and came out and joined Pomponianus and the rest who had been keeping watch. They held a consultation whether they should remain indoors or wander forth in the open; for the buildings were beginning to shake with the repeated and intensely severe shocks of earthquake, and seemed to be rocking to and fro as though they had been torn from their foundations. Outside again there was danger to be apprehended from the pumice-stones, though these were light and nearly burnt through, and thus, after weighing the two perils, the latter course was determined upon. With my uncle it was a choice of reasons which prevailed, with the rest a choice of fears. They placed pillows on their heads and secured them with cloths, as a precaution against the falling bodies. Elsewhere the day had dawned by this time, but there it was still night, and the darkness was blacker and thicker than any ordinary night. This, however, they relieved as best they could by a number of torches and other kinds of lights. They decided to make their way to the shore, and to see from the nearest point whether the sea would enable them to put out, but it was still running high and contrary. A sheet was spread on the ground, and on this my uncle lay, and twice he called for a draught of cold water, which he drank. Then the flames, and the smell of sulphur which gave warning of them, scattered the others in flight and roused him. Leaning on two slaves, he rose to his feet and immediately fell down again, owing, as I think, to his breathing being obstructed by the thickness of the fumes and congestion of the stomach, that organ being naturally weak and narrow, and subject to inflammation. When daylight returned - two days after the last day he had seen - his body was found untouched, uninjured, and covered, dressed just as he had been in life. The corpse suggested a person asleep rather than a dead man. Meanwhile my mother and I were at Misenum. But that is of no consequence for the purposes of history, nor indeed did you express a wish to be told of anything except of my uncle's death. So I will say no more, except to add that I have given you a full account both of the incidents which I myself witnessed and of those narrated to me immediately afterwards, when, as a rule, one gets the truest account of what has happened. You will pick out what you think will answer your purpose best, for to write a letter is a different thing from writing a history, and to write to a friend is not like writing to all and sundry. Farewell. ,To Restitutus. I cannot contain the indignation which I felt when I attended the reading of a certain friend of mine, and I feel I must give vent to it in a letter, as I have no opportunity of so doing in conversation with you. The piece he was reading was really perfect, but two or three clever persons - at least they and a few others think they are clever - listened to it as though they were deaf mutes. They never parted their lips, or raised a hand, nor did they rise from their places even after they were tired of sitting. What meant this gravity of demeanour and this profound wisdom ? Or, I should say, how can people be so lazy, so arrogant, so perverse, and such lunatics as to spend a whole day in giving offence, and leave the man your enemy whom you came to see as a close friend? Is it because of superior learning? Yet that would be all the more reason not to be envious, for the man who envies another shows his inferiority. But the fact is, that whether a man is superior, inferior, or on the same level, he should have a word of praise for his inferiors, superiors, and equals. He should praise those who excel him, because he will not get praise himself, unless he praises them, and his inferiors and equals, because it is a good thing for his reputation to stand as high as possible in the regard of those who are on a lower or on the same level as himself. For my own part, I make a practice of paying respectful attention to all who do anything at all in literature, and I tender them my admiration. For she is a difficult, arduous, and disdainful mistress, who speedily shows her contempt for those who hold her in slight respect. I feel sure that you thoroughly agree with me, for who is there possesses a greater reverence for learning than yourself, and who takes a kindlier estimate of its worth ? That is why I have chosen you of all people as the confidant of my indignation, for I would rather have you to share my sentiments than anyone else. Farewell. ,To Sabinus. You ask me to undertake the cause of the town of Firmum, and, though I am up to the eyes in work, I will do my best, for I am anxious to lay under an obligation to me so distinguished a colony by pleading in its behalf, and yourself by obliging you in a matter in which you are so interested. For inasmuch as you regard our friendship as an advantage and honour to yourself, and constantly say so to others, there is no favour which I ought to deny you, especially when you ask it for the sake of your birthplace. For what can be more honourable than the dutiful entreaties of a patriotic citizen, and what more efficacious than those of a devoted friend? So you may pledge my loyalty to your, or rather our good people of Firmum. Their reputation is sufficient guarantee that they are worthy of my best work and skill, but a still better proof that they are excellent folk is the fact that a man like you lives in their midst. Farewell. ,To Nepos. You know that the price of land, especially in the suburbs of Rome, has gone up. The cause of this sudden increase in value has been the theme of general discussion. At the last elections the senate passed the following wholesome resolutions; "That no candidates should provide public entertainments, send presents, and deposit sums of money.'' The first two practices had gone on openly, and been carried beyond all reasonable lengths ; the last-named had been indulged in secretly, but still to every one's knowledge. So our friend Homullus clearly availed himself of the unanimity of the senate, and, instead of making a speech, he asked that the consuls should acquaint the Emperor with the wishes of the whole body of senators, and beg him to take steps to devise means to put a stop to this evil, as he had already done to other scandals. He has done so, for by means of the Corrupt Practices Act he has restricted the shameful and scandalous expenses which candidates used to incur, and he has issued orders that all candidates shall have invested a third of their patrimony in land. He very justly took the view that it was disgraceful that candidates for public offices should regard Rome and Italy, not as their mother country, but as a mere inn or lodging-place, in which they were staying as travellers. So the candidates are busy running about buying up whatever they hear is on sale, and they are forcing a number of estates into the market. Consequently if you are tired of your Italian estates, now is the real good time to sell them and buy others in the provinces, for the candidates have to sell their provincial properties to enable them to purchase here. Farewell. ,To Tacitus. You say that the letter which I wrote to you at your request, describing the death of my uncle, * has made you anxious to know not only the terrors, but also the distress I suffered while I remained behind at Misenum. I had indeed started to tell you of these, but then broke off. Well, "though my mind shudders at the recollection, I will essay the task". ** After my uncle had set out I employed the remainder of the time with my studies, for I had stayed behind for that very purpose. Afterwards I had a bath, dined, and then took a brief and restless sleep. For many days previous there had been slight shocks of earthquake, which were not particularly alarming, because they are common enough in Campania. But on that night the shocks were so intense that everything round us seemed not only to be disturbed, but to be tottering to its fall. My mother rushed into my bedchamber, just as I myself was getting up in order to arouse her if she was still sleeping. We sat down in the courtyard of the house, which was of smallish size and lay between the sea and the buildings. I don't know whether my behaviour should be called courageous or rash - for I was only in my eighteenth year - but I called for a volume of Titus Livius, and read it, as though I were perfectly at my ease, and went on making my usual extracts. Then a friend of my uncle's, who had but a little time before come to join him from Spain, on seeing my mother and myself sitting there and me reading, upbraided her for her patience and me for my indifference, but I paid no heed, and pored over my book. It was now the first hour of the day, but the light was still faint and weak. The buildings all round us were beginning to totter, and, though we were in the open, the courtyard was so narrow that we were greatly afraid, and indeed sure of being overwhelmed by their fall. So that decided us to leave the town. We were followed by a distracted crowd, which, when in a panic, always prefers someone else's judgment to its own as the most prudent course to adopt, and when we set out these people came crowding in masses upon us, and pressed and urged us forward. We came to a halt when we had passed beyond the buildings, and underwent there many wonderful experiences and terrors. For although the ground was perfectly level, the vehicles which we had ordered to be brought with us began to sway to and fro, and though they were wedged with stones, we could not keep them still in their places. Moreover, we saw the sea drawn back upon itself, and, as it were, repelled by the quaking of the earth. The shore certainly was greatly widened, and many marine creatures were stranded on the dry sands. On the other side, the black, fearsome cloud of fiery vapour burst into long, twisting, zigzag flames and gaped asunder, the flames resembling lightning flashes, only they were of greater size. Then indeed my uncle's Spanish friend exclaimed sharply, and with an air of command, to my mother and me, "If your brother and your uncle is still alive, he will be anxious for you to save yourselves; if he is dead, I am sure he wished you to survive him. Come, why do you hesitate to quit this place?" We replied that we could not think of looking after our own safety while we were uncertain of his. He then waited no longer, but tore away as fast as he could and got clear of danger. Soon afterwards the cloud descended upon the earth, and covered the whole bay ; it encircled Capri and hid it from sight, and we could no longer see the promontory of Misenum. Then my mother prayed, entreated, and commanded me to fly as best I could, saying that I was young and could escape, while she was old and infirm, and would not fear to die, if only she knew that she had not been the cause of my death. I replied that I would not save myself unless I could save her too, and so, after taking tight hold of her hand, I forced her to quicken her steps. She reluctantly obeyed, accusing herself for retarding my flight. Then the ashes began to fall, but not thickly A gleam of light now appeared, which seemed to us not so much daylight as a token of the approaching fire. The latter remained at a distance, but the darkness came on again, and the ashes once more fell thickly and heavily. We had to keep rising and shaking the latter off us, or we should have been buried by them and crushed by their weight. I might boast that not one groan or cowardly exclamation escaped my lips, despite these perils, had I not believed that I and the world were perishing together - a miserable consolation, indeed, yet one which a mortal creature finds very soothing. At length the blackness became less dense, and dissipated as it were into smoke and cloud ; then came the real light of day, and the sun shone out, but as blood-red as it appears at its setting. Our still trembling eyes saw that everything had been transformed, and covered with a deep layer of ashes, like snow. Making our way back to Misenum, we refreshed our bodies as best we could, and passed an anxious, troubled night, hovering between hope and fear. But our fears were uppermost, for the shocks of earthquake still continued, and several persons, driven frantic by dreadful prophecies, made sport of their own calamities and those of others. For our own part, though we had already passed through perils, and expected still more to come, we had no idea even then of leaving the town until we got news of my uncle. You will not read these details, which are not up to the dignity of history, as though you were about to incorporate them in your writings, and if they seem to you to be hardly worth being made the subject of a letter, you must take the blame yourself, inasmuch as you insisted on having them. Farewell 0 ,To Caninius. I am one of those who admire the ancients, but not to the extent of despising the genius of our own times, like some people do. For nature is not so exhausted and worn out that she can no longer produce anything worthy of our praise. So, a short time ago, I attended a reading by Vergilius Romanus, who was reading a comedy of his to a few people, and it was so skilfully modelled on the lines of the old comedy, that in days to come it may very well serve as a model itself. I am not sure whether you know the author, though you certainly ought to have made his acquaintance, for he is a man quite out of the common, owing to the uprightness of his conduct, the elegance of his wit, and the versatility of his genius. He has written some mimiambi, * graceful, smart, polished, and containing as much eloquence as that style of poem permits of. Indeed, there is no sort of composition which may not be described as eloquent if it be perfect of its kind. He has also written comedies in the style of Menander and other poets of the same period, and these are well worthy of being classed with those of Plautus and Terence. Now he has tried his hand for the first time in public with the old comedy, but it is not as if it were his first attempt in it. In his play neither force, dignity, neatness, satire, charm, nor wit was wanting; he made virtue more lovely, and assailed vice ; when he made use of an assumed name, he did so with propriety; when he utilised a real one, he did so without travesty. Only so far as I was concerned did his good nature lead him to overstep the mark, but then poets are privileged to draw on their imagination. In short, I will coax the volume out of him, and send it on to you for you to read, or rather, learn by heart, for I am quite sure that you will not put it down if once you take it up. Farewell. ,To Tiro. A case has just been heard which is of great importance to all who are to govern provinces, and to all who entrust themselves too implicitly to their friends. Lustricius Bruttianus, after detecting Montanus Atticinus, his colleague, in a number of criminal offences, wrote a letter to Caesar. Atticinus thereupon added to his misdeeds by accusing the friend whom he had deceived. A judicial examination was granted, and I was one of the judges. Each party pleaded his own case, but in a summary fashion and without going into detail, a method of pleading by which the truth is easily got at. Bruttianus produced his will, which he declared was in the handwriting of Atticinus, for, by so doing, he proved the intimacy of their friendship, and the necessity he was under of complaining of one who had previously been so dear to him. He read a list of disgraceful offences, which were clearly proved, and when Atticinus found that he could not disprove them, he dealt with him in such a way as to appear a rascal when he was excusing himself, and a villain when he was accusing Bruttianus. For it transpired that he had bribed the slave of Bruttianus's secretary, intercepted the diaries and cut out passages therefrom, thus, by a piece of shameful wickedness, making capital out of his own offences against his friend. Caesar acted most nobly, for he at once put the question, not about Bruttianus, but Atticinus. The latter was found guilty and banished to an island, while Bruttianus received a well-earned tribute to his integrity, and he also won a reputation for the way he saw the matter through. For after he had cleared his good name as quickly as possible, he carried the war boldly into the enemy's camp and thus proved himself to be as resolute as he was honourable and upright. I have written you this letter to warn you, now that you have gone out to be a provincial governor, * to rely as far as possible on yourself, and to trust no one too implicitly. I also want you to know that if - which Heaven forbid - anyone should play you false, there is punishment ready waiting for the offender. However, be continually on your guard that the necessity may not arise, for though it is gratifying to get one's revenge, the gratification is no compensation for the annoyance of having been tricked. Farewell. ,To Triarius. You ask me as a great favour to plead in a case in which you are closely interested, and a case which is honourable in itself and will bring the advocate reputation. I will do so, but not for nothing. "How comes it," you will say, "that Pliny demands a fee?" Well, it is so, for I shall demand a price which will be more to my honour than if I consented to plead for nothing. I want - indeed I stipulate - that Cremutius Ruso shall plead with me. This is an old custom of mine, and I have acted upon it in favour of a number of young men of distinction. For I take great pleasure in introducing worthy young men to the forum and starting them on the road to fame. I owe this service to my friend Ruso, above all others, both on account of his lineage and the great affection which he bears me, and I think it is important that he should be seen and heard in the same court and on the same side as myself. So oblige me in this matter, and do so before he speaks, for after he has spoken you will, I am sure, thank me. I can answer for him that he will neither disappoint your anxiety to win nor my hopes, and that he will not fail to rise to the importance of the case. He has splendid natural talents, and will soon be introducing others to the bar when once he has been introduced there by us. For no one, however clever, can rise to distinction unless he gets his opportunity, and a chance of displaying his abilities, as well as the recommendation and encouragement of a friend. Farewell. ,To Macer. How much our estimation of any deed depends upon the doer ! For the self-same actions may be lauded to the skies or looked down upon with contempt according to whether those who perform thorn are famous or obscure. I was sailing across our Larian Lake, * when a friend, who is well on in years, pointed out to me a villa, and more especially a bedchamber which was built out over the lake. "From that window," he said, "a townswoman of ours some years ago threw herself into the lake with her husband." I asked the cause. It appears that the husband had been suffering for a long time from festering ulcers in the private parts. His wife begged him to let her see the sore, and promised that she would tell him faithfully whether or not a cure was possible. After an examination she saw there was no hope, and advised him to die, not only sharing death with him but taking the lead, inspiring him by her example, and leaving him no loophole for escape ; for she tied herself to her husband, and then they hurled themselves into the lake. Yet I never heard of this incident until just recently, although I was born in the same town; not because her deed was less heroic than the famous deed of Arria, ** but because she herself was a person of less distinction. Farewell. 0 ,To Hispanus. You say that Robustus, a Roman knight of distinction, travelled as far as Ocriculum in the company of my friend Atilius Scaurus, and from that point nothing has been heard of him, and you ask that Scaurus may come, and, if possible, put us on the track of the missing man and help in the search. He certainly shall, but I am afraid that he will do little good ; for I suspect that Robustus has met something like the same fate which befell some years ago Metilius Crispus, a fellow-townsman of mine. I had obtained for him a military appointment, and on his departure had presented him with 40,000 sesterces towards the purchase of his arms and accoutrements, but I never afterwards heard from him, nor did I ever get news of his death. Whether he was waylaid by his servants, or whether the latter perished with him, no one knows; for certainly neither he nor any of his slaves have ever been seen since. I pray Heaven that we may not find that Robustus has met a like fate ! However, let us hasten Scaurus's arrival. That is the least I can do in answer to your entreaties, and the very proper entreaties of the excellent young man who is showing such remarkable filial love and sagacity in trying to find his father. I do hope he may be as successful in finding him as he was in discovering in whose company he was travelling. Farewell. ,To Servianus. I am delighted to congratulate you on having betrothed your daughter to Fuscus Salinator. He comes of a patrician family, his father was a most honourable man, and his mother was equally universally respected, while he himself is devoted to study, well read and even learned, with the frankness of a boy, the pleasant manners of a youth, and the gravity of old age. Nor do I let my love for him bias my judgment. It is true that my affection is very great, and he deserves it for the attentions and respectful regard he has shown me, but I still retain my powers of judgment, and exercise them the more keenly the more my love for him grows. So I speak as one who knows every feature of his character, and I can assure you that you will have for a son-in-law one whose superior you could not imagine, even if your dearest hopes were fulfilled. I only hope that he may soon make you a grandfather, and present you with grandchildren like himself. Happy indeed will be the day when I shall be able to lift off your knees his children and your grandchildren - or rather my children or grandchildren - and embrace them as though they were my very own. Farewell. ,To Severus. You ask me to think out for you the headings of the speech you will deliver as consul-designate in praise of the Emperor. It is no difficult matter to find what to say, but it is difficult to know what to choose, for his virtues afford such wide scope for an address. However, I will write as you require, or - as I should prefer - will tell you in private conversation, as soon as I have shown you my chief reason for hesitating to do so. For I am doubtful whether I ought to persuade you to make the same sort of speech that I did. When I was consul-designate I carefully refrained from everything which looked like adulation, even though it was not, not so much to prove my independence and resolution as to show that I fully understood our sovereign's worth, for I saw that it would redound most to his praise if I avoided the appearance of being obliged to propose the honours I did. I even recalled the fact that honours had been showered on the very worst emperors, from whom our excellent emperor could not better be distinguished than by a different form of addressing him in the senate, and my reason for not passing over this point in silence was to prevent his thinking that it was forgetfulness on my part rather than my settled opinion. Such was the course I took ; but the same line of argument does not please or suit all speakers. Moreover, not only do men differ, but circumstances and times change, and the wisdom of following or not following a certain course of action depends entirely on these mutations of men and things. The recent achievements of our most noble Emperor * offer a new, abundant, and justifiable theme for panegyric. For these reasons, as I said before, I am not sure whether to recommend you to adopt the line which I took, but I am quite sure that it was my duty to lay before you the method which I pursued, in order to help you to a decision. Farewell. ,To Pontius. I know the reason which prevented your being able to welcome me on my arrival in Campania, but though you were absent you still managed to make your way there and your influence felt. So abundant were the supplies of town and country produce offered me in your name, and I was unconscionable enough to accept them all ! For your people begged me to do so, and I was afraid you would be cross both with them and me if I did not. For the future, however, unless you set some bounds to your hospitality, I shall have to, and I have even warned your people that, if they bring such a load of things again, I shall send them all back. You will say that I ought to help myself to your property as though it were my own. Quite so, but I do so as sparingly as though it were mine. Farewell ,To Quadratus. Avidius Quietus, who loved me like a brother, and - what was equally gratifying to me - approved my general conduct, used to quote a number of the sayings of Thrasea, with whom he was on terms of intimacy. Among them was this maxim - a favourite one of his - that a pleader ought to undertake either the causes of his friends, or those which others refused to touch, or those which were likely to be quoted as precedents. No explanation is needed why one should espouse the cause of one's friends, while the second class of causes should be undertaken as the best means of proving one's resolution and humanity, and the third class because it is a matter of the highest importance whether a good or bad precedent is created. Personally, though it may seem rather ambitious on my part, I should add to these separate classes a fourth - viz., causes which are distinguished and eminent in themselves. For it is only right that a pleader should sometimes work for glory and fame - that is to say, should plead his own cause. As you have asked my advice, these are the bounds which I should set to your dignity and modesty. I do not forget that practice both is and is considered to be the best teacher of the art of pleading, and I see many persons who, with little natural ability and absolutely no literary skill, have by constant practice acquired the art of speaking well. None the less, I find that the saying of Pollio, or the saying which is attributed to him, is perfectly true So my advice is ,To Fabatus. I really must keep your birthday as strictly as my own, since the happiness of mine depends upon yours, and it is thanks to your diligence and forethought that we are cheerful here and have no anxieties in our other home. Your Camillan * villa in Campania is rather the worse for wear and age, but the more valuable portions of it are still quite sound, or but slightly damaged. So I am looking after its being put in a state of thorough repair. I appear to have a multitude of friends, but hardly one of the kind which you care for, and that the business in hand really requires. For they are all persons of quality and city men, while to look after a country estate one wants a country-bred person of a rougher type, who will not think the work onerous, or the duties beneath his dignity, or the quiet of the country depressing. Your good estimate of Rufus is quite sound and just, for he was an intimate friend of your son. But whether he can fulfil the duties for you out there I don't know, though I feel confident he is all anxiety to do his best. Farewell. ,To Cornelianus. I was greatly delighted when our Emperor sent for me to Centum Cellae - for that is the name of the place - to act as a member of his Council. For what could be more gratifying than to be privileged to witness the justice, dignity, and charming manners of the Emperor in his country retreat, where he allows these qualities the freest play? There were a variety of cases to be heard, and they were of a kind to bring out the virtues of the judge in different ways and forms. Claudius Aristo, the leading citizen at Ephesus, a man of great generosity, and who had won popularity by innocent means, pleaded his own case. His popularity had made people envious of him, and some of his enemies, who were utterly unlike him in character, had suborned a man to lay information against him. So he was acquitted, and his reputation vindicated. On the following day was taken the case of Galitta, who was accused of adultery. She was the wife of a military tribune, who was about to stand for public office, and she had compromised her own reputation and her husband's by intriguing with a centurion. The husband had reported the matter to the consular legate, and the latter had reported it to Caesar. After carefully examining the proofs, the Emperor degraded the centurion, and even banished him. Still the punishment was not complete, for adultery is an offence in which two perils are necessarily concerned, but the husband's affection for his wife, whom he allowed to remain in his house even I after discovering her adultery - content as it were to have trot his rival out of the way - led him to delay the prosecution, in spite of the scandal to which his forbearance gave rise. He was summoned to carry the charge through, and did so against his will. However, it was necessary that she should be condemned, even though her accuser did not wish her to be, and she was declared guilty, and sentenced to the punishment inflicted by the Julian Law. * Caesar affixed to the sentence both the name of the centurion and a statement of the rules of military discipline on the point, lest people should think that he reserved the right to hear all such cases himself. On the third day began the inquiry into the will of Julius Tiro, a case which had been greatly talked about, and had given rise to conflicting reports, inasmuch as it was known that the will was genuine in part, and in part a forgery. The accused were Sempronius Senecio, a Roman knight, and Eurythmus, one of Caesar's freedmen and agents. When the Emperor was in Dacia, the heirs had written a joint letter, asking him to undertake an inquiry into the will, and he had consented. On his return he appointed a day, and when some of the heirs were in favour of letting the accusation drop, as though out of consideration for Eurythmus, he very finely said, "Eurythmus is not Polyclitus, and I am not Nero." ** Yet at their request he favoured them with a postponement, and when the day had at length arrived, he took his seat to hear the case. On the side of the heirs only two put in an appearance, and they demanded that as all had joined in the accusation, they should all be forced to go on with the action, or else that they too should be allowed to withdraw. Caesar spoke with great gravity and moderation, and when the advocate for Senecio and Eurythmus remarked that the accused would be left open to suspicion unless they were heard in their own behalf, he said, "I don't care whether they are left open to suspicion or not, I certainly am myself." Then turning to us, he said You see in what a strictly honourable and arduous manner we spent our days, though they were followed by the most agreeable relaxations. Every day we were summoned to dine with the Emperor, and modest dinners they were for one of his imperial position. Sometimes we listened to entertainers, sometimes we had delightful conversations lasting far into the night. On the last day, just as we were setting out, Caesar sent us parting presents, such is his thoughtfulness and courtesy. As for myself, I delighted in the importance of the cases heard, in the honour of being summoned to the Council, and in the charm and simplicity of his mode of life, while I was equally pleased with the place itself. The villa, which is exquisitely beautiful, is surrounded by meadows of the richest green; it abuts on the sea-shore, in the bight of which a harbour is being hastily formed, the left arm having been strengthened by masonry of great solidity, while the right is now in course of construction. In the mouth of the harbour an island rises out of the sea, which by its position breaks the force of the waves that are carried in by the wind, and affords a safe passage to ships on either side. The island has been artificially constructed, and is not a natural formation, for a broad barge brings up a number of immense stones, which are thrown into the water, one on top of the other, and these are kept in position by their own weight, and gradually become built up into a sort of breakwater. The ridge of stones already overtops the surface, and when the waves strike upon it, it breaks them into spray and throws them to a great height. That causes a loud-resounding roar, and the sea all round is white with foam. Subsequently concrete will be added to the stones, to give it the appearance of a natural island as time goes on. This harbour will be called - and indeed it already is called - after the name of its constructor, and it will prove a haven of the greatest value, inasmuch as there is a long stretch of shore which has no harbour, and the sailors will use this as a place of refuge. Farewell. 0 ,To Quintilian. Although you yourself are most modest in your requirements, and you have brought up your daughter to be the same - as indeed was becoming in a daughter of yours and a granddaughter of Tutilius - yet as she is about to marry a man of such position as that held by Nonius Celer, who is bound to keep up a certain style owing to his civic offices, she ought to have clothes and a staff of servants to tally with her husband's position. For though these things will not add to her worth, yet they do set off and enhance her virtues. I know that you are exceedingly rich in mental endowments, but that your means are limited, and so I have taken upon myself to discharge part of the expenses, and make a present of 50,000 sesterces to her whom I consider to be my daughter as well as yours. I would give more, but I know your modesty to be such that the smallness of the present will be the only inducement to you not to refuse to accept it. Farewell. ,To Romanus. Away with it all, cried Vulcan, "and cease the task you have begun." * Whether you are writing or reading, bid your people take away your pens and books, and receive this speech of mine, which is as divine as the arms made by Vulcan. Could conceit go further? But frankly, I think it is a fine speech, as compared with my other efforts, and I am satisfied to try and beat my own record. It is on behalf of Attia Viriola, and is worth attention owing to the lady's high position, the singular character of the case, and the importance of the trial. She was a person of high birth, was married to a man of praetorian rank, and was disinherited by her octogenarian father within eleven days after he had fallen violently in love, married a second time, and given Attia a step-mother. She sued for her father's effects in the Four Courts. ** A hundred and eighty judges sat to hear the case, for that is the number appointed for the Four Chambers ; there was a crowd of advocates on both sides, and the benches were packed, while there was also a dense ring of people standing many deep around the whole spacious court. Moreover, the tribunal was closely filled, and even in the upper galleries of the hall men and women leant over both to see and hear what was going on, the former being easy but the latter difficult of accomplishment. Fathers, daughters, and step-mothers were on the tip-toe of expectation. The fortunes of the day varied, for in two courts we were victorious, and in two we were beaten. It seemed an extraordinary and remarkable thing, that with the same judges and the same advocates there should be such different verdicts at one and the same time, and that this should be due to chance, though it did not so appear to be. The step-mother, who had been made heir to a sixth of the property, lost, and so too did Suberinus, † who, in spite of having been disinherited by his own father, had the amazing impudence to claim the property of someone else's father, but did not dare to claim that of his own. I have entered into these explanations, in the first place to acquaint you by letter of certain facts which you could not gather from the speech, and secondly - for I will be frank, and tell you my little tricks - to make you the more willing to read the speech, by leading you to imagine that you are not merely reading it, but are actually present at the trial. Though the speech is a long one, I am in some hope that it will meet with as kind a reception as a very short one. For the interest is constantly renewed by the fullness of the subject-matter, the neat way in which it is divided, the number of digressions, and the different kinds of eloquence employed. Many parts of it - I would not venture to say so to anyone but yourself - are of sustained dignity, many are controversial, many are closely argued. For constantly, in the midst of my most passionate and lofty passages, I was obliged to go into calculations, and almost had to call for counters and a table to carry them through, the consequence being that the court of law was suddenly turned into a sort of private counting-house. I gave free play to my indignation, to my anger, to my resentment, and so I sailed along, as it were, in this long pleading, as though I were on a vast sea, with a variety of winds to fill my sails. In fine, to say what I said before, some of my intimate friends repeatedly tell me that this speech of mine is as much above my previous efforts as Demosthenes' speech on behalf of Ctesiphon is above his others. Whether they are right in their judgment you will have no difficulty in deciding, for your memory of all my speeches is so good that by merely reading this one you can institute a comparison with them all. Farewell ,To Maximus. You did quite right in promising a gladiatorial display to my clients at Verona, for they have long loved you, looked up to you, and honoured you. You took from that city your dearly loved and most estimable wife, and you owe to her memory some public work or festival, and a gladiatorial show is most suitable for a funeral honour. Besides, as the people were so unanimous in asking for that form of entertainment, you would have appeared boorish rather than consistent had you refused. Whereas now it stands to your credit that you were not only lavish in giving the show, but were easily persuaded to do so, and it is in matters such as these that magnanimity is disclosed. I wish that the numerous African panthers you had bought had turned up by the appointed day, but it may be that they were detained by stress of weather. At any rate you have deserved the fullest credit for them, for it was not your fault that the exhibition was not complete. Farewell.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

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1. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.1, 10.15-10.18, 10.20-10.26, 10.31-10.43, 10.45, 10.47-10.52, 10.54-10.62, 10.64-10.84, 10.88, 10.92-10.100, 10.102, 10.104, 10.106-10.121 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.1. To Septicius. You have constantly urged me to collect and publish the more highly finished of the letters that I may have written. I have made such a collection, but without preserving the order in which they were composed, as I was not writing a historical narrative. So I have taken them as they happened to come to hand. I can only hope that you will not have cause to regret the advice you gave, and that I shall not repent having followed it; for I shall set to work to recover such letters as have up to now been tossed on one side, and I shall not keep back any that I may write in the future. Farewell.. 10.15. To Trajan. It is because I feel sure, Sir, that you will be interested to hear, that I send you news that I have rounded Cape Malea and have made my way with all my retinue to Ephesus. Though I have been delayed by contrary winds, I am now on the point of setting out for my province, travelling part of the way by coasters and part by land carriage, for the prevailing Etesian winds are as great an obstacle to journeying by sea as the overpowering heat is by land. 10.16. Trajan to Pliny. You have done well to send me news, my dear Pliny, for I am exceedingly interested to hear what sort of a journey you are having to your province. You are doing wisely to make use of coasters and land carriage alternately, according to the difficulties of the various districts. 10.18. Trajan to Pliny. I wish it had been possible for you and your companions to reach Bithynia without the slightest inconvenience or illness, and that you could have had as pleasant a journey by water from Ephesus as you had as far as that city. However, I have learned from your letters, my dear Pliny, the date of your arrival in Bithynia, and I trust the people of the province will understand that I have had an eye to their interests, for you too will do what you can to make it clear to them that you were specially selected to be sent to them as my representative. The examination of their public accounts must be one of your first duties, for it is fairly evident that they have been tampered with. I have scarcely enough surveyors for the public works which are in progress at Rome or the immediate district, but surely there are trustworthy persons to be found in every province, and therefore you too will be able to find some, provided you take the trouble to make a careful search. 10.20. Trajan to Pliny. There is no necessity, my dear Pliny, to employ more soldiers in guarding the prisons. Let us continue to observe the custom of your province which utilised the public slaves for that purpose, for it depends upon the severity and attention you show whether they will perform their duties faithfully. As you say, the chief danger to be apprehended, if you mix soldiers with the public slaves, is that they will grow more careless, for each will trust to the other. So let this be our standing rule, to withdraw as few soldiers as possible from the standards. 10.21. To Trajan. Gabius Bassus, Sir, the prefect of the coast of Pontus, has come to me in a most respectful and dutiful manner, and has spent several days in my company. So far as I can read his character, he is an excellent man and worthy of your favour. I told him that you had given orders that he should be content with ten privileged soldiers, two horsemen, and one centurion, out of the cohorts which you desired me to command. His answer was that this number was quite inadequate, and that he would himself write to you. That is the reason why I did not think it proper to at once recall from his command those above the assigned number. 10.22. Trajan to Pliny. I too have had a letter from Gabius Bassus, in which he says that the force assigned to him by my orders is inadequate. I have ordered the reply which I sent him to be enclosed with this letter, to acquaint you with its contents. It makes all the difference whether such a request is due to the exigencies of the situation or merely to a man's personal ambition. However, we ought to consider primarily the public interest and to take care, as far as possible, that soldiers are not absent from the standards. 10.23. To Trajan. The people of Prusa, Sir, have a public bath which is in a neglected and dilapidated state. They wish, with your kind permission, to restore it; but I think a new one ought to be built, and I reckon that you can safely comply with their wishes. The money for its erection will be forthcoming, for first there are the sums I spoke of * which I have already begun to claim and demand from private individuals, and secondly there is the money usually collected for a free distribution of oil which they are now prepared to utilise for the construction of a new bath. Besides, the dignity of the city and the glory of your reign demand its erection. 10.25. To Trajan. Your legate, Sir, Servilius Pudens, reached Nicomedia on November 24th, and has freed me from the suspense entailed by waiting so long for his arrival. 10.26. To Trajan. Your kindness to me, Sir, has cemented the friendship between Rosianus Geminus and myself, for he was my quaestor when I was consul, and I found him most remarkably devoted to my interests. Since the end of my consulship he has shown me extraordinary deference, and he is constantly renewing the pledges of our official friendship by the private attentions he pays me. I beg, therefore, that you yourself will favourably entertain my request for his advancement, for if you follow my advice you will bestow upon him your warmest favour. He will do his best in any commission you may give him to deserve still higher posts. I feel compelled to be less lavish in my praise than I might be from the fact that I trust his honesty, uprightness, and industry are already well known to you, not only from the office he has held under your eyes in Rome, but from his service with you in your army. However, I must repeat yet again the request which I fear I have not sufficiently urged upon you - at least, so my affection makes me fancy - and I beg you, Sir, that you will as early as possible see your way to let me rejoice in the advancement of my quaestor's dignity, and in the advancement of my own dignity through his. 10.31. To Trajan. As you have given me authority to refer to you wherever I am in doubt, you may, Sir, condescend to hear my difficulty without compromising your great position. In many of the States, but especially in Nicomedia and Nicaea, there are certain persons lying under sentence to the mines, to take part in the gladiatorial shows, and to similar penalties, who are now acting as and performing the duties of public slaves, and are even drawing an annual salary as such. When I was told of this, I hesitated for a long time as to what course I ought to adopt. For I thought it would be showing too harsh a severity to hand them over to their penalties after so many years, especially as many of them are old men, and are, to all accounts, now living a decent and respectable life, yet I thought it was scarcely the proper thing to retain criminals as public servants. Moreover, to keep men doing nothing at the State expense is inexpedient, and if they were not kept they might be a source of danger. I have therefore left the whole matter in suspense until I could take your advice. You will ask perhaps how it comes about that they were released from the penalties to which they were condemned. I too have asked the same question, but have found no answer which is at all satisfactory. The decrees by which they were condemned were produced, but no documents sanctioning their liberation, though there are some who say that they were released on petition by the authority of certain proconsuls and legates, and this theory is the more plausible, as it is hardly credible that anyone would have ventured on such a step without authority. 10.32. Trajan to Pliny. Let us not forget that you were sent to your province for the express reason that there seemed to be many abuses rampant there which required correction. And most certainly we must redress such a scandal as that persons condemned to penalties should not only, as you say, be released therefrom without authorisation, but even be placed in stations which ought to be filled by honest servants. So all those who were sentenced within the last ten years and released on insufficient authority must be sent back to work out their sentences, and if there are any whose condemnation dates back beyond the last ten years and are now old men, let us apportion them to fulfil duties which are not far removed from being penal. For it is the custom to send such cases to work in the public baths, to clean out the sewers, and to repair the roads and streets. 10.33. To Trajan. While I was visiting a distant part of the province a most desolating fire broke out at Nicomedia and destroyed a number of private houses and two public buildings, the almshouse * and temple of Isis, although a road ran between them. The fire was allowed to spread farther than it need have done, first, owing to the violence of the wind, and, secondly, to the laziness of the inhabitants, it being generally agreed that they stood idly by without moving and merely watched the catastrophe. Moreover, there is not a single public fire-engine ** or bucket in the place, and not one solitary appliance for mastering an outbreak of fire. However, these will be provided in accordance with the orders I have already given. But, Sir, I would have you consider whether you think a guild of firemen, of about 150 men, should be instituted. I will take care that no one who is not a genuine fireman should be admitted, and that the guild should not misapply the charter granted to it, and there would be no difficulty in keeping an eye on so small a body. 0 10.34. Trajan to Pliny. You have conceived the idea that a guild of firemen might be formed in Nicomedia on the model of various others already existing. But it is to be remembered that your province of Bithynia, and especially city states like Nicomedia, are the prey of factions. Whatever name we may give to those who form an association, and whatever the reason of the association may be, they will soon degenerate into secret societies. It is better policy to provide appliances for mastering conflagrations and encourage property owners to make use of them, and, if occasion demands, press the crowd which collects into the same service. 10.35. To Trajan. We have taken the usual vows, * Sir, for your safety, with which the public well-being is bound up, and at the same time paid our vows of last year, praying the gods that they may ever allow us to pay them and renew them again. 10.36. Trajan to Pliny. I am pleased to learn from your letter, my dear Pliny, that you and the people of your province have paid the vows you undertook for my health and safety to the immortal gods, and have again renewed them. 10.37. To Trajan. Sir, the people of Nicomedia spent 3,329,000 sesterces upon an aqueduct, which was left in an unfinished state, and I may say in ruin, and they also levied taxes to the extent of two millions for a second one. This too has been abandoned, and to obtain a water-supply those who have wasted these enormous sums must go to new expense. I have myself visited a splendidly clear spring, from which it seems to me the supply ought to be brought to the town as indeed they tried to do by their first scheme - by an aqueduct of arches, so that it might not be confined only to the low-lying and level parts of the city. Very few of the arches are still standing; some could be built from the shaped blocks {lapis quadratus} which were taken from the earlier work, and part again, in my opinion, should be constructed of brick {opus testaceum}, * which is both cheaper and more easily handled, but the first thing that might be done is for you to send an engineer skilled in such work, or an architect, to prevent a repetition of the former failures. I can at least vouch for this, that such an undertaking would be well worthy of your reign owing to its public utility and its imposing design. 10.38. Trajan to Pliny. Steps must certainly be taken to provide the city of Nicomedia with a water-supply, and I have every confidence that you will undertake the duty with all necessary diligence. But I swear that it is also part of your diligent duty to find out who is to blame for the waste of such sums of money by the people of Nicomedia on their aqueducts, and whether or not there has been any serving of private interests in thus beginning and then abandoning the works. See that you bring to my knowledge whatever you may find out. 10.39. To Trajan. The theatre at Nicaea, Sir, the greater part of which has already been constructed, though it is still incomplete, has already cost more than ten million sesterces, - so at least I am told, for the accounts have not been made out, - and I am afraid the money has been thrown away. For the building has sunk, and there are great gaping crevices to be seen, either because the ground is soft and damp, or owing to the brittleness and crumbling character of the stone, and so it is worth consideration whether it should be finished or abandoned, or even pulled down. For the props and buttresses by which it is shored up seem to me to be more costly than strength-giving. Many parts of this theatre were promised by private persons, as for example the galleries and porticos above the pit, but all these are postponed now that the work, which had to be finished first, has come to a stop. The same people of Nicaea began, before my arrival here, to restore the public gymnasium, which had been destroyed by fire, on a more extensive and wider scale than the old building, and they have already disbursed a considerable sum thereon, and I fear to very little purpose, for the structure is not well put together, and looks disjointed. Moreover, the architect - though it is true he is the rival of the man who began the work - declares that the walls, in spite of their being twenty-two feet thick, cannot bear the weight placed upon them, because they have not been put together with cement in the middle, and have not been strengthened with brickwork. The people of Claudiopolis, again, are excavating rather than constructing an immense public bath in a low-lying situation with a mountain hanging over it, and they are using for the purpose the sums which the senators, who were added to the local council by your kindness, have either paid as their entrance fee, * or are paying according as I ask them for it. Consequently, as I am afraid that the public money at Nicaea may be unprofitably spent, and that - what is more precious than any money - your kindness at Claudiopolis may be turned to unprofitable account, I beg you not only for the sake of the theatre, but also for these baths, to send an architect to see which is the better course to adopt, either, after the money which has already been expended, to finish by hook or by crook the works as they have been begun, or to repair them where they seem to require it, or if necessary change the sites entirely, lest in our anxiety to save the money already disbursed we should lay out the remaining sums with just as poor results. 10.40. Trajan to Pliny. You will be best able to judge and determine what ought to be done at the present time in the matter of the theatre which the people of Nicaea have begun to build. It will be enough for me to be informed of the plan you adopt. Do not trouble, moreover, to call on the private individuals to build the portions they promised until the theatre is erected, for they made those promises for the sake of having a theatre. All the Greek peoples have a passion for gymnasia, and so perhaps the people of Nicaea have set about building one on a rather lavish scale, but they must be content to cut their coat according to their cloth. You again must decide on what advice to give to the people of Claudiopolis in the matter of the bath which, as you say, they have begun to build in a rather unsuitable site. There must be plenty of architects to advise you, for there is no province which is without some men of experience and skill in that profession, and remember again that it does not save time to send one from Rome, when so many of our architects come to Rome from Greece. 10.41. To Trajan. I consider the splendour of your position and the loftiness of your mind, it seems to me most fitting that I should point out to you schemes which would be worthy of your eternal fame and glory, and which would not only be imposing to the imagination, but of great public utility. There lies in the territory of the people of Nicomedia a most spacious lake, * by which marble, grain, timber, and bulky articles can be brought by barges to the high road with but little expense and labour, though it is a very laborious and costly business to take them down on waggons to the sea. ** [ (?) To connect the lake with the sea ] would demand a large supply of workmen, but they are to be found on the spot, for in the country districts labourers are plentiful, and they are still more plentiful in the city, while it is quite certain that all would be perfectly willing to help in an undertaking which would be of profit to everyone. It only remains for you, if you think fit, to send a surveyor or an architect to make careful observations and find out whether the lake lies at a higher level than the sea, for the engineers in this district hold that it is forty cubits higher. I find that one of the earlier kings † dug a trench over the same site, but it is doubtful whether his object was to drain off the moisture from the surrounding fields, or to join the waters of the lake and the river. For the trench was not completed, and it is not known whether the work was abandoned because of the king's death, or because the success of the enterprise was despaired of. But this only fires my desire and anxiety - you will pardon my eager ambition for your glory - that you should complete what the kings merely commenced. 10.42. Trajan to Pliny. That lake you speak of may perhaps tempt me into making up my mind to connect it with the sea, but obviously careful investigations must be made to provide against its totally emptying itself if its waters be brought down to the sea, and to find out what volume of water flows into it, and what are the sources of supply. You will be able to obtain a surveyor from Calpurnius Macer, * and I will also send you someone who is an expert in that class of work. 10.43. To Trajan. When I asked for a statement of the expenditure of the city of Byzantium - which is abnormally high - it was pointed out to me, Sir, that a delegate was sent every year with a complimentary decree to pay his respects to you, and that he received the sum of twelve thousand sesterces for so doing. Remembering your instructions, I determined to order that the delegate should be kept at home, and that only the decree should be forwarded, in order to lighten the expenses without interfering with the performance of their public act of homage. Again, a tax of three thousand sesterces has been levied upon the same city, which is given every year as travelling expenses to the delegate who is sent to pay the homage of the city to the governor of Moesia. This, too, I decided to do away with for the future. I beg, Sir, that, by writing and telling me what you think of these matters, you will deign either to approve my decision or correct me if you think I have been at fault. 10.45. To Trajan. I beg you, Sir, to write and tell me whether you wish the permits, * the terms of which have expired, to be recognised as valid, and for how long, and so free me from my indecision. For I am afraid of blundering either one way or the other, either by confirming what ought to lapse, or by putting obstacles in the way of those which are necessary. 10.47. To Trajan. When I wished, Sir, to be informed of those who owed money to the city of Apamea, and of its revenue and expenditure, I was told that though everyone was anxious that the accounts of the colony should be gone through by me, no proconsul had ever done so before, and that it was one of their privileges and most ancient usages that the administration of the colony should be left to themselves entirely. I got them to set forth in a memorial their arguments and the authorities they cited, which I am sending on to you just as I received it, although I am aware that much of it is quite irrelevant to the point at issue. So I beg you will deign to instruct me as to the course I should adopt, for I am anxious not to seem either to have exceeded or to have fallen short of my duty. 10.48. Trajan to Pliny. The memorial of the people of Apamea which you enclosed with your letter makes it unnecessary for me to examine into the reasons why they wish it to be known that those who have hitherto acted as proconsuls in the province refrained from inspecting their accounts, though they have no objection to your inspecting them. Their frankness, therefore, merits reward, and you will let them know that your inspection at my express wish will not prejudice the privileges they possess. 10.49. To Trajan. Before my arrival, Sir, the people of Nicomedia had commenced to make certain additions to their old forum, in one corner of which stands a very ancient shrine of the Great Mother, * which should either be restored or removed to another site, principally for this reason, that it is much less lofty than the new buildings, which are being run up to a good height. When I inquired whether the temple was protected by any legal enactments, I discovered that the form of dedication is different here from what it is with us in Rome. Consider therefore. Sir, whether you think that a temple can be removed without desecration when there has been no legal consecration of the site, for, if there are no religious objections, the removal would be a great convenience. 10.50. Trajan to Pliny. You may, my dear Pliny, without any religious scruples, if the site seems to require the change, remove the temple of the Mother of the Gods to a more suitable spot, nor need the fact that there is no record of legal consecration trouble you, for the soil of a foreign city may not be suitable for the consecration which our laws enjoin. 10.51. To Trajan. It is difficult. Sir, to find words to express the pleasure I have received at the favour you have shown my wife's mother * and myself in transferring her relative, Caelius Clemens, to this province. For I begin to realise thoroughly the full measure of your kindness when I and all my household receive such abundant favours at your hands, adequate thanks for which I dare not venture to offer you, though I do thank you from the bottom of my heart. Consequently, I take refuge in vows on your behalf, and pray to Heaven that I may not be thought unworthy of the kindnesses you shower so plentifully upon me. 10.52. To Trajan. We have celebrated. Sir, with the thankfulness appropriate to the occasion, the day on which you preserved the empire by undertaking the duties of Emperor, * and have prayed the gods to keep you in safety and prosperity, since on you 10.54. To Trajan Thanks, Sir, to your forethought and my administration the public revenues have either already been collected or are being collected at this moment, and I am afraid that the money may lie idle. For an opportunity of buying land rarely or never arises, and it is impossible to find persons ready to borrow from the State, especially at twelve per cent per month, for at that rate they can borrow from private individuals. Consider therefore, Sir, whether you think the rate of interest should be lowered and by this means attract suitable borrowers, or whether, if they are not forthcoming even then, the money should be divided among the decurions in such a way that they give good security for it to the State. Such a course, even though it displeased them and they were unwilling to take the money, would be less obnoxious provided the rate were lowered. 10.55. Trajan to Pliny. I do not see any other remedy, my dear Pliny, than the lowering of the rate of interest, which would facilitate the investment of the public moneys. You must fix the rate according to the number of those likely to borrow. But if people are averse to borrowing, it would not be in consoce with the justice of our reign to force a loan upon them, as possibly they too would find no investment for it. 10.56. To Trajan. I thank you. Sir, most sincerely that in the midst of your most pressing business of state you have deigned to give me directions on the matters about which I have consulted you, and I beg that you will do the same now. For a certain person came to me and informed me that some enemies of his who had been banished for three years by that distinguished man, Servilius Calvus, * were still lingering in the province, while they on the other hand declared that the sentence against them had been revoked - also by Calvus - and read out to me his edict. That is why I think it necessary to refer the whole matter to you just as it stands. For while your instructions warn me against recalling those who have been banished by others or by myself, they do not cover the case of those who have been banished and recalled from banishment by another governor. Hence, Sir, I thought I ought to consult you as to the course you would wish me to adopt, not only in the instances I have quoted, but also when persons are discovered in the province who have been banished for ever and have not had the sentence revoked. A case of this sort came under my notice in my judicial capacity. For a man was brought before me who had been banished for ever by the proconsul, Julius Bassus. ** Knowing as I did that the decrees of Bassus had been rescinded, and that the senate had given permission to all who had been sentenced by him to have their cases tried over again, if they brought their appeal within two years, I asked this man who had been banished by Bassus which proconsul he had approached and told his story to. He said he had not laid his case before anyone. It is this which made me consult you whether I should hand him over to complete his sentence or inflict additional punishment, and I should like to know what course you think I ought to adopt towards him and others who may be found to be similarly situated. I enclose with this letter the decree of Calvus and his edict, and also the decree of Bassus. 0 10.57. Trajan to Pliny. What steps ought to be taken with respect to those who were banished for three years by the proconsul Servilius Calvus, and afterwards were recalled by an edict of his and remained in the province, I will write and tell you shortly as soon as I have ascertained from Calvus the reason for his recalling them. As to the man who was banished for ever by Julius Bassus, he had two years allowed him in which to appeal if he considered he had been unjustly banished, and as he failed to do so and continued to linger in the province, he must be sent in chains to the prefects of my praetorian guard. * For he will not be sufficiently punished by being sent to complete his former sentence, inasmuch as he impudently evaded it. 10.58. To Trajan. When, Sir, I was about to hold a court and was calling out the names of the judges, Flavius Archippus began to ask leave to be excused on the ground that he was a philosopher. I was indeed told by some other persons that he ought not only to be excused from sitting as a judge but that his name ought to be struck off the list, and that he himself should be handed back to finish the sentence which he had evaded by breaking out of prison. A judgment of the proconsul Velius Paullus was read to me, which showed that Archippus had been condemned to the mines for forgery, and he could produce nothing to prove that the sentence had been revoked. However, he brings forward, in lieu of a pardon, a petition which he sent to Domitian and a letter which Domitian wrote in reply, referring to some distinction conferred upon him, and he also produces a decree of the people of Prusa. In addition to these documents, there is a letter written by yourself to him, and an edict and a letter of your father's in which he confirmed the privileges granted by Domitian. Consequently, though the man is involved in such serious charges, I thought I had better come to no decision until I had taken your advice on a point which I consider quite worthy of your attention. I enclose with this letter the documents which have been produced on both sides. • A letter from Domitian to Terentius Maximus I have granted the request of Flavius Archippus, the philosopher, that I should order land of the value of 600,000 sesterces to be bought for him near Prusa, his native place. I wish this to be acquired for him, and you will charge the whole amount to my account as a gift from me. • A letter from Domitian to Lucius Appius Maximus I desire, my dear Maximus, that you will regard Archippus the philosopher, who is a worthy man, and whose character fully corresponds with the nobility of his profession, as specially commended to your notice, and that you will show him the full extent of your kindness in any reasonable request he may lay before you. • Edict of the late Emperor Nerva There are some things, Romans, that go without saying in such prosperous times as we are now enjoying, nor should people look to a good emperor to declare himself on points wherein his position is thoroughly understood. For every citizen is well assured, and can answer for me without prompting, that I have preferred the security of the State to my own convenience, and in so doing have both conferred new privileges and confirmed old ones that were conceded before my time. However, to prevent there being any interruption of the public felicity by doubts and hesitation arising from the nervousness of those who have obtained favours, or from the memory of the emperor who granted them, I have thought that it is advisable, and that it will give general pleasure, if I remove all doubt by giving proof of my kind indulgence. I do not wish any one to think that any benefit conferred upon him, in either a private or public capacity by any other emperor, will be taken away from him just in order that he may owe the confirmation of his privilege to myself. Let all such grants be regarded as ratified and absolutely secure, and let those who write to thank me for the favours which the royal house has bestowed upon them not fail to renew their applications for more. Only let them give me time for new kindnesses, and understand that the favours they solicit must be such as they do not already possess. • A letter from Nerva to Tullius Justus Since I have made it my rule to preserve all arrangements begun and carried through in the previous reigns, the letters of Domitian must also remain valid. 10.59. To Trajan. Flavius Archippus has implored me, by your safety and eternal fame, to transmit to you a memorial which he has placed in my hands. I thought it my duty to grant his request, but at the same time to acquaint his accuser of the fact that I was about to send it. She too has sent me a memorial, which I enclose with this letter, so that having heard, as it were, both sides of the case, you may the more easily determine on the course to pursue. 10.60. Trajan to Pliny. It is possible, of course, that Domitian was unaware of the true circumstances in which Archippus was situated when he wrote in such a flattering strain about the honour to be paid him. However, it suits my way of thinking better to suppose that he was restored to his old position by the intervention of the Emperor, especially as the honour of a statue was so often decreed to Archippus by persons who were thoroughly aware of the sentence passed upon him by the proconsul Paullus. These facts, however, my dear Pliny, do not mean that you should consider any new charge brought against him as the less deserving of attention. I have read the memorials of Furia Prima, his accuser, and of Archippus himself, which you enclosed in your second letter. %%%
2. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.1, 10.15-10.18, 10.20-10.26, 10.31-10.43, 10.45, 10.47-10.52, 10.54-10.62, 10.64-10.84, 10.88, 10.92-10.100, 10.102, 10.104, 10.106-10.121 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.1. To Septicius. You have constantly urged me to collect and publish the more highly finished of the letters that I may have written. I have made such a collection, but without preserving the order in which they were composed, as I was not writing a historical narrative. So I have taken them as they happened to come to hand. I can only hope that you will not have cause to regret the advice you gave, and that I shall not repent having followed it; for I shall set to work to recover such letters as have up to now been tossed on one side, and I shall not keep back any that I may write in the future. Farewell.. 10.15. To Trajan. It is because I feel sure, Sir, that you will be interested to hear, that I send you news that I have rounded Cape Malea and have made my way with all my retinue to Ephesus. Though I have been delayed by contrary winds, I am now on the point of setting out for my province, travelling part of the way by coasters and part by land carriage, for the prevailing Etesian winds are as great an obstacle to journeying by sea as the overpowering heat is by land. 10.16. Trajan to Pliny. You have done well to send me news, my dear Pliny, for I am exceedingly interested to hear what sort of a journey you are having to your province. You are doing wisely to make use of coasters and land carriage alternately, according to the difficulties of the various districts. 10.18. Trajan to Pliny. I wish it had been possible for you and your companions to reach Bithynia without the slightest inconvenience or illness, and that you could have had as pleasant a journey by water from Ephesus as you had as far as that city. However, I have learned from your letters, my dear Pliny, the date of your arrival in Bithynia, and I trust the people of the province will understand that I have had an eye to their interests, for you too will do what you can to make it clear to them that you were specially selected to be sent to them as my representative. The examination of their public accounts must be one of your first duties, for it is fairly evident that they have been tampered with. I have scarcely enough surveyors for the public works which are in progress at Rome or the immediate district, but surely there are trustworthy persons to be found in every province, and therefore you too will be able to find some, provided you take the trouble to make a careful search. 10.20. Trajan to Pliny. There is no necessity, my dear Pliny, to employ more soldiers in guarding the prisons. Let us continue to observe the custom of your province which utilised the public slaves for that purpose, for it depends upon the severity and attention you show whether they will perform their duties faithfully. As you say, the chief danger to be apprehended, if you mix soldiers with the public slaves, is that they will grow more careless, for each will trust to the other. So let this be our standing rule, to withdraw as few soldiers as possible from the standards. 10.25. To Trajan. Your legate, Sir, Servilius Pudens, reached Nicomedia on November 24th, and has freed me from the suspense entailed by waiting so long for his arrival. 10.26. To Trajan. Your kindness to me, Sir, has cemented the friendship between Rosianus Geminus and myself, for he was my quaestor when I was consul, and I found him most remarkably devoted to my interests. Since the end of my consulship he has shown me extraordinary deference, and he is constantly renewing the pledges of our official friendship by the private attentions he pays me. I beg, therefore, that you yourself will favourably entertain my request for his advancement, for if you follow my advice you will bestow upon him your warmest favour. He will do his best in any commission you may give him to deserve still higher posts. I feel compelled to be less lavish in my praise than I might be from the fact that I trust his honesty, uprightness, and industry are already well known to you, not only from the office he has held under your eyes in Rome, but from his service with you in your army. However, I must repeat yet again the request which I fear I have not sufficiently urged upon you - at least, so my affection makes me fancy - and I beg you, Sir, that you will as early as possible see your way to let me rejoice in the advancement of my quaestor's dignity, and in the advancement of my own dignity through his. 10.31. To Trajan. As you have given me authority to refer to you wherever I am in doubt, you may, Sir, condescend to hear my difficulty without compromising your great position. In many of the States, but especially in Nicomedia and Nicaea, there are certain persons lying under sentence to the mines, to take part in the gladiatorial shows, and to similar penalties, who are now acting as and performing the duties of public slaves, and are even drawing an annual salary as such. When I was told of this, I hesitated for a long time as to what course I ought to adopt. For I thought it would be showing too harsh a severity to hand them over to their penalties after so many years, especially as many of them are old men, and are, to all accounts, now living a decent and respectable life, yet I thought it was scarcely the proper thing to retain criminals as public servants. Moreover, to keep men doing nothing at the State expense is inexpedient, and if they were not kept they might be a source of danger. I have therefore left the whole matter in suspense until I could take your advice. You will ask perhaps how it comes about that they were released from the penalties to which they were condemned. I too have asked the same question, but have found no answer which is at all satisfactory. The decrees by which they were condemned were produced, but no documents sanctioning their liberation, though there are some who say that they were released on petition by the authority of certain proconsuls and legates, and this theory is the more plausible, as it is hardly credible that anyone would have ventured on such a step without authority. 10.32. Trajan to Pliny. Let us not forget that you were sent to your province for the express reason that there seemed to be many abuses rampant there which required correction. And most certainly we must redress such a scandal as that persons condemned to penalties should not only, as you say, be released therefrom without authorisation, but even be placed in stations which ought to be filled by honest servants. So all those who were sentenced within the last ten years and released on insufficient authority must be sent back to work out their sentences, and if there are any whose condemnation dates back beyond the last ten years and are now old men, let us apportion them to fulfil duties which are not far removed from being penal. For it is the custom to send such cases to work in the public baths, to clean out the sewers, and to repair the roads and streets. 10.33. To Trajan. While I was visiting a distant part of the province a most desolating fire broke out at Nicomedia and destroyed a number of private houses and two public buildings, the almshouse * and temple of Isis, although a road ran between them. The fire was allowed to spread farther than it need have done, first, owing to the violence of the wind, and, secondly, to the laziness of the inhabitants, it being generally agreed that they stood idly by without moving and merely watched the catastrophe. Moreover, there is not a single public fire-engine ** or bucket in the place, and not one solitary appliance for mastering an outbreak of fire. However, these will be provided in accordance with the orders I have already given. But, Sir, I would have you consider whether you think a guild of firemen, of about 150 men, should be instituted. I will take care that no one who is not a genuine fireman should be admitted, and that the guild should not misapply the charter granted to it, and there would be no difficulty in keeping an eye on so small a body. 0 10.34. Trajan to Pliny. You have conceived the idea that a guild of firemen might be formed in Nicomedia on the model of various others already existing. But it is to be remembered that your province of Bithynia, and especially city states like Nicomedia, are the prey of factions. Whatever name we may give to those who form an association, and whatever the reason of the association may be, they will soon degenerate into secret societies. It is better policy to provide appliances for mastering conflagrations and encourage property owners to make use of them, and, if occasion demands, press the crowd which collects into the same service. 10.35. To Trajan. We have taken the usual vows, * Sir, for your safety, with which the public well-being is bound up, and at the same time paid our vows of last year, praying the gods that they may ever allow us to pay them and renew them again. 10.36. Trajan to Pliny. I am pleased to learn from your letter, my dear Pliny, that you and the people of your province have paid the vows you undertook for my health and safety to the immortal gods, and have again renewed them. 10.37. To Trajan. Sir, the people of Nicomedia spent 3,329,000 sesterces upon an aqueduct, which was left in an unfinished state, and I may say in ruin, and they also levied taxes to the extent of two millions for a second one. This too has been abandoned, and to obtain a water-supply those who have wasted these enormous sums must go to new expense. I have myself visited a splendidly clear spring, from which it seems to me the supply ought to be brought to the town as indeed they tried to do by their first scheme - by an aqueduct of arches, so that it might not be confined only to the low-lying and level parts of the city. Very few of the arches are still standing; some could be built from the shaped blocks {lapis quadratus} which were taken from the earlier work, and part again, in my opinion, should be constructed of brick {opus testaceum}, * which is both cheaper and more easily handled, but the first thing that might be done is for you to send an engineer skilled in such work, or an architect, to prevent a repetition of the former failures. I can at least vouch for this, that such an undertaking would be well worthy of your reign owing to its public utility and its imposing design. 10.39. To Trajan. The theatre at Nicaea, Sir, the greater part of which has already been constructed, though it is still incomplete, has already cost more than ten million sesterces, - so at least I am told, for the accounts have not been made out, - and I am afraid the money has been thrown away. For the building has sunk, and there are great gaping crevices to be seen, either because the ground is soft and damp, or owing to the brittleness and crumbling character of the stone, and so it is worth consideration whether it should be finished or abandoned, or even pulled down. For the props and buttresses by which it is shored up seem to me to be more costly than strength-giving. Many parts of this theatre were promised by private persons, as for example the galleries and porticos above the pit, but all these are postponed now that the work, which had to be finished first, has come to a stop. The same people of Nicaea began, before my arrival here, to restore the public gymnasium, which had been destroyed by fire, on a more extensive and wider scale than the old building, and they have already disbursed a considerable sum thereon, and I fear to very little purpose, for the structure is not well put together, and looks disjointed. Moreover, the architect - though it is true he is the rival of the man who began the work - declares that the walls, in spite of their being twenty-two feet thick, cannot bear the weight placed upon them, because they have not been put together with cement in the middle, and have not been strengthened with brickwork. The people of Claudiopolis, again, are excavating rather than constructing an immense public bath in a low-lying situation with a mountain hanging over it, and they are using for the purpose the sums which the senators, who were added to the local council by your kindness, have either paid as their entrance fee, * or are paying according as I ask them for it. Consequently, as I am afraid that the public money at Nicaea may be unprofitably spent, and that - what is more precious than any money - your kindness at Claudiopolis may be turned to unprofitable account, I beg you not only for the sake of the theatre, but also for these baths, to send an architect to see which is the better course to adopt, either, after the money which has already been expended, to finish by hook or by crook the works as they have been begun, or to repair them where they seem to require it, or if necessary change the sites entirely, lest in our anxiety to save the money already disbursed we should lay out the remaining sums with just as poor results. 10.40. Trajan to Pliny. You will be best able to judge and determine what ought to be done at the present time in the matter of the theatre which the people of Nicaea have begun to build. It will be enough for me to be informed of the plan you adopt. Do not trouble, moreover, to call on the private individuals to build the portions they promised until the theatre is erected, for they made those promises for the sake of having a theatre. All the Greek peoples have a passion for gymnasia, and so perhaps the people of Nicaea have set about building one on a rather lavish scale, but they must be content to cut their coat according to their cloth. You again must decide on what advice to give to the people of Claudiopolis in the matter of the bath which, as you say, they have begun to build in a rather unsuitable site. There must be plenty of architects to advise you, for there is no province which is without some men of experience and skill in that profession, and remember again that it does not save time to send one from Rome, when so many of our architects come to Rome from Greece. 10.41. To Trajan. I consider the splendour of your position and the loftiness of your mind, it seems to me most fitting that I should point out to you schemes which would be worthy of your eternal fame and glory, and which would not only be imposing to the imagination, but of great public utility. There lies in the territory of the people of Nicomedia a most spacious lake, * by which marble, grain, timber, and bulky articles can be brought by barges to the high road with but little expense and labour, though it is a very laborious and costly business to take them down on waggons to the sea. ** [ (?) To connect the lake with the sea ] would demand a large supply of workmen, but they are to be found on the spot, for in the country districts labourers are plentiful, and they are still more plentiful in the city, while it is quite certain that all would be perfectly willing to help in an undertaking which would be of profit to everyone. It only remains for you, if you think fit, to send a surveyor or an architect to make careful observations and find out whether the lake lies at a higher level than the sea, for the engineers in this district hold that it is forty cubits higher. I find that one of the earlier kings † dug a trench over the same site, but it is doubtful whether his object was to drain off the moisture from the surrounding fields, or to join the waters of the lake and the river. For the trench was not completed, and it is not known whether the work was abandoned because of the king's death, or because the success of the enterprise was despaired of. But this only fires my desire and anxiety - you will pardon my eager ambition for your glory - that you should complete what the kings merely commenced. 10.42. Trajan to Pliny. That lake you speak of may perhaps tempt me into making up my mind to connect it with the sea, but obviously careful investigations must be made to provide against its totally emptying itself if its waters be brought down to the sea, and to find out what volume of water flows into it, and what are the sources of supply. You will be able to obtain a surveyor from Calpurnius Macer, * and I will also send you someone who is an expert in that class of work. 10.43. To Trajan. When I asked for a statement of the expenditure of the city of Byzantium - which is abnormally high - it was pointed out to me, Sir, that a delegate was sent every year with a complimentary decree to pay his respects to you, and that he received the sum of twelve thousand sesterces for so doing. Remembering your instructions, I determined to order that the delegate should be kept at home, and that only the decree should be forwarded, in order to lighten the expenses without interfering with the performance of their public act of homage. Again, a tax of three thousand sesterces has been levied upon the same city, which is given every year as travelling expenses to the delegate who is sent to pay the homage of the city to the governor of Moesia. This, too, I decided to do away with for the future. I beg, Sir, that, by writing and telling me what you think of these matters, you will deign either to approve my decision or correct me if you think I have been at fault. 10.45. To Trajan. I beg you, Sir, to write and tell me whether you wish the permits, * the terms of which have expired, to be recognised as valid, and for how long, and so free me from my indecision. For I am afraid of blundering either one way or the other, either by confirming what ought to lapse, or by putting obstacles in the way of those which are necessary. 10.47. To Trajan. When I wished, Sir, to be informed of those who owed money to the city of Apamea, and of its revenue and expenditure, I was told that though everyone was anxious that the accounts of the colony should be gone through by me, no proconsul had ever done so before, and that it was one of their privileges and most ancient usages that the administration of the colony should be left to themselves entirely. I got them to set forth in a memorial their arguments and the authorities they cited, which I am sending on to you just as I received it, although I am aware that much of it is quite irrelevant to the point at issue. So I beg you will deign to instruct me as to the course I should adopt, for I am anxious not to seem either to have exceeded or to have fallen short of my duty. 10.48. Trajan to Pliny. The memorial of the people of Apamea which you enclosed with your letter makes it unnecessary for me to examine into the reasons why they wish it to be known that those who have hitherto acted as proconsuls in the province refrained from inspecting their accounts, though they have no objection to your inspecting them. Their frankness, therefore, merits reward, and you will let them know that your inspection at my express wish will not prejudice the privileges they possess. 10.49. To Trajan. Before my arrival, Sir, the people of Nicomedia had commenced to make certain additions to their old forum, in one corner of which stands a very ancient shrine of the Great Mother, * which should either be restored or removed to another site, principally for this reason, that it is much less lofty than the new buildings, which are being run up to a good height. When I inquired whether the temple was protected by any legal enactments, I discovered that the form of dedication is different here from what it is with us in Rome. Consider therefore. Sir, whether you think that a temple can be removed without desecration when there has been no legal consecration of the site, for, if there are no religious objections, the removal would be a great convenience. 10.50. Trajan to Pliny. You may, my dear Pliny, without any religious scruples, if the site seems to require the change, remove the temple of the Mother of the Gods to a more suitable spot, nor need the fact that there is no record of legal consecration trouble you, for the soil of a foreign city may not be suitable for the consecration which our laws enjoin. 10.51. To Trajan. It is difficult. Sir, to find words to express the pleasure I have received at the favour you have shown my wife's mother * and myself in transferring her relative, Caelius Clemens, to this province. For I begin to realise thoroughly the full measure of your kindness when I and all my household receive such abundant favours at your hands, adequate thanks for which I dare not venture to offer you, though I do thank you from the bottom of my heart. Consequently, I take refuge in vows on your behalf, and pray to Heaven that I may not be thought unworthy of the kindnesses you shower so plentifully upon me. 10.52. To Trajan. We have celebrated. Sir, with the thankfulness appropriate to the occasion, the day on which you preserved the empire by undertaking the duties of Emperor, * and have prayed the gods to keep you in safety and prosperity, since on you 10.55. Trajan to Pliny. I do not see any other remedy, my dear Pliny, than the lowering of the rate of interest, which would facilitate the investment of the public moneys. You must fix the rate according to the number of those likely to borrow. But if people are averse to borrowing, it would not be in consoce with the justice of our reign to force a loan upon them, as possibly they too would find no investment for it. 10.56. To Trajan. I thank you. Sir, most sincerely that in the midst of your most pressing business of state you have deigned to give me directions on the matters about which I have consulted you, and I beg that you will do the same now. For a certain person came to me and informed me that some enemies of his who had been banished for three years by that distinguished man, Servilius Calvus, * were still lingering in the province, while they on the other hand declared that the sentence against them had been revoked - also by Calvus - and read out to me his edict. That is why I think it necessary to refer the whole matter to you just as it stands. For while your instructions warn me against recalling those who have been banished by others or by myself, they do not cover the case of those who have been banished and recalled from banishment by another governor. Hence, Sir, I thought I ought to consult you as to the course you would wish me to adopt, not only in the instances I have quoted, but also when persons are discovered in the province who have been banished for ever and have not had the sentence revoked. A case of this sort came under my notice in my judicial capacity. For a man was brought before me who had been banished for ever by the proconsul, Julius Bassus. ** Knowing as I did that the decrees of Bassus had been rescinded, and that the senate had given permission to all who had been sentenced by him to have their cases tried over again, if they brought their appeal within two years, I asked this man who had been banished by Bassus which proconsul he had approached and told his story to. He said he had not laid his case before anyone. It is this which made me consult you whether I should hand him over to complete his sentence or inflict additional punishment, and I should like to know what course you think I ought to adopt towards him and others who may be found to be similarly situated. I enclose with this letter the decree of Calvus and his edict, and also the decree of Bassus. 0 10.57. Trajan to Pliny. What steps ought to be taken with respect to those who were banished for three years by the proconsul Servilius Calvus, and afterwards were recalled by an edict of his and remained in the province, I will write and tell you shortly as soon as I have ascertained from Calvus the reason for his recalling them. As to the man who was banished for ever by Julius Bassus, he had two years allowed him in which to appeal if he considered he had been unjustly banished, and as he failed to do so and continued to linger in the province, he must be sent in chains to the prefects of my praetorian guard. * For he will not be sufficiently punished by being sent to complete his former sentence, inasmuch as he impudently evaded it. 10.58. To Trajan. When, Sir, I was about to hold a court and was calling out the names of the judges, Flavius Archippus began to ask leave to be excused on the ground that he was a philosopher. I was indeed told by some other persons that he ought not only to be excused from sitting as a judge but that his name ought to be struck off the list, and that he himself should be handed back to finish the sentence which he had evaded by breaking out of prison. A judgment of the proconsul Velius Paullus was read to me, which showed that Archippus had been condemned to the mines for forgery, and he could produce nothing to prove that the sentence had been revoked. However, he brings forward, in lieu of a pardon, a petition which he sent to Domitian and a letter which Domitian wrote in reply, referring to some distinction conferred upon him, and he also produces a decree of the people of Prusa. In addition to these documents, there is a letter written by yourself to him, and an edict and a letter of your father's in which he confirmed the privileges granted by Domitian. Consequently, though the man is involved in such serious charges, I thought I had better come to no decision until I had taken your advice on a point which I consider quite worthy of your attention. I enclose with this letter the documents which have been produced on both sides. • A letter from Domitian to Terentius Maximus I have granted the request of Flavius Archippus, the philosopher, that I should order land of the value of 600,000 sesterces to be bought for him near Prusa, his native place. I wish this to be acquired for him, and you will charge the whole amount to my account as a gift from me. • A letter from Domitian to Lucius Appius Maximus I desire, my dear Maximus, that you will regard Archippus the philosopher, who is a worthy man, and whose character fully corresponds with the nobility of his profession, as specially commended to your notice, and that you will show him the full extent of your kindness in any reasonable request he may lay before you. • Edict of the late Emperor Nerva There are some things, Romans, that go without saying in such prosperous times as we are now enjoying, nor should people look to a good emperor to declare himself on points wherein his position is thoroughly understood. For every citizen is well assured, and can answer for me without prompting, that I have preferred the security of the State to my own convenience, and in so doing have both conferred new privileges and confirmed old ones that were conceded before my time. However, to prevent there being any interruption of the public felicity by doubts and hesitation arising from the nervousness of those who have obtained favours, or from the memory of the emperor who granted them, I have thought that it is advisable, and that it will give general pleasure, if I remove all doubt by giving proof of my kind indulgence. I do not wish any one to think that any benefit conferred upon him, in either a private or public capacity by any other emperor, will be taken away from him just in order that he may owe the confirmation of his privilege to myself. Let all such grants be regarded as ratified and absolutely secure, and let those who write to thank me for the favours which the royal house has bestowed upon them not fail to renew their applications for more. Only let them give me time for new kindnesses, and understand that the favours they solicit must be such as they do not already possess. • A letter from Nerva to Tullius Justus Since I have made it my rule to preserve all arrangements begun and carried through in the previous reigns, the letters of Domitian must also remain valid. 10.59. To Trajan. Flavius Archippus has implored me, by your safety and eternal fame, to transmit to you a memorial which he has placed in my hands. I thought it my duty to grant his request, but at the same time to acquaint his accuser of the fact that I was about to send it. She too has sent me a memorial, which I enclose with this letter, so that having heard, as it were, both sides of the case, you may the more easily determine on the course to pursue. 10.60. Trajan to Pliny. It is possible, of course, that Domitian was unaware of the true circumstances in which Archippus was situated when he wrote in such a flattering strain about the honour to be paid him. However, it suits my way of thinking better to suppose that he was restored to his old position by the intervention of the Emperor, especially as the honour of a statue was so often decreed to Archippus by persons who were thoroughly aware of the sentence passed upon him by the proconsul Paullus. These facts, however, my dear Pliny, do not mean that you should consider any new charge brought against him as the less deserving of attention. I have read the memorials of Furia Prima, his accuser, and of Archippus himself, which you enclosed in your second letter. %%%
3. Tertullian, Apology, 2.6-2.20 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
affect Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 164
bacchanalian affair Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163
catullus Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
defiance, as crime Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
economics Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163
epistolography Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163, 164
eusebius Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 164
in Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
letter of aristeas Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163
livy Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163
manuscript Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 164
martyr, martyrdom Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163
nero Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163
obstinacy, as crime' Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
pliny- trajan correspondence, status of Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
pliny- trajan correspondence Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
pliny Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 11
pliny the younger Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163, 164
rhetoric Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163, 164
roman empire Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163, 164
sidonius apollinaris Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 164
suetonius Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 164
tertullian Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 164
trajan Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 163, 164