Letters to Atticus/1.11

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Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To Atticus at Athens[edit]

Rome, 67 BC[edit]

I was doing so before spontaneously, and have been since greatly stirred by your two letters, with their earnest expressions to the same effect. Besides, Sallustius has been always at my side to prompt me to spare no pains to induce Lucceius to be reconciled to you. But after doing everything that could be done, not only did I fail to renew his old feelings towards you, but I could not even succeed in eliciting the reason of his alienation. On his part, however, he keeps harping on that arbitration case of his, and the other matters which I knew very well before you left Rome were causing him offence. Still, he has certainly got something else fixed deeper in his mind; and this no letters from you, and no commissioning of me will obliterate as easily as you will do in a personal interview, I don't mean merely by your words, but by the old familiar expression of your face--if only you think it worth while, as you will if you will listen to me, and be willing to act with your habitual kindness. Finally, you need not wonder why it is that, whereas I intimated in my letters that I felt hopeful of his yielding to my influence, I now appear to have no such confidence; for you can scarcely believe how much more stubborn his sentiment appears to me than I expected, and how much more obstinate he is in this anger. However, all this will either be cured when you come, or will only be painful to the party in fault.

As to the sentence in your letter, "you suppose by this time I am praetor-elect," let me tell you that there is no class of people at Rome so harassed by every kind of unreasonable difficulty as candidates for office; and that no one knows when the elections will be.[1] 1 However, you will hear all this from Philadelphus. Pray despatch at the earliest opportunity what you have bought for my "Academia." I am surprisingly delighted with the mere thought of that place, to say nothing of its actual occupation. Mind also not to let anyone else have your books. Reserve them, as you say in your letter, for me. I am possessed with the utmost longing for them, as I am with a loathing for affairs of every other kind, which you will find in an incredibly worse position than when you left them.[2]


  1. The comitia were twice postponed this year. Apparently the voting for Cicero had in each case been completed, so that he is able to say that he was "thrice returned at the head of the poll by an unanimous vote" (de Imp. Pomp. § 2). The postponement of the elections was probably connected with the struggles of the senate to hinder the legislation (as to bribery) of the Tribune, Gaius Cornelius (Dio, 36.38-39).
  2. The first allusion in these letters to the disturbed position of public affairs. See the passage of Dio quoted in the previous note. There were so many riots in the interval between the proclamation and the holding of the elections, not without bloodshed, that the senate voted the consuls a guard.