Letters of Julian/Letter 7
7. To the Same
It happened that when you sent me your map I had just recovered from my illness, but I was none the less glad on that account to receive the chart that you sent. For not only does it contain diagrams better than any hitherto made; but you have embellished it by adding those iambic verses, not such as "Sing the War of Bupalus," as the poet of Cyrene expresses it, but such as beautiful Sappho is wont to fashion for her songs. In fact the gift is such as no doubt it well became you to give, while to me it is most agreeable to receive. With regard to your administration of affairs, inasmuch as you study to act in all cases both energetically and humanely, I am well pleased with it. For to blend mildness and moderation with courage and force, and to exercise the former towards the most virtuous, and the latter implacably in the case of the wicked for their regeneration, is, as I am convinced, a task that calls for no slight natural endowment and virtue. I pray that you may ever hold fast to these ambitions and may adapt them both solely to what is fair and honourable. Not without reason did the most eloquent of the ancient writers believe that this is the end and aim set for all the virtues. May you continue in health and happiness as long as possible, my well-beloved and most dear brother!
- For Bupalus cf. Horace, Epodes 6. 14; Lucian, Pseudologist 2.
- Callimachus, frag. 90, Ernesti.
- Literally "nomes," though Julian may only have meant "poetry"; in any case he refers to lyric iambics.
- An echo of Isocrates, Nicocles 29b.
- Cf. Oration 1. 3d, Vol. 1.