Letters to Atticus/2.25

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Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To Atticus in Epirus[edit]

Rome, July of August 59 BC[edit]

When I have praised any one of your friends to you I should like you tell him that I have done so. For instance, you know I lately wrote to you about Varro's kindness to me, and that you wrote me back word that the circumstance gave you the greatest delight. But I should have preferred your writing to him and saying that he was doing all I could expect—not because he was, but in order that he might do so. For he is a man of astonishing whims, as you know, "tortuous and no wise--."[1] But I stick to the rule "Follies of those in power," etc.[2] But, by Hercules, that other friend of yours, Hortalus—with what a liberal hand, with what candour, and in what ornate language has he praised me to the skies, when speaking of the praetorship of Flaccus and that incident of the Allobroges.[3] I assure you nothing could have been more affectionate, complimentary, or more lavishly expressed. I very much wish that you would write and tell him that I sent you word of it. Yet why write? I think you are on your way and are all but here. For I have urged you so strongly to come in my previous letters. I am expecting you with great impatience, longing for you very much; nor do I call for you more than circumstances themselves and the state of the times. Nothing can be more desperate than the position of politics, nothing more unpopular than the authors of it. I—as I think, hope, and imagine--am safe behind a rampart of goodwill of the strongest kind. Wherefore fly to me: you will either relieve me from all annoyance or will share it. My letter is all the shorter because, as I hope, I shall be able in a very short time to talk over what I want to say face to face. Take care of your health.


  1. helikta kouden hugies alla pan perix
    Eur. Androm. 448: With tortuous thoughts, naught honest, winding all.

  2. ta\w tw=n kratou/ntwn a)maqi/as fe/rein xrew/n.
    Eur. Phoen. 393. "Follies of those in power we needs must bear."

  3. L. Valerius Flaccus, as praetor in B.C. 63, had assisted Cicero in the Catiline conspiracy. He was now being tried for embezzlement in Asia, and was defended by the famous Q. Hortensius (Hortalus) and Cicero—the only extant speech of this year.