Letters to friends/2.8

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Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To M. Caelius Rufus at Rome[edit]

Athens, 6 July 51 BC[edit]

What! Do you suppose that I meant you to send me an account of gladiatorial matches, of postponements of trials, of robberies by Chrestus, and such things as, when I am at Rome, nobody ventures to retail to me? See what a high opinion I have of you—and not, indeed, undeservedly, for I have never yet known anyone with keener political instincts—I don't care for your writing to me even the daily occurrences in the most important affairs of the state, unless there is something specially affecting myself. Other people will write about them; many will convey news of them: common report itself will bring many of them to my ears. Therefore it is not things past or present that I expect from you, but things to come—for you are a man who sees far in front of you—so that, having got a view of the ground plan of the Republic from your pen, I may satisfy myself as to what the future building is to be. As yet, however, I have no fault to find with you; for it is impossible for you to see farther than any one of us, and especially myself, who have spent several days with Pompey in conversation exclusively political, which neither can nor ought to be committed to writing. Only take this as certain, that Pompey is an admirable citizen, and prepared in courage and wisdom alike to meet every contingency that needs to be provided against in the political situation. Wherefore devote yourself to him: he will receive you, believe me, with open arms. For he takes the same view, as we ever do, as to who are good and bad citizens. After spending exactly ten days in Athens, and having seen a great deal of our friend Caninius Gallus,[1] I am starting on my journey today, the 6th of July, the day on which I send you this letter. All interests of mine I desire to have the benefit of your greatest attention, but nothing more so than that the time of my provincial government should not be extended. That is all in all to me. When, how, and by whose means this is to be worked, you will settle best for yourself.


  1. L. Caninius Gallus, a strong supporter of Pompey tribune B.C. 56. What he was doing at Athens is uncertain; it is suggested that he was propraetor of Achaia, but it is doubtful whether such an officer existed at this period.