You say that Philotimus told you about my having been saluted imperator. But I feel sure that, as you are now in Epirus, you have received my own letters on the whole subject, one from Pindenissus after its capture, another from Laodicea, both delivered to your own messengers. On these events, for fear of accidents at sea, I sent a public despatch to Rome in duplicate by two different letter-carriers.
As to my Tullia, I agree with you, and I have written to her and to Terentia giving my consent. For you have already said in a previous letter to me, "and I could wish that you had returned to your old set." There was no occasion to alter the letter you sent by Memnius: for I much prefer to accept this man from Pontidia, than the other from Servilia. Wherefore take our friend Saufeius into council. He was always fond of me, and now I suppose all the more so as he is bound to have accepted Appius's affection for me with the rest of the property he has inherited. Appius often showed how much he valued me, and especially in the trial of Bursa. Indeed you will have relieved me of a serious anxiety.
I don't like Furnius's proviso. For, in fact, there is no state of things that alarms me except just that of which he makes the only exception. But I should have written at great length to you on this subject if you had been at Rome. I don't wonder that you rest all your hope of peace on Ponipey: I believe that is the truth, and in my opinion you must strike out your word " insincerity." If my arrangement of topics is somewhat random, blame yourself: for I am following your own haphazard order.
My son and nephew are very fond of each other. They take their lessons and their exercise together; but as Isocrates said of Ephorus and Theopompus, the one wants the rein, the other the spur. I intend giving Quintus the toga virilis on the Liberalia. For his father commissioned me to do so. And I shall observe th? day without taking intercalation into account. I am very fond of Dionysius: the boys, however, say that he gets into mad passions. But after all there could not be a man of greater learning, purer character, or more attached to you and me. The praises you hear of Thermus and Silius are thoroughly deserved: they conduct themselves in the most honourable manner. You may say the same of M. Nonius, Bibulus, and myself, if you like. I only wish Scrofa had had an opportunity to do the same: for he is an excellent fellow. The rest don't do much honour to Cato's policy. Many thanks for commending my case to Hortensius. As for Amianus, Dionysius thinks there is no hope. I haven't found a trace of Terentius. Maeragenes has certainly been killed. I made a progress through his district, in which there was not a single living thing left. I didn't know about this, when I spoke to your man Democritus. I have ordered the service of Rhosian ware. But, hallo! what are you thinking of? You generally serve us up a dinner of herbs on fern-pattern plates, and the most sparkling of baskets: what am I to expect you to give on porcelain? I have ordered a horn for Phemius: one will be sure to turn up; I only hope he may play something worthy of it.
There is a threat of a Parthian war. Cassius's despatch was empty brag: that of Bibulus had not arrived: when that is read I think the senate will at length be roused. I am myself in serious anxiety. If, as I hope, my government is not prolonged, I have only June and July to fear. May it be so! Bibulus will keep them in check for two months. What will happen to the man I leave in charge, especially if it is my brother? Or, again, what will happen to me, if I don't leave my province so soon? It is a great nuisance. However, I have agreed with Deiotarus that he should join my camp in full force. He has thirty cohorts of four hundred men apiece, armed in the Roman fashion, and two thousand cavalry. That will be sufficient to hold out till the arrival of Pompey, who in a letter he writes to me indicates that the business will be put in his hands. The Parthians are wintering in a Roman province. Orodes is expected in person. In short, it is a serious matter. As to Bibulus's edict there is nothing new, except the proviso of which you said in your letter, "that it reflected with excessive severity on our order." I, however, have a proviso in my own edict of equivalent force, but less openly expressed (derived from the Asiatic edict of Q. Mucius, son of Publius)--" provided that the agreement made is not such as cannot hold good in equity." I have followed Scaevola in many points, among others in this--which the Greeks regard as a charta of liberty.--that Greeks are to decide controversies between each other according to their own laws. But my edict was shortened by my method of making a division, as I thought it well to publish it under two heads: the first, exclusive.Iy applicable to a province, concerned borough accounts, debt, rate of interest, contracts, all regulations also referring to the publicani: the second, including what cannot conveniently be transacted without an edict, related to inheritances, ownership and sale, appointment of receivers, all which are by custom brought into court and settled in accordance with the edict: a third division, embracing the remaining departments of judicial business, I left unwritten. I gave out that in regard to that class of business I should accommodate my decisions to those made at Rome: I accordingly do so, and give general satisfaction. The Greeks, indeed, are jubilant because they have non-Roman jurors.
"Yes," you will say, "a very poor kind." What does that matter? They, at any rate, imagine themselves to have obtained "autonomy." You at Rome, I suppose, have men of high character in that capacity--Tupio the shoemaker and Vettius the broker! You seem to wish to know how I treat the publicani. I pet, indulge, compliment, and honour them: I contrive, however, that they oppress no one. The most surprising thing is that even Servilius maintained the rates of usury entered on their contracts. My line is this: I mirrie a day fairly distant, before which, if they have paid, I give out that I shall recognize only twelve per cent.: if they have not paid, the rate shall be according to the contract. The result is that the Greeks pay at a reasonable rate of interest, and the publicani are thoroughly satisfied by receiving in full measure what I mentioned--complimentary speeches and frequent invitations. Need I say more? They are all on such terms with me that each thinks himself my most intimate friend. However, (Greek phrase)--you know the rest.
As to the statue of Africanus--what a mass of confusion I But that was just what interested me in your letter. Do you really mean it? Does the present Metellus Scipio not know that his great-grandfather was never censor? Why, the statue placed at a high elevation in the temple of Ops had no inscription except CENS, while on the statue near the Hercules of Polycles there is also the inscription CENS, and that this is the statue of the same man is proved by attitude, dress, ring, and the likeness itself. But, by Hercules, when I observed in the group of gilded equestrian statues, placed by the present Metellus on the Capitol, a statue of Africanus with the name of Serapio inscribed under it, I thought it a mistake of the workman. I now see that it is an error of Metellus's. What a shocking historical blunder! For that about Flavius and the Fasti, if it is a blunder, is one shared in by all, and you were quite right to raise the question. I followed the opinion which runs through nearly all historians, as is often the case with Greek writers. For example, do they not all say that Eupolis, the poet of the old comedy, was thrown into the sea by Alcibiades on his voyage to Sicily? Eratosthenes disproves it: for he produces some plays exhibited by him after that date. Is that careful historian, Duris of Samos, laughed out of court because he, in common with many others, made this mistake? Has not, again, every writer affirmed that Zaleucus drew up a constitution for the Locrians? Are we on that account to regard Theophrastus as utterly discredited, because your favourite Timams attacked his statement? But not to know that one's own great-grandfather was never censor is discreditable, especially as since his consulship no Cornelius was censor in his lifetime.
As to what you say about Philotimus and the payment ot the 20,600 sestertia, I hear that Philotimus arrived in the Chersonese about the 1st of January: but as yet I have not had a word from him. The balance due to me Camillus writes me word that he has received; I don't know how much it is, and I am anxious to know. However, we will talk of this later on, and with greater advantage, perhaps, when we meet? + But, my dear Atticus, that sentence almost at the end of your letter gave me great uneasiness. For you say, "What else is there to say?" and then you go on to entreat me in most affectionate terms not to forget my vigilance, and to keep my eyes on what is going on. Have you heard any-thing about anyone? I am sure nothing of the sort has taken place. No, no, it can't be! It would never have eluded my notice, nor will it. Yet that reminder of yours, so carefully worded, seems to suggest something.