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Title: Letters of Pliny
Author: Pliny, the Younger, 61-112?
Language: English
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By Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus

Translated by William Melmoth

Revised by F. C. T. Bosanquet

GAIUS PLINIUS CAECILIUS SECUNDUS, usually known as Pliny the Younger,
was born at Como in 62 A. D. He was only eight years old when his father
Caecilius died, and he was adopted by his uncle, the elder Pliny, author
of the Natural History. He was carefully educated, studying rhetoric
under Quintilian and other famous teachers, and he became the most
eloquent pleader of his time. In this and in much else he imitated
Cicero, who had by this time come to be the recognized master of Latin
style. While still young he served as military tribune in Syria, but he
does not seem to have taken zealously to a soldier's life. On his return
he entered politics under the Emperor Domitian; and in the year 100
A. D. was appointed consul by Trajan and admitted to confidential
intercourse with that emperor. Later while he was governor of Bithynia,
he was in the habit of submitting every point of policy to his master,
and the correspondence between Trajan and him, which forms the last
part of the present selection, is of a high degree of interest, both
on account of the subjects discussed and for the light thrown on the
characters of the two men. He is supposed to have died about 113 A. D.
Pliny's speeches are now lost, with the exception of one, a panegyric on
Trajan delivered in thanksgiving for the consulate. This, though diffuse
and somewhat too complimentary for modern taste, became a model for this
kind of composition. The others were mostly of two classes, forensic
and political, many of the latter being, like Cicero's speech against
Verres, impeachments of provincial governors for cruelty and extortion
toward their subjects. In these, as in his public activities in general,
he appears as a man of public spirit and integrity; and in his relations
with his native town he was a thoughtful and munificent benefactor.

The letters, on which to-day his fame mainly rests, were largely written
with a view to publication, and were arranged by Pliny himself. They
thus lack the spontaneity of Cicero's impulsive utterances, but to most
modern readers who are not special students of Roman history they are
even more interesting. They deal with a great variety of subjects: the
description of a Roman villa; the charms of country life; the reluctance
of people to attend authors readings and to listen wizen they were
present; a dinner party; legacy-hunting in ancient Rome; the acquisition
of a piece of statuary; his love for his young wife; ghost stories;
floating islands, a tame dolphin, and other marvels. But by far the best
known are those describing the great eruption of Vesuvius in which his
uncle perished, a martyr to scientific curiosity, and the letter to
Trajan on his attempts to suppress Christianity in Bithynia, with Trajan's
reply approving his policy. Taken altogether, these letters give an
absorbingly vivid picture of the days of the early empire, and of the
interests of a cultivated Roman gentleman of wealth. Occasionally, as
in the last letters referred to, they deal with important historical
events; but their chief value is in bringing before us, in somewhat the
same manner as "The Spectator" pictures the England of the age of Anne,
the life of a time which is not so unlike our own as its distance in
years might indicate. And in this time by no means the least interesting
figure is that of the letter-writer himself, with his vanity and
self-importance, his sensibility and generous affection? his pedantry
and his loyalty.



YOU have frequently pressed me to make a select collection of my Letters
(if there really be any deserving of a special preference) and give them
to the public. I have selected them accordingly; not, indeed, in their
proper order of time, for I was not compiling a history; but just as
each came to hand. And now I have only to wish that you may have no
reason to repent of your advice, nor I of my compliance: in that case, I
may probably enquire after the rest, which at present he neglected, and
preserve those I shall hereafter write. Farewell.


I FORESEE your journey in my direction is likely to be delayed, and
therefore send you the speech which I promised in my former; requesting
you, as usual, to revise and correct it. I desire this the more
earnestly as I never, I think, wrote with the same empressenient in
any of my former speeches; for I have endeavoured to imitate your old
favourite Demosthenes and Calvus, who is lately become mine, at least in
the rhetorical forms of the speech; for to catch their sublime spirit,
is given, alone, to the "inspired few." My subject, indeed, seemed
naturally to lend itself to this (may I venture to call it?) emulation;
consisting, as it did, almost entirely in a vehement style of address,
even to a degree sufficient to have awakened me (if only I am capable
of being awakened) out of that indolence in which I have long reposed.
I have not however altogether neglected the flowers of rhetoric of my
favourite Marc-Tully, wherever I could with propriety step out of
my direct road, to enjoy a more flowery path: for it was energy, not
austerity, at which I aimed. I would not have you imagine by this that I
am bespeaking your indulgence: on the contrary, to make your correcting
pen more vigorous, I will confess that neither my friends nor myself are
averse from the publication of this piece, if only you should join
in the approval of what is perhaps my folly. The truth is, as I must
publish something, I, wish it might be this performance rather than any
other, because it is already finished: (you hear the wish of laziness.)
At all events, however, something I must publish, and for many reasons;
chiefly because of the tracts which I have already sent in to the world,
though they have long since lost all their recommendation from novelty,
are still, I am told, in request; if, after all, the booksellers are
not tickling my ears. And let them; since, by that innocent deceit, I am
encouraged to pursue my studies. Farewell.


DID YOU ever meet with a more abject and mean-spirited creature than
Marcus Regulus since the death of Domitian, during whose reign his
conduct was no less infamous, though more concealed, than under Nero's?
He began to be afraid I was angry with him, and his apprehensions
were perfectly correct; I was angry. He had not only done his best to
increase the peril of the position in which Rusticus Arulenus[1] stood,
but had exulted in his death; insomuch that he actually recited and
published a libel upon his memory, in which he styles him "The Stoics'
Ape": adding, "stigmated[2] with the Vitellian scar."[3] You recognize
Regulus' eloquent strain! He fell with such fury upon the character of
Herennius Senecio that Metius Carus said to him, one day, "What business
have you with my dead? Did I ever interfere in the affair of Crassus'
or Camerinus'?" Victims, you know, to Regulus, in Nero's time. For these
reasons he imagined I was highly exasperated, and so at the recitation
of his last piece, I got no invitation. Besides, he had not forgotten,
it seems, with what deadly purpose he had once attacked me in the Court
of the Hundred. Rusticus had desired me to act as counsel for Arionilla,
Titnon's wife: Regulus was engaged against me. In one part of the case
I was strongly insisting upon a particular judgment given by Metius
Modestus, an excellent man, at that time in banishment by Domitian's
order. Now then for Regulus. "Pray," says he, "what is your opinion of
Modestus?" You see what a risk I should have run had I answered that
I had a high opinion of him, how I should have disgraced myself on the
other hand if I had replied that I had a bad opinion of him. But some
guardian power, I am persuaded, must have stood by me to assist me in
this emergency. "I will tell you my opinion," I said, "if that is a
matter to be brought before the court." "I ask you," he repeated, "what
is your opinion of Modestus?" I replied that it was customary to examine
witnesses to the character of an accused man, not to the character of
one on whom sentence had already been passed. He pressed me a third
time. "I do not now enquire," said he, "your opinion of Modestus in
general, I only ask your opinion of his loyalty." "Since you will have
my opinion then," I rejoined, "I think it illegal even to ask a
question concerning a person who stands convicted." He sat down at this,
completely silenced; and I received applause and congratulation on all
sides, that without injuring my reputation by an advantageous, perhaps,
though ungenerous answer, I had not entangled myself in the toils of
so insidious a catch-question. Thoroughly frightened upon this then,
he first seizes upon Caecilius Celer, next he goes and begs of Fabius
Justus, that they would use their joint interest to bring about a
reconciliation between us. And lest this should not be sufficient, he
sets off to Spurinnz as well; to whom he came in the humblest way (for
he is the most abject creature alive, where he has anything to be afraid
of) and says to him, "Do, I entreat of you, call on Pliny to-morrow
morning, certainly in the morning, no later (for I cannot endure this
anxiety of mind longer), and endeavour by any means in your power to
soften his resentment." I was already up, the next day, when a message
arrived from Spurinna, "I am coming to call on you." I sent word back,
"Nay, I will wait upon you;" however, both of us setting out to pay
this visit, we met under Livia's portico. He acquainted me with the
commission he had received from Regulus, and interceded for him as
became so worthy a man in behalf of one so totally dissimilar, without
greatly pressing the thing. "I will leave it to you," was my reply, "to
consider what answer to return Regulus; you ought not to be deceived by
me. I am waiting for Mauricus'[7] return" (for he had not yet come back
out of exile), "so that I cannot give you any definite answer either
way, as I mean to be guided entirely by his decision, for he ought to be
my leader here, and I simply to do as he says." Well, a few days after
this, Regulus met me as I was at the praetor's; he kept close to me
there and begged a word in private, when he said he was afraid I deeply
resented an expression he had once made use of in his reply to Satrius
and myself, before the Court of the Hundred, to this effect, "Satrius
Rufus, who does not endeavour to rival Cicero, and who is content with
the eloquence of our own day." I answered, now I perceived indeed, upon
his own confession, that he had meant it ill-naturedly; otherwise it
might have passed for a compliment. "For I am free to own," I said,
"that I do endeavour to rival Cicero, and am not content with the
eloquence of our own day. For I consider it the very height of folly not
to copy the best models of every kind. But, how happens it that you, who
have so good a recollection of what passed upon this occasion, should
have forgotten that other, when you asked me my opinion of the loyalty
of Modestus?" Pale as he always is, he turned simply pallid at this, and
stammered out, "I did not intend to hurt you when I asked this question,
but Modestus." Observe the vindictive cruelty of the fellow, who made no
concealment of his willingness to injure a banished man. But the reason
he alleged in justification of his conduct is pleasant. Modestus, he
explained, in a letter of his, which was read to Domitian, had used the
following expression, "Regulus, the biggest rascal that walks upon two
feet:" and what Modestus had written was the simple truth, beyond all
manner of controversy. Here, about, our conversation came to an end, for
I did not wish to proceed further, being desirous to keep matters open
until Mauricus returns. It is no easy matter, I am well aware of that,
to destroy Regulus; he is rich, and at the head of a party; courted[8]
by many, feared by more: a passion that will sometimes prevail even
beyond friendship itself. But, after all, ties of this sort are not so
strong but they may be loosened; for a bad man's credit is as shifty as
himself. However (to repeat), I am waiting until Mauricus comes back.
He is a man of sound judgment and great sagacity formed upon long
experience, and who, from his observations of the past, well knows
how to judge of the future. I shall talk the matter over with him, and
consider myself justified either in pursuing or dropping this affair, as
he shall advise. Meanwhile I thought I owed this account to our mutual
friendship, which gives you an undoubted right to know about not only
all my actions but all my plans as well. Farewell.


You will laugh (and you are quite welcome) when I tell you that your
old acquaintance is turned sportsman, and has taken three noble boars.
"What!" you exclaim, "Pliny!"--Even he. However, I indulged at the
same time my beloved inactivity; and, whilst I sat at my nets, you would
have found me, not with boar spear or javelin, but pencil and tablet, by
my side. I mused and wrote, being determined to return, if with all my
hands empty, at least with my memorandums full. Believe me, this way of
studying is not to be despised: it is wonderful how the mind is
stirred and quickened into activity by brisk bodily exercise. There is
something, too, in the solemnity of the venerable woods with which one
is surrounded, together with that profound silence which is observed on
these occasions, that forcibly disposes the mind to meditation. So for
the future, let me advise you, whenever you hunt, to take your tablets
along with you, as well as your basket and bottle, for be assured you
will find Minerva no less fond of traversing the hills than Diana.


NOTHING could be more seasonable than the letter which I received from
you, in which you so earnestly beg me to send you some of my literary
efforts: the very thing I was intending to do. So you have only put
spurs into a willing horse and at once saved yourself the excuse of
refusing the trouble, and me the awkwardness of asking the favour.
Without hesitation then I avail myself of your offer; as you must now
take the consequence of it without reluctance. But you are not to expect
anything new from a lazy fellow, for I am going to ask you to revise
again the speech I made to my fellow-townsmen when I dedicated the
public library to their use. You have already, I remember, obliged me
with some annotations upon this piece, but only in a general way; and
so I now beg of you not only to take a general view of the whole speech,
but, as you usually do, to go over it in detail. When you have corrected
it, I shall still be at liberty to publish or suppress it: and the delay
in the meantime will be attended with one of these alternatives; for,
while we are deliberating whether it is fit for publishing, a frequent
revision will either make it so, or convince me that it is not. Though
indeed my principal difficulty respecting the publication of this
harangue arises not so much from the composition as out of the subject
itself, which has something in it, I am afraid, that will look too
like ostentation and self-conceit. For, be the style ever so plain and
unassuming, yet, as the occasion necessarily led me to speak not only of
the munificence of my ancestors, but of my own as well, my modesty will
be seriously embarrassed. A dangerous and slippery situation this, even
when one is led into it by plea of necessity! For, if mankind are not
very favourable to panegyric, even when bestowed upon others, how much
more difficult is it to reconcile them to it when it is a tribute
which we pay to ourselves or to our ancestors? Virtue, by herself,
is generally the object of envy, but particularly so when glory and
distinction attend her; and the world is never so little disposed to
detract from the rectitude of your conduct as when it passes unobserved
and unapplauded. For these reasons, I frequently ask myself whether
I composed this harangue, such as it is, merely from a personal
consideration, or with a view to the public as well; and I am sensible
that what may be exceedingly useful and proper in the prosecution of
any affair may lose all its grace and fitness the moment the business is
completed: for instance, in the case before us, what could be more to my
purpose than to explain at large the motives of my intended bounty?
For, first, it engaged my mind in good and ennobling thoughts; next,
it enabled me, by frequent dwelling upon them, to receive a perfect
impression of their loveliness, while it guarded at the same time
against that repentance which is sure to follow on an impulsive act of
generosity. There arose also a further advantage from this method, as
it fixed in me a certain habitual contempt of money. For, while mankind
seem to be universally governed by an innate passion to accumulate
wealth, the cultivation of a more generous affection in my own breast
taught me to emancipate myself from the slavery of so predominant a
principle: and I thought that my honest intentions would be the more
meritorious as they should appear to proceed, not from sudden impulse,
but from the dictates of cool and deliberate reflection. I considered,
besides, that I was not engaging myself to exhibit public games or
gladiatorial combats, but to establish an annual fund for the support
and education of young men of good families but scanty means. The
pleasures of the senses are so far from wanting the oratorical arts to
recommend them that we stand in need of all the powers of eloquence to
moderate and restrain rather than stir up their influence. But the work
of getting anybody to cheerfully undertake the monotony and drudgery
of education must be effected not by pay merely, but by a skilfully
worked-up appeal to the emotions as well. If physicians find it
expedient to use the most insinuating address in recommending to their
patients a wholesome though, perhaps, unpleasant regimen, how much more
occasion had he to exert all the powers of persuasion who, out of regard
to the public welfare, was endeavouring to reconcile it to a most useful
though not equally popular benefaction? Particularly, as my aim was to
recommend an institution, calculated solely for the benefit of those who
were parents to men who, at present, had no children; and to persuade
the greater number to wait patiently until they should be entitled to
an honour of which a few only could immediately partake. But as at that
time, when I attempted to explain and enforce the general design and
benefit of my institution, I considered more the general good of my
countrymen, than any reputation which might result to myself; so I am
apprehensive lest, if I publish that piece, it may perhaps look as if I
had a view rather to my own personal credit than the benefit of others,
Besides, I am very sensible how much nobler it is to place the reward
of virtue in the silent approbation of one's own breast than in the
applause of the world. Glory ought to be the consequence, not the
motive, of our actions; and although it happen not to attend the worthy
deed, yet it is by no means the less fair for having missed the applause
it deserved. But the world is apt to suspect that those who celebrate
their own beneficent acts performed them for no other motive than to
have the pleasure of extolling them. Thus, the splendour of an action
which would have been deemed illustrious if related by another is
totally extinguished when it becomes the subject of one's own applause.
Such is the disposition of mankind, if they cannot blast the action,
they will censure its display; and whether you do what does not deserve
particular notice, or set forth yourself what does, either way you incur
reproach. In my own case there is a peculiar circumstance that weighs
much with me: this speech was delivered not before the people, but the
Decurii;[9] not in the forum, but the senate; I am afraid therefore it
will look inconsistent that I, who, when I delivered it, seemed to avoid
popular applause, should now, by publishing this performance, appear
to court it: that I, who was so scrupulous as not to admit even these
persons to be present when I delivered this speech, who were interested
in my benefaction, lest it, might be suspected I was actuated in this
affair by any ambitious views, should now seem to solicit admiration,
by forwardly displaying it to such as have no other concern in my
munificence than the benefit of example. These are the scruples which
have occasioned my delay in giving this piece to the public; but I
submit them entirely to your judgment, which I shall ever esteem as a
sufficient sanction of my conduct. Farewell.


IF ever polite literature flourished at Rome, it certainly flourishes
now; and I could give you many eminent instances: I will content myself,
however, with naming only Euphrates[10] the philosopher. I first became
acquainted with this excellent person in my youth, when I served in the
army in Syria. I had an opportunity of conversing with him familiarly,
and took some pains to gain his affection: though that, indeed, was not
very difficult, for he is easy of access, unreserved, and actuated by
those social principles he professes to teach. I should think myself
extremely happy if I had as fully answered the expectations he, at that
time, conceived of me, as he exceeds everything I had imagined of
him. But, perhaps, I admire his excellencies more now than I did then,
because I know better how to appreciate them; not that I sufficiently
appreciate them even now. For as none but those who are skilled in
painting, statuary, or the plastic art, can form a right judgment of any
performance in those respective modes of representation, so a man must,
himself, have made great advances in philosophy before he is capable
of forming a just opinion of a philosopher. However, as far as I am
qualified to determine, Euphrates is possessed of so many shining
talents that he cannot fail to attract and impress the most ordinarily
educated observer. He reasons with much force, acuteness, and elegance;
and frequently rises into all the sublime and luxuriant eloquence
of Plato. His style is varied and flowing, and at the same time so
wonderfully captivating that he forces the reluctant attention of the
most unwilling hearer. For the rest, a fine stature, a comely aspect,
long hair, and a large silver beard; circumstances which, though they
may probably be thought trifling and accidental, contribute, however,
to gain him much reverence. There is no affected negligence in his
dress and appearance; his countenance is grave but not austere; and his
approach commands respect without creating awe. Distinguished as he
is by the perfect blamelessness of his life, he is no less so by the
courtesy and engaging sweetness of his manner. He attacks vices, not
persons, and, without severity, reclaims the wanderer from the paths of
virtue. You follow his exhortations with rapt attention, hanging, as
it were, upon his lips; and even after the heart is convinced, the ear
still wishes to listen to the harmonious reasoner. His family consists
of three children (two of which are sons), whom he educates with
the utmost care. His father-in-law, Pompeius Julianus, as he greatly
distinguished himself in every other part of his life, so particularly
in this, that though he was himself of the highest rank in his province,
yet, among many considerable matches, he preferred Euphrates for his
son-in-law, as first in merit, though not in dignity. But why do I
dwell any longer upon the virtues of a man whose conversation I am so
unfortunate as not to have time sufficiently to enjoy? Is it to increase
my regret and vexation that I cannot enjoy it? My time is wholly
taken up in the execution of a very honourable, indeed, but equally
troublesome, employment; in hearing cases, signing petitions, making up
accounts, and writing a vast amount of the most illiterate literature.
I sometimes complain to Euphrates (for I have leisure at least to
complain) of these unpleasing occupations. He endeavours to console
me, by affirming that, to be engaged in the public service, to hear and
determine cases, to explain the laws, and administer justice, is a part,
and the noblest part, too, of philosophy; as it is reducing to practice
what her professors teach in speculation. But even his rhetoric will
never be able to convince me that it is better to be at this sort of
work than to spend whole days in attending his lectures and learning his
precepts. I cannot therefore but strongly recommend it to you, who
have the time for it, when next you come to town (and you will come,
I daresay, so much the sooner for this), to take the benefit of his
elegant and refined instructions. For I do not (as many do) envy others
the happiness I cannot share with them myself: on the contrary, it is a
very sensible pleasure to me when I find my friends in possession of an
enjoyment from which I have the misfortune to be excluded. Farewell.


IT is a long time since I have had a letter from you, "There is nothing
to write about," you say: well then write and let me know just this,
that "there is nothing to write about," or tell me in the good old
style, If you are well that's right, I am quite well. This will do for
me, for it implies everything. You think I am joking? Let me assure you
I am in sober earnest. Do let me know how you are; for I cannot remain
ignorant any longer without growing exceedingly anxious about you.


I HAVE suffered the heaviest loss; if that word be sufficiently strong
to express the misfortune which has deprived me of so excellent a man.
Corellius Rufus is dead; and dead, too, by his own act! A circumstance
of great aggravation to my affliction: as that sort of death which we
cannot impute either to the course of nature, or the hand of Providence,
is, of all others, the most to be lamented. It affords some consolation
in the loss of those friends whom disease snatches from us that they
fall by the general destiny of mankind; but those who destroy themselves
leave us under the inconsolable reflection, that they had it in their
power to have lived longer. It is true, Corellius had many inducements
to be fond of life; a blameless conscience, high reputation, and great
dignity of character, besides a daughter, a wife, a grandson, and
sisters; and, amidst these numerous pledges of happiness, faithful
friends. Still, it must be owned he had the highest motive (which to
a wise man will always have the force of destiny), urging him to this
resolution. He had long been tortured by so tedious and painful a
complaint that even these inducements to living on, considerable as
they are, were over-balanced by the reasons on the other side. In his
thirty-third year (as I have frequently heard him say) he was seized
with the gout in his feet. This was hereditary; for diseases, as well as
possessions, are sometimes handed down by a sort of inheritance. A life
of sobriety and continence had enabled him to conquer and keep down
the disease while he was still young, latterly as it grew upon him with
advancing years, he had to manfully bear it, suffering meanwhile the
most incredible and undeserved agonies; for the gout was now not only
in his feet, but had spread itself over his whole body. I remember, in
Domitian's reign, paying him a visit at his villa, near Rome. As soon as
I entered his chamber, his servants went out: for it was his rule, never
to allow them to be in the room when any intimate friend was with him;
nay, even his own wife, though she could have kept any secret, used to
go too. Casting his eyes round the room, "Why," he exclaimed, "do you
suppose I endure life so long under these cruel agonies? It is with the
hope that I may outlive, at least for one day, that villain." Had his
bodily strength been equal to his resolution, he would have carried his
desire into practical effect. God heard and answered his prayer; and
when he felt that he should now die a free, un-enslaved, Roman, he broke
through those other great, but now less forcible, attachments to the
world. His malady increased; and, as it now grew too violent to admit
of any relief from temperance, he resolutely determined to put an end to
its uninterrupted attacks, by an effort of heroism. He had refused
all sustenance during four days when his wife Hispulla sent our common
friend Geminius to me, with the melancholy news, that Corellius was
resolved to die; and that neither her own entreaties nor her daughter's
could move him from his purpose; I was the only person left who could
reconcile him to life. I ran to his house with the utmost precipitation.
As I approached it, I met a second messenger from Hispulla, Julius
Atticus, who informed me there was nothing to be hoped for now, even
from me, as he seemed more hardened than ever in his purpose. He had
said, indeed to his physician, who pressed him to take some nourishment,
"'Tis resolved": an expression which, as it raised my admiration of the
greatness of his soul, so it does my grief for the loss of him. I
keep thinking what a friend, what a man, I am deprived of. That he had
reached his sixty-seventh year, an age which even the strongest seldom
exceed, I well know; that he is released from a life of continual pain;
that he has left his dearest friends behind him, and (what was dearer
to him than all these) the state in a prosperous condition: all this
I know. Still I cannot forbear to lament him, as if he had been in
the prime and vigour of his days; and I lament him (shall I own
my weakness?) on my account. And--to confess to you as I did to
Calvisius, in the first transport of my grief--I sadly fear, now that
I am no longer under his eye, I shall not keep so strict a guard over my
conduct. Speak comfort to me then, not that he was old, he was infirm;
all this I know: but by supplying me with some reflections that are new
and resistless, which I have never heard, never read, anywhere else.
For all that I have heard, and all that I have read, occur to me of
themselves; but all these are by far too weak to support me under so
severe an affliction. Farewell.


THIs year has produced a plentiful crop of poets: during the whole month
of April scarcely a day has passed on which we have not been entertained
with the recital of some poem. It is a pleasure to me to find that a
taste for polite literature still exists, and that men of genius do come
forward and make themselves known, notwithstanding the lazy attendance
they got for their pains. The greater part of the audience sit in the
lounging-places, gossip away their time there, and are perpetually
sending to enquire whether the author has made his entrance yet, whether
he has got through the preface, or whether he has almost finished
the piece. Then at length they saunter in with an air of the greatest
indifference, nor do they condescend to stay through the recital, but
go out before it is over, some slyly and stealthily, others again with
perfect freedom and unconcern. And yet our fathers can remember how
Claudius Cæsar walking one day in the palace, and hearing a great
shouting, enquired the cause: and being informed that Nonianus[11]
was reciting a composition of his, went immediately to the place, and
agreeably surprised the author with his presence. But now, were one to
bespeak the attendance of the idlest man living, and remind him of the
appointment ever so often, or ever so long beforehand; either he would
not come at all, or if he did would grumble about having "lost a day!"
for no other reason but because he had not lost it. So much the more do
those authors deserve our encouragement and applause who have resolution
to persevere in their studies, and to read out their compositions in
spite of this apathy or arrogance on the part of their audience. Myself
indeed, I scarcely ever miss being present upon any occasion; though,
to tell the truth, the authors have generally been friends of mine,
as indeed there are few men of literary tastes who are not. It is this
which has kept me in town longer than I had intended. I am now, however,
at liberty to go back into the country, and write something myself;
which I do not intend reciting, lest I should seem rather to have lent
than given my attendance to these recitations of my friends, for in
these, as in all other good offices, the obligation ceases the moment
you seem to expect a return. Farewell.


You desire me to look out a proper husband for your niece: it is
with justice you enjoin me that office. You know the high esteem
and affection I bore that great man her father, and with what noble
instructions he nurtured my youth, and taught me to deserve those
praises he was pleased to bestow upon me. You could not give me, then,
a more important, or more agreeable, commission; nor could I be employed
in an office of higher honour, than that of choosing a young man worthy
of being father of the grandchildren of Rusticus Arulenus; a choice
I should be long in determining, were I not acquainted with Minutius
Aemilianus, who seems formed for our purpose. He loves me with all that
warmth of affection which is usual between young men of equal years (as
indeed I have the advance of him but by a very few), and reveres me at
the same time, with all the deference due to age; and, in a word, he is
no less desirous to model himself by my instructions than I was by those
of yourself and your brother.

He is a native of Brixia, one of those provinces in Italy which still
retain much of the old modesty, frugal simplicity, and even rusticity,
of manner. He is the son of Minutius Macrinus, whose humble desires were
satisfied with standing at the head of the equestrian order: for though
he was nominated by Vespasian in the number of those whom that prince
dignified with the praetorian office, yet, with an inflexible greatness
of mind, he resolutely preferred an honourable repose, to the ambitious,
shall I call them, or exalted, pursuits, in which we public men are
engaged. His grandmother, on the mother's side, is Serrana Procula, of
Patavium:[12] you are no stranger to the character of its citizens; yet
Serrana is looked upon, even among these correct people, as an exemplary
instance of strict virtue, Acilius, his uncle, is a man of almost
exceptional gravity, wisdom, and integrity. In short, you will find
nothing throughout his family unworthy of yours. Minutius himself has
plenty of vivacity, as well as application, together with a most amiable
and becoming modesty. He has already, with considerable credit, passed
through the offices of quaestor, tribune, and praetor; so that you
will be spared the trouble of soliciting for him those honourable
employments. He has a fine, well-bred, countenance, with a ruddy,
healthy complexion, while his whole person is elegant and comely and
his mien graceful and senatorian: advantages, I think, by no means to
be slighted, and which I consider as the proper tribute to virgin
innocence. I think I may add that his father is very rich. When I
contemplate the character of those who require a husband of my choosing,
I know it is unnecessary to mention wealth; but when I reflect upon the
prevailing manners of the age, and even the laws of Rome, which rank a
man according to his possessions, it certainly claims some regard; and,
indeed, in establishments of this nature, where children and many
other circumstances are to be duly weighed, it is an article that well
deserves to be taken into the account. You will be inclined, perhaps, to
suspect that affection has had too great a share in the character I have
been drawing, and that I have heightened it beyond the truth: but I will
stake all my credit, you will find everything far beyond what I have
represented. I love the young fellow indeed (as he justly deserves) with
all the warmth of a most ardent affection; but for that very reason I
would not ascribe more to his merit than I know it will bear. Farewell.


Ah! you are a pretty fellow! You make an engagement to come to supper
and then never appear. Justice shall be exacted;--you shall reimburse
me to the very last penny the expense I went to on your account; no
small sum, let me tell you. I had prepared, you must know, a lettuce
a-piece, three snails, two eggs, and a barley cake, with some sweet wine
and snow, (the snow most certainly I shall charge to your account, as
a rarity that will not keep.) Olives, beet-root, gourds, onions, and a
thousand other dainties equally sumptuous. You should likewise have
been entertained either with an interlude, the rehearsal of a poem, or
a piece of music, whichever you preferred; or (such was my liberality)
with all three. But the oysters, sows'-bellies, sea-urchins, and dancers
from Cadiz of a certain--I know not who, were, it seems, more to your
taste. You shall give satisfaction, how, shall at present be a secret.

Oh! you have behaved cruelly, grudging your friend,--had almost said
yourself;--and upon second thoughts I do say so;--in this way: for
how agreeably should we have spent the evening, in laughing, trifling,
and literary amusements! You may sup, I confess, at many places more
splendidly; but nowhere with more unconstrained mirth, simplicity, and
freedom: only make the experiment, and if you do not ever after excuse
yourself to your other friends, to come to me, always put me off to go
to them. Farewell.


You tell me in your letter that you are extremely alarmed by a dream;
apprehending that it forebodes some ill success to you in the case you
have undertaken to defend; and, therefore, desire that I would get it
adjourned for a few days, or, at least, to the next. This will be no
easy matter, but I will try:

     "For dreams descend from Jove."

Meanwhile, it is very material for you to recollect whether your dreams
generally represent things as they afterwards fall out, or quite the
reverse. But if I may judge of yours by one that happened to myself,
this dream that alarms you seems to portend that you will acquit
yourself with great success. I had promised to stand counsel for Junius
Pastor; when I fancied in my sleep that my mother-in-law came to me,
and, throwing herself at my feet, earnestly entreated me not to plead. I
was at that time a very young man; the case was to be argued in the
four centumviral courts; my adversaries were some of the most important
personages in Rome, and particular favourites of Cæsar;[13] any of
which circumstances were sufficient, after such an inauspicious dream,
to have discouraged me. Notwithstanding this, I engaged in the cause,
reflecting that,

     "Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws,
     And asks no omen but his country's cause."[14]

for I looked upon the promise I had given to be as sacred to me as my
country, or, if that were possible, more so. The event happened as I
wished; and it was that very case which first procured me the favourable
attention of the public, and threw open to me the gates of Fame.
Consider then whether your dream, like this one I have related, may not
pre-signify success. But, after all, perhaps you will think it safer to
pursue this cautious maxim: "Never do a thing concerning the rectitude
of which you are in doubt;" if so, write me word. In the interval, I
will consider of some excuse, and will so plead your cause that you may
be able to plead it your self any day you like best. In this respect,
you are in a better situation than I was: the court of the centumviri,
where I was to plead, admits of no adjournment: whereas, in that where
your case is to be heard, though no easy matter to procure one, still,
however, it is possible. Farewell.


As you are my towns-man, my school-fellow, and the earliest companion
of my youth; as there was the strictest friendship between my mother and
uncle and your father (a happiness which I also enjoyed as far as the
great inequality of our ages would admit); can I fail (thus biassed
as I am by so many and weighty considerations) to contribute all in
my power to the advancement of your honours? The rank you bear in our
province, as decurio, is a proof that you are possessed, at least, of
an hundred thousand sesterces;[15] but that we may also have the
satisfaction of seeing you a Roman Knight,[16] I present you with three
hundred thousand, in order to make up the sum requisite to entitle you
to that dignity. The long acquaintance we have had leaves me no room to
apprehend you will ever be forgetful of this instance of my friendship.
And I know your disposition too well to think it necessary to advise you
to enjoy this honour with the modesty that becomes a person who receives
it from me; for the advanced rank we possess through a friend's kindness
is a sort of sacred trust, in which we have his judgment, as well as our
own character, to maintain, and therefore to be guarded with the greater
caution. Fared well.


I HAVE frequent debates with a certain acquaintance of mine, a man of
skill and learning, who admires nothing so much in the eloquence of the
bar as conciseness. I agree with him, that where the case will admit of
this precision, it may with propriety be adopted; but insist that,
to leave out what is material to be mentioned,--or only briefly and
cursorily to touch upon those points which should be inculcated,
impressed, and urged well home upon the minds of the audience, is a
downright fraud upon one's client. In many cases, to deal with the
subject at greater length adds strength and weight to our ideas, which
frequently produce their impression upon the mind, as iron does upon
solid bodies, rather by repeated strokes than a single blow. In answer
to this, he usually has recourse to authorities, and produces Lysias[17]
amongst the Grecians, together with Cato and the two Gracchi, among
our own countrymen, many of whose speeches certainly are brief and
curtailed. In return, I name Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides,[18]
and many others, in opposition to Lysias; while I confront Cato and the
Gracchi with Cæsar, Pollio,[19] Caelius,[20] but, above all, Cicero,
whose longest speech is generally considered his best. Why, no doubt
about it, in good compositions, as in everything else that is valuable,
the more there is of them, the better. You may observe in statues,
basso-relievos, pictures, and the human form, and even in animals and
trees, that nothing is more graceful than magnitude, if accompanied with
proportion. The same holds true in pleading; and even in books a large
volume carries a certain beauty and authority in its very size. My
antagonist, who is extremely dexterous at evading an argument, eludes
all this, and much more, which I usually urge to the same purpose,
by insisting that those very individuals, upon whose works I found
my opinion, made considerable additions to their speeches when they
published them. This I deny; and appeal to the harangues of numberless
orators, particularly to those of Cicero, for Murena and Varenus, in
which a short, bare notification of certain charges is expressed under
mere heads. Whence it appears that many things which he enlarged upon at
the time he delivered those speeches were retrenched when he gave them
to the public. The same excellent orator informs us that, agreeably
to the ancient custom, which allowed only of one counsel on a side,
Cluentius had no other advocate than himself; and he tells us further
that he employed four whole days in defence of Cornelius; by which it
plainly appears that those speeches which, when delivered at their
full length, had necessarily taken up so much time at the bar were
considerably cut down and pruned when he afterwards compressed them into
a single volume, though, I must confess, indeed, a large one. But good
pleading, it is objected, is one thing, just composition another. This
objection, I am aware, has had some favourers; nevertheless, I am
persuaded (though I may, perhaps, be mistaken) that, as it is possible
you may have a good pleading which is not a good speech, so a good
speech cannot be a bad pleading; for the speech on paper is the model
and, as it were, the archetype of the speech that was delivered. It is
for this reason we find, in many of the best speeches extant, numberless
extemporaneous turns of expression; and even in those which we are sure
were never spoken; as, for instance, in the following passage from the
speech against Verres: --"A certain mechanic--what's his name? Oh,
thank you for helping me to it: yes, I mean Polyclitus." It follows,
then, that the nearer approach a speaker makes to the rules of just
composition, the more perfect will he be in his art; always supposing,
however, that he has his due share of time allowed him; for, if he be
limited of that article, no blame can justly be fixed upon the advocate,
though much certainly upon the judge. The sense of the laws, I am sure,
is on my side, which are by no means sparing of the orator's time; it
is not conciseness, but fulness, a complete representation of every
material circumstance, which they recommend. Now conciseness cannot
effect this, unless in the most insignificant cases. Let me add what
experience, that unerring guide, has taught me: it has frequently been
my province to act both as an advocate and a judge; and I have often
also attended as an assessor.[21] Upon those occasions, I have ever
found the judgments of mankind are to be influenced by different modes
of application, and that the slightest circumstances frequently produce
the most important consequences. The dispositions and understandings
of men vary to such an extent that they seldom agree in their opinions
concerning any one point in debate before them; or, if they do, it is
generally from different motives. Besides, as every man is naturally
partial to his own discoveries, when he hears an argument urged which
had previously occurred to himself, he will be sure to embrace it as
extremely convincing. The orator, therefore, should so adapt himself to
his audience as to throw out something which every one of them, in turn,
may receive and approve as agreeable to his own particular views. I
recollect, once when Regulus and I were engaged on the same side, his
remarking to me, "You seem to think it necessary to go into every
single circumstance: whereas I always take aim at once at my adversary's
throat, and there I press him closely." ('Tis true, he keeps a tight
hold of whatever part he has once fixed upon; but the misfortune is,
he is extremely apt to fix upon the wrong place.) I replied, it might
possibly happen that what he called the throat was, in reality, the knee
or the ankle. As for myself, said I, who do not pretend to direct my
aim with so much precision, I test every part, I probe every opening;
in short, to use a vulgar proverb, I leave no stone unturned. And as in
agriculture, it is not my vineyards or my woods only, but my fields as
well, that I look after and cultivate, and (to carry on the metaphor)
as I do not content myself with sowing those fields simply with corn
or white wheat, but sprinkle in barley, pulse, and the other kinds
of grain; so, in my pleadings at the bar, I scatter broadcast various
arguments like so many kinds of seed, in order to reap whatever may
happen to come up. For the disposition of your judges is as hard to
fathom as uncertain, and as little to be relied on as that of soils and
seasons. The comic writer Eupolis,[22] I remember, mentions it in praise
of that excellent orator Pericles, that

     "On his lips Persuasion hung,
     And powerful Reason rul'd his tongue:
     Thus he alone could boast the art
     To charm at once, and pierce the heart."

But could Pericles, without the richest variety of expression, and
merely by the force of the concise or the rapid style, or both (for they
are very different), have thus charmed and pierced the heart. To delight
and to persuade requires time and great command of language; and to
leave a sting in the minds of the audience is an effect not to be
expected from an orator who merely pinks, but from him, and him only,
who thrusts in. Another comic poet,[24] speaking of the same orator,

     "His mighty words like Jove's own thunder roll;
     Greece hears, and trembles to her inmost soul."

But it is not the close and reserved; it is the copious, the majestic,
and the sublime orator, who thunders, who lightens, who, in short, bears
all before him in a confused whirl. There is, undeniably, a just mean in
everything; but he equally misses the mark who falls short of it, as he
who goes beyond it; he who is too limited as he who is too unrestrained.
Hence it is as common a thing to hear our orators condemned for being
too jejune and feeble as too excessive and redundant. One is said to
have exceeded the bounds of his subject, the other not to have reached
them. Both, no doubt, are equally in fault, with this difference,
however, that in the one the fault arises from an abundance, in the
other, from a deficiency; an error, in the former case, which, if it be
not the sign of a more correct, is certainly of a more fertile genius.
When I say this, I would not be understood to approve that everlasting
talker[25] mentioned in Homer, but that other' described in the
following lines:

     "Frequent and soft, as falls the winter snow,
     Thus from his lips the copious periods flow."

Not but that I extremely admire him,[26] too, of whom the poet says,

     "Few were his words, but wonderfully strong."

Yet, if the choice were given me, I should give the preference to that
style resembling winter snow, that is, to the full, uninterrupted, and
diffusive; in short, to that pomp of eloquence which seems all heavenly
and divine. But (it is replied) the harangue of a more moderate length
is most generally admired. It is:--but only by indolent people; and
to fix the standard by their laziness and false delicacy would be simply
ridiculous. Were you to consult persons of this cast, they would tell
you, not only that it is best to say little, but that it is best to say
nothing at all. Thus, my friend, I have laid before you my opinions upon
this subject, and I am willing to change them if not agreeable to yours.
But should you disagree with me, pray let me know clearly your reasons
why. For, though I ought to yield in this case to your more enlightened
judgment, yet, in a point of such consequence, I had rather be convinced
by argument than by authority. So if I don't seem to you very wide of
the mark, a line or two from you in return, intimating your concurrence,
will be sufficient to confirm me in my opinion: on the other hand,
if you should think me mistaken, let me have your objections at full
length. Does it not look rather like bribery, my requiring only a short
letter, if you agree with me; but a very long one if you should be of a
different opinion. Farewell.


As I rely very much upon the soundness of your judgment, so I do upon
the goodness of your eyes: not because I think your discernment very
great (for I don't want to make you conceited), but because I think it
as good as mine: which, it must be confessed, is saying a great deal.
Joking apart, I like the look of the slaves which were purchased for me
on your recommendation very well; all I further care about is, that they
be honest: and for this I must depend upon their characters more than
their countenances. Farewell.


I AM at present (and have been a considerable time) detained in Rome,
under the most stunning apprehensions. Titus Aristo,[28] whom I have
a singular admiration and affection for, is fallen into a long and
obstinate illness, which troubles me. Virtue, knowledge, and good sense,
shine out with so superior a lustre in this excellent man that learning
herself, and every valuable endowment, seem involved in the danger of
his single person. How consummate his knowledge, both in the political
and civil laws of his country! How thoroughly conversant is he in every
branch of history or antiquity? In a word, there is nothing you might
wish to know which he could not teach you. As for me, whenever I would
acquaint myself with any abstruse point, I go to hint as my store-house.
What an engaging sincerity, what dignity in his conversation! how
chastened and becoming is his caution! Though he conceives, at once,
every point in debate, yet he is as slow to decide as he is quick to
apprehend; calmly and deliberately sifting and weighing every
opposite reason that is offered, and tracing it, with a most judicious
penetration, from its source through all its remotest consequences. His
diet is frugal, his dress plain; and whenever I enter his chamber, and
view him reclined upon his couch, I consider the scene before me as
a true image of ancient simplicity, to which his illustrious mind
reflects the noblest ornament. He places no part of his happiness in
ostentation, but in the secret approbation of his conscience, seeking
the reward of his virtue, not in the clamorous applauses of the world,
but in the silent satisfaction which results from having acted well. In
short, you will not easily find his equal, even among our philosophers
by outward profession. No, he does not frequent the gymnasia or
porticoes[29] nor does he amuse his own and others' leisure with endless
controversies, but busies himself in the scenes of civil and active
life. Many has he assisted with his interest, still more with his
advice, and withal in the practice of temperance, piety, justice, and
fortitude, he has no superior. You would be astonished, were you there
to see, at the patience with which he bears his illness, how he holds
out against pain, endures thirst, and quietly submits to this raging
fever and to the pressure of those clothes which are laid upon him
to promote perspiration. He lately called me and a few more of his
particular friends to his bedside, requesting us to ask his physicians
what turn they apprehended his distemper would take; that, if they
pronounced it incurable, he might voluntarily put an end to his life;
but if there were hopes of a recovery, how tedious and difficult soever
it might prove, he would calmly wait the event; for so much, he thought,
was due to the tears and entreaties of his wife and daughter, and to the
affectionate intercession of his friends, as not voluntarily to abandon
our hopes, if they were not entirely desperate. A true hero's resolution
this, in my estimation, and worthy the highest applause. Instances
are frequent in the world, of rushing into the arms of death without
reflection and by a sort of blind impulse but deliberately to weigh the
reasons for life or death, and to be determined in our choice as
either side of the scale prevails, shows a great mind. We have had the
satisfaction to receive the opinion of his physicians in his favour: may
heaven favour their promises and relieve me at length from this
painful anxiety. Once easy in my mind, I shall go back to my favourite
Laurentum, or, in other words, to my books, my papers and studious
leisure. Just now, so much of my time and thoughts are taken up in
attendance upon my friend, and anxiety for him, that I have neither
leisure nor inclination for any reading or writing whatever. Thus you
have my fears, my wishes, and my after-plans. Write me in return, but in
a gayer strain, an account not only of what you are and have been doing,
but of what you intend doing too. It will be a very sensible consolation
to me in this disturbance of mind, to be assured that yours is easy.


ROME has not for many years beheld a more magnificent and memorable
spectacle than was lately exhibited in the public funeral of that great,
illustrious, and no less fortunate man, Verginius Rufus. He lived
thirty years after he had reached the zenith of his fame. He read poems
composed in his honour, he read histories of his achievements, and was
himself witness of his fame among posterity. He was thrice raised to the
dignity of consul, that he might at least be the highest of subjects,
who[30] had refused to be the first of princes. As he escaped the
resentment of those emperors to whom his virtues had given umbrage and
even rendered him odious, and ended his days when this best of princes,
this friend of mankind[31] was in quiet possession of the empire, it
seems as if Providence had purposely preserved him to these times,
that he might receive the honour of a public funeral. He reached his
eighty-fourth year, in full tranquillity and universally revered, having
enjoyed strong health during his lifetime, with the exception of a
trembling in his hands, which, however, gave him no pain. His last
illness, indeed, was severe and tedious, but even that circumstance
added to his reputation. As he was practising his voice with a view of
returning his public acknowledgements to the emperor, who had promoted
him to the consulship, a large volume he had taken into his hand, and
which happened to be too heavy for so old a man to hold standing up,
slid from his grasp. In hastily endeavouring to recover it, his
foot slipped on the smooth pavement, and he fell down and broke his
thigh-bone, which being clumsily set, his age as well being against him,
did not properly unite again. The funeral obsequies paid to the memory
of this great man have done honour to the emperor, to the age, and to
the bar. The consul Cornelius Tacitus[32] pronounced his funeral oration
and thus his good fortune was crowned by the public applause of so
eloquent an orator. He has departed from our midst, full of years,
indeed, and of glory; as illustrious by the honours he refused as by
those he accepted. Yet still we shall miss him and lament him, as the
shining model of a past age; I, especially, shall feel his loss, for I
not only admired him as a patriot, but loved him as a friend. We were of
the same province, and of neighbouring towns, and our estates were
also contiguous. Besides these accidental connections, he was left my
guardian, and always treated me with a parent's affection. Whenever I
offered myself as a candidate for any office in the state, he constantly
supported me with his interest; and although he had long since given up
all such services to friends, he would kindly leave his retirement and
conte to give me his vote in person. On the day on which the priests
nominate those they consider most worthy of the sacred office[33] he
constantly proposed me. Even in his last illness, apprehending the
possibility of the senate's appointing him one of the five commissioners
for reducing the public expenses, he fixed upon me, young as I am, to
bear his excuses, in preference to so many other friends, elderly men
too, and of consular rank and said to me, "Had I a son of my own, I
would entrust you with this matter." And so I cannot but lament his
death, as though it were premature, and pour out my grief into your
bosom; if indeed one has any right to grieve, or to call it death at
all, which to such a man terminates his mortality, rather than ends his
life. He lives, and will live on for ever; and his fame will extend and
be more celebrated by posterity, now that he is gone from our sight.
I had much else to write to you but my mind is full of this. I keep
thinking of Verginius: I see him before me: I am for ever fondly yet
vividly imagining that I hear him, am speaking to him, embrace him.
There are men amongst us, his fellow-citizens, perhaps, who may rival
him in virtue; but not one that will ever approach him in glory.


THE great fame of Isaeus had already preceded him here; but we find
him even more wonderful than we had heard. He possesses the utmost
readiness, copiousness, and abundance of language: he always speaks
extempore, and his lectures are as finished as though he had spent a
long time over their written composition. His style is Greek, or rather
the genuine Attic. His exordiums are terse, elegant, attractive, and
occasionally impressive and majestic. He suggests several subjects for
discussion, allows his audience their choice, sometimes to even name
which side he shall take, rises, arranges himself, and begins. At once
he has everything almost equally at command. Recondite meanings
of things are suggested to you, and words--what words they are!
exquisitely chosen and polished. These extempore speeches of his
show the wideness of his reading, and how much practice he has had
in composition. His preface is to the point, his narrative lucid, his
summing up forcible, his rhetorical ornament imposing. In a word, he
teaches, entertains, and affects you; and you are at a loss to decide
which of the three he does best. His reflections are frequent, his
syllogisms also are frequent, condensed, and carefully finished, a
result not easily attainable even with the pen. As for his memory, you
would hardly believe what it is capable of. He repeats from a long
way back what he has previously delivered extempore, without missing a
single word. This marvellous faculty he has acquired by dint of great
application and practice, for night and day he does nothing, hears
nothing, says nothing else. He has passed his sixtieth year and is still
only a rhetorician, and I know no class of men more single-hearted, more
genuine, more excellent than this class. We who have to go through
the rough work of the bar and of real disputes unavoidably contract
a certain unprincipled adroitness. The school, the lecture-room, the
imaginary case, all this, on the other hand, is perfectly innocent and
harmless, and equally enjoyable, especially to old people, for what can
be happier at that time of life than to enjoy what we found pleasantest
in our young days? I consider Isaeus then, riot only the most eloquent,
but the happiest, of men, and if you are not longing to make his
acquaintance, you must be made of stone and iron. So, if not upon my
account, or for any other reason, come, for the sake of hearing this
man, at least. Have you never read of a certain inhabitant of Cadiz who
was so impressed with the name and fame of Livy that he came from the
remotest corner of the earth on purpose to see him, and, his curiosity
gratified, went straight home again. It is utter want of taste, shows
simple ignorance, is almost an actual disgrace to a man, not to set any
high value upon a proficiency in so pleasing, noble, refining a science.
"I have authors," you will reply, "here in my own study, just as
eloquent." True: but then those authors you can read at any time, while
you cannot always get the opportunity of hearing eloquence. Besides, as
the proverb says, "The living voice is that which sways the soul;" yes,
far more. For notwithstanding what one reads is more clearly understood
than what one hears, yet the utterance, countenance, garb, aye and the
very gestures of the speaker, alike concur in fixing an impression
upon the mind; that is, unless we disbelieve the truth of Aeschines'
statement, who, after he had read to the Rhodians that celebrated speech
of Demosthenes, upon their expressing their admiration of it, is said to
have added, "Ah! what would you have said, could you have heard the wild
beast himself?" And Aeschines, if we may take Demosthenes' word for it,
was no mean elocutionist; yet, he could not but confess that the speech
would have sounded far finer from the lips of its author. I am saying
all this with a view to persuading you to hear Isaeus, if even for the
mere sake of being able to say you have heard him. Farewell.


IT would be a long story, and of no great importance, to tell you by
what accident I found myself dining the other day with an individual
with whom I am by no means intimate, and who, in his own opinion, does
things in good style and economically as well, but according to mine,
with meanness and extravagance combined. Some very elegant dishes were
served up to himself and a few more of us, whilst those placed before
the rest of the company consisted simply of cheap dishes and scraps.
There were, in small bottles, three different kinds of wine; not that
the guest might take their choice, but that they might not have any
option in their power; one kind being for himself, and for us; another
sort for his lesser friends (for it seems he has degrees of friends),
and the third for his own freedmen and ours. My neighbour,[34] reclining
next me, observing this, asked me if I approved the arrangement. Not at
all, I told him. "Pray then," he asked, "what is your method upon such
occasions?" "Mine," I returned, "is to give all my visitors the same
reception; for when I give an invitation, it is to entertain, not
distinguish, my company: I place every man upon my own level whom I
admit to my table." "Not excepting even your freedmen?" "Not excepting
even my freedmen, whom I consider on these occasions my guests, as much
as any of the rest." He replied, "This must cost you a great deal." "Not
in the least." "How can that be?" "Simply because, although my freedmen
don't drink the same wine as myself, yet I drink the same as they
do." And, no doubt about it, if a man is wise enough to moderate his
appetite, he will not find it such a very expensive thing to share with
all his visitors what he takes himself. Restrain it, keep it in, if you
wish to be true economist. You will find temperance a far better way of
saving than treating other people rudely can be. Why do I say all this?
Why, for fear a young man of your high character and promise should be
imposed upon by this immoderate luxury which prevails at some tables,
under the specious notion of frugality. Whenever any folly of this sort
falls under my eye, I shall, just because I care for you, point it out
to you as an example you ought to shun. Remember, then, nothing is more
to be avoided than this modern alliance of luxury with meanness; odious
enough when existing separate and distinct, but still more hateful where
you meet with them together. Farewell.


THE senate decreed yesterday, on the emperor's motion, a triumphal
statue to Vestricius Spurinna: not as they would to many others, who
never were in action, or saw a camp, or heard the sound of a trumpet,
unless at a show; but as it would be decreed to those who have justly
bought such a distinction with their blood, their exertions, and their
deeds. Spurinna forcibly restored the king of the Bructeri[35] to his
throne; and this by the noblest kind of victory; for he subdued that
warlike people by the terror of the mere display of his preparation for
the campaign. This is his reward as a hero, while, to console him for
the loss of his son Cottius, who died during his absence upon that
expedition, they also voted a statue to the youth; a very unusual honour
for one so young; but the services of the father deserved that the pain
of so severe a wound should be soothed by no common balm. Indeed Cottius
himself evinced such remarkable promise of the highest qualities that it
is but fitting his short limited term of life should be extended, as it
were, by this kind of immortality. He was so pure and blameless, so full
of dignity, and commanded such respect, that he might have challenged
in moral goodness much older men, with whom he now shares equal honours.
Honours, if I am not mistaken, conferred not only to perpetuate the
memory of the deceased youth, and in consolation to the surviving
father, but for the sake of public example also. This will rouse and
stimulate our young men to cultivate every worthy principle, when they
see such rewards bestowed upon one of their own years, provided he
deserve them: at the same time that men of quality will be encouraged to
beget children and to have the joy and satisfaction of leaving a
worthy race behind, if their children survive them, or of so glorious a
consolation, should they survive their children. Looking at it in this
light then, I am glad, upon public grounds, that a statue is decreed
Cottius: and for my own sake too, just as much; for I loved this most
favoured, gifted, youth, as ardently as I now grievously miss him
amongst us. So that it will be a great satisfaction to me to be able
to look at this figure from time to time as I pass by, contemplate it,
stand underneath, and walk to and fro before it. For if having the
pictures of the departed placed in our homes lightens sorrow, how much
more those public representations of them which are not only memorials
of their air and countenance, but of their glory and honour besides?



As I know you eagerly embrace every opportunity of obliging me, so there
is no man whom I had rather be under an obligation to. I apply to
you, therefore, in preference to anyone else, for a favour which I am
extremely desirous of obtaining. You, who are commander-in-chief of
a very considerable army, have many opportunities of exercising your
generosity; and the length of time you have enjoyed that post must have
enabled you to provide for all your own friends. I hope you will now
turn your eyes upon some of mine: as indeed they are but a few Your
generous disposition, I know, would be better pleased if the number were
greater, but one or two will suffice my modest desires; at present I
will only mention Voconius Romanus. His father was of great distinction
among the Roman knights, and his father-in-law, or, I might more
properly call him, his second father, (for his affectionate treatment of
Voconius entitles him to that appellation) was still more conspicuous.
His mother was one of the most considerable ladies of Upper Spain: you
know what character the people of that province bear, and how remarkable
they are for their strictness of their manners. As for himself, he
lately held the post of flamen.[36] Now, from the time when we were
first students together, I have felt very tenderly attached to him. We
lived under the same roof, in town and country, we joked together, we
shared each other's serious thoughts: for where indeed could I
have found a truer friend or pleasanter companion than he? In his
conversation, and even in his very voice and countenance, there is
a rare sweetness; as at the bar he displays talents of a high order;
acuteness, elegance, ease, and skill: and he writes such letters too
that were you to read them you would imagine they had been dictated by
the Muses themselves. I have a very great affection for him, as he has
for me. Even in the earlier part of our lives, I warmly embraced every
opportunity of doing him all the good services which then lay in
my power, as I have lately obtained for him from our most gracious
prince[37] the privilege[38] granted to those who have three children:
a favour which, though Cæsar very rarely bestows, and always with great
caution, yet he conferred, at my request, in such a matter as to give it
the air and grace of being his own choice.

The best way of showing that I think he deserves the kindnesses he has
already received from me is by increasing them, especially as he always
accepts my services so gratefully as to deserve more. Thus I have shown
you what manner of man Romanus is, how thoroughly I have proved his
worth, and how much I love him. Let me entreat you to honour him with
your patronage in a way suitable to the generosity of your heart, and
the eminence of your station. But above all let him have your affection;
for though you were to confer upon him the utmost you have in your
power to bestow, you can give him nothing more valuable than your
friendship-That you may see he is worthy of it, even to the closest
degree of intimacy, I send you this brief sketch of his tastes,
character, his whole life, in fact. I should continue my intercessions
in his behalf, but that I know you prefer not being pressed, and I have
already repeated them in every line of this letter: for, to show a good
reason for what one asks is true intercession, and of the most effectual
kind. Farewell.


You guessed correctly: I am much engaged in pleading before the
Hundred. The business there is more fatiguing than pleasant. Trifling,
inconsiderable cases, mostly; it is very seldom that anything worth
speaking of, either from the importance of the question or the rank of
the persons concerned, comes before them. There are very few lawyers
either whom I take any pleasure in working with. The rest, a parcel of
impudent young fellows, many of whom one knows nothing whatever about,
come here to get some practice in speaking, and conduct themselves so
forwardly and with such utter want of deference that my friend Attilius
exactly hit it, I think, when he made the observation that "boys set out
at the bar with cases in the Court of the Hundred as they do at school
with Homer," intimating that at both places they begin where they should
end. But in former times (so my elders tell me) no youth, even of
the best families, was allowed in unless introduced by some person of
consular dignity. As things are now, since every fence of modesty
and decorum is broken down, and all distinctions are levelled and
confounded, the present young generation, so far from waiting to be
introduced, break in of their own free will. The audience at their heels
are fit attendants upon such orators; a low rabble of hired mercenaries,
supplied by contract. They get together in the middle of the court,
where the dole is dealt round to them as openly as if they were in a
dining-room: and at this noble price they run from court to court.
The Greeks have an appropriate name in their language for this sort
of people, importing that they are applauders by profession, and we
stigmatize them with the opprobrious title of table-flatterers: yet the
dirty business alluded to increases every day. It was only yesterday two
of my domestic officers, mere striplings, were hired to cheer somebody
or other, at three denarii apiece:[39] that is what the highest
eloquence goes for. Upon these terms we fill as many benches as we
please, and gather a crowd; this is how those rending shouts are raised,
as soon as the individual standing up in the middle of the ring gives
the signal. For, you must know, these honest fellows, who understand
nothing of what is said, or, if they did, could not hear it, would be
at a loss without a signal, how to time their applause: for many of them
don't hear a syllable, and are as noisy as any of the rest. If, at any
time, you should happen to be passing by when the court is sitting, and
feel at all interested to know how any speaker is acquitting himself,
you have no occasion to give yourself the trouble of getting up on the
judge's platform, no need to listen; it is easy enough to find out, for
you may be quite sure he that gets most applause deserves it the least.
Largius Licinus was the first to introduce this fashion; but then he
went no farther than to go round and solicit an audience. I know, I
remember hearing this from my tutor Quinctilian. "I used," he told me,
"to go and hear Domitius Afer, and as he was pleading once before the
Hundred in his usual slow and impressive manner, hearing, close to him,
a most immoderate and unusual noise, and being a good deal surprised
at this, he left off: the noise ceased, and he began again: he was
interrupted a second time, and a third. At last he enquired who it was
that was speaking? He was told, Licinus. Upon which, he broke off the
case, exclaiming, 'Eloquence is no more!'" The truth is it had only
begun to decline then, when in Afer's opinion it no longer existed
-- whereas now it is almost extinct. I am ashamed to tell you of
the mincing and affected pronunciation of the speakers, and of the
shrill-voiced applause with which their effusions are received; nothing
seems wanting to complete this sing-song performance except claps, or
rather cymbals and tambourines. Howlings indeed (for I can call such
applause, which would be indecent even in the theatre, by no other name)
abound in plenty. Up to this time the interest of my friends and the
consideration of my early time of life have kept me in this court, as I
am afraid they might think I was doing it to shirk work rather than
to avoid these indecencies, were I to leave it just yet: however, I
go there less frequently than I did, and am thus effecting a gradual
retreat. Farewell.


You are surprised that I am so fond of my Laurentine, or (if you prefer
the name) my Laurens: but you will cease to wonder when I acquaint you
with the beauty of the villa, the advantages of its situation, and the
extensive view of the sea-coast. It is only seventeen miles from Rome:
so that when I have finished my business in town, I can pass my evenings
here after a good satisfactory day's work. There are two different
roads to it: if you go by that of Laurentum, you must turn off at the
fourteenth mile-stone; if by Astia, at the eleventh. Both of them are
sandy in places, which makes it a little heavier and longer by carriage,
but short and easy on horseback. The landscape affords plenty of
variety, the view in some places being closed in by woods, in others
extending over broad meadows, where numerous flocks of sheep and
herds of cattle, which the severity of the winter has driven from the
mountains, fatten in the spring warmth, and on the rich pasturage. My
villa is of a convenient size without being expensive to keep up. The
courtyard in front is plain, but not mean, through which you enter
porticoes shaped into the form of the letter D, enclosing a small but
cheerful area between. These make a capital retreat for bad weather,
not only as they are shut in with windows, but particularly as they
are sheltered by a projection of the roof. From the middle of these
porticoes you pass into a bright pleasant inner court, and out of that
into a handsome hall running out towards the sea-shore; so that when
there is a south-west breeze, it is gently washed with the waves, which
spend themselves at its base. On every side of this hall there are
either folding-doors or windows equally large, by which means you have
a view from the front and the two sides of three different seas, as it
were: from the back you see the middle court, the portico, and the area;
and from another point you look through the portico into the courtyard,
and out upon the woods and distant mountains beyond. On the left hand of
this hail, a little farther from the sea, lies a large drawing-room,
and beyond that, a second of a smaller size, which has one window to the
rising and another to the setting sun: this as well has a view of the
sea, but more distant and agreeable. The angle formed by the projection
of the dining-room with this drawing-room retains and intensifies
the warmth of the sun, and this forms our winter quarters and family
gymnasium, which is sheltered from all the winds except those which
bring on clouds, but the clear sky comes out again before the warmth
has gone out of the place. Adjoining this angle is a room forming the
segment of a circle, the windows of which are so arranged as to get the
sun all through the day: in the walls are contrived a sort of cases,
containing a collection of authors who can never be read too often. Next
to this is a bed-room, connected with it by a raised passage furnished
with pipes, which supply, at a wholesome temperature, and distribute to
all parts of this room, the heat they receive. The rest of this side of
the house is appropriated to the use of my slaves and freedmen; but most
of the rooms in it are respectable enough to put my guests into. In the
opposite wing is a most elegant, tastefully fitted up bed-room; next
to which lies another, which you may call either a large bed-room or
a modified dining-room; it is very warm and light, not only from the
direct rays of the sun, but by their reflection from the sea. Beyond
this is a bed-room with an ante-room, the height of which renders it
cool in summer, its thick walls warm in winter, for it is sheltered,
every way from the winds. To this apartment another anteroom is joined
by one common wall. From thence you enter into the wide and spacious
cooling-room belonging to the bath, from the opposite walls of which
two curved basins are thrown out, so to speak; which are more than large
enough if you consider that the sea is close at hand. Adjacent to this
is the anointing-room, then the sweating-room, and beyond that the
bath-heating room: adjoining are two other little bath-rooms, elegantly
rather than sumptuously fitted up: annexed to them is a warm bath of
wonderful construction, in which one can swim and take a view of the sea
at the same time. Not far from this stands the tennis-court, which lies
open to the warmth of the afternoon sun. From thence you go up a sort of
turret which has two rooms below, with the same number above, besides
a dining-room commanding a very extensive look-out on to the sea, the
coast, and the beautiful villas scattered along the shore line. At the
other end is a second turret, containing a room that gets the rising
and setting sun. Behind this is a large store-room and granary, and
underneath, a spacious dining-room, where only the murmur and break of
the sea can be heard, even in a storm: it looks out upon the garden,
and the gestatio,[40] running round the garden. The gestatio is bordered
round with box, and, where that is decayed, with rosemary: for the box,
wherever sheltered by the buildings, grows plentifully, but where it
lies open and exposed to the weather and spray from the sea, though at
some distance from the latter, it quite withers up. Next the gestatio,
and running along inside it, is a shady vine plantation, the path of
which is so soft and easy to the tread that you may walk bare-foot upon
it. The garden is chiefly planted with fig and mulberry trees, to which
this soil is as favourable as it is averse from all others. Here is a
dining-room, which, though it stands away from the sea enjoys the garden
view which is just as pleasant: two apartments run round the back part
of it, the windows of which look out upon the entrance of the villa, and
into a fine kitchen-garden. From here extends an enclosed portico which,
from its great length, you might take for a public one. It has a range
of windows on either side, but more on the side facing the sea, and
fewer on the garden side, and these, single windows and alternate with
the opposite rows. In calm, clear, weather these are all thrown open;
hut if it blows, those on the weather side are closed, whilst those away
from the wind can remain open without any inconvenience. Before this
enclosed portico lies a terrace fragrant with the scent of violets, and
warmed by the reflection of the sun from the portico, which, while it
retains the rays, keeps away the north-east wind; and it is as warm on
this side as it is cool on the side opposite: in the same way it is a
protection against the wind from the south-west; and thus, in short, by
means of its several sides, breaks the force of the winds, from whatever
quarter they may blow. These are some of its winter advantages, they are
still more appreciable in the summer time; for at that season it throws
a shade upon the terrace during the whole of the forenoon, and upon the
adjoining portion of the gestatio and garden in the afternoon, casting
a greater or less shade on this side or on that as the day increases or
decreases. But the portico itself is coolest just at the time when the
sun is at its hottest, that is, when the rays fall directly upon the
roof. Also, by opening the windows you let in the western breezes in a
free current, which prevents the place getting oppressive with close
and stagnant air. At the upper end of the terrace and portico stands
a detached garden building, which I call my favourite; my favourite
indeed, as I put it up myself. It contains a very warm winter-room, one
side of which looks down upon the terrace, while the other has a view of
the sea, and both lie exposed to the sun. The bed-room opens on to the
covered portico by means of folding-doors, while its window looks out
upon the sea. On that side next the sea, and facing the middle wall, is
formed a very elegant little recess, which, by means of transparent[41]
windows, and a curtain drawn to or aside, can be made part of the
adjoining room, or separated from it. It contains a couch and two
chairs: as you lie upon this couch, from where your feet are you get
a peep of the sea; looking behind you see the neighbouring villas, and
from the head you have a view of the woods: these three views may be
seen either separately, from so many different windows, or blended
together in one. Adjoining this is a bed-room, which neither the
servants' voices, the murmuring of the sea, the glare of lightning,
nor daylight itself can penetrate, unless you open the windows.
This profound tranquillity and seclusion are occasioned by a passage
separating the wall of this room from that of the garden, and thus, by
means of this intervening space, every noise is drowned. Annexed to this
is a tiny stove-room, which, by opening or shutting a little aperture,
lets out or retains the heat from underneath, according as you require.
Beyond this lie a bed-room and ante-room, which enjoy the sun, though
obliquely indeed, from the time it rises, till the afternoon. When I
retire to this garden summer-house, I fancy myself a hundred miles away
from my villa, and take especial pleasure in it at the feast of the
Saturnalia,[42] when, by the licence of that festive season, every
other part of my house resounds with my servants' mirth: thus I neither
interrupt their amusement nor they my studies. Amongst the pleasures
and conveniences of this situation, there is one drawback, and that is,
the want of running water; but then there are wells about the place, or
rather springs, for they lie close to the surface. And, altogether, the
quality of this coast is remarkable; for dig where you may, you meet,
upon the first turning up of the ground, with a spring of water, quite
pure, not in the least salt, although so near the sea. The neighbouring
woods supply us with all the fuel we require, the other necessaries
Ostia furnishes. Indeed, to a moderate man, even the village (between
which and my house there is only one villa) would supply all ordinary
requirements. It has three public baths, which are a great convenience
if it happen that friends come in unexpectedly, or make too short a stay
to allow time in preparing my own. The whole coast is very pleasantly
sprinkled with villas either in rows or detached, which whether looking
at them from the sea or the shore, present the appearance of so many
different cities. The strand is, sometimes, after a long calm, perfectly
smooth, though, in general, through the storms driving the waves upon
it, it is rough and uneven. I cannot boast that our sea is plentiful in
choice fish; however, it supplies us with capital soles and prawns; but
as to other kinds of provisions, my villa aspires to excel even inland
countries, particularly in milk: for the cattle come up there from the
meadows in large numbers, in pursuit of water and shade. Tell me,
now, have I not good reason for living in, staying in, loving, such
a retreat, which, if you feel no appetite for, you must be morbidly
attached to town? And I only wish you would feel inclined to come down
to it, that to so many charms with which my little villa abounds, it
might have the very considerable addition of your company to recommend
it. Farewell.


You advise me to read my late speech before an assemblage of my
friends. I shall do so, as you advise it, though I have strong scruples.
Compositions of this sort lose, I well know, all their force and fire,
and even their very name almost, by a mere recital. It is the solemnity
of the tribunal, the concourse of advocates, the suspense of the event,
the fame of the several pleaders concerned, the different parties formed
amongst the audience; add to this the gestures, the pacing, aye the
actual running, to and fro, of the speaker, the body working[43] in
harmony with every inward emotion, that conspire to give a spirit and
a grace to what he delivers. This is the reason that those who plead
sitting, though they retain most of the advantages possessed by those
who stand up to plead, weaken the whole force of their oratory. The
eyes and hands of the reader, those important instruments of graceful
elocution, being engaged, it is no wonder that the attention of
the audience droops, without anything extrinsic to keep it up, no
allurements of gesture to attract, no smart, stinging impromptus to
enliven. To these general considerations I must add this particular
disadvantage which attends the speech in question, that it is of the
argumentative kind; and it is natural for an author to infer that what
he wrote with labour will not be read with pleasure. For who is there so
unprejudiced as not to prefer the attractive and sonorous to the sombre
and unornamented in style? It is very unreasonable that there should be
any distinction; however, it is certain the judges generally expect one
style of pleading, and the audience another; whereas an auditor ought to
be affected only by those parts which would especially strike him, were
he in the place of the judge. Nevertheless it is possible the objections
which lie against this piece may be surmounted in consideration of the
novelty it has to recommend it: the novelty I mean with respect to
us; for the Greek orators have a method of reasoning upon a different
occasion, not altogether unlike that which I have employed. They, when
they would throw out a law, as contrary to some former one unrepealed,
argue by comparing those together; so I, on the contrary, endeavour to
prove that the crime, which I was insisting upon as falling within
the intent and meaning of the law relating to public extortions, was
agreeable, not only to that law, but likewise to other laws of the same
nature. Those who are ignorant of the jurisprudence of their country can
have no taste for reasonings of this kind, but those who are not ought
to be proportionably the more favourable in the judgments they pass upon
them. I shall endeavour, therefore, if you persist in my reciting it, to
collect as learned an audience as I can. But before you determine this
point, do weigh impartially the different considerations I have laid
before you, and then decide as reason shall direct; for it is reason
that must justify you; obedience to your commands will be a sufficient
apology for me. Farewell.


GIVE me a penny, and I will tell you a story "worth gold," or, rather,
you shall hear two or three; for one brings to my mind another. It makes
no difference with which I begin. Verania, the widow of Piso, the Piso,
I mean, whom Galba adopted, lay extremely ill, and Regulus paid her a
visit. By the way, mark the assurance of the man, visiting a lady who
detested him herself, and to whose husband he was a declared enemy! Even
barely to enter her house would have been bad enough, but he actually
went and seated himself by her bed-side and began enquiring on what day
and hour she was born. Being informed of these important particulars, he
composes his countenance, fixes his eyes, mutters something to himself,
counts upon his fingers, and all this merely to keep the poor sick lady
in suspense. When he had finished, "You are," he says, "in one of
your climacterics; however, you will get over it. But for your greater
satisfaction, I will consult with a certain diviner, whose skill I have
frequently experienced." Accordingly off he goes, performs a sacrifice,
and returns with the strongest assurances that the omens confirmed what
he had promised on the part of the stars. Upon this the good woman,
whose danger made her credulous, calls for her will and gives Regulus
a legacy. She grew worse shortly after this; and in her last moments
exclaimed against this wicked, treacherous, and worse than perjured
wretch, who had sworn falsely to her by his own son's life. But
imprecations of this sort are as common with Regulus as they are
impious; and he continually devotes that unhappy youth to the curse of
those gods whose vengeance his own frauds every day provoke.

Velleius Blaesus, a man of consular rank, and remarkable for his immense
wealth, in his last illness was anxious to make some alterations in his
will. Regulus, who had lately endeavoured to insinuate himself into his
good graces, hoped to get something from the new will, and accordingly
addresses himself to his physicians, and conjures them to exert all
their skill to prolong the poor man's life. But after the will was
signed, he changes his character, reversing his tone: "How long," says
he to these very same physicians, "do you intend keeping this man in
misery? Since you cannot preserve his life, why do you grudge him the
happy release of death?" Blaesus dies, and, as if he had overheard every
word that Regulus had said, has not left him one farthing.--And now
have you had enough? or are you for the third, according to rhetorical
canon? If so, Regulus will supply you. You must know, then, that
Aurelia, a lady of remarkable accomplishments, purposing to execute her
will,[44] had put on her smartest dress for the occasion. Regulus,
who was present as a witness, turned to the lady, and "Pray," says he,
"leave me these fine clothes." Aurelia thought the man was joking: but
he insisted upon it perfectly seriously, and, to be brief, obliged her
to open her will, and insert the dress she had on as a legacy to him,
watching as she wrote, and then looking over it to see that it was all
down correctly. Aurelia, however, is still alive: though Regulus, no
doubt, when he solicited this bequest, expected to enjoy it pretty soon.
The fellow gets estates, he gets legacies, conferred upon him, as if
he really deserved them! But why should I go on dwelling upon this in
a city where wickedness and knavery have, for this time past, received,
the same, do I say, nay, even greater encouragement, than modesty and
virtue? Regulus is a glaring instance of this truth, who, from a state
of poverty, has by a train of villainies acquired such immense riches
that he once told me, upon consulting the omens to know how soon he
should be worth sixty millions of sesterces,[45] he found them so
favourable as to portend he should possess double that sum. And possibly
he may, if he continues to dictate wills for other people in this way: a
sort of fraud, in my opinion, the most infamous of any. Farewell.


I NEVER, I think, spent any time more agreeably than my time lately with
Spurinna. So agreeably, indeed, that if ever I should arrive at old age,
there is no man whom I would sooner choose for my model, for nothing can
be more perfect in arrangement than his mode of life. I look upon order
in human actions, especially at that advanced age, with the same sort of
pleasure as I behold the settled course of the heavenly bodies. In young
men, indeed, a little confusion and disarrangement is all well enough:
but in age, when business is unseasonable, and ambition indecent, all
should be composed and uniform. This rule Spurinna observes with the
most religious consistency. Even in those matters which one might call
insignificant, were they not of every-day occurrence, he observes a
certain periodical season and method. The early morning he passes on
his couch; at eight he calls for his slippers, and walks three miles,
exercising mind and body together. On his return, if he has any friends
in the house with him, he gets upon some entertaining and interesting
topic of conversation; if by himself, some book is read to him,
sometimes when visitors are there even, if agreeable to the company.
Then he has a rest, and after that either takes up a book or resumes his
conversation in preference to reading. By-and-by he goes out for a drive
in his carriage, either with his wife, a most admirable woman, or with
some friend: a happiness which lately was mine.--How agreeable, how
delightful it is getting a quiet time alone with him in this way! You
could imagine you were listening to some worthy of ancient times! What
deeds, what men you hear about, and with what noble precepts you are
imbued! Yet all delivered with so modest an air that there is not the
least appearance of dictating. When he has gone about seven miles, he
gets out of his chariot and walks a mile more, after which he returns
home, and either takes a rest or goes back to his couch and writing. For
he composes most elegant lyrics both in Greek and Latin. So wonderfully
soft, sweet, and gay they are, while the author's own unsullied life
lends them additional charm. When the baths are ready, which in winter
is about three o'clock, and in summer about two, he undresses himself
and, if their happen to be no wind, walks for some time in the sun.
After this he has a good brisk game of tennis: for by this sort of
exercise too, he combats the effects of old age. When he has bathed,
he throws himself upon his couch, but waits a little before he begins
eating, and in the meanwhile has some light and entertaining author read
to him. In this, as in all the rest, his friends are at full liberty to
share; or to employ themselves in any other way, just as they prefer.
You sit down to an elegant dinner, without extravagant display, which
is served up in antique plate of pure silver. He has another complete
service in Corinthian metal, which, though he admires as a curiosity, is
far from being his passion. During dinner he is frequently entertained
with the recital of some dramatic piece, by way of seasoning his very
pleasures with study; and although he continues at the table, even
in summer, till the night is somewhat advanced, yet he prolongs the
entertainment with so much affability and politeness that none of his
guests ever finds it tedious. By this method of living he has preserved
all his senses entire, and his body vigorous and active to his
seventy-eighth year, without showing any sign of old age except wisdom.
This is the sort of life I ardently aspire after; as I purpose enjoying
it when I shall arrive at those years which will justify a retreat from
active life. Meanwhile I am embarrassed with a thousand affairs, in
which Spurinna is at once my support and my example: for he too, so long
as it became him, discharged his professional duties, held magistracies,
governed provinces, and by toiling hard earned the repose he now enjoys.
I propose to myself the same career and the same limits: and I here give
it to you under my hand that I do so. If an ill-timed ambition should
carry me beyond those bounds, produce this very letter of mine in court
against me; and condemn me to repose, whenever I enjoy it without being
reproached with indolence. Farewell.


IT gives me great pleasure to find you such a reader of my uncle's works
as to wish to have a complete collection of them, and to ask me for the
names of them all. I will act as index then, and you shall know the very
order in which they were written, for the studious reader likes to know
this. The first work of his was a treatise in one volume, "On the Use
of the Dart by Cavalry"; this he wrote when in command of one of the
cavalry corps of our allied troops, and is drawn up with great care
and ingenuity. "The Life of Pomponius Secundus,"[46] in two volumes.
Pomponius had a great affection for him, and he thought he owed this
tribute to his memory. "The History of the Wars in Germany," in twenty
books, in which he gave an account of all the battles we were engaged in
against that nation. A dream he had while serving in the army in Germany
first suggested the design of this work to him. He imagined that Drusus
Nero[47] (who extended his conquest very far into that country, and
there lost his life) appeared to him in his sleep, and entreated him
to rescue his memory from oblivion. Next comes a work entitled "The
Student," in three parts, which from their length spread into six
volumes: a work in which is discussed the earliest training and
subsequent education of the orator. "Questions of Grammar and Style,"
in eight books, written in the latter part of Nero's reign, when the
tyranny of the times made it dangerous to engage in literary pursuits
requiring freedom and elevation of tone. He has completed the history
which Aufidius Bassus[48] left unfinished, and has added to it thirty
books. And lastly he has left thirty-seven books on Natural History,
a work of great compass and learning, and as full of variety as nature
herself. You will wonder how a man as busy as he was could find time
to compose so many books, and some of them too involving such care
and labour. But you will be still more surprised when you hear that he
pleaded at the bar for some time, that he died in his sixty-sixth year,
that the intervening time was employed partly in the execution of the
highest official duties, partly in attendance upon those emperors who
honoured him with their friendship. But he had a quick apprehension,
marvellous power of application, and was of an exceedingly wakeful
temperament. He always began to study at midnight at the time of the
feast of Vulcan, not for the sake of good luck, but for learning's sake;
in winter generally at one in the morning, but never later than two, and
often at twelve.[49] He was a most ready sleeper, insomuch that he would
sometimes, whilst in the midst of his studies, fall off and then wake up
again. Before day-break he used to wait upon Vespasian' (who also used
his nights for transacting business in), and then proceed to execute the
orders he had received. As soon as he returned home, he gave what time was
left to study. After a short and light refreshment at noon (agreeably to
the good old custom of our ancestors) he would frequently in the summer,
if he was disengaged from business, lie down and bask in the sun; during
which time some author was read to him, while he took notes and made
extracts, for every book he read he made extracts out of, indeed it was
a maxim of his, that "no book was so bad but some good might be got out
of it." When this was over, he generally took a cold bath, then some
light refreshment and a little nap. After this, as if it had been a new
day, he studied till supper-time, when a book was again read to him,
which he would take down running notes upon. I remember once his reader
having mis-pronounced a word, one of my uncle's friends at the table
made him go back to where the word was and repeat it again; upon which
my uncle said to his friend, "Surely you understood it?" Upon his
acknowledging that he did, "Why then," said he, "did you make him go
back again? We have lost more than ten lines by this interruption." Such
an economist he was of time! In the summer he used to rise from supper
at daylight, and in winter as soon as it was dark: a rule he observed
as strictly as if it had been a law of the state. Such was his manner
of life amid the bustle and turmoil of the town: but in the country his
whole time was devoted to study, excepting only when he bathed. In this
exception I include no more than the time during which he was actually
in the bath; for all the while he was being rubbed and wiped, he
was employed either in hearing some book read to him or in dictating
himself. In going about anywhere, as though he were disengaged from all
other business, he applied his mind wholly to that single pursuit. A
shorthand writer constantly attended him, with book and tablets, who, in
the winter, wore a particular sort of warm gloves, that the sharpness of
the weather might not occasion any interruption to my uncle's studies:
and for the same reason, when in Rome, he was always carried in a chair.
I recollect his once taking me to task for walking. "You need not," he
said, "lose these hours." For he thought every hour gone that was not
given to study. Through this extraordinary application he found time to
compose the several treatises I have mentioned, besides one hundred and
sixty volumes of extracts which he left me in his will, consisting of a
kind of common-place, written on both sides, in very small hand, so that
one might fairly reckon the number considerably more. He used himself to
tell us that when he was comptroller of the revenue in Spain, he could
have sold these manuscripts to Largius Licinus for four hundred thousand
sesterces,[50] and then there were not so many of them. When you
consider the books he has read, and the volumes he has written, are you
not inclined to suspect that he never was engaged in public duties or
was ever in the confidence of his prince? On the other hand, when you
are told how indefatigable he was in his studies, are you not inclined
to wonder that he read and wrote no more than he did? For, on one side,
what obstacles would not the business of a court throw in his way? and
on the other, what is it that such intense application might not effect?
It amuses me then when I hear myself called a studious man, who in
comparison with him am the merest idler. But why do I mention myself,
who am diverted from these pursuits by numberless affairs both public
and private? Who amongst those whose whole lives are devoted to
literary pursuits would not blush and feel himself the most confirmed
of sluggards by the side of him? I see I have run out my letter farther
than I had originally intended, which was only to let you know, as you
asked me, what works he had left behind him. But I trust this will be no
less acceptable to you than the books themselves, as it may, possibly,
not only excite your curiosity to read his works, but also your
emulation to copy his example, by some attempts of a similar nature.


I HAVE lately purchased with a legacy that was left me a small statue of
Corinthian brass. It is small indeed, but elegant and life-like, as
far as I can form any judgment, which most certainly in matters of this
sort, as perhaps in all others, is extremely defective. However, I do
see the beauties of this figure: for, as it is naked the faults, if
there be any, as well as the perfections, are the more observable. It
represents an old man, in an erect attitude. The bones, muscles, veins,
and the very wrinkles, give the Impression of breathing life. The hair
is thin and failing, the forehead broad, the face shrivelled, the throat
lank, the arms loose and hanging, the breast shrunken, and the belly
fallen in, as the whole turn and air of the figure behind too is equally
expressive of old age. It appears to be true antique, judging from the
colour of the brass. In short, it is such a masterpiece as would strike
the eyes of a connoisseur, and which cannot fail to charm an ordinary
observer: and this induced me, who am an absolute novice in this art,
to buy it. But I did so, not with any intention of placing it in my
own house (for I have nothing of the kind there), but with a design of
fixing it in some conspicuous place in my native province; I should
like it best in the temple of Jupiter, for it is a gift well worthy of
a temple, well worthy of a god. I desire therefore you would, with
that care with which you always perform my requests, undertake this
commission and give immediate orders for a pedestal to be made for it,
out of what marble you please, but let my name be engraved upon it, and,
if you think proper to add these as well, my titles. I will send the
statue by the first person I can find who will not mind the trouble
of it; or possibly (which I am sure you will like better) I may myself
bring it along with me: for I intend, if business can spare me that is
to say, to make an excursion over to you. I see joy in your looks when
I promise to come; but you will soon change your countenance when I add,
only for a few days: for the same business that at present keeps me here
will prevent my making a longer stay. Farewell.


I HAVE just been informed that Silius Italicus[51] has starved himself
to death, at his villa near Naples. Ill-health was the cause. Being
troubled with an incurable cancerous humour, he grew weary of life and
therefore put an end to it with a determination not to be moved. He had
been extremely fortunate all through his life with the exception of the
death of the younger of his two sons; however, he has left behind him
the elder and the worthier man of the two in a position of distinction,
having even attained consular rank. His reputation had suffered a little
in Nero's time, as he was suspected of having officiously joined in
some of the informations in that reign; but he used his interest with
Vitellius, with great discretion and humanity. He acquired considerable
honour by his administration of the government of Asia, and, by his good
conduct after his retirement from business, cleared his character from
that stain which his former public exertions had thrown upon it. He
lived as a private nobleman, without power, and consequently without
envy. Though he was frequently confined to his bed, and always to
his room, yet he was highly respected, and much visited; not with an
interested view, but on his own account. He employed his time between
conversing with literary men and composing verses; which he sometimes
read out, by way of testing the public opinion: but they evidence more
industry than genius. In the decline of his years he entirely quitted
Rome, and lived altogether in Campania, from whence even the accession
of the new emperor[52] could not draw him. A circumstance which I
mention as much to the honour of Cæsar, who was not displeased with
that liberty, as of Italicus, who was not afraid to make use of it.
He was reproached with indulging his taste for the fine arts at an
immoderate expense. He had several villas in the same province, and the
last purchase was always the especial favourite, to the neglect of all
the rest, These residences overflowed with books, statues, and pictures,
which he more than enjoyed, he even adored; particularly that of
Virgil, of whom he was so passionate an admirer that he celebrated the
anniversary of that poet's birthday with more solemnity than his own, at
Naples especially where he used to approach his tomb as if it had been
a temple. In this tranquillity he passed his seventy-fifth year, with a
delicate rather than an infirm constitution.

As he was the last person upon whom Nero conferred the consular office,
so he was the last survivor of all those who had been raised by him to
that dignity. It is also remarkable that, as he was the last to die of
Nero's consuls, so Nero died when he was consul. Recollecting this, a
feeling of pity for the transitory condition of mankind comes over me.
Is there anything in nature so short and limited as human life, even at
its longest? Does it not seem to you but yesterday that Nero was alive?
And yet not one of all those who were consuls in his reign now remains!
Though why should I wonder at this? Lucius Piso (the father of that Piso
who was so infamously assassinated by Valerius Festus in Africa) used
to say, he did not see one person in the senate whose opinion he had
consulted when he was consul: in so short a space is the very term of
life of such a multitude of beings comprised! so that to me those royal
tears seem not only worthy of pardon but of praise. For it is said that
Xerxes, on surveying his immense army, wept at the reflection that so
many thousand lives would in such a short space of time be extinct. The
more ardent therefore should be our zeal to lengthen out this frail
and transient portion of existence, if not by our deeds (for the
opportunities of this are not in our power) yet certainly by our
literary accomplishments; and since long life is denied us, let us
transmit to posterity some memorial that we have at least LIVED. I well
know you need no incitements, but the warmth of my affection for you
inclines me to urge you on in the course you are already pursuing, just
as you have so often urged me. "Happy rivalry" when two friends strive
in this way which of them shall animate the other most in their mutual
pursuit of immortal fame. Farewell.


I DID not tell you, when I paid you my last visit, that I had composed
something in praise of your son; because, in the first place, I wrote it
not for the sake of talking about my performance, but simply to satisfy
my affection, to console my sorrow for the loss of him. Again, as you
told me, my dear Spurinna, that you had heard I had been reciting a
piece of mine, I imagined you had also heard at the same time what was
the subject of the recital, and besides I was afraid of casting a
gloom over your cheerfulness in that festive season, by reviving the
remembrance of that heavy sorrow. And even now I have hesitated a little
whether I should gratify you both, in your joint request, by sending
only what I recited, or add to it what I am thinking of keeping back for
another essay. It does not satisfy my feelings to devote only one little
tract to a memory so dear and sacred to me, and it seemed also more
to the interest of his fame to have it thus disseminated by separate
pieces. But the consideration, that it will be more open and friendly
to send you the whole now, rather than keep back some of it to another
time, has determined me to do the former, especially as I have your
promise that it shall not be communicated by either of you to anyone
else, until I shall think proper to publish it. The only remaining
favour I ask is, that you will give me a proof of the same unreserve by
pointing out to me what you shall judge would be best altered, omitted,
or added. It is difficult for a mind in affliction to concentrate
itself upon such little cares. However, as you would direct a painter
or sculptor who was representing the figure of your son what parts he
should retouch or express, so I hope you will guide and inform my hand
in this more durable or (as you are pleased to think it) this immortal
likeness which I am endeavouring to execute: for the truer to the
original, the more perfect and finished it is, so much the more lasting
it is likely to prove. Farewell.


IT is just like the generous disposition of Artemidorus to magnify the
kindnesses of his friends; hence he praises my deserts (though he is
really indebted to me) beyond their due. It is true indeed that when
the philosophers were expelled from Rome,[54] I visited him at his house
near the city, and ran the greater risk in paying him that civility, as
it was more noticeable then, I being praetor at the time. I supplied him
too with a considerable sum to pay certain debts he had contracted upon
very honourable occasions, without charging interest, though obliged
to borrow the money myself, while the rest of his rich powerful friends
stood by hesitating about giving him assistance. I did this at a time
when seven of my friends were either executed or banished; Senecio,
Rusticus, and Helvidius having just been put to death, while Mauricus,
Gratilla, Arria, and Fannia, were sent into exile; and scorched as it
were by so many lightning-bolts of the state thus hurled and flashing
round me, I augured by no uncertain tokens my own impending doom. But
I do not look upon myself, on that account, as deserving of the high
praises my friend bestows upon me: all I pretend to is the being clear
of the infamous guilt of abandoning him in his misfortunes. I had, as
far as the differences between our ages would admit, a friendship
for his father-in-law Musonius, whom I both loved and esteemed, while
Artemidorus himself I entered into the closest intimacy with when I was
serving as a military tribune in Syria. And I consider as a proof
that there is some good in me the fact of my being so early capable
of appreciating a man who is either a philosopher or the nearest
resemblance to one possible; for I am sure that, amongst all those who
at the present day call themselves philosophers, you will find hardly
any one of them so full of sincerity and truth as he. I forbear to
mention how patient he is of heat and cold alike, how indefatigable in
labour, how abstemious in his food, and what an absolute restraint he
puts upon all his appetites; for these qualities, considerable as they
would certainly be in any other character, are less noticeable by
the side of the rest of those virtues of his which recommended him to
Musonius for a son-in-law, in preference to so many others of all ranks
who paid their addresses to his daughter. And when I think of all these
things, I cannot help feeling pleasurably affected by those unqualified
terms of praise in which he speaks of me to you as well as to everyone
else. I am only apprehensive lest the warmth of his kind feeling carry
him beyond the due limits; for he, who is so free from all other errors,
is apt to fall into just this one good-natured one, of overrating the
merits of his friends. Farewell.


I WILL come to supper, but must make this agreement beforehand, that I
go when I please, that you treat me to nothing expensive, and that
our conversation abound only in Socratic discourse, while even that in
moderation. There are certain necessary visits of ceremony, bringing
people out before daylight, which Cato himself could not safely fall in
with; though I must confess that Julius Cæsar reproaches him with that
circumstance in such a manner as redounds to his praise; for he tells us
that the persons who met him reeling home blushed at the discovery, and
adds, "You would have thought that Cato had detected them, and not they
Cato." Could he place the dignity of Cato in a stronger light than by
representing him thus venerable even in his cups? But let our supper be
as moderate in regard to hours as in the preparation and expense: for we
are not of such eminent reputation that even our enemies cannot censure
our conduct without applauding it at the same time. Farewell.


THE atrocious treatment that Largius Macedo, a man of praetorian rank,
lately received at the hands of his slaves is so extremely tragical that
it deserves a place rather in public history than in a private letter;
though it must at the same time be acknowledged there was a haughtiness
and severity in his behaviour towards them which shewed that he little
remembered, indeed almost entirely forgot, the fact that his own father
had once been in that station of life. He was bathing at his Formian
Villa, when he found himself suddenly surrounded by his slaves; one
seizes him by the throat, another strikes him on the mouth, whilst
others trampled upon his breast, stomach, and even other parts which I
need not mention. When they thought the breath must be quite out of his
body, they threw him down upon the heated pavement of the bath, to try
whether he were still alive, where he lay outstretched and motionless,
either really insensible or only feigning to be so, upon which they
concluded him to be actually dead. In this condition they brought him
out, pretending that he had got suffocated by the heat of the bath. Some
of his more trusty servants received him, and his mistresses came about
him shrieking and lamenting. The noise of their cries and the fresh air,
together, brought him a little to himself; he opened his eyes, moved
his body, and shewed them (as he now safely might) that he was not quite
dead. The murderers immediately made their escape; but most of them
have been caught again, and they are after the rest. He was with great
difficulty kept alive for a few days, and then expired, having however
the satisfaction of finding himself as amply revenged in his lifetime
as he would have been after his death. Thus you see to what affronts,
indignities, and dangers we are exposed. Lenity and kind treatment
are no safeguard; for it is malice and not reflection that arms such
ruffians against their masters. So much for this piece of news. And what
else? What else? Nothing else, or you should hear it, for I have still
paper, and time too (as it is holiday time with me) to spare for more,
and I can tell you one further circumstance relating to Macedo,
which now occurs to me. As he was in a public bath once, at Rome, a
remarkable, and (judging from the manner of his death) an ominous,
accident happened to him. A slave of his, in order to make way for his
master, laid his hand gently upon a Roman knight, who, turning suddenly
round, struck, not the slave who had touched him, but Macedo, so violent
a blow with his open palm that he almost knocked him down. Thus the bath
by a kind of gradation proved fatal to him; being first the scene of an
indignity he suffered, afterwards the scene of his death. Farewell.


I HAVE constantly observed that amongst the deeds and sayings of
illustrious persons of either sex, some have made more noise in the
world, whilst others have been really greater, although less talked
about; and I am confirmed in this opinion by a conversation I had
yesterday with Fannia. This lady is a grand-daughter to that celebrated
Arria, who animated her husband to meet death, by her own glorious
example. She informed me of several particulars relating to Arria, no
less heroic than this applauded action of hers, though taken less notice
of, and I think you will be as surprised to read the account of them as
I was to hear it. Her husband Caecinna Paetus, and her son, were both
attacked at the same time with a fatal illness, as was supposed; of
which the son died, a youth of remarkable beauty, and as modest as he
was comely, endeared indeed to his parents no less by his many graces
than from the fact of his being their son. His mother prepared his
funeral and conducted the usual ceremonies so privately that Paetus did
not know of his death. Whenever she came into his room, she pretended
her son was alive and actually better: and as often as he enquired after
his health, would answer, "He has had a good rest, and eaten his food
with quite an appetite." Then when she found the tears, she had so long
kept back, gushing forth in spite of herself, she would leave the room,
and having given vent to her grief, return with dry eyes and a serene
countenance, as though she had dismissed every feeling of bereavement
at the door of her husband's chamber. I must confess it was a brave
action[55] in her to draw the steel, plunge it into her breast, pluck
out the dagger, and present it to her husband with that ever memorable,
I had almost said that divine, expression, "Paetus, it is not painful."
But when she spoke and acted thus, she had the prospect of glory and
immortality before her; how far greater, without the support of any
such animating motives, to hide her tears, to conceal her grief, and
cheerfully to act the mother, when a mother no more!

Scribonianus had taken up arms in Illyria against Clatidius, where he
lost his life, and Paetus, who was of his party, was brought a prisoner
to Rome. When they were going to put him on board ship, Arria besought
the soldiers that she might be permitted to attend him: "For surely,"
she urged, "you will allow a man of consular rank some servants to dress
him, attend to him at meals, and put his shoes on for him; but if you
will take me, I alone will perform all these offices." Her request was
refused; upon which she hired a fishing-boat, and in that small
vessel followed the ship. On her return to Rome, meeting the wife
of Scribonianus in the emperor's palace, at the time when this woman
voluntarily gave evidence against the conspirators--"What," she
exclaimed, "shall I hear you even speak to me, you, on whose bosom your
husband Scribonjanus was murdered, and yet you survive him?"--an
expression which plainly shews that the noble manner in which she put
an end to her life was no unpremeditated effect of sudden passion.
Moreover, when Thrasea, her son-in-law, was endeavouring to dissuade
her from her purpose of destroying herself, and, amongst other arguments
which he used, said to her, "Would you then advise your daughter to die
with me if my life were to be taken from me?" "Most certainly I would,"
she replied, "if she had lived as long, and in as much harmony with you,
as I have with my Paetus." This answer greatly increased the alarm of
her family, and made them watch her for the future more narrowly; which,
when she perceived, "It is of no use," she said, "you may oblige me to
effect my death in a more painful way, but it is impossible you should
prevent it." Saying this, she sprang from her chair, and running her
head with the utmost violence against the wall, fell down, to all
appearance, dead; but being brought to herself again, "I told you,"
she said, "if you would not suffer me to take an easy path to death, I
should find a way to it, however hard." Now, is there not, my friend,
something much greater in all this than in the so-much-talked-of
"Paetus, it is not painful," to which these led the way? And yet this
last is the favourite topic of fame, while all the former are passed
over in silence. Whence I cannot but infer, what I observed at the
beginning of my letter, that some actions are more celebrated, whilst
others are really greater.


I WAS obliged by my consular office to compliment the emperor[56] in
the name of the republic; but after I had performed that ceremony in
the senate in the usual manner, and as fully as the time and place would
allow, I thought it agreeable to the affection of a good subject to
enlarge those general heads, and expand them into a complete discourse.
My principal object in doing so was, to confirm the emperor in his
virtues, by paying them that tribute of applause which they so justly
deserve; and at the same time to direct future princes, not in the
formal way of lecture, but by his more engaging example, to those paths
they must pursue if they would attain the same heights of glory. To
instruct princes how to form their conduct, is a noble, but difficult
task, and may, perhaps, be esteemed an act of presumption: but to
applaud the character of an accomplished prince, and to hold out to
posterity, by this means, a beacon-light as it were, to guide succeeding
monarchs, is a method equally useful, and much more modest. It afforded
me a very singular pleasure that when I wished to recite this panegyric
in a private assembly, my friends gave me their company, though I did not
solicit them in the usual form of notes or circulars, but only desired
their attendance, "should it be quite convenient to them," and "if
they should happen to have no other engagement." You know the excuses
generally made at Rome to avoid invitations of this kind; how prior
invitations are usually alleged; yet, in spite of the worst possible
weather, they attended the recital for two days together; and when
I thought it would be unreasonable to detain them any longer, they
insisted upon my going through with it the next day. Shall I consider
this as an honour done to myself or to literature? Rather let me suppose
to the latter, which, though well-nigh extinct, seems to be now again
reviving amongst us. Yet what was the subject which raised this uncommon
attention? No other than what formerly, even in the senate, where we had
to submit to it, we used to grudge even a few moments' attention to. But
now, you see, we have patience to recite and to attend to the same topic
for three days together; and the reason of this is, not that we have
more eloquent writing now than formerly, but we write under a fuller
sense of individual freedom, and consequently more genially than we used
to. It is an additional glory therefore to our present emperor that this
sort of harangue, which was once as disgusting as it was false, is now
as pleasing as it is sincere. But it was not only the earnest attention
of my audience which afforded me pleasure; I was greatly delighted too
with the justness of their taste: for I observed, that the more nervous
parts of my discourse gave them peculiar satisfaction. It is true,
indeed, this work, which was written for the perusal of the world in
general, was read only to a few; however, I would willingly look upon
their particular judgment as an earnest of that of the public, and
rejoice at their manly taste as if it were universally spread. It was
just the same in eloquence as it was in music, the vitiated ears of the
audience introduced a depraved style; but now, I am inclined to hope, as
a more refined judgment prevails in the public, our compositions of both
kinds will improve too; for those authors whose sole object is to
please will fashion their works according to the popular taste. I trust,
however, in subjects of this nature the florid style is most proper;
and am so far from thinking that the vivid colouring I have used will be
esteemed foreign and unnatural that I am most apprehensive that
censure will fall upon those parts where the diction is most simple and
unornate. Nevertheless, I sincerely wish the time may come, and that it
now were, when the smooth and luscious, which has affected our style,
shall give place, as it ought, to severe and chaste composition. -- Thus
have I given you an account of my doings of these last three days, that
your absence might not entirely deprive you of a pleasure which, from
your friendship to me, and the part you take in everything that concerns
the interest of literature, I know you would have received, had you been
there to hear. Farewell.


I MUST have recourse to you, as usual, in an affair which concerns my
finances. An estate adjoining my land, and indeed running into it, is
for sale. There are several considerations strongly inclining me to this
purchase, while there are others no less weighty deterring me from it.
Its first recommendation is, the beauty which will result from uniting
this farm to my own lands; next, the advantage as well as pleasure of
being able to visit it without additional trouble and expense; to have
it superintended by the same steward, and almost by the same sub-agents,
and to have one villa to support and embellish, the other just to keep
in common repair. I take into this account furniture, housekeepers,
fancy-gardeners, artificers, and even hunting-apparatus, as it makes a
very great difference whether you get these altogether into one place or
scatter them about in several. On the other hand, I don't know whether
it is prudent to expose so large a property to the same climate, and the
same risks of accident happening; to distribute one's possessions about
seems a safer way of meeting the caprice of fortune, besides, there is
something extremely pleasant in the change of air and place, and the
going about between one's properties. And now, to come to the chief
consideration:--the lands are rich, fertile, and well-watered,
consisting chiefly of meadow-ground, vineyard, and wood, while the
supply of building timber and its returns, though moderate, still,
keep at the same rate. But the soil, fertile as it is, has been much
impoverished by not having been properly looked after. The person last
in possession used frequently to seize and sell the stock, by which
means, although he lessened his tenants' arrears for the time being,
yet he left them nothing to go on with and the arrears ran up again
in consequence. I shall be obliged, then, to provide them with slaves,
which I must buy, and at a higher than the usual price, as these will be
good ones; for I keep no fettered slaves[57] myself, and there are
none upon the estate. For the rest, the price, you must know, is three
millions of sesterces.[58] It has formerly gone over five millions,[59]
but owing, partly to the general hardness of the times, and partly
to its being thus stripped of tenants, the income of this estate is
reduced, and consequently its value. You will be inclined perhaps to
enquire whether I can easily raise the purchase-money? My estate, it
is true, is almost entirely in land, though I have some money out at
interest; but I shall find no difficulty in borrowing any sum I may
want. I can get it from my wife's mother, whose purse I may use with
the same freedom as my own; so that you need not trouble yourself at
all upon that point, should you have no other objections, which I should
like you very carefully to consider: for, as in everything else,
so, particularly in matters of economy, no man has more judgment and
experience than yourself. Farewell.


I HAVE just heard of Valerius Martial's death, which gives me great
concern. He was a man of an acute and lively genius, and his writings
abound in equal wit, satire, and kindliness. On his leaving Rome I made
him a present to defray his travelling expenses, which I gave him, not
only as a testimony of friendship, but also in return for the verses
with which he had complimented me. It was the custom of the ancients
to distinguish those poets with honours or pecuniary rewards, who had
celebrated particular individuals or cities in their verses; but this
good custom, along with every other fair and noble one, has grown out of
fashion now; and in consequence of our having ceased to act laudably, we
consider praise a folly and impertinence. You may perhaps be curious to
see the verses which merited this acknowledgment from me, and I believe
I can, from memory, partly satisfy your curiosity, without referring you
to his works: but if you should be pleased with this specimen of them,
you must turn to his poems for the rest. He addresses himself to his
muse, whom he directs to go to my house upon the Esquiline,[60] but to
approach it with respect.

     "Go, wanton muse, but go with care,
     Nor meet, ill-tim'd, my Pliny's ear;
     He, by sage Minerva taught,
     Gives the day to studious thought,
     And plans that eloquence divine,
     Which shall to future ages shine,
     And rival, wondrous Tully! thine.
     Then, cautious, watch the vacant hour,
     When Bacchus reigns in all his pow'r;
     When, crowned with rosy chaplets gay,
     Catos might read my frolic lay."[61]

Do you not think that the poet who wrote of me in such terms deserved
some friendly marks of my bounty then, and of my sorrow now? For he gave
me the very best he had to bestow, and would have given more had it been
in his power. Though indeed what can a man have conferred on him more
valuable than the honour of never-fading praise? But his poems will not
long survive their author, at least I think not, though he wrote them in
the expectation of their doing so. Farewell.


You have long desired a visit from your grand-daughter[62] accompanied
by me. Nothing, be assured, could be more agreeable to either of us; for
we equally wish to see you, and are determined to delay that pleasure no
longer. For this purpose we are already packing up, and hastening to
you with all the speed the roads will permit of. We shall make only one,
short, stoppage, for we intend turning a little out of our way to go
into Tuscany: not for the sake of looking upon our estate, and into our
family concerns, which we can postpone to another opportunity, but to
perform an indispensable duty. There is a town near my estate, called
Tifernum-upon-the-Tiber,[63] which, with more affection than wisdom, put
itself under my patronage when I was yet a youth. These people celebrate
my arrival among them, express the greatest concern when I leave them,
and have public rejoicings whenever they hear of my preferments. By way
of requiting their kindnesses (for what generous mind can bear to be
excelled in acts of friendship?) I have built a temple in this place, at
my own expense, and as it is finished, it would be a sort of impiety to
put off its dedication any longer. So we shall be there on the day on
which that ceremony is to be performed, and I have resolved to celebrate
it with a general feast. We may possibly stay on there for all the next
day, but shall make so much the greater haste in our journey afterwards.
May we have the happiness to find you and your daughter in good health!
In good spirits I am sure we shall, should we get to you all safely.


REGULUS has lost his son; the only undeserved misfortune which could
have befallen him, in that I doubt whether he thinks it a misfortune.
The boy had quick parts, but there was no telling how he might turn out;
however, he seemed capable enough of going right, were he not to grow up
like his father. Regulus gave him his freedom,[64] in order to
entitle him to the estate left him by his mother; and when he got
into possession of it, (I speak of the current rumours, based upon the
character of the man,) fawned upon the lad with a disgusting shew of
fond affection which in a parent was utterly out of place. You may
hardly think this credible; but then consider what Regulus is. However,
he now expresses his concern for the loss of this youth in a most
extravagant manner. The boy had a number of ponies for riding and
driving, dogs both big and little, together with nightingales, parrots,
and blackbirds in abundance. All these Regulus slew round the funeral
pile. It was not grief, but an ostentatious parade of grief. He is
visited upon this occasion by a surprising number of people, who all
hate and detest the man, and yet are as assiduous in their attendance
upon him as if they really esteemed and loved him, and, to give you
my opinion in a word, in endeavouring to do Regulus a kindness, make
themselves exactly like him. He keeps himself in his park on the other
side the Tiber, where he has covered a vast extent of ground with his
porticoes, and crowded all the shore with his statues; for he unites
prodigality with excessive covetousness, and vain-glory with the height
of infamy. At this very unhealthy time of year he is boring society, and
he feels pleasure and consolation in being a bore. He says he wishes to
marry,--a piece of perversity, like all his other conduct. You must
expect, therefore, to hear shortly of the marriage of this mourner, the
marriage of this old man; too early in the former case, in the latter,
too late. You ask me why I conjecture this? Certainly not because he
says so himself (for a greater liar never stepped), but because there is
no doubt that Regulus will do whatever ought not to be done. Farewell.


I OFTEN tell you that there is a certain force of character about
Regulus: it is wonderful how he carries through what he has set his mind
to. He chose lately to be extremely concerned for the loss of his son:
accordingly he mourned for him as never man mourned before. He took it
into his head to have an immense number of statues and pictures of
him; immediately all the artisans in Rome are set to work. Canvas, wax,
brass, silver, gold, ivory, marble, all exhibit the figure of the young
Regulus. Not long ago he read, before a numerous audience, a memoir of
his son: a memoir of a mere boy! However he read it. He wrote likewise
a sort of circular letter to the several Decurii desiring them to choose
out one of their order who had a strong clear voice, to read this
eulogy to the people; it has been actually done. Now had this force
of character or whatever else you may call a fixed determination in
obtaining whatever one has a mind for, been rightly applied, what
infinite good it might have effected! The misfortune is, there is
less of this quality about good people than about bad people, and as
ignorance begets rashness, and thoughtfulness produces deliberation,
so modesty is apt to cripple the action of virtue, whilst confidence
strengthens vice. Regulus is a case in point: he has a weak voice, an
awkward delivery, an indistinct utterance, a slow imagination, and no
memory; in a word, he possesses nothing but a sort of frantic energy:
and yet, by the assistance of a flighty turn and much impudence,
he passes as an orator. Herennius Senecio admirably reversed Cato's
definition of an orator, and applied it to Regulus: "An orator," he
said, "is a bad man, unskilled in the art of speaking." And really
Cato's definition is not a more exact description of a true orator than
Seneclo's is of the character of this man. Would you make me a suitable
return for this letter? Let me know if you, or any of my friends in
your town, have, like a stroller in the marketplace, read this doleful
production of Regulus's, "raising," as Demosthenes says, "your voice
most merrily, and straining every muscle in your throat." For so absurd
a performance must excite laughter rather than compassion; and indeed
the composition is as puerile as the subject. Farewell.


Mv advancement to the dignity of augur[65] is an honour that justly
indeed merits your congratulations; not only because it is highly
honourable to receive, even in the slightest instances, a testimony of
the approbation of so wise and discreet a prince,[66] but because it is
moreover an ancient and religious institution, which has this sacred and
peculiar privilege annexed to it, that it is for life. Other sacerdotal
offices, though they may, perhaps, be almost equal to this one in
dignity, yet as they are given so they may be taken away again:
but fortune has no further power over this than to bestow it. What
recommends this dignity still more highly is, that I have the honour to
succeed so illustrious a person as Julius Frontinus. He for many years,
upon the nomination-day of proper persons to be received into the sacred
college, constantly proposed me, as though he had a view to electing
me as his successor; and since it actually proved so in the event, I am
willing to look upon it as something more than mere accident. But the
circumstance, it seems, that most pleases you in this affair, is, that
Cicero enjoyed the same post; and you rejoice (you tell me) to find that
I follow his steps as closely in the path of honours as I endeavour to
do in that of eloquence. I wish, indeed, that as I had the advantage of
being admitted earlier into the same order of priesthood, and into the
consular office, than Cicero, that so I might, in my later years, catch
some spark, at least, of his divine genius! The former, indeed, being
at man's disposal, may be conferred on me and on many others, but the
latter it is as presumptuous to hope for as it is difficult to reach,
being in the gift of heaven alone. Farewell.


YOUR letter informs me that Sabina, who appointed you and me her heirs,
though she has nowhere expressly directed that Modestus shall have his
freedom, yet has left him a legacy in the following words, "I give,
&c.--To Modestus, whom I have ordered to have his freedom": upon which you
desire my opinion. I have consulted skilful lawyers upon the point, and
they all agree Modestus is not entitled to his liberty, since it is
not expressly given, and consequently that the legacy is void, as being
bequeathed to a slave.[67] But it evidently appears to be a mistake in
the testatrix; and therefore I think we ought to act in this case as
though Sabina had directed, in so many words, what, it is clear, she
had ordered. I am persuaded you will go with me in this opinion, who so
religiously regard the will of the deceased, which indeed where it can
be discovered will always be law to honest heirs. Honour is to you and
me as strong an obligation as the compulsion of law is to others. Let
Modestus then enjoy his freedom and his legacy as fully as if Sabina had
observed all the requisite forms, as indeed they effectually do who make
a judicious choice of their heirs. Farewell.


HAVE you heard--I suppose, not yet, for the news has but just arrived
-- that Valerius Licinianus has become a professor in Sicily? This
unfortunate person, who lately enjoyed the dignity of praetor, and
was esteemed the most eloquent of our advocates, is now fallen from
a senator to an exile, from an orator to a teacher of rhetoric.
Accordingly in his inaugural speech he uttered, sorrowfully and
solemnly, the following words: "Oh! Fortune, how capriciously dost thou
sport with mankind! Thou makest rhetoricians of senators, and senators
of rhetoricians!" A sarcasm so poignant and full of gall that one might
almost imagine he fixed upon this profession merely for the sake of
an opportunity of applying it. And having made his first appearance in
school, clad in the Greek cloak (for exiles have no right to wear the
toga), after arranging himself and looking down upon his attire, "I am,
however," he said, "going to declaim in Latin." You will think, perhaps,
this situation, wretched and deplorable as it is, is what he well
deserves for having stained the honourable profession of an orator
with the crime of incest. It is true, indeed, he pleaded guilty to
the charge; but whether from a consciousness of his guilt, or from an
apprehension of worse consequences if he denied it, is not clear; for
Domitian generally raged most furiously where his evidence failed him
most hopelessly. That emperor had determined that Cornelia, chief of the
Vestal Virgins, should be buried alive, from an extravagant notion
that exemplary seventies of this kind conferred lustre upon his reign.
Accordingly, by virtue of his office as supreme pontiff, or, rather, in
the exercise of a tyrant's cruelty, a despot's lawlessness, he convened
the sacred college, not in the pontifical court where they usually
assemble, but at his villa near Alba; and there, with a guilt no less
heinous than that which he professed to be punishing, he condemned her,
when she was not present to defend herself, on the charge of incest,
while he himself had been guilty, not only of debauching his own
brother's daughter, but was also accessory to her death: for that lady,
being a widow, in order to conceal her shame, endeavoured to procure
an abortion, and by that means lost her life. However, the priests were
directed to see the sentence immediately executed upon Cornelia. As they
were leading her to the place of execution, she called upon Vesta,
and the rest of the gods, to attest her innocence; and, amongst other
exclamations, frequently cried out, "Is it possible that Cæsar can
think me polluted, under the influence of whose sacred functions he
has conquered and triumphed?"[69] Whether she said this in flattery or
derision; whether it proceeded from a consciousness of her innocence, or
contempt of the emperor, is uncertain; but she continued exclaiming in
this manner, till she came to the place of execution, to which she was
led, whether innocent or guilty I cannot say, at all events with every
appearance and demonstration of innocence. As she was being lowered down
into the subterranean vault, her robe happening to catch upon
something in the descent, she turned round and disengaged it, when, the
executioner offering his assistance, she drew herself back with horror,
refusing to be so much as touched by him, as though it were a defilement
to her pure and unspotted chastity: still preserving the appearance of
sanctity up to the last moment; and, among all the other instances of
her modesty,

     "She took great care to fall with decency."[70]

Celer likewise, a Roman knight, who was accused of an intrigue with her,
while they were scourging him with rods[71] in the Forum, persisted
in exclaiming, "What have I done?--I have done nothing." These
declarations of innocence had exasperated Domitian exceedingly, as
imputing to him acts of cruelty and injustice, accordingly Licinianus
being seized by the emperor's orders for having concealed a freedwoman
of Cornelia's in one of his estates, was advised, by those who took him
in charge, to confess the fact, if he hoped to obtain a remission of his
punishment, circumstance to add further, that a young nobleman, having
had his tunic torn, an ordinary occurrence in a crowd, stood with his
gown thrown over him, to hear me, and that during the seven hours I was
speaking, whilst my success more than counterbalanced the fatigue of so
long a speech. So let us set to and not screen our own indolence under
pretence of that of the public. Never, be very sure of that, will there
be wanting hearers and readers, so long as we can only supply them with
speakers and writers worth their attention. Farewell.


You advise me, nay you entreat me, to undertake, in her absence, the
cause of Corellia, against C. Caecilius, consul elect. For your advice I
am grateful, of your entreaty I really must complain; without the first,
indeed, I should have been ignorant of this affair, but the last was
unnecessary, as I need no solicitations to comply, where it would be
ungenerous in me to refuse; for can I hesitate a moment to take upon
myself the protection of a daughter of Corellius? It is true, indeed,
though there is no particular intimacy between her adversary and myself,
still we are upon good enough terms. It is also true that he is a
person of rank, and one who has a high claim upon my especial regard,
as destined to enter upon an office which I have had the honour to fill;
and it is natural for a man to be desirous those dignities should be
held in the highest esteem which he himself once possessed. Yet all
these considerations appear indifferent and trifling when I reflect that
it is the daughter of Corellius whom I am to defend. The memory of that
excellent person, than whom this age has not produced a man of greater
dignity, rectitude, and acuteness, is indelibly imprinted upon my mind.
My regard for him sprang from my admiration of the man, and contrary
to what is usually the case, my admiration increased upon a thorough
knowledge of him, and indeed I did know him thoroughly, for he kept
nothing back from me, whether gay or serious, sad or joyous. When he was
but a youth, he esteemed, and (I will even venture to say) revered,
me as if I had been his equal. When I solicited any post of honour, he
supported me with his interest, and recommended me with his testimony;
when I entered upon it, he was my introducer and my companion; when I
exercised it, he was my guide and my counsellor. In a word, whenever my
interest was concerned, he exerted himself, in spite of his weakness and
declining years, with as much alacrity as though he were still young and
lusty. In private, in public, and at court, how often has he advanced
and supported my credit and interest! It happened once that the
conversation, in the presence of the emperor Nerva, turned upon the
promising young men of that time, and several of the company present
were pleased to mention me with applause; he sat for a little while
silent, which gave what he said the greater weight; and then, with that
air of dignity, to which you are no stranger, "I must be reserved," said
he, "in my praises of Pliny, because he does nothing without advice." By
which single sentence he bestowed upon me more than my most extravagant
wishes could aspire to, as he represented my conduct to be always such
as wisdom must approve, since it was wholly under the direction of one
of the wisest of men. Even in his last moments he said to his daughter
(as she often mentions), "I have in the course of a long life raised up
many friends to you, but there are none in whom you may more assuredly
confide than Pliny and Cornutus." A circumstance I cannot reflect upon
without being deeply sensible how incumbent it is upon me to endeavour
not to disappoint the confidence so excellent a judge of human nature
reposed in me. I shall therefore most readily give my assistance to
Corellia in this affair, and willingly risk any displeasure I may incur
by appearing in her behalf. Though I should imagine, if in the course
of my pleadings I should find an opportunity to explain and enforce more
fully and at large than the limits of a letter allow of the reasons I
have here mentioned, upon which I rest at once my apology and my glory;
her adversary (whose suit may perhaps, as you say, be entirely without
precedent, as it is against a woman) will not only excuse, but approve,
my conduct. Farewell.


As you are a model of all virtue, and loved your late excellent brother,
who had such a fondness for you, with an affection equal to his own;
regarding too his daughter[72] as your child, not only shewing her an
aunt's tenderness but supplying the place of the parent she had lost;
I know it will give you the greatest pleasure and joy to hear that
she proves worthy of her father, her grandfather, and yourself.
She possesses an excellent understanding together with a consummate
prudence, and gives the strongest evidence of the purity of her heart by
her fondness of her husband. Her affection for me, moreover, has given
her a taste for books, and my productions, which she takes a pleasure in
reading, and even in getting by heart, are continually in her hands. How
full of tender anxiety is she when I am going to speak in any case,
how rejoiced she feels when it is got through. While I am pleading, she
stations persons to inform her from time to time how I am heard, what
applauses I receive, and what success attends the case. When I recite my
works at any time, she conceals herself behind some curtain, and drinks
in my praises with greedy ears. She sings my verses too, adapting them
to her lyre, with no other master but love, that best of instructors,
for her guide. From these happy circumstances I derive my surest hopes,
that the harmony between us will increase with our days, and be as
lasting as our lives. For it is not my youth or person, which time
gradually impairs; it is my honour and glory that she cares for. But
what less could be expected from one who was trained by your hands, and
formed by your instructions; who was early familiarized under your roof
with all that is pure and virtuous, and who learnt to love me first
through your praises? And as you revered my mother with all the respect
due even to a parent, so you kindly directed and encouraged my tender
years, presaging from that early period all that my wife now fondly
imagines I really am. Accept therefore of our mutual thanks, mine, for
your giving me her, hers for your glaring her me; for you have chosen us
out, as it were, for each other. Farewell.


Look here! The next time the court sits, you must, at all events, take
your place there. In vain would your indolence repose itself under my
protection, for there is no absenting oneself with impunity. Look at
that severe, determined, praetor, Licinius Nepos, who fined even a
senator for the same neglect! The senator pleaded his cause in person,
but in suppliant tone. The fine, it is true, was remitted, but sore
was his dismay, humble his intercession, and he had to ask pardon. "All
praetors are not so severe as that," you will reply; you are mistaken
-- for though indeed to be the author and reviver of an example of
this kind may be an act of severity, yet, once introduced, even lenity
herself may follow the precedent. Farewell.


I HAVE brought you as a little present out of the country a query which
well deserves the consideration of your extensive knowledge. There is
a spring which rises in a neighbouring mountain, and running among the
rocks is received into a little banqueting-room, artificially formed for
that purpose, from whence, after being detained a short time, it falls
into the Larian lake. The nature of this spring is extremely curious; it
ebbs and flows regularly three times a day. The increase and decrease is
plainly visible, and exceedingly interesting to observe. You sit down by
the side of the fountain, and while you are taking a repast and drinking
its water, which is extremely cool, you see it gradually rise and fall.
If you place a ring, or anything else at the bottom, when it is dry,
the water creeps gradually up, first gently washing, finally covering
it entirely, and then little by little subsides again. If you wait
long enough, you may see it thus alternately advance and recede three
successive times. Shall we say that some secret current of air stops
and opens the fountain-head, first rushing in and checking the flow
and then, driven back by the counter-resistance of the water, escaping
again; as we see in bottles, and other vessels of that nature, where,
there not being a free and open passage, though you turn their necks
perpendicularly or obliquely downwards, yet, the outward air obstructing
the vent, they discharge their contents as it were by starts? Or,
may not this small collection of water be successively contracted and
enlarged upon the same principle as the ebb and flow of the sea? Or,
again, as those rivers which discharge themselves into the sea, meeting
with contrary winds and the swell of the ocean, are forced back in their
channels, so, in the same way, may there not be something that checks
this fountain, for a time, in its progress? Or is there rather a certain
reservoir that contains these waters in the bowels of the earth, and
while it is recruiting its discharges, the stream in consequence flows
more slowly and in less quantity, but, when it has collected its due
measure, runs on again in its usual strength and fulness? Or lastly, is
there I know not what kind of subterranean counterpoise, that throws up
the water when the fountain is dry, and keeps it back when it is full?
You, who are so well qualified for the enquiry, will examine into the
causes of this wonderful phenomenon; it will be sufficient for me if I
have given you an adequate description of it. Farewell.


A SMALL legacy was lately left me, yet one more acceptable than a far
larger bequest would have been. How more acceptable than a far larger
one? In this way. Pomponia Gratilla, having disinherited her son
Assidius Curianus, appointed me of one of her heirs, and Sertorius
Severus, of pretorian rank, together with several eminent Roman knights,
co-heirs along with me. The son applied to me to give him my share of
the inheritance, in order to use my name as an example to the rest of
the joint-heirs, but offered at the same time to enter into a secret
agreement to return me my proportion. I told him, it was by no means
agreeable to my character to seem to act one way while in reality I was
acting another, besides it was not quite honourable making presents to
a man of his fortune, who had no children; in a word, this would not
at all answer the purpose at which he was aiming, whereas, if I were to
withdraw my claim, it might be of some service to him, and this I was
ready and willing to do, if he could clearly prove to me that he was
unjustly disinherited.

"Do then," he said, "be my arbitrator in this case." After a short pause
I answered him, "I will, for I don't see why I should not have as good
an opinion of my own impartial disinterestedness as you seem to have.
But, mind, I am not to be prevailed upon to decide the point in question
against your mother, if it should appear she had just reason for what
she has done." "As you please," he replied, "which I am sure is always
to act according to justice." I called in, as my assistants, Corellius
and Frontinus, two of the very best lawyers Rome at that time afforded.
With these in attendance, I heard the case in my own chamber. Curianus
said everything which he thought would favour his pretensions, to whom
(there being nobody but myself to defend the character of the deceased)
I made a short reply; after which I retired with my friends to
deliberate, and, being agreed upon our verdict, I said to him,
"Curianus, it is our opinion that your conduct has justly drawn upon you
your mother's displeasure." Sometime afterwards, Curianus commenced a
suit in the Court of the Hundred against all the co-heirs except myself.
The day appointed for the trial approaching, the rest of the co-heirs
were anxious to compromise the affair and have done with it, not out of
any diffidence of their cause, but from a distrust of the times. They
were apprehensive of what had happened to many others, happening to
them, and that from a civil suit it might end in a criminal one, as
there were some among them to whom the friendship of Gratilla and
Rusticus[73] might be extremely prejudicial: they therefore desired
me to go and talk with Curianus. We met in the temple of Concord; "Now
supposing," I said, "your mother had left you the fourth part of her
estate, or even suppose she had made you sole heir, but had exhausted
so much of the estate in legacies that there would not be more than a
fourth part remaining to you, could you justly complain? You ought to
be content, therefore, if, being absolutely disinherited as you are, the
heirs are willing to relinquish to you a fourth part, which however
I will increase by contributing my proportion. You know you did not
commence any suit against me, and two years have now elapsed, which
gives me legal and indisputable possession. But to induce you to agree
to the proposals on the part of the other co-heirs, and that you may be
no sufferer by the peculiar respect you shew me, I offer to advance my
proportion with them." The silent approval of my own conscience is not
the only result out of this transaction; it has contributed also to the
honour of my character. For it is this same Cunianus who has left me the
legacy I have mentioned in the beginning of my letter, and I received
it as a very notable mark of his approbation of my conduct, if I do not
flatter myself. I have written and told you all this, because in all my
joys and sorrows I am wont to look upon you as myself, and I thought
it would be unkind not to communicate to so tender a friend whatever
occasions me a sensible gratification; for I am not philosopher enough
to be indifferent, when I think I have acted like an honour-able man,
whether my actions meet with that approval which is in some sort their
due. Farewell.


AMONG the many agreeable and obliging instances I have received of your
friendship, your not concealing from me the long conversations which
lately took place at your house concerning my verses, and the various
judgments passed upon them (which served to prolong the talk,) is by no
means the least. There were some, it seems, who did not disapprove of
my poems in themselves, but at the same time censured me in a free and
friendly way, for employing myself in composing and reciting them. I am
so far, however, from desiring to extenuate the charge that I willingly
acknowledge myself still more deserving of it, and confess that I
sometimes amuse myself with writing verses of the gayer sort. I compose
comedies, divert myself with pantomimes, read the lyric poets, and enter
into the spirit of the most wanton muse, besides that, I indulge myself
sometimes in laughter, mirth, and frolic, and, to sum up every kind
of innocent relaxation in one word, I am a man. I am not in the least
offended, though, at their low opinion of my morals, and that those who
are ignorant of the fact that the most learned, the wisest, and the best
of men have employed themselves in the same way, should be surprised at
the tone of my writings: but from those who know what noble and numerous
examples I follow, I shall, I am confident, easily obtain permission to
err with those whom it is an honour to imitate, not only in their most
serious occupations but their lightest triflings. Is it unbecoming me (I
will not name any living example, lest I should seem to flatter), but is
it unbecoming me to practise what became Tully, Calvus, Pollio, Messala,
Hortensius, Brutus, Sulla, Catulus, Scaevola, Sulpitius, Varro, the
Torquati, Memmius, Gaetulicus, Seneca, Lucceius, and, within our own
memory, Verginius Rufus? But if the examples of private men are not
sufficient to justify me, I can cite Julius Casar, Augustus, Nerva,
and Tiberius Casar. I forbear to add Nero to the catalogue, though I
am aware that what is practised by the worst of men does not therefore
degenerate into wrong: on the contrary, it still maintains its credit,
if frequently countenanced by the best. In that number, Virgil,
Cornelius Nepos, and prior to these, Ennius and Attius, justly deserve
the most distinguished place. These last indeed were not senators, but
goodness knows no distinction of rank or title. I recite my works, it is
true, and in this instance I am not sure I can support myself by their
examples. They, perhaps, might be satisfied with their own judgment, but
I have too humble an opinion of mine to suppose my compositions perfect,
because they appear so to my own mind. My reason then for reciting are,
that, for one thing, there is a certain deference for one's audience,
which excites a somewhat more vigorous application, and then again,
I have by this means an opportunity of settling any doubts I may have
concerning my performance, by observing the general opinion of the
audience. In a word, I have the advantage of receiving different hints
from different persons: and although they should not declare their
meaning in express terms, yet the expression of the countenance, the
movement of the head, the eyes, the motion of a hand, a whisper, or
even silence itself will easily distinguish their real opinion from the
language of politeness. And so if any one of my audience should have the
curiosity to read over the same performance which he heard me read, he
may find several things altered or omitted, and perhaps too upon his
particular judgment, though he did not say a single word to me. But I
am not defending my conduct in this particular, as if I had actually
recited my works in public, and not in my own house before my friends, a
numerous appearance of whom has upon many occasions been held an honour,
but never, surely, a reproach. Farewell.


I AM deeply afflicted with the news I have received of the death
of Fannius; in the first place, because I loved one so eloquent and
refined, in the next, because I was accustomed to be guided by his
judgment--and indeed he possessed great natural acuteness, improved
by practice, rendering him able to see a thing in an instant. There are
some circumstances about his death, which aggravate my concern. He left
behind him a will which had been made a considerable time before his
decease, by which it happens that his estate is fallen into the hands of
those who had incurred his displeasure, whilst his greatest favourites
are excluded. But what I particularly regret is, that he has left
unfinished a very noble work in which he was employed. Notwithstanding
his full practice at the bar, he had begun a history of those persons
who were put to death or banished by Nero, and completed three books
of it. They are written with great elegance and precision, the style is
pure, and preserves a proper medium between the plain narrative and the
historical: and as they were very favourably received by the public,
he was the more desirous of being able to finish the rest. The hand of
death is ever, in my opinion, too untimely and sudden when it falls upon
such as are employed in some immortal work. The sons of sensuality, who
have no outlook beyond the present hour, put an end every day to
all motives for living, but those who look forward to posterity, and
endeavour to transmit their names with honour to future generations by
their works--to such, death is always immature, as it still snatches
them from amidst some unfinished design. Fannius, long before his death,
had a presentiment of what has happened: he dreamed one night that as he
was lying on his couch, in an undress, all ready for his work, and
with his desk,[74] as usual, in front of him, Nero entered, and placing
himself by his side, took up the three first books of this history,
which he read through and then departed. This dream greatly alarmed him,
and he regarded it as an intimation, that he should not carry on his
history any farther than Nero had read, and so the event has proved.
I cannot reflect upon this accident without lamenting that he was
prevented from accomplishing a work which had cost him so many toilsome
vigils, as it suggests to me, at the same time, reflections on my own
mortality, and the fate of my writings: and I am persuaded the same
apprehensions alarm you for those in which you are at present employed.
Let us then, my friend, while life permits, exert all our endeavours,
that death, whenever it arrives, may find as little as possible to
destroy. Farewell.


THE kind concern you expressed on hearing of my design to pass the
summer at my villa in Tuscany, and your obliging endeavours to dissuade
me from going to a place which you think unhealthy, are extremely
pleasing to me. It is quite true indeed that the air of that part of
Tuscany which lies towards the coast is thick and unwholesome: but my
house stands at a good distance from the sea, under one of the Apennines
which are singularly healthy. But, to relieve you from all anxiety on
my account, I will give you a description of the temperature of the
climate, the situation of the country, and the beauty of my villa,
which, I am persuaded, you will hear with as much pleasure as I shall
take in giving it. The air in winter is sharp and frosty, so that
myrtles, olives, and trees of that kind which delight in constant
warmth, will not flourish here: but the laurel thrives, and is
remarkably beautiful, though now and then the cold kills it--though
not oftener than it does in the neighbourhood of Rome. The summers are
extraordinarily mild, and there is always a refreshing breeze, seldom
high winds. This accounts for the number of old men we have about, you
would see grandfathers and great-grandfathers of those now grown up to
be young men, hear old stories and the dialect of our ancestors, and
fancy yourself born in some former age were you to come here. The
character of the country is exceedingly beautiful. Picture to yourself
an immense amphitheatre, such as nature only could create. Before you
lies a broad, extended plain bounded by a range of mountains, whose
summits are covered with tall and ancient woods, which are stocked with
all kinds of game.

The descending slopes of the mountains are planted with underwood, among
which are a number of little risings with a rich soil, on which hardly a
stone is to be found. In fruitfulness they are quite equal to a valley,
and though their harvest is rather later, their crops are just as good.
At the foot of these, on the mountain-side, the eye, wherever it turns,
runs along one unbroken stretch of vineyards terminated by a belt of
shrubs. Next you have meadows and the open plain. The arable land is
so stiff that it is necessary to go over it nine times with the biggest
oxen and the strongest ploughs. The meadows are bright with flowers, and
produce trefoil and other kinds of herbage as fine and tender as if it
were but just sprung up, for all the soil is refreshed by never failing
streams. But though there is plenty of water, there are no marshes;
for the ground being on a slope, whatever water it receives without
absorbing runs off into the Tiber. This river, which winds through the
middle of the meadows, is navigable only in the winter and spring, at
which seasons it transports the produce of the lands to Rome: but in
summer it sinks below its banks, leaving the name of a great river to
an almost empty channel: towards the autumn, however, it begins again to
renew its claim to that title. You would be charmed by taking a view
of this country from the top of one of our neighbouring mountains, and
would fancy that not a real, but some imaginary landscape, painted by
the most exquisite pencil, lay before you, such an harmonious variety
of beautiful objects meets the eye, whichever way it turns. My house,
although at the foot of a hill, commands as good a view as if it stood
on its brow, yet you approach by so gentle and gradual a rise that you
find yourself on high ground without perceiving you have been making an
ascent. Behind, but at a great distance, is the Apennine range. In
the calmest days we get cool breezes from that quarter, not sharp and
cutting at all, being spent and broken by the long distance they have
travelled. The greater part of the house has a southern aspect, and
seems to invite the afternoon sun in summer (but rather earlier in the
winter) into a broad and proportionately long portico, consisting of
several rooms, particularly a court of antique fashion. In front of
the portico is a sort of terrace, edged with box and shrubs cut into
different shapes. You descend, from the terrace, by an easy slope
adorned with the figures of animals in box, facing each other, to a lawn
overspread with the soft, I had almost said the liquid, Acanthus: this
is surrounded by a walk enclosed with evergreens, shaped into a variety
of forms. Beyond it is the gestation laid out in the form of a circus
running round the multiform box-hedge and the dwarf-trees, which are cut
quite close. The whole is fenced in with a wall completely covered by
box cut into steps all the way up to the top. On the outside of the wall
lies a meadow that owes as many beauties to nature as all I have been
describing within does to art; at the end of which are open plain and
numerous other meadows and copses. From the extremity of the portico a
large dining-room runs out, opening upon one end of the terrace, while
from the windows there is a very extensive view over the meadows up into
the country, and from these you also see the terrace and the projecting
wing of the house together with the woods enclosing the adjacent
hippodrome. Almost opposite the centre of the portico, and rather to
the back, stands a summer-house, enclosing a small area shaded by four
plane-trees, in the midst of which rises a marble fountain which
gently plays upon the roots of the plane-trees and upon the grass-plots
underneath them. This summer-house has a bed-room in it free from every
sort of noise, and which the light itself cannot penetrate, together
with a common dining-room I use when I have none but intimate friends
with me. A second portico looks upon this little area, and has the
same view as the other I have just been describing. There is, besides,
another room, which, being situate close to the nearest plane-tree,
enjoys a constant shade and green. Its sides are encrusted with carved
marble up to the ceiling, while above the marble a foliage is painted
with birds among the branches, which has an effect altogether as
agreeable as that of the carving, at the foot of which a little
fountain, playing through several small pipes into a vase it encloses,
produces a most pleasing murmur. From a corner of the portico you enter
a very large bed-chamber opposite the large dining-room, which from
some of its windows has a view of the terrace, and from others, of the
meadow, as those in the front look upon a cascade, which entertains
at once both the eye and the ear; for the water, dashing from a great
height, foams over the marble basin which receives it below. This room
is extremely warm in winter, lying much exposed to the sun, and on
a cloudy day the heat of an adjoining stove very well supplies his
absence. Leaving this room, you pass through a good-sized, pleasant,
undressing-room into the cold-bath-room, in which is a large gloomy
bath: but if you are inclined to swim more at large, or in warmer water,
in the middle of the area stands a wide basin for that purpose, and near
it a reservoir from which you may be supplied with cold water to brace
yourself again, if you should find you are too much relaxed by the warm.
Adjoining the cold bath is one of a medium degree of heat, which enjoys
the kindly warmth of the sun, but not so intensely as the hot
bath, which projects farther. This last consists of three several
compartments, each of different degrees of heat; the two former lie
open to the full sun, the latter, though not much exposed to its heat,
receives an equal share of its light. Over the undressing-room is built
the tennis-court, which admits of different kinds of games and different
sets of players. Not far from the baths is the staircase leading to the
enclosed portico, three rooms intervening. One of these looks out upon
the little area with the four plane-trees round it, the other upon the
meadows, and from the third you have a view of several vineyards, so
that each has a different one, and looks towards a different point of
the heavens. At the upper end of the enclosed portico, and indeed
taken off from it, is a room that looks out upon the hippodrome, the
vineyards, and the mountains; adjoining is a room which has a full
exposure to the sun, especially in winter, and out of which runs
another connecting the hippodrome with the house. This forms the front.
On the side rises an enclosed portico, which not only looks out upon
the vineyards, but seems almost to touch them. From the middle of this
portico you enter a dining-room cooled by the wholesome breezes from the
Apennine valleys: from the windows behind, which are extremely large,
there is a close view of the vineyards, and from the folding doors
through the summer portico. Along that side of the dining-room where
there are no windows runs a private staircase for greater convenience
in serving up when I give an entertainment; at the farther end is a
sleeping-room with a look-out upon the vineyards, and (what is equally
agreeable) the portico. Underneath this room is an enclosed portico
resembling a grotto, which, enjoying in the midst of summer heats its
own natural coolness, neither admits nor wants external air. After you
have passed both these porticoes, at the end of the dining-room stands
a third, which according as the day is more or less advanced, serves
either for Winter or summer use. It leads to two different apartments,
one containing four chambers, the other, three, which enjoy by turns
both sun and shade. This arrangement of the different parts of my house
is exceedingly pleasant, though it is not to be compared with the beauty
of the hippodrome,' lying entirely open in the middle of the grounds, so
that the eye, upon your first entrance, takes it in entire in one view.
It is set round with plane-trees covered with ivy, so that, while their
tops flourish with their own green, towards the roots their verdure is
borrowed from the ivy that twines round the trunk and branches, spreads
from tree to tree, and connects them together. Between each plane-tree
are planted box-trees, and behind these stands a grove of laurels which
blend their shade with that of the planes. This straight boundary to
the hippodrome[75] alters its shape at the farther end, bending into a
semicircle, which is planted round, shut in with cypresses, and casts a
deeper and gloomier shade, while the inner circular walks (for there are
several), enjoying an open exposure, are filled with plenty of roses,
and correct, by a very pleasant contrast, the coolness of the shade
with the warmth of the sun. Having passed through these several winding
alleys, you enter a straight walk, which breaks out into a variety
of others, partitioned off by box-row hedges. In one place you have a
little meadow, in another the box is cut in a thousand different forms,
sometimes into letters, expressing the master's name, sometimes the
artificer's, whilst here and there rise little obelisks with fruit-trees
alternately intermixed, and then on a sudden, in the midst of this
elegant regularity, you are surprised with an imitation of the negligent
beauties of rural nature. In the centre of this lies a spot adorned with
a knot of dwarf plane-trees. Beyond these stands an acacia, smooth and
bending in places, then again various other shapes and names. At the
upper end is an alcove of white marble, shaded with vines and supported
by four small Carystian columns. From this semicircular couch, the
water, gushing up through several little pipes, as though pressed out by
the weight of the persons who recline themselves upon it, falls into
a stone cistern underneath, from whence it is received into a fine
polished marble basin, so skilfully contrived that it is always full
without ever overflowing. When I sup here, this basin serves as a table,
the larger sort of dishes being placed round the margin, while the
smaller ones swim about in the form of vessels and water-fowl. Opposite
this is a fountain which is incessantly emptying and filling, for the
water which it throws up to a great height, falling back again into it,
is by means of consecutive apertures returned as fast as it is received.
Facing the alcove (and reflecting upon it as great an ornament as it
borrows from it) stands a summer-house of exquisite marble, the doors of
which project and open into a green enclosure, while from its upper and
lower windows the eye falls upon a variety of different greens. Next to
this is a little private closet (which, though it seems distinct, may
form part of the same room), furnished with a couch, and notwithstanding
it has windows on every side, yet it enjoys a very agreeable gloom,
by means of a spreading vine which climbs to the top, and entirely
overshadows it. Here you may lie and fancy yourself in a wood, with this
only difference, that you are not exposed to the weather as you would
be there. Here too a fountain rises and instantly disappears--several
marble seats are set in different places, which are as pleasant as the
summer-house itself after one is tired out with walking. Near each is a
little fountain, and throughout the whole hippodrome several small rills
run murmuring along through pipes, wherever the hand of art has thought
proper to conduct them, watering here and there different plots of
green, and sometimes all parts at once. I should have ended before now,
for fear of being too chatty, had I not proposed in this letter to lead
you into every corner of my house and gardens. Nor did I apprehend your
thinking it a trouble to read the description of a place which I feel
sure would please you were you to see it; especially as you can stop
just when you please, and by throwing aside my letter, sit down as it
were, and give yourself a rest as often as you think proper. Besides, I
gave my little passion indulgence, for I have a passion for what I have
built, or finished, myself. In a word, (for why should I conceal from my
friend either my deliberate opinion or my prejudice?) I look upon it as
the first duty of every writer to frequently glance over his title-page
and consider well the subject he has proposed to himself; and he may be
sure, if he dwells on his subject, he cannot justly be thought tedious,
whereas if, on the contrary, he introduces and drags in anything
irrelevant, he will be thought exceedingly so. Homer, you know, has
employed many verses in the description of the arms of Achilles, as
Virgil has also in those of Aeneas, yet neither 'of them is prolix,
because they each keep within the limits of their original design.
Aratus, you observe, is not considered too circumstantial, though he
traces and enumerates the minutest stars, for he does not go out of his
way for that purpose, but only follows where his subject leads him.
In the same way (to compare small things with great), so long as, in
endeavouring to give you an idea of my house, I have not introduced
anything irrelevant or superfluous, it is not my letter which describes,
but my villa which is described, that is to be considered large. But
to return to where I began, lest I should justly be condemned by my own
law, if I continue longer in this digression, you see now the reasons
why I prefer my Tuscan villa to those which I possess at Tusculum,
Tiber, and Praeneste.[76] Besides the advantages already mentioned,
I enjoy here a cozier, more profound and undisturbed retirement than
anywhere else, as I am at a greater distance from the business of
the town and the interruption of troublesome clients. All is calm and
composed; which circumstances contribute no less than its clear air and
unclouded sky to that health of body and mind I particularly enjoy in
this place, both of which I keep in full swing by study and hunting. And
indeed there is no place which agrees better with my family, at least I
am sure I have not yet lost one (may the expression be allowed![77])
of all those I brought here with me. And may the gods continue that
happiness to me, and that honour to my villa. Farewell.


IT is certain the law does not allow a corporate city to inherit any
estate by will, or to receive a legacy. Saturninus, however, who has
appointed me his heir, had left a fourth part of his estate to
our corporation of Comum; afterwards, instead of a fourth part, he
bequeathed four hundred thousand sesterces.[78] This bequest, in the eye
of the law, is null and void, but, considered as the clear and express
will of the deceased, ought to stand firm and valid. Myself, I consider
the will of the dead (though I am afraid what I say will not please the
lawyers) of higher authority than the law, especially when the interest
of one's native country is concerned. Ought I, who made them a present
of eleven hundred thousand sesterces[79] out of my own patrimony, to
withhold a benefaction of little more than a third part of that sum out
of an estate which has come quite by a chance into my hands? You, who
like a true patriot have the same affection for this our common country,
will agree with me in opinion, I feel sure. I wish therefore you would,
at the next meeting of the Decurii, acquaint them, just briefly and
respectfully, as to how the law stands in this case, and then add that I
offer them four hundred thousand sesterces according to the direction
in Saturninus' will. You will represent this donation as his present and
his liberality; I only claim the merit of complying with his request. I
did not trouble to write to their senate about this, fully relying as
I do upon our intimate friendship and your wise discretion, and being
quite satisfied that you are both able and willing to act for me upon
this occasion as I would for myself; besides, I was afraid I should
not seem to have so cautiously guarded my expressions in a letter as you
will be able to do in a speech. The countenance, the gesture, and even
the tone of voice govern and determine the sense of the speaker, whereas
a letter, being without these advantages, is more liable to malignant
misinterpretation. Farewell.


I WRITE this to you in the deepest sorrow: the youngest daughter of
my friend Fundanus is dead! I have never seen a more cheerful and more
lovable girl, or one who better deserved to have enjoyed a long, I had
almost said an immortal, life! She was scarcely fourteen, and yet there
was in her a wisdom far beyond her years, a matronly gravity united
with girlish sweetness and virgin bashfulness. With what an endearing
fondness did she hang on her father's neck! How affectionately and
modestly she used to greet us his friends! With what a tender and
deferential regard she used to treat her nurses, tutors, teachers, each
in their respective offices! What an eager, industrious, intelligent,
reader she was! She took few amusements, and those with caution.
How self-controlled, how patient, how brave, she was, under her last
illness! She complied with all the directions of her physicians; she
spoke cheerful, comforting words to her sister and her father; and when
all her bodily strength was exhausted, the vigour of her mind sustained
her. That indeed continued even to her last moments, unbroken by the
pain of a long illness, or the terrors of approaching death; and it is
a reflection which makes us miss her, and grieve that she has gone from
us, the more. 0 melancholy, untimely, loss, too truly! She was engaged
to an excellent young man; the wedding-day was fixed, and we were all
invited. How our joy has been turned into sorrow! I cannot express in
words the inward pain I felt when I heard Fundanus himself (as grief
is ever finding out fresh circumstances to aggravate its affliction)
ordering the money he had intended laying out upon clothes, pearls, and
jewels for her marriage, to be employed in frankincense, ointments, and
perfumes for her funeral. He is a man of great learning and good sense,
who has applied himself from his earliest youth to the deeper studies
and the fine arts, but all the maxims of fortitude which he has received
from books, or advanced himself, he now absolutely rejects, and every
other virtue of his heart gives place to all a parent's tenderness. You
will excuse, you will even approve, his grief, when you consider what
he has lost. He has lost a daughter who resembled him in his manners,
as well as his person, and exactly copied out all her father. So, if you
should think proper to write to him upon the subject of so reasonable
a grief, let me remind you not to use the rougher arguments of
consolation, and such as seem to carry a sort of reproof with them, but
those of kind and sympathizing humanity. Time will render him more open
to the dictates of reason: for as a fresh wound shrinks back from the
hand of the surgeon, but by degrees submits to, and even seeks of its
own accord the means of its cure, so a mind under the first impression
of a misfortune shuns and rejects all consolations, but at length
desires and is lulled by their gentle application. Farewell.


KNOWING, as I do, how much you admire the polite arts, and what
satisfaction you take in seeing young men of quality pursue the steps of
their ancestors, I seize this earliest opportunity of informing you that
I went to-day to hear Calpurnius Piso read a beautiful and scholarly
production of his, entitled the Sports of Love. His numbers, which were
elegiac, were tender, sweet, and flowing, at the same time that they
occasionally rose to all the sublimity of diction which the nature of
his subject required. He varied his style from the lofty to the simple,
from the close to the copious, from the grave to the florid, with equal
genius and judgment. These beauties were further recommended by a most
harmonious voice; which a very becoming modesty rendered still more
pleasing. A confusion and concern in the countenance of a speaker
imparts a grace to all he utters; for diffidence, I know not how, is
infinitely more engaging than assurance and self-sufficiency. I might
mention several other circumstances to his advantage, which I am the
more inclined to point out, as they are exceedingly striking in one of
his age, and are most uncommon in a youth of his quality: but not to
enter into a farther detail of his merit, I will only add that, when he
had finished his poem, I embraced him very heartily, and being persuaded
that nothing is a greater encouragement than applause, I exhorted him
to go on as he had begun, and to shine out to posterity with the same
glorious lustre, which was reflected upon him from his ancestors. I
congratulated his excellent mother, and particularly his brother, who
gained as much honour by the generous affection he manifested upon this
occasion as Calpurnius did by his eloquence; so remarkable a solicitude
he showed for him when he began to recite his poem, and so much pleasure
in his success. May the gods grant me frequent occasions of giving you
accounts of this nature! for I have a partiality to the age in which
I live, and should rejoice to find it not barren of merit. I ardently
wish, therefore, our young men of quality would have something else to
show of honourable memorial in their houses than the images[80] of
their ancestors. As for those which are placed in the mansion of these
excellent youths, I now figure them to myself as silently applauding and
encouraging their pursuits, and (what is a sufficient degree of honour
to both brothers) as recognizing their kindred. Farewell.


As I know the humanity with which you treat your own servants, I have
less reserve in confessing to you the indulgence I shew to mine. I have
ever in my mind that line of Homer's --

"Who swayed his people with a father's love":

and this expression of ours, "father of a family." But were I harsher
and harder than I really am by nature, the ill state of health of my
freedman Zosimus (who has the stronger claim upon my tenderness, in that
he now stands in more especial need of it) would be sufficient to
soften me. He is a good, honest fellow, attentive in his services,
and well-read; but his chief talent, and indeed his distinguishing
qualification, is that of a comedian, in which he highly excels. His
pronunciation is distinct, correct in emphasis, pure, and graceful: he
has a very skilled touch, too, upon the lyre, and performs with better
execution than is necessary for one of his profession. To this I must
add, he reads history, oratory, and poetry, as well as if these had been
the sole objects of his study. I am the more particular in enumerating
his qualifications, to let you see how many agreeable services I receive
from this one servant alone. He is indeed endeared to me by the ties of
a long affection, which are strengthened by the danger he is now in. For
nature has so formed our hearts that nothing contributes more to incite
and kindle affection than the fear of losing the object of it: a fear
which I have suffered more than once on his account. Some years ago he
strained himself so much by too strong an exertion of his voice, that he
spit blood, upon which account I sent him into Egypt;[81] from whence,
after a long absence, belately returned with great benefit to his
health. But having again exerted himself for several days together
beyond his strength, he was reminded of his former malady by a slight
return of his cough, and a spitting of blood. For this reason I intend
to send him to your farm at Forum-Julii,[82] having frequently heard
you mention it as a healthy air, and recommend the milk of that place
as very salutary in disorders of his nature. I beg you would give
directions to your people to receive him into your house, and to supply
him with whatever he may have occasion for: which will not be much, for
he is so sparing and abstemious as not only to abstain from delicacies,
but even to deny himself the necessaries his ill state of health
requires. I shall furnish him towards his journey with what will be
sufficient for one of his moderate requirements, who is coming under
your roof. Farewell.


I WENT into the Julian[83] court to hear those lawyers to whom,
according to the last adjournment, I was to reply. The judges had taken
their seats, the decemviri[84] were arrived, the eyes of the audience
were fixed upon the counsel, and all was hushed silence and expectation,
when a messenger arrived from the praetor, and the Hundred are at once
dismissed, and the case postponed: an accident extremely agreeable to
me, who am never so well prepared but that I am glad of gaining further
time. The occasion of the court's rising thus abruptly was a short edict
of Nepos, the praetor for criminal causes, in which he directed all
persons concerned as plaintiffs or defendants in any cause before him to
take notice that he designed strictly to put in force the decree of the
senate annexed to his edict. Which decree was expressed in the following


In these terms, and many others equally full and express, the lawyers
were prohibited to make their professions venal. However, after the
case is decided, they are permitted to accept a gratuity of ten thousand
sesterces.[85] The praetor for civil causes, being alarmed at this
order of Nepos, gave us this unexpected holiday in order to take time to
consider whether he should follow the example. Meanwhile the whole town
is talking, and either approving or condemning this edict of Nepos.
We have got then at last (say the latter with a sneer) a redressor of
abuses. But pray was there never a praetor before this man? Who is
he then who sets up in this way for a public reformer? Others, on the
contrary, say, "He has done perfectly right upon his entry into office;
he has paid obedience to the laws; considered the decrees of the
senate, repressed most indecent contracts, and will not suffer the
most honourable of all professions to be debased into a sordid lucre
traffic." This is what one hears all around one; but which side may
prevail, the event will shew. It is the usual method of the world
(though a very unequitable rule of estimation) to pronounce an action
either right or wrong, according as it is attended with good or ill
success; in consequence of which you may hear the very same conduct
attributed to zeal or folly, to liberty or licentiousness, upon
different several occasions. Farewell.


SOMETIMES I miss Regulus in our courts. I cannot say I deplore his loss.
The man, it must be owned, highly respected his profession, grew pale
with study and anxiety over it, and used to write out his speeches
though he could not get them by heart. There was a practice he had of
painting round his right or left eye,[86] and wearing a white patch[87]
over one side or the other of his forehead, according as he was to plead
either for the plaintiff or defendant; of consulting the soothsayers
upon the issue of an action; still, all this excessive superstition
was really due to his extreme earnestness in his profession. And it
was acceptable enough being concerned in the same cause with him, as he
always obtained full indulgence in point of time, and never failed to
get an audience together; for what could be more convenient than, under
the protection of a liberty which you did not ask yourself, and all the
odium of the arrangement resting with another, and before an audience
which you had not the trouble of collecting, to speak on at your ease,
and as long as you thought proper? Nevertheless Regulus did well in
departing this life, though he would have done much better had he made
his exit sooner. He might really have lived now without any danger to
the public, in the reign of a prince under whom he would have had no
opportunity of doing any harm. I need not scruple therefore, I think, to
say I sometimes miss him: for since his death the custom has prevailed
of not allowing, nor indeed of asking more than an hour or two to plead
in, and sometimes not above half that time. The truth is, our advocates
take more pleasure in finishing a cause than in defending it; and our
judges had rather rise from the bench than sit upon it: such is their
indolence, and such their indifference to the honour of eloquence and
the interest of justice! But are we wiser than our ancestors? are we
more equitable than the laws which grant so many hours and days of
adjournments to a case? were our forefathers slow of apprehension,
and dull beyond measure? and are we clearer of speech, quicker in our
conceptions, or more scrupulous in our decisions, because we get over
our causes in fewer hours than they took days? O Regulus! it was by zeal
in your profession that you secured an advantage which is but rarely
given to the highest integrity. As for myself, whenever I sit upon the
bench (which is much oftener than I appear at the bar), I always give
the advocates as much time as they require: for I look upon it as highly
presuming to pretend to guess, before a case is heard, what time it will
require, and to set limits to an affair before one is acquainted with
its extent; especially as the first and most sacred duty of a judge is
patience, which constitutes an important part of justice. But this, it
is objected, would give an opening to much superfluous matter: I grant
it may; yet is it not better to hear too much than not to hear enough?
Besides, how shall you know that what an advocate has farther to offer
will be superfluous, until you have heard him? But this, and many other
public abuses, will be best reserved for a conversation when we meet;
for I know your affection to the commonwealth inclines you to wish that
some means might be found out to check at least those grievances, which
would now be very difficult absolutely to remove. But to return to
affairs of private concern: I hope all goes well in your family; mine
remains in its usual situation. The good which I enjoy grows more
acceptable to me by its continuance; as habit renders me less sensible
of the evils I suffer. Farewell.


NEVER was business more disagreeable to me than when it prevented me not
only from accompanying you when you went into Campania for your health,
but from following you there soon after; for I want particularly to be
with you now, that I may learn from my own eyes whether you are growing
stronger and stouter, and whether the tranquillity, the amusements,
and plenty of that charming country really agree with you. Were you
in perfect health, yet I could ill support your absence; for even a
moment's uncertainty of the welfare of those we tenderly love causes a
feeling of suspense and anxiety: but now your sickness conspires with
your absence to trouble me grievously with vague and various anxieties.
I dread everything, fancy everything, and, as is natural to those who
fear, conjure up the very things I most dread. Let me the more earnestly
entreat you then to think of my anxiety, and write to me every day, and
even twice a day: I shall be more easy, at least while I am reading your
letters, though when I have read them, I shall immediately feel my fears
again. Farewell.


You kindly tell me my absence very sensibly affects you, and that your
only consolation is in conversing with my works, which you frequently
substitute in my stead. I am glad that you miss me; I am glad that
you find some rest in these alleviations. In return, I read over your
letters again and again, and am continually taking them up, as if I had
just received them; but, alas! this only stirs in me a keener longing
for you; for how sweet must her conversation be whose letters have
so many charms? Let me receive them, however, as often as possible,
notwithstanding there is still a mixture of pain in the pleasure they
afford me. Farewell.


You know Attilius Crescens, and you love him; who is there, indeed,
of any rank or worth, that does not? For myself, I profess to have a
friendship for him far exceeding ordinary attachments of the world. Our
native towns are separated only by a day's journey; and we got to
care for each other when we were very young; the season for passionate
friendships. Ours improved by years; and so far from being chilled,
it was confirmed by our riper judgments, as those who know us best can
witness. He takes pleasure in boasting everywhere of my friendship; as I
do to let the world know that his reputation, his ease, and his interest
are my peculiar concern. Insomuch that upon his expressing to me
some apprehension of insolent treatment from a certain person who
was entering upon the tribuneship of the people, I could not forbear
answering, --

     "Long as Achilles breathes this vital air,
     To touch thy head no impious hand shall dare."[89]

What is my object in telling you these things? Why, to shew you that I
look upon every injury offered to Attilius as done to myself. "But what
is the object of all this?" you repeat. You must know then, Valerius
Varus, at his death, owed Attilius a sum of money. Though I am on
friendly terms with Maximus, his heir, yet there is a closer friendship
between him and you. I beg therefore, and entreat you by the affection
you have for me, to take care that Attilius is not only paid the capital
which is due to him, but alt the long arrears of interest too. He
neither covets the property of others nor neglects the care of his own;
and as he is not engaged in any lucrative profession, he has nothing
to depend upon but his own frugality: for as to literature, in which he
greatly distinguishes himself, he pursues this merely from motives of
pleasure and ambition. In such a situation, the slightest loss presses
hard upon a man, and the more so because he has no opportunities of
repairing any injury done to his fortune. Remove then, I entreat you,
our uneasiness, and suffer me still to enjoy the pleasure of his wit
and bonhommie; for I cannot bear to see the cheerfulness of my friend
over-clouded, whose mirth and good humour dissipates every gloom of
melancholy in myself. In short, you know what a pleasant entertaining
fellow he is, and I hope you will not suffer any injury to engloom and
embitter his disposition. You may judge by the warmth of his affection
how severe his resentments would prove; for a generous and great mind
can ill brook an injury when coupled with contempt. But though he could
pass it over, yet cannot I: on the contrary, I shall regard it as a
wrong and indignity done to myself, and resent it as one offered to my
friend; that is, with double warmth. But, after all, why this air of
threatening? rather let me end in the same style in which I began,
namely, by begging, entreating you so to act in this affair that neither
Attilius may have reason to imagine (which I am exceedingly anxious he
should not) that I neglect his interest, nor that I may have occasion to
charge you with carelessness of mine: as undoubtedly I shall not if you
have the same regard for the latter as I have for the former. Farewell.


I WAS lately at Alsium,[90] where my mother-in-law has a villa which
once belonged to Verginius Rufus. The place renewed in my mind the
sorrowful remembrance of that-great and excellent man. He was extremely
fond of this retirement, and used to call it the nest of his old age.
Whichever way I looked, I missed him, I felt his absence. I had an
inclination to visit his monument; but I repented having seen it,
afterwards: for I found it still unfinished, and this, not from any
difficulty residing in the work itself, for it is very plain, or rather
indeed slight; but through the neglect of him to whose care it was
entrusted. I could not see without a concern, mixed with indignation,
the remains of a man, whose fame filled the whole world, lie for ten
years after his death without an inscription, or a name. He had however
directed that the divine and immortal action of his life should be
recorded upon his tomb in the following lines:

     "Here Rufus lies, who Vindex' arms withstood,
     Not for himself, but for his country's good."

But faithful friends are so rare, and the dead so soon forgotten,
that we shall be obliged ourselves to build even our very tombs, and
anticipate the office of our heirs. For who is there that has no
reason to fear for himself what we see has happened to Verginius, whose
eminence and distinction, while rendering such treatment more shameful,
so, in the same way, make it more notorious? Farewell.


O WHAT a happy day I lately spent! I was called by the prefect of Rome,
to assist him in a certain case, and had the pleasure of hearing two
excellent young men, Fuscus Salinator and Numidius Quadratus, plead on
the opposite sides: their worth is equal, and each of them will one day,
I am persuaded, prove an ornament not only to the present age, but to
literature itself. They evinced upon this occasion an admirable probity,
supported by inflexible courage: their dress was decent, their elocution
distinct, their tones were manly, their memory retentive, their genius
elevated, and guided by an equal solidity of judgment. I took infinite
pleasure in observing them display these noble qualities; particularly
as I had the satisfaction to see that, while they looked upon me as
their guide and model, they appeared to the audience as my imitators and
rivals. It was a day (I cannot but repeat it again) which afforded me
the most exquisite happiness, and which I shall ever distinguish with
the fairest mark. For what indeed could be either more pleasing to me on
the public account than to observe two such noble youths building their
fame and glory upon the polite arts; or more desirable upon my own
than to be marked out as a worthy example to them in their pursuits of
virtue? May the gods still grant me the continuance of that pleasure!
And I implore the same gods, you are my witness, to make all these who
think me deserving of imitation far better than I am, Farewell.


You were not present at a very singular occurrence here lately: neither
was I, but the story reached me just after it had happened. Passienus
Paulus, a Roman knight, of good family, and a man of peculiar learning
and culture besides, composes elegies, a talent which runs in the
family, for Propertius is reckoned by him amongst his ancestors, as well
as being his countryman. He was lately reciting a poem which began thus:

     "Priscus, at thy command"--

Whereupon Javolenus Priscus, who happened to be present as a particular
friend of the poet's, cried out--"But he is mistaken, I did not
command him." Think what laughter and merriment this occasioned.
Priscus's wits, you must know, are reckoned rather unsound,[91] though
he takes a share in public business, is summoned to consultations, and
even publicly acts as a lawyer, so that this behaviour of his was
the more remarkable and ridiculous: meanwhile Paulus was a good deal
disconcerted by his friend's absurdity. You see how necessary it is for
those who are anxious to recite their works in public to take care that
the audience as well as the author are perfectly sane. Farewell.


YOUR request that I would send you an account of my uncle's death, in
order to transmit a more exact relation of it to posterity, deserves my
acknowledgments; for, if this accident shall be celebrated by your
pen, the glory of it, I am well assured, will be rendered forever
illustrious. And notwithstanding he perished by a misfortune, which,
as it involved at the same time a most beautiful country in ruins, and
destroyed so many populous cities, seems to promise him an everlasting
remembrance; notwithstanding he has himself composed many and lasting
works; yet I am persuaded, the mentioning of him in your immortal
writings, will greatly contribute to render his name immortal. Happy I
esteem those to be to whom by provision of the gods has been granted the
ability either to do such actions as are worthy of being related or to
relate them in a manner worthy of being read; but peculiarly happy are
they who are blessed with both these uncommon talents: in the number
of which my uncle, as his own writings and your history will evidently
prove, may justly be ranked. It is with extreme willingness, therefore,
that I execute your commands; and should indeed have claimed the task
if you had not enjoined it. He was at that time with the fleet under
his command at Misenum.[92] On the 24th of August, about one in the
afternoon, my mother desired him to observe a cloud which appeared of
a very unusual size and shape. He had just taken a turn in the sun[93]
and, after bathing himself in cold water, and making a light luncheon,
gone back to his books: he immediately arose and went out upon a rising
ground from whence he might get a better sight of this very uncommon
appearance. A cloud, from which mountain was uncertain, at this
distance (but it was found afterwards to come from Mount Vesuvius),
was ascending, the appearance of which I cannot give you a more exact
description of than by likening it to that of a pine tree, for it shot
up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk, which spread
itself out at the top into a sort of branches; occasioned, I imagine,
either by a sudden gust of air that impelled it, the force of which
decreased as it advanced upwards, or the cloud itself being pressed back
again by its own weight, expanded in the manner I have mentioned; it
appeared sometimes bright and sometimes dark and spotted, according
as it was either more or less impregnated with earth and cinders. This
phenomenon seemed to a man of such learning and research as my uncle
extraordinary and worth further looking into. He ordered a light vessel
to be got ready, and gave me leave, if I liked, to accompany him. I
said I had rather go on with my work; and it so happened, he had himself
given me something to write out. As he was coming out of the house, he
received a note from Rectina, the wife of Bassus, who was in the utmost
alarm at the imminent danger which threatened her; for her villa lying
at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, there was no way of escape but by sea;
she earnestly entreated him therefore to come to her assistance. He
accordingly changed his first intention, and what he had begun from a
philosophical, he now carries out in a noble and generous spirit. He
ordered the galleys to be put to sea, and went himself on board with
an intention of assisting not only Rectina, but the several other towns
which lay thickly strewn along that beautiful coast. Hastening then to
the place from whence others fled with the utmost terror, he steered
his course direct to the point of danger, and with so much calmness and
presence of mind as to be able to make and dictate his observations upon
the motion and all the phenomena of that dreadful scene. He was now so
close to the mountain that the cinders, which grew thicker and hotter
the nearer he approached, fell into the ships, together with
pumice-stones, and black pieces of burning rock: they were in danger too
not only of being aground by the sudden retreat of the sea, but also from
the vast fragments which rolled down from the mountain, and obstructed
all the shore. Here he stopped to consider whether he should turn back
again; to which the pilot advising him, "Fortune," said he, "favours
the brave; steer to where Pomponianus is." Pomponianus was then at
Stabiae,[94] separated by a bay, which the sea, after several insensible
windings, forms with the shore. He had already sent his baggage on
board; for though he was not at that time in actual danger, yet being
within sight of it, and indeed extremely near, if it should in the least
increase, he was determined to put to sea as soon as the wind, which was
blowing dead in-shore, should go down. It was favourable, however,
for carrying my uncle to Pomponianus, whom he found in the greatest
consternation: he embraced him tenderly, encouraging and urging him to
keep up his spirits, and, the more effectually to soothe his fears by
seeming unconcerned himself, ordered a bath to be got ready, and then,
after having bathed, sat down to supper with great cheerfulness, or at
least (what is just as heroic) with every appearance of it. Meanwhile
broad flames shone out in several places from Mount Vesuvius, which the
darkness of the night contributed to render still brighter and clearer.
But my uncle, in order to soothe the apprehensions of his friend,
assured him it was only the burning of the villages, which the country
people had abandoned to the flames: after this he retired to rest, and
it is most certain he was so little disquieted as to fall into a sound
sleep: for his breathing, which, on account of his corpulence, was
rather heavy and sonorous, was heard by the attendants outside. The
court which led to his apartment being now almost filled with stones
and ashes, if he had continued there any time longer, it would have been
impossible for him to have made his way out. So he was awoke and got up,
and went to Pomponianus and the rest of his company, who were feeling
too anxious to think of going to bed. They consulted together whether it
would be most prudent to trust to the houses, which now rocked from
side to side with frequent and violent concussions as though shaken from
their very foundations; or fly to the open fields, where the calcined
stones and cinders, though light indeed, yet fell in large showers, and
threatened destruction. In this choice of dangers they resolved for the
fields: a resolution which, while the rest of the company were hurried
into by their fears, my uncle embraced upon cool and deliberate
consideration. They went out then, having pillows tied upon their heads
with napkins; and this was their whole defence against the storm of
stones that fell round them. It was now day everywhere else, but there a
deeper darkness prevailed than in the thickest night; which however was
in some degree alleviated by torches and other lights of various kinds.
They thought proper to go farther down upon the shore to see if they
might safely put out to sea, but found the waves still running extremely
high, and boisterous. There my uncle, laying himself down upon a sail
cloth, which was spread for him, called twice for some cold water, which
he drank, when immediately the flames, preceded by a strong whiff of
sulphur, dispersed the rest of the party, and obliged him to rise.
He raised himself up with the assistance of two of his servants, and
instantly fell down dead; suffocated, as I conjecture, by some gross
and noxious vapour, having always had a weak throat, which was often
inflamed. As soon as it was light again, which was not till the third
day after this melancholy accident, his body was found entire, and
without any marks of violence upon it, in the dress in which he fell,
and looking more like a man asleep than dead. During all this time my
mother and I, who were at Miscnum--but this has no connection with
your history, and you did not desire any particulars besides those of
my uncle's death; so I will end here, only adding that I have faithfully
related to you what I was either an eye-witness of myself or received
immediately after the accident happened, and before there was time to
vary the truth. You will pick out of this narrative whatever is most
important: for a letter is one thing, a history another; it is one thing
writing to a friend, another thing writing to the public. Farewell.


THE letter which, in compliance with your request, I wrote to you
concerning the death of my uncle has raised, it seems, your curiosity to
know what terrors and dangers attended me while I continued at Misenum;
for there, I think, my account broke off:

     "Though my shock'd soul recoils, my tongue shall tell."

My uncle having left us, I spent such time as was left on my studies (it
was on their account indeed that I had stopped behind), till it was time
for my bath. After which I went to supper, and then fell into a
short and uneasy sleep. There had been noticed for many days before a
trembling of the earth, which did not alarm us much, as this is quite an
ordinary occurrence in Campania; but it was so particularly violent that
night that it not only shook but actually overturned, as it would seem,
everything about us. My mother rushed into my chamber, where she found
me rising, in order to awaken her. We sat down in the open court of the
house, which occupied a small space between the buildings and the sea.
As I was at that time but eighteen years of age, I know not whether I
should call my behaviour, in this dangerous juncture, courage or folly;
but I took up Livy, and amused myself with turning over that author, and
even making extracts from him, as if I had been perfectly at my leisure.
Just then, a friend of my uncle's, who had lately come to him from
Spain, joined us, and observing me sitting by my mother with a book in
my hand, reproved her for her calmness, and me at the same time for my
careless security: nevertheless I went on with my author. Though it was
now morning, the light was still exceedingly faint and doubtful; the
buildings all around us tottered, and though we stood upon open ground,
yet as the place was narrow and confined, there was no remaining
without imminent danger: we therefore resolved to quit the town. A
panic-stricken crowd followed us, and (as to a mind distracted with
terror every suggestion seems more prudent than its own) pressed on us
in dense array to drive us forward as we came out. Being at a convenient
distance from the houses, we stood still, in the midst of a most
dangerous and dreadful scene. The chariots, which we had ordered to be
drawn out, were so agitated backwards and forwards, though upon the most
level ground, that we could not keep them steady, even by supporting
them with large stones. The sea seemed to roll back upon itself, and to
be driven from its banks by the convulsive motion of the earth; it is
certain at least the shore was considerably enlarged, and several sea
animals were left upon it. On the other side, a black and dreadful
cloud, broken with rapid, zigzag flashes, revealed behind it variously
shaped masses of flame: these last were like sheet-lightning, but much
larger. Upon this our Spanish friend, whom I mentioned above, addressing
himself to my mother and me with great energy and urgency: "If your
brother," he said, "if your uncle be safe, he certainly wishes you may
be so too; but if he perished, it was his desire, no doubt, that
you might both survive him: why therefore do you delay your escape a
moment?" We could never think of our own safety, we said, while we were
uncertain of his. Upon this our friend left us, and withdrew from the
danger with the utmost precipitation. Soon afterwards, the cloud began
to descend, and cover the sea. It had already surrounded and concealed
the island of Capreae and the promontory of Misenum. My mother now
besought, urged, even commanded me to make my escape at any rate, which,
as I was young, I might easily do; as for herself, she said, her age and
corpulency rendered all attempts of that sort impossible; however, she
would willingly meet death if she could have the satisfaction of seeing
that she was not the occasion of mine. But I absolutely refused to
leave her, and, taking her by the hand, compelled her to go with me.
She complied with great reluctance, and not without many reproaches to
herself for retarding my flight. The ashes now began to fall upon us,
though in no great quantity. I looked back; a dense dark mist seemed to
be following us, spreading itself over the country like a cloud. "Let
us turn out of the high-road," I said, "while we can still see, for fear
that, should we fall in the road, we should be pressed to death in the
dark, by the crowds that are following us." We had scarcely sat down
when night came upon us, not such as we have when the sky is cloudy, or
when there is no moon, but that of a room when it is shut up, and all
the lights put out. You might hear the shrieks of women, the screams of
children, and the shouts of men; some calling for their children, others
for their parents, others for their husbands, and seeking to recognise
each other by the voices that replied; one lamenting his own fate,
another that of his family; some wishing to die, from the very fear
of dying; some lifting their hands to the gods; but the greater part
convinced that there were now no gods at all, and that the final endless
night of which we have heard had come upon the world.[95] Among these
there were some who augmented the real terrors by others imaginary or
wilfully invented. I remember some who declared that one part of Misenum
had fallen, that another was on fire; it was false, but they found
people to believe them. It now grew rather lighter, which we imagined to
be rather the forerunner of an approaching burst of flames (as in truth
it was) than the return of day: however, the fire fell at a distance
from us: then again we were immersed in thick darkness, and a heavy
shower of ashes rained upon us, which we were obliged every now and
then to stand up to shake off, otherwise we should have been crushed and
buried in the heap. I might boast that, during all this scene of horror,
not a sigh, or expression of fear, escaped me, had not my support been
grounded in that miserable, though mighty, consolation, that all mankind
were involved in the same calamity, and that I was perishing with the
world itself. At last this dreadful darkness was dissipated by degrees,
like a cloud or smoke; the real day returned, and even the sun shone
out, though with a lurid light, like when an eclipse is coming on. Every
object that presented itself to our eyes (which were extremely weakened)
seemed changed, being covered deep with ashes as if with snow. We
returned to Misenum, where we refreshed ourselves as well as we could,
and passed an anxious night between hope and fear; though, indeed, with
a much larger share of the latter: for the earthquake still continued,
while many frenzied persons ran up and down heightening their own and
their friends' calamities by terrible predictions. However, my mother
and I, notwithstanding the danger we had passed, and that which still
threatened us, had no thoughts of leaving the place, till we could
receive some news of my uncle.

And now, you will read this narrative without any view of inserting it
in your history, of which it is not in the least worthy; and indeed you
must put it down to your own request if it should appear not worth even
the trouble of a letter. Farewell.


How much does the fame of human actions depend upon the station of those
who perform them! The very same conduct shall be either applauded to the
skies or entirely overlooked, just as it may happen to proceed from a
person of conspicuous or obscure rank. I was sailing lately upon our
lake,[96] with an old man of my acquaintance, who desired me to observe
a villa situated upon its banks, which had a chamber overhanging the
water. "From that room," said he, "a woman of our city threw herself and
her husband." Upon enquiring into the cause, he informed me, "That her
husband having been long afflicted with an ulcer in those parts which
modesty conceals, she prevailed with him at last to let her inspect the
sore, assuring him at the same time that she would most sincerely
give her opinion whether there was a possibility of its being cured.
Accordingly, upon viewing the ulcer, she found the case hopeless,
and therefore advised him to put an end to his life: she herself
accompanying him, even leading the way by her example, and being
actually the means of his death; for tying herself to her husband, she
plunged with him into the lake." Though this happened in the very city
where I was born, I never heard it mentioned before; and yet that this
action is taken less notice of than that famous one of Arria's, is not
because it was less remarkable, but because the person who performed it
was more obscure. Farewell.


I AM extremely glad to hear that you intend your daughter for Fuscus
Salinator, and congratulate you upon it. His family is patrician,[97]
and both his father and mother are persons of the most distinguished
merit. As for himself, he is studious, learned, and eloquent, and, with
all the innocence of a child, unites the sprightliness of youth and the
wisdom of age. I am not, believe me, deceived by my affection, when
I give him this character; for though I love him, I confess, beyond
measure (as his friendship and esteem for me well deserve), yet
partiality has no share in my judgment: on the contrary, the stronger
my affection for him, the more exactingly I weigh his merit. I will
venture, then, to assure you (and I speak it upon my own experience) you
could not have, formed to your wishes, a more accomplished son-in-law.
May he soon present you with a grandson, who shall be the exact copy of
his father! and with what pleasure shall I receive from the arms of two
such friends their children or grand-children, whom I shall claim a sort
of right to embrace as my own! Farewell.


You desire me to consider what turn you should give to your speech in
honour of the emperor,[98] upon your being appointed consul elect.[99]
It is easy to find copies, not so easy to choose out of them; for his
virtues afford such abundant material. However, I will write and give
you my opinion, or (what I should prefer) I will let you have it in
person, after having laid before you the difficulties which occur to me.
I am doubtful, then, whether I should advise you to pursue the method
which I observed myself on the same occasion, When I was consul elect, I
avoided running into the usual strain of compliment, which, however far
from adulation, might yet look like it. Not that I affected firmness and
independence; but, as well knowing the sentiments of our amiable prince,
and being thoroughly persuaded that the highest praise I could offer to
him would be to show the world I was under no necessity of paying him
any. When I reflected what profusion of honours had been heaped upon
the very worst of his predecessors, nothing, I imagined, could more
distinguish a prince of his real virtues from those infamous emperors
than to address him in a different manner. And this I thought proper
to observe in my speech, lest it might be suspected I passed over his
glorious acts, not out of judgment, but inattention. Such was the
method I then observed; but I am sensible the same measures are neither
agreeable nor indeed suitable to all alike. Besides the propriety of
doing or omitting a thing depends not only upon persons, but time and
circumstances; and as the late actions of our illustrious prince afford
materials for panegyric, no less just than recent and glorious, I doubt
(as I said before) whether I should persuade you in the present instance
to adopt the same plan as I did myself. In this, however, I am clear,
that it was proper to offer you by way of advice the method I pursued.


I HAVE the best reason, certainly, for celebrating your birthday as my
own, since all the happiness of mine arises from yours, to whose care
and diligence it is owing that I am gay here and at my ease in town. --
Your Camillian villa[100] in Campania has suffered by the injuries of
time, and is falling into decay; however, the most valuable parts of the
building either remain entire or are but slightly damaged, and it shall
be my care to see it put into thorough repair. -- Though I flatter
myself I have many friends, yet I have scarcely any of the sort you
enquire after, and which the affair you mention demands. All mine lie
among those whose employments engage them in town; whereas the conduct
of country business requires a person of a robust constitution, and bred
up to the country, to whom the work may not seem hard, nor the office
beneath him, and who does not feel a solitary life depressing. You think
most highly of Rufus, for he was a great friend of your son's; but of
what use he can be to us upon this occasion, I cannot conceive; though I
am sure he will be glad to do all he can for us. Farewell.


I RECEIVED lately the most exquisite satisfaction at Centumcellae[101]
(as it is now called), being summoned thither by Cæsar[102] to attend a
council. Could anything indeed afford a higher pleasure than to see the
emperor exercising his justice, his wisdom, and his affability, even in
retirement, where those virtues are most observable? Various were the
points brought in judgment before him, and which proved, in so many
different instances, the excellence of the judge. The cause of Claudius
Ariston came on first. He is an Ephesian nobleman, of great munificence
and unambitious popularity, whose virtues have rendered him obnoxious
to a set of people of far different characters; they had instigated an
informer against him, of the same infamous stamp with themselves; but he
was honourably acquitted. The next day, the case of Galitta, accused of
adultery, was heard. Her husband, who is a military tribune, was upon
the point of offering himself as a candidate for certain honours at
Rome, but she had stained her own good name and his by an intrigue with
a centurion.[103] The husband informed the consul's lieutenant, who
wrote to the emperor about it. Cæsar, having thoroughly sifted the
evidence, cashiered the centurion, and sentenced him to banishment. It
remained that some penalty should be inflicted likewise upon the other
party, as it is a crime of which both must necessarily be equally
guilty. But the husband's affection for his wife inclined him to drop
that part of the prosecution, not without some reflections on his
forbearance; for he continued to live with her even after he had
commenced this prosecution, content, it would seem, with having removed
his rival. But he was ordered to proceed in the suit: and, though he
complied with great reluctance, it was necessary, nevertheless, that she
should be condemned. Accordingly, she was sentenced to the punishment
directed by the Julian law.[104] The emperor thought proper to specify,
in his decree, the name and office of the centurion, that it might
appear he passed it in virtue of military discipline; lest it should be
imagined he claimed a particular cognizance in every cause of the same
nature. The third day was employed in examining into an affair which had
occasioned a good deal of talk and various reports; it was concerning
the codicils of Julius Tiro, part of which was plainly genuine, while
the other part, it was alleged, was forged. The persons accused of this
fraud were Sempronius Senecio, a Roman knight, and Eurythmus, Cæsar's
freedman and procurator.[105] The heirs jointly petitioned the emperor,
when he was in Dacia,[106] that he would reserve to himself the trial of
this cause; to which he consented. On his return from that expedition,
he appointed a day for the hearing; and when some of the heirs, as
though out of respect to Eurythmus, offered to withdraw the suit, the
emperor nobly replied, "He is not Polycletus,[107] nor am I Nero."
However, he indulged the petitioners with an adjournment, and the time
being expired, he now sat to hear the cause. Two of the heirs appeared,
and desired that either their whole number might be compelled to plead,
as they had all joined in the information, or that they also might have
leave to withdraw. Cæsar delivered his opinion with great dignity and
moderation; and when the counsel on the part of Senecio and Eurythmus
had represented that unless their clients were heard, they would remain
under the suspicion of guilt,--"I am not concerned," said the emperor,
"what suspicions they may lie under, it is I that am suspected;" and
then turning to us, "Advise me," said he, "how to act in this affair,
for you see they complain when allowed to withdraw their suit." At
length, by the advice of the counsel, he 'ordered notice to be given
to the heirs that they should either proceed with the case or each of
them justify their reasons for not doing so; otherwise that he would pass
sentence upon them as calumniators.[108] Thus you see how usefully
and seriously we spent our time, which however was diversified with
amusements of the most agreeable kind. We were every day invited to
Cæsar's table, which, for so great a prince, was spread with much
plainness and simplicity. There we were either entertained with
interludes or passed the night in the most pleasing conversation. When
we took our leave of him the last day, he made each of us presents; so
studiously polite is Cæsar! As for myself, I was not only charmed with
the dignity and wisdom of the judge, the honour done to the assessors,
the ease and unreserved freedom of our social intercourse, but with
the exquisite situation of the place itself. This delightful villa is
surrounded by the greenest meadows, and overlooks the shore, which
bends inwards, forming a complete harbour. The left arm of this port is
defended by exceedingly strong works, while the right is in process
of completion. An artificial island, which rises at the mouth of the
harbour, breaks the force of the waves, and affords a safe passage to
ships on either side. This island is formed by a process worth seeing:
stones of a most enormous size are transported hither in a large sort
of pontoons, and being piled one upon the other, are fixed by their own
weight, gradually accumulating in the manner, as it were, of a natural
mound. It already lifts its rocky back above the ocean, while the waves
which beat upon it, being broken and tossed to an immense height, foam
with a prodigious noise, and whiten all the surrounding sea. To these
stones are added wooden piers, which in process of time will give it the
appearance of a natural island. This haven is to be called by the
name of its great author,[109] and will prove of infinite benefit, by
affording a secure retreat to ships on that extensive and dangerous
coast. Farewell.


You did perfectly right in promising a gladiatorial combat to our good
friends the citizens of Verona, who have long loved, looked up to, and
honoured, you; while it was from that city too you received that amiable
object of your most tender affection, your late excellent wife. And
since you owed some monument or public representation to her memory,
what other spectacle could you have exhibited more appropriate to the
occasion? Besides, you were so unanimously pressed to do so that to
have refused would have looked more like hardness than resolution. The
readiness too with which you granted their petition, and the magnificent
manner in which you performed it, is very much to your honour; for a
greatness of soul is seen in these smaller instances, as well as in
matters of higher moment. I wish the African panthers, which you had
largely provided for this purpose, had arrived on the day appointed, but
though they were delayed by the stormy weather, the obligation to you
is equally the same, since it was not your fault that they were not
exhibited. Farewell.


THIS obstinate illness of yours alarms me; and though I know how
extremely temperate you are, yet I fear lest your disease should get the
better of your moderation. Let me entreat you then to resist it with a
determined abstemiousness: a remedy, be assured, of all others the most
laudable as well as the most salutary. Human nature itself admits the
practicability of what I recommend: it is a rule, at least, which I
always enjoin my family to observe with respect to myself. "I hope,"
I say to them, "that should I be attacked with any disorder, I shall
desire nothing of which I ought either to be ashamed or have reason to
repent; however, if my distemper should prevail over my resolution, I
forbid that anything be given me but by the consent of my physicians;
and I shall resent your compliance with me in things improper as much as
another man would their refusal." I once had a most violent fever; when
the fit was a little abated, and I had been anointed,[110] my physician
offered me something to drink; I held out my hand, desiring he would
first feel my pulse, and upon his not seeming quite satisfied, I
instantly returned the cup, though it was just at my lips. Afterwards,
when I was preparing to go into the bath, twenty days from the first
attack of my illness, perceiving the physicians whispering together, I
enquired what they were saying. They replied they were of opinion I
may possibly bathe with safety, however that they were not without some
suspicion of risk. "What need is there," said I, "of my taking a bath
at all?" And so, with perfect calmness and tranquillity, I gave up a
pleasure I was upon the point of enjoying, and abstained from the bath
as serenely and composedly as though I were going into it. I mention
this, not only by way of enforcing my advice by example, but also
that this letter may be a sort of tie upon me to persevere in the same
resolute abstinence for the future. Farewell.


You will not believe what a longing for you possesses me. The chief
cause of this is my love; and then we have not grown used to be apart.
So it comes to pass that I lie awake a great part of the night, thinking
of you; and that by day, when the hours return at which I was wont to
visit you, my feet take me, as it is so truly said, to your chamber, but
not finding you there, I return, sick and sad at heart, like an excluded
lover. The only time that is free from these torments is when I am being
worn out at the bar, and in the suits of my friends. Judge you what must
be my life when I find my repose in toil, my solace in wretchedness and
anxiety. Farewell.


A VERY singular and remarkable accident has happened in the affair of
Varenus,[112] the result of which is yet doubtful. The Bithynians, it is
said, have dropped their prosecution of him being convinced at last that
it was rashly undertaken. A deputy from that province is arrived, who
has brought with him a decree of their assembly; copies of which he has
delivered to Cæsar,[113] and to several of the leading men in Rome, and
also to us, the advocates for Varenus. Magnus,[114] nevertheless, whom
I mentioned in my last letter to you, persists in his charge, to support
which he is incessantly teazing the worthy Nigrinus. This excellent
person was counsel for him in his former petition to the consuls, that
Varenus might be compelled to produce his accounts. Upon this occasion,
as I attended Varenus merely as a friend, I determined to be silent. I
thought it highly imprudent for me, as I was appointed his counsel by
the senate, to attempt to defend him as an accused person, when it was
his business to insist that there was actually no charge subsisting
against him. However, when Nigrinus had finished his speech, the consuls
turning their eyes upon me, I rose up, and, "When you shall hear," I
said, "what the real deputies from the province have to object against
the motion of Nigrinus, you will see that my silence was not without
just reason." Upon this Nigrinus asked me, "To whom are these deputies
sent?" I replied, "To me among others; I have the decree of the province
in my hands." He returned, "That is a point which, though it may be
clear to you, I am not so well satisfied of." To this I answered,
"Though it may not be so evident to you, who are concerned to support
the accusation, it may be perfectly clear to me, who am on the more
favourable side." Then Polyaenus, the deputy from the province,
acquainted the senate with the reasons for superseding the prosecution,
but desired it might be without prejudice to Cæsar's determination.
Magnus answered him; Polyaenus replied; as for myself, I only now and
then threw in a word, observing in general a complete silence. For I
have learned that upon some occasions it is as much an orator's business
to be silent as to speak, and I remember, in some criminal cases, to
have done even more service to my clients by a discreet silence than I
could have expected from the most carefully prepared speech. To enter
into the subject of eloquence is indeed very foreign to the purpose of
my letter, yet allow me to give you one instance in proof of my last
observation. A certain lady having lost her son suspected that his
freedmen, whom he had appointed coheirs with her, were guilty of forging
the will and poisoning him. Accordingly she charged them with the fact
before the emperor, who directed Julianus Suburanus to try the cause.
I was counsel for the defendants, and the case being exceedingly
remarkable, and the counsel engaged on both sides of eminent ability,
it drew together a very numerous audience. The issue was, the servants
being put to the torture, my clients were acquitted. But the mother
applied a second time to the emperor, pretending she had discovered some
new evidence. Suburanus was therefore directed to bear the cause, and
see if she could produce any fresh proofs. Julius Africanus was counsel
for the mother, a young man of good parts, but slender experience. He is
grandson to the famous orator of that name, of whom it is reported that
Passienus Crispus, hearing him one day plead, archly said, "Very fine, I
must confess, very fine; but is all this fine speaking to the purpose?"
Julius Africanus, I say, having made a long harangue, and exhausted the
portion of time allotted to him, said, "I beg you, Suburanus, to allow
me to add one word more." When he had concluded, and the eyes of the
whole assembly had been fixed a considerable time upon me, I rose up. "I
would have answered Africanus," said I, "if he had added that one word
he begged leave to do, in which I doubt not he would have told us all
that we had not heard before." I do not remember to have gained so much
applause by any speech that I ever made as I did in this instance by
making none. Thus the little that I had hitherto said for Varenus was
received with the same general approbation. The consuls, agreeably
to the request of Polyaenus, reserved the whole affair for the
determination of the emperor, whose resolution I impatiently wait for;
as that will decide whether I may be entirely secure and easy with
respect to Varenus, or must again renew all my trouble and anxiety upon
his account. Farewell.


You desire my opinion as to the method of study you should pursue, in
that retirement to which you have long since withdrawn. In the first
place, then, I look upon it as a very advantageous practice (and it is
what many recommend) to translate either from Greek into Latin or from
Latin into Greek. By this means you acquire propriety and dignity of
expression, and a variety of beautiful figures, and an ease and strength
of exposition, and in the imitation of the best models a facility of
creating such models for yourself. Besides, those things which you may
possibly have overlooked in an ordinary reading over cannot escape you
in translating: and this method will also enlarge your knowledge, and
improve your judgment. It may not be amiss, after you have read an
author, to turn, as it were, to his rival, and attempt something ol your
own upon the same topic, and then make a careful comparison between your
performance and his, in order to see in what points either you or he may
be the happier. You may congratulate yourself indeed if you shall find
in some things that you have the advantage of him, while it will be a
great mortification if he is always superior. You may sometimes select
very famous passages and compete with what you select. The competition
is daring enough, but, as it is private, cannot be called impudent. Not
but that we have seen instances of persons who have publicly entered
this sort of lists with great credit to themselves, and, while they did
not despair of overtaking, have gloriously outstripped those whom they
thought it sufficient honour to follow. A speech no longer fresh in
your memory, you may take up again. You will find plenty in it to leave
unaltered, but still more to reject; you will add a new thought here,
and alter another there. It is a laborious and tedious task, I own,
thus to re-enflame the mind after the first heat is over, to recover an
impulse when its force has been checked and spent, and, worse than all,
to put new limbs into a body already complete without disturbing the
old; but the advantage attending this method will overbalance the
difficulty. I know the bent of your present attention is directed
towards the eloquence of the bar; but I would not for that reason advise
you never to quit the polemic, if I may so call it, and contentious
style. As land is improved by sowing it with various seeds, constantly
changed, so is the mind by exercising it now with this subject of study,
now with that. I would recommend you, therefore, sometimes to take a
subject from history, and you might give more care to the composition
of your letters. For it frequently happens that in pleading one has
occasion to make use not only of historical, but even poetical, styles
of description; and then from letters you acquire a concise and simple
mode of expression. You will do quite right again in refreshing yourself
with poetry: when I say so, I do not mean that species of poetry which
turns upon subjects of great length and continuity (such being suitable
only for persons of leisure), but those little pieces of the sprightly
kind of poesy, which serve as proper reliefs to, and are consistent
with, employments of every sort. They commonly go under the title of
poetical amusements; but these amusements have sometimes gained their
authors as much reputation as works of a more serious nature; and thus
(for while I am exhorting you to poetry, why should I not turn poet

     "As yielding wax the artist's skill commands,
     Submissive shap'd beneath his forming hands;
     Now dreadful stands in arms a Mars confest;
     Or now with Venus's softer air imprest;
     A wanton Cupid now the mould belies;
     Now shines, severely chaste, a Pallas wife:
     As not alone to quench the raging flame,
     The sacred fountain pours her friendly stream;
     But sweetly gliding through the flow'ry green,
     Spreads glad refreshment o'er the smiling scene:
     So, form'd by science, should the ductile mind
     Receive, distinct, each various art refin'd."

In this manner the greatest men, as well as the greatest orators, used
either to exercise or amuse themselves, or rather indeed did both. It is
surprising how much the mind is enlivened and refreshed by these
little poetical compositions, as they turn upon love, hatred, satire,
tenderness, politeness, and everything, in short, that concerns life and
the affairs of the world. Besides, the same advantage attends these, as
every other sort of poems, that we turn from them to prose with so
much the more pleasure after having experienced the difficulty of being
constrained and fettered by metre. And now, perhaps, I have troubled you
upon this subject longer than you desired; however, there is one thing I
have left out: I have not told you what kind of authors you should read;
though indeed that was sufficiently implied when I told you on what you
should write. Remember to be careful in your choice of authors of every
kind: for, as it has been well observed, "though we should read much,
we should not read many books." Who those authors are, is so clearly
settled, and so generally known, that I need not particularly specify
them; besides, I have already extended this letter to such an immoderate
length that, while suggesting how you ought to study, I have, I
fear, been actually interrupting your studies. I will here resign you
therefore to your tablets, either to resume the studies in which you
were before engaged or to enter upon some of those I have recommended.


You are surprised, I find, that my share of five-twelfths of the estate
which lately fell to me, and which I had directed to be sold to the best
bidder, should have been disposed of by my freedman Hermes to Corellia
(without putting it up to auction) at the rate of seven hundred thousand
sesterces[115] for the whole. And as you think it might have fetched
nine hundred thousand,[116] you are so much the more desirous to know
whether I am inclined to ratify what he has done. I am; and listen,
while I tell you why, for I hope that not only you will approve, but
also that my fellow-coheirs will excuse me for having, upon a motive
of superior obligation, separated my interest from theirs. I have the
highest esteem for Corellia, both as the sister of Rufus, whose memory
will always be a sacred one to me, and as my mother's intimate friend.
Besides, that excellent man Minutius Tuscus, her husband, has every
claim to my affection that a long friendship can give him; as there was
likewise the closest intimacy between her son and me, so much so indeed
that I fixed upon him to preside at the games which I exhibited when
I was elected praetor. This lady, when I was last in the country,
expressed a strong desire for some place upon the borders of our lake of
Comum; I therefore made her an offer, at her own price, of any part of
my land there, except what came to me from my father and mother; for
that I could not consent to part with, even to Corellia, and accordingly
when the inheritance in question fell to me, I wrote to let her know it
was to be sold. This letter I sent by Hermes, who, upon her requesting
him that he would immediately make over to her my proportion of it,
consented. Am I not then obliged to confirm what my freedman has
thus done in pursuance of my inclinations? I have only to entreat my
fellow-coheirs that they will not take it ill at my hands that I have
made a separate sale of what I had certainly a right to dispose of. They
are not bound in any way to follow my example, since they have not the
same connections with Corellia. They are at full liberty therefore to
be guided by interest, which in my own case I chose to sacrifice to
friendship. Farewell.


You are truly generous to desire and insist that I take for my share
of the estate you purchased of me, not after the rate of seven hundred
thousand sesterces for the whole, as my freedman sold it to you; but in
the proportion of nine hundred thousand, agreeably to what you gave
to the farmers of the twentieths for their part. But I must desire and
insist in my turn that you would consider not only what is suitable to
your character, but what is worthy of mine; and that you would suffer me
to oppose your inclination in this single instance, with the same warmth
that I obey it in all others. Farewell.


EVERY author has his particular reasons for reciting his works; mine, I
have often said, are, in order, if any error should have escaped my
own observation (as no doubt they do escape it sometimes), to have it
pointed out to me. I cannot therefore but be surprised to find (what
your letter assures me) that there are some who blame me for reciting my
speeches: unless, perhaps, they are of opinion that this is the single
species of composition that ought to be held exempt from any correction.
If so, I would willingly ask them why they allow (if indeed they do
allow) that history may be recited, since it is a work which ought to be
devoted to truth, not ostentation? or why tragedy, as it is composed for
action and the stage, not for being read to a private audience? or lyric
poetry, as it is not a reader, but a chorus of voices and instruments
that it requires? They will reply, perhaps, that in the instances
referred to custom has made the practice in question usual: I should be
glad to know, then, if they think the person who first introduced this
practice is to be condemned? Besides the rehearsal of speeches is no
unprecedented thing either with us or the Grecians. Still, perhaps, they
will insist that it can answer no purpose to recite a speech which has
already been delivered. True; if one were immediately to repeat the very
same speech word for word, and to the very same audience; but if you
make several additions and alterations; if your audience is composed
partly of the same, and partly of different persons, and the recital is
at some distance of time, why is there less propriety in rehearsing your
speech than in publishing it? "But it is difficult," the objectors urge,
"to give satisfaction to an audience by the mere recital of a speech;"
that is a consideration which concerns the particular skill and pains of
the person who rehearses, but by no means holds good against recitation
in general. The truth is, it is not whilst I am reading, but when I am
read, that I aim at approbation; and upon this principle I omit no sort
of correction. In the first place, I frequently go carefully over what
I have written, by myself, after this I read it out to two or three
friends, and then give it to others to make their remarks. If after
this I have any doubt concerning the justness of their observations,
I carefully weigh them again with a friend or two; and, last of all, I
recite them to a larger audience, then is the time, believe me, when I
correct most energetically and unsparingly; for my care and attention
rise in proportion to my anxiety; as nothing renders the judgment so
acute to detect error as that deference, modesty, and diffidence one
feels upon those occasions. For tell me, would you not be infinitely
less affected were you to speak before a single person only, though ever
so learned, than before a numerous assembly, even though composed of
none but illiterate people? When you rise up to plead, are you not at
that juncture, above all others, most self-distrustful? and do you not
wish, I will not say some particular parts only, but that the whole
arrangement of your intended speech were altered? especially if the
concourse should be large in which you are to speak? for there is
something even in a low and vulgar audience that strikes one with awe.
And if you suspect you are not well received at the first opening of
your speech, do you not find all your energy relaxed, and feel yourself
ready to give way? The reason I imagine to be that there is a certain
weight of collective opinion in a multitude, and although each
individual judgment is, perhaps, of little value, yet when united it
becomes considerable. Accordingly, Pomponius Secundus, the famous tragic
poet, whenever some very intimate friend and he differed about the
retaining or rejecting anything in his writings, used to say, "I
appeal[117] to the people"; and thus, by their silence or applause,
adopted either his own or his friend's opinion; such was the deference
he paid to the popular judgment! Whether justly or not, is no concern of
mine, as I am not in the habit of reciting my works publicly, but only
to a select circle, whose presence I respect, and whose judgment I
value; in a word, whose opinions I attend to as if they were so many
individuals I had separately consulted, at the same time that I stand in
as much awe before them as I should before the most numerous assembly.
What Cicero says of composing will, in my opinion, hold true of the
dread we have of the public: "Fear is the most rigid critic imaginable."
The very thought of reciting, the very entrance into an assembly, and
the agitated concern when one is there; each of these circumstances
tends to improve and perfect an author's performance. Upon the
whole, therefore, I cannot repent of a practice which I have found by
experience so exceedingly useful; and am so far from being discouraged
by the trifling objections of these censors that I request you would
point out to me if there is yet any other kind of correction, that I may
also adopt it; for nothing can sufficiently satisfy my anxiety to render
my compositions perfect. I reflect what an undertaking it is resigning
any work into the hands of the public; and I cannot but be persuaded
that frequent revisals, and many consultations, must go to the
perfecting of a performance, which one desires should universally and
forever please. Farewell.


THE illness of my friend Fannia gives me great concern. She contracted
it during her attendance on Junia, one of the Vestal virgins, engaging
in this good office at first voluntarily, Junia being her relation,
and afterwards being appointed to it by an order from the college
of priests: for these virgins, when excessive ill-health renders it
necessary to remove them from the temple of Vesta, are always delivered
over to the care and custody of some venerable matron. It was owing to
her assiduity in the execution of this charge that she contracted her
present dangerous disorder, which is a continual fever, attended with a
cough that increases daily. She is extremely emaciated, and every part
of her seems in a total decay except her spirits: those, indeed, she
fully keeps up; and in a way altogether worthy the wife of Helvidius,
and the daughter of Thrasea. In all other respects there is such a
falling away that I am more than apprehensive upon her account; I am
deeply afflicted. I grieve, my friend, that so excellent a woman is
going to be removed from the eyes of the world, which will never,
perhaps, again behold her equal. So pure she is, so pious, so wise and
prudent, so brave and steadfast! Twice she followed her husband into
exile, and the third time she was banished herself upon his account. For
Senecio, when arraigned for writing the life of Helvidius, having said
in his defence that he composed that work at the request of Fannia,
Metius Carus, with a stern and threatening air, asked her whether she
had made that request, and she replied, "I made it." Did she supply him
likewise with materials for the purpose? "I did." Was her mother privy
to this transaction? "She was not." In short, throughout her whole
examination, not a word escaped her which betrayed the smallest fear.
On the contrary, she had preserved a copy of those very books which
the senate, over-awed by the tyranny of the times, had ordered to
be suppressed, and at the same time the effects of the author to be
confiscated, and carried with her into exile the very cause of her
exile. How pleasing she is, how courteous, and (what is granted to
few) no less lovable than worthy of all esteem and admiration! Will
she hereafter be pointed out as a model to all wives; and perhaps be
esteemed worthy of being set forth as an example of fortitude even
to our sex; since, while we still have the pleasure of seeing and
conversing with her, we contemplate her with the same admiration,
as those heroines who are celebrated in ancient story? For myself, I
confess, I cannot but tremble for this illustrious house, which seems
shaken to its very foundations, and ready to fall; for though she will
leave descendants behind her, yet what a height of virtue must they
attain, what glorious deeds must they perform, ere the world will be
persuaded that she was not the last of her family! It is an additional
affliction and anguish to me that by her death I seem to lose her mother
a second time; that worthy mother (and what can I say higher in her
praise?) of so noble a woman! who, as she was restored to me in her
daughter, so she will now again be taken from me, and the loss of Fannia
will thus pierce my heart at once with a fresh, and at the same time
re-opened, wound. I so truly loved and honoured them both, that I know
not which I loved the best; a point they desired might ever remain
undetermined. In their prosperity and their adversity I did them every
kindness in my power, and was their comforter in exile, as well as their
avenger at their return. But I have not yet paid them what I owe, and
am so much the more solicitous for the recovery of this lady, that I may
have time to discharge my debt to her. Such is the anxiety and sorrow
under which I write this letter! But if some divine power should happily
turn it into joy, I shall not complain of the alarms I now suffer.


NUMIDIA QUADRATILLA is dead, having almost reached her eightieth year.
She enjoyed, up to her last illness, uninterrupted good health, and
was unusually stout and robust for one of her sex. She has left a
very prudent will, having disposed of two-thirds of her estate to her
grandson, and the rest to her grand-daughter. The young lady I know very
slightly, but the grandson is one of my most intimate friends. He is a
remarkable young man, and his merit entitles him to the affection of a
relation, even where his blood does not. Notwithstanding his remarkable
personal beauty, he escaped every malicious imputation both whilst a boy
and when a youth: he was a husband at four-and-twenty, and would have
been a father if Providence had not disappointed his hopes. He lived
in the family with his grandmother, who was exceedingly devoted to the
pleasures of the town, yet observed great severity of conduct himself,
while always perfectly deferential and submissive to her. She retained
a set of pantomimes, and was an encourager of this class of people to
a degree inconsistent with one of her sex and rank. But Quadratus never
appeared at these entertainments, whether she exhibited them in the
theatre or in her own house; nor indeed did she require him to be
present. I once heard her say, when she was recommending to me the
supervision of her grandson's studies, that it was her custom, in order
to pass away some of those unemployed hours with which female life
abounds, to amuse herself with playing at chess, or seeing the mimicry
of her pantomimes; but that, whenever she engaged in either of those
amusements, she constantly sent away her grandson to his studies: she
appeared to me to act thus as much out of reverence for the youth as
from affection. I was a good deal surprised, as I am sure you will be
too, at what he told me the last time the Pontifical games[118] were
exhibited. As we were coming out of the theatre together, where we had
been entertained with a show of these pantomimes, "Do you know," said
he, "to-day is the first time I ever saw my grandmother's freedman
dance?" Such was the grandson's speech! while a set of men of a far
different stamp, in order to do honour to Quadratilla (am ashamed to
call it honour), were running up and down the theatre, pretending to
be struck with the utmost admiration and rapture at the performances
of those pantomimes, and then imitating in musical chant the mien and
manner of their lady patroness. But now all the reward they have got,
in return for their theatrical performances, is just a few trivial
legacies, which they have the mortification to receive from an heir who
was never so much as present at these shows.--I send you this account,
knowing you do not dislike hearing town news, and because, too, when any
occurrence has given me pleasure, I love to renew it again by relating
it. And indeed this instance of affection in Quadratilla, and the honour
done therein to that excellent youth her grandson, has afforded me a
very sensible satisfaction; as I extremely rejoice that the house which
once belonged to Cassius,[119] the founder and chief of the Cassian
school, is come into the possession of one no less considerable than its
former master. For my friend will fill it and become it as he ought,
and its ancient dignity, lustre, and glory will again revive under
Quadratus, who, I am persuaded, will prove as eminent an orator as
Cassius was a lawyer. Farewell.


THE lingering disorder of a friend of mine gave me occasion lately to
reflect that we are never so good as when oppressed with illness. Where
is the sick man who is either solicited by avarice or inflamed with
lust? At such a season he is neither a slave of love nor the fool of
ambition; wealth he utterly disregards, and is content with ever so
small a portion of it, as being upon the point of leaving even that
little. It is then he recollects there are gods, and that he himself is
but a man: no mortal is then the object of his envy, his admiration, or
his contempt; and the tales of slander neither raise his attention nor
feed his curiosity: his dreams are only of baths and fountains. These
are the supreme objects of his cares and wishes, while he resolves,
if he should recover, to pass the remainder of his days in ease and
tranquillity, that is, to live innocently and happily. I may therefore
lay down to you and myself a short rule, which the philosophers have
endeavoured to inculcate at the expense of many words, and even many
volumes; that "we should try and realise in health those resolutions we
form in sickness." Farewell.


THE present recess from business we are now enjoying affords you
leisure to give, and me to receive, instruction. I am extremely desirous
therefore to know whether you believe in the existence of ghosts, and
that they have a real form, and are a sort of divinities, or only the
visionary impressions of a terrified imagination. What particularly
inclines me to believe in their existence is a story which I heard
of Curtius Rufus. When he was in low circumstances and unknown in
the world, he attended the governor of Africa into that province. One
evening, as he was walking in the public portico, there appeared to him
the figure of a woman, of unusual size and of beauty more than human.
And as he stood there, terrified and astonished, she told him she was
the tutelary power that presided over Africa, and was come to inform
him of the future events of his life: that he should go back to Rome, to
enjoy high honours there, and return to that province invested with the
pro-consular dignity, and there should die. Every circumstance of this
prediction actually came to pass. It is said farther that upon his
arrival at Carthage, as he was coming out of the ship, the same figure
met him upon the shore. It is certain, at least, that being seized with
a fit of illness, though there were no symptoms in his case that led
those about him to despair, he instantly gave up all hope of recovery;
judging, apparently, of the truth of the future part of the prediction
by what had already been fulfilled, and of the approaching misfortune
from his former prosperity. Now the following story, which I am going
to tell you just as I heard it, is it not more terrible than the former,
while quite as wonderful? There was at Athens a large and roomy house,
which had a bad name, so that no one could live there. In the dead
of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently
heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the
rattling of chains, distant at first, but approaching nearer by degrees:
immediately afterwards a spectre appeared in the form of an old man,
of extremely emaciated and squalid appearance, with a long beard
and dishevelled hair, rattling the chains on his feet and hands. The
distressed occupants meanwhile passed their wakeful nights under the
most dreadful terrors imaginable. This, as it broke their rest, ruined
their health, and brought on distempers, their terror grew upon them,
and death ensued. Even in the day time, though the spirit did not
appear, yet the impression remained so strong upon their imaginations
that it still seemed before their eyes, and kept them in perpetual
alarm, Consequently the house was at length deserted, as being deemed
absolutely uninhabitable; so that it was now entirely abandoned to
the ghost. However, in hopes that some tenant might be found who was
ignorant of this very alarming circumstance, a bill was put up,
giving notice that it was either to be let or sold. It happened that
Athenodorus[120] the philosopher came to Athens at this time, and,
reading the bill, enquired the price. The extraordinary cheapness raised
his suspicion; nevertheless, when he heard the whole story, he was so
far from being discouraged that he was more strongly inclined to hire
it, and, in short, actually did so. When it grew towards evening, he
ordered a couch to be prepared for him in the front part of the house,
and, after calling for a light, together with his pencil and tablets,
directed all his people to retire. But that his mind might not, for
want of employment, be open to the vain terrors of imaginary noises and
spirits, he applied himself to writing with the utmost attention. The
first part of the night passed in entire silence, as usual; at length a
clanking of iron and rattling of chains was heard: however, he neither
lifted up his eyes nor laid down his pen, but in order to keep calm and
collected tried to pass the sounds off to himself as something else. The
noise increased and advanced nearer, till it seemed at the door, and at
last in the chamber. He looked up, saw, and recognized the ghost exactly
as it had been described to him: it stood before him, beckoning with
the finger, like a person who calls another. Athenodorus in reply made
a sign with his hand that it should wait a little, and threw his eyes
again upon his papers; the ghost then rattled its chains over the head
of the philosopher, who looked up upon this, and seeing it beckoning as
before, immediately arose, and, light in hand, followed it. The ghost
slowly stalked along, as if encumbered with its chains, and, turning
into the area of the house, suddenly vanished. Athenodorus, being thus
deserted, made a mark with some grass and leaves on the spot where the
spirit left him. The next day he gave information to the magistrates,
and advised them to order that spot to be dug up. This was accordingly
done, and the skeleton of a man in chains was found there; for the
body, having lain a considerable time in the ground, was putrefied and
mouldered away from the fetters. The bones being collected together were
publicly buried, and thus after the ghost was appeased by the proper
ceremonies, the house was haunted no more. This story I believe upon the
credit of others; what I am going to mention, I give you upon my own. I
have a freedman named Marcus, who is by no means illiterate. One night,
as he and his younger brother were lying together, he fancied he saw
somebody upon his bed, who took out a pair of scissors, and cut off the
hair from the top part of his own head, and in the morning, it appeared
his hair was actually cut, and the clippings lay scattered about the
floor. A short time after this, an event of a similar nature contributed
to give credit to the former story. A young lad of my family was
sleeping in his apartment with the rest of his companions, when two
persons clad in white came in, as he says, through the windows, cut off
his hair as he lay, and then returned the same way they entered. The
next morning it was found that this boy had been served just as the
other, and there was the hair again, spread about the room. Nothing
remarkable indeed followed these events, unless perhaps that I escaped
a prosecution, in which, if Domitian (during whose reign this happened)
had lived some time longer, I should certainly have been involved. For
after the death of that emperor, articles of impeachment against me
were found in his scrutore, which had been exhibited by Carus. It may
therefore be conjectured, since it is customary for persons under any
public accusation to let their hair grow, this cutting off the hair
of my servants was a sign I should escape the imminent danger that
threatened me. Let me desire you then to give this question your mature
consideration. The subject deserves your examination; as, I trust, I am
not myself altogether unworthy a participation in the abundance of your
superior knowledge. And though you should, as usual, balance between two
opinions, yet I hope you will lean more on one side than on the other,
lest, whilst I consult you in order to have my doubt settled, you should
dismiss me in the same suspense and indecision that occasioned you the
present application. Farewell.


You tell me certain persons have blamed me in your company, as being
upon all occasions too lavish in the praise I give my friends. I not
only acknowledge the charge, but glory in it; for can there be a nobler
error than an overflowing benevolence? But still, who are these, let me
ask, that are better acquainted with my friends than I am myself? Yet
grant there are any such, why will they deny me the satisfaction of so
pleasing a mistake? For supposing my friends not to deserve the highest
encomiums I give them, yet I am happy in believing they do. Let them
recommend then this malignant zeal to those (and their number is not
inconsiderable) who imagine they show their judgment when they indulge
their censure upon their friends. As for myself, they will never be
able to persuade me I can be guilty of an excess[121] in friendship,


I PREDICT (and I am persuaded I shall not be deceived) that your
histories will be immortal. I frankly own therefore I so much the more
earnestly wish to find a place in them. If we are generally careful to
have our faces taken by the best artists, ought we not to desire
that our actions may be celebrated by an author of your distinguished
abilities? I therefore call your attention to the following matter,
which, though it cannot have escaped your notice, as it is mentioned in
the public journals, still I call your attention to, that you may the
more readily believe how agreeable it will be to me that this action,
greatly heightened by the risk which attended it, should receive
additional lustre from the testimony of a man of your powers. The senate
appointed Herennius Senecio, and myself, counsel for the province of
Baetica, in their impeachment of Boebius Massa. He was condemned, and
the house ordered his effects to be seized into the hands of the public
officer. Shortly after, Senecio, having learnt that the consuls intended
to sit to hear petitions, came and said to me, "Let us go together, and
petition them with the same unanimity in which we executed the office
which had been enjoined us, not to suffer Massa's effects to be
dissipated by those who were appointed to preserve them." I answered,
"As we were counsel in this affair by order of the senate, I recommend
it to your consideration whether it would be proper for us, after
sentence passed, to interpose any farther." "You are at liberty,"
said he, "to prescribe what bounds you please to yourself, who have no
particular connections with the province, except what arise from your
late services to them; but then I was born there, and enjoyed the post
of quaestor among them." "If such," I replied, "is your determined
resolution, I am ready to accompany you, that whatever resentment may be
the consequence of this affair, it may not fall singly upon yourself."
We accordingly proceeded to the consuls, where Senecio said what was
pertinent to the affair, and I added a few words to the same effect.
Scarcely had we ended when Massa, complaining that Senecio had not acted
against him with the fidelity of an advocate, but the bitterness of an
enemy, desired he might be at liberty to prosecute him for treason.
This occasioned general consternation. Whereupon I rose up; "Most noble
consuls," said I, "I am afraid it should seem that Massa has tacitly
charged me with having favoured him in this cause, since he did not
think proper to join me with Senecio in the desired prosecution." This
short speech was immediately received with applause, and afterwards got
much talked about everywhere. The late emperor Nerva (who, though
at that time in a private station, yet interested himself in every
meritorious action performed in public) wrote a most impressive letter
to me upon the occasion, in which he not only congratulated me, but
the age which had produced an example so much in the spirit (as he was
pleased to call it) of the good old days. But, whatever be the actual
fact, it lies in your power to raise it into a grander and more
conspicuously illustrious position, though I am far from desiring you in
the least to exceed the bounds of reality. History ought to be guided by
strict truth, and worthy actions require nothing more. Farewell.


I HAD a good journey here, excepting only that some of my servants were
upset by the excessive heat. Poor Encolpius, my reader,[122] who is so
indispensable to me in my studies and amusements, was so affected with
the dust that it brought on a spitting of blood: an accident which will
prove no less unpleasant to me than unfortunate to himself, should he
be thereby rendered unfit for the literary work in which he so greatly
excels. If that should unhappily result, where shall I find one who will
read my works so well, or appreciate them so thoroughly as he? Whose
tones will my ears drink in as they do his? But the gods seem to favour
our better hopes, as the bleeding is stopped, and the pain abated.
Besides, he is extremely temperate; while no concern is wanting on my
part or care on his physician's. This, together with the wholesomeness
of the air, and the quiet of retirement, gives us reason to expect that
the country will contribute as much to the restoration of his health as
to his rest. Farewell.


OTHER people visit their estates in order to recruit their purses;
whilst I go to mine only to return so much the poorer. I had sold my
vintage to the merchants, who were extremely eager to purchase it,
encouraged by the price it then bore, and what it was probable it would
rise to: however they were disappointed in their expectations. Upon this
occasion to have made the same general abatement to all would have
been much the easiest, though not so equitable a method. Now I hold it
particularly worthy of a man of honour to be governed by principles
of strict equity in his domestic as well as public conduct; in little
matters as in great ones; in his own concerns as well as in those of
others. And if every deviation from rectitude is equally criminal,[123]
every approach to it must be equally praiseworthy. So accordingly I
remitted to all in general one-eighth part of the price they had agreed
to give me, that none might go away without some compensation: next, I
particularly considered those who had advanced the largest sums towards
their purchase, and done me so much the more service, and been greater
sufferers themselves. To those, therefore, whose purchase amounted to
more than ten thousand sesterces,[124] I returned (over and above that
which I may call the general and common eighth) a tenth part of
what they had paid beyond that sum. I fear I do not express myself
sufficiently clearly; I will endeavour to explain my meaning more fully:
for instance, suppose a man had purchased of me to the value of fifteen
thousand sesterces,[125] I remitted to him one-eighth part of that whole
sum, and likewise one-tenth of five thousand.[126] Besides this, as
several had deposited, in different proportions, part of the price they
had agreed to pay, whilst others had advanced nothing, I thought it
would not be at all fair that all these should be favoured with the
same undistinguished remission. To those, therefore, who had made any
payments, I returned a tenth part upon the sums so paid. By this means
I made a proper acknowledgment to each, according to their respective
deserts, and likewise encouraged them, not only to deal with me for
the future, but to be prompt in their payments. This instance of my
good-nature or my judgment (call it which you please) was a considerable
expense to me. However, I found my account in it; for all the country
greatly approved both of the novelty of these abatements and the manner
in which I regulated them. Even those whom I did not "mete" (as they
say) "by the same measure," but distinguished according to their several
degrees, thought themselves obliged to me, in proportion to the probity
of their principles, and went away pleased with having experienced that
not with me

     "The brave and mean an equal honour find."[127]



HAVE you ever seen the source of the river Clitumnus? If you have not
(and I hardly think you can have seen it yet, or you would have told
me), go there as soon as possible. I saw it yesterday, and I blame
myself for not having seen it sooner. At the foot of a little hill, well
wooded with old cypress trees, a spring gushes out, which, breaking
up into different and unequal streams, forms itself, after several
windings, into a large, broad basin of water, so transparently clear
that you may count the shining pebbles, and the little pieces of money
thrown into it, as they lie at the bottom. From thence it is carried
off not so much by the declivity of the ground as by its own weight and
exuberance. A mere stream at its source, immediately, on quitting this,
you find it expanded into a broad river, fit for large vessels even,
allowing a free passage by each other, according as they sail with or
against the stream. The current runs so strong, though the ground is
level, that the large barges going down the river have no occasion to
make use of their oars; while those going up find it difficult to make
headway even with the assistance of oars and poles: and this alternate
interchange of ease and toil, according as you turn, is exceedingly
amusing when one sails up and down merely for pleasure. The banks are
well covered with ash and poplar, the shape and colour of the trees
being as clearly and distinctly reflected in the stream as if they were
actually sunk in it. The water is cold as snow, and as white too.
Near it stands an ancient and venerable temple, in which is placed the
river-god Clitumnus clothed in the usual robe of state; and indeed the
prophetic oracles here delivered sufficiently testify the immediate
presence of that divinity. Several little chapels are scattered round,
dedicated to particular gods, distinguished each by his own peculiar
name and form of worship, and some of them, too, presiding over
different fountains. For, besides the principal spring, which is, as
it were, the parent of all the rest, there are several other lesser
streams, which, taking their rise from various sources, lose themselves
in the river; over which a bridge is built that separates the sacred
part from that which lies open to common use. Vessels are allowed to
come above this bridge, but no person is permitted to swim except below
it. The Hispellates, to whom Augustus gave this place, furnish a public
bath, and likewise entertain all strangers, at their own expense.
Several villas, attracted by the beauty of this river, stand about
on its borders. In short, every surrounding object will afford you
entertainment. You may also amuse yourself with numberless inscriptions
upon the pillars and walls, by different persons, celebrating the
virtues of the fountain, and the divinity that presides over it. Many of
them you will admire, while some will make you laugh; but I must correct
myself when I say so; you are too humane, I know, to laugh upon such an
occasion. Farewell.


As you are no less acquainted with the political laws of your country
(which include the customs and usages of the senate) than with the
civil, I am particularly desirous to have your opinion whether I was
mistaken in an affair which lately came before the house, or not. This I
request, not with a view of being directed in my judgment as to what is
passed (for that is now too late), but in order to know how to act in
any possible future case of the kind. You will, ask, perhaps, "Why do
you apply for information concerning a point on which you ought to
be well instructed?" Because the tyranny of former reigns,[128] as
it introduced a neglect and ignorance of all other parts of useful
knowledge, so particularly of what relates to the customs of the senate;
for who is there so tamely industrious as to desire to learn what he
can never have an opportunity of putting in practice? Besides, it is
not very easy to retain even the knowledge one has acquired where no
opportunity of employing it occurs. Hence it was that Liberty, on her
return[129] found us totally ignorant and inexperienced; and thus in the
warmth of our eagerness to taste her sweets, we are sometimes hurried
ott to action, ere we are well instructed how we ought to act. But by
the institution of our ancestors, it was wisely provided that the
young should learn from the old, not only by precept, but by their own
observation, how to behave in that sphere in which they were one day
themselves to move; while these, again, in their turn, transmitted the
same mode of instruction to their children. Upon this principle it was
that the youth were sent early into the army, that by being taught to
obey they might learn to command, and, whilst they followed others,
might be trained by degrees to become leaders themselves. On the same
principle, when they were candidates for any office, they were obliged
to stand at the door of the senate-house, and were spectators of the
public council before they became members of it. The father of each
youth was his instructor upon these occasions, or if he had none, some
person of years and dignity supplied the place of a father. Thus they
were taught by that surest method of discipline, Example; how far the
right of proposing any law to the senate extended; what privileges a
senator had in delivering his opinion in the house; the power of the
magistrates in that assembly, and the rights of the rest of the members;
where it is proper to yield, and where to insist; when and how long to
speak, and when to be silent; how to make necessary distinctions between
contrary opinions, and how to improve upon a former motion: in a word,
they learnt by this means every senatorial usage. As for myself, it is
true indeed, I served in the army when I was a youth; but it was at
a time when courage was suspected, and want of spirit rewarded; when
generals were without authority, and soldiers without modesty; when
there was neither discipline nor obedience, but all was riot, disorder,
and confusion; in short, when it was happier to forget than to remember
what one learnt. I attended likewise in my youth the senate, but a
senate shrinking and speechless; where it was dangerous to utter one's
opinion, and mean and pitiable to be silent. What pleasure was there in
learning, or indeed what could be learnt, when the senate was convened
either to do nothing whatever or to give their sanction to some
consummate infamy! when they were assembled either for cruel or
ridiculous purposes, and when their deliberations were never serious,
though often sad! But I was not only a witness to this scene of
wretchedness, as a spectator; I bore my share of it too as a senator,
and both saw and suffered under it for many years; which so broke and
damped my spirits that they have not even yet been able fully to recover
themselves. It is within quite recently (for all time seems short in
proportion to its happiness) that we could take any pleasure in knowing
what relates to or in setting about the duties of our station. Upon
these considerations, therefore, I may the more reasonably entreat you,
in the first place, to pardon my error (if I have been guilty of one),
and, in the next, to lead me out of it by your superior knowledge: for
you have always been diligent to examine into the constitution of your
country, both with respect to its public and private, its ancient and
modern, its general and special laws. I am persuaded indeed the point
upon which I am going to consult you is such an unusual one that even
those whose great experience in public business must have made them, one
would have naturally supposed, acquainted with everything were either
doubtful or absolutely ignorant upon it. I shall be more excusable,
therefore, if I happen to have been mistaken; as you will earn the
higher praise if you can set me right in an affair which it is not clear
has ever yet fallen within your observation. The enquiry then before the
house was concerning the freedmen of Afranius Dexter, who being found
murdered, it was uncertain whether he fell by his own hands, or by those
of his household; and if the latter, whether they committed the fact in
obedience to the commands of Afranius, or were prompted to it by their
own villainy. After they had been put to the question, a certain senator
(it is of no importance to mention his name, but if you are desirous to
know, it was myself) was for acquitting them; another proposed that
they should be banished for a limited time; and a third that they should
suffer death.

These several opinions were so extremely different that it was
impossible either of them could stand with the other. For what have
death and banishment in common with one another? Why, no more than
banishment and acquittal have together. Though an acquittal approaches
rather nearer a sentence of exile than a sentence of death does: for
both the former agree at least in this that they spare life, whereas
the latter takes it away. In the meanwhile, those senators who were for
punishing with death, and those who proposed banishment, sate together
on the same side of the house: and thus by a present appearance of
unanimity suspended their real disagreement. I moved, therefore, that
the votes for each of the three opinions should be separately taken,
and that two of them should not, under favour of a short truce between
themselves, join against the third. I insisted that such of the members
who were for capital punishment should divide from the others who
voted for banishment; and that these two distinct parties should not
be permitted to form themselves into a body, in opposition to those
who declared for acquittal, when they would immediately after disunite
again: for it was not material that they agreed in disliking one
proposal, since they differed with respect to the other two. It seemed
very extraordinary that he who moved the freedmen should be banished,
and the slaves suffer death, should not be allowed to join these two in
one motion, but that each question should be ordered to be put to the
house separately; and yet that the votes of one who was for inflicting
capital punishment upon the freedmen should be taken together with that
of one who was for banishing them. For if, in the former instance,
it was reasonable that the motion should be divided, because it
comprehended two distinct propositions, I could not see why, in the
latter case, suffrages so extremely different should be thrown into
the same scale. Permit me, then, notwithstanding the point is already
settled, to go over it again as if it were still undecided, and to lay
before you those reasons at my ease, which I offered to the house in the
midst of much interruption and clamour. Let us suppose there had been
only three judges appointed to hear this cause, one of whom was of
opinion that the parties in question deserved death; the other that they
should only be banished; and the third that they ought to be acquitted:
should the two former unite their weight to overpower the latter, or
should each be separately balanced? For the first and second are no more
compatible than the second and third. They ought therefore in the same
manner to be counted in the senate as contrary opinions, since they were
delivered as different ones. Suppose the same person had moved that they
should both have been banished and put to death, could they possibly, in
pursuance of this opinion, have suffered both punishments? Or could it
have been looked upon as one consistent motion when it united two such
different decisions? Why then should the same opinion, when delivered
by distinct persons, be considered as one and entire, which would not
be deemed so if it were proposed by a single man? Does not the law
manifestly imply that a distinction is to be made between those who are
for a capital conviction, and those who are for banishment, in the very
form of words made use of when the house is ordered to divide? You who
are of such an opinion, come to this side; you who are of any other, go
over to the side of him whose opinion you follow. Let us examine this
form, and weigh every sentence: You who are of this opinion: that is,
for instance, you who are for banishment, come on this side; namely,
on the side of him who moved for banishment. From whence it is clear he
cannot remain on this side of those who are for death. You who are for
any other: observe, the law is not content with barely saying another,
but it adds any. Now can there be a doubt as to whether they who declare
for a capital conviction are of any other opinion than those who propose
exile! Go over to the side of him whose opinion you follow: does not
the law seem, as it were, to call, compel, drive over, those who are of
different opinions, to contrary sides? Does not the consul himself point
out, not only by this solemn form of words, but by his hand and gesture,
the place in which every man is to remain, or to which he is to go over?
"But," it is objected, "if this separation is made between those who
vote for inflicting death, and those who are on the side of exile, the
opinion for acquitting the prisoners must necessarily prevail." But how
does that affect the parties who vote? Certainly it does not become
them to contend by every art, and urge every expedient, that the milder
sentence may not take place. "Still," say they, "those who are for
condemning the accused either capitally or to banishment should be first
set in opposition to those who are for acquitting them, and afterwards
weighed against each other." Thus, as, in certain public games, some
particular combatant is set apart by lot and kept to engage with the
conqueror; so, it seems, in the senate there is a first and second
combat, and of two different opinions, the prevailing one has still a
third to contend with. What? when any particular opinion is received, do
not all the rest fall of course? Is it reasonable, then, that one should
be thrown into the scale merely to weigh down another? To express my
meaning more plainly: unless the two parties who are respectively
for capital punishment and exile immediately separate upon the first
division of the house it would be to no purpose afterwards to dissent
from those with whom they joined before. But I am dictating instead of
receiving instruction. -- Tell me then whether you think these votes
should have been taken separately? My motion, it is true, prevailed;
nevertheless I am desirous to know whether you think I ought to have
insisted upon this point, or have yielded as that member did who
declared for capital punishment? For convinced, I will not say of the
legality, but at least of the equity of my proposal, he receded from his
opinion, and went over to the party for exile: fearing perhaps, if
the votes were taken separately (which he saw would be the case), the
freedmen would be acquitted: for the numbers were far greater on
that side than on either of the other two, separately counted. The
consequence was that those who had been influenced by his authority,
when they saw themselves forsaken by his going over to the other party,
gave up a motion which they found abandoned by the first proposer, and
deserted, as it were, with their leader. Thus the three opinions were
resolved at length into two; and of those two, one prevailed, and the
other was rejected; while the third, as it was not powerful enough to
conquer both the others, had only to choose to which of the two it would
yield. Farewell.


THE sickness lately in my family, which has carried off several of my
servants, some of them, too, in the prime of their years, has been a
great affliction to me. I have two consolations, however, which, though
by no means equivalent to such a grief, still are consolations. One is,
that as I have always readily manumitted my slaves, their death does
not seem altogether immature, if they lived long enough to receive
their freedom: the other, that I have allowed them to make a kind
of will,[130] which I observe as religiously as if they were legally
entitled to that privilege. I receive and obey their last requests and
injunctions as so many authoritative commands, suffering them to dispose
of their effects to whom they please; with this single restriction, that
they leave them to some one in my household, for to slaves the house
they are in is a kind of state and commonwealth, so to speak. But though
I endeavor to acquiesce under these reflections, yet the same tenderness
which led me to show them these indulgences weakens and gets the better
of me. However, I would not wish on that account to become harder:
though the generality of the world, I know, look upon losses of this
kind in no other view than as a diminution of their property, and fancy,
by cherishing such an unfeeling temper, they show a superior fortitude
and philosophy. Their fortitude and philosophy I will not dispute. But
humane, I am sure, they are not; for it is the very criterion of true
manhood to feel those impressions of sorrow which it endeavors to
resist, and to admit not to be above the want of consolation. But
perhaps I have detained you too long upon this subject, though not so
long as I would. There is a certain pleasure even in giving vent to
one's grief; especially when we weep on the bosom of a friend who will
approve, or, at least, pardon, our tears. Farewell.


Is the weather with you as rude and boisterous as it is with us? All
here is in tempest and inundation. The Tiber has swelled its channel,
and overflowed its banks far and wide. Though the wise precaution of the
emperor had guarded against this evil, by cutting several outlets to
the river, it has nevertheless flooded all the fields and valleys and
entirely overspread the whole face of the flat country. It seems to have
gone out to meet those rivers which it used to receive and carry off in
one united stream, and has driven them back to deluge those countries it
could not reach itself. That most delightful of rivers, the Anio, which
seems invited and detained in its course by the villas built along its
banks, has almost entirely rooted up and carried away the woods
which shaded its borders. It has overthrown whole mountains, and, in
endeavouring to find a passage through the mass of ruins that obstructed
its way, has forced down houses, and risen and spread over the
desolation it has occasioned. The inhabitants of the hill countries,
who are situated above the reach of this inundation, have been the
melancholy spectators of its dreadful effects, having seen costly
furniture, instruments of husbandry, ploughs, and oxen with their
drivers, whole herds of cattle, together with the trunks of trees, and
beams of the neighbouring villas, floating about in different parts. Nor
indeed have these higher places themselves, to which the waters
could not reach up, escaped the calamity. A continued heavy rain and
tempestuous hurricane, as destructive as the river itself, poured down
upon them, and has destroyed all the enclosures which divided that
fertile country. It has damaged likewise, and even overturned, some
of the public buildings, by the fall of which great numbers have been
maimed, smothered, bruised. And thus lamentation over the fate of
friends has been added to losses. I am extremely uneasy lest this
extensive ruin should have spread to you: I beg therefore, if it has
not, you will immediately relieve my anxiety; and indeed I desire you
would inform me though it should have done so; for the difference is not
great between fearing a danger, and feeling it; except that the evil one
feels has some bounds, whereas one's apprehensions have none. For we
can suffer no more than what actually has happened but we fear all that
possibly could happen. Farewell.


Tun common notion is certainly quite a false one, that a man's will is
a kind of mirror in which we may clearly discern his real character, for
Domitius Tullus appears a much better man since his death than he did
during his lifetime. After having artfully encouraged the expectations
of those who paid court to him, with a view to being his heirs, he has
left his estate to his niece whom he adopted. He has given likewise
several very considerable legacies among his grandchildren, and also to
his great-grandson. In a word, he has shown himself a most kind relation
throughout his whole will; which is so much the more to be admired as
it was not expected of him. This affair has been very much talked about,
and various opinions expressed: some call him false, ungrateful, and
forgetful, and, while thus railing at him in this way as if they were
actually disinherited kindred, betray their own dishonest designs:
others, on the contrary, applaud him extremely for having disappointed
the hopes of this infamous tribe of men, whom, considering the
disposition of the times, it is but prudence to deceive. They add that
he was not at liberty to make any other will, and that he cannot so
properly be said to have bequeathed, as returned, his estate to
his adopted daughter, since it was by her means it came to him. For
Curtilius Mancia, whose daughter Domitius Lucanus, brother to this
Tullus, married, having taken a dislike to his son-in-law, made this
young lady (who was the issue of that marriage) his heiress, upon
condition that Lucanus her father would emancipate her. He accordingly
did so, but she being afterwards adopted by Tullus, her uncle, the
design of Mancia's will was entirely frustrated. For these two
brothers having never divided their patrimony, but living together
as joint-tenants of one common estate, the daughter of Lucanus,
notwithstanding the act of emancipation, returned back again, together
with her large fortune, under the dominion of her father, by means of
this fraudulent adoption. It seems indeed to have been the fate of these
two brothers to be enriched by those who had the greatest aversion to
them. For Domitius Afer, by whom they were adopted, left a will in their
favour, which he had made eighteen years before his death; though it
was plain he had since altered his opinion with regard to the family,
because he was instrumental in procuring the confiscation of their
father's estate. There is something extremely singular in the resentment
of Afer, and the good fortune of the other two; as it was very
extraordinary, on the one hand, that Domitius should endeavour to
extirpate from the privileges of society a man whose children he had
adopted, and, on the other, that these brothers should find a parent in
the very person that ruined their father. But Tullus acted justly, after
having been appointed sole heir by his brother, in prejudice to his own
daughter, to make her amends by transferring to her this estate, which
came to him from Afer, as well as all the rest which he had gained in
partnership with his brother. His will therefore deserves the higher
praise, having been dictated by nature, justice, and sense of honour;
in which he has returned his obligations to his several relations,
according to their respective good offices towards him, not forgetting
his wife, having bequeathed to that excellent woman, who patiently
endured much for his sake, several delightful villas, besides a large
sum of money. And indeed she deserved so much the more at his hands, in
proportion to the displeasure she incurred on her marriage with him. It
was thought unworthy a person of her birth and repute, so long left a
widow by her former husband, by whom she had issue, to marry, in the
decline of her life, an old man, merely for his wealth, and who was so
sickly and infirm that, even had he passed the best years of his youth
and health with her, she might well have been heartily tired of him.
He had so entirely lost the use of all his limbs that he could not move
himself in bed without assistance; and the only enjoyment he had of
his riches was to contemplate them. He was even (sad and disgusting to
relate) reduced to the necessity of having his teeth washed and scrubbed
by others: in allusion to which he used frequently to say, when he was
complaining of the indignities which his infirmities obliged him to
suffer, that he was every day compelled to lick his servant's fingers.
Still, however, he lived on, and was willing to accept of life upon such
terms. That he lived so long as he did was particularly owing, indeed,
to the care of his wife, who, whatever reputation she might lose at
first by her marriage, acquired great honour by her unwearied devotion
as his wife. -- Thus I have given you all the news of the town, where
nothing is talked of but Tullus. It is expected his curiosities will
shortly be sold by auction. He had such an abundant collection of very
old statues that he actually filled an extensive garden with them, the
very same day he purchased it; not to mention numberless other antiques,
lying neglected in his lumber-room. If you have anything worth telling
me in return, I hope you will not refuse the trouble of writing to me:
not only as we are all of us naturally fond, you know, of news, but
because example has a very beneficial influence upon our own conduct.


THOSE works of art or nature which are usually the motives of our
travels are often overlooked and neglected if they lie within our reach:
whether it be that we are naturally less inquisitive concerning those
things which are near us, while our curiosity is excited by remote
objects; or because the easiness of gratifying a desire is always sure
to damp it; or, perhaps, that we put off from time to time going and
seeing what we know we have an opportunity of seeing when we please.
Whatever the reason be, it is certain there are numberless curiosities
in and near Rome which we have not only never seen, but even never so
much as heard of: and yet had they been the produce of Greece, or Egypt,
or Asia, or any other country which we admire as fertile and productive
of belief in wonders, we should long since have heard of them, read of
them, and enquired into them. For myself at least, I confess, I have
lately been entertained with one of these curiosities, to which I was an
entire stranger before. My wife's grandfather desired I would look over
his estate near Ameria.[131] As I was walking over his grounds, 1 was
shown a lake that lies below them, called Vadirnon,[132] about which
several very extraordinary things are told. I went up to this lake. It
is perfectly circular in form, like a wheel lying on the ground; there
is not the least curve or projection of the shore, but all is regular,
even, and just as if it had been hollowed and cut out by the hand
of art. The water is of a clear sky-blue, though with somewhat of a
greenish tinge; its smell is sulphurous, and its flavour has medicinal
properties, and is deemed of great efficacy in all fractures of the
limbs, which it is supposed to heal. Though of but moderate extent,
yet the winds have a great effect upon it, throwing it into violent
agitation. No vessels are suffered to sail here, as its waters are held
sacred; but several floating islands swim about it, covered with reeds
and rushes, and with whatever other plants the surrounding marshy ground
and the edge itself of the lake produce in greater abundance. Each
island has its peculiar shape and size, but the edges of all of them are
worn away by their frequent collision with the shore and one another.
They are all of the same height and motion; as their respective roots,
which are formed like the keel of a boat, may be seen hanging not very
far down in the water, and at an equal depth, on whichever side you
stand. Sometimes they move in a cluster, and seem to form one entire
little continent; sometimes they are dispersed into different quarters
by the wind; at other times, when it is calm, they float up and down
separately. You may frequently see one of the larger islands sailing
along with a lesser joined to it, like a ship with its long boat; or,
perhaps, seeming to strive which shall out-swim the other: then again
they are all driven to the same spot, and by joining themselves to
the shore, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other, lessen or
restore the size of the lake in this part or that, accordingly, till at
last uniting in the centre they restore it to its usual size. The sheep
which graze upon the borders of this lake frequently go upon these
islands to feed, without perceiving that they have left the shore, until
they are alarmed by finding themselves surrounded with water; as though
they had been forcibly conveyed and placed there. Afterwards, when the
wind drives them back again, they as little perceive their return as
their departure. This lake empties itself into a river, which, after
running a little way, sinks under ground, and, if anything is thrown in,
it brings it up again where the stream emerges.--I have given you this
account because I imagined it would not be less new, nor less agreeable,
to you than it was to me; as I know you take the same pleasure as myself
in contemplating the works of nature. Farewell.


NOTHING, in my opinion, gives a more amiable and becoming grace to our
studies, as well as manners, than to temper the serious with the gay,
lest the former should degenerate into melancholy, and the latter run up
into levity. Upon this plan it is that I diversify my graver works with
compositions of a lighter nature. I had chosen a convenient place and
season for some productions of that sort to make their appearance in;
and designing to accustom them early to the tables of the idle, I fixed
upon the month of July, which is usually a time of vacation to the
courts of justice, in order to read them to some of my friends I had
collected together; and accordingly I placed a desk before each couch.
But as I happened that morning to be unexpectedly called away to attend
a cause, I took occasion to preface my recital with an apology. I
entreated my audience not to impute it to me as any want of due regard
for the business to which I had invited them that on the very day I had
appointed for reading my performances to a small circle of my friends
I did not refuse my services to others in their law affairs. I assured
them I would observe the same rule in my writings, and should always
give the preference to business, before pleasure; to serious engagements
before amusing ones; and to my friends before myself. The poems I
recited consisted of a variety of subjects in different metres. It is
thus that we who dare not rely for much upon our abilities endeavour to
avoid satiating our readers. In compliance with the earnest solicitation
of my audience, I recited for two days successively; but not in the
manner that several practise, by passing over the feebler passages,
and making a merit of so doing: on the contrary, I omitted nothing, and
freely confessed it. I read the whole, that I might correct the whole;
which it is impossible those who only select particular passages can do.
The latter method, indeed, may have more the appearance of modesty, and
perhaps respect; but the former shows greater simplicity, as well as a
more affectionate disposition towards the audience. For the belief that
a man's friends have so much regard for him as not to be weary on these
occasions, is a sure indication of the love he bears them. Otherwise,
what good do friends do you who assemble merely for their own amusement?
He who had rather find his friend's performance correct, than make it
so, is to be regarded as a stranger, or one who is too lackadaisical
to give himself any trouble. Your affection for me leaves me no room to
doubt that you are impatient to read my book, even in its present very
imperfect condition. And so you shall, but not until I have made those
corrections which were the principal inducement of my recital. You are
already acquainted with some parts of it; but even those, after they
have been improved (or perhaps spoiled, as is sometimes the case by
the delay of excessive revision) will seem quite new to you. For when a
piece has undergone various changes, it gets to look new, even in those
very parts which remain unaltered. Farewell.


My affection for you obliges me, not indeed to direct you (for you are
far above the want of a guide), but to admonish you carefully to observe
and resolutely to put in practice what you already know, that is, in
other words, to know it to better purpose. Consider that you are sent
to that noble province, Achaia, the real and genuine Greece, where
politeness, learning, and even agriculture itself, are supposed to have
taken their first rise; sent to regulate the condition of free cities;
sent, that is, to a society of men who breathe the spirit of true
manhood and liberty; who have maintained the rights they received from
Nature, by courage, by virtue, by alliances; in a word, by civil and
religious faith. Revere the gods their founders; their ancient glory,
and even that very antiquity itself which, venerable in men, is sacred
in states. Honour them therefore for their deeds of old renown, nay,
their very legendary traditions. Grant to every one his full dignity,
privileges, yes, and the indulgence of his very vanity. Remember it was
from this nation we derived our laws; that she did not receive ours by
conquest, but gave us hers by favour. Remember, it is Athens to which
you go; it is Lacedaemon you govern; and to deprive such a people of
the declining shadow, the remaining name of liberty, would be cruel,
inhuman, barbarous. Physicians, you see, though in sickness there is no
difference between freedom and slavery, yet treat persons of the former
rank with more tenderness than those of the latter. Reflect what these
cities once were; but so reflect as not to despise them for what they
are now. Far be pride and asperity from my friend; nor fear, by a proper
condescension, to lay yourself open to contempt. Can he who is vested
with the power and bears the ensigns of authority, can he fail of
meeting with respect, unless by pursuing base and sordid measures, and
first breaking through that reverence he owes to himself? Ill, believe
me, is power proved by insult; ill can terror command veneration, and
far more effectual is affection in obtaining one's purpose than fear.
For terror operates no longer than its object is present, but love
produces its effects with its object at a distance: and as absence
changes the former into hatred, it raises the latter into respect. And
therefore you ought (and I cannot but repeat it too often), you ought to
well consider the nature of your office, and to represent to yourself
how great and important the task is of governing a free state. For
what can be better for society than such government, what can be more
precious than freedom? How ignominious then must his conduct be who
turns good government into anarchy, and liberty into slavery? To these
considerations let me add, that you have an established reputation
to maintain: the fame you acquired by the administration of the
quaestorship in Bithynia,[133] the good opinion of the emperor, the
credit you obtained when you were tribune and praetor, in a word, this
very government, which may be looked upon as the reward of your former
services, are all so many glorious weights which are incumbent upon you
to support with suitable dignity. The more strenuously therefore you
ought to endeavour that it may not be said you showed greater urbanity,
integrity, and ability in a province remote from Rome, than in one which
lies so much nearer the capital; in the midst of a nation of slaves,
than among a free people; that it may not be remarked, that it was
chance, and not judgment, appointed you to this office; that your
character was unknown and unexperienced, not tried and approved. For
(and it is a maxim which your reading and conversation must have often
suggested to you) it is a far greater disgrace losing the name one has
once acquired than never to have attained it. I again beg you to be
persuaded that I did not write this letter with a design of instruction,
but of reminder. Though indeed, if I had, it would have only been in
consequence of the great affection I bear you: a sentiment which I am in
no fear of carrying beyond its just bounds: for there can he no danger
of excess where one cannot love too well. Farewell.


OTHERS may think as they please; but the happiest man, in my opinion,
is he who lives in the conscious anticipation of an honest and enduring
name, and secure of future glory in the eyes of posterity. I confess, if
I had not the reward of an immortal reputation in view, I should prefer
a life of uninterrupted ease and indolent retirement to any other. There
seems to be two points worthy every man's attention: endless fame, or
the short duration of life. Those who are actuated by the former motive
ought to exert themselves to the very utmost of their power; while such
as are influenced by the latter should quietly resign themselves to
repose, and not wear out a short life in perishable pursuits, as we see
so many doing--and then sink at last into utter self-contempt, in the
midst of a wretched and fruitless course of false industry. These are
my daily reflections, which I communicate to you, in order to renounce
them if you do not agree with them; as undoubtedly you will, who are for
ever meditating some glorious and immortal enterprise. Farewell.


I HAVE spent these several days past, in reading and writing, with
the most pleasing tranquillity imaginable. You will ask, "How that can
possibly be in the midst of Rome?" It was the time of celebrating the
Circensian games; an entertainment for which I have not the least taste.
They have no novelty, no variety to recommend them, nothing, in short,
one would wish to see twice. It does the more surprise me therefore that
so many thousand people should be possessed with the childish passion
of desiring so often to see a parcel of horses gallop, and men standing
upright in their chariots. If, indeed, it were the swiftness of the
horses, or the skill of the men that attracted them, there might be some
pretence of reason for it. But it is the dress[134] they like; it is
the dress that takes their fancy. And if, in the midst of the course and
contest, the different parties were to change colours, their different
partisans would change sides, and instantly desert the very same men and
horses whom just before they were eagerly following with their eyes,
as far as they could see, and shouting out their names with all their
might. Such mighty charms, such wondrous power reside in the colour of a
paltry tunic! And this not only with the common crowd (more contemptible
than the dress they espouse), but even with serious-thinking people.
When I observe such men thus insatiably fond of so silly, so low, so
uninteresting, so common an entertainment, I congratulate myself on my
indifference to these pleasures: and am glad to employ the leisure of
this season upon my books, which others throw away upon the most idle
occupations. Farewell.


I AM pleased to find by your letter that you are engaged in building;
for I may now defend my own conduct by your example. I am myself
employed in the same sort of work; and since I have you, who shall deny
I have reason on my side? Our situations too are not dissimilar; your
buildings are carried on upon the sea-coast, mine are rising upon the
side of the Larian lake. I have several villas upon the borders of this
lake, but there are two particularly in which, as I take most delight,
so they give me most employment. They are both situated like those at
Baiae:[135] one of them stands upon a rock, and overlooks the lake; the
other actually touches it. The first, supported as it were by the lofty
buskin,[136] I call my tragic; the other, as resting upon the humble
rock, my comic villa. Each has its own peculiar charm, recommending it
to its possessor so much more on account of this very difference. The
former commands a wider, the latter enjoys a nearer view of the lake.
One, by a gentle curve, embraces a little bay; the other, being built
upon a greater height, forms two. Here you have a strait walk extending
itself along the banks of the lake; there, a spacious terrace that falls
by a gentle descent towards it. The former does not feel the force
of the waves; the latter breaks them; from that you see the
fishing-vessels; from this you may fish yourself, and throw your line
out of your room, and almost from your bed, as from off a boat. It is
the beauties therefore these agreeable villas possess that tempt me to
add to them those which are wanting.--But I need not assign a reason
to you; who, undoubtedly, will think it a sufficient one that I follow
your example. Farewell.


YOUR letter was particularly acceptable to me, as it mentioned your
desire that I would send you something of mine, addressed to you,
to insert in your works. I shall find a more appropriate occasion of
complying with your request than that which you propose, the subject
you point out to me being attended with some objections; and when you
reconsider it, you will think so.--As I did not imagine there were
any booksellers at Lugdunum,[137] I am so much the more pleased to
learn that my works are sold there. I rejoice to find they maintain
the character abroad which they raised at home, and I begin to flatter
myself they have some merit, since persons of such distant countries are
agreed in their opinion with regard to them. Farewell.


A CERTAIN friend of mine lately chastised his son, in my presence, for
being somewhat too expensive in the matter of dogs and horses. "And
pray," I asked him, when the youth had left us, "did you never commit a
fault yourself which deserved your father's correction? Did you never? I
repeat. Nay, are you not sometimes even now guilty of errors which your
son, were he in your place, might with equal gravity reprove? Are not
all mankind subject to indiscretions? And have we not each of us our
particular follies in which we fondly indulge ourselves?"

The great affection I have for you induced me to set this instance of
unreasonable severity before you--a caution not to treat your son with
too much harshness and severity. Consider, he is but a boy, and that
there was a time when you were so too. In exerting, therefore, the
authority of a father, remember always that you are a man, and the
parent of a man. Farewell.


THE pleasure and attention with which you read the vindication I
published of Helvidius,[139] has greatly raised your curiosity, it
seems, to be informed of those particulars relating to that affair,
which are not mentioned in the defence; as you were too young to be
present yourself at that transaction. When Domitian was assassinated,
a glorious opportunity, I thought, offered itself to me of pursuing the
guilty, vindicating the injured, and advancing my own reputation. But
amidst an infinite variety of the blackest crimes, none appeared to me
more atrocious than that a senator, of praetorian dignity, and invested
with the sacred character of a judge, should, even in the very senate
itself, lay violent hands upon a member[140] of that body, one of
consular rank, and who then stood arraigned before him. Besides this
general consideration, I also happened to be on terms of particular
intimacy with Helvidius, as far as this was possible with one who,
through fear of the times, endeavoured to veil the lustre of his fame,
and his virtues, in obscurity and retirement. Arria likewise, and her
daughter Fannia, who was mother-in-law to Helvidius, were in the number
of my friends. But it was not so much private attachments as the honour
of the public, a just indignation at the action, and the danger of
the example if it should pass unpunished, that animated me upon the
occasion. At the first restoration of liberty[141] every man singled out
his own particular enemy (though it must be confessed, those only of a
lower rank), and, in the midst of much clamour and confusion, no sooner
brought the charge than procured the condemnation. But for myself, I
thought it would be more reasonable and more effectual, not to take
advantage of the general resentment of the public, but to crush
this criminal with the single weight of his own enormous guilt. When
therefore the first heat of public indignation began to cool, and
declining passion gave way to justice, though I was at that time under
great affliction for the loss of my wife,[142] I sent to Anteia, the
widow of Helvidius, and desired her to come to me, as my late misfortune
prevented me from appearing in public. When she arrived, I said to her,
"I am resolved not to suffer the injuries your husband has received,
to pass unrevenged; let Arria and Fannia" (who were just returned from
exile) "know this; and consider together whether you would care to join
with me in the prosecution. Not that I want an associate, but I am not
so jealous of my own glory as to refuse to share it with you in this
affair." She accordingly carried this message; and they all agreed to
the proposal without the least hesitation. It happened very opportunely
that the senate was to meet within three days. It was a general rule
with me to consult, in all my affairs, with Corellius, a person of the
greatest far-sightedness and wisdom this age has produced. However,
in the present case, I relied entirely upon my own discretion, being
apprehensive he would not approve of my design, as he was very cautious
and deliberate. But though I did not previously take counsel with him
(experience having taught me, never to do so with a person concerning a
question we have already determined, where he has a right to expect
that one shall be decided by his judgment), yet I could not forbear
acquainting him with my resolution at the time I intended to carry it
into execution. The senate being assembled, I came into the house, and
begged I might have leave to make a motion; which I did in few words,
and with general assent. When I began to touch upon the charge, and
point out the person I intended to accuse (though as yet without
mentioning him by name), I was attacked on all sides. "Let us know,"
exclaims one, "who is the subject of this informal motion?" "Who is
it," (asked another) "that is thus accused, without acquainting the house
with his name, and his crime?" "Surely," (added a third) "we who have
survived the late dangerous times may expect now, at least, to remain in
security." I heard all this with perfect calmness, and without being
in the least alarmed. Such is the effect of conscious integrity; and so
much difference is there with respect to inspiring confidence or fear,
whether the world had only rather one should forbear a certain act, or
absolutely condemn it. It would be too tedious to relate all that was
advanced, by different parties, upon this occasion. At length the consul
said, "You will be at liberty, Secundus, to propose what you think
proper when your turn comes to give your opinion upon the order of the
day."[143] I replied, "You must allow me a liberty which you never yet
refused to any;" and so sat down: when immediately the house went upon
another business. In the meanwhile, one of my consular friends took me
aside, and, with great earnestness telling me he thought I had carried
on this affair with more boldness than prudence, used every method of
reproof and persuasion to prevail with me to desist; adding at the same
time that I should certainly, if I persevered, render myself obnoxious
to some future prince. "Be it so," I returned, "should he prove a bad
one." Scarcely had he left me when a second came up: "Whatever,"
said he, "are you attempting? Why ever will you ruin yourself? Do you
consider the risks you expose yourself to? Why will you presume too much
on the present situation of public affairs, when it is so uncertain what
turn they may hereafter take? You are attacking a man who is actually at
the head of the treasury, and will shortly be consul. Besides, recollect
what credit he has, and with what powerful friendships he is supported?"
Upon which he named a certain person, who (not without several strong
and suspicious rumours) was then at the head of a powerful army in the
east. I replied,

"'All I've foreseen, and oft in thought revolv'd;[144] and am
willing, if fate shall so decree, to suffer in an honest cause,
provided I can draw vengeance down upon a most infamous one." The
time for the members to give their opinions was now arrived. Domitius
Apollinaris, the consul elect, spoke first; after him Fabricius Vejento,
then Fabius Maximinus, Vettius Proculus next (who married my wife's
mother, and who was the colleague of Publicius Certus, the person
on whom the debate turned), and last of all Ammius Flaccus. They all
defended Certus, as if I had named him (though I had not yet so much
as once mentioned him), and entered upon his justification as if I had
exhibited a specific charge. It is not necessary to repeat in this place
what they respectively said, having given it all at length in their
words in the speech above-mentioned. Avidius Quietus and Cornutus
Tertullus answered them. The former observed, "that it was extremely
unjust not to hear the complaints of those who thought themselves
injured, and therefore that Arria and Fannia ought not to be denied
the privilege of laying their grievances before the house; and that
the point for the consideration of the senate was not the rank of the
person, but the merit of the cause."

Then Cornutus rose up and acquainted the house, "that, as he was
appointed guardian to the daughter of Helvidius by the consuls, upon the
petition of her mother and her father-in-law, he felt himself compelled
to fulfil the duty of his trust. In the execution of which, however, he
would endeavour to set some bounds to his indignation by following that
great example of moderation which those excellent women[145] had
set, who contented themselves with barely informing the senate of the
cruelties which Certus committed in order to carry on his infamous
adulation; and therefore," he said, "he would move only that, if a
punishment due to a crime so notoriously known should be remitted,
Certus might at least be branded with some mark of the displeasure of
that august assembly." Satrius Rufus spoke next, and, meaning to steer
a middle course, expressed himself with considerable ambiguity. "I am of
opinion," said he, "that great injustice will be done to Certus if he
is not acquitted (for I do not scruple to mention his name, since the
friends of Arria and Fannia, as well as his own, have done so too), nor
indeed have we any occasion for anxiety upon this account. We who think
well of the man shall judge him with the same impartiality as the rest;
but if he is innocent, as I hope he is, and shall be glad to find,
I think this house may very justly deny the present motion till some
charge has been proved against him." Thus, according to the respective
order in which they were called upon, they delivered their several
opinions. When it came to my turn, I rose up, and, using the same
introduction to my speech as I have published in the defence, I replied
to them severally. It is surprising with what attention, what clamorous
applause I was heard, even by those who just before were loudest against
me: such a wonderful change was wrought either by the importance of the
affair, the successful progress of the speech, or the resolution of
the advocate. After I had finished, Vejento attempted to reply; but
the general clamour raised against him not permitting him to go on,
"I entreat you, conscript fathers,"[146] said he, "not to oblige me to
implore the assistance of the tribunes."[147] Immediately the tribune
Murena cried out, "You have my permission, most illustrious Vejento, to
go on." But still the clamour was renewed. In the interval, the consul
ordered the house to divide, and having counted the voices, dismissed
the senate, leaving Vejento in the midst, still attempting to speak. Re
made great complaints of this affront (as he called it), applying the
following lines of Homer to himself:

     "Great perils, father, wait the unequal fight;
     Those younger champions will thy strength o'ercome."[148]

There was hardly a man in the senate that did not embrace and kiss me,
and all strove who should applaud me most, for having, at the cost of
private enmities, revived a custom so long disused, of freely consulting
the senate upon affairs that concern the honour of the public; in a
word, for having wiped off that reproach which was thrown upon it by
other orders in the state, "that the senators mutually favoured the
members of their own body, while they were very severe in animadverting
upon the rest of their fellow-citizens." All this was transacted in the
absence of Certus; who kept out of the way either because he suspected
something of this nature was intended to be moved, or (as was alleged
in his excuse) that he was really unwell. Cæsar, however, did not
refer the examination of this matter to the senate. But I succeeded,
nevertheless, in my aim, another person being appointed to succeed
Certus in the consulship, while the election of his colleague to that
office was confirmed. And thus, the wish with which I concluded my
speech, was actually accomplished: "May he be obliged," said I, "to
renounce, under a virtuous prince,[149] that reward he received from an
infamous one!"[150] Some time after I recollected, as well as I could,
the speech I had made upon this occasion; to which I made several
additions. It happened (though indeed it had the appearance of being
something more than casual) that a few days after I had published this
piece, Certus was taken ill and died. I was told that his imagination
was continually haunted with this affair, and kept picturing me ever
before his eyes, as a man pursuing him with a drawn sword. Whether there
was any truth in this rumour, I will not venture to assert; but, for the
sake of example, however, I could wish it might gain credit. And now I
have sent you a letter which (considering it is a letter) is as long as
the defence you say you have read: but you must thank yourself for not
being content with such information as that piece could afford you.


I HAVE received your letter, in which you complain of having been highly
disgusted lately at a very splendid entertainment, by a set of buffoons,
mummers, and wanton prostitutes, who were dancing about round the
tables.[151] But let me advise you to smooth your knitted brow somewhat.
I confess, indeed, I admit nothing of this kind at my own house;
however, I bear with it in others. "And why, then," you will be ready to
ask, "not have them yourself?"

The truth is, because the gestures of the wanton, the pleasantries of
the buffoon, or the extravagancies of the mummer, give me no pleasure,
as they give me no surprise. It is my particular taste, you see, not my
judgment, that I plead against them. And indeed, what numbers are there
who think the entertainments with which you and I are most delighted no
better than impertinent follies! How many are there who, as soon as a
reader, a lyrist, or a comedian is introduced, either take their leave
of the company or, if they remain, show as much dislike to this sort
of thing as you did to those monsters, as you call them! Let us bear
therefore, my friend, with others in their amusements, that they, in
return, may show indulgence to ours. Farewell.


YOUR freedman, whom you lately mentioned to me with displeasure, has
been with me, and threw himself at my feet with as much submission as he
could have fallen at yours. He earnestly requested me with many tears,
and even with all the eloquence of silent sorrow, to intercede for
him; in short, he convinced me by his whole behaviour that he sincerely
repents of his fault. I am persuaded he is thoroughly reformed, because
he seems deeply sensible of his guilt. I know you are angry with him,
and I know, too, it is not without reason; but clemency can never exert
itself more laudably than when there is the most cause for resentment.
You once had an affection for this man, and, I hope, will have again;
meanwhile, let me only prevail with you to pardon him. If he should
incur your displeasure hereafter, you will have so much the stronger
plea in excuse for your anger as you show yourself more merciful to
him now. Concede something to his youth, to his tears, and to your own
natural mildness of temper: do not make him uneasy any longer, and I
will add too, do not make yourself so; for a man of your kindness of
heart cannot be angry without feeling great uneasiness. I am afraid,
were I to join my entreaties with his, I should seem rather to compel
than request you to forgive him. Yet I will not scruple even to write
mine with his; and in so much the stronger terms as I have very sharply
and severely reproved him, positively threatening never to interpose
again in his behalf. But though it was proper to say this to him, in
order to make him more fearful of offending, I do not say so to you. I
may perhaps, again have occasion to entreat you upon this account, and
again obtain your forgiveness; supposing, I mean, his fault should be
such as may become me to intercede for, and you to pardon. Farewell.


IT has frequently happened, as I have been pleading before the Court of
the Hundred, that these venerable judges, after having preserved for a
long period the gravity and solemnity suitable to their character, have
suddenly, as though urged by irresistible impulse, risen up to a man and
applauded me. I have often likewise gained as much glory in the senate
as my utmost wishes could desire: but I never felt a more sensible
pleasure than by an account which I lately received from Cornelius
Tacitus. He informed me that, at the last Circensian games, he sat next
to a Roman knight, who, after conversation had passed between them
upon various points of learning, asked him, "Are you an Italian, or a
provincial?" Tacitus replied, "Your acquaintance with literature must
surely have informed you who I am." "Pray, then, is it Tacitus or Pliny
I am talking with?" I cannot express how highly I am pleased to find
that our names are not so much the proper appellatives of men as a kind
of distinction for learning herself; and that eloquence renders us known
to those who would otherwise be ignorant of us. An accident of the
same kind happened to me a few days ago. Fabius Rufinus, a person of
distinguished merit, was placed next to me at table; and below him a
countryman of his, who had just then come to Rome for the first time.
Rufinus, calling his friend's attention to me, said to him, "You see
this man?" and entered into a conversation upon the subject of my
pursuits: to whom the other immediately replied, "This must undoubtedly
be Pliny." To confess the truth, I look upon these instances as a very
considerable recompense of my labours. If Demosthenes had reason to be
pleased with the old woman of Athens crying out, "This is Demosthenes!"
may not I, then, be allowed to congratulate myself upon the celebrity
my name has acquired? Yes, my friend, I will rejoice in it, and without
scruple admit that I do. As I only mention the judgment of others, not
my own, I am not afraid of incurring the censure of vanity; especially
from you, who, whilst envying no man's reputation, are particularly
zealous for mine. Farewell.


I GREATLY approve of your having, in compliance with my letter,[152]
received again into your favour and family a discarded freedman, who you
once admitted into a share of your affection. This will afford you, I
doubt not, great satisfaction. It certainly has me, both as a proof that
your passion can be controlled, and as an instance of your paying so
much regard to me, as either to yield to my authority or to comply with
my request. Let me, therefore, at once both praise and thank you. At the
same time I must advise you to be disposed for the future to pardon
the faults of your people, though there should be none to intercede in
their behalf. Farewell.


I SAID once (and, I think, not inaptly) of a certain orator of the
present age, whose compositions are extremely regular and correct, but
deficient in grandeur and embellishment, "His only fault is that he
has none." Whereas he, who is possessed of the true spirit of oratory,
should be bold and elevated, and sometimes even flame out, be hurried
away, and frequently tread upon the brink of a precipice: for danger is
generally near whatever is towering and exalted. The plain, it is true,
affords a safer, but for that reason a more humble and inglorious, path:
they who run are more likely to stumble than they who creep; but the
latter gain no honour by not slipping, while the former even fall with
glory. It is with eloquence as with some other arts; she is never
more pleasing than when she risks most. Have you not observed what
acclamations our rope-dancers excite at the instant of imminent danger?
Whatever is most entirely unexpected, or as the Greeks more strongly
express it, whatever is most perilous, most excites our admiration. The
pilot's skill is by no means equally proved in a calm as in a storm: in
the former case he tamely enters the port, unnoticed and unapplauded;
but when the cordage cracks, the mast bends, and the rudder groans,
then it is that he shines out in all his glory, and is hailed as little
inferior to a sea-god.

The reason of my making this observation is, because, if I mistake not,
you have marked some passages in my writings for being tumid, exuberant,
and over-wrought, which, in my estimation, are but adequate to the
thought, or boldly sublime. But it is material to consider whether your
criticism turns upon such points as are real faults, or only striking
and remarkable expressions. Whatever is elevated is sure to be observed;
but it requires a very nice judgment to distinguish the bounds between
true and false grandeur; between loftiness and exaggeration. To give an
instance out of Homer, the author who can, with the greatest propriety,
fly from one extreme of style to another.

     "Heav'n in loud thunder bids the trumpet sound;
     And wide beneath them groans the rending ground."[153]


     "Reclin'd on clouds his steed and armour lay."[154]

So in this passage:

     "As torrents roll, increas'd by numerous rills,
     With rage impetuous down their echoing hills,
     Rush to the vales, and pour'd along the plain,
     Roar through a thousand channels to the main."[154]

It requires, I say, the nicest balance to poise these metaphors, and
determine whether they are incredible and meaningless, or majestic and
sublime. Not that I think anything which I have written, or can write,
admits of comparison with these. I am not quite so foolish; but what
I would be understood to contend for is, that we should give eloquence
free rein, and not restrain the force and impetuosity of genius within
too narrow a compass. But it will be said, perhaps, that one law applies
to orators, another to poets. As if, in truth, Marc Tully were not as
bold in his metaphors as any of the poets! But not to mention particular
instances from him, in a point where, I imagine, there can be no
dispute; does Demosthenes[155] himself, that model and standard of true
oratory, does Demosthenes check and repress the fire of his indignation,
in that well-known passage which begins thus: "These wicked men, these
flatterers, and these destroyers of mankind," &c. And again: "It is
neither with stones nor bricks that I have fortified this city," &c.
-- And afterwards: "I have thrown up these out-works before Attica, and
pointed out to you all the resources which human prudence can suggest,"
&c.--And in another place: "O Athenians, I swear by the immortal gods
that he is intoxicated with the grandeur of his own actions," &c.[156]
-- But what can be more daring and beautiful than that long digression,
which begins in this manner: "A terrible disease?" -- The following
passage likewise, though somewhat shorter, is equally boldly conceived:
-- "Then it was I rose up in opposition to the daring Pytho, who poured
forth a torrent of menaces against you," &c.[157] -- The subsequent
stricture is of the same stamp: "When a man has strengthened himself,
as Philip has, in avarice and wickedness, the first pretence, the first
false step, be it ever so inconsiderable, has overthrown and destroyed
all," &c.[158]--So in the same style with the foregoing is this:
-- "Railed off, as it were, from the privileges of society, by the
concurrent and just judgments of the three tribunals in the city." --
And in the same place: "O Aristogiton! you have betrayed that mercy
which used to be shown to offences of this nature, or rather, indeed,
you have wholly destroyed it. In vain then would you fly for refuge to
a port, which you have shut up, and encompassed with rocks."--He has
said before: "I am afraid, therefore, you should appear in the judgment
of some, to have erected a public seminary of faction: for there is a
weakness in all wickedness which renders it apt to betray itself!" --
And a little lower: "I see none of these resources open to him; but all
is precipice gulf, and profound abyss."--And again: "Nor do I imagine
that our ancestors erected those courts of judicature that men of his
character should be planted there, but on the contrary', eradicated,
that none may emulate their evil actions."--And afterwards: "If he is
then the artificer of every wickedness, if he only makes it his trade
and traffic," &c.--And a thousand other passages which I might cite to
the same purpose; not to mention those expressions which Aeschines calls
not words, but wonders.--You will tell me, perhaps, I have unwarily
mentioned Aeschines, since Demosthenes is condemned even by him, for
running into these figurative expressions. But observe, I entreat you,
how far superior the former orator is to his critic, and superior too
in the very passage to which he objects; for in others, the force of his
genius, in those above quoted, its loftiness, makes itself manifest.
But does Aeschines himself avoid those errors which he reproves in
Demosthenes? "The orator," says he, "Athenians, and the law, ought to
speak the same language; but when the voice of the law declares one
thing, and that of the orator another we should give our vote to the
justice of the law, not to the impudence of the orator."[159]--And in
another place: "He afterwards manifestly discovered the design he had,
of concealing his fraud under cover of the decree, having expressly
declared therein that the ambassadors sent to the Oretae gave the five
talents, not to you, but to Callias. And that you may be convinced
of the truth of what I say (after having stripped the decree of its
gallies, its trim, and its arrogant ostentation) the clause itself." --
And in another part: "Suffer him not to break cover and escape out of
the limits of the question." A metaphor he is so fond of that he repeats
it again. "But remaining firm and confident in the assembly, drive him
into the merits of the question, and observe well how he doubles."--Is
his style more reserved and simple when he says: "But you are ever
wounding our ears, and are more concerned in the success of your daily
harangues than for the salvation of the city?"--What follows is
conceived in a yet higher strain of metaphor: "Will you not expel this
man as the common calamity of Greece? Will you not seize and punish
this pirate of the state, who sails about in quest of favourable
conjunctures," &c.--With many other passages of a similar nature. And
now I expect you will make the same attacks upon certain expressions in
this letter as you did upon those I have been endeavouring to defend.
The rudder that groans, and the pilot compared to a sea-god, will not,
I imagine, escape your criticism: for I perceive, while I am suing
for indulgence to my former style, I have fallen into the same kind
of figurative diction which you condemn. But attack them if you please
provided you will immediately appoint a day when we may meet to discuss
these matters in person: you will then either teach me to be less daring
or I shall teach you to be more bold. Farewell.


I HAVE met with a story, which, although authenticated by undoubted
evidence, looks very like fable, and would afford a worthy field for
the exercise of so exuberant, lofty, and truly poetical a genius as your
own. It was related to me the other day over the dinner table, where the
conversation happened to run upon various kinds of marvels. The person
who told the story was a man of unsuspected veracity:--but what has
a poet to do with truth? However, you might venture to rely upon his
testimony, even though you had the character of a faithful historian to
support. There is in Africa a town called Hippo, situated not far from
the sea-coast: it stands upon a navigable lake, communicating with an
estuary in the form of a river, which alternately flows into the lake,
or into the ocean, according to the ebb and flow of the tide. People
of all ages amuse themselves here with fishing, sailing, or swimming;
especially boys, whom love of play brings to the spot. With these it
is a fine and manly achievement to be able to swim the farthest; and he
that leaves the shore and his companions at the greatest distance gains
the victory. It happened, in one of these trials of skill, that a
certain boy, bolder than the rest, launched out towards the opposite
shore. He was met by a dolphin, who sometimes swam before him, and
sometimes behind him, then played round him, and at last took him upon
his back, and set him down, and afterwards took him up again; and thus
he carried the poor frightened fellow out into the deepest part; when
immediately he turns back again to the shore, and lands him among his
companions. The fame of this remarkable accident spread through the
town, and crowds of people flocked round the boy (whom they viewed as a
kind of prodigy) to ask him questions and hear him relate the story.
The next day the shore was thronged with spectators, all attentively
watching the ocean, and (what indeed is almost itself an ocean) the
lake. Meanwhile the boys swam as usual, and among the rest, the boy I am
speaking of went into the lake, but with more caution than before.
The dolphin appeared again and came to the boy, who, together with his
companions, swam away with the utmost precipitation. The dolphin, as
though to invite and call them back, leaped and dived up and down, in
a series of circular movements. This he practised the next day, the day
after, and for several days together, till the people (accustomed from
their infancy to the sea) began to be ashamed of their timidity. They
ventured, therefore, to advance nearer, playing with him and calling
him to them, while he, in return, suffered himself to be touched and
stroked. Use rendered them courageous. The boy, in particular, who first
made the experiment, swam by the side of him, and, leaping upon his
back, was carried backwards and forwards in that manner, and thought the
dolphin knew him and was fond of him, while he too had grown fond of the
dolphin. There seemed, now, indeed, to be no fear on either side, the
confidence of the one and tameness of the other mutually increasing; the
rest of the boys, in the meanwhile, surrounding and encouraging their
companion. It is very remarkable that this dolphin was followed by a
second, which seemed only as a spectator and attendant on the former;
for he did not at all submit to the same familiarities as the first, but
only escorted him backwards and forwards, as the boys did their comrade.
But what is further surprising, and no less true than what I have
already related, is that this dolphin, who thus played with the boys and
carried them upon his back, would come upon the shore, dry himself in
the sand, and, as soon as he grew warm, roll back into the sea. It is a
fact that Octavius Avitus, deputy governor of the province, actuated by
an absurd piece of superstition, poured some ointment[160] over him as
he lay on the shore: the novelty and smell of which made him retire
into the ocean, and it was not till several days after that he was seen
again, when he appeared dull and languid; however, he recovered his
strength and continued his usual playful tricks. All the magistrates
round flocked hither to view this sight, whose arrival, and prolonged
stay, was an additional expense, which the slender finances of this
little community would ill afford; besides, the quiet and retirement of
the place was utterly destroyed. It was thought proper, therefore, to
remove the occasion of this concourse, by privately killing the poor
dolphin. And now, with what a flow of tenderness will you describe this
affecting catastrophe![161] and how will your genius adorn and heighten
this moving story! Though, indeed, the subject does not require any
fictitious embellishments; it will be sufficient to describe the actual
facts of the case without suppression or diminution. Farewell.

CVIII -- To Fuscus

You want to know how I portion out my day, in my summer villa at Tuscum?
I get up just when I please; generally about sunrise, often earlier,
but seldom later than this. I keep the shutters closed, as darkness and
silence wonderfully promote meditation. Thus free and abstracted from
these outward objects which dissipate attention, I am left to my own
thoughts; nor suffer my mind to wander with my eyes, but keep my eyes
in subjection to my mind, which, when they are not distracted by a
multiplicity of external objects, see nothing but what the imagination
represents to them. If I have any work in hand, this is the time I
choose for thinking it out, word for word, even to the minutest accuracy
of expression. In this way I compose more or less, according as the
subject is more or less difficult, and I find myself able to retain it.
I then call my secretary, and, opening the shutters, dictate to him
what I Wave put into shape, after which I dismiss him, then call him in
again, and again dismiss him. About ten or eleven o'clock (for I do not
observe one fixed hour), according to the weather, I either walk upon my
terrace or in the covered portico, and there I continue to meditate
or dictate what remains upon the subject in which I am engaged. This
completed, I get into my chariot, where I employ myself as before, when
I was walking, or in my study; and find this change of scene refreshes
and keeps up my attention. On my return home, I take a little nap, then
a walk, and after that repeat out loud and distinctly some Greek or
Latin speech, not so much for the sake of strengthening my voice as my
digestion;[162] though indeed the voice at the same time is strengthened
by this practice. I then take another walk, am anointed, do my
exercises, and go into the bath. At supper, if I have only my wife or a
few friends with me, some author is read to us; and after supper we are
entertained either with music or an interlude. When that is finished, I
take my walk with my family, among whom I am not without some scholars.
Thus we pass our evenings in varied conversation; and the day, even when
at the longest, steals imperceptibly away. Upon some occasions I change
the order in certain of the articles abovementioned. For instance, if
I have studied longer or walked more than usual, after my second sleep,
and reading a speech or two aloud, instead of using my chariot I get on
horseback; by which means I ensure as much exercise and lose less time.
The visits of my friends from the neighbouring villages claim some part
of the day; and sometimes, by an agreeable interruption, they come in
very seasonably to relieve me when I am feeling tired. I now and then
amuse myself with hunting, but always take my tablets into the
field, that, if I should meet with no game, I may at least bring home
something. Part of my time too (though not so much as they desire) is
allotted to my tenants; whose rustic complaints, along with these city
occupations, make my literary studies still more delightful to me.
Farewell. --


As you are not of a disposition to expect from your friends the ordinary
ceremonial observances of society when they cannot observe them without
inconvenience to themselves, so I love you too steadfastly to be
apprehensive of your taking otherwise than I wish you should my not
waiting upon you on the first day of your entrance upon the consular
office, especially as I am detained here by the necessity of letting my
farms upon long leases. I am obliged to enter upon an entirely new plan
with my tenants: for under the former leases, though I made them very
considerable abatements, they have run greatly in arrear. For this
reason several of them have not only taken no sort of care to lessen a
debt which they found themselves incapable of wholly discharging, but
have even seized and consumed all the produce of the land, in the belief
that it would now be of no advantage to themselves to spare it. I must
therefore obviate this increasing evil, and endeavour to find out some
remedy against it. The only one I can think of is, not to reserve
my rent in money, but in kind, and so place some of my servants to
overlook the tillage, and guard the stock; as indeed there is no sort of
revenue more agreeable to reason than what arises from the bounty of the
soil, the seasons, and the climate. It is true, this method will require
great honesty, sharp eyes, and many hands. However, I must risk the
experiment, and, as in an inveterate complaint, try every change of
remedy. You see, it is not any pleasurable indulgence that prevents my
attending you on the first day of your consulship. I shall celebrate
it nevertheless, as much as if I were present, and pay my vows for you
here, with all the warmest tokens of joy and congratulation. Farewell.


You are much pleased, I find, with the account I gave you in my former
letter of how I spend the summer season at Tuscum, and desire to know
what alteration I make in my method when I am at Laurentum in the
winter. None at all, except abridging myself of my sleep at noon, and
borrowing a good piece of the night before daybreak and after sunset for
study: and if business is very urgent (which in winter very frequently
happens), instead of having interludes or music after supper, I
reconsider whatever I have previously dictated, and improve my memory at
the same time by this frequent mental revision. Thus I have given you a
general sketch of my mode of life in summer and winter; to which you
may add the intermediate seasons of spring and autumn, in which,
while losing nothing out of the day, I gain but little from the night.



[Footnote 1: A pupil and intimate friend of Paetus Thrasea, the distinguished
Stoic philosopher. Arulenus was put to death by Domitian for writing a
panegyric upon Thrasea.]

[Footnote 2: The impropriety of this expression, in the original, seems to ha
in the word stigmosum, which Regulus, probably either coined through
affectation or used through ignorance. It is a word, at least,
which does not occur in any author of authority: the translator has
endeavoured, therefore, to preserve the same sort of impropriety, by
using an expression of like unwarranted stamp in his own tongue. M.]

[Footnote 3: An allusion to a wound he had received in the war between Vitellius
and Vespasian.]

[Footnote 4: A brother of Piso Galba's adopted son. He was put to death by Nero.]

[Footnote 5: Sulpicius Camerinus, put to death by the same emperor, upon some
frivolous charge.]

[Footnote 6: A select body of men who formed a court of judicature, called
the centurnviral court. Their jurisdiction extended chiefly, if not
entirely, to questions of wills and intestate estates. Their number, it
would seem, amounted to ion. M.]

[Footnote 7: Junius Mauricus, the brother of Rusticus Arulenus. Both brothers
were sentenced on the same day, Arulenue to execution and Mauricui to

[Footnote 8: There seems to have been a cast of uncommon blackness in the
character of this Regulus; otherwise the benevolent Pliny would scarcely
have singled him out, as he has in this and some following letters, for
the subject of his warmest contempt and indignation. Yet, infamous as
he was, he had his flatterers and admirers; and a contemporary poet
frequently represents him as one of the most finished characters of the
age, both in eloquence and virtue. M.]

[Footnote 9: The Decurii were a sort of senators in the municipal or corporate
cities of Italy. M.]

[Footnote 10: "Euphrates was a native of Tyre, or, according to others, of
Byzantium. He belonged to the Stoic school of philosophy. In his old age
he became tired of life, and asked and obtained from Hadrian permission
to put an end to himself by poison." Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman

[Footnote 11: A pleader and historian of some distinction, mentioned by Tacitus,
Ann. XIV. 19, and by Quintilian, X, I, 102.]

[Footnote 12: Padua.]

[Footnote 13: Domitian]

[Footnote 14: Iliad, XII. 243. Pope.]

[Footnote 15: Equal to about $4,000 of our money. After the reign of Augustus the
value of the seat ertius.]

[Footnote 16: "The equestrian dignity, or that order of the Roman people which
we commonly call knights, had nothing in it analogous to any order
of modern knighthood, but depended entirely upon a valuation of their
estates; and every citizen, whose entire fortune amounted to 400,000
sesterces, that is, to about $16000 of our money, was enrolled, of
course, in the list of knights, who were considered as a middle
order between the senators and common people, yet, without any other
distinction than the privilege of wearing a gold ring, which was the
peculiar badge of their order." Life of Cicero, Vol. I. III. in note. M.]

[Footnote 17: An elegant Attic orator, remarkable for the grace and lucidity of
his style, also for his vivid and accurate delineations of character.]

[Footnote 18: A graceful and powerful orator, and friend of Densosthenes.]

[Footnote 19: A Roman orator of the Augustan age. He was a poet and historian as
well, but gained most distinction as an orator.]

[Footnote 20: A man of considerable taste, talent, and eloquence, but profligate
and extravagant. He was on terms of some intimacy with Cicero.]

[Footnote 21: The praetor was assisted by ten assessors, five of whom were
senators, and the rest knights. With these he was obliged to consult
before he pronounced sentence. M.]

[Footnote 22: A contemporary and rival of Aristophanes.]

[Footnote 23: Aristophanes, Ach. 531]

[Footnote 24: Thersites. Iliad, II. V. 212.]

[Footnote 25: Ulysses. Iliad, III. V. 222.]

[Footnote 26: Menelaua. Iliad, III. V. 214.]

[Footnote 27: Great-grandfather of the Emperor M. Aurelius.]

[Footnote 28: An eminent lawyer of Trajan's reign.]

[Footnote 29: The philosophers used to hold their disputations in the gymnasia
and porticoes, being places of the most public resort for walking, &c.

[Footnote 30: "Verginius Rufus was governor of Upper Germany at the time of the
revolt of Julius Vindex in Gaul. A.D. 68. The soldiers of Verginius
wished to raise him to the empire, but he refused the honour, and
marched against Vindex, who perished before Vesontio. After the death
of Nero, Verginius supported the claims of Galba, and accompanied him
to Rome. Upon Otho's death, the soldiers again attempted to proclaim
Verginius emperor, and in consequence of his refusal of the honour, he
narrowly escaped with his life." (See Smith's Dict. of Greek and Rom.
Biog., &c.)]

[Footnote 31: Nerva.]

[Footnote 32: The historian,]

[Footnote 33: Namely, of augurs. "This college, as regulated by Sylla, consisted
of fifteen, who were all persons of the first distinction in Rome; it
was a priesthood for life, of a character indelible, which no crime or
forfeiture could efface; it was necessary that every candidate should be
nominated to the people by two augurs, who gave a solemn testimony upon,
oath of his dignity and fitness for that office." Middleton's Life of
Cicero, I. 547. M.]

[Footnote 34: The ancient Greeks and Romans did not sit up at the table as we
do, but reclined round it on couches, three and sometimes even four
occupying one conch, at least this latter was the custom among the
Romans. Each guest lay flat upon his chest while eating, reaching out
his hand from time to time to the table, for what he might require.
As soon as he had made a sufficient meal, he turned over upon his left
side, leaning on the elbow.]

[Footnote 35: A people of Germany.]

[Footnote 36: "Any Roman priest devoted to the service of one particular god was
designated Flamen, receiving a distinguishing epithet from the deity
to whom he ministered. The office was understood to last for life; but
a flamen might be compelled to resign for a breach of duty, or even on
account of the occurrence of an ill-omened accident while discharging
his functions." Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities.]

[Footnote 37: Trajan.]

[Footnote 38: By a law passed A. D. 762, it was enacted that every citizen of
Rome who had three children should be excused from all troublesome
offices where he lived. This privilege the emperors sometimes extended
to those who were not legally entitled to it.]

[Footnote 39: About 54 cents.]

[Footnote 40: Avenue]

[Footnote 41: "Windows made of a transparent stone called lapis specularis (mica),
which was first found in Hispania Citerior, and afterwards in Cyprus,
Cappadocia, Sicily, and Africa; but the best caine from Spain and
Cappadocia. It was easily split into the thinnest sheets. Windows,
made of this stone were called specularia." Smith's Dictionary of

[Footnote 42: A feast held in honour of the god Saturn, which began on the 19th
of December, and continued as some say, for seven days. It was a time of
general rejoicing, particularly among the slaves, who had at this season
the privilege of taking great liberties with their masters. M.]

[Footnote 43: Cicero and Quintilian have laid down rules how far, and in what
instances, this liberty was allowable, and both agree it ought to be
used with great sagacity and judgment. The latter of these excellent
critics mentions a witticism of Flavius Virginius, who asked one of
these orators, "Quot nillia assuum deciamassett." How many miles he had
declaimed. M.]

[Footnote 44: This was an act of great ceremony; and if Aurelia's dress was of
the kind which some of the Roman ladies used, the legacy must have been
considerable which Regulus had the impudence to ask. M.]

[Footnote 45: $3,350,000.]

[Footnote 46: A poet to whom Quintilian assigns the highest rank, as a Writer of
tragedies, among his contemporaries (book X. C. I. 98). Tacitus also
speaks of him in terms of high appreciation (Annals, v. 8).]

[Footnote 47: Stepson of Augustus and brother to Tiberius. An amiable and popular
prince. He died at the close of his third campaign, from a fracture
received by falling from his horse.]

[Footnote 48: A historian under Augustus and Tiberius. He wrote part of a history
of Rome, which was continued by the elder Pliny; also an account of
the German war, to which Quintilian makes allusion (Inst. X. 103),
pronouncing him, as a historian, "estimable in all respects, yet in some
things failing to do himself justice."]

[Footnote 49: The distribution of time among the Romans was very different from
ours. They divided the night into four equal parts, which they called
watches, each three hours in length; and part of these they devoted
either to the pleasures of the table or to study. The natural day they
divided into twelve hours, the first beginning with sunrise, and the
last ending with sunset; by which means their hours were of unequal
length, varying according to the different seasons of the year. The time
for business began with sunrise, and continued to the fifth hour, being
that of dinner, which with them was only a slight repast. From thence to
the seventh hour was a time of repose; a custom which still prevails
in Italy. The eighth hour was employed in bodily exercises; after which
they constantly bathed, and from thence went to supper. M.]

[Footnote 50: $16,000.]

[Footnote 51: Born about A. D. 25. He acquired some distinction as an advocate.
The only poem of his which has come down to us is a heavy prosaic
performance in seventeen books, entitled "Tunica," and containing an
account of the events of the Second Punic War, from the capture of
Saguntum to the triumph of Scipio Africanus. See Smith's Dict. of Gr.
and Roin. Biog.]

[Footnote 52: Trajan.]

[Footnote 53: Spurinna's wife.]

[Footnote 54: Domitian banished the philosophers not only from Rome, but Italy,
as Suetonius (Dom. C. X.) and Aulus Gellius (Noct. Att. b. XV. CXI. 3,
4, 5) Inform us among these was the celebrated Epictetus. M.]

[Footnote 55: The following is the story, as related by several of the ancient
historians. Paetus, having joined Scribonianus, who was in arms, in
Illyria, against Claudius, was taken after the death of Scribonianus,
and condemned to death. Arria having, in vain, solicited his life,
persuaded him to destroy himself, rather than suffer the ignominy of
falling by the executioner's hands; and, in order to encourage him to an
act, to which, it seems, he was not particularly inclined, she set him
the example in the manner Pliny relates. M.]

[Footnote 56: Trajan.]

[Footnote 57: The Roman, used to employ their criminals in the lower ones of
husbandry, such as ploughing, &c. Pun. H. N. 1. 18, 3. M.]

[Footnote 58: About $500,000.]

[Footnote 59: About $800,000.]

[Footnote 60: One of the famous seven hills upon which Rome was situated.]

[Footnote 61: Mart. LX. 19.]

[Footnote 62: Calpurnia, Pliny's wife.]

[Footnote 63: Now Citta di Castello.]

[Footnote 64: The Romans had an absolute power over their children, of which no
age or station of the latter deprived them.]

[Footnote 65: Their business was to interpret dreams, oracles, prodigies, &c.,
and to foretell whether any action should be fortunate or prejudicial,
to particular persons, or to the whole commonwealth. Upon this account,
they very often occasioned the displacing of magistrates, the deferring
of public assemblies, &c. Kennet's Ron,. Antig. M.]

[Footnote 66: Trajan.]

[Footnote 67: A slave was incapable of property; and, therefore, whatever he
acquired became the right of his master. M.]

[Footnote 68: "Their office was to attend upon the rites of Vests, the chief part
of which was the preservation of the holy fire. If this fire happened to
go out, it was considered impiety to light it at any common flame,
but they made use of the pure and unpolluted rays of the sun for that
purpose. There were various other duties besides connected with their
office. The chief rules prescribed them were, to vow the strictest
chastity, for the space of thirty years. After this term was completed,
they had liberty to leave the order. If they broke their vow of
virginity, they were buried alive in a place allotted to that peculiar
use." Kennet's Antiq. Their reputation for sanctity was so high that
Livy mentions the fact of two of those virgins having violated their
vows, as a prodigy that, threatened destruction to the Roman state.
Lib. XXII. C. 57. And Suetonius inform, us that Augiastus had so high an
opinion of this religious order, that he consigned the care of his will
to the Vestal Virgins. Suet, in vit. Aug. C. XCI. M.]

[Footnote 69: It was usual with Domitian to triumph, not only without a victory,
but even after a defeat, M.]

[Footnote 70: Euripides' Hecuba,]

[Footnote 71: The punishment inflicted upon the violators of Vestal chastity was
to be scourged to death. M.]

[Footnote 72: Calpurnia, Pliny's wife.]

[Footnote 73: Gratilla was the wife of Rusticus: Rusticus was put to death by
Domitian, and Gratilla banished. It was sufficient crime in the reign of
that execrable prince to be even a friend of those who were obnoxious to
him. M.]

[Footnote 74: In the original, scrinium, box for holding MSS.]

[Footnote 75: The hippodromus, in its proper signification, was a place, among
the Grecians, set apart for horse-racing and other exercises of that
kind. But it seems here to be nothing more than a particular walk, to
which Pliny perhaps gave that name, from its bearing some resemblance in
its form to the public places so called. M.]

[Footnote 76: Now called Frascati, Tivoli, and Palestrina, all of them situated
in the Campagna di Roma, and at no great distance from Rome. M.]

[Footnote 77: "This is said in allusion to the idea of Nemesis supposed to
threaten excessive prosperity." (Church and Brodribb.)]

[Footnote 78: About $15,000.]

[Footnote 79: About $42,000.]

[Footnote 80: None had the right of using family pictures or statues but those
whose ancestors or themselves had borne some of the highest dignities.
So that the jus imaginis was much the same thing among the Romans as the
right of bearing a coat of arms among us. Ken. Antiq. M.]

[Footnote 81: The Roman physicians used to send their patients in consumptive
cases into Egypt, particularly to Alexandria. M.]

[Footnote 82: Frejus, in Provence, the southern part of France. M.]

[Footnote 83: A court of justice erected by Julius Cæsar in the forum, and
opposite to the basilica Aemilia.]

[Footnote 84: The deceniviri seem to have been magistrates for the administration
of justice, subordinate to the praetors, who (to give the English reader
a general notion of their office) may be termed lords chief justices, as
the judges here mentioned were something in the nature of our juries. M.]

[Footnote 85: About $400.]

[Footnote 86: This silly piece of superstition seems to have been peculiar to
Regulus, and not of any general practice; at least it is a custom of
which we find no other mention in antiquity. M.]

[Footnote 87: "We gather from Martial that the wearing of these was not an unusual
practice with fops and dandies." See Epig. II. 29, in which he ridicules
a certain Rufus, and hints that if you were to "strip off the 'splenia
(plasters)' from his face, you would find out that he was a branded
runaway slave." (Church and Brodribb.)]

[Footnote 88: His wife.]

[Footnote 89: Horn. II. lib, I. V. 88.]

[Footnote 90: Now Alzia, not far from Corno.]

[Footnote 91: Nevertheless, Javolentis Priscus was one of the most eminent
lawyers of his time, and is frequently quoted in the Digesta of

[Footnote 92: In the Bay of Naples.]

[Footnote 93: The Romans used to lie or walk naked in the sun, after anointing
their bodies with oil, which was esteemed as greatly contributing to
health, and therefore daily practised by them. This custom, however, of
anointing themselves, is inveighed against by the Satirists as in the
number of their luxurious indulgences: but since we find the elder
Pliny here, and the amiable Spurinna in a former letter, practising this
method, we can not suppose the thing itself was esteemed unmanly, but
only when it was attended with some particular circumstances of an
over-refined delicacy. M.]

[Footnote 94: Now called Castelamare, in the Bay of Naples. M.]

[Footnote 95: The Stoic and Epicurean philosophers held that the world was to be
destroyed by fire, and all things fall again into original chaos; not
excepting even the national gods themselves from the destruction of this
general conflagration. M.]

[Footnote 96: The lake Larius.]

[Footnote 97: Those families were styled patrician whose ancestors had been
members of the senate in the earliest times of the regal or consular
government. M.]

[Footnote 98: Trajan]

[Footnote 99: The consuls, though they were chosen in August, did not enter upon
their office till the first of January, during which interval they were
styled consules designati, consuls elect. It was usual for them upon
that occasion to compliment the emperor, by whose appointment, after the
dissolution of the republican government, they were chosen. M.]

[Footnote 100: So called, because it formerly belonged to Camillus. M.]

[Footnote 101: Civita Vecchia.]

[Footnote 102: Trajan.]

[Footnote 103: An officer in the Roman legions, answering in some sort to a
captain In our companies. M.]

[Footnote 104: This law was made by Augustus Cæsar; but it nowhere clearly
appears what was the peculiar punishment it inflicted. M.]

[Footnote 105: An officer employed by the emperor to receive and regulate the
public revenue in the provinces. M.]

[Footnote 106: Comprehending Transylvania, Moldavia, and Walaehia. M.]

[Footnote 107: Polycletus was a freedman, and great favourite of Nero. M.]

[Footnote 108: Memmius, or Rhemmius (the critics are not agreed which), was
author of a law by which it was enacted that whosoever was convicted of
calumny and false accusation should be stigmatised with a mark in his
forehead; and by the law of the twelve tables, false accusers were to
suffer the same punishment as would have been inflicted upon the person
unjustly accused if the crime had been proved. M.]

[Footnote 109: Trajan.]

[Footnote 110: Unction was much esteemed and prescribed by the ancients. Celsus
expressly recommends it in the remission of acute distempers: "ungi
leniterque pertractari corpus, etiam in acutic et recentibus niorbis
opartet; us rernissione fumen," &c. Celsi Med. ed. Aliucloveen, p. 88.

[Footnote 111: His wife.]

[Footnote 112: See book V. letter XX.]

[Footnote 113: Trajan.]

[Footnote 114: One of the Bithynians employed to manage the trial. M.]

[Footnote 115: About $28,000.]

[Footnote 116: About $26,000.]

[Footnote 117: There is a kind of witticism in this expression, which will be
lost to the mere English reader unless he be informed that the Romans
had a privilege, confirmed to them by several laws which passed in the
earlier ages of the republic, of appealing from the decisions of the
magistrates to the general assembly of the people: and they did so in
the form of words which Pomponius here applies to a different purpose.

[Footnote 118: The priests, as well as other magistrates, exhibited public games
to the people when they entered upon their office. M.]

[Footnote 119: A famous lawyer who flourished in the reign of the emperor
Claudius: those who followed his opinions were said to be Cassians, or
of the school of Cassius. M.]

[Footnote 120: A Stoic philosopher and native of Tarsus. He was tutor for some
time to Octavius, afterwards Augustus, Cæsar.]

[Footnote 121: Balzac very prettily observes: "Il y a des riviere: qui ne font
jamais tact de bien que quand elles se dibordent; de eneme, l'amitie n'a
mealleur quo l'exces." M.]

[Footnote 122: Persons of rank and literature among the Romans retained in their
families a domestic whose sole business was to read to them. M.]

[Footnote 123: It was a doctrine maintained by the Stoics that all crimes are
equal M.]

[Footnote 124: About $400.]

[Footnote 125: About $600.]

[Footnote 126: About $93.]

[Footnote 127: Horn. II. lib. IX. V. 319.]

[Footnote 128: Those of Nero and Domitian. M.]

[Footnote 129: When Nerva and Trajan received the empire. M.]

[Footnote 130: A slave could acquire no property, and consequently was incapable
bylaw of making a will. M.]

[Footnote 131: Now called Amelia, a town in Ombria. M.]

[Footnote 132: Now Laghetto di Bassano. M.]

[Footnote 133: A province in Anatolia, or Asia Minor. M.]

[Footnote 134: The performers at these gaines were divided into companies,
distinguished by the particular colour of their habits; the principal of
which were the white, the red, the blue, and the green. Accordingly
the spectators favoured one or the other colour, as humour and
caprice inclined them. In the reign of Justinian a tumult arose in
Constantinople, occasioned merely by a contention among the partisans of
these several colours, wherein no less than 30,000 men lost their lives.

[Footnote 135: Now called Castello di Baia, in Terra di Lavoro. It was the place
the Romans chose for their winter retreat; and which they frequented
upon account of its warm baths. Sonic few ruins of the beautiful villas
that once covered this delightful coast still remain; and nothing can
give one a higher idea of the prodigious expense and magnificence of the
Romans in their private buildings than the manner in which some of these
were situated. It appears from this letter, as well as from several
other passages in the classic writers, that they actually projected into
the sea, being erected upon vast piles, sunk for that purpose.]

[Footnote 136: The buskin was a kind of high shoe worn upon the stage by the
actors of tragedy, in order to give them a more heroical elevation of
stature; as the sock was something between a shoe and stocking, it was
appropriated to the comic players. M.]

[Footnote 137: Lyons.]

[Footnote 138: He was accused of treason, under pretence that in a dramatic
piece which he composed he had, in the characters of Paris and Oenone,
reflected upon Domitian for divorcing his wife Domitia. Suet, in Vit.
Domit. C. 10. M.]

[Footnote 139: Helvidius.]

[Footnote 140: Upon the accession of Nerva to the empire, after the death of
Domitian. M.]

[Footnote 142: Our authors first wife; of whom we have no particular account.
After her death, he married his favourite Caipurnia. M.]

[Footnote 143: It is very remarkable that, when any senator was asked his opinion
in the house, he had the privilege of speaking as long as he pleased
upon any other affair before he came to the point in question. Aul.
Gell. IV. C. 10. M.]

[Footnote 144: Aeneid, LIB. VI. V. 105.]

[Footnote 145: Arria and Fannia.]

[Footnote 146: The appellation by which the senate was addressed. M.]

[Footnote 147: The tribunes were magistrates chosen at first out of the body of
the commons, for the defence of their liberties, and to interpose in all
grievances offered by their superiors. Their authority extended even to
the deliberations of the senate. M.]

[Footnote 148: Diomed's speech to Nestor, advising him to retire from the field
of battle. Iliad, VIII. 302. Pope. M.]

[Footnote 149: Nerva.]

[Footnote 150: Domitian; by whom he had been appointed consul elect, though he
had not yet entered upon that office. M.]

[Footnote 151: These persons were introduced at most of the tables of the great,
for the purposes of mirth and gaiety, and constituted an essential part
in all polite entertainments among the Romans. It is surprising how
soon this great people fell off from their original severity of manners,
and were tainted with the stale refinements of foreign luxury. Livy
dates the rise of this and other unmanly delicacies from the conquest of
Scipio Asiaticus over Antiochus; that is when the Roman name had scarce
subsisted above a hundred and threescore years. "Luxuriae peregrinae
origio," says he, "exercitu Asiatico in urbem invecta est." This
triumphant army caught, it seems, the contagious softness of the people
it subdued; and, on its return to Rome, spread an infection among their
countrymen, which worked by slow degrees, till it effected their total
destruction. Thus did Eastern luxury revenge itself on Roman arms. It
may be wondered that Pliny should keep his own temper, and check
the indignation of his friends at a scene which was fit only for the
dissolute revels of the infamous Trimalchio. But it will not, perhaps,
be doing justice to our author to take an estimate of his real
sentiments upon this point from the letter before us. Genitor, it
seems, was a man of strict, but rather of too austere morals for the
free turn of the age: "emendatus et gravis: paulo etiam horridior et
durior ut in hac licentia teniporuni" (Ep. III. 1. 3). But as there is
a certain seasonable accommodation to the manners of the times, not only
extremely Consistent with, but highly conducive to, the interests
of virtue, Pliny, probably, may affect a greater latitude than he in
general approved, in order to draw off his friend from that stiffness
and unyielding disposition which might prejudice those of a gayer turn
against him, and consequently lessen the beneficial influence of his
virtues upon the world. M.]

[Footnote 152: See letter CIII.]

[Footnote 153: Iliad, XXI. 387. Pope. M.]

[Footnote 154: Iliad, V. 356, speaking of Mars. M.]

[Footnote 154: Iliad, IV. 452. Pope.]

[Footnote 155: The design of Pliny in this letter is to justify the figurative
expressions he had employed, probably, in same oration, by instances
of the same warmth of colouring from those great masters of eloquence,
Demosthenes and his rival Aesehines. But the force of the passages which
he produces from those orators must necessarily be greatly weakened to a
mere modern reader, some of them being only hinted at, as generally well
known; and the metaphors in several of the others have either lost much
of their original spirit and boldness, by being introduced and received
in Common language, or cannot, perhaps, he preserved in an English
translation. M.]

[Footnote 156: See 1st Philippic.]

[Footnote 157: See Demosthenes' speech in defence of Cteisphon.]

[Footnote 158: See end Olynthiac.]

[Footnote 159: See Aesehines' speech against Ctesiphon.]

[Footnote 160: It was a religious ceremony practised by the ancients to pour
precious ointments upon the statues of their gods: Avitus, it is
probable, imagined this dolphin was some sea-divinity, and therefore
expressed his veneration of him by the solemnity of a sacred unction. M.]

[Footnote 161: The overflowing humanity of Pliny's temper breaks out upon all
occasions, but he discovers it in nothing more strongly than by the
impression which this little story appears to have made upon him.
True benevolence, indeed, extends itself through the whole compass
of existence, and sympathises with the distress of every creature of
sensation. Little minds may be apt to consider a compassion of this
inferior kind as an instance of weakness; but it is undoubtedly
the evidence of a noble nature. Homer thought it not unbecoming the
character even of a hero to melt into tears at a distress of this sort,
and has given us a most amiable and affecting picture of Ulysses weeping
over his faithful dog Argus, when he expires at his feet:

     "Soft pity touch'd the mighty master's soul;
     Adown his cheek the tear unbidden stole,
     Stole unperceived; he turn'd his head and dry'd
     The drop humane.".
     (Odyss. XVII. Pope.) M.]

[Footnote 162: By the regimen which Pliny here follows, one would imagine, if he
had not told us who were his physicians, that the celebrated Celsus
was in the number. That author expressly recommends reading aloud, and
afterwards walking, as beneficial in disorders of the stomach: "Si quis
stomacho laborat, leqere clare debet; post lectionem ambulare," &c.
Celsi Medic. 1. I. C. 8. M.]



THE pious affection you bore, most sacred Emperor, to your august father
induced you to wish it might be late ere you succeeded him. But the
immortal gods thought proper to hasten the advancement of those
virtues to the helm of the commonwealth which had already shared in the
steerage.[1002] May you then, and the world through your means, enjoy
every prosperity worthy of your reign: to which let me add my wishes,
most excellent Emperor, upon a private as well as public account, that
your health and spirits may be preserved firm and unbroken.


You have occasioned me, Sir, an inexpressible pleasure in deeming me
worthy of enjoying the privilege which the laws confer on those who have
three children. For although it was from an indulgence to the request of
the excellent Julius Servianus, your own most devoted servant, that you
granted this favour, yet I have the satisfaction to find by the words
of your rescript that you complied the more willingly as his application
was in my behalf. I cannot but look upon myself as in possession of my
utmost wish, after having thus received, at the beginning of your most
auspicious reign, so distinguishing a mark of your peculiar favour;
at the same time that it considerably heightens my desire of leaving
a family behind me. I was not entirely without this desire even in the
late most unhappy times: as my two marriages will induce you to believe.
But the gods decreed it better, by reserving every valuable privilege
to the bounty of your generous dispensations. And indeed the pleasure
of being a father will be so much more acceptable to me now, that I can
enjoy it in full security and happiness.


THE experience, most excellent Emperor, I have had of your unbounded
generosity to me, in my own person, encourages me to hope I may be yet
farther obliged to it, in that of my friends. Voconius Romanus (who was
my schoolfellow and companion from our earliest years) claims the first
rank in that number; in consequence of which I petitioned your sacred
father to promote him to the dignity of the senatorial order. But the
completion of my request is reserved to your goodness; for his mother
had not then advanced, in the manner the law directs, the liberal
gift[1003] of four hundred thousand sesterces, which she engaged to give
him, in her letter to the late emperor, your father. This, however, by
my advice she has since done, having made over certain estates to him,
as well as completed every other act necessary to make the conveyance
valid. The difficulties therefore being removed which deferred the
gratification of our wishes, it is with full confidence I venture to
assure you of the worth of my friend Romanus, heightened and adorned as
it is not only by liberal culture, but by his extraordinary tenderness
to his parents as well. It is to that virtue he owes the present
liberality of his mother; as well as his immediate succession to his
late father's estate, and his adoption by his father-in-law. To
these personal qualifications, the wealth and rank of his family
give additional lustre; and I persuade myself it will be some further
recommendation that I solicit in his behalf. Let me, then, entreat you,
Sir, to enable me to congratulate Romanus on so desirable an occasion,
and at the same time to indulge an eager and, I hope, laudable ambition,
of having it in my power to boast that your favourable regards are
extended not only to myself, but also to my friend.


WHEN by your gracious indulgence, Sir, I was appointed to preside at the
treasury of Saturn, I immediately renounced all engagements of the bar
(as indeed I never blended business of that kind with the functions of
the state), that no avocations might call off my attention from the post
to which I was appointed. For this reason, when the province of Africa
petitioned the senate that I might undertake their cause against Marius
Priscus, I excused myself from that office; and my excuse was allowed.
But when afterwards the consul elect proposed that the senate should
apply to us again, and endeavour to prevail with us to yield to its
inclinations, and suffer our names to be thrown into the urn, I thought
it most agreeable to that tranquillity and good order which so happily
distinguishes your times not to oppose (especially in so reasonable an
instance) the will of that august assembly. And, as I am desirous that
all my words and actions may receive the sanction of your exemplary
virtue, I hope you approve of my compliance.


You acted as became a good citizen and a worthy senator, by paying
obedience to the just requisition of that august assembly: and I have
full confidence you will faithfully discharge the business you have


HAVING been attacked last year by a very severe and dangerous illness,
I employed a physician, whose care and diligence, Sir, I cannot
sufficiently reward, but by your gracious assistance. I entreat you
therefore to make him a denizen of Rome; for as he is the freedman of a
foreign lady, he is, consequently, himself also a foreigner. His name
is Harpocras; his patroness (who has been dead a considerable time) was
Thermuthis, the daughter of Theon. I further entreat you to bestow the
full privileges of a Roman citizen upon Hedia and Antonia Harmeris, the
freedwomen of Antonia Maximilla, a lady of great merit. It is at her
desire I make this request.


I RETURN YOU thanks, Sir, for your ready compliance with my desire, in
granting the complete privileges of a Roman to the freedwomen of a
lady to whom I am allied and also for making Harpocras, my physician,
a denizen of Rome. But when, agreeably to your directions, I gave in an
account of his age, and estate, I was informed by those who are better
skilled in the affairs than I pretend to be that, as he is an Egyptian,
I ought first to have obtained for him the freedom of Alexandria before
he was made free of Rome. I confess, indeed, as I was ignorant of any
difference in this case between those of Egypt and other countries, I
contented myself with Only acquainting you that he had been manumitted
by a foreign lady long since deceased. However, it is an ignorance I
cannot regret, since it affords me an opportunity of receiving from you
a double obligation in favour of the same person. That I may legally
therefore enjoy the benefit of your goodness, I beg you would be pleased
to grant him the freedom of the city of Alexandria, as well as that of
Rome. And that your gracious intentions may not meet with any further
obstacles, I have taken care, as you directed, to send an account to
your freedman of his age and possessions.


IT is my resolution, in pursuance of the maxim observed by the princes
my predecessors, to be extremely cautious in granting the freedom of the
city of Alexandria: however, since you have obtained of me the freedom
of Rome for your physician Harpocras, I cannot refuse you this other
request. You must let me know to what district he belongs, that I may
give you a letter to my friend Pompeius Planta, governor of Egypt.


I CANNOT express, Sir, the pleasure your letter gave me, by which I
am informed that you have made my physician Harpocras a denizen of
Alexandria; notwithstanding your resolution to follow the maxim of your
predecessors in this point, by being extremely cautious in granting that
privilege. Agreeably to your directions, I acquaint you that Harpocras
belongs to the district of Memphis.[1004] I entreat you then, most
gracious Emperor, to send me, as you promised, a letter to your friend
Pompeius Planta, governor of Egypt. As I purpose (in order to have the
earliest enjoyment of your presence, so ardently wished for here) to
come to meet you, I beg, Sir, you would permit me to extend my journey
as far as possible.


I WAS greatly obliged, Sir, in my late illness, to Posthumius Marinus,
my physician; and I cannot make him a suitable return, but by the
assistance of your wonted gracious indulgence. I entreat you then to
make Chrysippus Mithridates and his wife Stratonica (who are related
to Marinus) denizens of Rome. I entreat likewise the same privilege in
favour of Epigonus and Mithridates, the two sons of Chrysippus; but
with this restriction' that they may remain under the dominion of
their father, and yet reserve their right of patronage over their own
freedmen. I further entreat you to grant the full privileges of a Roman
to L. Satrius Abascantius, P. Caesius Phosphorus, and Pancharia Soteris.
This request I make with the consent of their patrons.


AFTER your late sacred father, Sir, had, in a noble speech, as well as
by his own generous example, exhorted and encouraged the public to acts
of munificence, I implored his permission to remove the several statues
which I had of the former emperors to my corporation, and at the same
time requested permission to add his own to the number. For as I had
hitherto let them remain in the respective places in which they stood
when they were left to me by several different inheritances, they were
dispersed in distant parts of my estate. He was pleased to grant my
request, and at the same time to give me a very ample testimony of his
approbation. I immediately, therefore, wrote to the decurii, to desire
they would allot a piece of ground, upon which I might build a temple at
my own expense; and they, as a mark of honour to my design, offered me
the choice of any site I might think proper. However, my own ill-health
in the first place, and later that of your father, together with the
duties of that employment which you were both pleased to entrust me,
prevented my proceeding with that design. But I have now, I think, a
convenient opportunity of making an excursion for the purpose, as my
monthly attendances ends on the 1st of September, and there are several
festivals in the month following. My first request, then, is that
you would permit me to adorn the temple I am going to erect with your
statue, and next (in order to the execution of my design with all the
expedition possible) that you would indulge me with leave of absence. It
would ill become the sincerity I profess, were I to dissemble that
your goodness in complying with this desire will at the same time be
extremely serviceable to me in my own private affairs. It is absolutely
necessary I should not defer any longer the letting of my lands in that
province; for, besides that they amount to above four hundred thousand
sesterces,[1006] the time for dressing the vineyards is approaching, and
that business must fall upon my new tenants. The unfruitfulness of the
seasons besides, for several years past, obliges me to think of making
some abatements in my rents; which I cannot possibly settle unless I
am present. I shall be indebted then to your indulgence, Sir, for the
expedition of my work of piety, and the settlement of my own private
affairs, if you will be pleased to grant me leave of absence[1008] for
thirty days. I cannot give myself a shorter time, as the town and the
estate of which I am speaking lie above a hundred and fifty miles from


You have given me many private reasons, and every public one, why
you desire leave of absence; but I need no other than that it is your
desire: and I doubt not of your returning as soon as possible to the
duty of an office which so much requires your attendance. As I would
not seem to check any instance of your affection towards me, I shall
not oppose your erecting my statue in the place you desire; though in
general I am extremely cautious in giving any encouragement to honours
of that kind.


As I am sensible, Sir, that the highest applause my actions can receive
is to be distinguished by so excellent a prince, I beg you would be
graciously pleased to add either the office of augur or septemvir' (both
which are now vacant) to the dignity I already enjoy by your indulgence;
that I may have the satisfaction of publicly offering up those vows for
your prosperity, from the duty of my office, which I daily prefer to the
gods in private, from the affection of my heart.


HAVING safely passed the promontory of Malea, I am arrived at Ephesus
with all my retinue, notwithstanding I was detained for some time by
contrary winds: a piece of information, Sir, in which, I trust, you will
feel yourself concerned. I propose pursuing the remainder of my
journey to the province[1010] partly in light vessels, and partly in
post-chaises: for as the excessive heats will prevent my travelling
altogether by land, so the Etesian winds,[1011] which are now set in,
will not permit me to proceed entirely by sea.


YOUR information, my dear Pliny, was extremely agreeable to mc, as it
does concern me to know in what manner you arrive at your province. It
is a wise intention of yours to travel either by sea or land, as you
shall find most convenient.


As I had a very favourable voyage to Ephesus, so in travelling by
post-chaise from thence I was extremely troubled by the heats, and also
by some slight feverish attacks, which kept me some time at Pergamus.
From there, Sir, I got on board a coasting vessel, but, being again
detained by contrary winds, did not arrive at Bithynia so soon as I had
hoped. However, I have no reason to complain of this delay, since (which
indeed was the most auspicious circumstance that could attend me) I
reached the province in time to celebrate your birthday. I am at
present engaged in examining the finances of the Prusenses,[1012] their
expenses, revenues, and credits; and the farther I proceed in this work,
the more I am convinced of the necessity of my enquiry. Several large
sums of money are owing to the city from private persons, which they
neglect to pay upon various pretences; as, on the other hand, I find the
public funds are, in some instances, very unwarrantably applied. This,
Sir, I write to you immediately on my arrival. I entered this province
on the 17th of September,[1013] and found in it that obedience and
loyalty towards yourself which you justly merit from all mankind. You
will consider, Sir, whether it would not be proper to send a surveyor
here; for I am inclined to think much might be deducted from what is
charged by those who have the conduct of the public works if a faithful
admeasurement were to be taken: at least I am of that opinion from what
I have already seen of the accounts of this city, which I am now going
into as fully as is possible.


I SHOULD have rejoiced to have heard that you arrived at Bithynia
without the smallest inconvenience to yourself or any of your retinue,
and that your journey from Ephesus had been as easy as your voyage to
that place was favourable. For the rest, your letter informs me, my
dearest Secundus, on what day you reached Bithynia. The people of that
province will be convinced, I persuade myself, that I am attentive to
their interest: as your conduct towards them will make it manifest
that I could have chosen no more proper person to supply my place. The
examination of the public accounts ought certainly to be your first
employment, as they are evidently in great disorder. I have scarcely
surveyors sufficient to inspect those works[1014] which I am carrying on
at Rome, and in the neighbourhood; but persons of integrity and skill in
this art may be found, most certainly, in every province, so that they
will not fail you if only you will make due enquiry.


THOUGH I am well assured, Sir, that you, who never omit any opportunity
of exerting your generosity, are not unmindful of the request I lately
made to you, yet, as you have often indulged me in this manner, give me
leave to remind and earnestly entreat you to bestow the praetorship now
vacant upon Attius Sura. Though his ambition is extremely moderate, yet
the quality of his birth, the inflexible integrity he has preserved in
a very narrow fortune, and, more than all, the felicity of your times,
which encourages conscious virtue to claim your favour, induce him to
hope he may experience it in the present instance.


I CONGRATULATE both you and the public, most excellent Emperor, upon
the great and glorious victory you have obtained; so agreeable to the
heroism of ancient Rome. May the immortal gods grant the same happy
success to all your designs, that, under the administration of so many
princely virtues, the splendour of the empire may shine out, not only in
its former, but with additional lustre.[1015]


Mv lieutenant, Servilius Pudens, came to Nicomedia,[1016] Sir, on the
24th of November, and by his arrival freed me, at length, from the
anxiety of a very uneasy expectation.


YOUR generosity to me, Sir, was the occasion of uniting me to Rosianus
Geminus, by the strongest ties; for he was my quaestor when I was
consul. His behaviour to me during the continuance of our offices was
highly respectful, and he has treated me ever since with so peculiar
a regard that, besides the many obligations I owe him upon a public
account, I am indebted to him for the strongest pledges of private
friendship. I entreat you, then, to comply with my request for the
advancement of one whom (if my recommendation has any weight) you will
even distinguish with your particular favour; and whatever trust you
shall repose in him, he will endeavour to show himself still deserving
of an higher. But I am the more sparing in my praises of him, being
persuaded his integrity, his probity, and his vigilance are well known
to you, not only from those high posts which he has exercised in Rome
within your immediate inspection, but from his behaviour when he served
under you in the army. One thing, however, my affection for him inclines
me to think, I have not yet sufficiently done; and therefore, Sir, I
repeat my entreaties that you will give me the pleasure, as early as
possible, of rejoicing in the advancement of my quaestor, or, in other
words, of receiving an addition to my own honours, in the person of my


IT is not easy, Sir, to express the joy I received when I heard you had,
in compliance with the request of my mother-in-law and myself, granted
Coelius Clemens the proconsulship of this province after the expiration
of his consular office; as it is from thence I learn the full extent of
your goodness towards me, which thus graciously extends itself through
my whole family. As I dare not pretend to make an equal return to those
obligations I so justly owe you, I can only have recourse to vows, and
ardently implore the gods that I may not be found unworthy of those
favours which you are the repeatedly conferring upon me.


I RECEIVED, Sir, a dispatch from your freedman, Lycormas, desiring me,
if any embassy from Bosporus[1017] should come here on the way to Rome,
that I would detain it till his arrival. None has yet arrived, at least
in the city[1018] where I now am. But a courier passing through this
place from the king of Sarmatia,[1019] I embrace the opportunity which
accidentally offers itself, of sending with him the messenger which
Lycormas despatched hither, that you might be informed by both their
letters of what, perhaps, it may be expedient you should be acquainted
with at one and the same time.


I AM informed by a letter from the king of Sarmatia that there are
certain affairs of which you ought to be informed as soon as possible.
In order, therefore, to hasten the despatches which his courier was
charged with to you, I granted him an order to make use of the public


THE ambassador from the king of Sarmatia having remained two days, by
his own choice, at Nicea, I did not think it reasonable, Sir, to detain
him any longer: because, in the first place, it was still uncertain when
your freedman, Lycormas, would arrive, and then again some indispensable
affairs require my presence in a different part of the province. Of this
I thought it necessary that you should be informed, because I lately
acquainted you in a letter that Lycormas had desired, if any embassy
should come this way from Bosporus, that I would detain it till his
arrival. But I saw no plausible pretext for keeping him back any longer,
especially as the despatches from Lycormas, which (as I mentioned
before) I was not willing to detain, would probably reach you some days
sooner than this ambassador.


I RECEIVED a letter, Sir, from Apuleius, a military man, belonging to
the garrison at Nicomedia, informing me that one Callidromus, being
arrested by Maximus and Dionysius (two bakers, to whom he had hired
himself), fled for refuge to your statue;[1021] that, being brought
before a magistrate, he declared he, was formerly slave to Laberius
Maximus, but being taken prisoner by Susagus[1022] in Moesia,[1023] he
was sent as a present from Decebalus to Pacorus, king of Parthia,
in whose service he continued several years, from whence he made his
escape, and came to Nicomedia. When he was examined before me, he
confirmed this account, for which reason I thought it necessary to
send[1024] him to you. This I should have done sooner, but I delayed his
journey in order to make an inquiry concerning a seal ring which he said
was taken from him, upon which was engraven the figure of Pacorus in
his royal robes; I was desirous (if it could have been found) of
transmitting this curiosity to you, with a small gold nugget which he
says he brought from out of the Parthian mines. I have affixed my seal
to it, the impression of which is a chariot drawn by four horses.


YOUR freedman and procurator,[1025] Maximus, behaved, Sir, during all
the time we were together, with great probity, attention, and diligence;
as one strongly attached to your interest, and strictly observant of
discipline. This testimony I willingly give him; and I give it with all
the fidelity I owe you.


AFTER having experienced, Sir, in Gabius Bassus, who commands on the
Pontic[1026] coast, the greatest integrity, honour, and diligence, as
well as the most particular respect to myself, I cannot refuse him my
best wishes and suffrage; and I give them to him with all that fidelity
which is due to you. I have found him abundantly qualified by having
served in the army under you; and it is owing to the advantages of your
discipline that he has learned to merit your favour. The soldiery
and the people here, who have had full experience of his justice and
humanity, rival each other in that glorious testimony they give of his
conduct, both in public and in private; and I certify this with all the
sincerity you have a right to expect from me.


NYMPHIDIUS Lupus,[1027] Sir, and myself, served in the army together;
he commanded a body of the auxiliary forces at the same time that I was
military tribune; and it was from thence my affection for him began.
A long acquaintance has since mutually endeared and strengthened our
friendship. For this reason I did violence to his repose, and insisted
upon his attending me into Bithynia, as my assessor in council. He most
readily granted me this proof of his friendship; and without any regard
to the plea of age, or the ease of retirement, he shared, and continues
to share, with me, the fatigue of public business. I consider his
relations, therefore, as my own; in which number Nymphidius Lupus,
his son, claims my particular regard. He is a youth of great merit
and indefatigable application, and in every respect well worthy of
so excellent a father. The early proof he gave of his merit, when he
commanded a regiment of foot, shows him to be equal to any honour you
may think proper to confer upon him; and it gained him the strongest
testimony of approbation from those most illustrious personages, Julius
Ferox and Fuscus Salinator. And I will add, Sir, that I shall rejoice
in any accession of dignity which he shall receive as an occasion of
particular satisfaction to myself.


I BEG your determination, Sir, on a point I am exceedingly doubtful
about: it is whether I should place the public slaves[1028] as sentries
round the prisons of the several cities in this province (as has been
hitherto the practice) or employ a party of soldiers for that purpose?
On the one hand, I am afraid the public slaves will not attend this duty
with the fidelity they ought; and on the other, that it will engage too
large a body of the soldiery. In the meanwhile I have joined a few of
the latter with the former. I am apprehensive, however, there may be
some danger that this method will occasion a general neglect of duty, as
it will afford them a mutual opportunity of throwing the blame upon each


THERE is no occasion, my dearest Secundus, to draw off any soldiers
in order to guard the prisons. Let us rather persevere in the ancient
customs observed in this province, of employing the public slaves for
that purpose; and the fidelity with which they shall execute their duty
will depend much upon your care and strict discipline. It is greatly
to be feared, as you observe, if the soldiers should be mixed with the
public slaves, they will mutually trust to each other, and by that means
grow so much the more negligent. But my principal objection is that as
few soldiers as possible should be withdrawn from their standard.


GABIUS BASSUS, who commands upon the frontiers of Pontica, in a manner
suitable to the respect and duty which he owes you, came to me, and has
been with me, Sir, for several days. As far as I could observe, he is a
person of great merit and worthy of your favour. I acquainted him it was
your order that he should retain only ten beneficiary[1029] soldiers,
two horse-guards, and one centurion out of the troops which you were
pleased to assign to my command. He assured me those would not be
sufficient, and that he would write to you accordingly; for which reason
I thought it proper not immediately to recall his supernumeraries.


I HAVE received from Gabius Bassus the letter you mention, acquainting
me that the number of soldiers I had ordered him was not sufficient; and
for your information I have directed my answer to be hereunto annexed.
It is very material to distinguish between what the exigency of affairs
requires and what an ambitious desire of extending power may think
necessary. As for ourselves, the public welfare must be our only guide:
accordingly it is incumbent upon us to take all possible care that the
soldiers shall not be absent from their standard.


THE PRUSENSES, Sir, having an ancient bath which lies in a ruinous
state, desire your leave to repair it; but, upon examination, I am of
opinion it ought to be rebuilt. I think, therefore, you may indulge them
in this request, as there will be a sufficient fund for that purpose,
partly from those debts which are due from private persons to the public
which I am now collecting in; and partly from what they raise among
themselves towards furnishing the bath with oil, which they are willing
to apply to the carrying on of this building; a work which the dignity
of the city and the splendour of your times seem to demand.


IF the erecting a public bath will not be too great a charge upon the
Prusenses, we may comply with their request; provided, however, that no
new tax be levied for this purpose, nor any of those taken off which are
appropriated to necessary services.


I AM assured, Sir, by your freedman and receiver-general Maximus, that
it is necessary he should have a party of soldiers assigned to him, over
and besides the beneficiarii, which by your orders I allotted to the
very worthy Gemellinus. Those therefore which I found in his service,
I thought proper he should retain, especially as he was going into
Paphlagonia,[1030] in order to procure corn. For his better protection
likewise, and because it was his request, I added two of the cavalry.
But I beg you would inform me, in your next despatches, what method you
would have me observe for the future in points of this nature.


As my freedman Maximus was going upon an extraordinary commission to
procure corn, I approve of your having supplied him with a file of
soldiers. But when he shall return to the duties of his former post, I
think two from you and as many from his coadjutor, my receiver-general
Virdius Gemelhinus, will be sufficient.


THE very excellent young man Sempronius Caelianus, having discovered
two slaves[1031] among the recruits, has sent them to me. But I deferred
passing sentence till I had consulted you, the restorer and upholder of
military discipline, concerning the punishment proper to be inflicted
upon them. My principal doubt is that, whether, although they have taken
the military oath, they are yet entered into any particular legion. I
request you therefore, Sir, to inform me what course I should pursue in
this affair, especially as it concerns example.


SEMPRONIUS CAELINUS has acted agreeably to my orders, in sending such
persons to be tried before you as appear to deserve capital punishment.
It is material however, in the case in question, to inquire whether
these slaves in-listed themselves voluntarily, or were chosen by the
officers, or presented as substitutes for others. If they were chosen,
the officer is guilty; if they are substitutes, the blame rests with
those who deputed them; but if, conscious of the legal inabilities of
their station, they presented themselves voluntarily, the punishment
must fall upon their own beads. That they are not yet entered into any
legion, makes no great difference in their case; for they ought to
have given a true account of themselves immediately, upon their being
approved as fit for the service.


As I have your permission, Sir, to address myself to you in all my
doubts, you will not consider it beneath your dignity to descend to
those humbler affairs which concern my administration of this province.
I find there are in several cities, particularly those of Nicomedia and
Nicea, certain persons who take upon themselves to act as public slaves,
and receive an annual stipend accordingly; notwithstanding they have
been condemned either to the mines, the public games,[1032] or other
punishments of the like nature. Having received information of this
abuse I have been long debating with myself what I ought to do. On the
one hand, to send them back again to their respective punishments
(many of them being now grown old, and behaving, as I am assured, with
sobriety and modesty) would, I thought, be proceeding against them too
severely; on the other, to retain convicted criminals in the public
service, seemed not altogether decent. I considered at the same time
to support these people in idleness would be an useless expense to the
public; and to leave them to starve would be dangerous. I was obliged
therefore to suspend the determination of this matter till I could
consult with you. You will be desirous, perhaps, to be informed how it
happened that these persons escaped the punishments to which they were
condemned. This enquiry I have also made, but cannot return you any
satisfactory answer. The decrees against them were indeed produced; but
no record appears of their having ever been reversed. It was asserted,
however, that these people were pardoned upon their petition to the
proconsuls, or their lieutenants; which seems likely to be the truth,
as it is improbable any person would have dared to set them at liberty
without authority.


You will remember you were sent into Bithynia for the particular purpose
of correcting those many abuses which appeared in need of reform. Now
none stands more so than that of criminals who have been sentenced to
punishment should not only be set at liberty (as your letter informs me)
without authority; but even appointed to employments which ought only
to be exercised by persons whose characters are irreproachable. Those
therefore among them who have been convicted within these ten years, and
whose sentence has not been reversed by proper authority, must be sent
back again to their respective punishments: but where more than ten
years have elapsed since their conviction, and they are grown old and
infirm, let them he disposed of in such employments as are but few
degrees removed from the punishments to which they were sentenced; that
is, either to attend upon the public baths, cleanse the common sewers,
or repair the streets and highways, the usual offices assigned to such


WHILE I was making a progress in a different part of the province, a
most extensive fire broke out at Nicomedia, which not only consumed
several private houses, but also two public buildings; the town-house
and the temple of Isis, though they stood on contrary sides of the
street. The occasion of its spreading thus far was partly owing to the
violence of the wind, and partly to the indolence of the people, who,
manifestly, stood idle and motionless spectators of this terrible
calamity. The truth is the city was not furnished with either engines,1
buckets, or any single instrument suitable for extinguishing fires;
which I have now however given directions to have prepared. You will
consider, Sir, whether it may not be advisable to institute a company of
fire-men, consisting only of one hundred and fifty members. I will take
care none but those of that business shall be admitted into it, and that
the privileges granted them shall not be applied to any other purpose.
As this corporate body will be restricted to so small a number of
members, it will be easy to keep them under proper regulation.


You are of opinion it would be proper to establish a company of firemen
in Nicomedia, agreeably to what has been practised in several other
cities. But it is to be remembered that societies of this sort have
greatly disturbed the peace of the province in general, and of those
cities in particular. Whatever name we give them, and for whatever
purposes they may be founded, they will not fail to form themselves
into factious assemblies, however short their meetings may be. It
will therefore be safer to provide such machines as are of service
in extinguishing fires, enjoining the owners of houses to assist in
preventing the mischief from spreading, and, if it should be necessary,
to call in the aid of the populace.


WE have acquitted, Sir, and renewed our annual vows[1034] for your
prosperity, in which that of the empire is essentially involved,
imploring the gods to grant us ever thus to pay and thus to repeat them.


I RECEIVED the satisfaction, my dearest Secundus, of being informed by
your letter that you, together with the people under your government,
have both discharged and renewed your vows to the immortal gods for my
health and happiness.


THE citizens of Nicomedia, Sir, have expended three millions three
hundred and twenty-nine sesterces[1035] in building an aqueduct; but,
not being able to finish it, the works are entirely falling to ruin.
They made a second attempt in another place, where they laid out two
millions.[1036] But this likewise is discontinued; so that, after having
been at an immense charge to no purpose, they must still be at a further
expense, in order to be accommodated with water. I have examined a
fine spring from whence the water may be conveyed over arches (as was
attempted in their first design) in such a manner that the higher as
well as level and low parts of the city may be supplied. There are still
remaining a very few of the old arches; and the square stones, however,
employed in the former building, may be used in turning the new arches.
I am of opinion part should be raised with brick, as that will be the
easier and cheaper material. But that this work may not meet with the
same ill-success as the former, it will be necessary to send here an
architect, or some one skilled in the construction of this kind of
waterworks. And I will venture to say, from the beauty and usefulness
of the design, it will be an erection well worthy the splendour of your


CARE must be taken to supply the city of Nicomedia with water; and that
business, I am well persuaded, you will perform with all the diligence
you ought. But really it is no less incumbent upon you to examine by
whose misconduct it has happened that such large sums have been thrown
away upon this, lest they apply the money to private purposes, and
the aqueduct in question, like the preceding, should be begun, and
afterwards left unfinished. You will let me know the result of your


THE citizens of Nicea, Sir; are building a theatre, which, though it is
not yet finished, has already exhausted, as I am informed (for I have
not examined the account myself), above ten millions of sesterces;[1037]
and, what is worse, I fear to no purpose. For either from the foundation
being laid in soft, marshy ground, or that the stone itself is light
and crumbling, the wails are sinking, and cracked from top to bottom.
It deserves your consideration, therefore, whether it would be best
to carry on this work, or entirely discontinue it, or rather, perhaps,
whether it would not be most prudent absolutely to destroy it: for the
buttresses and foundations by means of which it is from time to time
kept up appear to me more expensive than solid. Several private persons
have undertaken to build the compartment of this theatre at their own
expense, some engaging to erect the portico, others the galleries over
the pit:[1038] but this design cannot be executed, as the principal
building which ought first to be completed is now at a stand. This city
is also rebuilding, upon a far more enlarged plan, the gymnasium,[1039]
which was burnt down before my arrival in the province. They have
already been at some (and, I rather fear, a fruitless) expense. The
structure is not only irregular and ill-proportioned, but the present
architect (who, it must be owned, is a rival to the person who was first
employed) asserts that the walls, although twenty-two feet[1040] in
thickness, are not strong enough to support the superstructure, as
the interstices are filled up with quarrystones, and the walls are not
overlaid with brickwork. Also the inhabitants of Claudiopolis[1041] are
sinking (I cannot call it erecting) a large public bath, upon a low spot
of ground which lies at the foot of a mountain. The fund appropriated
for the carrying on of this work arises from the money which those
honorary members you were pleased to add to the senate paid (or,
at least, are ready to pay whenever I call upon them) for their
admission.[1042] As I am afraid, therefore, the public money in the
city of Nicea, and (what is infinitely more valuable than any pecuniary
consideration) your bounty in that of Nicopolis, should be ill applied,
I must desire you to send hither an architect to inspect, not only
the theatre, but the bath; in order to consider whether, after all the
expense which has already been laid out, it will be better to finish
them upon the present plan, or alter the one, and remove the other, in
as far as may seem necessary: for otherwise we may perhaps throw away
our future cost in endeavoring not to lose what we have already


You, who are upon the spot, will best be able to consider and determine
what is proper to be done concerning the theatre which the inhabitants
of Nicea are building; as for myself, it will be sufficient if you let
me know your determination. With respect to the particular parts of this
theatre which are to be raised at a private charge, you will see those
engagements fulfilled when the body of the building to which they are to
be annexed shall be finished. -- These paltry Greeks[1043] are, I know,
immoderately fond of gymnastic diversions, and therefore, perhaps, the
citizens of Nicea have planned a more magnificent building for this
purpose than is necessary; however, they must be content with such as
will be sufficient to answer the purpose for which it is intended. I
leave it entirely to you to persuade the Claudiopolitani as you shall
think proper with regard to their bath, which they have placed, it
seems, in a very improper situation. As there is no province that is
not furnished with men of skill and ingenuity, you cannot possibly want
architects; unless you think it the shortest way to procure them from
Rome, when it is generally from Greece that they come to us.


WHEN I reflect upon the splendour of your exalted station, and the
magnanimity of your spirit, nothing, I am persuaded, can be more
suitable to both than to point out to you such works as are worthy
of your glorious and immortal name, as being no less useful than
magnificent. Bordering upon the territories of the city of Nicomedia is
a most extensive lake; over which marbles, fruits, woods, and all kinds
of materials, the commodities of the country, are brought over in boats
up to the high-road, at little trouble and expense, but from thence are
conveyed in carriages to the sea-side, at a much greater charge and
with great labour. To remedy this inconvenience, many hands will be
in request; but upon such an occasion they cannot be wanting: for the
country, and particularly the city, is exceedingly populous; and one
may assuredly hope that every person will readily engage in a work which
will be of universal benefit. It only remains then to send hither, if
you shall think proper, a surveyor or an architect, in order to examine
whether the lake lies above the level of the sea; the engineers of
this province being of opinion that the former is higher by forty
cubits,[1044] I find there is in the neighbourhood of this place a
large canal, which was cut by a king of this country; but as it is left
unfinished, it is uncertain whether it was for the purpose of draining
the adjacent fields, or making a communication between the lake and the
river. It is equally doubtful too whether the death of the king, or the
despair of being able to accomplish the design, prevented the completion
of it. If this was the reason, I am so much the more eager and warmly
desirous, for the sake of your illustrious character (and I hope you
will pardon me the ambition), that you may have the glory of executing
what kings could only attempt.


THERE is something in the scheme you propose of opening a communication
between the lake and the sea, which may, perhaps, tempt me to consent.
But you must first carefully examine the situation of this body of
water, what quantity it contains, and from whence it is supplied; lest,
by giving it an opening into the sea, it should be totally drained. You
may apply to Calpurnius Macer for an engineer, and I will also send you
from hence some one skilled in works of this nature.


UPON examining into the public expenses of the city of Byzantium, which,
I find, are extremely great, I was informed, Sir, that the appointments
of the ambassador whom they send yearly to you with their homage, and
the decree which passes in the senate upon that occasion, amount to
twelve thousand sesterces.[1045] But knowing the generous maxims of your
government, I thought proper to send the decree without the ambassador,
that, at the same time they discharged their public duty to you, their
expense incurred in the manner of paying it might be lightened. This
city is likewise taxed with the sum of three thousand sesterces[1046]
towards defraying the expense of an envoy, whom they annually send to
compliment the governor of Moesia: this expense I have also directed to
be spared. I beg, Sir, you would deign either to confirm my judgment
or correct my error in these points, by acquainting me with your


I ENTIRELY approve, my dearest Secundus, of your having excused the
Byzantines that expense of twelve thousand sesterces in sending an
ambassador to me. I shall esteem their duty as sufficiently paid, though
I only receive the act of their senate through your hands. The governor
of Moesia must likewise excuse them if they compliment him at a less


I BEG, Sir, you would settle a doubt I have concerning your
diplomas;[1047] whether you think proper that those diplomas the dates
of which are expired shall continue in force, and for how long? For I
am apprehensive I may, through ignorance, either confirm such of these
instruments as are illegal or prevent the effect of those which are


THE diplomas whose dates are expired must by no means be made use
of. For which reason it is an inviolable rule with me to send new
instruments of this kind into all the provinces before they are
immediately wanted.


UPON intimating, Sir, my intention to the city of Apamea,[1048] of
examining into the state of their public dues, their revenue and
expenses, they told me they were all extremely willing I should inspect
their accounts, but that no proconsul had ever yet looked them over, as
they had a privilege (and that of a very ancient date) of administering
the affairs of their corporation in the manner they thought proper. I
required them to draw up a memorial of what they then asserted, which
I transmit to you precisely as I received it; though I am sensible it
contains several things foreign to the question. I beg you will deign
to instruct me as to how I am to act in this affair, for I should be
extremely sorry either to exceed or fall short of the duties of my


THE memorial of the Apanieans annexed to your letter has saved me
the necessity of considering the reasons they suggest why the former
proconsuls forbore to inspect their accounts, since they are willing to
submit them to your examination. Their honest compliance deserves to
be rewarded; and they may be assured the enquiry you are to make in
pursuance of my orders shall be with a full reserve to their privileges.


THE Nicomedians, Sir, before my arrival in this province, had begun to
build a new forum adjoining their former, in a corner of which stands
an ancient temple dedicated to the mother of the gods.[1049] This fabric
must either be repaired or removed, and for this reason chiefly, because
it is a much lower building than that very lofty one which is now
in process of erection. Upon enquiry whether this temple had been
consecrated, I was informed that their ceremonies of dedication differ
from ours. You will be pleased therefore, Sir, to consider whether a
temple which has not been consecrated according to our rites may be
removed,[1040] consistently with the reverence due to religion: for,
if there should be no objection from that quarter, the removal in every
other respect would be extremely convenient.


You may without scruple, my dearest Secundus, if the situation requires
it, remove the temple of the mother of the gods, from the place where
it now stands, to any other spot more convenient. You need be under no
difficulty with respect to the act of dedication; for the ground of a
foreign city[1041] is not capable of receiving that kind of consecration
which is sanctified by our laws.


WE have celebrated, Sir (with those sentiments of joy your virtues so
justly merit), the day of your accession to the empire, which was also
its preservation, imploring the gods to preserve you in health and
prosperity; for upon your welfare the security and repose of the world
depends. I renewed at the same time the oath of allegiance at the head
of the army, which repeated it after me in the usual form, the people of
the province zealously concurring in the same oath.


YOUR letter, my dearest Secundus, was extremely acceptable, as it
informed me of the zeal and affection with which you, together with
the army and the provincials, solemnised the day of my accession to the


THE debts which we are owing to the public are, by the prudence, Sir, of
your counsels, and the care of my administration, either actually
paid in or now being collected: but I am afraid the money must lie
unemployed. For as on one side there are few or no opportunities of
purchasing land, so, on the other, one cannot meet with any person who
is willing to borrow of the public[1042] (especially at 12 per cent,
interest) when they can raise money upon the same terms from private
sources. You will consider then, Sir, whether it may not be advisable,
in order to invite responsible persons to take this money, to lower the
interest; or if that scheme should not succeed, to place it in the hands
of the decurii, upon their giving sufficient security to the public.
And though they should not be willing to receive it, yet as the rate of
interest will be diminished, the hardship will be so much the less.


I AGREE with you, my dear Pliny, that there seems to be no other method
of facilitating the placing out of the public money than by lowering
the interest; the measure of which you will determine according to the
number of the borrowers. But to compel persons to receive it who are not
disposed to do so, when possibly they themselves may have no opportunity
of employing it, is by no means consistent with the justice of my


I RETURN you my warmest acknowledgments, Sir, that, among the many
important occupations in which you are engaged you have condescended
to be my guide on those points on which I have consulted you: a favour
which I must now again beseech you to grant me. A certain person
presented himself with a complaint that his adversaries, who had been
banished for three years by the illustrious Servilius Calvus, still
remained in the province: they, on the contrary, affirmed that Calvus
had revoked their sentence, and produced his edict to that effect. I
thought it necessary therefore to refer the whole affair to you. For
as I have your express orders not to restore any person who has
been sentenced to banishment either by myself or others so I have no
directions with respect to those who, having been banished by some of my
predecessors in this government, have by them also been restored. It is
necessary for me, therefore, to beg you would inform me, Sir, how I am
to act with regard to the above- mentioned persons, as well as others,
who, after having been condemned to perpetual banishment, have been
found in the province without permission to return; for cases of that
nature have likewise fallen under my cognisance. A person was brought
before me who had been sentenced to perpetual exile by the proconsul
Julius Bassus, but knowing that the acts of Bassus, during his
administration, had been rescinded, and that the senate had granted
leave to all those who had fallen under his condemnation of appealing
from his decision at any time within the space of two years, I enquired
of this man whether he had, accordingly, stated his case to the
proconsul. He replied he had not. I beg then you would inform me whether
you would have him sent back into exile or whether you think some more
severe and what kind of punishment should be inflicted upon him, and
such others who may hereafter be found under the same circumstances. I
have annexed to my letter the decree of Calvus, and the edict by which
the persons above-mentioned were restored, as also the decree of Bassus.


I WILL let you know my determination concerning those exiles which were
banished for three years by the proconsul P. Servilius Calvus, and soon
afterwards restored to the province by his edict, when I shall have
informed myself from him of the reasons of this proceeding. With respect
to that person who was sentenced to perpetual banishment by Julius
Bassus, yet continued to remain in the province, without making his
appeal if he thought himself aggrieved (though he had two years given
him for that purpose), I would have sent in chains to my praetorian
prefects:[1043] for, only to remand him back to a punishment which he
has contumaciously eluded will by no means be a sufficient punishment.


WHEN I cited the judges, Sir, to attend me at a sessions[1044] which
I was going to hold, Flavius Archippus claimed the privilege of being
excused as exercising the profession of a philosopher.[1045] It was
alleged by some who were present that he ought not only to be excused
from that office, but even struck out of the rolls of judges, and
remanded back to the punishment from which he had escaped, by breaking
his chains. At the same time a sentence of the proconsul Velius Paullus
was read, by which it appeared that Archippus had been condemned to the
mines for forgery. He had nothing to produce in proof of this sentence
having ever been reversed. He alleged, however, in favour of his
restitution, a petition which he presented to Domitian, together with a
letter from that prince, and a decree of the Prusensians in his honour.
To these he subjoined a letter which he had received from you; as also
an edict and a letter of your august father confirming the grants which
had been made to him by Domitian. For these reasons, notwithstandng
crimes of so atrocious a nature were laid to his charge, I did not think
proper to determine anything concerning him, without first consulting
with you, as it is an affair which seems to merit your particular
decision. I have transmitted to you, with this letter, the several
allegations on both sides.


"Flavius Archippus the philosopher has prevailed with me to give an
order that six hundred thousand sesterces[1046] be laid out in the
purchase of an estate for the support of him and his family, in
the neighbourhood of Prusias,[1047] his native country. Let this be
accordingly done; and place that sum to the account of my benefactions."


"I recommend, my dear Maximus, to your protection that worthy
philosopher Archippus; a person whose moral conduct is agreeable to
the principles of the philosophy he professes; and I would have you pay
entire regard to whatever he shall reasonably request."


"There are some points no doubt, Quirites, concerning which the happy
tenour of my government is a sufficient indication of my sentiments; and
a good prince need not give an express declaration in matters wherein
his intention cannot but be clearly understood. Every citizen in the
empire will bear me witness that I gave up my private repose to the
security of the public, and in order that I might have the pleasure of
dispensing new bounties of my own, as also of confirming those which
had been granted by predecessors. But lest the memory of him[1048] who
conferred these grants, or the diffidence of those who received them,
should occasion any interruption to the public joy, I thought it as
necessary as it is agreeable to me to obviate these suspicions by
assuring them of my indulgence. I do not wish any man who has obtained a
private or a public privilege from one of the former emperors to imagine
he is to be deprived of such a privilege, merely that he may owe
the restoration of it to me; nor need any who have received the
gratifications of imperial favour petition me to have them confirmed.
Rather let them leave me at leisure for conferring new grants, under the
assurance that I am only to be solicited for those bounties which have
not already been obtained, and which the happier fortune of the empire
has put it in my power to bestow."


"Since I have publicly decreed that all acts begun and accomplished in
former reigns should be confirmed, the letters of Domitian must remain


FLAVIUS ARCHIPPUS has conjured me, by all my vows for your prosperity,
and by your immortal glory, that I would transmit to you the memorial
which he presented to me. I could not refuse a request couched in such
terms; however, I acquainted the prosecutrix with this my intention,
from whom I have also received a memorial on her part. I have annexed
them both to this letter; that by hearing, as it were, each party, you
may the better be enabled to decide.


IT is possible that Domitian might have been ignorant of the
circumstances in which Archippus was when he wrote the letter so much
to that philosopher's credit. However, it is more agreeable to my
disposition to suppose that prince designed he should be restored to
his former situation; especially since he so often had the honour of a
statue decreed to him by those who could not be ignorant of the sentence
pronounced against him by the proconsul Paullus. But I do not mean
to intimate, my dear Pliny, that if any new charge should be brought
against him, you should be the less disposed to hear his accusers. I
have examined the memorial of his prosecutrix, Furia Prima, as well as
that of Archippus himself, which you sent with your last letter.


THE apprehensions you express, Sir, that the lake will be in danger of
being entirely drained if a communication should be opened between that
and the sea, by means of the river, are agreeable to that prudence and
forethought you so eminently possess; but I think I have found a method
to obviate that inconvenience. A channel may be cut from the lake up to
the river so as not quite to join them, leaving just a narrow strip of
land between, preserving the lake; by this means it will not only be
kept quite separate from the river, but all the same purposes will be
answered as if they were united: for it will be extremely easy to convey
over that little intervening ridge whatever goods shall be brought down
by the canal. This is a scheme which may be pursued, if it should be
found necessary; but I hope there will be no occasion to have recourse
to it. For, in the first place, the lake itself is pretty deep; and in
the next, by damming up the river which runs from it on the opposite
side and turning its course as we shall find expedient, the same
quantity of water may be retained. Besides, there are several brooks
near the place where it is proposed the channel shall be cut which, if
skilfully collected, will supply the lake with water in proportion
to what it shall discharge. But if you should rather approve of the
channel's being extended farther and cut narrower, and so conveyed
directly into the sea, without running into the river, the reflux of the
tide will return whatever it receives from the lake. After all, if the
nature of the place should not admit of any of these schemes, the course
of the water may be checked by sluices. These, however, and many other
particulars, will be more skilfully examined into by the engineer, whom,
indeed, Sir, you ought to send, according to your promise, for it is
an enterprise well worthy of your attention and magnificence. In the
meanwhile, I have written to the illustrious Calpurnius Macer, in
pursuance of your orders, to send me the most skilful engineer to be


IT is evident, my dearest Secundus, that neither your prudence nor your
care has been wanting in this affair of the lake, since, in order to
render it of more general benefit, you have provided so many expedients
against the danger of its being drained. I leave it to your own choice
to pursue whichever of the schemes shall be thought most proper.
Calpurnius Macer will furnish you, no doubt, with an engineer, as
artificers of that kind are not wanting in his province.


A VERY considerable question, Sir, in which the whole province is
interested, has been lately started, concerning the state[1049]
and maintenance of deserted children.[1050] I have examined the
constitutions of former princes upon this head, but not finding anything
in them relating, either in general or particular, to the Bithynians, I
thought it necessary to apply to you for your directions: for in a point
which seems to require the special interposition of your authority,
I could not content myself with following precedents. An edict of the
emperor Augustus (as pretended) was read to me, concerning one Annia;
as also a letter from Vespasian to the Lacedaemonians, and another from
Titus to the same, with one likewise from him to the Achaeans, also some
letters from Domitian, directed to the proconsuls Avidius Nigrinus
and Armenius Brocchus, together with one from that prince to the
Lacedaemonians: but I have not transmitted them to you, as they were
not correct (and some of them too of doubtful authenticity), and also
because I imagine the true copies are preserved in your archives.


THE question concerning children who were exposed by their parents, and
afterwards preserved by others, and educated in a state of servitude,
though born free, has been frequently discussed; but I do not find in
the constitutions of the princes my predecessors any general regulation
upon this head, extending to all the provinces. There are, indeed, some
rescripts of Domitian to Avidius Nigrinus and Armenhis Brocchus, which
ought to be observed; but Bithynia is not comprehended in the provinces
therein mentioned. I am of opinion therefore that the claims of those
who assert their right of freedom upon this footing should be allowed;
without obliging them to purchase their liberty by repaying the money
advanced for their maintenance.[1051]


HAVING been petitioned by some persons to grant them the liberty
(agreeably to the practice of former proconsuls) of removing the relics
of their deceased relations, upon the suggestion that either their
monuments were decayed by age or ruined by the inundations of the river,
or for other reasons of the same kind, I thought proper, Sir, knowing
that in cases of this nature it is usual at Rome to apply to the college
of priests, to consult you, who are the sovereign of that sacred order,
as to how you would have me act in this case.


IT will be a hardship upon the provincials to oblige them to address
themselves to the college of priests whenever they may have just reasons
for removing the ashes of their ancestors. In this case, therefore,
it will be better you should follow the example of the governors your
predecessors, and grant or deny them this liberty as you shall see


I HAVE enquired, Sir, at Prusa, for a proper place on which to erect the
bath you were pleased to allow that city to build, and I have found one
to my satisfaction. It is upon the site where formerly, I am told, stood
a very beautiful mansion, but which is now entirely fallen into ruins.
By fixing upon that spot, we shall gain the advantage of ornamenting the
city in a part which at present is exceedingly deformed, and enlarging
it at the same time without removing any of the buildings; only
restoring one which is fallen to decay. There are some circumstances
attending this structure of which it is proper I should inform you.
Claudius Polyaenus bequeathed it to the emperor Claudius Cæsar,
with directions that a temple should be erected to that prince in a
colonnade-court, and that the remainder of the house should be let in
apartments. The city received the rents for a considerable time; but
partly by its having been plundered, and partly by its being neglected,
the whole house, colonnade-court, and all, is entirely gone to ruin, and
there is now scarcely anything remaining of it but the ground upon which
it stood. If you shall think proper, Sir, either to give or sell
this spot of ground to the city, as it lies so conveniently for their
purpose, they will receive it as a most particular favour. I intend,
with your permission, to place the bath in the vacant area, and to
extend a range of porticoes with seats in that part where the former
edifice stood. This new erection I purpose dedicating to you, by whose
bounty it will rise with all the elegance and magnificence worthy of
your glorious name. I have sent you a copy of the will, by which, though
it is inaccurate, you will see that Polyaenus left several articles of
ornament for the embellishment of this house; but these also are lost
with all the rest: I will, however, make the strictest enquiry after
them that I am able.


1 HAVE no objection to the Prusenses making use of the ruined court and
house, which you say are untenanted, for the erection of their bath. But
it is not sufficiently clear by your letter whether the temple in the
centre of the colonnade-court was actually dedicated to Claudius or not;
for if it were, it is still consecrated ground.[1052]


I HAVE been pressed by some persons to take upon myself the enquiry
of causes relating to claims of freedom by birth-right, agreeably to
a rescript of Domitian's to Minucius Rufus, and the practice of
former proconsuls. But upon casting my eye on the decree of the senate
concerning cases of this nature, I find it only mentions the proconsular
provinces.[1053] I have therefore, Sir, deferred interfering in this
affair, till I shall receive your instructions as to how you would have
me proceed.


IF you will send me the decree of the senate, which occasioned your
doubt, I shall be able to judge whether it is proper you should take
upon yourself the enquiry of causes relating to claims of freedom by


JULIUS LARGUS, of Ponus[1054] (a person whom I never saw nor indeed ever
heard his name till lately), in confidence, Sir, of your distinguishing
judgment in my favour, has entrusted me with the execution of the last
instance of his loyalty towards you. He has left me, by his will,
his estate upon trust, in the first place to receive out of it fifty
thousand sesterces[1055] for my own use, and to apply the remainder for
the benefit of the cities of Heraclea and Tios,[1056] either by erecting
some public edifice dedicated to your honour or instituting athletic
games, according as I shall judge proper. These games are to be
celebrated every five years, and to be called Trajan's games. My
principal reason for acquainting you with this bequest is that I may
receive your directions which of the respective alternatives to choose.


By the prudent choice Julius Largus has made of a trustee, one would
imagine he had known you perfectly well. You will consider then what
will most tend to perpetuate his memory, under the circumstances of the
respective cities, and make your option accordingly.


You acted agreeably, Sir, to your usual prudence and foresight in
ordering the illustrious Calpurnius Macer to send a legionary centurion
to Byzantium: you will consider whether the city of Juliopolis' does not
deserve the same regard, which, though it is extremely small, sustains
very great burthens, and is so much the more exposed to injuries as it
is less capable of resisting them. Whatever benefits you shall confer
upon that city will in effect be advantageous to the whole country;
for it is situated at the entrance of Bithynia, and is the town through
which all who travel into this province generally pass.


THE circumstances of the city of Byzantium are such, by the great
confluence of strangers to it, that I held it incumbent upon me,
and consistent with the customs of former reigns, to send thither a
legionary centurion's guard to preserve the privileges of that state.
But if we should distinguish the city of Juliopolis[1057] in the same
way, it will be introducing a precedent for many others, whose claim to
that favour will rise in proportion to their want of strength. I have so
much confidence, however, in your administration as to believe you will
omit no method of protecting them from injuries. If any persons shall
act contrary to the discipline I have enjoined, let them be instantly
corrected; or if they happen to be soldiers, and their crimes should be
too enormous for immediate chastisement, I would have them sent to their
officers, with an account of the particular misdemeanour you shall find
they have been guilty of; but if the delinquents should be on their way
to Rome, inform me by letter.


BY a law of Pompey's[1058] concerning the Bithynians, it is enacted,
Sir, that no person shall be a magistrate, or be chosen into the senate,
under the age of thirty. By the same law it is declared that those who
have exercised the office of magistrate are qualified to be members of
the senate. Subsequent to this law, the emperor Augustus published an
edict, by which it was ordained that persons of the age of twenty-two
should be capable of being magistrates. The question therefore is
whether those who have exercised the functions of a magistrate
before the age of thirty may be legally chosen into the senate by the
censors?[1059] And if so, whether, by the same kind of construction,
they may be elected senators, at the age which entitles them to be
magistrates, though they should not actually have borne any office? A
custom which, it seems, has hitherto been observed, and is said to be
expedient, as it is rather better that persons of noble birth should be
admitted into the senate than those of plebeian rank. The censors elect
having desired my sentiments upon this point, I was of opinion that both
by the law of Pompey and the edict of Augustus those who had exercised
the magistracy before the age of thirty might be chosen into the senate;
and for this reason, because the edict allows the office of magistrate
to be undertaken before thirty; and the law declares that whoever has
been a magistrate should be eligible for the senate. But with respect to
those who never discharged any office in the state, though they were of
the age required for that purpose, I had some doubt: and therefore, Sir,
I apply to you for your directions. I have subjoined to this letter the
heads of the law, together with the edict of Augustus.


I AGREE with you, my dearest Secundus, in your construction, and am of
opinion that the law of Pompey is so far repealed by the edict of the
emperor Augustus that those persons who are not less than twenty-two
years of age may execute the office of magistrates, and, when they have,
may be received into the senate of their respective cities. But I think
that they who are under thirty years of age, and have not discharged the
function of a magistrate, cannot, upon pretence that in point of years
they were competent to the office, legally be elected into the senate of
their several communities.


WHILST I was despatching some public affairs, Sir, at my apartments in
Prusa, at the foot of Olympus, with the intention of leaving that city
the same day, the magistrate Asclepiades informed me that Eumolpus had
appealed to me from a motion which Cocceianus Dion made in their senate.
Dion, it seems, having been appointed supervisor of a public building,
desired that it might be assigned[1060] to the city in form. Eumolpus,
who was counsel for Flavius Archippus, insisted that Dion should first
be required to deliver in his accounts relating to this work, before it
was assigned to the corporation; suggesting that he had not acted in the
manner he ought. He added, at the same time, that in this building,
in which your statue is erected, the bodies of Dion's wife and son are
entombed,[1061] and urged me to hear this cause in the public court of
judicature. Upon my at once assenting to his request, and deferring my
journey for that purpose, he desired a longer day in order to prepare
matters for hearing, and that I would try this cause in some other city.
I appointed the city of Nicea; where, when I had taken my seat, the same
Eumolpus, pretending not to be yet sufficiently instructed, moved that
the trial might be again put off: Dion, on the contrary, insisted it
should be heard. They debated this point very fully on both sides, and
entered a little into the merits of the cause; when being of opinion
that it was reasonable it should be adjourned, and thinking it proper
to consult with you in an affair which was of consequence in point of
precedent, I directed them to exhibit the articles of their respective
allegations in writing; for I was desirous you should judge from their
own representations of the state of the question between them. Dion
promised to comply with this direction and Eumolpus also assured me he
would draw up a memorial of what he had to allege on the part of the
community. But he added that, being only concerned as advocate on behalf
of Archippus, whose instructions he had laid before me, he had no charge
to bring with respect to the sepulchres. Archippus, however, for whom
Eulnolpus was counsel here, as at Prusa, assured me he would himself
present a charge in form upon this head. But neither Eumolpus nor
Archippus (though I have waited several days for that purpose) have
yet performed their engagement: Dion indeed has; and I have annexed his
memorial to this letter. I have inspected the buildings in question,
where I find your statue is placed in a library, and as to the edifice
in which the bodies of Dion's wife and son are said to be deposited,
it stands in the middle of a court, which is enclosed with a colonnade.
Deign, therefore, I entreat you, Sir, to direct my judgment in the
determination of this cause above all others as it is a point to which
the public is greatly attentive, and necessarily so, since the fact is
not only acknowledged, but countenanced by many precedents.


You well know, my dearest Secundus, that it is my standing maxim not
to create an awe of my person by severe and rigorous measures, and
by construing every slight offence into an act of treason; you had no
reason, therefore, to hesitate a moment upon the point concerning which
you thought proper to consult me. Without entering therefore into
the merits of that question (to which I would by no means give any
attention, though there were ever so many instances of the same kind),
I recommend to your care the examination of Dion's accounts relating
to the public works which he has finished; as it is a case in which the
interest of the city is concerned, and as Dion neither ought nor, it
seems, does refuse to submit to the examination.


THE Niceans having, in the name of their community, conjured me, Sir,
by all my hopes and wishes for your prosperity and immortal glory (an
adjuration which is and ought to be most sacred to me), to present to
you their petition, I did not think myself at liberty to refuse them: I
have therefore annexed it to this letter.


THE Niceans I find, claim a right, by an edict of Augustus, to the
estate of every citizen who dies intestate. You will therefore summon
the several parties interested in this question, and, examining these
pretensions, with the assistance of the procurators Virdius Gemellinus,
and Epimachus, my freedman (having duly weighed every argument that
shall be alleged against the claim), determine as shall appear most


MAY this and many succeeding birthdays be attended, Sir, with the
highest felicity to you; and may you, in the midst of an uninterrupted
course of health and prosperity, be still adding to the increase of that
immortal glory which your virtues justly merit!


YOUR wishes, my dearest Secundus, for my enjoyment of many happy
birthdays amidst the glory and prosperity of the republic were extremely
agreeable to me.


THE inhabitants of Sinope[1062] are ill supplied, Sir, with water, which
however may be brought thither from about sixteen miles' distance in
great plenty and perfection. The ground, indeed, near the source of
this spring is, for rather over a mile, of a very suspicious and marshy
nature; but I have directed an examination to be made (which will be
effected at a small expense) whether it is sufficiently firm to support
any superstructure. I have taken care to provide a sufficient fund for
this purpose, if you should approve, Sir, of a work so conducive to the
health and enjoyment of this colony, greatly distressed by a scarcity of


I WOULD have you proceed, my dearest Secundus, in carefully examining
whether the ground you suspect is firm enough to support an aqueduct.
For I have no manner of doubt that the Sinopian colony ought to be
supplied with water; provided their finances will bear the expense of a
work so conducive to their health and pleasure.


THE free and confederate city of the Amiseni[1063] enjoys, by your
indulgence, the privilege of its own laws. A memorial being presented to
me there, concerning a charitable institution,[1064] I have subjoined
it to this letter, that you may consider, Sir, whether, and how far,
this society ought to be licensed or prohibited.


IF the petition of the Amiseni which you have transmitted to me,
concerning the establishment of a charitable society, be agreeable to
their own laws, which by the articles of alliance it is stipulated they
shall enjoy, I shall not oppose it; especially if these contributions
are employed, not for the purpose of riot and faction, but for the
support of the indigent. In other cities, however, which are subject to
our laws, I would have all assemblies of this nature prohibited.


SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS, Sir, is a most excellent, honour-able, and
learned man. I was so much pleased with his tastes and disposition that
I have long since invited him into my family, as my constant guest and
domestic friend; and my affection for him increased the more I knew of
him. Two reasons concur to render the privileges which the law grants to
those who have three children particularly necessary to him; I mean
the bounty of his friends, and the ill-success of his marriage. Those
advantages, therefore, which nature has denied to him, he hopes to
obtain from your goodness, by my intercession. I am thoroughly sensible,
Sir, of the value of the privilege I am asking; but I know, too, I am
asking it from one whose gracious compliance with all my desires I
have amply experienced. How passionately I wish to do so in the present
instance, you will judge by my thus requesting it in my absence; which
I would not, had it not been a favour which I am more than ordinarily
anxious to obtain.


You cannot but be sensible, my dearest Secundus, how reserved I am in
granting favours of the kind you desire; having frequently declared in
the senate that I had not exceeded the number of which I assured that
illustrious order I would be contented with. I have yielded, however,
to your request, and have directed an article to be inserted in
my register, that I have conferred upon Tranquillus, on my usual
conditions, the privilege which the law grants to these who have three



IT is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where
I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of removing my scruples,
or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials
concerning those who profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only
with the nature of their crimes, or the measure of their punishment,
but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them.
Whether, therefore, any difference is usually made with respect to ages,
or no distinction is to be observed between the young and the adult;
whether repentance entitles them to a pardon; or if a man has been once
a Christian, it avails nothing to desist from his error; whether the
very profession of Christianity, unattended with any criminal act, or
only the crimes themselves inherent in the profession are punishable;
on all these points I am in great doubt. In the meanwhile, the method
I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as
Christians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; if they
admitted it, I repeated the question twice, and threatened them with
punishment; if they persisted, I ordered them to be at once punished:
for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be,
a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction.
There were others also brought before me possessed with the same
infatuation, but being Roman citizens,[1067] I directed them to be sent
to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is usually the case) while it
was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature
occurred. An anonymous information was laid before me containing a
charge against several persons, who upon examination denied they were
Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to
the gods, and offered religious rites with wine and incense before your
statue (which for that purpose I had ordered to be brought, together
with those of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas
there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians into
any of these compliances: I thought it proper, therefore, to discharge
them. Some among those who were accused by a witness in person at first
confessed themselves Christians, but immediately after denied it; the
rest owned indeed that they had been of that number formerly, but had
now (some above three, others more, and a few above twenty years ago)
renounced that error. They all worshipped your statue and the images
of the gods, uttering imprecations at the same time against the name
of Christ. They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was,
that they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form
of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding themselves by a solemn
oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any
fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust
when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was
their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a
harmless meal. From this custom, however, they desisted after the
publication of my edict, by which, according to your commands, I forbade
the meeting of any assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged
it so much the more necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by
putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to officiate'
in their religious rites: but all I could discover was evidence of an
absurd and extravagant superstition. I deemed it expedient, therefore,
to adjourn all further proceedings, in order to consult you. For
it appears to be a matter highly deserving your consideration, more
especially as great numbers must be involved in the danger of these
prosecutions, which have already extended, and are still likely to
extend, to persons of all ranks and ages, and even of both sexes. In
fact, this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities
only, but has spread its infection among the neighbouring villages and
country. Nevertheless, it still seems possible to restrain its progress.
The temples, at least, which were once almost deserted, begin now to be
frequented; and the sacred rites, after a long intermission, are again
revived; while there is a general demand for the victims, which till
lately found very few purchasers. From all this it is easy to conjecture
what numbers might be reclaimed if a general pardon were granted to
those who shall repent of their error.


You have adopted the right course, my dearest Secundtis, in
investigating the charges against the Christians who were brought before
you. It is not possible to lay down any general rule for all such cases.
Do not go out of your way to look for them. If indeed they should
be brought before you, and the crime is proved, they must be
punished;[1069] with the restriction, however, that where the party
denies he is a Christian, and shall make it evident that he is not, by
invoking our gods, let him (notwithstanding any former suspicion) be
pardoned upon his repentance. Anonymous informations ought not to be
received in any sort of prosecution. It is introducing a very dangerous
precedent, and is quite foreign to the spirit of our age.


THE elegant and beautiful city of Amastris,[1070] Sir, has, among other
principal constructions, a very fine street and of considerable length,
on one entire side of which runs what is called indeed a river, but in
fact is no other than a vile common sewer, extremely offensive to the
eye, and at the same time very pestilential on account of its noxious
smell. It will be advantageous, therefore, in point of health, as
well as decency, to have it covered; which shall be done with your
permission: as I will take care, on my part, that money be not wanting
for executing so noble and necessary a work.


IT IS highly reasonable, my dearest Secundus, if the water which runs
through the city of Amastris is prejudicial, while uncovered, to the
health of the inhabitants, that it should be covered up. I am well
assured you will, with your usual application, take care that the money
necessary for this work shall not be wanting.


WE have celebrated, Sir, with great joy and festivity, those votive
soleninities which were publicly proclaimed as formerly, and renewed
them the present year, accompanied by the soldiers and provincials,
who zealously joined with us in imploring the gods that they would be
graciously pleased to preserve you and the republic in that state of
prosperity which your many and great virtues, particularly your piety
and reverence towards them, so justly merit.


IT was agreeable to me to learn by your letter that the army and the
provincials seconded you, with the most joyful unanimity, in those vows
which you paid and renewed to the immortal gods for my preservation and


WE have celebrated, with all the warmth of that pious zeal we justly
ought, the day on which, by a most happy succession, the protection of
mankind was committed over into your hands; recommending to the gods,
from whom you received the empire, the object of your public vows and


I WAS extremely well pleased to be informed by your letter that you had,
at the head of the soldiers and the provincials, solemnised my accession
to the empire with all due joy and zeal.


VALERIUS PAULINUS, Sir, having bequeathed to me the right of
patronage[1071] over all his freedmen, except one, I intreat you to
grant the freedom of Rome to three of them. To desire you to extend this
favour to all of them would, I fear, be too unreasonable a trespass upon
your indulgence; which, itt proportion as I have amply experienced, I
ought to be so much the more cautious in troubling. The persons for whom
I make this request are C. Valerius Astraeus, C. Valerius Dionysius, and
C. Valerius Aper.


YOU act most generously in so early soliciting in favour of those whom
Valerius Paulinus has confided to your trust. I have accordingly granted
the freedom of the city to such of his freedmen for whom you requested
it, and have directed the patent to be registered: I am ready to confer
the same on the rest, whenever you shall desire me.


P. ATTIUS AQUILA, a centurion of the sixth equestrian cohort, requested
me, Sir, to transmit his petition to you, in favour of his daughter. I
thought it would be unkind to refuse him this service, knowing, as I
do, with what patience and kindness you attend to the petitions of the


I HAVE read the petition of P. Attius Aquila, centurion of the sixth
equestrian cohort, which you sent to me; and in compliance with his
request, I have conferred upon his daughter the freedom of the city of
Rome. I send you at the same time the patent, which you will deliver to


I REQUEST, Sir, your directions with respect to the recovering those
debts which are due to the cities of Bithynia and Pontus, either for
rent, or goods sold, or upon any other consideration. I find they have a
privilege conceded to them by several proconsuls, of being preferred
to other creditors; and this custom has prevailed as if it had been
established by law. Your prudence, I imagine, will think it necessary
to enact some settled rule, by which their rights may always be secured.
For the edicts of others, how wisely however founded, are but feeble and
temporary ordinances, unless confirmed and sanctioned by your authority.


THE right which the cities either of Pontus or Bithynia claim relating
to the recovery of debts of whatever kind, due to their several
communities, must be determined agreeably to their respective laws.
Where any of these communities enjoy the privilege of being preferred
to other creditors, it must be maintained; but, where no such privilege
prevails, it is not just I should establish one, in prejudice of private


THE solicitor to the treasury of the city of Amisis instituted a
claim, Sir, before me against Julius Piso of about forty thousand
denarii,[1072] presented to him by the public above twenty years ago,
with the consent of the general council and assembly of the city: and
he founded his demand upon certain of your edicts, by which donations of
this kind are prohibited. Piso, on the other hand, asserted that he
had conferred large sums of money upon the community, and, indeed, had
thereby expended almost the whole of his estate. He insisted upon the
length of time which had intervened since this donation, and hoped
that he should not be compelled, to the ruin of the remainder of his
fortunes, to refund a present which had been granted him long since, in
return for many good offices he had done the city. For this reason, Sir,
I thought it necessary to suspend giving any judgment in this cause till
I shall receive your directions.


THOUGH by my edicts I have ordained that no largesses shall be given
out of the public money, yet, that numberless private persons may not
be disturbed in the secure possession of their fortunes, those donations
which have been made long since ought not to be called in question
or revoked. We will not therefore enquire into anything that has been
transacted in this affair so long ago as twenty years; for I would be
no less attentive to secure the repose of every private man than to
preserve the treasure of every public community.


THE Pompeian law, Sir, which is observed in Pontus and Bithynia, does
not direct that any money for their admission shall be paid in by those
who are elected into the senate by the censors. It has, however, been
usual for such members as have been admitted into those assemblies,
in pursuance of the privilege which you were pleased to grant to
some particular cities, of receiving above their legal number, to pay
one[1073] or two thousand denarii[1074] on their election. Subsequent
to this, the proconsul Anicius Maximus ordained (though indeed his edict
related to some few cities only) that those who were elected by the
censors should also pay into the treasury a certain sum, which varied in
different places. It remains, therefore, for your consideration whether
it would not be proper to settle a certain sum for each member who is
elected into the councils to pay upon his entrance; for it well becomes
you, whose every word and action deserves to be immortalized, to
establish laws that shall endure for ever.


I CAN give no general directions applicable to all the cities of
Bithynia, in relation to those who are elected members of their
respective councils, whether they shall pay an honorary fee upon their
admittance or not. I think that the safest method which can be pursued
is to follow the particular laws of each city; and I also think that
the censors ought to make the sum less for those who are chosen into the
senate contrary to their inclinations than for the rest.


THE Pompeian law, Sir, allows the Bithynians to give the freedom of
their respective cities to any person they think proper, provided he is
not a foreigner, but native of some of the cities of this province. The
same law specifies the particular causes for which the censors may expel
any member the senate, but makes no mention of foreigners. Certain of
the censors therefore have desired my opinion whether they ought to
expel a member if he should happen to be a foreigner. But I thought it
necessary to receive your instructions in this case; not only because
the law, though it forbids foreigners to be admitted citizens, does not
direct that a senator shall be expelled for the same reason, but because
I am informed that in every city in the province a great number of the
senators are foreigners. If, therefore, this clause of the law, which
seems to be antiquated by a long custom to the contrary, should be
enforced, many cities, as well as private persons, must be injured by
it. I have annexed the heads of this law to my letter.


You might well be doubtful, my dearest Secundus, what reply to give to
the censors, who consulted you concerning their right to elect into the
senate foreign citizens, though of the same province. The authority of
the law on one side, and long custom prevailing against it on the other,
might justly occasion you to hesitate, The proper mean to observe in
this case will be to make no change in what is past, but to allow those
senators who are already elected, though contrary to law, to keep
their seats, to whatever city they may belong; in all future elections,
however, to pursue the directions of the Pompeian law: for to give it a
retrospective operation would necessarily introduce great confusion.


IT is customary here upon any person taking the manly robe, solemnising
his marriage, entering upon the office of a magistrate, or dedicating
any public work, to invite the whole senate, together with a
considerable part of the commonalty, and distribute to each of the
company one or two denarii.[1075] I request you to inform me whether you
think proper this ceremony should be observed, or how far you approve
of it. For myself, though I am of opinion that upon some occasions,
especially those of public festivals, this kind of invitation may be
permitted, yet, when carried so far as to draw together a thousand
persons, and sometimes more, it seems to be going beyond a reasonable
number, and has somewhat the appearance of ambitious largesses.


You very justly apprehended that those public invitations which extend
to an immoderate number of people, and where the dole is distributed,
not singly to a few acquaintances, but, as it were, to whole collective
bodies, may be turned to the factious purposes of ambition. But I
appointed you to your present government, fully relying upon your
prudence, and in the persuasion that you would take proper measures for
regulating the manners and settling the peace of the province.


THE athletic victors, Sir, in the Iselastic[1076] games, conceive that
the stipend you have established for the conquerors becomes due from the
day they are crowned: for it is not at all material, they say, what
time they were triumphantly conducted into their country, but when they
merited that honour. On the contrary, when I consider the meaning of the
term Iselastic, I am strongly inclined to think that it is intended
the stipend should commence from the time of their public entry. They
likewise petition to be allowed the treat you give at those combats
which you have converted into Iselastic, though they were conquerors
before the appointment of that institution: for it is but reasonable,
they assert, that they should receive the reward in this instance, as
they are deprived of it at those games which have been divested of the
honour of being Iselastic, since their victory. But I am very doubtful,
whether a retrospect should be admitted in the case in question, and
a reward given, to which the claimants had no right at the time they
obtained the victory. I beg, therefore, you would be pleased to direct
my judgment in these points, by explaining the intention of your own


THE stipend appointed for the conqueror in the Iselastic games ought
not, I think, to commence till he makes his triumphant entry into his
city. Nor are the prizes, at those combats which I thought proper to
make Iselastic, to be extended backwards to those who were victors
before that alteration took place. With regard to the plea which these
athletic combatants urge, that they ought to receive the Iselastic prize
at those combats which have been made Iselastic subsequent to their
conquests, as they are denied it in the same case where the games have
ceased to be so, it proves nothing in their favour; for notwithstanding
any new arrangements which has been made relating to these games, they
are not called upon to return the recompense which they received prior
to such alteration.


I HAVE hitherto never, Sir, granted an order for post-chaises to
any person, or upon any occasion, but in affairs that relate to your
administration. I find myself, however, at present under a sort of
necessity of breaking through this fixed rule. My wife having received
an account of her grandfather's death, and being desirous to wait upon
her aunt with all possible expedition, I thought it would be unkind to
deny her the use of this privilege; as the grace of so tender an office
consists in the early discharge of it, and as I well knew a journey
which was founded in filial piety could not fail of your approbation.
I should think myself highly ungrateful therefore, were I not to
acknowledge that, among other great obligations which I owe to your
indulgence, I have this in particular, that, in confidence of your
favour, I have ventured to do, without consulting you, what would have
been too late had I waited for your consent.


You did me justice, my dearest Secundus, in confiding in my affection
towards you. Without doubt, if you had waited for my consent to forward
your wife in her journey by means of those warrants which I have
entrusted to your care, the use of them would not have answered your
purpose; since it was proper this visit to her aunt should have the
additional recommendation of being paid with all possible expedition.


[Footnote 101: The greater part of the following letters were written by Pliny
during his administration in the province of Bithynia. They are of a
style and character extremely different from those in the preceding
collection; whence some critics have injudiciously inferred that they
are the production of another hand: not considering that the occasion
necessarily required a different manner. In letters of business, as
these chiefly are, turn and sentiment would be foreign and impertinent;
politeness and elegance of expression being the essentials that
constitute perfection in this kind: and in that view, though they may be
less entertaining, they have not less merit than the former. But
besides their particular excellence as letters, they have a farther
recommendation as so many valuable pieces of history, by throwing a
strong light upon the character of one of the most amiable and glorious
princes in the Roman annals. Trajan appears throughout in the most
striking attitude that majesty can be placed in; in the exertion of
power to the godlike purposes of justice and benevolence: and what one
of the ancient historians has said of him is here clearly verified, that
"he rather chose to be loved than flattered by his people." To have
been distinguished by the favour and friendship of a monarch of so
exalted a character is an honour that reflects the brightest lustre
upon our author; as to have been served and celebrated by a courtier of
Pliny's genius and virtues is the noblest monunient of glory that could
have been raised to Trajan. M.]

[Footnote 102: Nerva, who succeeded Domitian, reigned but sixteen months and a
few days. Before his death he not only adopted Trajan, and named him for
his successor, but actually admitted him into a share of the government;
giving him the titles of Cæsar, Germanicus and Imperator. Vid. Plin.
Paneg. M.]

[Footnote 103: $16,000.]

[Footnote 104: One of the four governments of Lower Egypt. M.]

[Footnote 105: The extensive power of paternal authority was (as has been
observed in the notes shove) peculiar to the Romans. But after
Chrysippus was made a denizen of Rome, he was not, it would seem,
consequentially entitled to that privilege over those children which
were horn before his denization. On the other hand, if it was expressly
granted him, his children could not preserve their right of patronage
over their own freedmen, because that right would of course devolve
to their father, by means of this acquired dominion over them. The
denization therefore of his children is as expressly solicited as his
own. But both parties becoming quirites, the children by this creation,
and not pleading in right of their father, would be patres fam. To
prevent which the clause is added, "ita ut sint in patris potestate:"
as there is another to save to them their rights of patronage over their
freedmen, though they were reduced in patrmam potestate. M.]

[Footnote 106: Pliny enjoyed the office of treasurer in conjunction with Cornutus
Tertullus. It was the custom at Rome for those who had colleagues to
administer the duties of their posts by monthly turns. Buchner. M.]

[Footnote 107: About $16,000; the annual income of Pliny's estate in Tuscany. He
mentions another near Comum in Milan, the yearly value of which does not
appear. We find him likewise meditating the purchase of an estate, for
which he was to give about $117,000 of our money; but whether he ever
completed that purchase is uncertain. This, however, we are sure of,
that his fortunes were but moderate, considering his high station and
necessary expenses: and yet, by the advantage of a judicious economy, we
hove seen him in the course of these letters, exercising a liberality
of which after ages have furnished no parallel. M.]

[Footnote 108: The senators were not allowed to go from Rome into the provinces
without having first obtained leave of the emperor. Sicily, however,
had the privilege to be excepted out of that law; as Gallia Narbonensis
afterwards was, by Claudius Cæsar. Tacit. Ann. XII. C. 23. M.]

[Footnote 109: One of the seven priests who presided over the feasts appointed
in honour of Jupiter and the other gods, an office, as appears, of high
dignity, since Pliny ranks it with the augurship.]

[Footnote 1010: Bithynia, a province in Anatolia, or Asia Minor, of which Pliny
was appointed governor by Trajan, in the sixth year of his reign, A. D.
103, not as an ordinary proconsul, but as that emperor's own lieutenant,
with powers extraordinary. (See Dio.) The following letters were written
during his administration of that province. M.]

[Footnote 1011: A north wind in the Grecian seas, which rises yearly come time in
July, and continues to the end of August; though others extend it to the
middle of September. They blow only in the day-time. Varenius's Geogr.
V.I. p. 513. M.]

[Footnote 1012: The inhabitants of Prusa (Brusa), a principal city of Bithynia.]

[Footnote 1013: In the sixth year of Trajan's reign, A. D. 103, and the 41st of
our author's age: he continued in this province about eighteen months.
Vid. Mass, in Vit. Phin. 129. M.]

[Footnote 1014: Among other noble works which this glorious emperor executed,
the forum or square which went by his name seems to have been the most
magnificent. It was built with the foreign spoils he had taken in war.
The covering of this edifice was all brass, the porticoes exceedingly
beautiful and magnificent, with pillars of more than ordinary height
and dimensions. In the centre of this forum was erected the famous
pillar which has been already described.]

[Footnote 1015: It is probable the victory here alluded to was that famous one
which Trajan gained over the Daciaiss; some account of which has been
given in the notes above. It is certain, at least, Pliny lived to see
his wish accomplished, this emperor having carried the Roman splendour
to its highest pitch, and extended the dominions of the empire farther
than any of his predecessors; as after his death it began to decline. M.]

[Footnote 1016: The capital of Bithynia; its modern name is Izmid.]

[Footnote 1017: The town of Panticapoeum, also called Bosporus, standing on
the European side of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Straits of Kaffa), in the
modern Crimea.]

[Footnote 1018: Nicea (as appears by the 15th letter of this book), a city in
Bithynia, now called Iznik. M.]

[Footnote 1019: Sarmatia was divided into European, Asiatic, and German Sarmatia.
It is not exactly known what hounds the ancients gave to this extensive
region; however, in general, it comprehended the northern part of
Russia, and the greater part of Poland, &c. M.]

[Footnote 1020: The first invention of public couriers is ascribed to Cyrus, who,
in order to receive the earliest intelligence from the governors of the
several provinces, erected post-houses throughout the kingdom of Persia,
at equal distances, which supplied men and horses to forward the public
despatches. Augustus was the first who introduced this most useful
institution among the Romans, by employing post-chaises, disposed at
convenient distances, for the purpose of political intelligence. The
magistrates of every city were obliged to furnish horses for these
messengers, upon producing a diploma, or a kind of warrant, either from
the emperor himself or from those who had that authority under him.
Sometimes, though upon very extraordinary occasions, persons who
travelled upon their private affairs, were allowed the use of these
post-chaises. It is surprising they were not sooner used for the
purposes of commerce and private communication. Louis XI. first
established them in France, in the year 1414; but it was not till the
24th of Car. II, that the post-office was settled in England by Act of
Parliament, M.]

[Footnote 1021: Particular temples, altars, and statues were allowed among the
Romans as places of privilege and sanctuary to slaves, debtors and
malefactors. This custom was introduced by Romulus, who borrowed it
probably from the Greeks; but during the free state of Rome, few of
these asylums were permitted. This custom prevailed most under the
emperors, till it grew so scandalous that the Emperor Pius found it
necessary to restrain those privileged places by an edict. See Lipsii
Excurs. ad Taeiti Ann. III, C. 36, M.]

[Footnote 1022: General under Deeebalus, king of the Dacians. M.]

[Footnote 1023: A province in Daeia, comprehending the southern parts of Servia
and part of Bulgaria. M.]

[Footnote 1024: The second expedition of Trajan against Decebalus was undertaken
the same year that Pliny went governor into this province; the reason
therefore why Pliny sent this Calhidromus to the emperor seems to be
that some use might possibly be made of him in favour of that design, M.]

[Footnote 1025: Receiver of the finances. M.]

[Footnote 1026: The coast round the Black Sea.]

[Footnote 1027: The text calls him primipilarem, that is, one who had been
Prirnipilus, in officer in the army, whose post was both highly
honourable and profitable; among other parts of his office he had the
care of the eagle, or chief standard of the legion. M.]

[Footnote 1028: Slaves who were purchased by the public. M.]

[Footnote 1029: The most probable conjecture (for it is a point of a good deal
of obscurity) concerning the beneficiary seems to be that they were a
certain number of soldiers exempted from the usual duty of their office,
in order to be employed as a sort of body-guards to the general. These
were probably foot; as the equites here mentioned were perhaps of the
same nature, only that they served on horseback. Equites singulares
Cæsaris Augusti, &c., are frequently met with upon ancient
inscriptions, and are generally supposed to mean the bodyguards of the
emperor. M.]

[Footnote 1030: A province in Asia Minor, bounded by the Black Sea on the north,
Bithynia on the west, Pontus on the east, and Phrygia on the south.]

[Footnote 1031: The Roman policy excluded slaves from entering into military
service, and it was death if they did so. However, upon cases of great
necessity, this maxim was dispensed with; but then they were first made
free before they were received into the army, excepting only (as Servius
in his notes upon Virgil) observes after the fatal battle of Cannae;
when the public distress was so great that the Romans recruited their
army with their slaves, though they had not time to give them their
freedom. One reason, perhaps, of this policy might be that they did not
think it safe to arm so considerable a body of men, whose numbers, in
the times when the Roman luxury was at its highest, we may have some
idea of by the instance which Pun the naturalist mentions of Claudius
Isodorus, who at the time of his death was possessed of no less than
4,116 slaves, notwithstanding he had lost great numbers in the civil
wars. Pun. Hist. Nat. XXXIII. 10. M.]

[Footnote 1032: A punishment among the Romans, usually inflicted upon slaves,
by which they were to engage with wild beasts, or perform the part of
gladiators, in the public shows. M.]

[Footnote 1033: It has been generally imagined that the ancients had not the
art of raising water by engines; but this passage seems to favour the
contrary opinion. The word in the original is sipho, which Hesychius
explains (as one of the commentators observes) "instrumentuns ad
jaculandas aquas adversas incendia; an instrument to throw up water
against fires." But there is a passage in Seneca which seems to put this
matter beyond conjecture, though none of the critics upon this place
have taken notice of it: "Solemiss," says he, "duabus manibus inter se
junctis aguam concipere, et com pressa utrinque palma in modum ciphonis
exprimere" (Q. N. 1. II. 16) where we plainly see the use of this sipho
was to throw UP water, and consequently the Romans were acquainted with
that art. The account which Pliny gives of his fountains at Tuscum is
likewise another evident proof. M.]

[Footnote 1034: This was an anniversary custom observed throughout the empire on
the 30th of December. M.]

[Footnote 1035: About $132,000.]

[Footnote 1036: About $80,000.]

[Footnote 1037: About $400,000. To those who are not acquainted with the immense
riches of the ancients, it may seem incredible that a city, and not the
capital one either, of a conquered province should expend so large a
sum of money upon only the shell (as it appears to be) of a theatre: but
Asia was esteemed the most considerable part of the world for wealth;
its fertility and exportations (as Tully observes) exceeding that of all
other countries. M.]

[Footnote 1038: The word carte, in the original, comprehends more than what we
call the pat in our theatres, as at means the whole space lit which the
spectators sat. These theatres being open at the top, the galleries here
mentioned were for the convenience of retiring in bad weather. M.]

[Footnote 1039: A place in which the athletic exercises were performed, and where
the philosophers also used to read their lectures. M.]

[Footnote 1040: The Roman foot consisted of 11.71 inches of our standard, M.]

[Footnote 1041: A colony in the district of Cataonia, in Cappadocia.]

[Footnote 1042: The honorary senators, that is, such who were not received into
the council of the city by election, but by the appointment of the
emperor, paid a certain sum of money upon their admission into the
senate. M.]

[Footnote 1043: "Graeculi. Even under the empire, with its relaxed morality
and luxurious tone, the Romans continued to apply this contemptuous
designation to people to whom they owed what taste for art and culture
they possessed." Church and Brodribb.]

[Footnote 1044: A Roman cubit is equal to a foot 5.406 inches of our measure.
Arbuthanot's Tab. M.]

[Footnote 1045: About $480.]

[Footnote 1046: About $120.]

[Footnote 1047: A diploma is properly a grant of certain privileges either to
particular places or persons. It signifies also grants of other kinds;
and it sometimes means post-warrants, as, perhaps, it does in this
place. M.]

[Footnote 1048: A city in Bithynia. M.]

[Footnote 1049: Cybele, Rhea, or Ops, as she is otherwise called; from whom,
according to the pagan creed, the rest of the gods are supposed to have
descended. M.]

[Footnote 1040: Whatever was legally consecrated was ever afterwards unapplicable
to profane uses. M.]

[Footnote 1041: That is, a city not admitted to enjoy the laws and privileges of
Rome. M.]

[Footnote 1042: The reason why they did not choose to borrow of the public at the
same rate of interest which they paid to private persons was (as one
of the Commentators observes) because in the former instance they were
obliged to give security, whereas in the latter they could raise money
upon their personal credit. M.]

[Footnote 1043: These, in the original institution as settled by Augustus, were
only commanders of his body-guards; but in the later times of the Roman
empire they were next in authority under the emperor, to whom they seem
to have acted as a sort of prime ministers. M.]

[Footnote 1044: The provinces were divided into, a kind of circuits called
conventus, whither the proconsuls used to go in order to administer
justice. The judges here mentioned must not be understood to mean the
same sort of judicial officers as with us: they rather answered to our
juries. M.]

[Footnote 1045: By the imperial constitutions the philosophers were exempted from
all public functions. Catariscus. M.]

[Footnote 1046: About $24,000.]

[Footnote 1047: Geographers are not agreed where to place this city; Cellarius
conjectures it may possibly be the same with Prusa ad Olympum, Prusa at
the foot of Mount Olympus in Mysia.]

[Footnote 1048: Domitian.]

[Footnote 1049: That is, whether they should be considered in a state of freedom
or slavery.

[Footnote 1050: "Parents throughout the entire ancient world had the right
to expose their children and leave them to their fate. Hence would
sometimes arise the question whether such a child, if found and brought
up by another, was entitled to his freedom, whether also the person thus
adopting him must grant him his freedom without repayment for the cost
of maintenance." Church and Brodribb.]

[Footnote 1051: "This decision of Trajan, the effect of which would be that
persons would be slow to adopt an abandoned child which, when brought
up, its unnatural parents could claim back without any compensation for
its nurture, seems harsh, and we find that it was disregarded by the
later emperors in their legal decisions on the subject." Church and

[Footnote 1052: And consequently by the Roman laws unapplicable to any other
purpose. M.]

[Footnote 1053: The Roman provinces in the times of the emperors were of two
sorts: those which were distinguished by the name of the provinciae
Cæsaris and the provinciae senatus. The provinciae Cæsaris, or
imperial provinces, were such as the emperor, for reasons of policy,
reserved to his own immediate administration, or of those whom he
thought proper to appoint: the provinciae senatus, or proconsular
provinces, were such as he left to the government of proconsuls or
praetors, chosen in the ordinary method of election. (Vid. Suet, in Aug.
V. 47.) Of the former kind was Bithynis, at the time when our author
presided there. (Vid. Masson. Vit. Plin. p. 133.) M.]

[Footnote 1054: A province in Asia, bordering upon the Black Sea, and by some
ancient geographers considered as one province with Bithynia. M.]

[Footnote 1055: About $2,000. M.]

[Footnote 1056: Cities of Pontus near the Euxine or Black Sea. M.]

[Footnote 1057: Gordium, the old capital of Phrygia. It afterwards, in the reign
of the Emperor Augustus, received the name of Juliopohs. (See Smith's
Classical Diet.)]

[Footnote 1058: Pompey the Great having subdued Mithridates, and by that means
enlarged the Roman empire, passed several laws relating to the newly
conquered provinces, and, among others, that which is here mentioned. M.]

[Footnote 1059: The right of electing Senators did not originally belong to the
censors, who were only, as Cicero somewhere calls them, guardians of
the discipline and manners of the city; but in process of time they
engrossed the whole privilege of conferring that honour. M.]

[Footnote 1060: This, probably, was some act whereby the city was to ratify and
confirm the proceedings of Dion under the commission assigned to him.]

[Footnote 1061: It was a notion which generally prevailed with the ancients, in
the Jewish as well as heathen world, that there was a pollution in the
contact of dead bodies, and this they extended to the very house in
which the corpse lay, and even to the uncovered vessels that stood in
the same room. (Vid. Pot. Antiq. V. II. 181.) From some such opinion
as this it is probable that the circumstance, here mentioned, of placing
Trajan's statue where these bodies were deposited, was esteemed as a
mark of disrespect to his person.]

[Footnote 1062: A thriving Greek colony in the territory of Sinopis, on the

[Footnote 1063: A colony of Athenians in the province of Pontus. Their town,
Amisus, on the coast, was one of the residences of Mithridates.]

[Footnote 1064: Casaubon, in his observations upon Theophrastus (as cited by
one of the commentators) informs us that there were at Athens and other
cities of Greece Certain fraternities which paid into a common chest a
monthly contribution towards the support of such of their members who
had fallen into misfortunes; upon condition that, if ever they arrived
to more prosperous circumstances, they should repay into the general
fund the money so advanced. M.]

[Footnote 1065: By the law for encouragement of matrimony (some account of which
has already been given in the notes above), as a penalty upon those who
lived bachelors, they were declared incapable of inheriting any legacy
by will; so likewise, if being married, they had no children, they could
not claim the full advantage of benefactions of that kind.]

[Footnote 1066: This letter is esteemed as almost the only genuine monument of
ecclesiastical antiquity relating to the times immediately succeeding
the Apostles, it being written at most not above forty years after the
death of St. Paul. It was preserved by the Christians themselves as a
clear and unsuspicious evidence of the purity of their doctrines, and
is frequently appealed to by the early writers of the Church against the
calumnies of their adversaries. M.]

[Footnote 1067: It was one of the privileges of a Roman citizen, secured by the
Semprorian law, that he could not be capitally convicted but by the
suffrage of the people; which seems to have been still so far in force
as to make it necessary to send the persons here mentioned to Rome. M.]

[Footnote 1068: These women, it is supposed, exercised the same office as
Phoebe mentioned by St. Paul, whom he styles deaconess of the church
of Cenchrea. Their business was to tend the poor and sick, and other
charitable offices; as also to assist at the ceremony of female baptism,
for the more decent performance of that rite: as Vossius observes upon
this passage. M.]

[Footnote 1069: If we impartially examine this prosecution of the Christians, we
shall find it to have been grounded on the ancient constitution of the
state, and not to have proceeded from a cruel or arbitrary temper in
Trajan. The Roman legislature appears to have been early jealous of
any innovation in point of public worship; and we find the magistrates,
during the old republic frequently interposing in cases of that nature.
Valerius Maximus has collected some instances to that purpose (L. I. C.
3), and Livy mentions it as an established principle of the earlier
ages of the commonwealth, to guard against the introduction of foreign
ceremonies of religion. It was an old and fixed maxim likewise of the
Roman government not to suffer any unlicensed assemblies of the people.
From hence it seems evident that the Christians had rendered themselves
obnoxious not so much to Trajan as to the ancient and settled laws of
the state, by introducing a foreign worship, and assembling themselves
without authority. M.]

[Footnote 1070: On the coast of Paphlagonia.]

[Footnote 1071: By the Papian law, which passed in the consulship of M. Papius
Mutilus and Q. Poppeas Secundus, u. c. 761, if a freedman died worth a
hundred thousand sesterces (or about $4,000 of our money), leaving only
one child, his patron (that is, the master from whom he received his
liberty) was entitled to half his estate; if he left two children,
to one-third; but if more than two, then the patron was absolutely
excluded. This was afterwards altered by Justinian, Inst. 1. III. tit.
8. M.]

[Footnote 1072: About $7,000.]

[Footnote 1073: About $175]

[Footnote 1074: About $350.]

[Footnote 1075: The denarius=7 cents. The sum total, then, distributed among one
thousand persons at the rate of, say, two denara a piece would amount to
about $350.]

[Footnote 1076: These games are called Iselastic from the Greek word invehor,
because the victors, drawn by white horses, and wearing crowns on their
heads, were conducted with great pomp into their respective cities,
which they entered through a breach in the walls made for that purpose;
intimating, as Plutarch observes, that a City which produced such able
and victorious citizens, had little occasion for the defence of walls
(Catanaeus). They received also annually a certain honourable stipend
from the public. M.]

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.