Letters to Atticus/3.20

Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To Atticus at RomeEdit

Thessalonica, 4 October 58 BCEdit

Cicero greets Q. Caecilius Pomponianus Atticus, son of Quintus.[1] That this is now the case, and that your uncle has done what he ought to have done, I approve in the strongest manner possible: I will say I am "glad," when circumstances shall admit of my using such a word. Ah me! how well everything would have been going if my own spirit, my own judgment, and the good faith of those on whom I relied had not failed me! But I won't review these circumstances lest I increase my sorrow. Yet I feel sure that it occurs to your mind what a life ours was, how delightful, how dignified. To recover this, in the name of fortune, bestow all your energies, as I know you do, and take care that I keep the birthday of my return in your delightful house with you and my family. For this hope and expectation, though now put before me as being very strong, I yet wished to wait in your home in Epirus; but my letters are such as to make me think it better not to be in the same neighbourhood. What you say in your letter about my town house and about Curio's speech is exactly true. Under the general act of restoration, if only that is accorded me, everything will be included, of which I care for nothing more than for my house. But I don't give you any precise injunction, I trust myself wholly to your affection and honour. I am very glad to hear that you have extricated yourself from every embarrassment in view of so large an inheritance. As to your promise to employ your means in securing my restoration, though I am in all points assisted by you above all others, yet I quite see what a support that is, and I fully understand that you are undertaking and can carry on many departments of my cause, and do not need to be asked to do so. You tell me not to suspect that your feelings have been at all affected by acts of commission or omission on my part towards you--well, I will obey you and will get rid of that anxiety; yet I shall owe you all the more from the fact that your kind consideration for me has been on a higher level than mine for you. Please tell me in your letters whatever you see, whatever you make out, what-ever is being done in my case, and exhort all your friends to help in promoting my recall. The bill of Sestius[2] does not shew sufficient regard for my dignity or sufficient caution. For the proposed law ought to mention me by name, and to Pray see to it. contain a Carefully expressed clause about my property. Thessalonica, 4 October.


  1. Cicero gives Atticus his full name. rather playfully, as it was a new acquisition. His uncle, Q. Caecilius, dying this year, lelt him heir to a large fortune, and adopted him in his will (Nep. Att. 5). He therefore, according to Custom, took his uncle's praenomen and nomen, Q. Caecilius, retaining his own nomen in an adjectival form (Pomponianus) as a cognomen, just as C. Octavius became, by his uncle's will, C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus. His additional name of Atticus remained as before, and in ordinary life was his usual designation. See p. 15.
  2. Sestius, tribune-elect for B.C. 57, would come into office 10th December, B.C. 58. He means to bring a bill before the people for Cicero's recall, and a draft of it has been sent to Cicero, who criticises it as not entering sufficiently into details, though he had before said that a general restitutio in integrum covered everything; but perhaps this bill only repealed the Clodian law as a privilegium, without mentioning anything else.