Letters to Atticus/4.10

To Atticus at RomeEdit

Cumae, 20 April 55 BCEdit

At Puteoli there is a great report that Ptolemy has been restored. If you have any more certain news, I should like to know it. I am here devouring the library of Faustus.[1] Perhaps you thought I was feasting on the beauties of Puteoli and the Lucrine lake. Well, I have them too. But I declare to heaven that the more I am debarred from the enjoyment of ordinary pleasures, owing to the political situation, the more do I find support and refreshment in literature; and I would rather be sitting in that charming seat of yours, under your bust of Aristotle, than in their [2] curule [official] chair, and be taking a stroll with you rather than with the great man [3] [4] with whom I see I shall have to walk. But as to that walk, let fortune look to it, or god, if there is any god who cares for such things. I wish, when possible, you would come and see my walk and Spartan bath, and the buildings planned by Cyrus, and would urge Philotimus to make haste, that I may have something to match with yours in that department. [5] Pompey came to his Cuman property on the Parilia (19th April). He at once sent a man to me with his compliments. I am going to call on him on the morning of the 20th, as soon as I have written this letter.


  1. Son of the dictator Sulla, who is known to have brought back from Athens a famous Aristotelian library.
  2. Pompey and Crassus, the consuls
  3. Pompey, as the context shows
  4. In the next clause ambulatio has a double meaning of physical walking and of a political course of conduct.
  5. Philotimus, a freedman of Terentia's, seems to have been engaged at Rome in the reconstruction of Cicero's house. The Spartan bath (Laconicum) was a hot-air bath, like a Turkish bath.