Letters to Atticus/4.9

To Atticus at RomeEdit

Cumae, 28 April 55 BCEdit

I should much like to know whether the tribunes are hindering the census by stopping business with their bad omens[1] (for there is a rumour to that effect), and what they are doing and contriving as to the censorship altogether. I have had an interview with Pompey here. He talked a good deal to me about politics. He is not at all satisfied with himself, to judge from what he says—one is obliged to put in that proviso in his case. He thinks very little of Syria as a province; talks a good deal about Spain—here, too, I must add, "to judge from what he says," and, I think, his whole conversation requires that reservation, and to be ticketed as Phocylides did his verses—kai tode phôkulidou.[2] He expressed gratitude to you for undertaking to arrange the statues:[3] towards myself he was, by Hercules, most effusively cordial. He even came to my Cuman house to call on me. However, the last thing he seemed to wish was that Messalla should stand for the consulship: that is the very point on which I should like to hear what you know. I am much obliged by your saying that you will recommend my fame to Lucceius, and for your frequent inspection of my house. My brother Quintus has written to tell me that, as you have that dear boy, his son Quintus, staying with you, he intends coming to your house on the 7th of May. I left my Cuman villa on the 26th of April. That night I spent at Naples with Paetus. I write this very early on the 27th, on my road to my Pompeian house.


  1. The tribunes had no veto against the censors, they could only hinder them by the indirect method of obnuntiatio, declaring that the omens were bad, and so preventing business.
  2. This also is Phocylides's.
  3. In Pompey's new theatre.