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The Correspondence of Marcus Cornelius Fronto/Volume 1/The Correspondence

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF

M. CORNELIUS FRONTO

 

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF

M. CORNELIUS FRONTO


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 139 A.D.

Fronto to my Lord.[1]

1. In all arts, I take it, total inexperience and ignorance are preferable to a semi-experience and a half-knowledge. For he who is conscious that he knows nothing of an art aims at less, and consequently comes less to grief: in fact, diffidence excludes presumption. But when anyone parades a superficial knowledge as mastery of a subject, through false confidence he makes manifold slips. They say, too, that it is better to have kept wholly clear of the teachings of philosophy than to have tasted them superficially and, as the saying goes, with the tips of the lips; and that those turn out the most knavish who, going about the precincts of an art, turn aside or ever they have entered its portals. Yet in other arts it is possible, sometimes, to escape exposure, and for a man to be deemed, for a period, proficient in that wherein he is an ignoramus. But in the choice and arrangement of words he is detected instantly, nor can anyone make a pretence[2] with words for long without himself betraying that he is ignorant of them, that his judgment of them is incorrect, his estimate of them haphazard, his handling of them unskilful, and that he can distinguish neither their propriety nor their force.

2. Wherefore few indeed of our old writers have surrendered themselves to that toil, pursuit, and hazard of seeking out words with especial diligence. M. Porcius alone of the orators of all time, and his constant imitator C. Sallustius, are among these; of poets Plautus especially, and most especially Q. Ennius and his zealous rival L. Coelius, not to omit Naevius and Lucretius, Accius, too, and Caecilius, also Laberius. Besides these, certain other writers are noticeable for choiceness in special spheres, as Novius, Pomponius, and their like, in rustic and jocular and comic words, Atta in women's talk, Sisenna in erotics, Lucilius in the technical language of each art and business.

3. At this point, perhaps, you will have long been asking in what category I should place M. Tullius, who is hight the head and source of Roman eloquence. I consider him on all occasions to have used the most beautiful words, and to have been magnificent above all other orators in embellishing the subject which he wished to set out. But he seems to me to have been far from disposed to search out words with especial care, whether from greatness of mind, or to escape toil, or from the assurance that what others can scarcely find with careful search would be his at call without the need of searching. And so, from a most attentive perusal of all his writings, I think I have ascertained that he has with the utmost copiousness and opulence handled all other kinds of words—words literal and figurative, simple and compound and, what are conspicuous everywhere in his writings, noble words, and often-times also exquisite ones: and yet in all his speeches you will find very few words indeed that are unexpected and unlooked for, such as are not to be hunted out save with study and care and watchfulness and the treasuring up of old poems in the memory. By an unexpected and unlooked-for word I mean one which is brought out when the hearer or reader is not expecting it or thinking of it, yet so that if you withdrew it and asked the reader himself to think of a substitute, he would be able to find either no other at all or one not so fitted to express the intended meaning. Wherefore I commend you greatly for the care and diligence you shew in digging deep for your word and fitting it to your meaning. But, as I said at first, there lies a great danger in the enterprize lest the word be applied unsuitably or with a want of clearness or a lack of refinement, as by a man of half-knowledge, for it is much better to use common and everyday words than unusual and far-fetched ones, if there is little difference in real meaning.

4. I hardly know whether it is advisable to shew how great is the difficulty, what scrupulous and anxious care must be taken, in weighing words, for fear the knowledge should check the ardour of the young and weaken their hopes of success. The transposition or subtraction or alteration of a single letter in many cases changes the force and beauty of a word and testifies to the taste or knowledge of the speaker. I may say I have noticed, when you were reading over to me what you had written and I altered a syllable in a word, that you paid no attention to it and thought it of no great consequence. I should be loth, therefore, for you not to know the immense difference made by one syllable. I should say Os colluere,[3] but in balneis pavimentum pelluere,[4] not colluere; I should, however, say lacrimis genas lavere,[5] not pelluere or colluere; but vestimenta lavare,[6] not lavere; again, sudorem et pulverem abluere,[7] not lavare; but it is more elegant to say maculam eluere than abluere; if, however, the stain had soaked in and could not be taken out without some damage, I should use the Plautine word elavere.[8] Then there are besides mulsum diluere,[9] fauces proluere,[10] unguium iumento subluere.[11]

5. So many are the examples of one and the same word, with the change of a syllable or letter, being used in various ways and meanings; just as, by Hercules, I should speak with a nicer accuracy of a face painted with rouge, a body splashed with mud, a cup smeared with honey, a sword-point dipped in poison, a stake daubed with bird-lime.

6. Someone maybe will ask, Who, pray, is to prevent me saying vestimenta lavere rather than lavare, sudorem lavare rather than abluere? As for you, indeed, no one will have any right to interfere with or prescribe for you in that matter, as you are a free man born of free parents, and have more than a knight's income,[† 1] and are asked your opinion in the Senate; we, however, who have dedicated ourselves in dutiful service to the ears of the cultured must needs with the utmost care study these nice distinctions and minutiae. Some absolutely work at their words with crowbar and maul as if they were flints; others, however, grave them with burin and mallet as though they were little gems. For you it will be better, for greater deftness in searching out words, to take it to heart when corrected, than to demur or flag when detected in a fault. For if you give up searching you will never find; if you go on searching you will find.

7. Finally, you seemed even to have thought it a work of supererogation when I changed your order of a word, so that the epithet three-headed should come before the name Geryon. Bear this, too, in mind: it frequently happens that words in a speech, by a change in their order, become essential or superfluous. I should be right in speaking of a ship with three decks, but ship would be a superfluous addition to three-decker. For there is no danger[12] of anyone thinking that by three-decker was meant a litter, a landau, or a lute. Then, again, when you were pointing out why the Parthians wore loose wide sleeves, you wrote, I think, to this effect, that the heat was suspended[13] by the openings in the robe. Can you tell me, pray, how the heat is suspended? Not that I find fault with you for pushing out somewhat boldly[14] in the metaphorical use of a word, for I agree with Ennius his opinion that "an orator should be bold." By all means let him be bold, as Ennius lays down, but let him in no case deviate from the meaning which he would express. So I greatly approved and applauded your intention when you set about seeking for a word; what I found fault with was the want of care shewn in selecting a word which made nonsense. For by openings in sleeves, which we occasionally see to be loose and flowing, heat cannot be suspended: heat can be dispelled through the openings of a robe, it can be thrown off, it can radiate away, it can be given a passage, it can be diverted, it can be ventilated out—it can be almost anything, in fact, rather than be suspended, a word which means that a thing is held up from above, not drawn away through wide passages.

8. After that I advised you as to the preparatory studies necessary for the writing of history,[15] since that was your desire. As that subject would require a somewhat lengthy discussion, I make an end, that I overstep not the bounds of a letter. If you wish to be written to on that subject too, you must remind me again and again.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 139 A.D.

To my Lord.

Gratia[16] came home last night. But to me it has been as good as having Gratia, that you have turned your "maxims" so brilliantly; the one which I received to-day almost faultlessly, so that it could be put in a book of Sallust's without jarring or shewing any inferiority. I am happy, merry, hale, in a word become young again, when you make such progress. It is no light thing that I shall require; but what I remember to have been of service to myself, I cannot but require of you also. You must turn the same maxim twice or thrice, just as you have done with that little one. And so turn longer ones two or three times diligently, boldly. Whatever you venture on, such are your abilities, you will accomplish: but, indeed, with toil have you coveted a task that is truly toilsome, but fair and honourable and attained by few . . . .[† 2] you have got (it) perfectly out. This exercise will be the greatest help to you in speech making; undoubtedly, too, the excerpting of some sentences from the Jugurtha or the Catiline. If the Gods are kind, on your return from Rome I will exact again from you your daily quota of verses. Greet my Lady, your mother.[17]


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 139 A.D.

To my master.

I have received two letters[18] from you at once. In one of these you scolded me and pointed out that I had written a sentence carelessly; in the other, however, you strove to encourage my efforts with praise. Yet I protest to you by my health, by my mother's and yours, that it was the former letter which gave me the greater pleasure, and that, as I read it, I cried out again and again O happy that I am! Are you then so happy, someone will say, for having a teacher to shew you how to write a maxim more deftly, more clearly, more tersely, more elegantly? No, that is not my reason for calling myself happy. What, then, is it? It is that I learn from you to speak the truth.[19] That matter—of speaking the truth—is precisely what is so hard for Gods and men: in fact, there is no oracle so truth-telling as not to contain within itself something ambiguous or crooked or intricate, whereby the unwary may be caught and, interpreting the answer in the light of their own wishes, realize its fallaciousness only when the time is past and the business done. But the thing is profitable, and clearly it is the custom to excuse such things merely as pious fraud and delusion. On the other hand, your fault-findings or your guiding reins, whichever they be, shew me the way at once without guile and feigned words. And so I ought to be grateful to you for this, that you teach me before all to speak the truth at the same time and to hear the truth. A double return, then, would be due, and this you will strive to put it beyond my power to pay. If you will have no return made, how can I requite you like with like, if not by obedience? Disloyal, however, to myself, I preferred that you, moved by excess of care . . . . since I had those days free, I had the chance . . . . of doing some good work and making many extracts . . . . Farewell, my good master, my best of masters. I rejoice, best of orators, that you have so become my friend. My Lady[20] greets you.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 139 A.D.

Hail my best of masters.

If any sleep comes back to you after the wakeful nights of which you complain, I beseech you write to me and, above all, I beseech you take care of your health. Then hide somewhere and bury that "axe of Tenedos,"[21] which you hold over us, and do not, whatever you do, give up your intention of pleading cases, or along with yours let all lips be dumb.

You say that you have composed something in Greek[22] which pleases you more than almost anything you have written. Are you not he who gave me such a castigation for writing in Greek? However, I must now, more than ever, write in Greek. Do you ask why? I wish to make trial whether what I have not learnt may not more readily come to my aid, since what I have learnt leaves me in the lurch. But, an you really loved me, you would have sent me that new piece you are so pleased with. However, I read you here in spite of yourself and, indeed, that alone is my life and stay.

It is a sanguinary theme you have sent me. I have not yet read the extract from Coelius which you sent, nor shall I read it until I, on my part, have hunted up my wits. But my Caesar-speech[23] grips me with its hooked talons. Now, if never before, I find what a task it is to round and shape[24] three or five lines and to take time over writing. Farewell, breath of my life. Should I not burn with love of you, who have written to me as you have! What shall I do? I cannot cease. Last year it befell me in this very place,[25] and at this very time, to be consumed with a passionate longing for my mother. This year you inflame that my longing. My Lady[26] greets you.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 139 A.D.

A Discourse on Love[27]

1. This is the third letter, beloved Boy, that I am sending you on the same theme, the first by the hand of Lysias, the son of Kephalus, the second of Plato, the philosopher,[28] and the third, indeed, by the hand of this foreigner, in speech little short of a barbarian, but as regards judgment, as I think, not wholly wanting in sagacity. And I write now without trenching at all upon those previous writings, and so do not you disregard the discourse as saying what has been already said. But if the present treatise seem to you to be longer than those which were previously sent through Lysias and Plato, let this be a proof to you that I can claim in fair words to be at no loss for words. But you must consider now whether my words are no less true than new.

2. No doubt, O Boy, you will wish to know at the very beginning of my discourse how it is that I, who am not in love, long with such eagerness for the very same things as lovers. I will tell you, therefore, first of all how this is. He who is ever so much a lover is, by Zeus, gifted with no keener sight than I who am no lover, but I can discern your beauty as well as anyone else, aye, far more accurately, I might say, even than your lover. But, just as we see in the case of fever patients, and those who have taken right good exercise in the gymnasium, the same result proceeds from different causes. They are both thirsty, the one from his malady, the other from his exercise. It has been my lot also to suffer some such malady from love . . . . . . . .[† 3]

3. But me you shall not come near to your ruin, nor associate with me to any detriment, but to your every advantage. For it is rather by non-lovers that beautiful youths are benefited and preserved, just as plants are by waters. For neither fountains nor rivers are in love with plants, but by going near them and flowing past them they make them bloom and thrive. Money given by me you would be right in calling a gift, but given by a lover a quittance. And the children of prophets say that to gods also is the thank-offering among sacrifices more acceptable than the sin-offering, for the one is offered by the prosperous for the preservation and possession of their goods, the other by the wretched for the averting of ills. Let this suffice to be said on what is expedient and beneficial both to you and to him.

4. But if it is right that he should receive aid from you . . . . you set this on a firm basis . . . . you framed this love for him and devised Thessalian love-charms . . . . . . . . . . . . owing to his insatiable desire . . . . unless you have manifestly done wrong.[† 4]

5. And do not ignore the fact that you are yourself wronged and subjected to no small outrage in this, that all men know and speak openly thus of you, that he is your lover; and so, by anticipation and before being guilty of any such things,[29] you abide the imputation of being guilty. Consequently the generality of the citizens call you the man's darling; but I shall keep your name unsullied and inviolate. For as far as I am concerned you shall be called Beautiful,[30] not Darling. But if the other use this name as his by right because his desire is greater, let him know that his desire is not greater, but more importunate. Yet with flies and gnats the especial reason why we wave them away and brush them off is because they fly at us most impudently and importunately. It is this, indeed, that makes the wild beast shun the hunter most of all, and the bird the fowler. And, in fact, all animals avoid most those that especially lie in wait for and pursue them.

6. But if anyone thinks that beauty is more glorified and honoured by reason of its lovers, he is totally mistaken. For you, the beautiful ones, through your lovers, run the risk of your beauty winning no credence with hearers, but through us non-lovers you establish your reputation for beauty on a sure basis. At any rate, if anyone who had never seen you were to enquire after your personal appearance, he would put faith in my praises, knowing that I am not in love; but he would disbelieve the other as praising not truthfully but lovingly. As many, then, as are maimed or ugly or deformed would naturally pray for lovers to be theirs, for they would find no others to court them but those who approach them under the madness and duress of love; but you, such is your beauty, cannot reap any greater advantage from a lover. For non-lovers have need of you no less than they. And indeed, to those who are really beautiful, lovers are as useless as flatterers to those who deserve praise. It is sailors and steersmen and captains of warships and merchants, and those that in other ways travel upon it, who give excellence and glory and honour and gain and ornament to the sea—not, heaven help us, dolphins that can live only in the sea: but for beautiful boys it is we who cherish and praise them disinterestedly, not lovers, whose life, deprived of their darlings, would be unlivable. And you will find, if you look into it, that lovers are the cause of the utmost disgrace. But all who are right-minded must shun disgrace, the young most of all, since the evil attaching to them at the beginning of a long life will rest upon them the longer.

7. As, then, in the case of sacred rites and sacrifices, so also of life, it behoves above all those who are entering upon them to have a care for their good name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 5] For indeed by such adornments lovers do them no honour, but are themselves guilty of affectation and display, and, as it were, vulgarize the mysteries[31] of love. Your lover, too, as they say, composes some amatory writings about you in the hope of enticing you with this bait, if with no other, and attracting you to himself and catching you; but such things are a disgrace and an insult and a sort of licentious cry, the outcome of stinging lust, such as those of wild beasts and fed cattle, that from sexual desire bellow or neigh or low or howl. Like to these are the lyrics of lovers. If, therefore, you submit yourself to your lover to enjoy where and when he pleases, awaiting neither time that is fitting nor leisure nor privacy, then, like a beast in the frenzy of desire, will he make straight for you and be eager to go to it nothing ashamed.

8. I will add but one thing before I conclude my discourse, that we are formed by nature to praise and admire, but not to love, all the gifts of the gods and their works that have come for the use and delight and benefit of men—those indeed of them which are wholly and in every way divine, I mean the earth and sky and sun and sea—while in the case of some other beautiful things of less worth, and formed to fulfil a less comely part, these at once are the subject of envy and love and emulation and desire. And some are in love with wealth, others again with rich viands, and others with wine. In the number and category of such is beauty reckoned by lovers, like wealth and viands and strong drink; but by us, who admire, indeed, but love not, like sun and sky and earth and sea, for such things are too good for any love and beyond its reach.

9. One thing more will I tell you, and if you will pass it on to all other boys, your words will seem convincing. Very likely you have heard from your mother, or from those who brought you up, that among flowers there is one that is indeed in love with the sun and undergoes the fate of lovers, lifting itself up when the sun rises, following his motions as he runs his course, and when he sets, turning itself about; but it takes no advantage thereby, nor yet, for all its love for the sun, does it find him the kinder. Least esteemed, at any rate, of plants and flowers, it is utilized neither for festal banquets nor for garlands of gods or men. Maybe, O Boy, you would like to see this flower.[32] Well, I will shew it you if we go for a walk outside the city walls as far as the Ilissus . . . .


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 139 A.D.

Hail my best of masters.

1. Go on, threaten as much as you please and attack me with hosts of arguments, yet shall you never drive your lover, I mean me, away; nor shall I the less assert that I love Fronto, or love him the less, because you prove with reasons so various and so vehement that those who are less in love must be more helped and indulged. So passionately, by Hercules, am I in love with you, nor am I frightened off by the law you lay down, and even if you shew yourself more forward and facile to others, who are non-lovers, yet will I love you while I have life and health.

For the rest, having regard to the close packing of ideas, the inventive subtilties, and the felicity of your championship of your cause, I hardly like, indeed, to say that you have far outstripped those Atticists, so self-satisfied and challenging, and yet I cannot but say so. For I am in love and this, if nothing else, ought, I think, verily to be allowed to lovers, that they should have greater joy in the triumph of their loved ones. Ours, then, is the triumph, ours, I say. Is it . . . .[† 6] preferable to talk philosophy under ceilings rather than under plane-trees, within the city bounds than without its walls, scorning delights than with Lais herself sitting at our side or sharing our home? Nor can I "make a cast" which to beware of more, the law which an orator[33] of our time has laid down about this Lais, or my master's dictum about Plato.

2. This I can without rashness affirm: if that Phaedrus of yours ever really existed, if he was ever away from Socrates, Socrates never felt for Phaedrus a more passionate longing than I for the sight of you all these days: days do I say? months I mean . . . .[† 7] unless he is straightway seized with love of you. Farewell, my greatest treasure beneath the sky, my glory. It is enough to have had such a master. My Lady mother sends you greeting.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

Probably from Naples 139 A.D.

To my master.

When you rest and when you do what is good for your health, then am I, too, the better for it. Humour yourself and be lazy. My verdict, then, is: you have acted rightly in taking pains to cure your arm.[34] I, too, have done something to-day since one o'clock on my couch, for I have been successful with nearly all the ten similes; in the ninth I call you in as my ally and adjutant, for it did not respond so readily to my efforts in dealing with it. It is the one of the inland lake in the island Aenaria;[35] in that lake there is another island, it, too, inhabited. From this we draw a certain simile. Farewell, sweetest of souls. My Lady[36] greets you.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 139 A.D.

To my Lord.

1. As to the simile, which you say you are puzzling over and for which you call me in as your ally and adjutant in finding the clue, you will not take it amiss, will you, if I look for the clue to that fancy within your breast and your father's[37] breast? Just as the island lies in the Ionian or Tyrrhenian sea, or, maybe, rather in the Adriatic, or, if it be some other sea, give it its right name—as then that sea-girt island (Aenaria) itself receives and repels the ocean waves, and itself bears the whole brunt of attack from fleets, pirates, sea-monsters and storms, yet in a lake within protects another island safely from all dangers and difficulties, while that other nevertheless shares in all its delights and pleasures (for that island in the inland lake is, like the other, washed by the waters, like it catches the health-giving breezes, like it is inhabited, like it looks out on the sea), so your father bears on his own shoulders the troubles and difficulties of the Roman empire while you he safeguards safely in his own tranquil breast, the partner in his rank and glory and in all that is his. Accordingly you can use this simile in a variety of ways, when you return thanks to your father,[38] on which occasion you should be most full and copious. For there is nothing that you can say in all your life with more honour or more truth or more liking than that which concerns the setting forth of your father's praises.[39] Whatever simile I may subsequently suggest will not please you so much as this one which concerns your father. I know this as well as you feel it. Consequently I will not myself give you any other simile, but will shew you the method of finding them out for yourself. You must send me any similes you search out and find by the method shewn you for that purpose, that if they prove neat and skilful I may rejoice and love you.

2. Now, in the first place, you are aware that a simile is used for the purpose of setting off a thing or discrediting it, or comparing, or depreciating, or amplifying it, or of making credible what is scarcely credible. Where nothing of the kind is required, there will be no room for a simile. Hereafter when you compose a simile for a subject in hand, just as, if you were a painter, you would notice the characteristics of the object you were painting, so must ) T ou do in writing. Now, the characteristics of a thing you will pick out from many points of view, the likenesses of kind, the likenesses of form, the whole, the parts, the individual traits, the differences, the contraries, the consequences and the resultants, the names, the accidents, the elements, and generally everything from which arguments are drawn, the point in fact so often dwelt upon when we were dealing with the commonplaces of the arguments of Theodorus.[40] If any of them have slipped your memory, it will not be amiss for us to go over them afresh when time serves. In this simile, which I have sketched out about your father and you, I have taken one of the accidentals of the subject, the identity of the safety and the enjoyment. Now it remains for you, by those ways and paths which I have pointed out above, to discover how you may most conveniently come at your Aenaria.

3. The pain in my elbow is not much better. Farewell, my Lord, with your rare abilities. Give my greeting to my Lady your mother. On another occasion we will follow out,[41] with more care and exactness, the whole art of simile-making; now I have only touched upon the heads of it.


Eulogy of Smoke and Dust

? 139 A.D.

Fronto to his own Caesar.

1. The majority of readers may perhaps from the heading despise the subject, on the ground that nothing serious could be made of smoke and dust. You, with your excellent abilities, will soon see whether my labour is lost or well laid out.

2. But the subject seems to require a little to be said first on the method of composition, for no writing of this kind of sufficient note exists in the Roman tongue,[42] except some attempts by poets in comedies or Atellane farces. Anyone who practises this kind of composition will choose out an abundance of thoughts and pack them closely and cleverly interweave them, but will not stuff in superfluously many duplicate words, nor forget to round off every sentence concisely and skilfully. It is different with forensic speeches, where we take especial care that many sentences shall end now and again somewhat roughly and clumsily. But here, on the contrary, pains must be taken that there should be nothing left uncouth and disconnected, but that everything, as in a fine robe, should be woven with borders and trimmed with edgings. Finally, as the last lines in an epigram ought to have some sparkle, so the sentence should be closed with some sort of fastening or brooch.

3. But the chief thing to be aimed at is to please. For this kind of discourse is not meant as a speech for the defence in a criminal trial, nor to carry a law, nor to hearten an army, nor to impassion the multitude, but for pleasantry and amusement. The topic, however, must everywhere be treated as if it were an important and splendid one, and trifling things must be likened and compared to great ones. Finally, the highest merit in this kind of discourse is an attitude of seriousness. Tales of gods or men must be brought in where appropriate; so, too, pertinent verses and proverbs that are applicable, and ingenious fictions, provided that the fiction is helped out by some witty reasoning.

4. One of the chief difficulties, however, is so to marshal our materials that their order may rest on logical connexion. The fault for which Plato blames Lysias in the Phaedrus, that he has mingled his thoughts in such careless confusion that the first could change places with the last and the last with the first without any loss, is one which we can only escape if we arrange our arguments in classes, and so concatenate them, not in a scattered way and indiscriminately piled together like a dish of mixed ingredients, but so that the preceding thought in some sort overlaps the subsequent one and dovetails into it; that the second thought may begin where the first left off; for so we seem to step rather than jump from one to the other.

5. But these do not . . . . Variety even with some sacrifice is more welcome in the discourse than a correct continuity . . . . Merry things must be severely said, brave things with a smile . . . . . . . only let that sweetness be untainted and chaste, of Tusculan and Ionian strain, that is in the style of Cato or Herodotus . . . . In every case it is easier to master the method of speaking than to possess the power of performing . . . . to wish (others) well and to pray for their welfare, things which are compassed by voice and mind without aid.

6. Accordingly the more generously disposed a man shews himself, the more persons will he praise, nor those only whom others before him decked with praises; but he will choose out gods and men that have been most passed by in the praises of others, and there give proofs of his generous disposition, just as a farmer shews his industry, if he sows a field never before ploughed, and a priest his devotion, if he sacrifices at a desolate and inaccessible shrine.

7. I will therefore praise gods who are indeed not much in evidence in the matter of praises, but are very much in evidence in the experience and life of men, Smoke and Dust, without whom neither altars, nor hearths, nor highways, as people say, nor paths can be used. But if any cavil at this, whether Smoke can be counted among gods, let him consider that Winds too are held to be gods and though they can scarcely be distinguished from Smoke, Clouds and Mists, are reckoned goddesses and are seen in the sky, and according to the poets gods "are clad in clouds,"[43] and a cloud shielded from onlookers Jove and Juno as they couched.[44] Again, and this is a property peculiar to the divine nature, you cannot grasp smoke in the hand any more than sunlight, nor bind nor beat nor keep it in nor, if there be the slightest chink open, shut it out . . . . . . . .[† 8]


Eulogy of Negligence

? 139 A.D.

Fronto to his own Caesar.

1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . For those, who are too anxious in the performance of their duties, rely too little on friendship . . . . . . . . . . I have taken upon myself to indite the praises of Negligence, and the reason why I have never to this day indited them, that too, as the subject demands, I neglect to give . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 9] is checked by self-control. Generally too is the mildness praised, which readily pardons the sins of men, but unless you good-naturedly neglect offences, you are not likely to deal over mildly with them.

2. A man may think negligence to be unsafe and exposed to dangers, but my view is clean contrary, that it is diligence which is much much more liable to perils. For there is not one who takes the trouble to lay traps for negligence, judging that even without a trap it would be easy work to take in a negligent man always and everywhere and at pleasure: against the diligent, however, and the wide-awake and those who watch over their wealth, wiles and deceptions and traps are made ready. So general is it for negligence to be safeguarded by contempt, diligence to be assailed by craft. Mistakes too, committed through negligence are more readily pardoned and for kindnesses so done a more gracious gratitude is felt. For that a man in all other respects neglectful should not have neglected to do a kindness in season is from its unexpectedness grateful.

3. Now the famous golden age celebrated by the poets, if you think over it, you will find to have been the age of negligence, when the earth neglected bore rich crops and, without trouble taken, provided all the requisites of life to those who neglected it. These arguments shew that negligence comes of good lineage, is pleasing to the gods, commended by the wise, has her share of virtues, is the teacher of mildness, shielded from traps, welcomed in well-doing, pardoned in faults, and, finally, pronounced golden. Who pray prevents us from painting-in much colour from the paint-box of our friend Favorinus[45]? The more a woman relies on her looks, the more easily does she neglect her complexion and her coiffure; but with most women it is because they distrust their beauty that all the alluring devices which care can discover are brought into being that they may particularly adorn themselves.

4. The myrtle and the box and all the other shrubs and bushes that submit to the shears, accustomed as they are to being most diligently and carefully pruned, watered, and trimmed, creep on the ground, or raise their tops but little over the soil where they stand; but those unshorn firs and neglected pines hide their aspiring heads amid the clouds.

5. Lions are not so diligent in seeking their food and procuring their prey as ants, while spiders are more diligent in weaving than any Penelope or Andromache. And altogether insignificant abilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 10] How small a part, I ask you, of the Lucullan . . . . . . . .

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 140–143 A.D.

Hail, my best of masters.

1. I knew that on everyone's birthday his friends undertake vows for him whose birthday it is. I, however, since I love you as myself, wish to offer up on this day, which is your birthday, hearty prayers for myself. I call, therefore, with my vows to hear me each one of all the Gods, who anywhere in the world provide present and prompt help for men; who anywhere give their aid and shew their power in dreams or mysteries, or healing, or oracles; and I place myself according to the nature of each vow in that spot where the god who is invested with that power may the more readily hear.

2. Therefore I now first climb the citadel of the God of Pergamum and beseech Aesculapius[46] to bless my master's health and mightily protect it. Thence I pass on to Athens and, clasping Minerva by her knees, I entreat and pray that, if ever I know aught of letters, this knowledge may find its way into my breast from the lips of none other than Fronto.[47] Now I return to Rome and implore with vows the gods that guard the roads and patrol the seas that in every journey of mine you may be with me, and I be not worn out with so constant, so consuming a desire for you. Lastly, I ask all the tutelary deities of all the nations, and the very grove, whose rustling fills the Capitoline Hill, to grant us this, that I may keep with you this day, on which you were born for me, with you in good health and spirits. Farewell, my sweetest and dearest of masters. I beseech you, take care of yourself, that when I come I may see you. My Lady greets you.

 

Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 140–143 A.D.

To my Lord.

All is well with us since your wishes are for us, for there is no one who deserves more than you to win from the Gods fulfilment of his prayers, unless I should rather say that, when I pray for you, there is no one who deserves more than you the fulfilment of prayers offered on your behalf. Farewell, most sweet Lord. Greet my Lady.


? 140–143 A.D.

Fronto to his own Caesar.

. . . . unless speech is graced by dignity of language, it becomes downright impudent and indecent. In fine you too, when you have had to speak in the Senate or harangue the people, have never used a far-fetched word,[48] never an unintelligible or unusual figure, as knowing that a Caesar's eloquence should be like the clarion not like the clarionet, in which there is less resonance and more difficulty.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 140–143 A.D.

Hail, my best of masters.[49]

What, am I to study while you are in pain, above all in pain on my account? Shall I not of my own accord punish myself with every kind of penance? It were only right, by Hercules. For who else brought on that pain in the knee, which you write was worse last night, who else if not Centumcellae,[50] not to mention myself? What then shall I do, who cannot see you and am racked with such anxiety? Besides, however much I might be minded to study, the courts forbid it, which, as those say who know, will take up whole days. Still I send you to-day's maxim and the day-before-yesterday's commonplace. The whole day yesterday we spent on the road. To-day it is hard to find time for anything but the evening maxim. Do you sleep, say you, the livelong night? Aye, I can sleep, for I am a great sleeper; but it is so cold in my room that I can scarcely put my hand outside the bed-clothes.[51] But in good sooth what most of all put my mind off study was the thought that by my undue fondness for literature[52] I did you an ill turn at the Harbour,[53] as the event shewed. And so farewell to all Catos and Ciceros and Sallusts, as long as you fare well and I see you, though with never a book, established in health. Farewell, my chief joy, sweetest of masters. My Lady greets you. Send me three maxims and commonplaces.


Marcus Fronto's Arion[54]

? 140–143 A.D.

1. Arion of Lesbos, according to Greek tradition foremost as player on the lyre and as dithyrambist. setting out from Corinth, where he constantly sojourned, in pursuit of gain, after amassing great riches in the coast-towns of Sicily and Italy, prepared to make his way home from Tarentum to Corinth. For his ship's crew he chose Corinthians by preference, and boldly freighted their ship with his immense gains. When the ship was well out at sea he realized that the crew, coveting the wealth which they carried, were plotting his death. He wearied them with prayers to take all his gold for themselves, but leave him his life alone. When that boon was denied him, he was yet granted another grace, in taking farewell of life to sing as much as he would. The pirates put it down as so much to the good that over and above their booty they should hear a consummate artist sing, to whose voice moreover no one should ever thereafter listen. He donned his robe embroidered with gold, and withal his famous lyre. Then he took his stand before the prow in the most open and elevated place, the crew being afterwards intentionally scattered over the rest of the ship. There Arion, exerting all his powers, began to sing, for sea and sky, look you, the last reminder of his skill. His song ended, with a word on his lips he sprang into the sea: a dolphin received him, carried him on his back, outstripped the ship, landed him at Taenarus as near the shore as a dolphin might.

2. Thence Arion made his way to Corinth, man and robe and lyre and voice all safe; presented himself before Periander, the king of Corinth, who had long known him and esteemed him for his skill; recounted in order what had happened on the ship and subsequently in the sea. The king believed the man but did not know what to think of the miracle, and waited for the return of ship and crew. When he learnt that they had put into harbour, he gave orders for their being summoned without any excitement; questioned them with a pleasant countenance and gentle words as to whether they had any news of Arion the Lesbian. They answered glibly that they had seen that most fortunate of men at Tarentum making golden profits and applauded by all, his profession being to sing to the lyre; and that his stay was prolonged by reason of his popularity,[55] his profits, and his praises. As they were saying this, Arion sprang in safe and sound, just as he had stood on the ship's stern with his gold-embroidered robe and his famous lyre. The pirates were dumbfounded at the unexpected sight, nor did they thereafter attempt any denial or disbelief or exculpation. The dolphin's exploit is recorded by a statue set up at Taenarus of a man seated on a dolphin, small in size and executed as a subject-piece rather than as a likeness.


? 140–143 A.D.

Aurelius Caesar to his own Fronto greeting.[56]

It is a fact that you have often said to me, What can I do to give you the greatest pleasure? Now is the opportunity. If my love for you admits of any increase, you can increase it now. The trial approaches in which men, it seems, will not only give a generous ear to your eloquence, but turn a grudging eye upon your angry animosity. And I see no one else who can venture to advise you in this matter. For those who are less friendly to you prefer to see you acting inconsistently, while those who are truer friends are afraid of seeming too friendly to your opponent if they divert you from accusing him as you are entitled to do. Then again, if you have conned some especially choice phrase for the occasion, they cannot bear to rob you of its due delivery by an enforced silence. And so, even if you think me an ill-advised counsellor or a forward boy, or too partial to your opponent, I will not, for all that, shew any the more hesitation in pressing upon you what I think the best counsel. But why have I said counsel, whereas it is a favour I claim, urgently claim, from you and, if it is granted, promise to be bound to you in return? But you will say, What! if assailed, shall I not requite in like terms? Nay, you will win by this means greater glory for yourself if, even when assailed, you make no reply.[57] Still, if he is the first to attack, it will be excusable in you to answer as you can; however, I have begged of him not to begin, and I think I have got my way. For I love both of you, each one for his own merits, and I do not forget that he was brought up in the house of my grandfather,[58] P. Calvisius, and I educated under you. Wherefore I am most anxious that this very disagreeable business should be handled as honourably as possible. I trust my advice will commend itself to you, for my goodwill you must commend. At any rate, I would rather fail in judgment by writing than fail in friendship by keeping silence. Farewell, my Fronto, most beloved and most loving of friends.


? 140–143 A.D.

Fronto to my Lord Caesar.

Rightly have I devoted myself to you, rightly invested in you and your father all the gains of my life. What could be more friendly, what more delightful, what more true[59]? But I beseech you, away with your forward boys and rash counsellors! There is danger, forsooth, of anything you suggest being childishly conceived or ill-advised! Believe me, if you will—if not, I will for my part believe myself—that in good sense you leave your elders far behind. In fact, in this affair, I realise that your counsel is weighty and worthy of a greybeard, while mine is childish. For what is the good of providing a spectacle for friends and foes? If your Herodes be an honourable and moral man, it is not right that such a man[60] should be assailed[61] with invectives by me; if he is wicked and worthless, my fight with him is not on equal terms, nor do we stand to lose the same. For any contact with what is unclean contaminates a man, even though you come off best. But the former supposition is the truer, that he, whom you count worthy of your patronage, is a virtuous man. Had I had an inkling of the fact, may all the gods plague me if I should ever have ventured to say a word against any friend of yours.[62] As it is I should wish you for the great love you bear me, wherein I am most blest, to help me with your advice on this point also. I quite admit that I ought not to say anything, which does not bear on the case, to damage H erodes, but those facts which do bear on it—and they are undoubtedly of a most savage character—how am I to deal with them? that is the very thing I am in doubt about, and I ask your advice. I shall have to tell of freemen cruelly beaten and robbed, of one even slain; I shall have to tell of a son unfilial[63] and deaf to his father's prayers, cruelty and avarice will have to be denounced; there is one who must in this trial be made out a murderer. But if on those counts, on which the indictment is based, you think I ought to press and assail my opponent with might and main, assure me, best of Lords and sweetest to me, that such is your opinion. If, however, you think that I ought to let him off lightly in these also, I shall consider what you advise to be the best course. You may, indeed, as I said, rest assured of this, that I shall not go outside the case itself to speak of his character and the rest of his life. But if you think I must do the best for my case, I warn you herewith that I shall not even use in a disproportionate manner the opportunity my case gives me, for savage charges are made and must be savagely spoken of. Those in particular which concern the robbing and injuring of freemen shall be so told by me as to smack of gall and spleen: if I chance to call him a greekling and unlearned, it need not mean war to the knife.[64]

Farewell, Caesar, and love me, as you do, to the utmost. I, indeed, dote on the very characters of your writing: wherefore, whenever you write to me, I would have you write with your own hand.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 140–143 A.D.

Hail, my Lord.

After I had already closed and sealed the preceding letter, it occurred to me that those who plead in this case—and many seem likely to plead in it—may speak of Herodes in less measured terms. Take care how you think that I alone am concerned in this affair. Farewell, my Lord, and live, that I may be happy. Capreolus, who is now away, and our friend Marcianus[65] seem likely to plead; Villianus too, it seems.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 140–143 A.D.

Hail, my dearest Fronto.

I must acknowledge and tender you at once, my dearest Fronto, my thanks, that, so far from rejecting my advice, you have approved it. As to the points on which you consult me in your very friendly letter, my opinion is this. Whatever has relation to the case, which you safeguard, should obviously be put forward; whatever to your own private feelings, although legitimate and provoked by the facts, must, nevertheless, be left unsaid. So will you not wound your honour in an all-night business, nor your own standard of self respect. (Let the others conduct the case as they will)[† 11] and say what they please, since the one thing that greatly concerns me is, that you should say nothing that shall seem unworthy of your character, useless to your case, and to your audience deserving of blame. Farewell, my dearest, and to me most delightful Fronto.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 140–143 A.D.

To my Lord.

I will act, my Lord, as to these counts and as to my whole life in the way I see you wish me to act; and I pray and beseech you never to forbear mentioning what you wish done by me, but dissuade me, as you are now rightly doing, if I ever undertake any such thing against your wishes. I should prefer (all the counts . . . .[† 12] in the) case to be taken separately, that we may apply the method of Cicero. For when they compress that decision into so little, I desire . . . . . . . . but a fight could never be conducted in this way. But if we proceed with unbroken speeches, though I go no step outside the case, my glance must needs be somewhat keen, and my voice vehement, and my words stern, and I must shew anger with a gesture here and a finger there; and this your man[66] ought to bear with composure. But it is no easy matter to get that concession from him, for he is said to be inflamed with a passion for pleading. Nor yet do I find fault with even this; but take heed that he seem not to you to put forward what actually belongs to his case too bitterly. But it is your own plea that honour should be the first consideration: and if one practises arms or wrestling, not even these mimic exercises can be carried through without strife . . . . . . . . . . . . I have praised more happily your "country bumpkin."[67]


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 140–143 A.D.

Fronto to my Lord.

Since I know how anxious you are[† 13] . . . . sheep and doves with wolves and eagles followed the singer, regardless of ambushes and talons and teeth. This legend rightly interpreted surely signifies this, that Orpheus[68] was a man of matchless genius and surpassing eloquence, who attached to himself numerous followers, from admiration of his virtues and his power of speech, and that he so trained his friends and followers, that, though met together from different nations and endowed with diverse characteristics, they, nevertheless, lived sociably together in unity and concord, the gentle with the fierce, the quiet with the violent, the meek with the proud, the sensitive with the cruel. Then all of them gradually put off their ingrained faults, went after virtue and learned righteousness, exchanged shamelessness for a sense of shame, self-will for deference, ill-feeling for kindliness. But if ever anyone by his character had so much influence as to unite his friends and followers in mutual love for one another, you assuredly will accomplish this with far greater ease, for you were formed by nature before you were fitted by training for the exercise of all virtues.[69] For before you were old enough to be trained, you were already perfect and complete in all noble accomplishments, before adolescence a good man, before manhood[70] a practised speaker. But of all your virtues this even more than the others is worthy of admiration, that you unite all your friends in harmony. And I cannot conceal my opinion that this is a far harder task than to charm with the lyre the fierceness of lions and wild beasts: and you will achieve this the more easily, if you set yourself to uproot and utterly to stamp out this one vice of mutual envy and jealousy among your friends, that they may not, when you have shewn attention or done a favour to another, think that this is so much taken from or lost to themselves. Envy among men is a deadly evil and more fatal than any, a curse to enviers and envied alike. Banish it from your circle of friends, and you will keep them, as they now are, harmonious and kindly; but let it in any way spread among them, and it can only be stamped out with immense toil and immense trouble.

But prithee let us talk of better things. I love Julianus—for this discussion originated with him—; I love all who are fond of you; I love the gods who watch over you; I love life for your sake; with you I love letters; like all your friends I take deep draughts of love for you.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 140–143 A.D.

Hail, my dearest or masters.

1. Although I am coming to you to-morrow, yet I cannot refrain, my dearest Fronto, from writing some answer, however trifling, to a letter so friendly, so delightful, so felicitous as yours. But what am I to love first? feel grateful first for what? Shall I not mention this first, that, occupied though you are with such important pursuits at home and business no less important outside, you nevertheless made a point of going to see our friend Julianus[71] chiefly—for I were ungrateful if I did not realize this— on my account. But, you will say, there is not much in that. Yet it does amount to much, if you count in all the rest, your staying there so long, having so protracted a talk, a talk, too, about me, or something to cheer him up in his illness, your making a sick man more comfortable in himself, a friend more friendly to me; then again, your writing out for me a detailed account of all this, giving in your letter most welcome news of Julianus himself, the kindest of words, the most wholesome of counsels! Why should I try to dissemble before you what, do what I will, I can never dissemble? At any rate, the very fact of your writing me so long a letter, when I was to come to you to-morrow—that, I confess, was to me the most gratifying thing of all; in that did I think myself above all men most blest, for by it you have shewn me in the most marked and the sweetest way how much you make of me, and how great is the confidence you have in my friendship. What shall I say more except I love you deservedly? But why do I say deservedly? Would that I could love you as you deserve! Aye, and that is why I am often full of wrath and indignation against you when away, because you make it impossible for me to love you as I wish, that is, for my soul to follow your love up to its supreme height.

2. With respect to Herodes proceed with what you say, I beseech you: as our Quintus[72] has it, prevail with persevering persistence. Herodes loves you, and I am doing my best in that quarter, and assuredly he who does not love you neither sees with his eyes nor understands with his heart: of ears I say nothing, for the ears of all hearers have passed under the yoke and are slaves of your voice. To me this day seems, and will seem, longer than a spring day, and the coming night more tedious than a night in winter. For as I desire intensely to greet my Fronto, so I long above all to embrace the writer of this last letter.

3. I have written this to you hurriedly because Maecianus[73] was pressing, and it was right that your brother should return to you in good time. I beseech you, therefore, if you find any solecism or confusion of thought or shaky letter herein, put it down to haste. For though I am desperately fond of you as a friend, at the same time I must not forget that I ought to shew no less respect to my master than love to my friend. Farewell, my Fronto, dearest and beyond all things sweetest to me.

4. The Sota[74] of Ennius, which you have returned, seems to be on clearer paper, in a more handsome volume and a prettier hand than before. Let Gracchus[75] bide with the cask of new wine until we come. There is no risk of Gracchus fermenting out[76] meanwhile along with the wine. Fare ever well, my sweetest soul.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 140–143 A.D.

His own Caesar to his master.

I need not say how pleased I was at reading those speeches of Gracchus, for you will know well enough, since it was you who, with your experienced judgment and kind thoughtfulness, recommended them for my reading. That your book might not be returned to you alone and unaccompanied, I have added this letter. Farewell, my sweetest of masters and friendliest of friends, to whom I am likely to be indebted for all the literature I shall ever know. I am not so ungrateful as not to recognize what a favour you have done me by letting me see your extracts,[77] and by ceasing not to lead me daily in the right way and, as the saying goes, "to open my eyes." Deservedly do I love you.


143 A.D.

Fronto to his own Caesar.

. . . .[† 14] I will send you, therefore, as far as I can, this book copied out. Farewell, Caesar, and smile and be happy all your life long and enjoy the best of parents and your own excellent abilities.


Baiae, 143 A.D.

Marcus Caesar Imperator[78] to my master Fronto.

1. What shall I say, that is adequate, as to my ill-fortune, or how inveigh as it deserves against this most hard necessity which keeps me a prisoner here with a heart so anxious and fettered with such great apprehension and does not let me run at once to my Fronto, to my most beautiful of souls, above all to be with him at a time when he is so unwell, to clasp his hands and in fine, as far as may be without pain, to massage the poor foot itself, foment it in the bath, and support him as he steps in? And do you call me a friend, who do not throw aside all hindrances and fly in hot haste to you? I, indeed, am more lame than you with that diffidence or, rather, laziness of mine. Oh, as to myself—what shall I say? I am afraid of saying something you would not like to hear, for you indeed have always striven in every way, with your humorous sallies and your wittiest of words, to divert my mind, and to shew me that you can put up with all your ills with unruffled fortitude. But where my fortitude has gone to I know not, if it be not yonder in some mysterious way to you. For mercy's sake endeavour with all self-denial and all abstinence to shake off this attack which you, indeed, can endure with your usual courage, but to me it is the worst and sorest of trials.

2. Write and tell me quickly, I beseech you, to what waters you are going and when, and how well you now are, and set my mind going in my breast again. Meanwhile I will carry about your letter in spite of its sad tenor. Farewell, my most delightful Fronto: and yet I ought to put it more correctly thus—for to fare well is, of course, always your wish—: O ye kind Gods, that are everywhere, grant, I beseech you, health to my Fronto, dearest to me and most delightful: let him ever be well with a hardy, hale, healthy body: let him be well and able to be with me. Most charming of men, farewell.


143 A.D.

Fronto to his own Caesar.

1. So without end, Caesar, is your love for this Fronto of yours, that for all your eloquence words are scarcely forthcoming fully to express your love and set forth your goodwill. What, I ask you, can be more fortunate, what more happy than I alone am, to whom you send such glowing letters? Nay, more, and this is peculiar to lovers, you wish to run, aye, to fly, to me.

2. My Lady, your mother, is wont at times to say in fun that she envies me for being loved so much by you. What if she read this letter of yours, in which you even beseech the gods and invoke them with vows for my health? O, happy that I am! commended by your lips to the gods! Can any pain, think you, find its way into body or mind of mine to count against delight so great? . . . . hurrah! No longer do I feel any pain, nor any distress: I am whole, I am well, I leap for joy; whither you wish, I will come; whither you wish, I will run. Believe me when I say that I was so steeped in delight as not to be able to answer your letter at once; but the letter, indeed, which I had already written in answer to your previous one, I have sent off to you. However, I have kept back the second messenger that I might recover from my joy. And lo, the night has passed, a second day is already here which is already almost spent, and still what and how to write back to you I find not. For what professions of mine could be more sweetly, what more winningly, what more lovingly expressed than yours for me? And so I rejoice that you make me ungrateful and put a due requital beyond my powers, since, as the matter stands, your affection for me is so great that I can scarcely exceed your love.

3. Therefore, to provide some matter for a longer letter, let me ask you for what desert of mine you love me so. What benefit has your Fronto bestowed upon you so great that you should shew him such affection? Has he given up his life for you and your parents? Has he braved perils vicariously in your stead? Has he been the faithful governor of some province? Has he commanded an army? Nothing of the kind. Not even those everyday duties about your person does he discharge more than others; nay, he is, if you wish the truth, remiss enough. For neither does he haunt your house at daybreak, nor pay his respects to you daily, nor attend you everywhere, nor keep you always in sight. See to it then that, if anyone ask you why you love Fronto, you have an easy answer ready.

4. And yet there is nothing I like better than that there should be no reason for your love of me. For that seems to me no love at all which springs from reason and depends on actual and definite causes: by love I understand such as is fortuitous and free and subject to no cause, conceived by impulse rather than by reason, that needs no services, as a fire logs, for its kindling, but glows with self-engendered heat. To me the steaming grottoes of Baiae are better than your bath-furnaces, in which the fire is kindled with cost and smoke, and anon goes out. But the natural heat of the former is at once pure and perpetual, as grateful as it is gratuitous. Just in the same way your rational friendship, kept alight with services, not unfrequently means smoke and watery eyes: relax your efforts for an instant and out they go: but love fortuitous is eternal and enchanting.

5. Again, friendship that is won by desert has no such growth or firm texture as the love that is sudden and at first sight. So in orchards and gardens the growth of shrubs, reared and watered by hand, is not like that of the oak and the fir and the alder[79] and the cedar and the pine on their native hills which, springing up self-sown and set without plan and without order, owe nothing to the toil or services of a planter, but are fostered by the wind and the rain.

6. That love of yours, therefore, unplanted and sprung up without reason, will, I trust, grow steadily on with the cedars and the oaks; whereas if it were cherished by reason of services done, it would not outgrow the myrtles and the bays, which have scent enough but too little strength. In a word, love spontaneous is as superior to love earned by service as fortune is to reason.

7. But who is there knows not that reason is a term for human judgment, while Fortuna is a goddess and the chief of goddesses? that temples, fanes, and shrines have been dedicated to Fortuna[80] all the world over, while to Reason has been consecrated neither image nor altar anywhere? I cannot be wrong then in preferring that your love for me should be born rather of fortune than of reason.

8. Indeed reason can never compare with fortune either in grandeur or utility or worth. For neither can you match your pyramids, raised by hand and reason, against the hills, nor your aqueducts against the rivers, nor your cisterns against the fountains. Again, reason that guides our actions is called wisdom, the intuition of the seer is named divination. Nor is there anyone who would rather put faith in the wisest of women than in the oracles of the Sibyl. What is the drift of all this? To shew that I do right in preferring to be loved by intuition and chance rather than by reason and my desert. Wherefore, even if there is any adequate reason for your love for me, I beseech you, Caesar, let us take diligent pains to conceal and ignore it. Let men doubt, discuss, dispute, guess, puzzle over the origin of our love as over the fountains of the Nile.

9. It is now close on four o'clock and your messenger is muttering. So my letter must end. I am really much better than I expected; I have given up all idea of waters. Dearly do I love you, my Lord, the glory of our age, my chiefest solace. You will say, Not surely more than I love you? I am not so ungrateful as to dare say that. Farewell, Caesar, and your parents too, and cultivate your abilities to the full.


Baiae, 143 A.D.

M. Caesar to his master Fronto, greeting.

1. Hear now a very few points in favour of wakefulness against sleep[81]: and yet methinks I am guilty of collusion, in that I side with sleep night and day without ceasing: I desert him not, nor is he likely to desert me, such cronies are we. But my hope is that he may be huffed at my indictment of him and leave me for a little space, and give me a chance at last of burning some midnight oil. Now for subtle arguments: of which[82] my first, indeed, shall be this, in regard to which, if you say that I have taken up an easier theme in accusing sleep than you who have praised it—for who, say you, cannot easily bring an indictment against sleep?—I will counter thus: what is easy to indict is hard to praise; what is hard to praise can serve no useful purpose.

2. But I let that pass. For the nonce, as we are staying at Baiae in this interminable labyrinth[83] of Ulysses, I will take from Ulysses a few things which bear on my subject. For he surely would not have taken twenty years his fatherland to reach,[84] nor have wandered so long about that pool, nor gone through all the other adventures which make up the Odyssey, had not then sweet sleep seized his weary limbs.[85] Yet on the tenth day his native soil appeared[86]—but what did sleep do?

The evil counsel of my crew prevailed:
The bag they opened, and forth rushed the winds;
The fierce gale caught and swept them to the sea,
Weeping with sorrow, from their native shore?[87]

What again took place at the island of Trinacria?[88]

Nor winds sweet sleep upon mine eyelids shed:
Eurylochus his crew ill counsel gave.[89]

Afterwards, when the Sungod's oxen and fat flocks . . they slew and flayed . . and burnt the thighs and ate the flesh,[90] what then Ulysses when awaked?

Wailing I cried to all the Gods on high,
Who ruthless to my ruin made me sleep.[91]

Sleep, however, did not allow Ulysses a long recognition of his native land, from which he yearned to see even the smoke leap upwards.[92]

3. Now I leave the son of Laertes for the son of Atreus. For that with all haste, which beguiled the latter, and led to the defeat and rout of so many legions, surely sprang from sleep and a dream.

Again, when the poet would praise Agamemnon, what says he?—

Then none might see the godlike Agamemnon sleeping[93]

what, when he is finding fault?—

No councillor should sleep the whole night long,[94]

verses indeed, which an illustrious orator[95] once wrested in a strange fashion.

4. I now pass on to our friend Q. Ennius, who, you say, drew from sleep and a dream[96] his first inspiration to write. But, marry, had he never waked from sleep, he had never told his dream.

5. From him let us to Hesiod the shepherd, who became a poet, you say, in slumber. But, indeed, I remember reading once upon a time at school:

When on the swift steed's track he was leading his sheep to the pasture,
Hesiod once was met in the way by a bevy of Muses.[97]

That was met, you see what it implies? Why, that he was walking when the Muses met him.

What, again, do you think of that, of which its most eloquent advocate says what?

Sweet dreamless sleep, death's counterfeit.[98]

6. Enough of this trifling which I have indulged in more from love of you than from my own faith in it. Now after soundly abusing sleep, I am off to sleep: for I have spun all this out for you in the evening. I hope sleep will not pay me out.


143 A.D.

Fronto to his Lord Marcus Caesar.

1. On my return home I received your letter which you had, of course, written to me at Rome, and to Rome it had gone; then it was brought back to-day and delivered to me a little while ago. In it, with many happy arguments, you confute the little I had said for sleep so cleverly, so subtly and aptly, that if wakefulness brings you such sharpness and wit,[99] I would absolutely prefer you to keep awake. But, indeed, you confess that you wrote in the evening just before going to sleep. It was the near approach, therefore, and overshadowing of sleep that produced so felicitous a letter. For, like the saffron, sleep, ere it comes close, sheds its fragrance from afar and delights at a distance.

2. To begin, then, with the opening of your letter, collusion with sleep, as you term it, is most happy . . . .[† 15] the word[100] is so apt that, were it withdrawn, nothing of equal value and force could be put in its place. That, again, is a happy expression[† 16] . . . . or that turn of yours beside the mark where you say nor all the other things which make up the Odyssey.

3. Indeed all that Latin context is interwoven by you and alternates as skilfully with the Greek verses as the movements of the gaily-drest performers in the Pyrrhic reel when they run together, coalescing now with these, now with those, dressed some in scarlet, others in damask,[101] and crimson, and purple.

4. Again, your transition from Laertius to Atrides was neatly done. But come, that was a nasty return you gave Q. Ennius when you said that, had he not awaked from sleep he could not have recounted his dream. See if my Marcus Caesar can evolve anything more dexterous than that. No sleight of word So clever, no snare, as Laevius says, so cunningly set. What if I beseech you never to wake up? Nay, I beseech you to sleep. Another jester's[102] proverb: Marry, one with whom you can play odd and even in the dark! But am I not blest in seeing and realizing this, and above all in being called by the title master? How I master? who cannot get my way in this one thing I would have you learn—to sleep. Go your own way, provided that, whether you wake early or sleep long, the Gods keep you for me. Farewell, my joy, farewell.

 

M. Aurelius as Caesar to Fronto

143 A.D.

To my master.

Cicero's letter interested me wonderfully. Brutus had sent his book[103] to Cicero for corrections . . . .[† 17]


Fronto to M. Aurelius as Caesar

143 A.D.

To my Lord.

1. . . . . be softened and so more effectually without any friction enter into the minds of hearers. And these are actually the things which you think crooked and insincere and laboured[104] and by no means reconcilable with true friendship! But I think all speech without these conventions rude and rustic and incongruous, in a word, inartistic and inept.[105] Nor, in my opinion, can philosophers dispense with such artifices any more than orators. In support of my contention I will adduce not "family" evidence, as the phrase is, from oratory, but I will call upon the most outstanding philosophers, the most ancient and excellent poets, in fact, the everyday practice and usage of life and the experience of all the arts.

2. What, then, have you to say about that master of eloquence no less than of wisdom, Socrates?—for him, first and foremost, I have subpoenaed as witness before you—did he cultivate a style of speech in which there was nothing crooked, nothing at times dissembled? By what methods was he wont to disconcert and entrap Protagoras and Polus and Thrasymachus and the other Sophists? When did he meet them without masking his batteries? When not attack them from an ambush? From whom, if not from him, can we say that the inverted[106] form of speech, which the Greeks call εἰρωνεία, took its rise? In what fashion, again, used he to accost and address Alcibiades and the other young men who prided. themselves on birth or beauty or riches? In terms of censure or in terms of suavity?[107] With bitter reproof when they went wrong, or with gentle persuasion? And yet Socrates assuredly had as much seriousness or force as the cynic Diogenes shewed in his habitual brutality. But he saw, in fact, that the dispositions of men in a measure, and of young men in particular, are more easily won over by courteous and sympathetic than by bitter and unrestrained language. And so he did not attack the errors of youths with mantlets and battering rams, but sapped them with mines, and his hearers never parted from him torn, though sometimes teased. For the race of mankind is by nature stiff-necked against the high-handed, but responds readily to coaxing. Therefore we give way more willingly to entreaties than are frightened into submission by violence, and advice rather than denunciation leads us to improve. So we listen to admonition courteously conveyed, but severity of correction makes us contumacious.[108]

 

Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

143 A.D.

To my Lord.

1. As for your thinking that I slept soundly, I lay awake nearly all night considering with myself whether, maybe from too great partiality for you, I did not think too lightly and indulgently of some shortcoming of yours; whether you should not by now be more trained, more advanced in eloquence, were not your abilities hampered either by sloth or carelessness. Turning these things over anxiously in my mind, I found that you had made much greater progress in eloquence than could be expected from your age, youthful as it is; much greater than the time that you have devoted to these studies would warrant, much greater than the hopes, and those no mean ones, which I had formed of you. But as it came to me only in the dead of night, what a subject you are writing on! actually one of the epideictic kind,[109] the most difficult of all. Why? Because of all the three generally received kinds of subject, the epideictic, the deliberative, the forensic, the first is set on a steep hill, the others are much less of a climb, being in many respects on sloping or level ground. In short, while there are similarly three types, as it were, of oratory, the plain, the medium, the luxuriant, in epideictic speeches there is practically no place for the plain style, which in forensic ones is quite essential. In the epideictic speech everything must be said in luxuriant style, eveiywhere there must be ornament, everywhere trappings must be used. The medium style admits but sparingly of these.

2. But you remember the numbers of books, of which you have up to the present made the acquaintance, comedies, farces, old-time orators, few of whom, perhaps none save Cato and Gracchus, blow a trumpet, but all bellow or, rather, shriek. What, then, has Ennius done for you now you have read him? What help have tragedies been to you in composing verse in the grand style? For generally it is verse that gives the best assistance to composing speeches and speeches to writing verse. You have but lately begun to read florid and showy[110] speeches. Do not expect to be able to imitate them all at once. But, as I said, let us bend to the oars, let us make a great effort. Quickly shall I set you upon the very pinnacle of eloquence: I will be your surety for it, your bondsman, your bail. The gods will assist in it, the gods will accomplish it. Farewell, my Lord, be sanguine and stout-hearted and trust to time and practice. Greet your Lady mother.

When you spoke of[111] the Persian training, battunt[† 18] was a happy word of yours.


M. Aurelius to Fronto

143 A.D.

Hail, my deservedly dear Fronto. I see through that most subtle ruse of yours, which you indeed hit upon in pure kindness of heart. For not being able to win credit for your praise of me by reason of your signal partiality in my case you sought to make it credible by throwing in some abuse.[112] But happy am I that I am thought worthy of blame no less than of praise by my Marcus Cornelius, greatest of orators and best of men! What shall I say of your letter so kind, so true, so loving?—true, that is, as far as the first part of its contents goes, but for the rest, where you express approval of me, as some Greek, Theophrastus I think, says, the lover is blind to the faults of his loved one, so have you been almost blinded by love in your judgment of some of my work. But so greatly do I value the fact that, though I do not write well, I should yet be praised by you for no desert of mine, but only because of your love for me, of which you have lately sent me such numerous and such happily-worded assurances that, since you wish it, I will be something. At all events, your letter had the effect of making me feel how much you loved me. But as to my despondency, nevertheless, I am still nervous in mind and a little depressed, lest I shall have said something in the Senate to-day, such that I should not deserve to have you as my master. Farewell, my Fronto, my—what shall I say but—best of friends.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

July, 143 A.D.

To my Lord.

1. In your last letter you ask me why I have not delivered my speech in the Senate. Well, I have to return thanks to my Lord your Father by proclamation also, and that I shall issue at my Games in the Circus; it will begin with these very words: On the day on which, by the kindness of our great Emperor, I am exhibiting a spectacle most attractive to the people and popidar in the highest degree, I have thought it a good opportunity to return thanks to him, that the same day—to be followed by some Ciceronian conclusion. My speech I shall deliver on August 13th. You will ask, perhaps, Why so late? Because I am never in a hurry to discharge a solemn duty at the first possible moment, and anyhow. But, as I ought to deal with you without disguise and without circumlocution, I will tell you what is in my mind. I often praised your grandfather, the deified Hadrian, in the Senate, with a steady zeal, aye, and a ready, and those speeches are constantly in everyone's hands. Yet, if your filial feeling towards him will allow me to say so, I wished to appease and propitiate Hadrian, as I might Mars Gradivus or Father Dis, rather than loved him. Why? Because love requires some confidence and intimacy. Since, in my case, confidence was lacking, therefore I dare not love one whom I so greatly revered. Antoninus, however, I love, I cherish like the light, like day, like life, like breath, and feel that I am loved by him. Him I must so praise that my praise be not hidden away in the Journals of the Senate,[113] but come into the hands and under the eyes of men, else am I ungrateful also towards you. Again, as the runaway syce is reported to have said, I have run sixty miles for my master, I will run a hundred for myself, to escape; so I, too, when I praised Hadrian, ran for my master, but today I run for myself; for myself, I say, and write this speech to please myself. I shall compose it, therefore, at my ease, slowly, leisurely, placidly.

2. If you are very impatient for it, amuse yourself the while in other ways; kiss your father, embrace him, lastly, praise him yourself. But you may certainly look forward to hearing on August 13th what you would wish and such as you would wish. Farewell, Caesar, and prove worthy of your father, and if you wish to write anything, write slowly.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

143 A.D.

My most honourable consul, Fronto.

1. I give in, you have won: beyond question you have conquered in loving all lovers that have ever lived. Take the wreath and let the herald, too, proclaim in the ears of all before your tribunal this your victory—M. Cornelius Fronto, consul, is the winner. He is crowned in the contest of the Great Friendship-Games. Yet, though vanquished, will I not falter or fail in my devotion. Therefore shall you indeed, my master, love me more than any of men loves any man, while I, who have less energy in loving, will love you more than anyone else loves you, more, in fact, than you love yourself. I see I shall have a competitor in Gratia,[114] and I fear that I may not be able to surpass her. For, as Plautus says, in her case, "not only has the rain of love drenched her dress with its thunder-drops, but soaked into her very marrow."[115]

2. If you only knew what a letter you have written me![116] I could venture to say that she who bore me and nursed me, even she never wrote me anything so delightful, so honeyed. Nor is this due to your word-mastery or eloquence, for apply that test and not my mother only but all that breathe would, as they do, yield the palm at once to you. But I cannot express in words how that letter of yours to me, not for its eloquence or learning, but bubbling up as it does with so much kindness, brimful of such affection, sparkling with so much love, has lifted my heart up to the heavens, inspired it with the most glowing fondness, in a word, as Naevius says, filled it with a love transcendent.

3. That other letter of yours, in which you pointed out why you were going to put off the delivery of the speech in the Senate in which you intend to eulogize my Lord, delighted me so much that—forgive me if I was too hasty—I could not refrain from reading it aloud to my father himself. I need not dwell on the pleasure it gave him, for you know his entire good-will towards you and the matchless felicity of your letter. But from this occasion arose a long talk between us about you, much, much longer than yours and your quaestor's[117] about me. So your ears too must have been tingling about that time in the forum. My Lord, then, quite approves and sympathizes with your reasons for putting off the delivery of your speech till later . . . .[† 19]

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

143 A.D.

To my master.

From half-past ten till now I have been writing and have also read a good deal of Cato, and I am writing this to you with the same pen, and I greet you and ask you how well you are. Oh, how long it is since I saw you! . . . .


August, 143 A.D.

M. Caesar to the most honourable consul his master.

. . . .[† 20] Three days ago we heard Polemo declaim—that we may have some talk about men also. If you would like to know what I think of him, listen. He seems to me like a hard-working farmer endowed with the utmost shrewdness, who has laid out a large holding with corn-crops only and vines, wherein beyond question the yield is the fairest and the return the richest. But, indeed, nowhere in all that estate is there a fig tree of Pompeii,[118] or a vegetable of Aricia,[119] or a rose of Tarentum, nowhere a pleasant coppice or a thick-set grove, or a shady plane-tree; all for profit rather than for pleasure, such as one would be bound to praise but not disposed to love. In judging a man of such reputation,[120] am I, think you, bold enough in my purpose and rash enough in my judgment? But when I remember that I am writing to you, I feel that I am not bold enough for your taste. On that point I am desperately doubtful—there's a home-grown hendecasyllable for you! So I must call a halt with you before I fall into the poetic vein. Farewell, most missed of men and dearest to your Verus,[121] most honourable consul, master most sweet. Farewell, my sweetest soul.


After August 13, 143 A.D.

To my Lord Aurelius Caesar your consul Fronto.

1. What nice ears men have nowadays! What taste in judging of speeches! You can leam from our Aufidius[122] what shouts of applause were evoked in my speech, and with what a chorus of approval were greeted the words in those days every bust was decorated with patrician insignia; but when, comparing a noble with a plebeian race, I said, As if one were to think the flame kindled on a pyre and on an altar to be the same because both alike give light, at this a few murmurs were heard.

2. Why have I told you this? That you, my Lord, may be prepared, when you speak before an assembly of men, to study their taste, not, of course, everywhere and by every means, yet occasionally and to some extent. And when you do so, remind yourself that you are but doing the same as you do when, at the people's request, you honour or enfranchise those who have slain beasts manfully in the arena;[123] criminals even they may be or felons, yet you release them at the people's request. Everywhere, then, the people prevail and get their way. Therefore must you so act and so speak as shall please the people.

3. Herein lies that supreme excellence of an orator, and one not easily attainable, that he should please his hearers without any great sacrifice of right eloquence, and should let his blandishments, meant to tickle the ears of the people, be coloured indeed, but not along with any great or wholesale sacrifice of dignity: rather that in its composition and fabric there should be a lapse into a certain softness but no wantonness of thought. So, too, in a garment, I should prefer it to be of the softness that belongs to wool rather than to an effeminate colour; it should be of finely woven or silken thread, and itself purple not flame-red[124] or saffron. You and your father, moreover, who are bound to wear purple and crimson, must on occasion clothe your words, too, in the same dress. You will do this and be restrained and moderate with the best moderation and restraint. For this is what I prophesy, that what has ever been done in eloquence will be done to the full by you, so great is your natural capacity, and with such zeal and application do you devote yourself to learning;[125] although, in others, either application without capacity, or capacity alone without application, has won outstanding glory. I feel sure, my Lord, that you spend no little time in writing prose also. For though the swiftness of steeds is equally well exercised whether they run and practise at a gallop or a trot, yet the more serviceable qualities must be the more frequently put into requisition.

4. For by now I do not treat you as if I thought you were twenty-two[126] years old. At an age when I had scarcely touched any of the ancient authors you, by the grace of the gods and your own merit, have made such progress in eloquence as would bring fame to greybeards, and that, too—a far from easy task—in every branch of the art. For your letters, which you write so regularly, are enough to shew me what you can further do in that more familiar and Ciceronian vein.

5. Instead of Polemo the rhetorician, whom you lately presented to me in your letter as a Ciceronian, I have given back to you in my speech, which I delivered in the Senate, a philosopher,[127] if I am not mistaken, of the hoariest antiquity. Come, what say you, Marcus, how does my version of the story of Polemo strike you? Of course, Horatius Flaccus, a famous poet, and one with whom I have a connexion through Maecenas and my "gardens of Maecenas,"[128] supplied me with plenty of smart things on that subject. For this Horatius, in his second book of Satires,[† 21] brings in the story of Polemo, if I remember rightly, in the following lines:—

Would you the marks of mental ill forswear,
The scarf, spats, lappet, that the rake declare?
Be changed, like Polemo, who, in drunken rage,
Scoffed at the teaching of the sober sage;
But cut to the heart by what he heard, 'tis said,
Plucked off by stealth the garlands from his head.

6. The verses which you sent me I have sent you back by our Victorinus, and this is how I have sent them. I have carefully sewn the paper across with thread, and so sealed the thread that that little mouse should poke his nose in anywhere. For he himself has never given me any information about your hexameters, so naughty is he and knavish. But he says that you purposely recite your hexameters so glibly and so fast that he cannot commit them to memory. So I have paid him back in his own coin: tit for tat—not to hear a line out of the packet. I remember, too, that you have often impressed upon me not to let anyone see your verses.

7. How is it with you, my Lord? Surely you are cheerful, surely you are well, surely sound in all respects. Other things are of little consequence, so you never give us the bad fright you did on your birthday.[129] If any evil threatens you, "may it fall on the Pyrrhaeans' heads."[130] Farewell, my joy, my refuge, happiness, glory. Farewell, and love me, I beseech you, every way in jest as in earnest.

I have written your mother a letter, such is my assurance, in Greek, and enclose it in my letter to you. Please read it first, and if you detect any barbarism in it, for you are fresher from your Greek than I am, correct it and so hand it over to your mother. I should not like her to look down on me as a goth. Farewell, my Lord, kiss your mother when you give her my letter, that she may read it the more gladly.

 

143 A.D.

Fronto to the Emperor Antoninus Pius Augustus.[† 22]

As you remember, Caesar, when I returned thanks[131] to you in the Senate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Farewell.[† 23]


143 A.D.

Antoninus Caesar to Marcus Fronto.

How great is your goodwill towards myself I have long known well enough, by Hercules, but what astonishes me . . . .[† 24] best of orators, is that in such a hackneyed and thread-bare subject you can find anything to say that is new and worthy of your abilities. But no doubt the mere wish is an immense help towards what you can do so well. Nothing could be more effective than your thoughts, nothing more complimentary, yet without any sacrifice of good sense, than your expression of them. For I will not be guilty of defrauding you of your legitimate praise for fear of arrogantly praising the praise of myself. You have done your duty pleasingly and in unexceptionable fashion, for which, apart from all question of the subject, you deserve every credit. But as for shewing me your mind, it has not done much in that way, for I knew well enough that you always would put the most favourable construction on every word and act of mine. Farewell, my Fronto, my very dear friend.

That part of your speech, which you most kindly devoted to honouring my Faustina,[132] seemed to me as true as it was eloquent. For this is the plain fact: By heaven, I would sooner live with her in Gyara[133] than in the palace without her.


143 A.D.

Marcus Caesar to his own consul and master.

1. Whether the Greeks of old ever wrote anything so good,[134] verily let those see to it who know; for myself, if I may say so, nowhere have I noticed in M. Porcius an invective so perfect as your praise. Oh, if my Lord could be praised enough, surely he had been enough praised by you. This work is not done in these days. Easier were it for one to rival Pheidias, easier Apelles, easier, in fine, Demosthenes himself or Cato himself, than this perfect and finished fork. Never have I read anything so refined, so classical, so polished, so Latin. Oh, happy you to be gifted with such eloquence! Oh, happy I to be in the hands of such a master! What reasoned thoughts! What orderly arrangement! What elegance! What wit! What beauty! What diction! What brilliance! What subtlety! What charm! What practised skill! What everything! My life on it, but some day you ought to have the wand[135] placed in your hand, the diadem round your brow, the tribunal under your feet: then the henild should summon all of us—why do I say us? I mean all your learned folk and your eloquent—one by one you should wave them along with your wand and admonish them with the words of your lips. For myself I never had any fear of these admonitions; I have more reasons than enough for setting foot in your school.[136]

2. I am writing this to you in the utmost haste, for what need of a longer letter from me when I send you so gracious a one of my Lord's? Farewell, then, glory of Roman eloquence, pride of your friends, a man of mark,[137] most delightful of men, most honourable consul, master most sweet.

3. In future be chary of telling so many fibs, especially in the Senate, about me. This speech of yours is "awfully"[138] well written. Oh, if I could only kiss your head for every heading of it! You have absolutely put everyone else in the background. With this speech before our eyes, vain is our study, vain our toil, vain our efforts. Fare ever well, sweetest of masters.


Fronto to Domitia Lucilla

143 A.D.

To the mother of Caesar.

1. What excuse[139] of mine can win your pardon for my not having written to you all this time, if it be not by my stating the true cause of my want of leisure, that I had composed a speech about our great Emperor? The Roman saw bids us "not hate a friend's ways but ken them."[140] What mine are I will tell you, and not conceal them. From my great natural incapacity and worthlessness I labour under much the same defect as the animal called by the Romans a hyena, whose neck, they say, can be stretched out straight forward but cannot be bent to either side.[141] So I, when I am putting together anything with more than usual care, am, in a way, immovable, and, giving up all else, aim at that alone, like the hyena not turning to the right hand or to the left. Again, they say that the snakes called "darters"[142] in much the same way project themselves straight forwards, but never move sideways; and spears and arrows are most likely to hit the mark when they are propelled straight, neither made to swerve by the wind, nor foiled by Athene's hand or Apollo's, as were the arrows shot by Teucer or the suitors.

2. These three similes, then, have I applied to myself, two of them fierce and savage, that of the hyena and that of the snake, and a third drawn from missiles, it, too, non-human and harsh. And if, indeed, I were to say that of winds the one astern was especially to be commended because it takes a ship straight forward nor lets it make leeway, this would be a fourth simile, and that a forcible one. And if I added this also of the line, that the straight line is the chiefest of all lines, I should produce a fifth simile, not only inanimate like that of the spears, but this one also incorporeal.

3. What simile, then, can be found convincing? One above all that is human, better still if it be also cultured; and if it partake, too, of friendship and love, the simile would be all the more a similitude. They say that Orpheus rued his turning to look back: had he looked and walked straight ahead he had not rued. Enough of similes. For this, too, is somewhat unconvincing, this simile of Orpheus fetched up from Hades.

4. But I will now for the rest plead in excuse what will most easily win me pardon. What, then, is this? That in writing the Emperor's encomium I was doing, in the first place, what was especially gratifying to you and your son; in the next I remembered and mentioned both of you in the composition, just as lovers name their darlings over every cup. But, indeed, the craftmanship of similes is an insinuating thing and grows on us. This one, at any rate, has occurred to me, which I add to all the others, and irideed it can most fairly be called a simile (or likeness), being taken from a painter. Protogenes the painter is said to have taken eleven[143] years to paint his Ialysus, painting nothing but the Ialysus all those eleven years. But, as for me, I painted not one but two Ialysuses at once, being no ordinary ones either of them, nor easy to depict, not only in respect of their faces and figures, but also of their characters and qualities, for the one is the great Imperator of all land and sea, and the other the great Imperator's son, his child in the same way as Athene is of Zeus, but thy son as Hephaestus is of Hera. But let there be no "halting"[144] in this simile from Hephaestus. This defence of mine, then, would seem to be wholly verisimilous and picturesque, full as it is in itself of similes entirely.

5. It remains that I should, after the fashion of geometers, ask—what? If any word in this letter be obsolete or barbarous, or in any other way unauthorized, or not entirely Attic, look not at that, but only, I beseech you, at the intrinsic meaning of the word, for you know that I do spend time on mere words or mere idiom. And, indeed, it is said that the famous Scythian Anacharsis was by no means perfect in his Attic, but was praised for his meaning and his conceptions. I will compare myself, then, with Anacharsis, not, by heaven, in wisdom, but as being like him a barbarian. For he was a Scythian of the nomad Scythians, and I am a Libyan of the Libyan nomads. I as well as Anacharsis may browse fresh pastures, bleat therefore as well as he while browsing, just as one wills to bleat. See, I have assimilated barbarism to bleating. So will I make an end of writing nothing but similes.


143 A.D.

M. Caesar to the most honourable consul Fronto.

1. . . . . connected by marriage[145] and not subject to guardianship and stationed besides in a social position in which, as Q. Ennius says,

All give foolish counsel, and look in all to pleasing only;

and Plautus, too, in his Colax, says finely on the same subject,

Crafty cajolers, who with fast-pledged faith
Take in the trustful: these stand round a king,
And what they speak is far from what they think.

These drawbacks used formerly to be confined to kings, but now, indeed, even the sons of kings have more than enough of men who, as Naevius[146] says,

Still flatter with their tongues and still assent,
And fawn upon them to their heart's content.[147]

I do right, then, my master, in being so ardent, right in setting before me one single aim, right in thinking of one man only when I take my pen in hand.

2. You very kindly ask for my hexameters, and I too should have sent them at once if I had had them with me. But my secretary—you know him, I mean Anicetus—did not pack up any of my work when I set out. For he knows my failing and was afraid that, if they came into my hands, I should do as I usually do, and consign them to the flames. But, as a matter of fact, those particular hexameters were in next to no danger. For, to tell my master the truth, I dote on them. I pore over them o' nights, for the day is spent in the theatre. And so I get through but little in the evening, being tired, and in the morning I get up sleepy. Still I have made for myself these last few days five notebooks full of extracts from sixty volumes. But when you read sixty, don't be staggered by the number, for included in them are the little Atellane farces of Novius and Scipio's speechlets.

3. As you have mentioned your Polemo, please don't mention Horace again, who, with Polio,[148] is dead and done with as far as I am concerned. Farewell, my dearest, my most beloved friend; farewell, my most honourable consul, my most sweet master, whom I have not seen these two years. For as to what some say, that two months[149] have intervened, they only count days. Shall I ever see you?


143 A.D.

To the most honourable consul, his master, M. Caesar, greeting.

Three years ago I remember turning aside with my father to the estate of Pompeius Falco[150] when on our way home from the vintage; and that I saw there a tree with many branches, which he called by its proper name of catachanna.[151] But it seemed to me a new and extraordinary tree, bearing as it did upon its single stem off-shoots of almost every kind of tree . . . .[† 25]


Naples, 143 A.D.

M. Aurelius Caesar to his own consul and master, greeting.

1. Since my last letter to you nothing has happened worth writing of, or the knowledge of which would be of the slightest interest to you. For we have passed whole days more or less in the same occupations: the same theatre, the same dislike of it, the same longing for you—the same, do I say? nay, one that is daily renewed and increases and, as Laberius, after his own manner and in his own peculiar style, says of love,

Your love as fast as amy onion grows, as firm as any palm.

This then that he says of love, I apply to my longing for you. I should like to write you a longer letter, but nothing suggests itself.

2. Stay, I have just thought of something. We have been listening to panegyrists here, Greeks, of course, but wondrous creatures, so much so that I, who am as far removed from Greek literature as is my native Caelian hill[152] from the land of Greece, could nevertheless hope, matched with them, to be able to rival even Theopompus, the most eloquent, as I hear, of all the Greeks. So I, who am all but a living barbarian, have been impelled to write in Greek by men, as Caecilius[153] says, of unimpaired ignorance.

3. The climate of Naples is decidedly pleasant, but violently variable. Every two minutes it gets colder or warmer or rawer. To begin with, midnight is warm, as at Laurentum; then, however, the cock-crow watch chilly, as at Lanuvium; soon the hush of night and dawn and twilight till sunrise cold, for all the world like Algidus; anon the forenoon sunny, as at Tusculum; following that a noon as fierce as at Puteoli; but, indeed, when the sun has gone to his bath in Ocean, the temperature at last becomes more moderate, such as we get at Tibur; this continues the same during the evening and first sleep of night, until, as M. Porcius says, the dead of night falls swiftly down. But why do I string together these Masurian[154] banalities, when I started with saying I should write a few words only? So farewell, most kindly of masters, most honourable of consuls, and let your love be the measure of your longing for me.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius

143 A.D.

The consul to his own Caesar.

Lucky brother[155] of mine to have seen you those two days! But I stick fast in Rome bound with golden fetters, looking forward to the first of September as the superstitious to the star,[156] at sight of which to break their fast. Farewell, Caesar, glory of your country and the Roman name. My Lord, farewell.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

143 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have sent my Gratia[157] to keep your mother's birthday with her, and bidden her stay there till I come. The very moment, however, that I have laid down my consulship with the customary oath[158] I shall climb into my carriage and fly off to you. Meanwhile, I have pledged my word that my Gratia shall run no risk of starvation. For your mother will share with her protégée the tit-bits sent her by you. Nor is my Gratia a great eater, as lawyer's wives are said to be. She will live contentedly enough even on nothing but your mother's kisses. But what will become of poor me? There is not even a single kiss left anywhere in Rome. All my fortunes, all my joys are at Naples.

Tell me, I beseech you, what is the custom of lajdng down an office under oath a day earlier. What, am I not ready to swear by as many more gods as I can swear myself out of office days sooner? Again, am I to swear that I resign my consulship? Yea, and I will swear this, too, that I have long wished to resign it, that I may embrace Marcus Aurelius.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

143 A.D.

To the most honourable consul and my best of masters.

Verily this alone was wanting, that over and above all the other signal marks of your affection towards us you should also send Gratia here to join us in keeping my mother's birthday . . . .[† 26]


Fronto to Domitia Lucilla

143 A.D.

To the mother of Marcus.

1. Willingly, willingly, by heaven, aye, with the greatest pleasure possible, have I sent my Gratia to keep your birthday with you, and would have come myself had it been lawful. But for myself this office is a clog round my feet. For there are a few days of it left, and these more than ever taken up with its duties. Once released from them, methinks I shall run to you with far more eagerness than those who run the course; for they, after a moment's delay at the starting-place, are forthwith despatched on their race, while I have already been kept from running to you these two months.

2. The right thing, it seems, would have been that all women from all quarters should have gathered for this day and celebrated your birth-feast, first, all the women that love their husbands and love their children and are virtuous, and, secondly, all that are genuine and truthful, and the third company to keep the feast should have been the kind-hearted, and the affable and the accessible and the humble-minded; and many other ranks of women would there be to share in some part of your praise and virtue, seeing that you possess and are mistress of all virtues and accomplishments befitting a woman, just as Athena possesses and is mistress of every art, whereas of other women each one is mistress of some one branch of excellence and commended for it, just as the Muses are praised individually, each one for a single art.

3. But had I been at your door, acting as a sort of introducer of those who were worthy of the festival, the first I should have shut out, on Homer's authority, would have been those who make a pretence of good-will and are insincere, who "hide one thing in their hearts while their lips speak another,"[159] with whom everything, from laughter to tears, is make-believe. Truly laughter, that at first was naturally so without craft as to shew the teeth of the laugher, has now changed round to such a depth of malice and guile that those who laugh with sinister intent hide even their lips. This goddess, true woman that she is, who gets most worship from women, is Deceit, offspring, of a truth, of Aphrodite, and compact of many and various traits of womankind . . . .


143 A.D.

M. Caesar to his master.

. . . .[† 27] and my wrestling-master[160] had me by the throat. But what, you say, was the story? When my father had got home from the vineyards, I, as usual, mounted my horse and set off along the road, and had gone some little distance when I came upon a number of sheep in the road huddled together, as happens when there is little room, with four dogs and two shepherds; that was all. Then one of the shepherds, seeing our cavalcade, said to his mate, Marry, keep an eye on those mounted fellows, they be rare hands at pillaging. Hearing that, I dug the spurs into my horse and galloped right into the flock. Frightened out of their wits, they ran helter-skelter bleating and fleeting in all directions. The shepherd whirled his crook at us. It fell on my equerry who was following me. We got clear off. So it chanced that he, who feared to lose his sheep, lost his crook. Do you think this a fiction? It really took place: yes, and there is more I could write to you of that adventure, but here comes the messenger to call me to my bath. Farewell, my sweetest of masters, most honoured and most unique of men, my joy, my treasure, my delight.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

143 A.D.

To my master.

Gratia[161] the younger has served, as the elder Gratia did, to calm our anxiety for the while or sweep it altogether away at once. I thank you on behalf of my patron, M. Porcius, for the frequency with which you read him: you will never, I fear, be able to return me the compliment with respect to Gaius Crispus,[162] for to M. Porcius alone have I devoted, aye and engaged, aye and given myself over heart and soul. Whence, too, think you, comes this very aye and?[163] From my very enthusiasm. The day after to-morrow shall be my gala day, if you really are coming. Farewell, dearest and most unique of men, sweetest of masters.

On the day of this Senate we seem more likely to be here than go there. But nothing is decided. Do von but come the day after to-morrow, and then let what will befall, Fare ever well for me, soul of mine. My mother greets you and yours.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

143 A.D.

To my master.

You, when you are away from me, read Cato; but I, when away from you, listen to lawyers till five o'clock. Oh, that this coming night might be the shortest known! so fain am I to burn less midnight oil, that I may the sooner see you. Farewell, my sweetest of masters. My mother sends her greeting. I can scarcely breathe, so tired am I.


144–145 A.D.

M. Caesar to his master sends greeting.

Verily in your kindness you have done me a great service. For that daily call at Lorium,[164] that waiting till late . . . .


144–145 A.D.

M. Aurelius Caesar to Fronto his master sends greeting.

1. Nay, surely it is I who am shameless[165] in ever submitting any of my writings to be read by genius so great, by judgment so great. The passage from your speech, which the Lord my father wished me to choose out, I even declaimed with appropriate action. Needless to say, the words cried aloud for their own author to deliver them: in fact, I was scarcely greeted with Worthy of the maker! But I will not delay telling you what you deservedly long for most. So struck was my Lord with what he heard that he was almost put out because business required his presence at the time elsewhere than in the court where you were to deliver your speech. He greatly admired the copiousness of the matter, the varied excellence of the diction, the witty originality of the thought, the skilful arrangement of the speech. And now you are asking, I imagine, what pleased me most. Listen: I begin with this passage.

2. "In those affairs[166] and cases which are settled in private courts, no danger arises, since their decisions hold good only within the limits of the cases, but the precedents which you, Emperor, establish by your decrees will hold good publicly and for all time. So much greater is your power and authority than is assigned to the Fates. They determine what shall befall us as individuals: you by your decisions[167] in individual cases make precedents binding upon all.

3. "Therefore, if this decision of the proconsul is approved by you, you will give all magistrates of all provinces a rule for deciding all cases of the same kind. What, then, will be the result? This evidently, that all wills from distant and oversea provinces will be brought over to Rome for cognizance in your court. A son will suspect that he has been disinherited: he will demand that his father's will be not opened. The same demand will be made by a daughter, a grandson, a great grand-child, a brother, a cousin, a paternal uncle, a maternal uncle, a paternal aunt, a maternal aunt; relations of all degrees will usurp this privilege of forbidding the will to be opened, that they may enjoy possession the while by right of consanguinity. When, finally, the case has been referred to Rome, what will result? The heirs designate will set sail, while the disinherited will remain in possession, procrastinate from day to day, look about for delays, and so put off the courts on various pretexts. It is winter time and the wintry sea is rough; he has been unable to appear. Winter over, it is the equinoctial gales, fitful and sudden, that have delayed him. The spring is past: the summer is hot and the sun scorches voyagers, and the man is seasick. The fall follows: the fruit will be in fault and debility the excuse.

4. "I am imagining and inventing this? What, has not this actually occurred in this case? Where is the defendant who ought to have been here this long while past to plead his cause? 'He is on his way.' On what way, prithee? 'He is coming from Asia.' And so he is still in Asia? 'It is a long way and he has made haste.'[168] Is it on shipboard, or horseback, or by imperial post that he makes such headlong halts? Meanwhile, as soon as the trial is fixed, you are asked, Caesar, for a first adjournment, which is granted: the trial is fixed a second time,[169] a second time an adjournment of two months is asked for. The two months expired on the last ides, and since then several days have gone by. Has he come at last? If not yet come, is he, at all events, near? If not yet near, has he at least set out from Asia? If he has not yet set out, does he at least think of setting out? What else does he think of but keeping in his hands[170] the goods of others, plundering the proceeds, stripping the estate, wasting the whole property? He is not so foolish as to prefer coming to Caesar and losing his case to staying in Asia and keeping possession.[171]

5. "If this custom be brought in, that the wills of the deceased should be sent to Rome from the oversea provinces, the imperilling of wills would be more discreditable and distressing than if it were the custom for the bodies of the deceased, who make their wills oversea, to be sent to Rome. For no further peril can touch them. A corpse is assured of burial in its very mishaps. For whether it be swallowed by the sea in shipwreck, or swept away in a moment by a river, or the sands cover it, whether the beasts of the field devour it, or the birds of the air pick its bodies, the human body is practically buried wherever it is dissolved. But when by shipwreck a will is engulfed, the estate and home and family in question is then and there shipwrecked and lies unburied. Time was when wills used to be brought out from the securest temples of the Gods, from muniment rooms, or chests, or archives, or temple vestries: bid now shall wills sail the stormy seas amid bales of merchandise and rowers' kit. The next thing will even be for them to be jettisoned[172] with a cargo of pulse, should it become necessary to lighten the ship. Moreover, also, an import duty to be levied on wills must be fixed. In time past . . . .[† 28]

6. "But to say something as to the burial. The household would know how to mourn. The slave enfranchised under the will has one way of shewing sorrow, the client mentioned with praise another, another the friend honoured with a legacy. Why throw uncertainty and delay over the funeral rites? In the case of all animals the inheritance is realized at once after death: from sheep the wool is stripped at once, and from the elephant his ivory, their claws from lions, from birds their feathers and plumes; but a man dies and his inheritance lies derelict, is put aside,[173] left as a prey to robbers, it is made away with."

7. I think I have copied out the whole. What indeed could I do, when I admired the whole man, loved the whole man—blessings on him—so much? Farewell, my master, most eloquent, most learned, most dear to me, most sweet, whom I most long for, miss the most.

The son of Herodes,[174] born to-day, is dead. Herodes is overwhelmed with grief at his loss. I wish you would write him quite a short letter appropriate to the occasion. Fare ever well.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 144–145 A.D.

To my Lord.

1. I have received your letter, O Caesar, and the great delight it gave me you will easily gauge if you consider these separate points. First, and this is the head and front of all my joy, that I know you are well; then because I felt that you loved me so well as not to be able to set any bound or limit to your love, so as not to find something to do for me every day more kindly and more friendly than before. In fine, I have long thought myself loved enough, but you are not yet satisfied with your affection for me, so that deeper than ever plummet sounded is your love toward me, insomuch that I might quite well make the complaint, Why do you not yet love me with the utmost love possible, for by loving me more from day to day you prove that your love hitherto has fallen short of its utmost measure?

2. Think you that my consulship has been such a delight as the many tokens you have given me of your love in this one case? Samples of my speech, which I had picked out for you, you read to your father yourself, and took the pains to declaim them, wherein you lent me your eyes, your voice, your gestures, and, above all, your mind for my service. Nor can I see which single one of the ancient writers, whose writings were declaimed to the people by Aesopus[175] or Roscius, was more fortunate than I. My speech has had Marcus Caesar for its actor and declaimer, and it was by your agency and through your voice that I pleased the hearers, whereas to be heard by you and to please you would be the height of every man's ambition. No wonder, then, my speech found favour, set off, as it was, by the dignity of your utterance. For many a thing, that lacks all intrinsic charm, borrows from elsewhere a grace that is not its own, and this is the case even with our homeliest eatables. No pot-herb, no bit of flesh is so cheap or commonplace a food as not to gain piquancy if served in a golden dish. The same is true of flowers and garlands: they have one scale of worth when sold by flower-vendors in the Flower-market, another when offered in a temple by the priests.

3. So much more fortunate am I than was Hercules or Achilles, for their armour and weapons were borne by Philoctetes and Patroclus, men far inferior to them in manhood, while my poor, not to say sorry, speech has been rendered famous by Caesar the most learned and eloquent of all men. Never was scene so impressive—M. Caesar actor, Titus Imperator audience! What nobler fate could befall anyone save that alone, when in Heaven, as poets tell, the Muses sing, while Jove their sire is audience? Indeed, with what words could I express my delight at your sending me that speech of mine copied out with your own hand? True, surely, is what our Laberius[176] says, that in inspiring love charms are but harms[177] and the foison of gifts poison. For never with cup or philtre could anyone so have stirred the flame of passion in a lover as by this act of yours you have dazed and amazed me by the ardour of your love. For every letter of your letter I count myself to have gained a consulship, a victory, a triumph, a robe of honour.

4. What fortune like this befell M. Porcius or Quintus Ennius, Gaius Gracchus, or the poet Titius? What Scipio or Numidicus? What M. Tullius, like this? Their books are valued more highly and have the greatest credit, if they are from the hand of Lampadio or Staberius, of Plautius or D. Aurelius, Autrico or Aelius, or have been revised by Tiro or transcribed by Domitius Balbus, or Atticus or Nepos. My speech will be extant in the handwriting of M. Caesar. He that thinks little of the speech will be in love with the very letters of it; he who disdains the thing written will reverence the writer. Just as if Apelles painted an ape or a fox, he would add a value to the lowest of creatures. Or as M. Cato (said) of . . . .[† 29]


To Herodes from Fronto.[178]

? 144–145 A.D.

. . . . . . . . . . . . But in lesser evils to act with composure is not difficult. For, indeed, in any case to resent an evil, even if it befall unexpectedly, is unseemly for a man who has tasted of education. But it is in joy that I should be more ready to overstep the bounds, for if we are to act unreasonably it is preferable to do so in reference to pleasure than to pain. But you are not even too old[179] to rear other children. Every loss is grievous if hope be cut off with it, but easier to bear if hope of repairing it be left. And he that does not avail himself of this hope is mean-spirited and his own enemy, much more than Fortune. For Fortune takes away the present reality, but he deprives himself of hope as well. And I will tell you where you can most easily get consolation, as I have learnt by experience and not by learning. Often has it been my fate to suffer in my affections. At one time it was Athenodotus the philosopher, at another Dionysius the rhetor[180] that I loved: and yet, when I reflected that he was preserved to me whom it was my fortune to love, I was less at the mercy of grief and circumstance. But if you as well as I love a noble youth,[181] distinguished for virtue and learning and fortune and modesty, you cannot go wrong if you attach yourself to him and set in him all your assurance of good fortune, since as long as he remains to us—for I confess, and make no secret of it, that I am your rival in his love—everything else is remediable and of infinitely less importance than this.


M. Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

To my master.

What do you suppose are my feelings when I think how long it is since I have seen you, and why I have not seen you? And perhaps for a few days yet, while you are perforce nursing yourself, I shall not see you. So while you are down in bed, my spirits will be down too; and when by God's grace you stand on your feet, my spirits also will stand fast, that are now fevered with the most burning longing for you. Fare ever well, soul of your Caesar, of your friend, of your pupil.

 

Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 144–145 A.D.

To my Lord.

I am confined to my bed. If I should be fit for the journey when you go to Centumcellae[182] I shall see you, please God, at Lorium on the seventh day before the Ides. Make my apologies to my Lord your father, whom—may heaven preserve you both—I love and honour all the more intensely since the excellent decision in the Senate, which, while safeguarding the interests of the provinces, at the same time gently rebuked the offenders.

When you inaugurate your game preserve, be sure that you remember, without fail, if you strike a beast, to set your horse at full gallop. Of course you will bring Galba to Centumcellae, or can you be at Lorium,[183] on the 8th before the Ides? Farewell, my Lord, please your father, greet your mother, miss me. You know better than I what Cato says of Galba's acquittal.[184] As far as I remember he was acquitted for the sake of his nephews. But see for yourself what the truth of the matter is. Cato, in consequence, is of opinion that no one should bring into court his own or others' children to excite pity, nor wives nor relations, nor any women at all. Greet my Lady your mother.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

To my master.

I did not write to you in the morning, hearing that you were better, and being myself engaged in other business; and I never care to write at all to you unless my mind is unbent and at ease and free. Therefore, if our news is correct, assure me of it. For you know what I wish, and I know how rightly I wish it. Farewell, my master, so rightly first in my thoughts before all others on all occasions. See, my master, I am not sleepy, yet force myself to sleep that you may not be angry. You realize, at any rate, that I am writing this in the evening.


Signia, ? 144–145 A.D.

M. Caesar to his master M. Fronto, greeting.

1. After getting into the carriage, when I had said good-bye to you, we did not have such a bad journey, though we got a slight wetting from the rain. But before reaching our country house we turned aside to Anagnia, about a mile off the main road. Then we inspected that ancient township, a tiny place, indeed, but containing many antiquities and buildings, and religious ceremonies beyond number. There was not a corner without its chapel or shrine or temple. Many books too, written on linen,[185] and this has a religious significance. Then on the gate, as we came out, we found an inscription twice over to this effect: Flamen sume samentum.[186] I asked one of the townsmen what the last word meant. He said it was Hernican for the pelt of the victim, which the priest draws over his peaked cap on entering the city. Quite a number of other things we learnt which we were glad to know; but the one thing we are not glad of is that it was in your absence: that is our chief concern.

2. Now for yourself, did you, when you left us, go to the Aurelian district[187] or into Campania? Mind you tell me, and whether you have begun the vintage, and whether you have brought crowds of books to your country house, yes, and this, too, whether you miss me; and yet that is a foolish question, for you need no reminder to do that. Well, then, if you do miss me and do love me, you will write to me often to console me and cheer me up.[188] For I would ten times rather have the run[189] of your letters than of all the vineyards of the Massic[190] and the Gauran Mount: for your clusters of Signia are too nauseous and their hemes too bitter, wherefore I would prefer their wine to their must for drinking. Besides it is much more agreeable to masticate the grapes parched than pulpy, for beyond question I would rather stamp them with my feet than champ them with my teeth. Yet may they be gracious and forgiving, and for these pleasantries a kindly pardon grant. Farewell, to me most affectionate, most delightful, most eloquent of men, master most sweet. When you see the must fermenting in the cask, let it remind you that my longing for you wells up thus and overflows and foams in my breast. Fare ever well.

 

M. Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

Hail, most reverend master.

1. We are well. By a satisfactory arrangement of meals I worked from three o'clock a.m. till eight. For the next hour I paced about in slippers most contentedly before my bedroom. Then putting on my boots and donning my cloak—for we had been told to come in that dress—I went off to pay my respects to my Lord.

2. We set out for the chase[191] and did doughty deeds. We did hear say that boars had been bagged, for we were not lucky enough to see any. However, we climbed quite a steep hill; then in the afternoon we came home. I to my books: so taking off my boots and doffing my dress I passed nearly two hours on my couch, reading Cato's speech On the property of Pulchra,[192] and another in which he impeached a tribune. Ho, you cry to your boy, go as fast as you can and fetch me those speeches from the libraries of Apollo![193] It is no use your sending, for those volumes, among others, have followed me here. So you must get round the librarian of Tiberius's library:[194] a little douceur will be necessary, in which he and I can go shares when I come back to town. Well, these speeches read, I wrote a little wretched stuff, fit to be dedicated to the deities of water and fire: truly to-day I have been unlucky in my writing, the lucubration of a sportsman or a vintager, such as those whose catches[195] ring through my bedroom, a noise every whit as hateful and wearisome as that of the law-courts. What is this I have said? Nay, 'tis true, for my master is an orator.

3. I think I must have taken a chill, whether from walking about in slippers in the early morning, or from writing badly, I know not. I only know that, rheumy enough at all times, I seem to be more drivelling than ever to-day. So I will pour the oil on my head and go off to sleep, for not a drop of it do I intend to pour into my lamp to-day, so tired am I with riding and sneezing. Farewell for my sake, dearest and sweetest of masters, whom I would make bold to say I long to see more than Rome itself.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

Hail, my sweetest of masters.

1. We are well. I slept somewhat late owing to my slight cold, which seems now to have subsided. So from five a.m. till nine I spent the time partly in reading some of Cato's Agriculture and partly in writing not quite such wretched stuff, by heavens, as yesterday. Then, after paying my respects to my father, I relieved my throat, I will not say by gargling—though the word gargarisso is, I believe, found in Novius and elsewhere—but by swallowing honey water as far as the gullet and ejecting it again. After easing my throat I went off to my father and attended him at a sacrifice.[196] Then we went to luncheon. What do you think I ate? A wee bit of bread, though I saw others devouring beans, onions, and herrings full of roe. We then worked hard at grape-gathering,[197] and had a good sweat, and were merry and, as the poet says, still left some clusters hanging high as gleanings of the vintage.[198] After six o'clock we came home.

2. I did but little work and that to no purpose. Then I had a long chat with my little mother as she sat on the bed. My talk was this: What do you think my Fronto is now doing? Then she: And what do you think my Gratia is doing? Then I: And what do you think our little sparrow, the wee Gratia,[199] is doing? Whilst we were chattering in this way and disputing which of us two loved the one or other of you two the better, the gong sounded, an intimation that my father had gone to his bath. So we had supper after we had bathed in the oil-press room; I do not mean bathed in the oil-press room, but when we had bathed, had supper there, and we enjoyed hearing the yokels chaffing one another. After coming back, before I turn over and snore, I get my task done and give my dearest of masters an account of the day's doings, and if I could miss him more, I would not grudge wasting away a little more. Farewell, my Fronto, wherever you are, most honey-sweet, my love, my delight. How is it between you and me? I love you and you are away.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

Hail, my sweetest of masters.

At last the messenger is starting, and at last I can send you my three days' budget of news. But I cannot say anything, to such an extent have I exhausted my breath by dictating nearly thirty letters. For as to your last opinion on the question of letters, I have not yet broached the matter to my father. But when we come, God willing, to Rome, remind me to tell you something on this matter. But you and I are so much up in the clouds that neither will you remind me nor I tell you: and yet, indeed, it really needs consideration. Farewell, my—what shall I say when whatever I say is inadequate?—farewell my longing, my light, my delight.


M. Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

Your brother but now brought me the good news of your arrival. Heaven knows I long for you to be able to come, if only your health will allow of it, for I hope that the sight of you may do something for my health also. Sweet 'tis to look into a friend's kind eyes, as Euripides,[200] I take it, says. My present condition you can easily gauge by the shakiness of my handwriting. As far as my strength is concerned, it is certainly beginning to come back. The pain in my chest, too, is quite gone; but the ulcer . . . . the trachea. I am under treatment and taking every care that nothing militates against its success. For I feel that my protracted illness can be made more bearable only by a consciousness of unfailing care and strict obedience[201] to the doctors' orders. Besides, it were shame, indeed, that a disease of the body should outlast a determination of the mind to recover health. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 144–145 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have been troubled, my Lord, in the night with widespread pains in my shoulder and elbow and knee and ankle. In fact, I have not been able to convey this very news to you in my own writing.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

? 144–145 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have received your letter, most charmingly expressed, in which you say that the intermission in my letters has caused a longing for them to arise in you. Socrates was right, then, in his opinion that "pleasures are generally linked to pains," when in his imprisonment he held that the pain caused by the tightness of his chains was made up for by the pleasure of their removal.[202] Precisely so in our case the fondness which absence stimulates brings as much comfort as the absence itself causes affliction. For fond longing comes from love. Therefore, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this is far the best thing in friendship. Then as to my health, about which you enquire, I had already written to you that I was suffering so much pain in the shoulder that I could not succeed in writing the very letter in which I mentioned it, but, contrary to my usual custom, had to employ another hand . . . .


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 144–145 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

These things at present[† 30] . . . . Farewell, my dearest Fronto, my mother greets you. Greet our consul[203] and our lady.


Fronto to Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

If you have any love at all for me, sleep those nights that you may come into the Senate[204] with a good colour and read with a strong voice.


M. Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

I can never love you enough: I will sleep.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

For pity's sake, cancel one word from your speech and, I entreat you, never use it—dictio for oratio. Farewell, my Lord, my everlasting glory. Greet my Lady your mother.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

Answer.

To-morrow, if you will remind me, I will state my case for this word.[205]


From the Index[† 31]

Fronto to Marcus and Marcus to Fronto Alternately

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord. (Tell me) how strong you feel on arriving . . . .

To my master. I arrived quite strong . . . .

To my Lord. Take food, my Lord . . . .

To my master. I have taken food[206] . . . .

To my Lord. If Faustina's[207] courage . . . .

To my master. I both bow to your advice . . . .

To my Lord. But, by heaven, the completion of the time . . . .

To my master. Too long anxious . . . .

To my Lord. I indeed (was) wonderfully (pleased) . . . .

To my master. Into the midst of worries . . . .

To my Lord. I have been worn out with work . . . .

To my master. That fatigue of yours . . . .

To my Lord. Lately Gratia . . . .

To my master. Possibly enough for that matter . . . .

To my Lord. I have halted at Caieta[208] . . . .

 

M. Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

. . . . . . . . in two days now, if that is best, let us clench our teeth all the same; and as you are just recovering from illness, to shorten the journey, wait for us at Caieta. I begin to be dainty,[209] as generally happens with those who have at last in their grasp what they long for: they are carried away,[210] they feel in affluence, they are exultant: for myself, however, I am even disgusted with everything. My Lady mother greets you. I shall ask her to-day to bring Gratia to me—even the smoke of one's fatherland, as the Greek poet[211] says. Farewell, my—all in all—master. I love myself at the thought of seeing you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

After you had set out, I was seized with pain in the knee, but so slight that I could both walk slowly and use a carriage. To-night the pain has come on more violently, but so that I can easily bear it lying down, if it gets no worse. I hear that your Augusta is poorly. I pray the Gods, indeed, to have care of her health. Farewell, most sweet Lord. Greet my Lady.[212]

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

Victorinus[213] has just told me that your Lady is more feverish than yesterday. Gratia reported that everything had taken a turn for the better. The reason that I have not seen you is that I am indisposed with a bad cold. To-morrow morning, however, I will come to you at home. At the same time I will call on your Lady also, if convenient.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

Faustina has been feverish to-day also, and, in fact, I fancy I have noticed it more to-day. But the Gods be thanked she herself makes me less anxious by being such an obedient patient. Of course you would have come had you been able. I am rejoiced that you can come now, and promise to do so, my master. Farewell, most delightful of masters.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

Lorium, 145–147 A.D.

To my master.

You indeed are playful,[214] but by this letter of yours you have sent me immense anxiety and intense distress, most acute pain and burning fever, so that I have no heart to sup or sleep or even study. But you would find some comfort in your speech to-day, whereas I, what am I to do? who have already forestalled the pleasure of hearing it and fear that your visit to Lorium may be delayed, and am in pain because you meanwhile are in pain. Farewell, my master, whose health makes my health unimpaired and assured.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

This is how I have passed the last few days. My sister[215] was seized suddenly with such pain in the privy parts that it was dreadful to see her. Moreover, my mother, in the flurry of the moment, inadvertently ran her side against a corner of the wall, causing us as well as herself great pain by the accident. For myself, when I went to lie down I came upon a scorpion in my bed[216]; however, I was in time to kill it before lying down upon it. If you are better, that is a consolation. My mother feels easier now, thank the Gods. Farewell, best and sweetest of masters. My Lady[217] greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

I am truly thankful to the Gods that they have kept you safe and unharmed.[218] You, I make no doubt, were unperturbed, for I know your philosophic views; for myself, however much you wiseacres may laugh at me, I confess I was thoroughly shocked. Farewell, my most sweet Lord, and may the Gods have you in their keeping. Greet my Lady.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

I am anxious to know, my Lord, how you are keeping. I have been seized with pain in the neck. Farewell, my Lord. Greet your Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

I think I have got through the night without fever. I have taken food without repugnance, and am doing very nicely now. We shall see what the night brings. But, my master, by your late anxiety you can certainly gauge my feelings when I learnt that you had been seized with pain in the neck. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have been seized, my Lord, with a most severe pain in the neck. The pain has gone from my foot. Farewell, best of Lords. Greet my Lady.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

If the pains in your neck get better, even in two days' time, it will help on my convalescence more than anything, my master. I have had a bath and to-day even done a little walking and taken a little more food, but not as yet without discomfort. Farewell, my most delightful of masters.

My mother greets you.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

I cannot but be distressed that at the very time when you were writing to me your neck was so painful, nor indeed do I wish to be, nor ought I to be, other than distressed. As for me, thanks be to the Gods and your prayers, I have bathed to-day, and taken sufficient food, and wine too I have used with relish. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

The pains in my neck are no easier, but my mind was set at rest as soon as I knew that you had been able to take a bath and relish your wine. Farewell, my Lord. Greet your Lady.

 

145–147 A.D.

Caesar to Fronto.

Thank the Gods we seem to have some hopes of recovery. The diarrhoea is stopped, the feverish attacks got rid of; but the emaciation is extreme, and there is still some cough. You understand, of course, that I am telling you of our little Faustina[219] who has kept us very anxious. Mind you let me know, my master, if, as I heartily pray, your health is improving.


145–147 A.D.

Fronto to Caesar.

1. Good heavens! how shocked I was on reading the beginning of your letter! It was written in such a way that I thought some danger to your health was meant. Then, when the danger, which at the beginning of your note I had taken to be yours, was shewn to be your daughter Faustina's, how transformed was my apprehension. Yet not merely transformed, but in some subtle way a little relieved. You may say, Did my daughter's danger seem of less account to you than mine? Could it so seem to you, who protest that "Faustina is to you as a limpid light, as a gala day, as a near and dear hope, as a wish fulfilled, as an unalloyed delight, as a glory noble and assured"? I know, indeed, what came into my mind on reading your letter, but why it came to be so I do not know: I do not know, I say, why I was more shocked at your danger than at your daughter's, unless, perchance, though things be equally bad, yet those seem worse which are the first to fall on our ears. What is, in fact, the cause of this you are more likely to know, for about the nature and feelings of men your knowledge is somewhat wider than mine, and you have learnt your lesson better. Tolerably well trained as I was by my master and parent Athenodotus in the nice apprehension by the mind and application of illustrations and, as it were, similes of things, which he called εἰκόνας, I think I have hit upon the following simile of this kind, to explain the fact that the transference of my fear seemed an alleviation of it—that much the same thing happens to those who, carrying a heavy weight on their shoulder, transfer it from the right shoulder to the left, so that, though the burden remains as it was, yet the transference of the pressure seems even a relief.

2. Now, since you have quite dispelled all my fear and anxiety by the last part of your letter, in which you announced that Faustina was now somewhat better,[220] it seems the very time for a little easy and unconstrained chat with you on my love for you; for those who are freed from a great fear and apprehension are generally allowed to indulge in a little playfulness and frivolity. I feel how dearly I love you, as much from weighty and serious proofs as also from many trifles. What these trifles are, and of what nature, I will point out.

3. Whenever "with soft slumber's chains around me," as the poet says, I see you in my dreams, there is never a time but I embrace and kiss you: then, according to the tenor of each dream, I either weep copiously or am transported with some great joy and pleasure. This is one proof of my love, taken from the Annals,[221] a poetical and certainly a dreamy one. Listen to another, a quarrelsome and contentious one this time. I have occasionally inveighed against you behind your back in somewhat strong terms before a very few of my most intimate friends. Time was I did this, when you went about in public gatherings with too serious a face,[222] as when you used to read books either in the theatre[223] or at a banquet—nor was I then refraining from theatres, nor as yet from banquets—on such occasions, then, I would call you an austere[224] and unreasonable, even at times, stung by anger, a disagreeable sort of person. But if anyone else found fault with you in my hearing with similar detraction, I could not listen to him with any patience. So it was easier for me to say this of you myself than to suffer others to speak any ill of you: just as I could more easily strike my daughter Gratia myself than see her struck by another.

4. I will add the third of my trifles. You know how in all money-changer's bureaus, booths, bookstalls, eaves, porches, windows, anywhere and everywhere there are likenesses of you exposed to view, badly enough painted most of them to be sure, and modelled or carved in a plain, not to say sorry, style of art, yet at the same time your likeness, however much a caricature, never when I go out meets my eyes without making me part my lips for a smile and dream of you.

5. Now to call a truce to my trifles and to return to seriousness; this letter of yours served in no small degree to shew the depth of my love for you, since I was more shocked at your danger than your daughter's, whereas, in other respects, I should wish you, indeed, to survive for my sake, but your daughter also for yours, as is right. But hark you, see that you do not turn informer or appear as a witness before your daughter, to make her think that I love you more than her; for there is a danger of your daughter being put out in consequence, as she is a serious and old-fashioned lady, and when I ask for her hands and feet to kiss, of her drawing them away from pique at this, or tendering them grudgingly: whose tiny hands and plump little feet I shall then kiss, by heaven, with more zest than your royal neck and your honest and merry lips.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

I shall have the whole day free. If you have ever loved me at all, love me to-day, and send me a rich[225] subject, I ask and request and beseech and entreat and implore. For in that law-court subject I found nothing but exclamations.[226] Farewell, best of masters. My Lady greets you. I want something where there ought to be shouts of approval. Humour me and pick out a "shouting" subject.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have slept late. I have sent you a theme: the case is a serious one. A consul of the Roman people, laying aside his robes, has donned a coat of mail and among the young men at the feast of Minerva[227] has slain a lion in the sight of the Roman people. He is denounced before the Censors. Put into shape and develop. Farewell, most sweet Lord. Greet your Lady.


From Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

Answer.

When did it occur and was it at Rome? Do you mean that it took place under Domitian at his Alban Villa.[228] Besides in such a theme it will take more time to make the fact credible than to treat it with the indignation it deserves. It seems to me an improbable subject. I certainly should have preferred one such as I asked for. Let me know the date by return.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

That you should keep a happy vintage, and that in the best of health, is my wish, my master. I am much relieved by the news of my little lady[229] telling me, the Gods be praised, that she is better. Farewell, my most delightful of masters.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

I am keeping the vintage in my "gardens."[230] I am fairly well, but I cannot walk with comfort owing to pain in the toes of my left foot. Every morning I pray the Gods for Faustina, for you know that by so doing I wish and pray for your health. Farewell, my most sweet Lord. Greet my Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

As far as I am concerned, the writing is finished—so send me something else to write—but my secretary was not at hand to copy out what I wrote. However, what I wrote was not to my mind, as I was hurried, and your being poorly took a good deal out of me. But I will ask your indulgence tomorrow, when I send it. Farewell, my sweetest of masters. The Lady my mother sends you greeting. Let me have the name of the people's tribune against whom Acilius the censor, of whom I wrote, set a mark.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

My answer to you, my Lord, has been somewhat delayed, for I delayed to open your letter, as I was on my way to the forum to plead. I feel better, but the little sore is deeper. Farewell, my sweetest of Lords. Greet my Lady.

M. Lucilius,[231] a tribune of the people, against the decision of his colleagues and with his own hand cast into prison by force a Roman citizen, though they ordered his discharge. For that action he was "marked" by the Censors. First divide the case, then try your hand on either side both as accuser and defender. Farewell, my Lord, the light of all your friends. Greet your lady mother.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

145–147 A.D.

To my master.

Gaius Aufidius[232] gives himself airs, extols his own judgment to the skies, says that not another man more just than himself ever came from Umbria, for I must not exaggerate, to Rome. What need of more? He would rather win praise as a judge than as an orator. When I smile, he turns up his nose. Anyone, he says, can sit yawning beside a judge, but to be a judge is indeed to do noble work. This is meant for me! However the affair has turned out finely. All is well: I rejoice. Your coming makes me happy and at the same time uneasy. Why happy, it needs not to enquire: wherefore uneasy I will, 'fore heaven, avow to you. For with plenty of time on my hands I have not given an atom of it to the task you gave me to write. Ariston's[233] books just now treat me well and at the same time make me feel ill. When they teach me a better way, then, I need not say, they treat me well; but when they shew me how far short my character comes of this better way, time and time again does your pupil blush and is angry with himself, for that, twenty-five years old as I am,[234] no draught has my soul yet drunk of noble doctrines and purer principles. Therefore I do penance, am wroth with myself, am sad, compare myself with others, starve myself. A prey to these thoughts at this time, I have put off each day till the morrow the duty of writing. But now I will think out something, and as a certain Athenian orator once warned an assembly of his countrymen, that the laws must sometimes be allowed to sleep,[235] I will make my peace with Ariston's works and allow them to lie still awhile, and after reading some of Tully's minor speeches I will devote myself entirely to your stage poet.[236] However, I can only write on one side or the other, for as to my defending both sides of the question, Ariston will, I am sure, never sleep so soundly as to allow me to do that![237] Farewell, best and most honoured of masters. My Lady greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

I cannot see you, my Lord, till the day after tomorrow; for I am still laid up with pain in the elbow and neck. Bear with me, I beseech you, if what I ask of you is too great and difficult, so rooted in my mind is the conviction that you can succeed in all your endeavours. And I will let you hate me, if you do not accomplish all that I ask, provided that you apply, as you do, heart and mind to it. Farewell, my Lord, dearer to me than my life. Greet my Lady your mother.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

145–147 A.D.

To my Lord.

1. The coining of new words, or onomatopoeia, which is allowed to poets to enable them more easily to express their thoughts, is a necessity to me for describing my joy. For customary and habitual words do not satisfy me; so transported am I with joy that I cannot in ordinary language signify the gladness of my heart at your having written me so many letters in so few days,[238] composed too with such felicity, such friendship, such kindness, such fulness, such ardour, though you were distracted by so much business, so many duties, so many letters to be answered throughout the provinces.[239] But indeed I had purposed—for I must not keep anything hidden or dissembled from you—I had purposed, I say, to incur even the reproach of laziness from you by writing to you less often, rather than to trouble you, amid your many engagements, with my letters and tempt you to write, whereas you of your own accord have written to me daily. But why do I say daily? It is just here that the need of word-coining comes in. For it would be daily, if you had written one letter a day; since however, there are more letters than days, that word daily falls short of the meaning. For is there need, my Lord, for you to be vexed with me for actually fearing that my too frequent letters should be a burden to you; for the more you love me, the more chary should I be of adding to your work, and the more forbearing in respect of your occupations.

2. What is sweeter to me than your kiss? That sweet fragrance, that delight dwells for me in your neck, on your lips. Yet the last time you were setting out, when your father had already got into the carriage, but you were delayed by the crowd of those who were saying good-bye and kissing you, it was to your advantage that I alone of all did not embraee or kiss you. So too in all other things, I will never set my convenience before your interests, for, if need were, with heaviest toil and service of mine I would purchase your slightest ease.

3. Considering therefore, how much labour the writing of letters imposed upon you, I had determined to address you more sparingly, when you wrote daily to me. When I got those letters of yours I was in similar plight to a lover, who sees his darling running towards him along a rough and dangerous pathway. For he rejoices at the loved one's coming at the same time that he fears the danger. Consequently I do not care for the story,[240] which is such a favourite with actors, where a loving girl standing by night in a turret with a lighted taper in her hand, awaits her young lover as he swims the straits. For though I burn with love for you, I would rather be severed utterly from you than let you swim so deep a sea so late at night, for fear the moon should set, the wind dash out your light, the cold benumb your senses there, a wave, a reef, a sea-beast in some way work you harm. This language were more fitting for a lover and better and more sound—not at the peril of another's life to seek to enjoy a pleasure short in duration and fraught with regret.

4. Now to turn from fiction to reality, my especial anxiety was lest I should add to your unavoidable labours some superfluous trouble and burden, if besides those letters which your unavoidable duties require you to write daily to very many correspondents, I too should weary you with answering my letters. For I should prefer to sacrifice every advantage of your love, rather than that you should suffer the slightest inconvenience to gratify my pleasure.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have been seized with very severe pain in the groin. All the pain from the back and loins has concentrated itself there. Farewell, my Lord. Greet my Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

You tell me that you have pain in the groin, my master. Remembering what distress that pain generally causes you, I feel the most serious anxiety. But I comfort myself with the hope that in the interval required for bringing the news here, the intensity of the pain may have yielded to fomentations and remedies. We are still experiencing summer heat. But since our little girls[241]—we mustn't boast—are quite well, we think that we are enjoying the healthiest of weather and the balmy temperature of spring. Farewell, my best of masters.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have been seized with very severe pains again in the other side of the groin.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto.

? 148–149 A.D.

Answer.

When you write thus to me, my master, you are aware, I am sure, that I am most anxious and offer up prayers for your health; of which, please heaven, we shall speedily be assured. Farewell, my most delightful of masters.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my Lord.

Please acquaint your father with my illness. Tell me if you think I also should write to him.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto.

? 148–149 A.D.

Answer.

I will let my Lord know at once that your health necessitates this rest for you. But please write to him yourself as well. Farewell, my best and most delightful of masters.


? 148–149 A.D.

Fronto to Antoninus Pius Augustus.

More dearly than with a portion of my life would I bargain to embrace you on this most happy and wished-for anniversary of your accession,[242] a day which I count as the birthday of my own health, reputation, and safety. But severe pain in my shoulder, and much more severe in my neck, have so crippled me, that I am still scarcely able to bend, sit upright, or turn myself, so rigid must I keep my neck. But before my Lares, Penates, and household gods have I discharged and renewed my vows,[243] and prayed that next year I might embrace you twice on this anniversary, twice kiss your neck and hands, fulfilling at once the office of the past and the present year.


Antoninus Pius to Fronto.

? 148–149 A.D.

Answer by Augustus.

As I have well ascertained the entire sincerity of your feelings towards me, so I find no difficulty, I assure you, my dearest Fronto, in believing that this day in particular, on which it was ordained for me to assume this station, is kept with true and scrupulous devotion by you above all others. And I indeed have with my mind's eye, as was right, pictured you and your vows . . . .[† 32]


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my Lord.

A happy New Year and a prosperous in all things that you rightly desire to you and our Lord your Father, and your mother and your wife and daughter,[244] and to all others who deservedly share your affection—that is my prayer! In my still feeble state of health I was afraid to trust myself to the crowd and crush. I shall see you, please God, the day after to-morrow offering up your vows. Farewell, my most sweet Lord. Greet my Lady.


? 148–149 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

May you also have entered upon a prosperous year, and may the Gods turn to your advantage, which will be ours also, every prayer of yours! May you pray, as you do, for the good of your friends and wish for the good of all others! Your prayers for me I know have been heartfelt. In fighting shy of the crowd, you have consulted both your safety and my anxiety. The ceremony will be repeated on a quieter scale the day after to-morrow, if the Gods will. Your Gratia has done your part for you. I do not know if she has greeted her Lady. Farewell, my sweetest of masters. My mother sends you her greeting.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my master.

May you keep your birthday, my master, both sound in health now and strong in all years to come, happy, and with all your wishes granted; which yearly prayer of mine grows ever more comprehensive as my capacity for affection increases and the period of our most sweet intercourse lengthens! Farewell, my master most delightful to me. My mother greets you. Give Gratia a greeting and your little Gratia a kiss from me.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar.

? 148–149 A.D.

To my Lord.

All the blessings you have prayed for me are bound up with your welfare. Health of body and mind, happiness, prosperity, are all mine, as long as you enjoy a body, a mind, a reputation so hale and well, while you are so dear to your father, so sweet to your mother, so blameless a husband, so good and kind a brother.[245] It is this which makes me cling to life, in spite of my ill-health. Apart from you I have had enough and to spare of life and toil, of profession and fame, but of pains and infirmities something more than enough and to spare.

I gave my daughter the kiss you sent her: never has she seemed to me so kissing-ripe, never so kissed. Greet my Lady, my most sweet Lord. Farewell, and give your little matron[246] a kiss from me.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar.

? 149–153 A.D.

To my Lord.

Saenius Pompeianus,[247] whom I have defended in many cases, since he took up the contract for farming the taxes of Africa, is from many causes a stand-by in my affairs. I commend him to you that, when his accounts are scrutinised by our Lord your Father, you may be induced both by my recommendation and your own constant practice to extend to him that characteristic kindness, which you habitually show to all. Farewell, my sweetest Lord.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto.

? 149–153 A.D.

Answer.

Pompeianus has won my esteem also by the same deserts which have endeared him to you. So I desire that in accordance with the Lord my father's indulgent ways everything should second his wishes. For whatever falls out as you desire is a joy to me. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. Faustina and our little girls[248] greet you.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto.

? 153–154 A.D.

To my master.

If in your province,[249] my master, you come across a certain Themistocles, who says that he is known to Apollonius my teacher[250] in philosophy, understand that he is a person who came to Rome this winter and was brought to my notice by Apollonius the son, at his father's request. May I ask you, my master, to befriend him, and advise him, as far as you can. For you will, I know, be always most ready to do what is just and proper by all Asians, but counsel and courtesy and all those personal civilities, which both honour and conscience pennit a proconsul to shew his friends, so long as no one else is injured thereby—these I ask you freely to extend to Themistocles. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. No answer is required.


? 153–154 A.D.

Fronto to Antoninus Pius Augustus.

1. The facts testify, most reverend Emperor, that I have spared no pains and earnestly desired to discharge the duties of proconsul. For as long as the matter was undecided, I claimed my rights under the lot and, when by virtue of having more children another proved to have the prior claim, I was as satisfied, as if I had chosen it, with that most splendid province which was left to me. Then I took active steps to enlist the help of my friends in all that concerned the ordering of the province. Relations and friends of mine, of whose loyalty and integrity I was assured, I called from home[251] to assist me. I wrote to my intimates at Alexandria[252] to repair with all speed to Athens and await me there, and I deputed the management of my Greek correspondence to those most learned men. From Cilicia too I called upon eminent citizens to join me, for, owing to my always having advocated the public and private interests of Cilicians before you, I had hosts of friends in that province. From Mauretania also I summoned to my side Julius Senex, a man whose love for me was no less than mine for him, that I might avail myself not only of his loyalty and diligence, but also of his military activity in the hunting down and suppressing of brigands.

2. All this I did buoyed up by the hope that by abstemiousness and water-drinking I might, if not wholly relieve the ill-health from which I suffered, yet at all events mitigate its attacks by postponing them for a longer period. The result was that I had a lengthier spell of health than usual, and felt strong and vigorous, "so much so that I was able to appear before you on behalf of two of my friends in cases that entailed very considerable labour. Then I was assailed by so severe an attack of illness as shewed me that all my hopes had been illusory . . . .[† 33]


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 153–154 A.D.

To my Lord.

This Aridelus, who is taking my letter to you, has attended to all my wants since I was a boy, from a passion for partridges to important duties. He is a freedman of yours; you will find him a diligent procurator, for he is honest, temperate, brisk, and industrious. He is now a candidate for a procuratorship[253] in due form, being of suitable position and regulation age. Assist him, my Lord, with your interest, as far as may be. If you do not recognize his person, when you come to the name Aridelus, remember that Aridelus has been commended to you by me. Farewell, most sweet Lord. Greet your Lady.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 153–154 A.D.

To my Lord.

Whether the merit of the act set off the speech,[254] or the speech did not fall short of a most noble act, I can hardly say: yet of this I am sure, that these words had the same author as those deeds. But your brother's speech[255] also delighted me, for it was polished and politic, and I feel sure he had very little time for preparing it.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 153–154 A.D.

Answer.

On my return from a banquet of my father's I got your letter, and learn that the messenger who brought it has already gone. So I am writing this quite late in the evening, that you may read it to-morrow. It is no matter of surprise, my master, that my father's speech should seem to you worthy of the occasion. But my brother's speech of thanks is in my opinion the more praiseworthy, in that, as you surmise, he had but little time to prepare it. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have had such a choleraic attack[256] that I lost my voice, gasped and struggled for breath; finally, my circulation failed and the pulse being imperceptible I became unconscious; in fact, I was given up by my family as dead and remained insensible for some time. The doctors were given no time or opportunity to revive or relieve me even with a warm bath or cold water or food, except that after nightfall I swallowed a few morsels of bread soaked in wine. Thus I was gradually brought quite round. For three whole days after I did not recover my voice. But now by God's help I am getting on very comfortably. I walk with more ease and my voice is stronger and more distinct; in fine, I purpose, please God, to take a drive to-morrow. If I find I can stand the flint paving well, I will hasten to you as fast as I can. Only when I see you shall I live. I will set out from Rome, please God, on the 7th day before the Kalends. Farewell, my Lord, most sweet, most missed, my best reason for living. Greet your Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

After your absence I was longing to see you: what think you[257] after your danger? for your escape from which, my master, I thank the Gods a second time after reading your letter, which again, as it were, reassures me: it struck me with consternation when you gave me an account of your condition. But the Gods be thanked I have you still and, as you promise, shall see you again soon: and I have good hopes of your continued convalescence. My mother greets you. Farewell, my most delightful master.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

That you may keep many birthdays of your children with all happiness, the pride of your parents, the darling of the people, the beloved of your friends, worthy of your fortune, your lineage, and your station, gladly would I give my whole life, not that meagre portion of it only that now remains to me, but also what I have already lived, if in any way it could be restored to me entire, and expended as the repayment of a debt for the benefit of yourself and your children. If I could walk with comfort, this were the day on which I would wish among the first[258] to embrace you; but I must, as you see, make my feet some concession, since they have not much procession in them. I am thinking of trying waters. If I come any nearer a decision, I will let you know. Farewell, my sweetest Lord. Give your Faustina a message from me and congratulate her[259] and kiss our little ladies in my name and, as I always do, their feet and hands as well. Greet your Lady.[260]


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

May you be preserved to us! May your house be preserved, and ours! which, if you look at our feelings, is but one house. I know well you would have come to us, if you could have walked even with difficulty. But you will come often and join us, if the Gods will, in keeping all our fetes. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

While my attendants were carrying me here as usual from the baths in a sedan-chair, they dashed me somewhat carelessly against the scorching entrance to the bath. So my knee was both scraped and scorched: afterwards, too, a swelling came up on the sore place. The doctors advised my keeping in bed. Should you think fit, please also give my Lord your father this reason, but only if you think fit. To-morrow, too, I must support an intimate friend in court. So by to-day's idleness and rest I shall get myself ready for to-morrow's duties. Our Victorinus will do the pleading, for do not suppose that I shall plead. Farewell, sweetest of Lords. Greet my Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

You have added to my anxieties, which I hope you will as soon as possible relieve by the subsidence of the pains in the knee and the swelling. As for me, my Lady mother's illness gives me no rest. There is, besides, the near approach of Faustina's lying-in. But we must have faith in the Gods. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

The very day on which I proposed to start I felt a pain in my knee. I hope to be all right in a day or two. Farewell, my best of Lords. Greet my Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master, greeting.

By this time, at all events, my master, I hope you can send better news, for your letter says that you were in pain up to the time when you wrote. I have dictated this, walking about. For the state of my wretched body requires that exercise just now. But I shall only feel the full benefit of the vintage season when we find your health beginning to mend. Farewell, my most delightful of masters.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

I am laid up with pain in the sole of my foot. That is why I have not paid you my respects these past days. Farewell, best of Lords. Greet my Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master.

When you are well enough to walk comfortably, then we also shall be delighted to see you. May the Gods bring that about as soon as possible, and the pain in your foot be better. Farewell, my best of masters.

 

Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

I love you ten times as much—I have seen your daughter![261] I seem to have seen you as well as Faustina in your infancy: so much that is good in both your faces is blended in hers. I love you ten times as much. Farewell, sweetest of Lords. Greet your Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master.

We too love Gratia the more for her likeness to you.[262] So we can easily understand how our little girl's likeness to both of us endears her to you, and in every way it is a delight to me that you have seen her. Farewell, my best of masters.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

This is the third day that I have been troubled all night long with griping in the stomach and diarrhoea. Last night, indeed, I suffered so much that I have not been able to go out, but am keeping my bed. The doctors recommend a bath. I have prayed the Gods to give you many happy returns of the day.[263] Farewell, my Lord. Greet your Lady.

 

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master.

You also know, my master, what I on my part wish: that you should be hale and strong henceforth, and keep this your solemn day[264] and all future ones for as many years as possible either with us or, at all events, without giving us any anxiety on your behalf. Of course, I guessed at once that there was some reason of this kind for our not seeing you. And I must confess that I am thankful that the cause was such a complaint of your body rather than some other pains. Besides I have great hopes of that flux, for though it prostrate you for the time, yet I trust, if the Gods will, that your bowels have naturally and to the good of your health felt the motions of the spring, while others contrive and bring this about by design. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother greets you.


Fronto to Marcus as Caesar

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord.

I have a wretched sore throat, which also made me feverish all the night. My knee pains me a little. Farewell, my Lord. Greet your Lady.


Marcus Aurelius to Fronto

? 154–156 A.D.

To my master.

I now learn what I wished first and foremost to hear. I gather from your letter that the feverishness has gone. Now, my master, as for the sore throat, it will be got rid of by a little abstinence, and we shall soon have better news from you. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. My mother[265] greets you.


? 154–156 A.D.

Fronto to Antoninus Pius Augustus.

1. If it could be brought about, Imperator, that our friends and relations should in all cases act by our principles of conduct, there is nothing I should desire more; next I would have them follow, if not our principles yet at least our advice on every occasion. But since each man's own character governs his life, I can only confess that I am sorry my friend Niger Censorius[266] used such intemperate language in his will, in which he made me his heir. If I claimed to clear him by justifying his action, I should be unprincipled; I should be disloyal to my friend if I did not at least say what I could in his excuse.

2. It cannot be denied that Niger Censorius was unrestrained and ill-advised in his language, but at the same time in many respects he was an honest man and manly and blameless. It will accord with your clemency, Imperator, if you set his other creditable actions against his solitary misconduct in word.

3. When I first came to be his friend, his strenuous achievements, civil and military, had already won him the love of others. Not to mention his other friends, he was on the most intimate terms with Marcius Turbo[267] and Erucius Clarus,[268] who were both eminent men in the first rank, the one of the Knights, the other of the Senators. Subsequently, however, a great accession of honours and authority accrued to him from your courts[269] also. Such was the man whose friendship I coveted.

4. Possibly some might say that I ought to have given up my friendship with him when I realized that he was not held by you in the same favour as before. But, Imperator, I was never of such a spirit as to cast off a friendship formed in prosperity as soon as a whisper of adversity was audible. And in any case—for why should I not say what is in my mind?—I shall hold as an enemy one who bears you no love, but one for whom you have but little love I shall count as an unfortunate rather than as an enemy[† 34] . . . . There is a very great difference between blaming a man and hating him . . . . was in want of friends and advice. And would that Niger, as in most things subsequently he was guided by me, so had asked my advice in drawing up his will! Never would he have seared his memory with such a stain by reckless words that injured himself more than anyone else.

5. Nor . . . .[† 35] would an interval have intervened . . . . a man at the very time of his offence. But he offends from very love, just as most animals that lack skill and perseverance in maternal duties injure their eggs and their young with talons or teeth, maltreating them not from malice but from want of experience in nursing.

6. I at least call to witness the Gods above and the Gods below and the hidden loyalties of human friendship, that I have ever been the author[† 36] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nor has he been influenced by kindness so great and benefits so many whenever . . . . . . . . . . . . he has his own end. But let us always strive for those things, which we have neither been willing to pass over in silence nor think it right to deny, and such things, if the Gods are just, as are true and in accord with the straightforward nature of our friendship.


? 154–156 A.D.

Fronto to Gavius Maximus.[270]

. . . . . . . . Grief added to anger upset the man's mental balance . . . . Anger poisoned and ruined his other virtues . . . . But let no one find fault with my love for Niger, who is not prepared to blame yours first. Lastly, I did not begin to love Niger on your account, that I should on your account cease to love him; nor did you begin to have a liking for me through Niger's introduction. Wherefore, I beseech you, let not a friendship now be a hindrance which was never a help to us. Now, if I must say so, let the Gods witness that I have often seen Niger Censorius weeping copiously for want of you and for distress at this dissension.

But perhaps I shall have another opportunity of mollifying you and reconciling you to his memory. Meanwhile, lest your ears be open to any attacks by ill-disposed persons on me, I pledge to you my lasting loyalty, which, as I kept it truly and faithfully with Censorius, much more assuredly shall I strive to preserve lasting and unimpaired with you.


Fronto to Marcus.[† 37]

? 154–156 A.D.

To my Lord Caesar.

Niger Censorius is dead, leaving me heir to five-twelfths of his estate by a will in all other respects unexceptionable but, as far as its language is concerned, ill-advised, since in this he followed the dictates of anger rather than consulted his self-respect. For he inveighed in unmeasured terms against Gavius Maximus, a man of senatorial rank and entitled to my regard.

In consequence I have thought it necessary to write to our Lord your Father and to Gavius Maximus himself letters of a very difficult tenor. For, whereas I could not but find fault with the action of my friend Niger, which I myself disapproved of, I wished at the same time, as was right, not to fail in my duty as friend and heir. I was anxious that you should know of this, as of all else that concerns me, and, by heaven, I began a lengthy letter to you on this subject; but on thinking everything over I decided not to importune you or call you away from more important business.


? 157–161 A.D.

Fronto to Antoninus Pius Augustus.

1 . . . . The modesty of my friends has ensured that I should make no unworthy request for them . . . . you have at my request enhanced the dignity of one Roman knight, Sextius Calpurnius, who lived with me,[271] by the grant of two procuratorships already. I count these two procuratorships as favours four times given: twice when you granted them, and twice when you permitted them to be declined.

2. For two years now I have been your suppliant for my friend Appianus,[272] between whom and myself there has been both a long-standing intimacy and almost daily practice of mutual studies. Moreover, I feel certain and would be bold to affirm, that he will shew the same modesty that my friend Calpurnius Julianus has. For it is to enhance his dignity in old age that he desires to attain this distinction, and not from ambition or coveting the salary of a procurator. When I first made request for Appianus, you gave my petition so kindly a hearing that I had a right to hope.

When I renewed my request the next, which was last, year, your answer contained much that was gracious, one thing even in a vein of pleasantry, that the moment you gave Appianus the procuratorship at my request, a flood of pleaders would gush forth asking a like favour. You remember too the native of Greece whom you graciously and smilingly mentioned. But the cases are far from parallel: there is age, there is childlessness, which calls for consolations to relieve it. I would make bold to add that, though both are good men, yet in worth and integrity one has some advantage over the other; and I may say this the more freely, in that I have not named him whom I put second to my friend.

3. Lastly I will say, as I am prompted to do by plain dealing and truth as well as by the assurance of my love towards you, that surely it is fairer that the other[273] too should gain his wish on my account. Remember too, my Lord Imperator, when he follows my example in petitioning, that I have petitioned these two years. Then let him too, if so it please you, be gratified after two years. He will but be following my example, if he also then get permission to be excused.[274]


From Appianus to Fronto.[275]

? 157–161 A.D.

1. I could not see you to-day either, as owing to gastric trouble last night I have only just got up. What I was puzzling over in my wakeful hours I am not keeping back or putting off, but have written you a few out of my many thoughts. And you, if they are just, give ear and assent to them as just; if they are pedantic, as sincere; but in any case do so to me, as aggrieved and a suppliant.

2. It is but natural that the individual should take pattern by the community. At any rate we direct our private affairs on the lines of public ones and the law bids us do this. How is it then, that states do not shrink from receiving from the donors, native and alien, offerings and property and money itself, and in some cases even a free gift of their persons, but a friend shrinks from receiving a gift from a friend when he entreats it? And the Gods too by the law of cities accept these gifts from men, as the treasuries of the Gods testify. Aye friends too do not shrink from taking under wills. And why, pray, should a man take under a will, but take nothing from the living, when the latter gift is an even greater proof of affection. For the testator prefers one man to another, but the living donor prefers his friend to himself. And it is sweeter to receive a gift from the living, because it is possible both to acknowledge it to a living person and to make a return. Again a trifling gift[276] is not made to Gods or cities, but nobler things are always for the more noble.

3. But, you will say, does not their acceptance bring a heavier obligation? Why, what can be a heavier one than friendship and honour, than which things there is perhaps nothing better? And what was there here even heavy at all, or what should I count heavy? I would not traffic in anything nor buy anything, that necessitated an equivalent return passing, as they say, from house to house. Consider this point also, what pleasure acceptance gives the sender, and what mortification follows upon non-acceptance . . . .[† 38] even after many days to come to you. Pray believe that the law of Gods and cities and friends is a just one . . . .[† 39] but as friends do not parade such a forwardness of goodwill but from diffidence conceal it, I send before you give permission. Do not you send back my gift a second time, as you ought not to have done even the first time.


To Appian from Fronto.

? 157–161 A.D.

1. Even he would have no lack of plausible arguments who, in answer to the first of the propositions submitted by you, should object that private conduct ought not to conform to that of states. For we shall find many customs and usages publicly established in cities and privately practised by individuals to be dissimilar. You can easily convince yourself of this by looking at the litigation and disputes between public bodies and individuals, wherein neither the venue of the court nor the number of the judges nor the order of the pleas and summonses nor the allowance of time for the speakers nor the penalties of conviction are the same, but there is every difference between the public cases and the private. Again the gates of a city must be opened wide for any to enter at will and, when he will, to go out. But for each one of us as individuals, if his doorkeeper guard not his door and be ever on the watch, debarring from ingress those who have no business there, but on the other hand permitting the inmates to go out freely whenever they wish, the safeguarding of the house could not be properly effected. So also porticoes and groves and altars and gymnasia, and baths, if public ones, are thrown open free to all, but if private, are kept under strong lock and key with a door-keeper to boot, and a fee is exacted from the bathers. Nor yet are banquets in private houses and in the Town-Hall the same; nor a horse if it belong to a private person or to the state; nor the purple robe of the magistrate and of the townsman; nor the garland of home-grown roses and the wreath of olive at Olympia.

2. At the same time I think that I will waive this and concede to you that private conduct must needs conform to public. But conceding this, I would not go further and concede what you would fain persuade me of, that I must conform to it. I will explain what I mean. The point in dispute between us, I take it, was this, whether one ought to accept great and valuable gifts from friends. Justifying this, you pointed to the example of cities accepting great gifts one from another, taking for granted, my dear friend, the very point in dispute. For alleging as I do that individuals ought not to take great gifts from one another, I would say exactly the same of cities, that they ought not to take them either; but you, begging the question that this is right for cities, adduce it as a proof of what is right for individuals. You must admit that one ought not to prove the question at issue by means of the very points in dispute. But if you say that many states accept such gifts, I will answer that many individuals also accept them, but that the question is whether it is right and fit that they should accept them. And this question beginning with individuals extends to cities also. This point, therefore, I mean the action of cities, you must in all fairness leave on one side, as part of the question in dispute. For I take it you are not unaware that the majority of the most famous and well-ordered cities have never accepted great gifts; as, for example, the City of Rome has rejected many such many a time from very many senders, but Athens exacting heavier gifts than befitted was not at all benefited thereby.

3. As to your example from the Gods, that they receive gifts and offerings, which you touched on quite briefly, I will endeavour to dismiss it no less shortly. As I am neither God nor the Persian King, it was not fitting even to pay me homage.

4. The most plausible argument you brought forward, by heaven, was the one from wills—why is it that, when we take even large bequests under wills, we should not accept such from the living? The reason is suggested already by yourself. For those who benefit their friends in their wills prefer, as you say, one legatee to another: from them I admit that it is right to take. The living on the other hand prefer, as you say, the friends whom they benefit to themselves. For this very reason I say that what is offered should not be accepted. For it is in reality no light thing and savours, to tell the truth, of arrogance and tyranny to receive such marks of preference, wherein he, that does another honour, manifestly does himself dishonour, and sets him whom he has honoured above himself. For I would not even mount a horse, if the rider dismounting and going on foot asked me to ride; nor would I sit down in a theatre, if another gave up his seat to me; nor in wintry weather accept a man's cloak, if by stripping himself and shivering he kept me warmly wrapped. For each man is his own nearer concern and more deserving of honour at his own hands.

5. You say that trifling gifts are not sent to the Gods. What, are not these trifling gifts—the little barley-cakes and the honey and the libation-wine and the milk and the organs of the victims? Aye, and the frankincense is a trifling gift to a God.

6. So much for the propositions so cleverly and plausibly urged by you touching things public and things divine and touching wills. But for myself let me briefly say this: whatever it is shameless and greedy and covetous to ask for, it is no less characteristic of the shameless, the greedy, and the covetous man to accept even from a voluntary giver. To ask for big gifts is shameless, far more to accept them. And it is all one whether we take from a willing or a reluctant giver; for it is not right to ask, but it is not right to take either. Nor should a man accept such gifts as shall leave the sender poorer and render the receiver richer. And great gifts involve both these results. At any rate in the case of a property valuation, you who sent these two slaves would declare your property as less and I who received them as more. For the item of these two slaves is no negligible one, either in valuation of goods or in exchange of properties[277] or in assessment for taxation or in payment of tribute.

7. He that sends too heavy a gift offends no less than he who sends his fellow ball-player too heavy a return or toasts his fellow guest with a big cup. For he would seem to toast him for debauch not for delight. But just as in temperate banquets we see the wine mixed in the proportion of a great deal of water to quite a little wine, so should gifts be a blend of much loving-kindness and very little outlay. For whom can we say that costly gifts befit? The poor? But they cannot send them. The rich? But they do not need them. Moreover, great gifts cannot be given continuously; or, if a man send great gifts and often, he must come to the end of his resources. But small gifts admit of being given continuously and with no compunction, since a man need make but a small acknowledgment to one who has sent a small gift.

8. This too you would confess, that a man acts unjustly, if he so acquire praise for himself as to rob another of his. But you in sending great gifts acquire to yourself praise for large-hearted generosity, but you rob me of praise by constraining me to accept favours. For I too might shew large-heartedness by refusing to accept such. But in small gifts the apportionment of praise is equal, in that the sender did not neglect to send, and the recipient did not disdain, the gift. But I would ask, pressing you perhaps rather hard, how can I receive with delight the slaves sent from you, whereas you would not have accepted an identical present, had I sent it? . . . .[† 40] It would have been Glaucus[278] of old over again . . . .[† 41] "exchanging gold for bronze and a hundred oxen's worth for that of nine." For it is inevitable that the exchanger of presents should either send in return gifts of much greater value and, as Homer testifies, seem bereft of his senses by Zeus, or act inequitably by sending a meaner gift in return. The third and most equitable rule is to requite what is sent according to the same measure and with equal gifts.[279] He that did this would be as like as possible to me, for I am sending back the very things that were sent.

But enough of this pleasantry from a friend to a very dear friend. The cost of the keep of these slaves will now, if you calculate it, give you a little the best of the bargain


? 157–161 A.D.

Fronto to Lollianus Avitus,[280] greeting.

Licinius Montanus—"so may I have you safe back in my arms," and this is an oath which equally involves my weal and yours—is one whom I love so dearly that there is no one of those, who have shared my home with me, whom I could easily prefer to my Montanus. As often as he came to Rome he was my guest, my house was at his disposal, he always shared my table; in fact there was between us a community and fellowship in almost all our acts and counsels. Please pay him such attention as you would expect to be shewn by another to your intimate friend, the sharer of your home and your counsels. My Montanus is devoted to all letters and noble accomplishments, besides being a man of learning and cultured eloquence. Although I feel that I am biased in favour of my own craft, because he has himself preferred nothing to the study of eloquence . . . . . . . . With me eloquence holds the most honoured place . . . . From your utmost stores of good-nature grant . . . . He has asked nothing, as was to be expected of his modesty, except what is right and honourable for you to give and for him to ask . . . . Worthy, upright, rich in natural affection,[281] a quality for which the Romans have no word . . . . . . . . He indeed asks for a health resort on the coast, and lastly those reasonable adjuncts. Consequently it is not the sea but the air that he is desirous of . . . . The most eloquent of all, such is your nobleness . . . . I hear that some speak captiously of his having been torn away with grief and reluctance from my home-circle, because seized as he was with an affection of the chest, there seemed a real possibility that the extreme salubrity of the climate would enable him to return from his native city Cirta. Pray that it may be so. Since I love him for my part as I do very few, please use him as one who is dear to me, welcome him when he comes and win his love with your gracious care for him and give him the best of help with friendly counsel. Afterwards I desire you often to test the health and condition of your guest[† 42] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


? 157–161 A.D.

Fronto to Cornelius Repentinus,[282] greeting.

You have acted, brother Contuccius, according to your never-failing habit and kindness in so effectually safeguarding the good name of Fabianus, a man of tried experience in civil duties, constant in attendance at the forum, and my close friend. May the immortal Gods ensure to you with all happiness a recompense equal to your kindness[† 43] . . . . . . . . nor will you soon find (such among) the nobles: hold rather that they were full of sufficiently undisguised hatred . . . .


? 157–161 A.D.

Fronto to Claudius Severus,[283] greeting.

1. The custom of recommendation is said in the first instance to have sprung from good will, when eveiy man wished to have his own friend made known to another friend and rendered intimate with him. Then the custom gradually grew up of giving such recommendations in the case of those persons even who were parties to a public or private trial, provided however that the case was not a flagrant one, to the actual judges or their assessors on the bench: not, I take it, to undermine the fairness of the judge or to lead him aside from giving true judgment. But as there had long established itself in the very courts of law this custom of bringing forward, when the case had been heard out, witnesses to character to give in all honesty their own private opinion of the defendant, so these commendatory letters seemed to discharge the function of a testimony to character.

2. Wherefore this preface going back so far? That you may not think that I have had but scant regard for your dignity and authority in recommending Sulpicius Cornelianus,[284] a most intimate friend of mine, who is very shortly to plead his case before you. But as I have said, following a long-established precedent, I venture to speak in praise of my friend before you.

3. The man is hard-working, energetic, of a free and free-handed nature, a true patriot, relying on his innocence rather than presuming on it, to me a most congenial friend from his devotion to literature and his taste in the liberal arts [† 44] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 . . . . . . . . . . . . Nor did this close relationship between us arise casually or by chance, and I am free to confess that I did not go out of my way to seek the friendship of Cornelianus. I had already heard his character spoken of with praise, and that it was a true report which reached my ears I have learnt by experience and verified with many proofs. We have lived together, studied together, shared alike in things grave and gay, put our loyalty and our counsels to the proof. In every way our friendship has conduced to our pleasure and our profit. Wherefore I appeal to you as earnestly as I can to give this very dear friend of mine a favourable hearing in his case . . . .[† 45] summoned for trial a member of our order. But the notes of the Consilium[285] being read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 46] tried to rebut it. Anxiety for my friend (makes) me commend him at such length: but our friendship is a guarantee of your loyal love for me and (will bring it about that), whatever I ask, a whole speech should seem to you but one word.


Fronto to Appius Apollonides.

? 157–161 A.D.

Delight in the character and eloquence of the man first made me love Sulpicius Cornelianus. For he has the greatest aptitude for eloquence; and I will not deny that the friendship which is grounded on culture takes the highest place with me, and the culture I mean here is that of the orator. For this seems to me to be human; as for Philosophy's, let it be divine. Do your utmost then for Cornelianus, who is a good man and a friend of mine and eloquent and no philosopher.


? 157–161 A.D.

To Aegrilius Plarianus, greeting.

I commend to you with all possible cordiality Julius Aquilinus,[286] a man, if you have any faith in my judgment, most learned, most eloquent, exceptionally trained by the teachings of philosophy to the noblest accomplishments and by the study of eloquence to a matchless facility of speech. A man so learned and so cultured should naturally find from a man of your serious character and wisdom not only protection but advancement and honour. Aquilinus is also, believe me, a man of such a character that he deserves to be accounted an ornament to yourself no less than to me. You will not doubt that it is as I say, if you once deign to hear him discuss the doctrines of Plato. With your perspicacity and good sense you will find him not unequal to his high fame, most conspicuous for the magnificence[287] of his language and the immense abundance of his thoughts. When you have realized the truth of this, know that there is still more behind in the man's character, so great are his integrity and his modesty. Crowds of people constantly gathered to hear him at Rome. There are numbers of senators who not only applaud his eloquence, but also admire his . . . . He was obliged to leave Rome by the necessary duty of comforting his lady cousin, who is suffering under a great misfortune. Any attention you pay to Aquilinus please consider as paid to me.


? 157–161 A.D.

Fronto to Claudius Julianus, greeting.

We could assuredly wish, my dearest Naucellius,[288] it had been our happy fortune that, if I had had any children also of the male sex and these were of an age for the discharge of military duties at this particular time, when you are administering a province with an army, my children should serve under you. This that each of us would desire will almost be fulfilled. For I love Faustinianus, the son of my friend Statianus, not less, and I desire him to be loved no less, than if he came from my own loins. He is now to serve under you. Any attention you shew him will be paid with interest. However much distinction Faustinianus gains by your goodwill, the pleasure you derive from his refined nature will be no less His learning you may trust me for; his military ability is vouched for by all those under whom he has served. But he will not think that he has reaped the full fruit of his learning and industry until he has earned your approbation. Try him in military duties, try him in legal consultations, try him in letters, in a word, in everything that requires judgment and ability, whether grave or gay, you will find him always and everywhere equal to himself. As to that eminent man, his father, did you not know him for yourself, I could not praise him highly enough. Nor could I escape having said a great deal too little, though I said ever so much. Verily I should love the son of my Statianus, whatever he were, just as by heaven I should hold dear the father of my Faustinianus, whatever he were. Now, however, I do not know which of the two endears me more to the other, save that I love each of them more dearlv, the one for the sake of the other.


Fronto to the Triumvirs and Senators of Cirta[289][† 47]

? 157–161 A.D.

How great are my cares . . . . and I should much prefer the guardianship of our native country to be strengthened than my own interests. Wherefore my advice to you is to choose for your patrons, and send resolutions to that effect to, those who at present stand highest at the bar—Aufidius Victorinus, whom you will have on your burgess-roll if the Gods favour my designs, for I have betrothed my daughter[290] to him, nor could I have better consulted the interests either of myself in the matter of posterity or of my daughter in the matter of her whole life, than when I chose such a son-in-law, a man of such character and great eloquence; Servilius Silanus also, an excellent and most eloquent man, you will have as your patron by burgess right, since he comes from the neighbouring and friendly state of Hippo Regius[291]; Postumius Festus[292] you cannot do wrong in electing as your patron in consideration of his character and eloquence, himself also a native of our province and of no distant state. Of these no ordinary patrons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 48] as long as my strength and health were sound, our business . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .[† 49] that our city has been established by the help of practised speakers and men in the prime of life . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 50] we should have a well-known man and a consular to be responsible for our public interests. I too, as I hope, while young and strong, played no obscure part in civil affairs. There are many other natives of Cirta also in the Senate, entitled to be called most eminent.[293] The last honour is the greatest, three of your citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 51] but it is better for you now sometimes . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 52]


Lucius Verus to Fronto

161 A.D.

To my master.

I have a serious complaint to make against you, my master, and yet that is not so great as my disappointment, that after so long a separation I did not embrace or speak to you, though you both came to the Palace and came when I had only just left the Lord my brother. You may be sure I gave my brother a good scolding for not calling me back; and he could not deny that he was to blame. How easy, prithee, it would have been to let me know beforehand that you were coming to see my brother, and would like to see me as well, or failing that, to have asked me to return, that we might have a talk. What? if you sent for me to-day to your house, should I not put everything aside and run to you? Indeed, I have been very cross that I could not visit you every day. Nay, I think it is the heaviest penalty of our position that I so seldom have an opportunity of coming to you . . . . alone . . . . I should have run to you. Now at least I beseech you, as I have no leisure yet to hasten to you, write and tell me how you are: affairs of state, however pressing, shall not long prevent me from seeing you again or expecting you . . . . Farewell, my master, to your Verus most dear and most kind.


Fronto to Lucius Verus as Emperor

161 A.D.

To my Lord Verus Augustus.[294]

1. That it was no fault of mine that I did not see you yesterday, when I came to the Palace to see you both, I will presently shew. But had I myself deliberately from choice left this duty unpaid, I should not in the least regret it. For this, this was the cause of your reproaching me in such a friendly letter. Nor should I be so greatly pleased, had I come to you and been welcomed by you with every honour, as I am now that you felt my absence enough to give me such a scolding. For while with your characteristic kindliness you give all members of our order, when they present themselves, an honourable welcome, yet it is not all of them about whom you make earnest enquiries when they are absent. In fact this is the cause of my fault, inasmuch as I should prefer you to be seriously angry with me than too ready to pardon. For your anger is the measure of your regret. But those from whom you are estranged you will neither be angry with nor miss, if you have ceased to love them. For indeed, since you and your brother, set in so great a station, surrounded by so great a multitude of all sorts and conditions of men, on whom you lavish your love, bestow on me too some portion of that love, what ought I to do, whose hopes and fortunes all on you alone are centred?[295] . . . . or that I shall be able to . . . . those who are preferred to me than that I should prefer you to them. For thus I should assuredly deserve that you also should prefer them to me.

2. But not to defer my defence any longer, it was, as I said, no fault of mine that I did not meet you. For I returned from my gardens to Rome on March 28th at dawn, in order that I might if possible after so long an interval reach home that very day. But when I had come there, it seemed better . . . . verily I should hasten to do what? To ask Is all well? to embrace? to kiss? to have a talk? Or was it that after four months I should come to look on your tears and exhibit my own? What then did I do the next day? I did not venture to write either to your brother or to you, that I would come to you, but I wrote to your freedman Charilas to the best of my recollection in these words: Is it convenient for me to come to them to-day? Please tell me as a man of sense and a friend of mine . . . . when I went into the palace . . . . . . . . your occupations under the new circumstances . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 53]


Marcus Antoninus as Emperor to Fronto

161 A.D.

To my master.[† 54]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I have read a little of Coelius and of Cicero's speech, but as it were by stealth, certainly by snatches, so closely does one care tread on the heels of another, my one relaxation the while being to take up a book. For our little daughters are at present lodging with Matidia[296] in the town, so that they cannot come to me in the evening owing to the keenness of the air. Farewell, my best of masters. The Lord my brother and my daughters[297] with their mother, whose . . . . send you their affectionate greetings.

Send me something to read which you think particularly eloquent, either of your own or Cato's or Cicero's or Sallust's or Gracchus's or some poet's, for I need relaxation, and especially of such a kind that the reading of it may uplift me and shake me free from the cares that beset me; also if you have any extracts from Lucretius or Ennius, sonorous lines if possible, and any that give the impress of character.


Fronto to Marcus Antoninus

161 A.D.

Fronto to my Lord Antoninus Augustus.

Verily, since the creation of mankind and their endowment with speech let me be held the most eloquent of all men, since you, Marcus Aurelius, study my writings and esteem them, and do not think it useless or unprofitable to yourself in the midst of such great affairs to spend your valuable time in reading my speeches.

But if it is your love for me which makes you delight even in my abilities, most blest am I in that I am so dear to you as to seem even eloquent in your | eyes; or if it is your real judgment and considered opinion that makes you so think, then shall I have every right to seem eloquent to myself since I seem so to you.

I am, however, not in the least surprised that you have found pleasure in reading the praises of your father, which I uttered in the Senate when consul designate and again when I had taken up the office.[298] For you would listen even to the Parthians and Iberians in their own tongue, so they but praised your father, as if they were most consummate orators. It was not my speech you admired but your father's virtues,[299] nor was it the words of the praiser but the deeds of the praised that you praised.

As to my praises of yourself, which I pronounced the same day in the Senate, I would have you look on them in this light, that you then shewed rare I natural ability, but now a consummate excellence; that you were then as corn sprouting in a field, but are now as the harvest fully ripe and gathered in the | garner. All was hope then, all is having now. Hope has turned to reality.

What you asked me, however, to send you, on receiving your letter . . . . . . . . men of Attica hard by chewing the cud of their native herbs and the wild thyme of Hymettus . . . . You could pluck either weighty thoughts from the speeches of the ancients or sweet thoughts from their poems, or splendid thoughts from history, or kindly ones from comedies, or courtly ones from the national drama, or witty and humorous ones from the Atellane farces . . . .


Lucius Verus to Fronto

161 A.D.

To my master.

. . . .[† 55] My friend, I mean Calpurnius, and I are having a dispute, but I shall easily confute him in the presence of all, and with you, too, if you are present, as a witness, that Pylades is superior to his master, [300] just insomuch as he is more like Apolaustus.[301] But to speak seriously, tell your Valerius Antonius to hand me the petition, that by our reply, also, the favour of our verdict may take effect. I read your letter with the greatest pleasure and with my usual admiration. Farewell, my master, to your Verus sweetest and dearest.


? 161 A.D.

(? To my Lord.)[† 56]

. . . . to enquire whether he could see me; when I answered that he could, he procured our friend Tranquillus[302] as his substitute, whom he had also procured as his substitute at dinner. It makes little difference to me, who of the friends you hold dear has an affection for me, except that I take prior account of him who is less disdainful of my friends. I . . . . for he also saw him at once. Tranquillus however found me, when he had a cold, still forbidding but less (positively the use of) grapes . . . . . . . . such great . . . . would arise. How much do I owe to the diligence of Tranquillus, who would never have offered himself for this business, did he not know how much you loved me.


Fronto to Volumnius Quadratus.

161 A.D.

I will, as you wish, keep your secret. I will gladly read it and correct it in my usual way as far as my hands, which are quite crippled, will permit. Continue in the cultivation of your studies according to your wish, and utilize any spare time you have in practising your talents.

 

Fronto to Volumnius Quadratus.

161 A.D.

Our friend Castricius handed me your letter yesterday as I was leaving the baths, and I asked him to come to me for an answer in the morning. During the night I suffered so much from cough and sleeplessness that I was obliged to stay in bed till 11 o'clock. That accounts for my keeping our friend Castricius back. You shall have the books of Cicero corrected and punctuated. Those which I have annotated please keep for your own eye. I will write to you more carefully the reasons why I do not wish them to become public property.


Fronto to Volumnius Quadratus.

161 A.D.

I will gladly, my son, read your speech, which you have sent me, and correct anything that seems to require it, but by the hand of my secretary, for my own hand is useless from severe pain. In spite of the pain, however, I have been carried to the circus. For I am again seized with a passion for the games . . . .[† 57] be badly composed and wholly in rhetorical style.

 
 

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FootnotesEdit

  1. Certainly an early letter, possibly the earliest preserved (see § 4). In a subsequent letter to Marcus, as Emperor, it seems to be referred to as prima ilia lougiuscula epistula (see Ad Ant. i. 2). Marcus became consul in 140, and this fact could scarcely have been ignored in § 6.
  2. The Latin phrase verba dare alicui means "to use mere words to a person," i.e. to deceive him. It is difficult to reproduce the subtle play on the words.
  3. i.e. "to rinse the mouth."
  4. i.e. "to swab the flagged floor in the baths."
  5. "To bathe the cheeks in tears."
  6. "To wash clothes."
  7. "To wash off sweat and dust."
  8. "To scour out."
  9. "To water mead."
  10. "To gargle the throat."
  11. "To scrub out a horse's frog."
  12. As it happens, it might mean one or two other things in English.
  13. Used in the sense of supprimo, "checked."
  14. cp. below, Ad Caes, ii. 5, Ad Ant. i. 2, ad med.
  15. Marcus (see Thoughts, iii. 14) possibly wrote some sort of History of the Greeks and Romans, which Nicephorus Callistus (iii. 31) may perhaps refer to. But Marcus in his Thoughts, i. 17 ad fin., disclaims the study of histories.
  16. Gratia was Fronto's wife. He had also a daughter Gratia, who was married about 160, and so probably born between 140 and 145.
  17. Domitia Lucilla, the widow of Annius Verus. The adopted mother of Marcus, the elder Faustina, wife of Pius, died between July 140 and July 141.
  18. The second of these must be the preceding letter. The other may possibly be the first letter given above.
  19. His other pupil, Lucius Verus, also pays Fronto this compliment (Ad Ver. ii. 2). But Marcus, in his tribute to Fronto in his Thoughts (i. 11), omits all mention of it.
  20. This title can stand for the mother of Marcus as it does in the previous letter, or for Faustina the elder, his adopted mother, or, after his marriage in 145, for his wife Faustina the younger.
  21. A proverb for unflinching justice or determination.
  22. The Discourse on Love which follows.
  23. The speech of thanks to Pius in the Senate for being given the title of Caesar in the year 139 is probably meant.
  24. cp. Hor. Ars Poet. 441.
  25. Possibly Lorium, twelve miles from Rome, where Pius had a villa.
  26. If the preceding sentence can be taken to imply that his mother Lucilla was away, this must refer to Faustina the elder, wife of Pius.
  27. This is the piece referred to in the previous letter.
  28. He is alluding to the speeches of Lysias and Socrates in Plato's Phaedrus. Philostratus (Ep. 6) sums up the opinions expressed in them thus: τὸ μὲν μὴ ἐρῶντι χαρίζεσθαι, Λυσίου δόξα· τῷ δὲ ἐρῶντι, δοκεῖ Πλάτωνι.
  29. As your relations with him imply.
  30. καλός was the recognised tribute to the victorious boy-athlete, and is constantly so used on vases. See also Aristoph. Vespae, 199.
  31. cp. Lucian, De Saltat. 16: τοὺς ἐξαγορεύοντας τὰ μυστήρια ἐξορχεῖσθαι λέγουσιν οἱ πολλοί.
  32. Possibly the sunflower (Girasole), or marigold; see Shaks. Sonnets, xxv. 6.
  33. Orator and master seem both to refer to Fronto. We do not know what he may have said about Lais.
  34. Referring to a letter not preserved.
  35. Off Naples. It is mentioned in connection with Marius by Plutarch.
  36. Probably the mother of Marcus, to whom Fronto sends a greeting in the next letter.
  37. His adopted father, the emperor Antoninus Pius.
  38. For the honour of being made "Caesar" in 139. It could no doubt refer to the Consulship in 145, or the Tribunicia Potestas in 147; but these dates are too late.
  39. Marcus painted this portrait with a loving hand in his Thoughts, i. 6, vi. 30.
  40. There were two rhetoricians of this name, one of Byzantium, the other of Gadara. The latter is probably meant.
  41. We have more on the subject in a letter to Marcus's mother (Epist. Graec. 1).
  42. The best of such nugalia that we possess is Lucian's on the Fly. Dio wrote one on the Gnat, and even Plato on Fever. There were others on Gout, Blindness, Deafness, and Baldness. cp. also Augustine, De Vera Relig. lxxvii., who says that some had written the praises of ashes and dung verissime atque uberrime.
  43. Horace, Od. i. 2, 31
  44. Homer, Il. xiv. 350.
  45. A philosopher and rhetorician of Arles, a friend of the emperor Hadrian and of Herodes Atticus and Fronto.
  46. Especially worshipped by Pius and Marcus.
  47. These words point to an early letter.
  48. cp. Thoughts, viii. 30, and below, Ad Ant. i. 1.
  49. This would seem to be an early letter, in spite of its position in the Codex.
  50. On the coast of Etruria (now Civita Vecchia), 47 miles from Rome. Pius inherited the magnificent villa built there by Trajan.
  51. i.e. for the purpose of writing or study.
  52. Possibly Fronto had brought Marcus some books from Rome.
  53. Centumcellae.
  54. Fronto follows Herodotus, as Gellius also professes to do. Fronto probably intended this piece to be a model of narrative style for his pupil. It seems to be of the matter-of-fact style (siccum genus) for which Fronto was celebrated.
  55. Or possibly "love of his art."
  56. This and the next four letters refer to a trial at Rome, in which the famous Greek rhetorician, Herodes Atticus, one of Marcus's teachers and his friend, was accused by the Athenians of various crimes. Their principal spokesman was Demostratus, who is mentioned again, Ad Ver. ii. 9. Of the circumstances we only know what the Letters tell us. But a very similar accusation was brought against him nearly thirty years later (see Philostratus, Vit. Soph. p. 242, Kayser). Herodes must have been honourably acquitted on the present occasion, as he was made consul in 143. The trial, one must suppose, preceded the consulship, as he could hardly have been elected to it with such accusations hanging over him.
  57. Marcus practised what he preached in the second trial of Herodes, mentioned above.
  58. His maternal grandfather. It seems as if Herodes was not yet a teacher of Marcus.
  59. Fronto is probably punning on Marcus's name Verus. Hadrian gave him the pet name of Verissimus, which Justin Martyr also uses, and it appears on the coins of Tyras on the Euxine.
  60. We can scarcely keep the assonance: "It is not right that such a wight."
  61. Lit. "keep at a distance with darts."
  62. It is curious that Fronto did not know of this friendship and, indeed, more about such a man as Herodes.
  63. Herodes himself is meant, not his son, as generally supposed. His father left by his will a yearly sum of money to every Athenian citizen. But Herodes compounded with the Athenians for a single payment of 5 minae. However, by deducting from this sum moneys owed by them to his father, he exasperated the citizens against himself, and this may have caused the high-handed proceedings described here. See Philost. Vit. Soph. 236, Kays.
  64. In spite of Fronto's speech they became great friends. See below, Ad. Ant. ii. 8.
  65. Probably not the jurist, mentioned in the Digest, who was later. Nothing is known of the persons named.
  66. Herodes appears to be meant.
  67. Opicus, another form for Oscan = a rude, unlettered person.
  68. Orpheus appears on the Alexandrine coins of Marcus.
  69. So Dio, lxxi. 35, § 6, and Zonaras, ii: ἦν γὰρ καὶ φύσει ἀγαθὸς ἀνήρ, πλεῖστα δὲ καὶ ἀπὸ παιδείας βελτίων ἐγένετο.
  70. Marcus would have assumed the toga virilis about 135 A.D.
  71. Probably Salvius Julianus, the great jurist, who is mentioned in the Digest, xxxvii. 14, 17 Pr. by Marcus as amicus noster.
  72. Ennius probably.
  73. Called amicus noster by Marcus and Verus in Digest, xxxvii. 14, 17 Pr. He was one of Marcus's teachers, and wrote a book for him De Asse ac Ponderibus, which is still extant.
  74. According to Teuffel's Latin Literature, Sota (Σωτᾶς) = Sotades. There was a metre called Sotadean, but probably named from a licentious Greek poet mentioned by Martial (Epigr. ii. 86).
  75. See next letter.
  76. Possibly the word means "to cool down" (cp. defervescere) and refers to the vehemence of Gracchus's style, see Ad Ver. i. 1. ad med.
  77. Excerpts from Terence, Vergil, Cicero, and Sallust, entitled Exempla Elocutionum, attributed by some to Fronto, have come down to us. Marcus followed this habit of making extracts. See Thoughts, iii. 14, and below, Ad Caes. ii. 10.
  78. Marcus did not receive the Imperium till 147 (with the Trib. Pot.), nor was he styled Imperator till 161. There must be some error in the word. The number (I.) that follows the heading may mean the first letter by Marcus in the Codex, in which case the whole first quaternion, which is lost, must have contained letters of Fronto.
  79. The alder seems out of place among upland and forest trees.
  80. See Plutarch, On the Fortune of the Romans, ch. x.; and for the various Fortunes cp. De Orat., ad init.
  81. This letter is evidently an answer to a Pro Somno of Fronto's. By "collusion" he means being really in favour of sleep while pretending to plead against it.
  82. If we keep Hauler's reading of the Codex eiusdem, the pronoun would seem to refer to Theodoras (see p. 38), for we can hardly assent to Hauler's view that σκιλα refers to Squilla Gallicanus, to whom there is a letter below, Ad Am. i. 25.
  83. Marcus seems to refer to Ulysses being driven back-wards and forwards along the coast (Odyss. xii. ).
  84. Odyss. iii. 117.
  85. ibid. x. 31.
  86. ibid. 29.
  87. ibid. 46.
  88. Sicily.
  89. Odyss. xii. 338.
  90. ibid. xi. 108; xii. 359, 364.
  91. ibid. xii. 370, 372.
  92. Odyss. i. 58.
  93. Iliad, iv. 22, 23.
  94. Ibid. ii. 24.
  95. Fronto. Jerome calls certain translations of the Scriptures non versiones sed eversiones.
  96. Cicero (Acad. ii. 16) quotes the beginning of Ennius's own account of the dream: Visus Homerus adesse poeta.
  97. cp. Hesiod, Theog. 22 f.
  98. Odyss. xiii. 80.
  99. In a fragment of a letter to Marcus as emperor, Charisius, Ars Grammatica, ii. 223, 8, quotes from Fronto adest etiam usque, quaque tibi natura situs lepos et venustas.
  100. This must refer to some word in the lost pages, not to praevaricor, which characterizes Marcus' treatment of the theme in general.
  101. For the meaning of luteus see Fronto apud Gell. ii. 26, § 8.
  102. Cicero, De Off. iii. 19, calls it rusticorum proverbium. To "flash with the fingers" was to raise some of them sharply for another to rap out the number, a game still played in Italy and called mora.
  103. Possibly the book De Virtute; see Cicero, Tusc. v. 1. For his other philosophical works see Cicero, Acad. Part. i. 12.
  104. As in Aul. Gell. xv. 7 and Tac. Ann. i. 8; Hildebrand on Apul. Met. iv. 27, takes it as = ambigua.
  105. Fronto is nettled at something Marcus had said against conventional insincerities of language. It was not for nothing that he was called Verissimus.
  106. As when he pretended ignorance (dissimuiatio) to elicit a definition from others.
  107. The Greek word = civiliter. cp. urbanitas in the quotation from Quintilian in note on p. 100.
  108. Fronto imitates Sallust in the conclusion of this letter. The last words are a good specimen of a Frontonian sententia or γνώμη.
  109. The epideictic kind (genus demonstrativum of Quintilian was for show speech, such as panegyrics, speeches of thanks to the Emperor, and μελέτας, like the set declamations of the Greek rhetoricians. Quintilian (xii. 58) distinguishes three styles in oratory as (1) subtile, (2) floridum (namque id ἀνθηρὁν appellant) or medium, (3) grande ac robustum; but Gellius (vii. 14) as gracilis, mediocris, uber. The subject here referred to as occupying Marcus, may be the speech mentioned in the next letter.
  110. Fronto, according to Cl. Mainertus, excelled in pompa (the epideictic speech); according to Macrobius, in the siccum genus (forensic).
  111. Either in a letter or perhaps in the speech. If the former, it may have been in connexion with their being taught to speak the truth.
  112. Droz (De Frontonis Instit. Orat. p. 47) thinks Fronto had been reading an epideictic speech of Marcus's and been disappointed by it.
  113. The official record, like our "Hansard." Julius Caesar introduced the custom of keeping this record.
  114. Fronto's wife.
  115. The nearest passage to this in our extant Pl. is Most. i. ii. 62: pro imbre amor advenit in cor meum. Is usque in pectus permanavit.
  116. Not the letter (Ad M. Caes. i. 3) given on p. 83, as Brakman thinks.
  117. Possibly Victorious, or Fronto's brother Quadratus.
  118. See Pliny, N.H. xv. 19.
  119. ibid. xix. 41. The cabbage of Aricia (brassica oleracea) is said by Pliny to be the most useful of all, but the argument requires that it should be only for pleasure.
  120. From an interesting anecdote in Philost. (Vit. Soph. p. 231, Kays.) we find that Marcus formed a higher estimate of Polemo in later life.
  121. His name at this time was Marcus Aurelius Verus.
  122. i.e. Victorinus, afterwards the son-in-law of Fronto. He was one of Marcus's school friends. Lucian, writing a little later, speaks similarly of the critical audiences (Quom. Hist. Scrib. 10). The passage here quoted may have appealed to patrician pride; or its cadence with its repetition of the letter i may have pleased the hearers.
  123. Marcus himself refused to do this; see Dio, lxxi. 21). It was subsequently forbidden by law (Cod. IX. xlvii. 12).
  124. For luteus see Aul. Gell. ii. 26, § 8, = "flame-coloured," used of a bride's veil. For Fronto's thought cp. Seneca, Ep. 114 and 100 §§ 5 ff., quorundam non est compositio, modulatio est; adeo blanditur et molliter labitur; and lege Ciceronem; compositio una est; pedem servat lenta et sine infamia mollis.
  125. Capit. Vit. Mar. iii. 7, says of Marcus: tantum operis et laboris studiis impendit, ut corpus adficeret.
  126. Marcus was born April 26, 121 A.D.
  127. Polemo, a tipsy gallant, bursting into the lecture room of Xenocrates, was converted by what he heard to better ways, and succeeded him as head of the Academy.
  128. Augustus gave the site of the cemetery on the Esquiline to Maecenas, who covered it with 25 feet of earth and there laid out his "gardens," of which Fronto was now the owner. See Lanciani, Ancient Rome, p. 67 (1889).
  129. April 26.
  130. See Zenob. Prov. Cent. iv. 2. Nothing is known of the Pyrrhaeans.
  131. Whether this and the following letter refer to the thanks for Fronto's consulship is not clear. If so, we should have expected Pius to give Fronto his title of consul.
  132. Faustina the younger, daughter of Pius, seems to be meant, as Mommsen suggested.
  133. An Aegean island to which banished persons were sent.
  134. Marcus is referring to Fronto's speech of thanks to Pius in the Senate.
  135. As symbol of authority.
  136. He knows his own weakness and never feared admonition, because he knows how much he needs it and such a teacher.
  137. Demosth. 928, 6.
  138. Horribiliter appears to be a slang use.
  139. A marginal note in the Codex says that this letter was to excuse Fronto's silence post integritatem redditam. Fronto's health seems meant.
  140. "Amici mores noveris non oderis." See Trench, On Proverbs, p. 49, note.
  141. Pliny, N.H. viii. 30.
  142. The arrow-snake, Isaiah, xxxiv. 15: so iaculi serpentes, Lucan ix. 720, and cp. Hor. Odes, iii. 27, 6.
  143. Plutarch (Demetr. 22) says seven years, cp. Pliny, N.H. xxxv. 30, §§ 10, 20.
  144. For the lame Hephaestus see Hom. Il. i. ad fin.
  145. Marcus appears to be speaking of himself. At the end of the preceding letter (Ad M. Caes. ii. 9, p. 146) and the beginning of this one several pages are lost.
  146. Naevius was the earliest great national poet of Rome. He wrote an epic on the First Punic War, and also tragedies.
  147. cp. Shaks. Hamlet, III. ii, 399.
  148. Probably the Augustan poet, orator, and historian, Asinius Pollio, is meant. His archaism would recommend him to Fronto, who subsequently quotes a work of his (Ad Verum, ii. 1).
  149. July and August, the two months of Fronto's consulship, during which Fronto had to be in Rome.
  150. He appears as one of Pliny's correspondents in his letters.
  151. Possibly a Punic name, thinks Niebuhr.
  152. Marcus was born on Mons Caelius, where the Annii had a residence.
  153. Caecilius Statius, a comic poet contemporary with Ennius.
  154. Masurius Sabinus was a great jurist of Tiberius's reign. Persius (Sat. v. 90) mentions a work of his called Rubrica, Possibly Marcus is alluding to the jargon of minute legal distinctions.
  155. Probably named Quadratus. See Corpus Inscr. Lat. xv. 7438.
  156. The Jews. The same may be said of the Moslems and their fast.
  157. Fronto's wife.
  158. The oath was that he had administered his office according to law. Herodian (iv. 3) says that this was done in the old forum (ἀγορά).
  159. Homer, Il. ix. 312.
  160. cp.. Capit. Vit. Marci, iv. 9 amavit pugillatum, luctamina. The phrase faucibus urgere is from Sall. Cat. 52.
  161. As Gratia, Fronto's daughter, married Victorinus about the year 160, she is not likely to have been more than two or three years old, at the most, in 143.
  162. i.e. Sallust; M. Porcius is Cato.
  163. This repeated use of atque was a habit of Cato's.
  164. Pius's villa, twelve miles from Rome, on the Via Aurelia, where he died.
  165. Fronto had evidently accused himself of impudentia for sending Marcus something of his (? his speech) to be criticised.
  166. This is the only considerable fragment of Fronto's speeches which we have. Nothing more is known of the case with which it deals. Fronto's legal treatment of the question at issue is severely condemned by Dirksen (Opusc. i. 243 ff.), but it is quite impossible to believe that Fronto was as ignorant of law as his critic asserts.
  167. The Emperor could legislate either directly by edict, or by a judicial decision (iudicium = decretum), or as became usual after Nerva by a rescript, interpreting the law, in answer to an inquiry or petition.
  168. It is possible to take these words as Fronto's own—much way has he made and with speed.
  169. Marcus, when emperor, allowed only one adjournment; see Digest, ii. 12, 1.
  170. The Latin = our slang "sitting tight on."
  171. Pius punished conduct of this kind (see Digest, xlii. 4, 7) by adjudging the inheritance to the other claimant.
  172. cp. Acts, xxvii. 38.
  173. The new Thes. Ling. Lat. gives dissipatur as the gloss for differtur here.
  174. Herodes married Annia Regilla about 143, and this would be his first son by her. His passionate grief on other occasions is noted by Lucian, Demonax, §§ 24, 35, and Philostr. Vit. Soph. 242, Kays.
  175. Aesopus in tragedy, Roscius, who taught Cicero declamation, in comedy. Marcus, probably about this time, was studying under Geminus the comedian; see Capit. iv. 2.
  176. A writer of mimes and an eques of the time of Julius Caesar.
  177. For beneficium and veneficium, cp. Apul. Apol. ii. 2. The letters were constantly interchanged. Shakespeare, Two Gentl. III. i. 216, puns on the words vanished and banished.
  178. The heading is lost, but the letter is certainly addressed to Herodes Atticus in response to the request of Marcus made in a previous letter.
  179. Herodes would not have been fifty at this time.
  180. These two were masters of Fronto; see Index. Marcus (Thoughts, i. 13) mentions Athenodotus.
  181. Marcus is meant.
  182. A splendid villa of Trajan's on the Etrurian coast, now Civita Vecchia. Pliny, Ep. vi. 31, gives a good description of it.
  183. Between Rome and Centumcellae on the Via Aurelia.
  184. He was tried for massacring nearly the whole nation of the Lusitanians by means of the basest treachery. Cato, though eighty-five years old, was his accuser. Galba brought his sons and one nephew into court to excite pity.
  185. Probably of Etruscan origin, and a sort of "Book of the Dead"; cp. Livy, iv. 7. 12. It is said that such books have recently been found.
  186. "Priest, don the fell" (Dr. Rouse).
  187. i.e. the regio through which ran the Via Aurelia.
  188. A phrase from Cicero (Tusc. ii. 24, 59).
  189. Fronto plays on two meanings of legere.
  190. A good wine is meant. Marsic wine was poor, see Mart, xiii. 121 and Athen. i. 26. The wine of Signia was astringent and medicinal.
  191. Marcus was fond of hunting; see Capit. iv. 9. Coins also shew this; see Cohen, 408, and a beautiful medallion in Grueber.
  192. Nothing more is known of this speech.
  193. Built by Augustus; see Hor. Od. i. 31; Ep. i. 3. 17.
  194. In the Palace of Tiberius.
  195. Lucian (Lexiph. 2) speaks of τοὺς ἐργάτας λιγυρίζοντας τὴν θερινὴν ὠδήν.
  196. Capit. Vit. Pii, xi. 5, says Pius always performed the sacrifice himself.
  197. Capit. (ibid. xi. 2) tells us that Pius vindemias privati modo cum amicis agebat.
  198. Possibly from the Vindemiatores of Novius.
  199. Fronto's daughter.
  200. Ion, 732.
  201. We know from Galen (xiv. 216, Kühn) that Marcus was in later life, too, a good and intelligent patient.
  202. In Plato's Phaedo, ad init.
  203. It is not known who is referred to.
  204. For his speech of thanks as consul (145 A.D.) or as invested with Trib. Pot. (147).
  205. Cicero uses it (De Orat. i. 33).
  206. The first four letters seem to refer to the same occasion as the four that precede.
  207. The first mention of Faustina in connection with Marcus, to whom she was married in 145.
  208. A harbour of Latium. Marcus (Thoughts, i. ad fin.) mentions a stay there.
  209. Perhaps the phrase means "belittle" or "make light of a thing."
  210. Hauler (Wien. Stud. 25, pt. 1, 1903) takes differunt as = differuntur, a Plautine usage.
  211. Homer, see above p. 94.
  212. Either Faustina or the mother of Marcus. By Augusta is meant Faustina the younger, who received this title on her marriage to Marcus in 145.
  213. Afterwards Fronto's son-in-law.
  214. It is not known what misfortune had befallen Fronto.
  215. Annia Cornificia, born about 123 A.D. She married Unnnidius Quadratus.
  216. This would be at Lorium, or somewhere in the country.
  217. It is not clear whether this is his mother or Faustina.
  218. If Fronto here refers to the scorpion incident, it is curious that he does not enquire for the rest of the family.
  219. Annia Galeria Faustina, born probably early in 146. She died in infancy, and Herodes set up an inscription to her at Olympia (Dessau, ii. 8803).
  220. This does not seem to be found in the preceding letter.
  221. Of Eunius.
  222. cp. Capit. Vit. Marci, iv. 8, 10.
  223. ibid. xv. 1, and cp. Thoughts, vi. 46.
  224. Capit. xxii. 5: quia durus videbatur ex, philosophiae institutione.
  225. Uber (= grandis, Quintilian, xii. 10. 58) corresponds to the Greek ἁρδός, and characterises the epideictic kind of oratory.
  226. Cic. Ad Att. i. 19 uses this word as equivalent to acclamationes, i.e. approval by acclamation ; but επιφώνημα also stands for exclamatio, a rhetorical term for apostrophizing something to excite pity or anger (see Auct. ad Herenn. iv. 15. 22). Quintilian however uses it (viii. 5) for the summing up in a concise, telling form of a narrative or proof.
  227. The word Quinquatrus means "falling on the fifth day" (i.e. after the ides of March, viz. March 19), but the feast also lasted five days. A lesser festival of the same name fell on June 13. Suetonius (Domit. 4) says that Domitian celebrated the feast yearly at his villa at Albanum.
  228. Afterwards became the town of Albanum. Dio, lxvii. 1, describes it. He tells us (lxvii. 14, § 6) that Acilius Glabrio (supposed to have become subsequently a Christian) fought with wild beasts (cp. Juvenal, 4, 95). Suetonius (Domit. 10) informs us that he was put to death by Domitian.
  229. Apparently the daughter, not the wife, of Marcus.
  230. Probably his residence on the Esquiline, the Horti Maccenatiani.
  231. A Lucilius was trib. pl. in 94, but no Acilius appears as censor at that date. This letter seems to be an answer to the preceding one, but it gives details of the theme which we should expect to have been given when it was first set.
  232. Victorinus, later Fronto's son-in-law. For his incorruptibility see Dio, lxxii. 11. The family came from Pisaurum in Umbria.
  233. A Stoic philosopher, but with leanings to Platonism. His system, like that of Marcus subsequently, concerned itself only with ethics.
  234. This was written, therefore, between April 26, 146, and April 26, 147.
  235. See Plut. Ages. 30.
  236. Supposed by some to be Plautus.
  237. Here came the parting of the ways, and philosophy and his teacher Rusticus definitely vanquished Fronto and rhetoric. See Thoughts, i. 7 and 17, § 4.
  238. Philost. (Vit. Soph. 242, Kays.) tells us that Marcus sometimes wrote to Herodes three letters in one day.
  239. The expression points to a time after Marcus had been invested with the Trib. Pot. and Proconsular Imperium.
  240. Obviously of Hero and Leander.
  241. Annia Galeria Faustina and Annia Lucilla, who was born about 148. A son born between the two died soon after birth in 147. See C.I.G. 3176.
  242. July 1, 138.
  243. If this letter is correctly dated, these rota would be the decennalia. See Coins of Pius, Cohen, 226-229.
  244. As only one daughter is now mentioned, the little Faustina must have died, leaving Lucilla alone.
  245. This the first allusion to Lucius Verus, the other adopted son of Pius, afterwards joint-emperor with Marcus.
  246. Lucilla, the daughter of Marcus, must be meant.
  247. There is an inscription (C.I.L. vi. 8588; cp. viii. 997) by his wife, Fuficia Clymena, to Q. Saenius Pompeianus as conductor IIII publicorum Africae, i.e., farmer of four public revenues of Africa (see Orelli, Inscr. Lat. 6650).
  248. Lucilla and Arria Fudilla, the latter born about 150 A.D.
  249. Asia. Fronto was consul in 143, and the usual interval between the consulship and proconsulate at this time was twelve to fifteen years. But Fronto may have had his appointment accelerated in consideration of his age or health.
  250. Marcus speaks very highly of him (Thoughts, i. 8; 17, § 4), and Epiphanius calls him ἔταιρος Ἀντωνίνου. But see Capit. Vit. Pii, x. § 4, and Lucian, Demonax, § 31.
  251. Cirta, in Numidia, where he was born.
  252. Where he probably studied in his youth.
  253. A procurator might be (1) a collector of the imperial revenues, (2) a steward, (3) an overseer of any kind, as agent or manager.
  254. Of Pius.
  255. Of thanks, possibly for the consulship in 154.
  256. What the specific disease was is not clear.
  257. sc. "must my feeling be."
  258. Or, "above all."
  259. On the birthday of one of the children; see next letter.
  260. The mother of Marcus.
  261. Probably Domitia Faustina, who died as an infant. See inscription on the Moles Hadriana, Orelli 672 = Willmi. 964. Cornificia, the next daughter, was not born till about 159.
  262. Ehrenthal thinks that Marcus should have said: "We too love you the more because Gratia is like you. (So we can understand how our likeness to our baby endears us to you."
  263. April 26 (? 156).
  264. Viz. Marcus's birthday.
  265. Lucilla, the mother of Marcus, died about 156. This is the last mention of her.
  266. Nothing is known of Censorius, but Gavius Maximus, whom he attacked, probably died in 157. The tone of this letter is much more formal and less familiar than the previous ones to Pius, and this may be evidence of an earlier date. But Fronto had a difficult task to perform, and his letter is a model of tact.
  267. He was praef. pract. under Hadrian from 119–135 A.D.
  268. Consul II. in 146, and then praef. urbi.
  269. Or do the words mean "from your marks of approbation"?
  270. He was praef. praet. 141–157, and therefore, we may suppose, a personal friend of Pius.
  271. Fronto had pupils who lived with him, such as the two sons of Sardius Saturninus, mentioned below.
  272. This was the historian Appian, who tells us in the Preface to his History that he received such an appointment from Marcus and Lucius, when emperors. These procurators were set over every department of state and of the imperial household. They managed the emperor's domains, his mines, etc., the corn-supply, the water-supply, and the alimentary institutions. In the imperial provinces the procurators were fiscal officers. The procurator a rationibus was the highest of these officials, and corresponded to a Secretary of State.
  273. i.e. that the Greek as well as Appian should be granted his request.
  274. See Fronto's letter throwing up his proconsulship, p. 236.
  275. It appears that Appian had sent Fronto a present of two slaves, which Fronto returned. Appian now sends them again, with this letter.
  276. Martial heads his thirteenth book of epigrams Xenia, from the little complimentary gifts made to guests and friends.
  277. At Athens a man, who thought himself unfairly taxed compared with another, could claim a re-assessment for both or an exchange of properties between them (ἀντιδόσις).
  278. Hom. Il. vi. 236.
  279. cp. Hesiod, W. and D. 349, 354: εὖ μὲν μετρεῖσθαι παρὰ γείτονος, εὖ δ᾽ ἀποδοῦναι | αὐτῷ τῷ μέτρῳ
  280. Proconsul of Africa 156–159. Apuleius also (Apol. 94 f.) wrote to Avitus a letter of recommendation, eulogizing him in language that reminds us of Fronto.
  281. Fronto tells us elsewhere (Ad Ver. ii. 7, and cp. Marcus, Thoughts, i. 11) that φιλοστοργία was practically non-existent, at least among the patricians of Rome. The word means affection between the members of a family.
  282. Corn. Repentinus Contuccius was praef. praet. with Fur. Vietorinus for the year 159, and probably died that year. As the praef. praet. had judicial powers, the case of Fabianus may have come before him.
  283. Probably the consul of 146, and the father-indaw of Marcus's daughter Fadilla. In his Thoughts, i. 14, Marcus mentions the latter as "having confidence in the love of his friends."
  284. Phrynichus in his Ἐκλογή speaks highly of a Sulp. Cornelianus, and says that Marcus and Lucius put all the affairs of the Greeks in his charge συνεργὸν αὐτὸν ἑλόμενοι τῆς βασιλείας.
  285. If the MS. concilii may be so translated. The Consilium was a body of officials and assessors attending the judges at a trial.
  286. Nothing is known for certain of him. Plarianus was leg. pr. pr. of Africa in 159. For him see C.I.L. viii. 800, 1177.
  287. cp. the use of adparatus in Hor. Od. i. 38. Dio, lxxii. 11, § 2, uses the expression παρασκευὴ τῶν λόγων.
  288. The other name of Julianus. He was consul in 145, and therefore proconsul about 157–159.
  289. Fronto was born at Cirta, now Constantine, in Numidia. Triumvirs, also in some cases quattuorviri iuri dicundo, were the chief magistrates of municipia. Colonies, such as Cirta, usually had duumviri.
  290. Gratia.
  291. Now Bona or Beled el Aneb.
  292. A grammarian of whom an inscr. (C.I.L. vi. 146) says orator utraque facundia maximus. For him see Aul. Gell. xix. 13.
  293. The official title of senators.
  294. This letter appears to have been written very soon after the death of Pius (on March 7, 161). Fronto had been away four months, possibly on a visit to Africa, where he had property and friends.
  295. Terence, Phorm. III. i. 6. Adelphi, III. ii. 32.
  296. The great-aunt of Marcus. One of the little daughters must have been Cornificia, born about 159. It is not clear who the other was. Domitia Faustina died before Marcus became emperor, and Sabina was not born yet.
  297. Lucilla and Fadilia.
  298. In 143. cp. above, p. 113.
  299. cp. Marcus, Thoughts, i. 16; vi. 30.
  300. Also called Pylades. They were both pantomimi.
  301. Probably a freedman of Verus, named after the great actor Apolaustus (mentioned Vit. Veri, viii.).
  302. Not Suetonius the writer, who would have been seventy years old by 139 A.D.

Select critical notesEdit

  1. Fronto may have in mind here Hor. Ars Poet. 382-4.
  2. A few words are lost, of which Mai gives a dozen letters, one word probably being <voc>abula.
  3. At least two pages are lost.
  4. This mutilated passage covers eleven lines (Mai) or fourteen lines (du Rieu) of the Codex.
  5. The greater part of a page is lost.
  6. A loss of two and a half lines.
  7. One line missing.
  8. There is a large gap here.
  9. Two pages are lost.
  10. The gap to statuit is half a column, from there to aureo about thirteen lines, and eleven lines are lost after aureo.
  11. A gap of about thirty-four letters, but the word ceteri can be read.
  12. About forty letters are lost here.
  13. These words are from the Index in the Codex. They are followed by a gap of two pages, containing the first half of the letter, the purport of which can be partly gathered from Marcus's answer.
  14. Two pages are lost.
  15. Two pages are lost here.
  16. Fronto may be referring to the word lacus. A page is lost here. A marginal note in the Codex gives Baiae, Lucrinus, and Avernus, as mentioned in the lost part.
  17. Two pages are lost, to molliantur.
  18. Query battuunt, of fencing. See Suet. Cal. 32; 54.
  19. Four pages are lost here.
  20. Six pages are lost from vidi in Ad Caes. ii. 4 above.
  21. Satires, ii. 3, 254
  22. The title may have been added by Mai.
  23. The letter covered about twenty-five lines, or one column of the Codex.
  24. The mutilated passage covers about eight lines: so I understand Mai, but possibly he means that eight lines are lost between Quanta and me.
  25. Size of lacuna is not known.
  26. Several pages are missing between this fragment and the beginning of Ad M. Caes. ii. 10 given above, p. 136.
  27. It is not known how much is lost here.
  28. About one page is lost. Hauler, in Misc. Ceriani, pp. 504-520, promises in his forthcoming edition to throw fresh light on the pages Ambr. 65. 66.
  29. Four pages are lost.
  30. These words are from the Index. Apart from them four pages are lost from nostrum in the previous letter.
  31. These fifteen letters have only the opening words preserved. As they were contained (including the beginning of the following letter) in four pages of the Codex, they could only have been four or five lines apiece.
  32. Probably only a line or two of this letter is lost, the gap here covering part of Ad Pium, 7.
  33. The lost parts at the end of this letter and at the beginning of Ad Pium, 9, cover one page.
  34. From here eighteen lines are lost, the one sentence (permultum, etc.) given being from the margin of the Codex.
  35. One line lost, and after quo nine and a half lines.
  36. The mutilated portions of this letter cover about forty lines.
  37. This letter is omitted in the Index of Letters to Pius, but is found among them. It is clearly to Marcus.
  38. Twelve letters are lost.
  39. About eighteen letters are lost.
  40. Two lines are lost here.
  41. Seven lines lost.
  42. Hauler says five lines more of the letter remain, in which Fronto sends greetings to his friends, and thanks Lollianus by anticipation for his trouble.
  43. About one column is lost, but in this Hauler (Wien. Stud. 33, pp. 174 ff.) says he has deciphered some other lines, which he does not, however, give.
  44. Two pages are lost.
  45. Three lines lost.
  46. About two lines lost in these gaps.
  47. sc. Cirtensibus. The title is from the Index, as two pages are lost here. The letter which preceded this one was also to the Triumvirs of Cirta (Index, Naber, p. 189; Ambr. 292, col. 2).
  48. From mediocrium are five lines.
  49. About five lines are lost.
  50. About eight lines lost.
  51. Thirteen lines lost.
  52. Four lines are lost.
  53. About eight lines are lost.
  54. A new book begins here, as the words Legi emendavi immediately before it shew, but it is not certain whether it is the second book to Antoninus. More than a column is lost here.
  55. It is not known how much is lost, probably not much.
  56. Owing to the condition of the Codex it is impossible to tell whether this is a separate letter or part of Ad Verum i. 4, as Naber thinks. Possibly it is a letter to a friend, and not to the Emperor at all.
  57. About seventeen lines are lost.