The Correspondence of Marcus Cornelius Fronto/Volume 2/The Correspondence
THE CORRESPONDENCE OF
M. CORNELIUS FRONTO
THE CORRESPONDENCE OF
M. CORNELIUS FRONTO
Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
To my master.
In what holiday-wise we have kept our holiday at Alsium I will not put on paper, that you may not be yourself troubled and scold me, my master. On my return to Lorium I found my little lady slightly feverish. The doctor says, if we soon . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 1] If you were well, I should be happier. For I hope to see you already enjoying the use of sound eyes . . . . Farewell, my master.
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus.
Your Alsian holiday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 2] of many rustic things. That Cato also in his speech Against Lepidus mentioned a word in everyone's mouth when he spoke of statues set up to such unmanly creatures as Ocha and Dionysodorus who practised cooking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a beginning of singing and playing . . . . . . . .[† 3]
Fronto to Marcus
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus.
1. What? Am I not aware that you went to Alsium with the intention of indulging yourself and there giving yourself up to recreation and mirth and complete leisure for four whole days? And I have no doubt that you have set about enjoying the holiday at your seaside resort in this fashion: after taking your usual siesta at noonday, you would call Niger and bid him bring in your books; soon when you felt the inclination to read, you would polish your style with Plautus or saturate yourself with Accius or soothe yourself with Lucretius or fire yourself with Ennius, to the hour in that case appropriate to the Muses, the fifth . . . . . . . . . . . .; if he had brought you treatises of Cicero, you would listen to them; then you would go as far as possible off the beaten track to the shore and skirt the croaking marshes; then even, if the fancy took you, get on board some vessel, that, putting out to sea in calm weather, you might delight yourself with the sight and sound of the rowers and their time-giver's baton; anon you would be off from there to the baths, make yourself sweat profusely, then discuss a royal banquet with shellfish of all kinds, a Plautine catch hook-taken, rock-haunting, as he says,[† 4] capons long fed fat, delicacies, fruit, sweets, confectionery, felicitous wines, translucent cups with no informer's brand.
2. Perhaps you will ask what do you mean? Listen then! I as a man greatly eloquent and a disciple of Annaeus Seneca call Faustian wines felicitous wines from Faustus Sulla's title; moreover when I speak of a cup without an informer's brand, I mean a cup without a spot. For it does not become a man so learned as I am to speak in everyday terms of Falernian wine or a flawless cup. For to what end can I say that you chose Alsium, a seaside and pleasure resort and, as Plautus has it, a slippery spot,[† 5] if not to indulge yourself and, in ancient parlance, take your pleasu?[† 6] How—the mischief!—pleasu? Nay, if the truth must be told in docked words, that you might to your heart's content indulge in watchin'—I mean watching—, in labors—I mean labours—, in vexats—I mean vexations. You ever indulge in pleasu? It were easier to reconcile you to a polecat than to pleasure. Tell me, Marcus, I beseech you, have you repaired to Alsium only to fast with the sea in sight? What, could you not wear yourself out at Lorium with hunger and thirst and doing business? With a fine view . . . . seem to you more delightful? I remember (telling) you . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The very sea, they say, keeps holiday, when the halcyon broods. Is a halcyon with her chicks worthier of quiet ease than you with your children? . . . . . . . .
3. But you say that circumstances now plainly demand—not study surely? not toil? not wakefulness? not duties? What bow is for ever strung? what chords for ever stretched? By winking alone can eyes keep their sight, which could not but fail if fixed in one unwavering stare. A garden repeatedly planted, if it lack the aid of manure, bears only weeds and stunted vegetables of no value; for corn, however, and staple crops land that has lain fallow is chosen; rest restores fruitfulness to the soil.
4. What of your ancestors who enlarged the state and empire of Rome with huge additions? Your great-grandfather, consummate warrior as he was, yet at times took pleasure in actors and, moreover, drank pretty stoutly. Yet thanks to him the Roman people often drank mead at his triumphs. We know, too, that your grandfather, a learned ruler and a strenuous, loving not only to govern the world, but to go up and down in it, was yet devoted to music and flute-players, and was withal a right good eater of right rich banquets. Again, your father, that godlike man, who in his foresight, continence, frugality, blamelessness, dutifulness, and personal righteousness excelled the virtues of all rulers, yet visited the palaestra,[† 7] and baited a hook[† 8] and laughed at buffoons.
5. I say nothing of Gaius Caesar, Cleopatra's keenest foe and afterwards paramour, nothing of Augustus, the husband of Livia. As regards Romulus himself the founder of this city, when he slew the leader of the enemy in a hand-to-hand combat and brought the Spolia Opima to Jupiter Feretrius, do you think he. was content with half rations? Verily no hungry or ascetic man could have conceived the idea of carrying off grown-up maidens from a public festival. What? did not the aged Numa, most holy of men, pass his life putting sacred offerings and tithes to secular uses, and sacrificing bulls, sheep, and swine, he the dictator of festivals, the inaugurator of banquets, the promulgator of holidays? I call him a gourmand and a holiday-maker. And do you of all men keep your holidays fasting? Nor will I pass over your own Chrysippus, who used to get mellow, so they say, every day in the year. And very many . . . . Plainly Socrates himself, as you may gather from the Symposia, the Dialogues, and the Letters of the Socratics, was a man of much shrewdness and wit—the Socrates, mark you, who was Aspasia's pupil and Alcibiades's teacher.
6. Now if you have declared war on play, relaxation, good living, and pleasure, yet do sleep as a freeman should. (When you have worked) hard till the last (hour of the day, will you continue your labours) till the dawn? Prithee, if no one had stolen fire from heaven, would not the sun suffice you for your judicial duties? Do realise in your conscience that you are tied to a daily falsehood, for, when you say that you "appoint the day" for trial of cases and yet try by night, then you are bound to be untruthful, whether you condemn or acquit. If you condemn anyone, you say, there appears to have been gross negligence; where indeed but for the lights nothing could appear at all.
7. But do, I beseech you, in jest or earnest let yourself be persuaded by me not to rob yourself of sleep, and to keep the boundaries of day and night distinct. Imagine that two noble and illustrious litigants, Evening and Morning, are having a lawsuit about boundaries not yet marked out. Each party puts in a description of his own frontier. Sleep claims to intervene in their trial, for he too is connected with the business, and declares that he suffers prejudice. Would that I had as much vigour and enthusiasm as I enjoyed when long ago I composed those trifles in praise of Smoke and of Dust. Verily I would have written a eulogy of Sleep to the top of my skill! Now, too, if you care to hear a short apologue on Sleep, listen.
8. They tell us that Father Jove, when at the beginning of things he was founding the human race, with one stroke clave asunder the continuity of man's life into two parts in every respect equal; the one he clothed with light, the other with darkness; called this day and that night, and assigned to night rest and to day work. As yet Sleep had not been born, and all men passed their whole lives awake. But in lieu of sleep the hush of night had been hitherto established for wakeful men. Then, little by little, men's disposition being restless and prone to action and excitement, they began to employ nights as well as days in business, giving not an hour to rest. Then they say that Jove, seeing that now quarrels and recognizances were fixed for the night, and suits were even put off from one night to another, took counsel with his own heart to set up one of his own brethren to preside over night and the repose of mankind. But Neptune pleaded his many heavy cares upon the seas, that the waves should not overflow whole lands, mountains and all, or cyclones in their fury level everything with the ground and suck up the woods and the crops by their roots. Father Dis too made his plea that hardly with immense pains and immense anxiety were the nether precincts kept under control, hardly was Hades impaled in on every side with rivers and marishes and the Stygian fens; that he had even set up a watch-dog to terrify any Shades that had a mind to escape to the upper air, and had given him to boot a triple throat for barking, three gaping jaws, and threefold terror of teeth.
9. Then Jove after question had with other Gods perceived that a liking for wakefulness was considerably in the ascendant; that Juno called most children to birth at night; that Minerva, mistress of arts and artificers, was for much wakefulness; that Mars by the silence of the surroundings aided nightly sallies and ambuscades; that Venus, however, and Liber were by far the most in favour of the night-wakers. Jupiter then made up his mind to beget Sleep, and enrolled him among the Gods, set him in charge of night and repose, and gave into his keeping the keys of men's eyes. He also mixed with his own hands the juice of herbs, wherewith Sleep might soothe to rest the hearts of men. The herbs of security and delight he culled from the groves of Heaven, but the herb of death was sought in the meadows of Acheron. Of that death he mingled but one drop and that the tiniest, as is the tear of one who would hide his tears.
With this juice, said he, instil slumber into men through the gateways of their eyes: all, into whom thou dost thus instil it, will thereafter at once fall down and lie prone with limbs motionless as though dead. But fear thou not, for they will be alive and anon, when they awake, will rise again.
10. That done, Jupiter furnished Sleep with wings, not as Mercury's attached to the ankles, but like Love's fitted to the shoulders. For thou must not, said he, dash into the eyelids and pupils of men with sandals and winged ankles, with the whirling of chariots and the thunder of steeds, but fly to them quietly and softly with gentle wings like a swallow and not with clapping of pinions like pigeons.
11. Furthermore, that Sleep might be the more welcome to men, he endowed him with many a lovely dream that, according to each sleeper's favourite hobby, he might—in his dreams—either watch an actor and clap him or listen to a flute-player or shout advice to a charioteer in his course; that soldiers might conquer and generals triumph—in their dreams; and wanderers come home—in their dreams. Such dreams generally turn out true.
12. So, Marcus, if you need a dream hereafter, I advise you to sleep with a will, until such time as what you desire and as you wish it may fall to your lot in your waking hours.
Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
To my master, greeting.
I have just received your letter, which I will enjoy presently. For at the moment I have duties hanging over me that can hardly be begged off. Meanwhile I will tell you, my master, shortly, as I am busy, what you want to hear, that our little daughter is better and can run about the bedroom. After dictating the above I read the Alsian letters, my master, at my leisure, while the others were dining and I was lying down at eight o'clock, satisfied with a light repast. Much good has my advice done you, you will say! Much, my master, for I have rested upon your advice, and I shall read it the oftener that I may the oftener rest upon it. But who knows better than yourself how exacting a thing is obedience to duty? But what I beseech you is that which you say at the close of your letter, that your hand pained you. If the Gods are kind, my master, and grant my prayers, you will not have suffered pain since. Farewell, my best of masters, man of the warm heart.
On the Parthian War
To the Emperor Antoninus.
1. . . . . The God who begat the great Roman race has no compunction in suffering us to faint at times and be defeated and wounded. Or would Father Mars hesitate to say of our soldiers the words?—
Full well I knew when I begot you, you would die: I reared you for that end;
Aye, when I sent you forth the wide world through the empire to defend,
Full well I knew to deadly wars and not to feasts my children I should send.[† 9]
These words were uttered by Telamon to his sons once in the Trojan war. But Mars has spoken of the Romans in the same strain many a time and in many a war: in the Gaulish war at Allia, in the Samnite at Caudium, in the Punic at Cannae, in the Spanish at Numantia, in the Jugurthine at Cirta, in the Parthian at Carrhae. But always and everywhere he turned our sorrows into successes and our terrors into triumphs.
2. But not to hark back too far into ancient times, I will take instances from your own family. Was not a consular taken prisoner in Dacia under the leadership and auspices of your great grandfather Trajan? Was not a consular likewise slain by the Parthians in Mesopotamia? Again under the rule of your grandfather Hadrian what a number of soldiers were killed by the Jews, what a number by the Britons! Even in the principate of your Father, who was the most fortunate of princes . . . . . . . . Should we not think the son of a Marsian father degenerate, if he were afraid of vipers, lizards, and water-snakes? . . . . are kept a few days in swaddling bands, the others pass their whole lives in rags.
3. And so that excellent emperor . . . . bade his captives be sold . . . . . . . . The strength of fishes lies in their tails, of birds in their wings, of snakes in their power of crawling . . . . . . . . . . . . both the restoration of the prestige of the Roman name, and the punishment of the enemy's traps and treachery, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . call upon those to halt who are ready to advance, forward, backward, here, there. It is by no means advantageous to a man that is born of woman that prosperity should always attend him: changing fortunes are more secure.
4. Take Polycrates: strong in his vast wealth, and successful without a stumble in all that he undertook, he is said in the course of his life to have experienced no hard fortune or disappointment, such as to prevent him, when he had brought everything under his power, being counted the most fortunate of all kings. To him, as the story goes, Amasis the wise King of Egypt, being consulted about his unique good fortune, wrote a friendly letter, advising him of his own accord to inflict some loss knowingly upon himself, and by that penance disarm the envy of the Gods . . . . Now he had an emerald of extraordinary lustre set in a gold ring of the finest workmanship, which he valued above all his other possessions. Polycrates putting out to sea in a ship of war, cast this ring of his own accord into the water, making sure that he should never afterwards see it again.
5. Deliberate and premeditated as his act had been, he subsequently regretted the jewel he had cast away. But shortly after a fisherman, who with repeated casting of his nets had at length caught a huge fish, thought it too fine to take to the dealers, and in virtue of its excellence presented it to the king. The king was much pleased with the gift, and ordered it to be served at his own table. When the slaves in pursuance of this order were busy with the fish preparing it for the table, they found the ring in its stomach and brought it joyfully to the king. Then Polycrates sent King Amasis a letter with full particulars of the sacrifice and recovery of the ring. Whereon Amasis, forecasting for Polycrates a disaster signal and speedy, renounced all friendship and ties of hospitality with him, that when his fortune changed he might regard it with less concern as affecting a stranger rather than his own guest or friend.
6. But the daughter of Polycrates had previously had a remarkable dream. She had seemed to see her father, raised aloft on an open and conspicuous spot, being laved and anointed by the hands of Jupiter and the Sun. The diviners read the dream as foretelling a rich and happy fortune. But it turned out wholly otherwise. For Polycrates, beguiled by Oroetes the Persian, was seized and crucified. And so the dream was fulfilled in his crucifixion. For he was laved by Jove's hands when it rained, and anointed by the hands of the Sun, when the dew of agony came out upon his skin. Such prosperous beginnings as his have not seldom a disastrous ending. There should be no exultation over excessive and prolonged prosperity, no fainting away when a reverse has been sustained. You may soon hope for a victory, for Rome in her history has ever experienced frequent alternations of fortune.
7. Who is so unversed in military annals as not to know that the Roman people have earned their empire by falling no less than by felling? that our legions have often been broken and routed by the arms of barbarians? It has been found possible to subject to the yoke and to tame bulls, however savage and dangerous; and in the same way our armies have in former times been made to pass under the yoke. But those very foes, who forced us under the yoke, have our generals but a little later forced to march at the head of their triumphs and have sold them as slaves by auction.
8. After the disaster at Cannae the Carthaginian general sent to Carthage three bushels of golden rings heaped up, which Carthaginians had drawn from the fingers of Roman knights slain in the battle. But not many years later Carthage was taken, and chains were put on those who had drawn off the rings. In that battle what a multitude of Carthaginians and Africans did Scipio capture or slay or reduce to submission! Had he given orders for their tongues to be cut out, he could have sent into Rome a ship freighted with the tongues of his enemies.
9. With respect to what you say that you can scarcely read anything except by snatches and by stealth in your present anxieties, recall to your mind and ponder the fact that Gaius Caesar, while engaged in a most formidable war in Gaul wrote betides many other military works two books of the most meticulous character On Analogy, discussing amid flying darts the declension of nouns, and the aspiration of words and their classification mid the blare of bugles and trumpets. Why then, O Marcus, should not you, who are endowed with no less abilities than Gaius Caesar, and are as noble in station and fortified by no fewer examples and patterns at home, master your duties and find time for yourself not only for reading speeches and poems and histories and the doctrines of philosophers, but also for unravelling syllogisms, if you can endure so far.
10. Now to say a few words in praise of that speech of M. Tullius which I sent you to read. It seems to me the very truth that no one was ever praised either in Greek or Latin before an assembly of the people more eloquently than Gnaeus Pompeius in that speech, so much so that to me he seems to have earned his title of Great not so much by reason of his own merits as of Cicero's praises. Then besides you will find in it many chapters full of reflections well suited to your present measures, touching the choice of generals, the interests of allies, the safeguarding of provinces, the discipline of soldiers, the necessary qualifications of commanders for duties in the field and elsewhere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . because I think that these considerations, even occasionally brought forward with greater earnestness, would be profitable. At all events you would wish it; and if anyone . . . . . . . . . . .[† 10] Do not be offended with me for not having answered your letter in my own hand, and that though the letter I had from you was in yours. My fingers just now are very weak and refractory; then this epistle required many words, but my right hand is at this moment one of few letters.
Marcus Antoninus the Emperor to Fronto
To my master. A good year, good health, good fortune do I ask of the Gods on this your birthday, a red-letter day for me, and I am assured that they will grant my prayer, for I commend to their bounty him whom the Gods themselves delight to aid and deem worthy of their help. You, my master, when other joyous thoughts pass through your mind on this your festal day, count over to yourself those who dearly love you: among the chief of these set this your pupil, set the Lord my brother there, both of us men that love you passionately. Farewell, my master, and may you for many years to come enjoy unbroken good health with your daughter, grandchildren and son-in-law spared to make your happiness complete.
Our Faustina is recovering her health. Our little chick Antoninus coughs rather less. The occupants of our little nest, each as far as he is old enough to do so, offer prayers for you. Next year and the year after and right on into a long old age, most delightful of masters, may you have the best of good health. I ask of you—and do not refuse me—not to take the trying journey to Lorium for Cornificia's birthday. God willing, you shall see us at Rome a few days hence. But if you love me, pass the coming night in peace and quiet without attending to any business however pressing. Grant this to your Antoninus, who asks it with sincerity and concern.
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
1. For this old man and, as you style him, your master, good health, a good year, good fortune, everything good, which you write you have prayed of the Gods for me on this my birthday, above all others a red-letter day for you—all these good things are in your keeping and your brother's, O Antoninus, sweetest joy of my heart: whom, since I have known you and given myself up to you, I have ever held sweeter than all things, and will so hold you, although I live again other years as many as I have lived. This one thing, therefore, let all of us with joint prayers ask of the Gods, that you may both pass long lives in health and vigour, exercising your power to the advantage of the state and of your own households. Nor is there aught else I could wish so much to obtain either from the Gods or from Fairy Fortune or from yourselves, as that it may be my lot as long as possible to enjoy your presence, your converse, and your delightful letters; and to that end I am ready, if it were possible, to be a boy again.
2. Otherwise, as far as everything else is concerned, I have had my fill of life. I see you, Antoninus, as excellent an Emperor as I hoped; as just, as blameless as I guaranteed; as dear and as welcome to the Roman People as I desired; fond of me to the height of my wishes, and eloquent to the height of your own. For now that you once begin to feel the wish again, to have lost the wish for a time proves to have been no set-back. Indeed I see both of you becoming more eloquent every day, and I am elated as if I were still your master. For while I love and cherish all your merits, yet I confess that I derive my chief "and peculiar pleasure from your eloquence. Just as it is with parents, when in their children's faces they discern their own lineaments, so it is with me when in the speeches of either of you I detect marks of my school—and glad in her heart was Latona: for I cannot express in my own words the intensity of my joy. And do not feel compunction at the recollection, or be vexed in the least with the consciousness, of not having devoted yourself continuously to eloquence. For the fact is that, if a man endowed with great natural capacity has been from the first brought into and trained in the right way of eloquence, although he have given it the go-by for a time or rested on his oars, as soon as ever he resolves to make a fresh start and set forward, he will get to the end of his journey somewhat less quickly of course, but less successfully not a whit. But believe me when I say that, of all the men whom I have ever known, I have never met with any one gifted with richer ability than yourself: I used, indeed, to affirm this with an oath to the immense disagreement of our dear Victorinus and his immense disgust, when I said that he could not aspire to the charm of your natural gift. Then that friend of mine, the Roman Rusticus, who would gladly surrender and sacrifice his life for your little finger, yet on the question of your natural ability gave way against his will and with a frown.
3. You had, Antoninus, but one danger to fear, and no one of outstanding ability can escape it—that you should limp in respect of copiousness and choiceness of words. For the greater the thoughts, the more difficult it is to clothe them in words, and no small labour is needed to prevent those stately thoughts being ill-clothed or unbecomingly draped or half-naked.
Do you remember that speech of yours, which you delivered in the Senate when scarcely more than a boy, in which you made use of that simile of a leathern bottle by way of illustration, and were much concerned lest you had employed an image little suited to the dignity of the place and of a senator? and that first rather long letter I wrote to you, in which I drew the inference—and it is a true inference—that it is a mark of great abilities to encounter boldly the difficulties in thoughts of that kind, but that by your own application and some help from me you would attain what was needed therein, the command of luminous expression to match such great thoughts. This you see has now come to pass, and although you have not always set every sail in pursuit of eloquence, yet you have held on your course with topsails and with oars, and as soon as ever necessity has forced you to spread all your canvas, you are easily distancing all devotees of eloquence like so many pinnaces and yachts.
4. I have been prompted to write this by your last letter, in which you said that you were gradually forgetting all that you had learnt, but to me it seems that now more than ever is blossoming all that you have learnt and growing to maturity. Or do you fail to notice the eagerness, partiality, and pleasure with which the Senate and the Roman People listen to your speeches? And I go bail for it, the oftener they listen the more passionately will they love, so many and so ingratiating are the charms of your genius, your countenance, your voice, and your eloquence. In fact, is there one among former Emperors-—I prefer to compare you with Emperors that I may not compare you with contemporaries—is there one who used these rhetorical figures which the Greeks call σχήματα? Not to go further back, even at the last sitting of the Senate, when you spoke of the serious case of the Cyzicenes, you embellished your speech with a figure, which the Greeks call παράλειψις, in such a way that while waiving a point you yet mentioned it, and while mentioning it you yet waived it. In this speech many things at once call for praise: the first, that you most judiciously grasped the fact that the heavy trials of the allies should not be made too prominent by a continuous or direct or lengthy speech upon them, but should at the same time be pointed out with earnestness, so as to seem worthy of the compassion and help of the Senate; then you set forth the whole case so briefly, and yet so forcibly, that all that the subject demanded was summed up in the fewest words; so that not more suddenly or more violently was the city stirred by the earthquake than the minds of your hearers by your speech. Do you recognize the Ciceronian turn of the sentence?—so that not more suddenly or more violently was the city stirred by the earthquake than the minds of your hearers by your speech. When a man is deeply in love he kisses even the moles on his beloved's cheek.
5. But believe me you now hold a most distinguished place in eloquence, and will ere long reach its very summit, and speak thence with us from higher ground, and not so much higher only as the Rostrum is than the Forum and the Comitium, but as much as the yards overtop the prow or rather the keel. But above all am I glad that you do not snatch up the first words that occur to you, but seek out the best. For this is the distinction between a first-rate orator and ordinary ones, that the others are readily content with good words, while the first-rate orator is not content with words merely good if better are to be obtained.
6. But I will either write to you or discuss these matters orally with you more fully at some fixed time and place. As you wished, my Lord, and as my health demanded, I have stayed at home and prayed for you that you might keep many happy returns of your children's birthdays. The greater mildness of the weather and his nurse, if he takes more suitable food, will have quieted our little chick's cough, for all remedies and all curatives for throat affections in children are centred in milk.
7. In your Cyzicus-speech, when invoking the Gods, you added and if it be allowed, I adjure them, a use of the word which I do not remember to have read, for it was the people or a jury that used to be adjured or conjured; but perhaps my memory plays me false: do you think over it more carefully yourself.
8. I, too, am troubled with a cough, and pain in my right hand, not very severe it is true, but enough to prevent my writing so long a letter: therefore I have dictated it.
9. Since mention has been made of paraleipsis, I must not fail to acquaint you with what I have noticed with regard to this figure in a somewhat careful search. None of the Greek or Roman orators that I have read has used this figure more happily than M. Porcius in that speech which is entitled On his Expenses, in which he says as follows:
I ordered the volume to be produced containing my speech on the subject of my having made an agreement with M. Cornelius. The tablets were produced: the services of my ancestors were read out: then was recited what I had done for the state. The reading out of both these being finished, the speech went on as follows: "I have never either scattered my own money or that of the allies broadcast to gain popularity." "Oh, don't, don't, I say, record that: they have no wish to hear it." Then he read on: "Never have I set up officials in the towns of your allies to rob them of their goods, their wives, and the children" "Erase that too; they will not listen: go on reading." "I have never divided booty or spoil taken from the enemy or prize money among my select friends so as to rob those who had won it." "Erase as far as that too: they would rather hear anything than that; there is no need to read it." "I have never granted a pass to travel post, to enable my friends to gain large sums by these warrants." "Be quick, erase as far as that too most 'particularly" "I have never shared the money for wine-largess between my retinue and friends, nor emiched them to the detriment of the state." "Marry, erase as far as that down to the wood." Pray mark the pass to which the state has come, when I dare not now mention the very services I have done it, whereby I hoped to gain gratitude, lest it should bring odium upon me. So much has it become the fashion that a man may do ill with impunity, but not with impunity do well.
10. This form of paraleipsis is original and, as far as I know, not employed by anyone else. For Cato bids the tablets be read, and what is read he bids be waived aside. You also have shewn originality by beginning your speech with this figure, just as you will, I am sure, do many other original and brilliant things in your speeches, so great is your natural ability.
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus (?)
To my Lord.
1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What you enjoin may perhaps be right, but it is too late: nor indeed does age also permit all that reason demands . . . . Would you make a swan in its dying song rival the cawing of crows? . . . . though it is out of keeping with my genius, would you advise me to strive against nature and swim, as they say, against the stream? What, if one called on Phidias to produce sportive works or Canachus images of Gods, or Calamis delicate statuary or Polycletus rough handiwork? What if one bade Parrhasius paint rainbow hues or Apelles monochromes, or Nealces grand canvasses or Protogenes miniature ones, or Nicias sombre pictures or Dionysius brilliant ones, or Euphranor subjects all licence or Pausias all austerity?
2. Among poets, who does not know how Lucilius is graceful, Albucius dry, Lucretius sublime, Pacuvius mediocre, Accius unequal, Ennius many-sided? History, too, has been written by Sallust symmetrically by Pictor without method, by Claudius pleasantly by Antias without charm, by Sisenna at length, by Cato with many words abreast by Caelius with words in single harness. In harangue, again, Cato is savage, Gracchus violent, Tully copious, while at the bar Cato rages, Cicero triumphs, Gracchus riots, Calvus quarrels.
3. But perhaps you would make light of these Instances. What? have not philosophers themselves used different styles in their speaking? No one could be fuller in exposition than Zeno, more captious in argument than Socrates, more ready than Diogenes at denunciation; Heraclitus was obscure enough to mystify everything, Pythagoras wonderfully prone to give everything religious sanction with secret symbols, Clitomachus agnostic enough to call everything in question. What, pray, would your wisest of men themselves do, if called away from their own individual habits and principles—Socrates from arguing, Zeno from disputing, Diogenes from finding fault, Pythagoras from sanctioning anything, Heraclitus from wrapping anything in mystery, Clitomachus from calling anything in question?
4. But that we may not dwell on this first part longer than is compatible with the compass of a letter, it is time to consider first what is your view about words. Tell me then, pray, whether in your opinion the choicest words must be disdained and rejected, even if they come to me of their own accord, without any toil and pursuit of mine? or, while forbidding the searching out of choice words with toil and eagerness, do you at the same time bid me receive them like Menelaus at the banquet, if only they come of their own accord, unbidden by me and uninvited? For to forbid that indeed is downright harsh and barbarous, It is as though from a host who welcomes you with Falernian wine, which being produced on his own estate is abundant at home, you should call for Cretan or Saguntine, to be got—bad cess to it!—from elsewhere and paid for. What . . . . Epictetus unconcerned . . . . Socrates . . . . Xenophon . . . . Antisthenes . . . . Aeschines . . . . Plato . . . .[† 11] Would they then not indicate this, if . . . .[† 12] What in our own recollection of Euphrates, Dio, Timocrates, Athenodotus? What of their master Musonius? Were they not gifted with a supreme command of words, and famed as much for their eloquence as for their wisdom?
5. Or do you think that Epictetus did not use words of set purpose? . . . .[† 13] would have preferred even a mantle foul with dirt to one that was white and spotlessly clean. Unless you think perchance that Epictetus became lame too of set purpose and of set purpose was born a slave. What then is it? So easily he . . . . never would have donned voluntary rags of words. Even a slave by accident he was of set purpose born a wise man. But so eloquence was divorced from soundness of feet . . . .
On Eloquence 1
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
1 . . . . to distinguish between the place, rank, weight, age, and dignity of words, that they may not be put together absurdly in a speech, as it might be in a drunken and confused carouse; on what principles words are to be doubled and sometimes trebled, on occasion drawn up four deep, often carried to a fifth place or even extended further than that; that words be not heaped to no purpose or at random but be combined within fixed and intelligent limits.
2. When all these have been examined, tested, distinguished, defined, and understood, then from the whole word-population, so to speak, just as in war, when a legion has to be enrolled, we not only collect the volunteers but also search out the skulkers of military age, so when there is need of word-reinforcements, we must not only make use of the voluntary recruits that offer themselves, but fetch out the skulkers and hunt them up for service.
3. At this point too, as I think, we must seek skilfully to find out the methods by which words are sought for, that we may not wait gaping open-mouthed till such time as a word shall fall of itself upon our tongues like a god-send from heaven; but that we should know their haunts and their coverts, so that, when we have need of choice words, we may follow them up along a beaten track rather than have no path to help us forward.
4. You must therefore scout over definite ground . . . . . . . . First of all a speaker must be on his guard against coining a new word like debased bronze, so that each several word may be both known by its age and delight by its freshness . . . . fortresses of words . . . . assembly-places of words . . . . . . . . Of obligations the kinds are two, the categories three-fold. The first class, of existence, that a man be; the second, of quality, that he be such and such; the third, of objective, that he satisfy the very object by reason of which he undertook the foregoing obligations . . . . of learning and practising wisdom: by this third class, however, I mean that of objective and that which has its end in the work to be done and is, as it were, content with itself. By this division of obligations, if indeed either he said what was true, or I carry correctly in my memory things heard long ago, for a man who aspires to wisdom those would count as the first things to be taken in hand which have to do with the preservation of life and health. So dining and bathing and anointing with oil and all functions of such a kind are obligations of the wise man. And yet neither at the baths can anyone lave himself with wisdom, nor when he has dined at table with a select company, and after the meal had occasion to vomit, will he bring up wisdom; but you can neither have life unless you eat, nor wisdom unless you live. What then is the warning here? that you should not think this business of wisdom to lie in dining and the pleasures of the table. The business of wisdom is not to eat, but apart from life, which is derived from food, there can be no wisdom and no pursuits. Now . . . . you see then that these primary obligations apply to all men . . . . . . . . but the second class of obligations which are suited to the character of each person, cannot be in the same way common to all. One kind of dinner is usual for the man at the wheel, and another off the whole chine of an ox for the prize-fighter; their times of dining are different, their washing is different, their sleeping, their keeping awake different.
5. Consider then whether in this second category of obligations be contained the pursuit of eloquence. For it falls to a Caesar to carry by persuasion necessary measures in the Senate, to address the people in a harangue on many important matters, to correct the inequities of the law, to despatch rescripts throughout the world, to take foreign kings to task, to repress by edicts disorders among the allies, to praise their services, to crush the rebellious and to cow the proud. All these must assuredly be done by speech and writing. Will you not then cultivate an art, which you see must be of great use to you so often and in matters of such moment? Or do you imagine that it makes no difference with what words you bring about what can only be brought about by words? You are mistaken if you think that an opinion blurted out in the Senate in the language of Thersites would carry equal weight with a speech of Menelaus or Ulysses, whose looks, in the act of speaking and their mien and attitude and melodious voices and the difference of cadence in their oratory Homer did not in fact disdain to describe . . . . . . . .
6. Can anyone fear him whom he laughs at, or could anyone obey his order, whose words he despised? When Alexander the Great was discussing the art of painting in the studio of Apelles, Hold your tongue, said the painter, about what you don't understand, that those boys yonder who are mixing the purple paint may not despise you . . . . There is no one, however authoritative, who when his skill is at fault is not looked down upon by him who has greater skill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7. You have achieved such great eloquence as is even more than enough for fame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and hair, though it need not be daily set off with a pin, yet must daily be smoothed out with a comb . . . . Croesus and Solon, Periander and Polycrates, Alcibiades in fine and Socrates.
8. Who doubts that a wise man is distinguished from an unwise man preeminently by his sagacity and choice of things and judgment, so that if there be an option and alternative between riches and poverty, though they are both of them devoid of vice and virtue, yet the choice between them is not devoid of praise or blame. For it is the special obligation of the wise man to choose rightly, and not wrongly put this first or that second.
9. If you ask me whether I covet good health, I should, if I were a philosopher, say no; for a wise man must not covet or desire anything which it may be he would covet in vain; nor will he covet anything which he sees to lie in the power of Fortune. Yet were the choice of one or the other forced upon me, I would rather choose the fleetness of Achilles than the lameness of Philoctetes. A similar course must be kept in eloquence. You should, therefore, not covet it too much or too much disdain it: yet if a choice must be made you would far and far prefer eloquence to dumbness.
10. I have heard you say sometimes, But indeed, when I have said something rather brilliant, I feel gratified, and that is why I shun eloquence. Why not rather correct and cure yourself of your self-gratification, instead of repudiating that which gratifies you. For acting as you now do, you are tying a poultice in the wrong place. What then? If you gratify yourself by giving just judgment, will you disown justice? If you gratify yourself by shewing some filial respect to your father, will you despise filial duty? You gratify yourself, when eloquent: chastize yourself then, but why chastize eloquence?
11. And yet Plato would tell you this and take you thus to task: Perilous, young man, is that hasty avoidance of self-gratification, for the last cloak that wraps the follower after wisdom is the love of fame, that is the last to be discarded: to Plato, to Plato himself, I say, will fame be a cloak to his very last day.
This also I remember to have heard, that wise men must needs have many things—I mean in their mental rules and postulates—to which in practice they occasionally give the go-by; and occasionally also must needs allow in practice some things which they cry out upon in their tenets; and that the right rules of wisdom and the necessary practices of life do not everywhere coincide.
12. Suppose that you, O Caesar, succeed in attaining to the wisdom of Cleanthes or Zeno, yet against your will you must put on the purple cloak, not the philosopher's mantle of coarse wool. Purple . . . . . . . . Cleanthes gained his livelihood by drawing water from a well; you have often to see that saffron-water is sprinkled broadcast and high in the theatre . . . . . . . . . . Diogenes the Cynic not only earned no money but took no care of what he had . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
13. What, will the Immortal Gods allow the Comitium and Rostra and tribunals, that echoed to the speeches of Cato and Gracchus and Cicero, to be hushed in this age of all others? the wide world, which was vocal when you received it, to become dumb by your doing? If one cut out the tongue of a single man, he would be deemed a monster; to cut eloquence out from the human race—do you think that a trivial crime? Do you rank the doer of this with Tereus and Lycurgus? and this Lycurgus, what evil deed pray did he commit when he lopped the vines? It had surely been to the benefit of many a race and nation had the vine been extirpated from the face of the earth. Yet Lycurgus paid dear for his felled vines. Wherefore I hold that the extirpation of eloquence must fear vengeance from Heaven. For the vine is placed under the patronage of one God, while eloquence is the delight of many a denizen of Heaven—Minerva the mistress of speech, Mercury the controller of messages, Apollo the author of paeans, Liber the defender of dithyrambs, the Fauns inspirers of prophecies, Calliope the instructress of Homer, Homer the instructor of Ennius, and Sleep.
14. Again, if the study of philosophy were concerned with practice alone, I should wonder less at your despising words so much. That you should, however, learn horn-dilemmas, heap-fallacies, liar-syllogisms, verbal quibbles and entanglements, while neglecting the cultivation of oratory, its dignity and majesty and charm and splendour—this shews that you prefer mere speaking to real speaking, a whisper and a mumble to a trumpet-note. Do you rank the words of Diodorus and Alexinus higher than the words of Plato and Xenophon and Antisthenes? as though anyone with a passion for the stage should copy the acting of Tasurcus rather than Roscius; as though in swimming, were both possible, one would choose to take pattern by a frog rather than by a dolphin, and flit rather on the puny wings of quails than soar with the majesty of an eagle.
15. Where is that shrewdness of yours? where your discernment? Wake up and hear what Chrysippus himself prefers. Is he content to teach, to disclose the subject, to define, to explain? He is not content: but he amplifies as much as he can, he exaggerates, he forestalls objections, he repeats, he postpones, he harks back, he asks questions, describes, divides, introduces fictitious characters, puts his own words in another's mouth: those are the meanings of αὔξειν, διασκενάζειν, ἐξεργάζεσθαι, πάλιν, λέγειν, ἐπαναφέρειν, παράπτειν, προσωποποιεῖν.
16. Do you see that he handles almost all the weapons of the orator? Therefore if Chrysippus himself has shewn that these should be used, what more do I ask, unless it be that you should not employ the verbiage of the dialecticians but rather the eloquence of Plato? . . . . A sword must be used in fight against (opponents), but it matters much whether the blade be rusty or burnished . . . . Epictetus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . if he had dared, an epitaph . . . . . . . . . . . . carried through with the greatest credit . . . . . . . . . . . . If anywhere . . . . a disciple of Anaxagoras not of the sycophant Alexinus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17. The tragedian Aesopus is said never to have put on a tragic mask without setting it in front of him and studying it a long time that he might conform his gestures and adapt his voice to the face of the mask . . . . . . . . . . . . or do you think it a greater task to write the tragedy Amphiaraus than to speak on the subject of an earthquake? . . . . you argue about a thunderbolt . . . .
18. Philosophy will tell you what to say, Eloquence how to say it . . . . For, using the language of dialecticians, a writer would speak of a Jove signing, nay rather wheezing, not thundering. Provide yourself rather with speech worthy of the thoughts you draw from philosophy, and the more noble your thoughts, the more impressive will your utterance be. Nay, lift yourself up and stand upright, and shake off with your strong top those tree-twisters who are bending you down, like a fir or stately alder, and lowering you to the level of stunted bushes, and make trial whether you have anywhere swerved from the right way. But summon Eloquence, the handmaid of philosophy, and cast away those crooked, twisted modes of speech . . . .[† 14] which if you took them in, you would despise, and ignore when you have despised them. Tell me, I pray you, do you take anything in from your dialectics? are you proud of taking in anything? You need not confess to me, but think it over with yourself. I prophesy this, though you have kept many of your friends loyal to this teaching . . . .[† 15]
On Eloquence 2
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . in a field previously trod by the foot of no one save Gaius Sallustius alone, you brought to light in a most choice dress and a most becoming setting a meaning hard to express and needing almost a midwife's aid. You have given me joy, you have overjoyed me, may you be preserved to me. In having this letter written by my secretary I have saved my fingers from a heavy task, as they are not at present to be trusted.
On Eloquence 3
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Neither a virgin that lisps may be chosen as a Vestal nor one that speaks indistinctly . . . . Words descriptive of stammerers to be variously employed . . . . the utterance of stammerers is generally described as follows: an impeded utterance, a tied utterance, a laboured, a defective, an imperfect, a discordant utterance. The contraries of these have, I doubt not, already rewarded your search: a free utterance, a distinct, an easy, a perfect, a smooth utterance. Your utterance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A survey of all the terms applied to indistinct speakers . . . .
2. The lovers of melodious utterance are said to have listened first to the birds in a shady covert. Next shepherds delighted themselves and their flocks with the newly-invented pipes. Pipes seemed far more melodious than birds . . . . they take delight by way of eloquence in the soft notes of mutterers. Anon they nevertheless put up with Ennius and Accius and Lucretius, resonant now with a fuller bass. But when the trumpet of Cato and Sallust and Tullius is heard upon the air, they are excited and affrighted and bethink them of flight, vainly, for even there in the teachings of Philosophy, where they think they have a safe refuge, the resonant periods of Plato will have to be heard.
3. This little story applies to those who having no aptitude for it, shun eloquence in despair. But to you, O Caesar, if ever to man, has been given by the Gods a sublime and lofty and splendid genius; for your earliest thoughts and the infancy of your studies came under my ken. From the very first there was no hiding your nobility of mind and the dignity of your thoughts: they wanted then but one thing, the illumination of words: that too, we were providing by a varied course of study.
4. At this point, in the manner of the young and from a dislike of drudgery, you seem to have deserted the pursuit of eloquence, and to have turned aside after philosophy, in which there is no exordium to be carefully elaborated, no marshalling of facts concisely and clearly and skilfully, no dividing of a subject into heads, no arguments to be hunted for, no amplification . . . . . . . . to complete what is imperfect, to fill up gaps with padding . . . . this age requires a friend for counsel rather than for help . . . . to complete what is imperfect, to fill up a hiatus, to make rough places smooth . . . .
5. Were you not eager for all the resources of orators, their adroitness in refuting, their talent for amplifying, their charm in evasion, and I know not what kind of downright power and potency, that lies in speaking, of moving and delighting, of deterring and provoking, of exhorting, of conciliating, of inflaming, of calming the minds of hearers or alluring them?
Then if on occasion hindered by perpetual business you had no time to compose a speech, did you not fortify yourself with certain hurried yet valuable recreations in the way of study, by collecting synonyms, at times by searching out remarkable words? so as to turn the periods of old writers and their clauses by the system of synonyms; to render refined what was vulgar, and fresh what was soiled, fit in some image, throw in a figure, embellish with a good old word, add a patina of age. If you despise all this only because you have learnt it, you will also despise philosophy in the learning.
6. But these are not things which you could despise: dislike them of course you might. As in old days a morose Crassus hated laughter, as in our time here a Crassus hid from the daylight, and again in our time a man of consular rank had a horror of plains, and traversed the Pomptine plain and many other places with his litter closed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 16] But often even the wisest of men does not know how to speak in a style obviously new. But circumstances have so . . . . . . . . a well there would sound less vulgar . . . . thoughts unexpected, to others indeed new and previously unused. So much greater peril is there in thoughts if they are not qualified with figures of speech sparingly used. I can perhaps express my meaning more clearly in Greek words: τὰ καινὰ καὶ παράδοξα τῶν ἐνθυμημάτων . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the book which you sent a scarce one. Know then that in this one point your eloquence limps, splendid as it is.
7. I warn you, therefore, again and again, my Marcus, and beseech you to remember, as often as you conceive in your mind a startling thought, think over it with yourself and turn and try it with various figures of speech and dress it out in splendid words. For there is a danger that what is new to the hearers and unexpected may seem ridiculous unless it be embellished and made figurative.
8. All else in eloquence are for you smoothed and made clear. You know how to search out words, you know how to arrange them correctly when found, you know how to invest them with the genuine patina of antiquity, and you have an abundance of the weightiest and noblest thoughts . . . . is the first essential; as soon as they have been exposed they are easily known and disregarded. In a word, you could see that the rhetorician is despised and of no account, while the dialecticians are courted and treated with every respect, because in their ratiocinations there is always something obscure and intricate, and hence it results that the disciple always hangs upon his master and is his slave, held fast bound with a kind of everlasting fetter.
Someone will say You then, of course, beyond all others use choice and striking words. Nay, I use common and old ones. What then? If I knew not that much, I should use words still worse.
On Eloquence 4
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
1. Most things in your late speech, as far as the thoughts go, I consider were excellent, very few required alteration to the extent of a single word; some parts here and there were not sufficiently marked with novelty of expression. I have thought it better to write to you on these points in detail, for so you will the more easily consider them separately and have time to look into them, being as you are busied with the actual discharge and wearied with the past performance of very many duties.
2. Well then I have written to tell you what I consider excellently said by you in your exordium, and what in my opinion needs alteration. Do not doubt that what I shall further write will be written in the spirit of my love for you. All the first part then is wonderfully fine, packed with many weighty thoughts, in which these stand out . . . . in which kind Cato . . . . if sparingly and with dignity . . . . then follows a much weightier and austerer thought if . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . circumstances so compel . . . . the one word specific—companion, the other figurative—artizan. Nor is there any connexion or relationship between these words. The ear therefore is offended by the inherent contrast obtruded upon it . . . . . . . . . . . . Sallust says . . . . "and one who had also wasted his patrimony ." You see how much the writer has effected by the likeness in the form of the words, so that the last word though far from modest does not strike one as indecent: for the reason doubtless that two similar words precede it. But if on the other hand he had spoken the words thus: , the obscenity attached to the words would be obvious . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . must lack disposition and digression.
3. To be sure you would read a book to your philosopher; listen in silence while your master explained it; shew by nods that you understood him; while others were reading, you would yourself mostly sleep; would hear reiterated at length and often What is the first premiss? What is the second? with windows wide open hear the point laboured, If it is day, it is light. Then you would take your departure without a care, as one who had nothing to think over or write up the whole night long, nothing to recite to a master, nothing to say by heart, no hunting up of words, no garniture of a single synonym, no parallel turning of Greek into our own tongue. Against them too did my master Dionysius the Slender indite a quite artistic apologue on a dispute between the Vine and the Holm-oak tree.
4. The vine vaunted herself above the holm-oak because she bore the most delicious of all fruits for the banquets of men and the altars of Osiris, alike sweet to eat and delightful to quaff. Then, again, she was arrayed with more care than queenly Cleopatra, with more taste than lovely Lais. So fair were her branches that from them were wound the thyrsus-wands for Liber, a garland for Silenus, and chaplets for the Nymphs and Maenads. But the holm-oak was rough, barren, unattractive, and never produced anything of any goodness or beauty except acorns . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 17] Now I purposely end with fictions that, if I have said anything too severe, it may be softened down by being mingled with fictions.
Fronto to Lucius Verus
To my Lord Verus Augustus.
. . . . I was so distressed in mind that I could not . . . . But on the receipt of your letter, the very fact that you had written with your own hand raised my hopes at the outset; then came your good news that after three days' fasting and a prompt and rather drastic letting of blood you had been freed from the risk of a threatened illness. So I breathed again and recovered and made my prayers at every hearth, altar, sacred grove and consecrated tree—for I was staying in the country. And now I am waiting to hear from your next letter how much the intervening days have done towards restoring your strength. For, indeed, much greater care and attention are required now, that you may fill your veins gradually and not be in too great a haste to repair your lost strength. For it is a belief verified and traditional that blood when in excess must be promptly drawn off, but must subsequently be regained by slow degrees.
I pray and beseech you, my Lord, take heed, as befits your eminent character, to be sparing and temperate and restrained in all your desires which now, after the abstinence which you have practised on a necessary occasion, must necessarily make themselves felt more keenly and more importunately than usual.
Greet my Lord your brother, whose health you will ensure if you are well. Farewell, most sweet Lord.
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Velius Rufus Senex, greeting.
The figures in a speech are what most set off a speech. There are two kinds of figures, for there are verbal figures or figures of thought. Among the former are trope and metaphor. I employed this figure when I applied the word slough to a body in morass, everything rotting. What, however, escapes most people, I should know, that you, a strenuous man and a strong by training, and much more by nature . . . .[† 18]
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Praecilius Pompeianus, greeting.
You shall hear from me, my Pompeianus, the true state of the case; and I would ask you to accept it from me as the truth. It is nearly a year ago that I took that speech For the Bithynians in hand and set about revising it. I also made certain promises to you about the speech when you were in Rome at that time. And, indeed, if I remember rightly, when we were discussing the rhetorical heads of a speech, I claimed, and with some pride, that I had in that speech very thoroughly analyzed in argument and confuted the assumption which turned on the charge of murder by mandate. Meanwhile, a more than usually severe attack of neuritis came on, which proved to be more persistent and troublesome than usual. And I cannot pay any attention to writing or reading letters when my limbs are racked with pain; nor have I ever ventured to make such a demand upon my strength. When philosophers, those wondrous creatures, tell us that the wise man, even if shut up in the Bull of Phalaris, would still be happy, I could find it more easy to believe that he would be happy than that he would be able, while baking in the brass, to muse the while on an exordium or write pointed phrases.
Then when after a long interval I had recovered my health, I turned to other matters in preference. I took a dislike to that speech, and will not be ashamed to confess hatred and aversion . . . . . . . . So the speech has come back home to me after I had publicly disowned it, and taken up its abode with me again . . . . . .. . . . . .
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Praecilius Pompeianus, greeting.
My very dear friend Pompeianus, read . . . . . . . . Venetus is for sale. You know that it is the perpetual fate of Venetus to be always going, never gone . . . . . . . . He writes in answer that he has never received my letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Claudius Julianus, greeting.
You have had then at home, my Naucellius, . . . . Our friendship has been on such a footing that we could dispense with these conventional services, assured of the reality of our love . . . . With a friend I would wish all joys and sorrows shared . . . . . . . . . . . . it came to this that he was not only my dearest friend, but almost the single one who . . . .
? 162 A.D.
Fronto to Claudius Julianus, greeting.
I know not how it comes to pass . . . . all the provincials say; to do many things also more laboriously than the case itself requires: memoranda of the trials, lastly all letters which relate to the province. They will assist you . . . .[† 19] that you should diligently perform all your duties . . . .[† 20] treat the provincials with respect, that the saying of the classic ancients may be verified, that the same man can be both sportive and strenuous. Valerianus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 21] ; nor was our friend Valerianus able to see me. I desire not to be loved by our Lords the Emperors on any other terms than that you too the partner of my body and mind should be included in their love: and such is their good nature I feel sure that this will be so.
While writing to you, I feel a little better. I am still indeed at this time after my most protracted ill-health, which in spite of care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . roughly handled, I delivered in the Senate . . . .[† 22] was asked to repeat it. Be sure, my Naucellius, to take care of your health, that you may be strong when you come to us. Please God you will find me too a little stronger. Our friend Valerianus has told you the great blows, which from all (quarters) . . . .[† 23] I have treated him more firmly than Stratonabia or Pyrallus.[† 24] A linen covering . . . . . . . .[† 25]
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus as Emperor
To my Lord.
. . . . that children of the earth, as the saying goes, or rather of the gutter, should snatch the booty: that so much wealth from the treasuries of Antoninus should be thrown away for that pampered protegee, whoever she is, to get, so that Egatheus will get nothing. What unfriendly comments however, what grumblings will arise, when the goods have been dispersed under the Falcidian Law? That celebrated string of pearls, which everyone talks of, and all the other ornaments of such value, who will buy them? If your wife buys them, she. will be said to have pounced upon the spoil and snatched them away at a very small price, and that so much the less had come to the legatees under the will. But you will say Faustina will not buy these ornaments. Who then will buy the pearls, which were left to your daughters? You will rob the necks of your daughters of these pearls that they may grace whose goitred gorge may I ask?
Shall Matidia's inheritance not be taken up by you? Shall a most noble lady of the highest rank, of the greatest wealth, one who has deserved especially well of you, have thus died intestate? The precise result, therefore, will be, that you will have robbed of her will one to whom you have granted a public funeral. Hitherto in every cause without exception you have shewn yourself a just and weighty and righteous judge. Will you begin with your wife's case to give wrong judgment? Then will you indeed be like a fire, if you scorch those who are nearest and give light to those who are far off.
The Emperor Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
Answer to my master.
So my master will now be my advocate also! Of a truth I can feel easy in my mind, when I have followed the two guides dearest to my heart, right reason and your opinion. God grant that whatever I do I may always do with your favourable endorsement, my master.
You see how late I am writing my answer to you. For after a consultation with my Friends up to this moment, I have carefully collected all the points which weighed with us, so as to write fully to my Lord, and make him our assessor in this business also. Then only shall I have confidence in our decision, when it has been approved by him. The "speech" in which you have advocated our cause, I will shew at once to Faustina, and will tender her thanks because as an outcome of that business it has been my lot to read such a letter from you. Good master, best of masters, farewell.
Fronto to Aufidius Victorinus his son-in-law.
At the time of the gold-test . . . . and to her Varian proteges of either sex she left a million sesterces apiece for them to enjoy as a life interest rather than for their own; for she directed that 50,000 sesterces apiece should be given them every year by the Empress. Almost all those who had paid her court lost their labour: not a pound apiece was weighed out to them. Some of them however, brisk and smart fellows without a doubt, had the effrontery, while Matidia lay unconscious, to seal up the codicils, which she had annulled a long while before. They had the effrontery also to uphold and defend these codicils before our Lord as duly and truly executed. And I have not been without apprehension that Philosophy might lead him to a wrong decision. That you may know what I wrote to him on the subject, I send you a copy of my letter.
In my Bithynian speech, part of which you write that you have read, there are many fresh things introduced, not inelegantly as I fancy, particularly a passage on my past life, which I think will please you. if you read that excellent speech on a similar subject in defence of P. Sulla left us by M. Tullius: not that you should compare us as equals, but that you should recognise how far my mediocre talent falls short of that man of unapproachable eloquence.
? 163 A.D.
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
1. . . . . I will subjoin a few possibly unreasonable and unjust criticisms, for I will make you again have a taste of me as a master. And you are aware that all this company of masters is more or less futile and fatuous—little enough of eloquence and of wisdom nought! You will I am sure bear with me for taking up anew my old-time authority and title of master.
2. For I confess, what is the fact, that only one thing could happen to cause any considerable set-back in my love for you, and that is, if you were to neglect eloquence. Yet indeed I would rather you neglected it than cultivated it in the wrong way. For as to that hybrid eloquence of the catachanna type, grafted partly with Cato's pine-nuts,' partly with the soft and hectic plums of Seneca, it ought in my judgment to be plucked up by the roots, nay, to use a Plautine expression, by the roots of the roots. I am aware that he is a man who abounds in thoughts, aye bubbles over with them; but I see his thoughts go trot-trot, nowhere keep on their course under the spur at a free gallop, nowhere shew fight, nowhere aim at sublimity: like Laberius, he fashions wit-bolts, or rather wit-flashes, rather than wit-sayings.
3. Do you then suppose that you could find weightier thoughts and on the same subject in your Annaeus than in Sergius? But (in Sergius) not so rhythmical: I grant it; nor so sprightly: it is so; nor with such a ring: I do not deny it. But what, if the same meal be set before two persons, and the one take up the olives set on the table with his fingers, carry them to his open mouth, let them come between his teeth for mastication in the decent and proper manner, while the other throw his olives into the air, catch them in his mouth, and shew them when caught, like a juggler his pebbles, with the tips of his lips. Schoolboys of course would clap the feat and the guests be amused, but the one will have eaten his dinner decently, the other juggled with his lips.
You will say, there are certain things in his books cleverly expressed, some also with dignity. Yes, even little silver coins are sometimes found in sewers; are we on that account to contract for the cleaning of sewers?
4. The first and most objectionable defect in that style of speech is the repetition of the same thought under one dress and another, times without number. As actors, when they dance clad in mantles, with one and the same mantle represent a swan's tail, the tresses of Venus, a Fury's scourge, so these writers make up the same thought in a thousand ways, flourish it, alter it, disguise it, with the same lappet dance diverse dances, rub up one and the same thought oftener than girls their perfumed amber.
5. Has something to be said about fortune? You will find there the whole gallery of Fortunes, Fortunes of Antium, of Praeneste, Fortunes Regardant, Fortunes too of baths, all Fortunes with wings, with wheels, with rudders.
One prelude of a poem I will quote by way of example from a poet of the same time and of the same name, an Annaeus like the other. In the first seven verses at the beginning of his poem he has done nothing but paraphrase the words Wars worse than civil. Count up the phrases in which he rings the changes on this—and sanction granted to wrong: phrase number one; turning their conquering swords, in their own heart's blood to imbrue them: here we have a second; kin against kin embattled: that will be a third; guilt that was shared by all: he tells off his fourth; and standards set against standards: he piles up a fifth to boot; eagles with eagles snatched: here's the sixth! why, this is a labour of Hercules; and javelins poised against javelins: a seventh! a bull's hide from the shield of Ajax. Wilt never be done, Annaeus? Or if no end or limit is ever to be kept, why not add clarions also alike? And you might go on, and the well-known blare of the bugles. Yes, and follow up with cuirasses and helmets and belts and all the paraphernalia of a soldier.
6. Apollonius, however—for Homer's openings are not equally skilful—Apollonius, I say, who wrote the Argonautica, describes five quite distinct facts explicitly in five lines: κλέα φωτῶν, the heroes who sailed; οἶ Πόντοιο κατὰ στόμα, the route by which they sailed; βασιλῆος ἐφημοσύνῃ Πελίαο, at whose hest they sailed; χρυσεῖον μετὰ κῶας, on what quest they sailed; ἐύζυγον ἤλασαν Ἀργώ, the ship on which they were carried.
These writers, as well rhetoricians as poets, do just what harpers are wont to do, who dwell with many varied intonations on some single vowel from Ino or from Aedon.
7. What shall I say of meanness and slovenliness in words? What of words rhythmically arranged and effeminately fluent? . . . . . . . . . . . . and from dislike regard with a critical eye this form of preciosity. In public speaking you have need to use the shield of Achilles, not wave a little targe or feint with the sham lances of the stage. Water gushes more daintily from little pipes than from the clouds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. . . . .[† 26] You spoke of harmonizing eyes. What applause, redoubled! for either word had been obviously sought after and found: and when you had found the word, you knew admirably how to use it with caution. Those who stammer are said to have an impediment in their speech, and the contrary is the case with a speech free and unimpeded: much better clearly was your tongue-untied. And I think you have gone to that same passage for an expression "drawn from the contrary," that, since the utterance of stammerers is imperfect, it was possible to speak of a perfect utterance. That you should have been unaware of this . . . .[† 27] when you said harmonizing eyes . . . .[† 28] this passage is found fault with . . . . (because the word is of a varied) meaning: Theodorus calls it the "method from synonyms." For the Greeks express to agree, to fit, to suit, to harmonize by the term ἡρμόσθαι (to be adapted).
I do not doubt that you passed in review other words also. For as in him who squints the eyes are not of a match, you could have called them equal or unequal, these accordant, those discordant; but harmonizing was much better.
9. Perhaps you will say what is there in my speeches new-fangled, what artificial, what obscure, what patched with purple, what inflated or corrupt? Nothing as yet; but I fear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 29]
10. I praise the Censor's act, who shut up the gaming nouses because he himself, as he said, when he passed that way could scarce consult his dignity so far as to refrain from dancing to the sound of the castanets or cymbals. Then besides there are many things in that kind of oratory not unlike the genuine thing, if one does not look carefully into it. Sanction granted to wrong, says M. Annaeus; on the other hand Sallust: all right rests with the stronger.
11. A certain Gallic rhetorician, while the Macedonians on Alexander's death from disease were debating whether they should utterly destroy Babylon also, says, What if you hire lions to do your work? Grandiosely too he cries in his peroration, using the same word as Ennius, By you citizens has been wrought, has been wrought a work unsurpassable. It is the Tiber, O Tuscan, the Tiber that thou biddest be penned in: the river Tiber, master and monarch of all circumfluent waters; Ennius says: 'Twas wrought: after its flood now | stayed at the spot stood still that stream that is queen of all rivers, | which underneath the Ovilia (flows).
There is skill needed to distinguish a patched dress from a sound one. So the safest course is to eschew all such citations. It is easy to slip on the ice.
12. One edict of yours I remember to have noticed, in which you hazardously wrote what would be even unworthy of some faulty book. The edict begins: That there should flourish on their holdings unimpaired youth. What is this, Marcus? What you wish to say is doubtless that you desire to see the Italian towns stocked with a plentiful supply of young men. What is florere doing in the first line and as the first word? What is meant by unimpaired youth? What is the object of these inversions and circumlocutions? Other faults of a similar kind are to be found in the same edict. Hark back rather to words that are suitable and appropriate and juicy with their own sap. The itch and the scurf are caught from books of that kind. Cleave to the old mintage. Coins of lead and debased metal of every kind are oftener met with in our recent issues than in the archaic ones which are stamped with the names of Perperna or Trebanius . . . .. What then? Am I not to prefer for myself a coin of Antoninus or Commodus or Pius? Those old words are stained and contaminated and discoloured and spotted, aye, more spotted than a nurse's apron. There is need, therefore, of all your pains to render your language, if possible, current coin; be ever on the look-out for some word, not one coined by you, for that, indeed, is an absurdity, but used by you more elegantly or more aptly or more happily than by others.
13. Says Sallust: Such reverent regard and affection did our ancestors have for the Italian race. This word antiquitas is often used, but nowhere employed in that sense, and therefore is not properly correct. For it is commonly said that what is preferable is antiquius. Thence undoubtedly did Sallust derive his use of antiquitas itself; and, since a word that is less usual is also less clear, he interpreted it by means of the following word, antiquitatis curaeque.
In this way . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In the mouths of the people words of this kind have hitherto always been in vogue; Accius, Plautus, Sallust very often, even occasionally Cicero, (use them) . . . .[† 30]
From Lucius Verus to Fronto
To my master, greeting.
. . . .[† 31] I have refrained from relating to you myself all that had necessarily to be set right or provided for in good time, or quickly remedied or carefully arranged. Make allowance for my scrupulosity, if shackled with urgent cares I have dealt first with the business in hand and, counting on your good-natured indulgence towards me, have meanwhile given up writing. Pardon my reliance on our love if I have fought shy of describing my measures in detail, liable as they were to daily alteration and while the issue was still doubtful and all forecast precarious. Accept, I beseech you, the reason for so legitimate a delay. Why, then, write to others oftener than to you? To excuse myself shortly: because, in fact, did I not do so, they would be angry, you would forgive; they would give up writing, you would importune me; to them I rendered duty for duty, to you I owed love for love. Or would you wish me to write you also letters unwillingly, grumblingly, hurriedly, from necessity rather than from choice? Now why, you will say, not from choice? Because not even yet has anything been accomplished such as to make me wish to invite you to share in the joy. I did not care, I confess, to make one so very dear to me, and one whom I would wish to be always happy, a partner in anxieties which night and day made me utterly wretched, and almost brought me to despair of success. Nor, indeed, did I care for the alternative, to feel one thing and utter another. What, Lucius to make pretences to Fronto! from whom I do not hesitate to say I have learnt simplicity and the love of truth far before the lesson of polite phrasing. Indeed, by the compact also, which has long subsisted between us, I think I am sufficiently qualified for receiving pardon. At all events, when in spite of repeated appeals from me you never wrote, I was sorry, by heaven, but, remembering our compact, not angry. Finally, why say more, that I seem not rather to justify myself than to entreat you? I have been in fault, I admit it; against the last person, too, that deserved it: that, too, I admit. But you must be better than I. I have suffered enough punishment, first in the very fact that I am conscious of my fault, then because, though face to face I could have won your pardon in a moment, I must now, separated as I am from you by such wide lands, be tortured with anxiety for so many intervening months until you get my letter and I get your answer back. I present to you as suppliants in my favour humanity herself, for even to offend is human, and it is man's peculiar privilege to pardon . . . .[† 32]
Fronto to Marcus
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus.
I have seen your little chicks, and a more welcome sight I shall never in my life see, so like in features to you that nothing can be more like than the likeness. I have absolutely taken a journey by short cut quite to Lorium, a short cut of the slippery road, a short cut of the steep ascents: nevertheless I have seen you not only opposite to me but in more places than one, whether I turned to the right hand or to the left. God be praised they have quite a healthy colour and strong lungs. One was holding a piece of white bread, like a little prince, the other a piece of black bread, quite in keeping with a philosopher's son. I beseech the Gods to bless the sower, bless the seed sown, bless the soil that bears a crop so true to stock. For even the sound of their little voices was so sweet, so winsome to my ear that I seemed, I know not how, to hear in the tiny piping of either the clear and charming tones of your own utterance. Now therefore, if you do not take care, you will find me holding my head a good deal higher, for I have those whom I can love instead of you, not with eyes only but with ears also.
Marcus to Fronto
To my master, greeting.
I saw my little sons, when you saw them; I saw you too, when I read your letter. I beseech you, my master, love me as you do love me; love me too even as you love those little ones of ours: I have not yet said all that I want to say: love me as you have loved me. The extraordinary delightfulness of your letter has led me to write this. For as to its style what can I say? except that you talk Latin while the rest of us talk neither Latin nor Greek. Write often, I pray you, to the Lord my brother. He especially wishes me to get this from you. His wishes, however, make me unreasonable and exacting. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. Give my love to your grandson.
Fronto to Marcus
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus.
1. First done, then entered, say they who keep their books carefully. The same saying is applicable to this letter, which now at last answers your recent one to me. The reason of the delay has been that, when I made up my mind to write, some things came into my mind, which could not be written down beak in air, as the saying is. Then intervened the sitting of the Senate, and the labour it entailed was felt the more heavily in that, being simultaneous with my joy, it had taken deeper hold of me, just as the wind when combined with the sun. Now this letter, as it was not forthcoming at its due time, asks the indulgence usual in postponements, that it be without prejudice.
2. When I received your letter, I began my answer thus—Love me as you do love me, you say: I propose to answer this phrase somewhat less briefly. For I used to answer your letters more at length in those days when, as you yourself shew, you were sufficiently assured of my love for you. Look, I beseech you, that you do not rob yourself, and of your own accord demand a diminution of love, for I would have you believe that you are so much more fully loved by me now, as in all things a present certain fruition exceeds an uncertain hope in the future. Shall not I, who loved the native quality of your genius even then, when in bud and in leaf and in flower, love now far far more deeply the very fruit of your matured excellence? Then should I be deemed the most blockish of all country swains and all ploughmen, if I valued what was sown above what was harvested. I indeed, being granted all that I wished and prayed for, have been cast and fined in my very wishes and prayers: to meet that fine I put in my doubled love for you, not, as was the custom in old time for fines to be inflicted, at the rate of half less a thousand (asses). A dry-nurse commonly loves a baby more than an older child; a foolish nurse is even prone to be angry with adolescence for taking away her boy from her arms and giving him over to the playground or the forum. Your instructors of youth too love their pupils more while they learn boyhood's lessons and pay their fees. When I was called to the care and cultivation of your natural powers, I hoped you would be what you now are; I carried my love on to these your present days. Conspicuous in your boyhood was your innate excellence; even more conspicuous was it in your youth; but in such a way as when a cloudless day begins to break with newly-dawning light. Now already your full excellence has risen with dazzling disc and spread its rays on every side: and yet you call me back to that bygone measure of my dawning love for you, and bid the morning twilight shine at noonday! Hear, I pray you, how much enhanced beyond your former is your present excellence, that you may more easily understand how much larger a measure of love you deserve, while you cease to claim only as much.
3. To begin my comparison of yourself to yourself with your dutifulness, I will mention your bygone devotion to your father, and contrast it with your present attention to duty. Who does not know that, when your father was unwell, you used to discontinue baths in order to keep him company, deny yourself wine, even water and food; that you never studied your own convenience in the matter of sleep or waking or food or exercise, but sacrificed everything to your father's convenience? . . . .
Five Letters between Marcus and Fronto of which only the opening Words Remain
To my master, greeting. I have been unwell, my master . . . .
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus. If you can walk yet . . . .
To my master, greeting. I hasten to write, my master . . . .
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus. I will not hide from you . . . .
To my master, greeting. I, my master . . . .
Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
To my master greeting.
. . . . since nothing is more to be counted upon and more readily given, my master, than the kindly construction you put upon our services in respect to yourself. Write then to my Lord, who promises you many letters in return, that you have received his message from me. Add also other tokens of your affection and good-nature, my master, for he rests on them, as he has every reason to do.
For the last two days I have had no respite except such sleep as I have got at night: consequently I have had no time as yet to read your lengthy letter[† 33] to my Lord, but I greedily look forward to an opportunity of doing so to-morrow. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. Love to your grandson.
Fronto to Lucius Verus
To my Lord Verus Augustus, greeting.
1. From this moment, O Emperor, treat me as you please and as your feelings prompt you. Neglect me, or even despise me, in a word shew me no honour, put me, if you will, with the lowest. There is nothing you can do against me, however much in earnest you are, so harsh or unjust, that you should not be for me the source of the most abounding joys.
Perhaps you may think that it is your warlike qualities and your military achievements and strategy that I am now praising. True, they are most glorious for the state and Empire of the Roman people, none better or more magnificent, yet in rejoicing over them I but take my individual share of delight proportionably with others; but in the case of your eloquence, of which you gave such plain evidence in your despatch to the Senate, it is I who triumph indeed.
2. I have received, I have received, and I have and hold a full return from you in like measure heaped high: I can now depart this life with a joyous heart, richly recompensed for my labours and leaving behind me a mighty monument to my lasting fame. That I was your master all men either know or suppose or believe from your lips: indeed, I should be shy of claiming this honour for myself did you not yourselves both proclaim it: since you do proclaim it, it is not for me to deny it.
3. In your military glory and success you have many instruments, and many thousands of armed men called up from every nation under heaven spend themselves and lend their aid to win victory for you: but your supremacy in eloquence has been gained, I may make bold to say, under my leadership, O Caesar, and under my auspices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 34] Your answer to the Parthian king was prompt and weighty. Of course you learnt this from your centurions or front-rankers, those truly polished disputants! Dausara and Nicephorium and Artaxata were taken by storm under your leadership and auspices, but that fortified and unconquered and impregnable citadel, which is planted in your brother's breast, against the assumption of the title Armeniacus, which he had refused, who other than you assaulted, and you with what other weapons than those of eloquence? You called in as your ally in winning your way an army, but a vocal army fighting with words. In that part of your letter, as befitted a loving brother, your thoughts were more closely packed and took a tenderer cast, and you arranged your words more rhythmically. When I read them—for I was too unwell to be present in the Senate—and perceived your brother to be hard pressed by your eloquence, I thus apostrophized him in my unspoken thoughts: What do you say to this, Antoninus? I see that you will have to take the title which you have declined, and retreat from your resolve. What is the use now of my letters, what of the letters of philosophers? We are outdone by a soldier's letter. Is there anything, think you, less than admirable in the writing? any unusual or unseasonable word? Or do I seem to you to have trained a vainglorious soldier? Nay, you have what you have asked for in ail your prayers, a brave brother, "a good man skilled in speaking." He says the same things as you, but expresses them more concisely than you.
4. At the very moment, when I was turning this over in my mind, following yours came the speech of Antoninus—Good heavens, how many admirable things, how many true! Every saying, every word quite fascinating, steeped in loyal affection and trust and love and longing. What then? which of both my two friends, the petitioner or the petitioned, should I praise the more? Antoninus with all his imperial power was complaisant, but you, Lucius, with all your complaisance, were for very love imperious. Carrying those two speeches in my right hand and my left, methought I was more honoured and more richly adorned than the priests of Eleusis carrying their torches, and kings holding sceptres in their hands, and the quindecimvirs opening the Sacred Books; and thus did I make my prayer to my ancestral Gods: O Jupiter Ammon, I beseech thee, Libya's God . . . . some of the Gods also preferred to be worshipped as speaking rather than as silent . . . . . . . . . . . . the obstinate be inoculated with eloquence. Even the levin-bolt would lose half its terror did it not fall to the accompaniment of thunder. That very power of thundering was not committed to Father Dis or to Neptune or to the other Gods, but to their sovran emperor Jove, that by the crashing of clouds and the roaring of storms, as by some voice from heaven, he might safeguard his supreme sovranty from contempt.
5. Therefore, if you seek a veritable sovran of the human race, it is your[† 35] eloquence that is sovran, eloquence that sways men's minds. It inspires fear, wins love, is a spur to effort, puts shame to silence, exhorts to virtue, exposes vices, urges, soothes, teaches, consoles. In fine, I challenge boldly and on an old condition—give up eloquence and rule; give up making speeches in the Senate and subdue Armenia. Other leaders before you have subdued Armenia; but, by heaven, your single letter, your brother's single speech on you and your merits will be as regards fame more ennobling, and as regards posterity more talked of, than many a triumph of princes. The famous Ventidius, when he had defeated and dispersed the Parthians, to proclaim his victory borrowed a speech from C. Sallustius; and Nerva commended his acts in the Senate with words requisitioned from others. Moreover, most of the emperors that preceded your progenitors were virtually dumb and inarticulate, and were no more able to speak of their military achievements than could their helmets.
6. When the Commonwealth had been transferred from yearly magistrates to C. Caesar and anon to Augustus, I perceive, indeed, that Caesar's gift of speech was that of an imperator, while Augustus was, I think, master of but the dying elegance of his times and such charm as the Latin tongue still retained unimpaired, rather than of opulent diction. After Augustus a few relics only, withered already and decaying, were left over for the notorious Tiberius. But his successors without a break to Vespasian were all of such a kind as to make us no less ashamed of their speaking than disgusted with their characters and sorry for their acts.
7. But should one say yes, for they had not been taught, why, then, did they bear rule? That they might exercise it, I presume, either by gestures, like actors, or with signs like the dumb, or through an interpreter like foreigners. Which of them could address people or Senate in a speech of his own? which draw up an edict or a rescript in his own words? They ruled but as the mouthpiece of others, like men in the phrensy of delirium: they were as pipes that are only vocal with another's breath.
8. Now sovranty is a word that connotes not only power but also speech, since the exercise of sovranty practically consists in bidding and forbidding. If he did not praise good actions, if he did not blame evil doings, if he did not exhort to virtue, if he did not warn off from vice, a ruler would belie his name and be called sovran to no purpose . . . . to foist in a changeling was accounted abominable, to publish a false bulletin a military crime, to give false witness a capital offence . . . .
9 . . . . Hadrian's speech affects a spurious pretence of ancient eloquence . . . . Osiris . . . . of course I pass over the mule of eloquence: he is labelled as no expert at the lyre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10. To many even unworthy sons the father's place has handed down the sovranty: just as chicks have all the marks of their kind present in them even from the egg, namely combs and feathers and crowing and wakeful ways, so for the sons of kings even in their mother's womb is supreme power destined: they receive the sovranty at the midwife's hand . . . .
11. Between Romulus and Remus, as they took the auguries on separate^ hills, birds decided the question of sovranty, and one of the Persian kings (is said in old days to have gained) the kingdom not by a race but by priority in the neighing of his horse. . . . . . . . .
12. We know that the plots and conspiracies of others have often deprived one man of his sovranty and handed it over to another. But eloquence when once found can neither be taken away, nor when taken away by death be transferred to another. With you your brother approves these deeds of Romulus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
13. Cato was already recovering Spain, Gracchus already farming Asia and parcelling Carthage out among individual settlers[† 36] . . . . Now, Marcus Tullius was the chiefest and supreme mouthpiece of the Roman tongue . . . . but Cicero more rhythmically: both of you, aspiring to the charm of either, go the way that I guide you.
14. There are extant letters in both languages, partly written by actual leaders, partly composed by the writers of histories or annals, such as that most memorable letter in Thucydides of the general Nicias sent from Sicily; also in Gaius Sallustius, the letter full of invective from Mithridates to Arsaces the king, entreating his help; and the dignified despatch of Gnaeus Pompeius to the Senate touching his soldiers' pay; and the recriminatory letter of Adherbal while treacherously beleaguered at Cirta; but all, as the occasion required, short and without any description of events. In the style, however, of your letter there is extant a despatch of Catulus, in which he has set forth in the historical manner his own exploits, chequered with losses and failure, as deserving of the laurel crown. But there is a touch of bombast in these high-flown periods, couched in words almost plaintive. History, however, should rather be written in the grand style and, if written for the Senate, with restraint as well. If Asinius Pollio had thrown the jubilations of his Counsels into the form of a letter, in a style necessarily terser, readier, and more compact, even if here and there he did make some answer with a want of finish, he would have written better.
15. Your letter is both eloquent, as being an orator's, strenuous, as being a general's, dignified, as to the Senate, and, as on a matter military, not overloaded. For neither . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What imperator, when it is his duty to say something to the Senate, would write a letter? You, having no opportunity (of speaking to them) . . . . about which you had to write . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . that he had given the kingdom of Armenia to Sohaemus rather than to Vologaesus; or that he had deprived Pacorus of his kingdom; do you not wish this to be set forth in a speech after the manner in which Nepos on the Numantine affair described it in a letter so much less forcibly, thus: in the above-mentioned war men drawn from all the nations of Spain were present . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16. The supremest eloquence is to speak of sublime things in the grand style, of homely things in simple language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17. Even Viriathus and even Spartacus were skilled in war and quick to strike. But indeed, if you wish to count up the full tale of all the orators, as many as have existed since the foundation of Rome, including those whom Cicero in his Brutus endowed wholesale with the franchise of eloquence, you will scarcely make up the number of three hundred all told, while from one family of the Fabii there fell fighting for their country in one day three hundred soldiers, the bravest of the brave. Not of races many thousands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to the height of eloquence . . . . where the subject calls for it . . . . or to speak on a matter in a lower key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
18. It was surely, Imperator, not the circus or the breastplate that instilled these wise ideas into you from your earliest boyhood, but books and training in letters. When you read many instances of this kind, fruitful of wise suggestion, in histories and speeches, you used eloquence as your mistress in the art of war.
19. The army you took over was demoralized with luxury and immorality and prolonged idleness. The soldiers at Antioch were wont to spend their time clapping actors, and were more often found in the nearest cafe-garden than in the ranks. Horses shaggy from neglect, but every hair plucked from their riders: a rare sight was a soldier with arm or leg hairy. Withal the men better clothed than armed, so much so that Pontius Laelianus, a man of character and a disciplinarian of the old school, in some cases ripped up their cuirasses with his fingertips; he found horses saddled with cushions, and by his orders the little pommels on them were slit open and the down plucked from their pillions as from geese. Few of the soldiers could vault upon their steeds, the rest scrambled clumsily up by dint of heel or knee or ham; not many could make their spears hurtle, most tossed them like toy lances without verve and vigour. Gambling was rife in camp: sleep night-long, or, if a watch was kept, it was over the wine-cups.
20. By what disciplinary measures you were to break-in soldiers of this stamp and make them serviceable and strenuous did you not learn from the dourness of Hannibal, the stern discipline of Africanus, the exemplary methods of Metellus, of which histories are full? This very precaution of yours, a lesson drawn from long study, not to engage the enemy in a pitched battle until you had seasoned your men with skirmishes and minor successes—did you not learn it from Cato, a man equally consummate as orator and as commander? I subjoin Cato's very words, in which you can detect the express counterpart of your measures: Meanwhile I tested each separate squadron, maniple, cohort, to gauge its capabilities. By little combats I found out the calibre of each man: if a soldier had done gallant service I rewarded him handsomely, that others might have a mind to the same, and in my address to the soldiers I was profuse in his praise. Meanwhile I made a few encampments here and there, but when the season of the year came round, I established winter quarters . . . . tradition tells us that Cato's bust used to be carried forth from the Senate: if by reason of his military exploits, why not the bust of Camillus? why not of Capitolinus? why not of Curius and other generals? . . . . . . . .
Fronto to Lucius Verus
To my Lord Verus Augustus.
1. How great and long-standing is the intimacy which subsisted between me and Gavius Clarus is well known, I think, my Lord, to you. So often have I spoken of him from the fulness of my heart before you. Nor does it seem to me amiss to remind you of this, well as you remember it.
2. From his earliest years Gavius Clarus devoted himself to me as a personal friend, not only in those good offices with which a senator, lesser in age and rank, rightly honours and deserves well of another senator, higher in rank and older than himself. But gradually our friendship reached such a stage that, without dislike on his part or shame on mine, he could pay me the deference of a client, the respect that is shewn by faithful and diligent freedmen: this not from any arrogance on my part or servility on his, but our mutual affection and genuine love did away with any reluctance for either of us in the regulation of our duties. What need for me to mention his attention to my affairs in the forum, the least equally with the greatest; or at home, when I wished anything anywhere duly closed or sealed or attended to or completed, how I entrusted and confided it to him alone.
3. But, though my foster child would hardly shew such complaisance, he always devoted such attention to my health, was so unsparing, too, at all times of himself, that when I was sick he even sat up with me, and when rheumatism deprived me of the use of my hands he was wont to put the food to my mouth with his own hand. Lastly, I commissioned him to see to it that my body had its due rites, if in the absence of Victorinus and my good brother anything happened to me such as must to all men. Even if they should be on the spot, I wished my body to be handled by him rather than by any other, that my brother and my son-in-law might be spared the pain of touching my body.
4. These are the terms on which Gavius Clarus and I stand. Now, if my means were more ample, I would help him to the utmost of my power to enable him to discharge the duties of a senator in comfort, nor should I ever allow him to cross the sea on his present errand. As it is, both the moderate nature of my means and his straitened circumstances have forced me to banish him against his will into Syria to secure the legacies which have come to him under the will of a very dear friend.
5. This want of means has been the lot of my friend Clarus from no fault of his own*, for he received no benefit from either his father's or his mother's estate; the only result of his being his father's heir was that he found difficulty in paying his father's creditors. But by economy and attention to duty and frugality he discharged all his obligations as quaestor, aedile, and praetor, and whereas your deified father paid out from your privy purse the expenses of his praetorship in his absence, as soon as ever Clarus recovered his health and came back to Rome he paid in the whole amount to the imperial treasury.
6. Nothing can be more conscientious than the man, nothing more reasonable, nothing more unassuming; generous also, if I am any authority, and considering the slenderness of his resources as open-handed as his means permit. His characteristics, simplicity, continence, truthfulness, an honour plainly Roman, a warmth of affection, however, possibly not Roman, for there is nothing of which my whole life through I have seen less at Rome than a man unfeignedly φιλόστοργος. The reason why there is not even a word for this virtue in our language must, I imagine, be, that in reality no one at Rome has any warm affection.
7. This is the man, my Lord, whom I commend to you with the strongest appeal possible. If ever you have loved me, or wish ever to love me, I beg that you will befriend him whom I commit to your trust and protection. Perhaps you will ask what I wish you to do for him . . . .
Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
To my master, greeting.
While enjoying this health-giving country air, I feel there is one great thing lacking, the assurance that you also are in good health, my master. That you make good that defect is my prayer to the Gods. But this country holiday of mine saddled with state business is, in fact, your busy city life still. In a word I cannot go on with this very letter for a line or two owing to pressing duties, from which I enjoy a respite only for a part of the night. Farewell, my most delightful of masters. If you have any selected letters of Cicero, either entire or in extracts, lend me them or tell me which you think I ought particularly to read to improve my command of language.
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus
To my Lord.
This is the fifth day since I have been seized with pain in all my limbs, but especially in my neck and groin. As far as I remember I have extracted from Cicero's letters only those passages in which there was some discussion about eloquence or philosophy or politics; besides, if there seemed to be any choice expression or striking word I have extracted it. Such of these as were by me for my own use I have sent to you. You might, if you think it worth while, have the three books, two to Brutus and one to Axius, copied and return them to me, as of these particular extracts I have made no copies. All Cicero's letters, however, should, I think, be read—in my opinion, even more than his speeches. There is nothing more perfect than Cicero's letters.
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus
Fronto to my Lord.
1. . . . .[† 37] a facility adapted to history, and not that restraint which is suitable for oratory; that these authors employed figures of speech also, which the Greeks call σχήματα, the former those which are in keeping with history, the latter with oratory; that Sallust made use of antithesis happily arranged: greedy of another's wealth, lavish of his own; eloquence enough, too little wisdom; of word-echo, too, and that not ridiculous or trivial but judicious and in good taste: expert in simulation and dissimulation; that Tullius, however, made use of a most passionate figure, and one well known to orators, which grammarians call epanaphora . . . .[† 38]
2. Who on occasion more delightful to our nobler men? Who more intimate with the baser? Who at times on the good side in politics? Who a fouler enemy to this state? Who more polluted in his pleasures? Who more enduring in his labours? Who more greedy in his rapacity? Who more lavish in his prodigality? Even eight sentences in succession begin with the same word. Notice this also, if you will, and turn it over in your mind whether, compared to all the embellishment and passion, that neutral phrase—to share what he had with all—be not a blemish; for to me this seems a little too dry and commonplace.
3. After those passages of Tullius and Sallust on Catiline I thought it not wholly irrelevant to exhibit what L. Antonius . . . . says: whom besides a veteran army a great part of the young men followed with eager enthusiasm. Therefore, in using this figure you would do just what a painter, who had never tried to paint a horse . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 39]
4. The sketch of Jugurtha is as follows:
As soon as he grew up, endowed with bodily strength, a handsome person, but above all with a powerful intellect, he did not give himself up to the seductions of luxury and idleness, but, as is the way with that nation, rode, threw the dart, and challenged his peers in the race; and though he outstripped all in glory, yet was he a favourite with all. Besides he spent much time in the chase and was the first, or among the first, to strike the lion or other wild beasts, and doing the most he still said the least about himself. . . . . For Jugurtha, possessed as he was of a vigorous and eager character, when he came to know the temper of P. Scipio, who was then the Roman general, and the ways of the enemy . . . . rather than respected.
5. The qualities of a general held in the highest honour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6. Nor must the sketch of the country be left out:
The sea is stormy and harbourless; the country fruitful in grain, good for cattle, but not kindly for trees; there is a scarcity of water from rain or springs. The inhabitants are healthy in body, active, inured to toil; the majority succumb to old age, unless they perish by violence or wild beasts, for disease seldom claims a victim. It must be added that noxious animals abound.
7. Then he goes on as follows with no little skill:
He turned his thoughts to Adherbal's kingdom: himself daring, warlike, but he whom he was to assail quiet, unwarlike, of a gentle disposition, at the mercy of any attack, the victim rather than the cause of fear.
8. This of the consul's generalship:
For our consul had many excellent endowments of body and mind, but avarice was a clog upon them all: he was inured to toils, enterprising in character, but wary enough, no novice in war, and undaunted in the face of danger and surprises.
9. Then the demoralized soldiery:
The army handed over to the general, Spurius Albinus the proconsul, was without energy or warlike spirit, inured neither to danger nor toil, quicker with a word than a blow, spoiler of the allies and itself the spoil of the enemy, kept in no obedience or discipline. So by their bad morale they brought their new commander more anxiety than they gave him support or confidence by their numbers.
10. Growth of effeminacy:
For Albinus, dismayed by the disaster to his brother Aulus and his army, resolved not to stir out of his province for such time of summer campaigning as he was in command, and kept the soldiers for the most part in a stationary camp, except when the stench or want of forage compelled a move. But the camp was not fortified, nor regular watches posted according to the rules of war; the soldier absented himself from duty as he pleased. Camp-followers mingled with the soldiers and went in and out day and night, and wandered about robbing the countryside, forcing their way into the farmhouses, vying with one another in carrying off cattle and slaves, which they exchanged with the dealers for imported wine and other suchlike things; not content with this, they sold the state allowance of corn and bought bread for daily consumption: in a word, all the evil effects of idleness and luxury, which can be expressed or imagined, were to be met with in that army, and others besides. But in these difficult circumstances I find that Metellus proved himself a great and wise man no less than in the field, so just a mean did he keep between a pandering to popularity and undue severity . . . . and in a short time he restored the discipline of the army.
11. Then a sketch of Marius:
About the same time when Marius, who chanced to be at Utica, was sacrificing to the Gods, the diviner had announced that "great and wondrous things were presaged; let him therefore rely on the Gods and carry through what he had in mind: let him put fortune to the touch as often as he would; all would turn out well." Now, for a long time past Marius had been fired with an intense desire to be consul . . . . had not ventured to sue for the consulship.
12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
At the same time the consul, as though no duty was delegated, saw to everything himself, was present everywhere, giving praise, giving blame where due. Himself armed and alert, he forced his soldiers to be so likewise; and he shelved no less caution in fortifying camps and in posting at the gates a watch from the legionaries of the cohort, and in front of the camp from the auxiliary cavalry, than in making marches; he stationed others besides above the rampart in entrenchments, and went the rounds of the watch in person, not so much from any doubt that what he had ordered would be done, as that the soldiers might endure cheerfully toils which they saw shared by their leader: . . . . conducted with dignity and success.
13. But that is the sketch of a commander: listen to some things also in a more sensuous strain:
Among these was Sempronia, who had done many deeds that often shewed the daring of a man. Here was a woman sufficiently happy in her birth and her beauty, not to mention in her husband and children; she was learned in Greek and Latin literature; she could sing and dance more attractively than was required by an honest woman; and there were many other things which minister to luxury. But she valued everything more . . . . than solicited by them.
14. By these events the state was stirred to its depths, and the face of the city transformed for us: from the height of luxury and licentiousness, the outcome of a long-standing peace, all were suddenly seized with gloom; there was hurry, there was confusion, and no place, no person, was quite trusted; they were not at war, they were not enjoying peace; each man made his own alarm the measure of his danger. Moreover the women, unused to the fear of war, by reason of the greatness of the state, worried themselves, raised suppliant hands to heaven, bemoaned their little children, questioned everything, quaked at every rumour, snatched at every bit of news, and forgetting their pride and their pleasures, were despondent for themselves and their country.
15. Sketch of the insubordination of the people and their excesses:
For in a state those who have no wealth of their own invariably envy the better classes, glorify the bad, hate what is old, hanker after change; from discontent with their own condition, they are eager for a revolution; disorder and public discord provide them with subsistence without any effort of their own, since poverty is easily maintained without loss.[† 40]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Aufidius Victorinus, greeting.
Antoninus Aquila is a learned man and an eloquent. But should you say, Have you heard him declaim? no, of a truth, I myself have not, but I take it in trust on the assurance of the most learned and honourable men and very dear friends of mine, who I am perfectly certain are both able to judge correctly, and bear witness to what they really think.
I would wish you, honoured son, to use your influence to get him an appointment as public instructor of youth in some state within your province. I ask this earnestly of you, for I would have favour shewn to Aquila for their sake who interest themselves so diligently in his behalf, and they would surely not so interest themselves for him, did they not think him worthy of such great interest; nor unless they greatly approved of his eloquence, would they make such a point of his being recommended to you, knowing you to be a most serious and competent judge as well of other things as especially of eloquence. I however have faith in the man's very name, shewing him to be the prince of orators, since indeed he is called Aquila.
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Aufidius Victorinus his son-in-law, greeting.
The letter, honoured son, which . . . . The Gods, if we deserve it, will deal kindly with my daughter and your wife. that all may go well, and will bless our household with children and grandchildren, and will see to it that those, who have been and shall yet be born of you. shall be like you. Daily tiffs indeed and disagreements I have with our little Victorinus or our little Fronto. While you never ask any reward of any one for act or speech. your little Fronto prattles no word more readily or more constantly than this Da (Give). I on my part do my best to supply him with scraps of paper and little tablets, things which I wish him to want. Some signs, however, even of his grandfather's characteristics he does shew. He is very fond of grapes: it was the very first food he sucked down, and for whole days almost he did not cease licking a grape with his tongue or kissing it with his lips and mumbling it with his gums and amusing himself with it. He is also devoted to little birds; he delights in chickens, young pigeons, and sparrows. I have often heard from those who were my tutors and masters that I had from my earliest infancy a passion for such things. As for my penchant, however, for partridges in my old age, there is no one who knows me ever so slightly but is aware of that. For there is no deed or word of mine that I would wish to keep secret from others. Nay. whatever there be in my heart of hearts I would wish all others to know as well as myself . . . .
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Aufidius Victorinus his son-in-law, greeting.
I have had severe pain in the eyes . . . . No pain or lumbago in the side or back came on. The Greeks call the back-bone ἱερὸν ὀστοῦν (the sacred bone): Suetonius Tranquillus calls it the sacred spine. For my part I would gladly not know the Greek or Latin name of a single member, if I could only live without pain in it.
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Arrius Antoninus, greeting.
. . . . . . . . He has been brought to my notice by learned men and close friends of my own, whose personal wishes rightly have the greatest weight with me. Therefore, if you love me, accord to Volumnius so much respect and opportunity of gaining your friendship, for very dear friends have enlisted my sympathy for him. Therefore I would ask you to welcome him with such kindly friendship as the great Achilles wished to shew, when he bid the son of Menoetius mix the wine stronger.
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Arrius Antoninus, greeting.
1. Health to my honoured and most dear son! just as I listen with willing and welcoming ears to those who are loudest in praise of your words and deeds in the administration of your province, so, if anyone grumbles at all or carps at it, I give him a much more critical hearing and require every detail of your acts and decisions, as one who would safeguard your reputation and good name equally with my own.
2. Volumnius Serenus of Concordia, if in what he tells me he has subtracted nothing from the truth, nor added anything to it, has every right and claim to my services as his advocate and intercessor before you. But if I seem to overstep the limits of a letter, the reason will be, that the facts of the case require some legal advocacy to be mixed up with the letter.
3. I will set forth the whole matter as Volumnius has stated it to me, and ask you at the same time as to each point, whether it is true.
Is it provided by the charter of the Colony of Concordia, that no one be made a notary except he be eligible also for the office of municipal senator? Have they all been and are they all senators, who up till now have ever been given the post of notary public at Concordia?
Was Volumnius elected notary and senator bv a resolution of the local senate? and has he made as many as four payments in respect of his senatorship?
Has he enjoyed for five and forty years all the rewards and privileges attaching to senators, at public banquets, in the senate-house, at shows? Has he dined, has he sat, has he voted as a senator?
In the case of public deputations has Volumnius been often chosen to be a deputy? Have his expenses as deputy always been voted to Volumnius from the public chest?
Again is there in the municipal registers record of a deputation on the corn supply undertaken by Volumnius at his own charges?
4. If all this that I have mentioned above has been so decreed, so paid, so done, how can you be in doubt after five and forty years whether he is a senator, who has been a notary, has paid in money in respect of his being senator, has enjoyed the privileges of being senator, has discharged its duties? And what is there, my son, what is there that you would wish more plainly proved? Since . . . . . . . .[† 41] (has enjoyed) the privileges, paid-in moneys, discharged duties.
5. After these questions and answers of mine backwards and forwards, is it not also a begging of the question . . . .[† 42] Volumnius has been accused of forcing his way into the senate illegally, since as a man temporarily banished he had no right to enter it; in that neither before his exile had he paid in all the money for his senatorship nor any since. When all this had been argued out in the lengthiest of proceedings, Lollius Urbicus, after examining the case, made no decree against Volumnius; but in place of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . reckoned in proportion to the honour, I do not see . . . . . . . . . . . .
The disgrace is not the same for a single man to receive the stigma of ignominy, as is the disgrace for a house full of children and grandchildren to be stained with infamy, for this bespattering with infamy defiles and disgraces many at once. Just as the loss is not the same in wars if a single horseman be cut down or a trireme be rammed[† 45] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6. Many laws have fixed a penalty for cutting down "happy" trees. What is this happiness of a tree? Is it not flourishing and fruit-bearing branches laden with berries and fruit? No one ever called a reed, however tall, no one ever called a bamboo happy. Is it more right that fruits and berries should count as an honour and safeguard for trees than children and grandchildren for men? . . . . . . . . a troop of Roman cavalry, a part of the senate is dishonoured in the person of one man . . . . scarcely ever have so many men lost their lives physically by lightning as will lose theirs civilly by your decision . . . .
7. He, who has preferred being to seeming good, has enjoyed far from prosperous fortune . . . . Certain it is that he who cares not to be thought virtuous does not care to be virtuous either . . . . Nor is there anyone who is greatly interested in acquiring the noble arts that is not interested to know whether he has acquired them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . but if he can grant a divorce and Gnaeus can be bereaved—that is what I doubt. For what is long can on occasion become longer, what is deep, deeper, what is numerous, more numerous. These and similar words I see admit of some latitude of increase, but nothing can become fuller than full. For surely if a cup be full, it would be useless to ask for it to be filled still more, unless you emptied some of it. For indeed, since in all business time is limited, and one time is closely associated with this business and another with that, consider in your own mind whether this case lacks the time for proving the point urged. Before that . . . . he ought to have been elected senator by the senate: he was elected; when elected he ought to have exercised his rights: he did exercise them in many ways; after exercising them he ought to have paid in money by fixed instalments: he did pay this in four times; he ought to have discharged the duties of senatorship: he did discharge them; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . whatever is added to this will be a superfluity. For when the judge is not satisfied with what ought to be sufficient to convince, there is no limit to uncertainty. As for one who starts on the right road a journey has a fixed destination and limit, so for those who get off the path it is easier to roam than to get home . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to have shut out from the senate meanwhile, in a case I will not call a good one—let us call it doubtful—a man of such advanced age, most kindly, most gentle, most learned, most dutiful.
That age, which is entitled to exemption from all duties, no law, if they are bound by a military oath . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 46] on an old man past his seventieth year you inflict a signal stain, and when, I ask, is it to be effaced? For how brief is the life left him for shaking off his dishonour and looking forward to regaining his former rank. This that you call the meanwhile, how long can he expect to hope for it? If as long as he breathes, it will be but a brief time for hope. Who delays to put the sickle to the sun-browned cornfield? and who defers the vintage when the grapes are ripe and dropping their juice? Who in fact loses time when fruits are mellowing, flowers fading, and torches burning down? Meanwhile is a word that fits the rising sun, for the setting sun the word is at once. Would that old age might put the old man off as you do . . . . Before youth, before manhood lies many a lengthy lap of life, just as days and nights may sometimes be long. Old age is a twilight that cannot last . . . . must be measured . . . .
9. Proculus . . . . that two years period . . . . . . . . . . . . for an old man whatever is meanwhile means but a mean while . . . . quashed the penalty and shortened the five years to three. For . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Proculus, a man of a disposition in all other respects easy-going and pleasure-loving, yet in passing sentence was, I think, a little too ready to punish, and too severe . . . . Many who have seemed in other matters far from taking things seriously, yet have been harsh on the bench, wishing no doubt to hide their real lack of severity under a cloak of ruthlessness put on for the purpose.
10. The two years then . . . . at last for Volumnius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . his children, grand children, son-in-law, and relations to be freed from infamy, for whom . . . . you will leave father and brothers at home. Relieve by your compassion an age which you know so well in your home and in your father . . . . and cancel . . . . that meanwhile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . had paid all the money for his senatorship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Arrius Antoninus, greeting.
I congratulate myself that for most men it is . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 47] that I am looked up to by you quite as a parent. Consequently very many who desire your favour have recourse to me. I do not give them a hearing at haphazard and without circumspection, but I lend my support to those whose petition is honest. To those, however, who wish to obtain some dishonest advantage from you, I say Impossible. That Baburiana should rather from me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . men dear to me and I would most gladly oblige them, only so far however as is compatible above and before all with a regard for your justice . . . . It seemed in keeping with your humane disposition; I took upon myself to commend Baburiana's wish to you, and I do commend it most heartily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . with regard to constructing the work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Baburiana bowed to your decision not resignedly only but even promptly and almost willingly . . . . What then does she ask which would not be worth your while to grant, and at the same time very much to Baburiana's interest to obtain . . . . payment of interest in accordance with your decision . . . . attached to the construction of the work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 48]
? 164 A.D.
Fronto to Passienus Rufus, greeting.
Aemilius Pius is endeared to me both by the refinement of his tastes and the absolute integrity of his character. I commend him to you, my brother. I am not unaware that hitherto we have not been on the terms of correspondents, though I have known of you through common friends as an excellent man and a lover of the noble arts, and you perhaps have heard me well spoken of. Yet I could find no fairer prospect of establishing a close friendship with you than the occasion of recommending to your favour an excellent young man. Love him, I beseech you: I ask this for his sake, but also for my own. For you will love me too the more, the more intimate with Pius you become. Pius knows all my heart, and how very much I desire to enter into close friendship with such men as yourself.
Fronto to Avidius Cassius, greeting.
Junius Maximus the tribune, who brought the laurelled letter, not only discharged his public mission with despatch, but also his private duty towards you with friendship, so unfailingly did he appear everywhere as the eulogist of your labours and measures and industry and vigilance. Indeed, when he came to me in my villa near the city, when I was far from well, he never ceased till nightfall telling tale after tale of your expeditions and of the discipline which you had restored and maintained up to the ancient standard; then of your unremitting vigour on the march and unerring instinct for the right moment for battle. In very truth no soldier of Plautus so vaingloriously eulogized his own merits as he did yours, only that Plautus in the case of his soldier spoke with pleasantry, while of you Maximus spoke with affection and the utmost loyalty. He deserves your love, and to profit by your patronage. Whatever you do to enhance the honour of your eulogist will redound to your own glory.
Fronto to Fulvianus, greeting.
In the matter of letters when I was vigorous . . . . From my earliest days I have paid but fitful attention to this duty and almost neglected it; and if I mistake not, there is no man who has written to his friends or answered their letters less often than myself, nor anyone[† 49] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You have an opportunity of (sending) backwards and forwards . . . . to friends and companions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nor do I think so, nor shall I ever complain. What then? Is not this often the case that one, who has long loved another, suddenly, whether from fickleness of character or by reason of the quantity of his new friends, gives up loving? You know that this has constantly occurred to quite a number ot people, but not to persons of our type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lucius Verus to Fronto
To my master, greeting.[† 50]
. . . . they subjoined to their letters. What was done, however, after I had set out you can learn from the despatches sent me by the commanders entrusted with each business. Our friend Sallustius, now called Fulvianus, will provide you with copies of them. But that you may be able also to give the reasons for my measures, I will send you my own letters as well, in which all that had to be done is clearly set forth. But if you want some sort of pictures besides, you can get them from Fulvianus. And to bring you into closer touch with the reality, I have directed Avidius Cassius and Martius Verus to draw up some memoranda for me, which I will send you, and you will be quite able from them to gauge the character of the men and their capacity, but if you wish me also to draw up a memorandum, instruct me as to the form of it which you prefer, and I will follow your directions. I am ready to fall in with any suggestions as long as my exploits are set in a bright light by you. Of course you will not overlook my speeches to the Senate and harangues to the army. I will send you also my parleys with the enemy. These will be of great assistance to you.
One thing I wish not indeed to point out to you—the pupil to his master—but to offer for your consideration, that you should dwell at length on the causes and early stages of the war, and especially our ill success in my absence. Do not be in a hurry to come to my share. Further, I think it essential to make quite clear the great superiority of the Parthians before my arrival, that the magnitude of my achievements may be manifest. Whether, then, you should give only a sketch of all this, as Thucydides did in his Narrative of the Fifty Years War, or go a little more deeply into the subject without however expatiating upon it, as you would upon mine in the sequel, it is for you to decide.
In short, my achievements, whatsoever their character, are no greater, of course, than they actually are, but they can be made to seem as great as you would have them seem.
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus
To my Lord Antoninus Augustus.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[† 51] and to the great exploits of your brother a history written in no perfunctory spirit would be likely to add some interest and celebrity, just as the blowing even of a light breeze can fan a fire however great.
As soon as your brother sends me his memoranda, I will undertake the writing of a full account, provided however that this, which I send as a foretaste, finds favour . . . . . . . .[† 52]
Preamble to History
Fronto to Lucius Verus.
1. . . . . . . . . these great exploits wrought by you such as Achilles himself would fain have wrought and Homer written . . . . . . . . . . . . I am quite afraid that through some novelty and unusualness . . . . I shall have sung something not accordant with songs and measures . . . .
2. . . . . Sallust . . .: In fact their natural gifts, however rich, would have been of no avail had they not concerned themselves with the writing of their splendid achievements, and likewise were not their talents as writers on a par with the greatness of the deeds . . . . . . . . The labours of Hercules famous, if not as facts also, (yet) by way of teaching . . . .
3. Indeed for speech and action alike the reputation of Porcius Cato stands far the highest of all . . . . Nature the mother of invention: in the equipment of ships God (supplied) the wings of a bird, for man to imitate them by having an eye on nature; the oar therefore is copied from nature . . . .
So the acute Cato, worthy of being honoured with statues in every city, gives the Agrigentines ploughs. He shed light on the earliest history of man and the races of the Italian name and the origins of the Italian cities and the childhood of the first inhabitants . . . . . . . . This Xenophon served campaigns as a volunteer under Cyrus . . . . All the leisure left to him from his campaigns he devoted to hunting . . . . . . . .
4. . . . .The Empire of the Roman People was advanced beyond the hostile rivers by the Emperor Trajan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To the lover silence is free and carries no blame. For all other mortals tell present-day lies, but the lies of writers deserve a reprobation as everlasting as their memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5. . . . . The power of the Macedonians swelling like a torrent with mighty force in a brief day fell away to nothing: and their empire was extinguished in the lifetime of a single generation. For those portions which were held by the companions and friends of Alexander deserve the name of satrapies rather than of kingdoms . . . .
6. Not one of them anywhere has a town or permanent dwelling or settled home: they owe their freedom to their poverty, for he who goes about to subjugate the poor gets but a barren return for his labour . . . . wandering, roving, with no fixed goal of their march, the end of which depends not on locality but on nightfall . . . .
7. . . . . (those nations whose) plundering raids have caused disasters I class as brigands rather than as enemies. The Parthians alone of mankind have sustained against the Roman People the role of enemy in a fashion never to be despised, as is sufficiently shewn, not only by the disaster to Crassus, and the shameful flight of Antonius, but by the slaughter of a general with his army, under the leadership even of Trajan, the stoutest of Emperors, and by the retreat, by no means unharassed or without loss, of that emperor as he retired to celebrate his triumph.
8. I will proceed then to compare with one another, in respect to the forces of either leader and either occasion, the two most memorable wars against the Parthians fought with like success in our time, not forgetting withal that the doughty deeds of the living are listened to in a more grudging, of the dead in a more generous, spirit; that the past are regarded with partiality, the present with envy. For as long as a man lives snarling envy is ever at his side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . As soon as ever the state called for a great leader, that is to say a man who was equal to the task before him, there appeared one who was more war-like than all the leaders reared in the needy homes of Arpinum or the hardy ways of Nursia . . . . Parthians stained with Roman blood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . an enemy of old, resolved and dangerous, and prepared to meet the Romans, trained in wars verily from ambush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . when he was hurried headlong into daring any wicked deed, no crime more outrageous being now left for him to dare.
9. Then besides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . He set out for the war with tried soldiers who held the Parthian enemy in contempt, making light of the impact of their arrows compared with the gaping wounds inflicted by the scythes of the Dacians. Numbers of his soldiers would the emperor call each by his own name, aye, and by any humorous nickname of the camp. Those who hung back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . with a helmet decoration or bronze or partly . . . . by military custom payments proudly gained from spoils of the enemy such as, though victorious and celebrating triumphs, he had often grudged brave men, his generals (who had served him well).
10. Lucius had either to take new citizens by a levy for the Parthian war, or out of the reserve legionaries, demoralized by dull and lax service, choose the stoutest men. For after the Emperor Trajan's time the armies were almost destitute of military training, Hadrian being energetic enough in mobilizing his friends and eloquently addressing his armies and generally in the appliances of war. Moreover he preferred to give up, rather than to hold with an army, the provinces which Trajan had taken in various wars, and which now required to be organized. Records of his progresses one can see set up in many a city of Asia and Europe, as well tombs built of stone as many others.
He made his way not only into frozen lands, but also into others of a southern situation, to the advantage of those provinces which, lying beyond the Euphrates and the Danube, Trajan had annexed to the Roman Empire with the hope that he could add them to Moesia and the province of Asia. These entire provinces, Dacia and the parts lost by the Parthians, Hadrian voluntarily restored. His armies in Asia he amused with "sallies" in the camp instead of with swords and shields: a general the like of him the army never afterwards saw.
11. The same devotion to peace is said to have withheld him from action absolutely justified, so that in his freedom from empty ambition he is clearly comparable in all the line of Roman Emperors to Numa alone.
Peace that the state should . . . . . . . . . . . . be governed by him . . . . . . . . . . . . nor being enamoured of a new war against the Parthians, so by long unfamiliarity with fighting the Roman soldier was reduced to a cowardly condition. For as to all the arts of life, so especially to the business of war, is sloth fatal. It is of the greatest importance also for soldiers to experience the ups and downs of fortune, and to take strenuous exercise in the open.
12. The most demoralized of all, however, were the Syrian soldiers, mutinous, disobedient, seldom with their units, straying in front of their prescribed posts, roving about like scouts, tipsy from noon one day to the next, unused even to carrying their arms, and, as from dislike of toil they left off one arm after another, like skirmishers and slingers half naked. Apart from scandals of this kind, they had been so cowed by unsuccessful battles as to turn their backs at the first sight of the Parthians and to listen for the trumpet as the signal for flight.
13. This great decay in military discipline Lucius took in hand as the case demanded, setting up his own energy in the service as a pattern. Marching in person at the head of his troops, he tired himself with trudging on foot quite as often as he rode on horseback; he made no more of the blazing sun than of a bright day; the choking dust he put up with like a mist; sweating under arms he minded as little as sweating at athletics; he left his head exposed to sun and shower and hail and snow, and unprotected even against missiles; he was careful to inspect the soldiers in the field, and go the round of the sick; he visited the soldiers' quarters with no unobservant eye; cast a casual but keen glance at the Syrians' dandy ways and the gaucheries of the Pannonians; from each man's manner of life he divined his character. After all his business done, he took a belated bath himself: his table plain, his food the common camp-fare; his drink the wine of the locality, the water of the season; he keeps the first watch easily, for the last he is awake long beforehand and waiting; work is more to his taste than leisure, and his leisure he misuses for work: time not required for military duties he devotes to civil business. In a sudden emergency he has utilized boughs on occasion or leaves by way of bedding, stretching himself at times on the turf as his couch. The sleep he took was earned by toil, not wooed with silence. The more serious misdemeanours only did he punish severely, the more trifling ones he knew how not to see: he left room for repentance. For many a man corrects his own faults, while he thinks them unperceived; when he sees that they are known, he brazens them out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . through so many provinces, so many open dangers of sieges, battles, citadels, ports, and fortresses stormed, he lavished care and counsels, not luxuries, though he showered upon them a thousand spoils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
14. Lucius in the skilfulness of his measures far superior .... knew that the mail-clad troops were like finny monsters, that diving headlong in the deep sea they escape . . . . to prance about on the wide champaign. Horses without firm footing on the slippery ground, hands numbed with cold, bows limp with the rain . . . . A few days before Lucius of his own accord had sent a letter to Vologaesus to put an end to the war by agreement, if he would; but the barbarian, while he spurned the offer of peace, paid dearly for it.
This fact shews clearly how much Lucius had the lives of his soldiers at heart, ready as he was to purchase a bloodless peace at the price of his own glory. With Trajan, as many judge from the rest of his ambitions, his own glory was likely to have been dearer than the blood of his soldiers, for he often sent back disappointed the ambassadors of the Parthian king when they prayed for peace.
15. The reputation, too, of Lucius for justice and clemency was unblemished among the barbarians. Trajan was not equally cleared in the eyes of all. No one had reason to repent having trusted his kingdom and fortunes to the good faith of Lucius: it is not easy to absolve Trajan from the murder of a suppliant king Parthamasirius. For though by being the first to appeal to violence, he brought his fate upon himself in the outbreak that ensued, yet it would have been better for the good name of the Romans had a suppliant departed unharmed than been punished even justly; for in such deeds the reason of the act lies hid, the act itself is before the eyes, and it is far better to pass by an injury and have public opinion on your side than to avenge one and have it against you.
16. In either Parthian war a man of consular rank, in either case commanding an army, was put to the sword: Severianus while Lucius had at the time not even left the city; Appius, however, while Trajan was present in the East making more stringent the ferry dues for camels and horses on the Euphrates and Tigris, was slain by Arbaces in rear of the Emperor.
17. This is also brought as a charge against both equally, that they sent for actors from Rome into Syria. But assuredly as we see the tallest trees shaken the more violently by the winds, so envy attacks the greatest merits the more vindictively. For the rest, whether Trajan is to be accounted more illustrious in war or peace for my part I leave undecided, only pointing out that even Spartacus and Viriathus had considerable ability in war, whereas for the arts of peace scarcely anyone has excelled if indeed anyone has equalled Trajan in popularity with the people. These very things .... are they not in the highest degree torches to these detractions? They seem to be based on the loftiest principles of political wisdom, that the Emperor did not neglect even actors and the other performers of the stage, the circus, or the amphitheatre, knowing as he did that the Roman People are held fast by two things above all, the corn-dole and the shows, that the success of a government depends on amusements as much as more serious things; neglect of serious matters entails the greater loss, neglect of amusements the greater discontent; food-largess is a weaker incentive than shows; by largesses of food only the proletariat on the corn-register are conciliated singly and individually, whereas by the shows the whole populace is kept in good humour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . than conciliated by games and the customary pageantry of the shows. Therefore processions and couches and sacred chariots and spoils dedicated by our ancestors, elephants, urochs . . . . the Roman People has made use of shows . . . . the buzzing and predictions of many tongues. These things have been mentioned by me to refute detractors.
18. . . . . Lucius, however, himself, wherever anything had been done, wrote to the Senate despatches expressly composed to describe the state of affairs, as one who had the rehabilitation of eloquence deeply at heart . . . . . . . . If any one reads the accounts side by side, as to whether the great-grandfather or the great-grandson shall appear to be first in merit, however the question of superiority be decided, the difference will only be a family matter.
Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
To my master.
The Lord my brother desires that the speeches should be sent to him as soon as possible by me or by you. I should prefer, my master, for you to send them, and that you might have them ready at hand I have sent you the copies I have by me. I shall soon get others made which . . . . without the interposition of any great delay, will write me others. Farewell, my sweetest of masters. My love to your grandson.
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus
To my Lord.
Meanwhile send me the speeches. In looking them through I will choose two to be sent to your brother.[† 53]
Fronto to Marcus Antoninus
To my Lord.
It is in keeping with all your other kindness towards me that you wish me to oblige my Lord your brother by sending him the speeches which he asked for. I have taken the liberty of adding a third speech, that for Demostratus Petilianus, about which I have written to him as follows: I have added the speech for Demostratus, but on submitting this to your brother I learnt from him that Asclepiodotus, though he is taken to task in that speech, is not thought ill of by you. As soon as I was aware of this I did my best to have the speech suppressed. But it had already been circulated too widely to be called in. What is to be done next? What, I say, to be done, except that Asclepiodotus too since he has earned your appi obation, should become a veiy dear friend of mine also, just as by heaven Herodes and I are now on the lest of terms, in spite of the speech being extant. Farewell, my most sweet Lord.
Marcus Antoninus to Fronto
To my master, greeting.
I have just heard of your misfortune. Suffering anguish as I do when a single joint of yours aches, my master, what pain do you think I feel when it is your heart that aches? Under the shock of the news I could think of nothing else than to ask you to keep safe for me the sweetest of masters, in whom I find a greater solace for this life than you can find for your sorrow from any source.
I have not written with my own hand because after my bath in the evening even my hand was shaky. Farewell, my most delightful of masters.
On the loss of his Grandson
Fronto to Antoninus Augustus.
1. With many sorrows of this kind has Fortune afflicted me all my life long. For, not to mention my other calamities, I have lost five children under the most distressing circumstances possible to myself. For I lost all five separately, in every case an only child, suffering this series of bereavements in such a way that I never had a child born to me except while bereaved of another. So I always lost children without any left to console me and with my grief fresh upon me I begat others.
2. But I bore with more fortitude those woes by which I myself alone was racked. For my mind, struggling with my own grief, matched as in a single combat man to man, equal with equal, made a stout resistance. But no longer do I withstand a single or solitary opponent, for grief upon bitter grief is multiplied and I can no longer bear the consummation of my woes, but as my Victorinus weeps, I waste away, I melt away along with him. Often I even find fault with the immortal Gods and upbraid the Fates with reproaches.
3. Victorinus, a man of entire affection, gentleness, sincerity, and blamelessness, a man, further, conspicuous for the noblest accomplishments to be thus afflicted by his son's most untimely death, was this in any sense just or fair? If Providence does govern the world, was this too rightly provided? If all human things are determined by Destiny, ought this to have been determined by Destiny? Shall there, then, be no distinction of fortunes between the good and the bad? Have the Gods, have the Destinies no power of discrimination as to what sort of man shall be robbed of his son? Some thoroughly vicious and abandoned wretch, who had far better himself never been born, rears his children safely and leaves them at his death to survive him. Victorinus, a blameless man, is bereaved of his darling son, and yet it would have been in the highest interests of the state that as many as possible of his kind should be born. Why Providence—out upon it!—if it provides unfairly? The Destinies, they say, are called so from the word "to destine": is this to destine rightly? Now the poets assign to the Destinies distaris and threads. Surely no spinner would be so perverse and unskilful as to spin for her master's toga a heavy and knotty yarn, but for a slave's dress a fine and delicate one. For good men to be stricken with sorrow while the bad enjoy every domestic felicity—such a spinning performance by the Destinies I hold to be neither by weight nor rate.
4. Unless maybe quite another error throws us out, and through ignorance of the facts we are coveting what is evil, as though it were to our advantage, and, on the other hand, turning away from what is good, as though it were to our harm, whereas death itself, which seems grievous to all, brings rest from toil and care and trouble, and freeing us from these most wretched fetters of the Lody transports us to those serine and delightful assemblies of souls where all joys are to be found. I would more readily believe that this is so than that all human things are governed either by no Providence or by one that acts unfairly.
5. But it death be rather a matter for welcome than for mourning, the younger each one attains to it the happier must he be accounted and the greater favourite of the Gods, released as he will have been the sooner from the ills of the body, and the sooner called forth to inherit the privileges of an enfranchised soul. Yet all this, true though it be, makes little difference to us who long for our lost ones, nor does the immortality of souls bring us the slightest consolation, seeing that in this life we are bereft of our best-beloved ones. We miss the well-known gait, the voice, the features, the free air; we mourn over the pitiable face of the dead, the lips sealed, the eyes turned, the hue of life all fled. Be the immortality of the soul ever so established, that will be a theme for the disputations of philosophers, it will never assuage the yearning of a parent.
6. But however these things have been ordained from heaven, to rne indeed, for whom death is so near, they can by no means bring any lasting perplexity. Whether we are annihilated for ever, as . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I once desired, at last I was unable for grief and tears. Now it is even my darling grandson, whom I am bringing up myself in my own bosom, it is he, indeed, who more and more rends and racks my heart. For in his lineaments I behold the other whom I have lost, I seem to see a copy of his face and fancy that I hear the very echo of his voice. This is the picture that my grief conjures up of itself. But not knowing the dead child's face I fret myself away with imagining what he was like.
7. My daughter will be reasonable, she will rest upon her husband's love, and he is the best of men. He will comfort her by mingling his tears and sighs with hers, by speaking when she speaks and being silent when she is silent. It will scarce befit me, her aged father, to comfort her; for it were more fitting had I myself been the first to die. Nor would any poet's songs or philosopher's precepts avail so much to assuage my daughter's grief and soothe her pain as her husband's voice issuing from lips so dear and a heart so near her own.
8. My comfort, however, I find in my life being almost spent and death very near. When it comes, be its advent by night or by day, yet will I hail the heavens as I depart and wiat my conscience tells me I will testify, that in my long span of life I have been guilty of nothing dishonourable, shameful, or criminal; my whole life through there has not been on my side a single act of avarice or of treachery, but on the contrary many of generosity, many of friendship, many of good faith, many of loyalty, undertaken, too, often at the risk of my life. With the best of brothers I have lived in the utmost harmony, and I rejoice to see him raised by your father's kindness to the highest offices and resting in the friendship of both of you in all peace and security. The honours which I myself have attained I never coveted to gain by unworthy means. I have devoted myself to the cultivation of my mind rather than my body. I have held the pursuit of learning higher than the acquisition of wealth. I preferred to be poor rather than indebted to another's help, at the worst to be in want rather than to beg.
9. In expenditure I have never been extravagant, sometimes earned only enough to live upon. I have spoken the truth studiously, I have heard the truth gladly. I have held it better to be forgotten than to fawn, to be silent than insincere, to be a negligent friend than a diligent flatterer. It is little I have sought, not a little I have deserved. According to my means I have obliged every man. The deserving have found in me a readier, the undeserving a more quixotic, helper. Nor if I found anyone ungrateful, did that make me less willing to bestow upon him betimes all the services in my power; nor have I ever been vexed by the ungrateful . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10. I have suffered from constant and serious ill-health, my dearest Marcus. Then afflicted by the most distressing calamities I have further lost my wife, I have lost my grandson in Germany—woe is me!—I have lost my Decimanus. If I were of iron I could write no more just now.
I have sent you a book which you can take as representing all my thoughts.
Fronto to Lucius Verus
To my Lord Verus Augustus.
Worn out as I am with long-continued and more than usually distressing ill-health, and afflicted besides with the most distressing and almost uninterrupted sorrows, for in a very few months I have lost both the dearest of wives and a three-year-old grandson—though thus prostrated by these accumulated evils, I confess that I was nevertheless not a little cheered to learn that you had not forgotten me and wished for something of mine. I therefore send what my Lord your brother, acting upon your letter, has decided should be sent. I have added besides the speech for Demostratus, but on submitting this to your brother I learnt from him that Asclepiodotus, though he is taken to task in that speech, is not thought ill of by you. As soon as I was aware of this I was myself anxious to suppress the speech, but it had already been circulated too widely to be called in. What then? What then, I say, is best so be done, except that Asclepiodotus, since he has earned your approbation, should become to me also a very dear friend, just as by heaven Herodes and I are now on the best of terms, in spite of the speech being published. Besides your brother earnestly discussed with me what I am still more earnestly anxious to take in hand and, as soon as you send me your memoranda, I will take the task in hand with the best will in the world: for as to my qualifications, you who have judged me capable of it must see to that yourself.
Lucius Verus to Fronto
To my master.
You are aware I am sure, my dearest master, even if I keep silence, how keenly I feel every trouble of yours however slight. But, indeed, since you have lost simultaneously both a wife beloved through so many years, and a most sweet grandson, . . . . and you have known greater woes than I can dare to console my master for with well-turned words, but it is a father's part to pour forth a heart full of love and affection . . . . . . . . . . . . Now I will turn to the rest of your letter. I was delighted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What do you ask, my master? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . what else at all do I more learned either ask or dream of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fronto to Lucius Verus
To my Lord Verus Augustus.
Although for a long while past with this ill-health of mine it has been pain and grief for me to live on, yet when I see you return with such great glory gained by your valour, I shall not have lived in vain, nor shall I be loth to live, whatever span of life remains for me. Farewell, my Lord, whom I miss so much. Greet your mother-in-law and your children.
Lucius Verus to Fronto
To my master.
Why should I not picture to myself your joy, my master? Verily I seem to myself to see you hugging me tightly and kissing me many times affectionately . . . .
Fronto to Lucius Verus
To my Lord Verus Augustus.
. . . . the honour would be missed, whereby equally everyone hankers after any honour bestowed on others. You gave me your approval and applauded my advice, and yet for more than three or four days you could not prevail on yourself to answer me with the word greeting†; but you thought out this plan: first you bid me be admitted into your chamber: so you were able to give me a kiss without exciting anyone's jealousy, with this thought I suppose in your mind, that the privilege also of a kiss should belong to me, to whom you had entrusted the care and cultivation of your voice and speech, and that all masters of eloquence by innate right are wont to reap the reward lodged in the portals of the voice. In fine, I think that the custom of kissing was intended as an honour to eloquence. For why in greeting do we touch lips with lips rather than eyes with eyes or foreheads with foreheads or hands with hands—and yet these are more indispensable than anything else—if it be not as rendering an honour to speech? In fact, dumb animals being without speech are without kisses also. This privilege kept for me by you outweighs everything in my estimation. Many a time besides have I been sensible of the special honour which you have shewn me in word and deed. How often have you supported me with your hands, lifted me up when scarcely able to rise, and well-nigh carried me when hardly able to walk from bodily weakness! With what a cheerful and friendly countenance have you always accosted me! How readily engaged in conversation, how long continued it, how reluctantly concluded it! All which I value above measure. Just as in the inspection of entrails the smallest and most insignificant parts when laid open generally imply the greatest good-fortune, and by omens from ants and bees the greatest events are foretold, so by even the least and most trivial signs of deference and good-will, vouchsafed by the one and very Emperor, are signified, as I think, those things that are the most estimable and the most coveted among men, love and honour. Therefore all the favours I have had to ask from my Lord your brother I have preferred to ask and obtain through you.
? 166 A.D.
Fronto to Caelius Optatus, greeting.
There is a bond of the closest intimacy between Sardius Saturninus and myself through his sons, young men of the highest culture, whom I have constantly under my roof. I recommend him to you most cordially, my brother, and ask that, if any business bring him to you, you shoull judge as worthy of all respect a man very dear to me, and should befriend him with all your power.
? 166 A.D.
Fronto to Petronius Mamertinus,[† 54] greeting.
Sardius Saturninus has a son Sardius Lupus, a learned and eloquent man, introduced to the Forum from my hearth and home, instructed by me in all the noble arts, a most assiduous hearer and a very great admirer of yours, nor the less[† 55] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . with Sardius Saturninus, . . . . you should count and love (as a member of) our (family).
? 166 A.D.
Fronto to Sardius Saturninus, greeting.
I have been unable to condole with you, while the wound was still fresh, in your most terrible affliction, being myself prostrated even up till now with a dangerous illness, at which very time, when I am worn out with the depression caused by many troubles, there has come the news of the loss of our young friend whom an unjust fate has torn away, from you the best of sons, from me the most delightful of housemates. Wherefore, though I am much better in health, yet sorrow cleaves to my heart and is intensified by the anguish of our Lupus, who feels dreadfully the loss of the best of brothers. Since it would not be easy to console you, even if you were present and talking with me, I feel how difficult it is to console you when absent by letter. And I do not ask you to cease grieving—for it would be useless to ask that—but to grieve with some moderation . . . .[† 56]
? 166 A.D.
Fronto to Junius Maximus, greeting.
By our friend Ulpius . . . . (this) eulogizer of your probity and dignity, whom I desire you to send back to me speedily. For there is no one with whom I am on such intimate terms, or with whom I am wont so much to share my pursuits and love ot the noble arts. He will be still more delightful to me when we exchange our mutual reminiscences and views of you.
? 166 A.D.
Fronto to Squilla Gallicanus,[† 57] greeting.
Yours has been a happier lot, my lord brother, for you have felt nervous for your son on the spot, than mine, who have had to endure my nervousness at home. For your nervousness was easily allayed with the completion of the pleading, while I did not cease to be nervous until all my pupil housemates had brought me news of the success with which our orator had conducted the case. And you, indeed, at each separate triumph of the speech, as each sentence evoked applause, were filled with joy, while I, sitting at home, was tortured with continuous anxiety, conscious as I was of the difficulties before the pleader, yet unable to share in the praises of his pleading. Then you carried away manifold advantages besides, for you not only heard, but also saw the performer, and were delighted not by his eloquence only, but by his look and gesture. For me, though I know what he said, yet I do not know how he said it[† 58] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . He went down to the Forum noble by birth, he came back from it more noble by eloquence than by lineage . . . .
- On the Etrurian coast, twenty-four miles from Rome.
- Half-way to Alsium from Rome.
- Probably his daughter Cornificia.
- According to Plutarch, Cato preferred that statues of himself should be conspicuous by their absence.
- Not mentioned again. He would most likely be the secretary or librarian of Marcus, possibly his anagnostes or reader.
- This seems a punning reference to Quintus, the praenomen of Ennius.
- The master of the rowers (something like our bo'sun) gave them the time by the beats of a hammer or baton.
- The ager Faustianus was part of the Falernian district. Felix was a title of Faustus Sulla. Fronto is sarcastic in his allusion to Seneca, whom he disliked.
- See Plutarch On Water Animals, xxxv.
- Hor. Od. ii. x. 20.
- So Princ. Hist. ad fin..
- The choice spoils taken by a general from the general of the enemy slain in single combat.
- The rape of the Sabine women.
- So Diog. Laert. Chrys. 4. Horace (Odes, III. xxi. 11) says the same of Fronto's hero Cato.
- Dio, lxxi. 6, § 1 (of Marcus), νυκτὸς ἔστιν ὄτε διάζων.
- cp. Lucan, Phars. vii. 7 fll
- Probably Cornificia.
- A play on the word.
- The Parthian war broke out soon after the death of Pius. Fronto is consoling Marcus for a disaster in Armenia, when Severianus the legatus and his legion were destroyed at Elegeia in 162 by the Parthians. See also Princ. Hist. ad fin.
- July 16, 390 B.C.
- 321 B.C.
- Aug. 2, 216 B.C.
- 138 B.C.
- Apparently the defeat of Albinus in 109 B.C. is meant.
- 52 B.C.
- Longinus; see Dio, lxviii. 12.
- Maximus; see ibid, lxviii. 30, and below, Princ. Hist. ad fin.
- See Dio, lxix. 14.
- Not recorded elsewhere; but see Spart. Vit. Hadr. 5.
- The Marsians were supposed to have power over snakes: see Pliny, N.H. vii. 2; xxv. 5.
- In this gap (Ambr. 231) there was a reference to the Parthians, as we see from a marginal note.
- Trajan (?).
- Tyrant of Samos, who died 522 B.C.
- Periander, the tyrant of Corinth, had a similar dream, and Artemidorus (a writer of the time of Marcus), On Dreams, 4, said it signified great honours and riches.
- He quotes Marcus's own phrase (see above, Ad Anton. ii. 1) in the letter from Minturnae (probably), where Marcus was trying to get a little respite from the anxieties caused by the Parthian invasion of Roman provinces and the disaster at Elegeia.
- Cicero quotes this work (Brutus, 72) as meaning De ratione Latine loquendi. Caesar wrote it while crossing the Alps on his way from his winter quarters at Luca, in north Italy, to the seat of war in Gaul.
- Surely the Pro Lege Manilia; but Mai refers it to a speech on the Mithridatic War.
- Hor. Od. iv. xi. 17.
- Victorinus, who married Gratia about 160.
- Antoninus (Geminus) and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, afterwards emperor, were born on Aug. 31, 161. The former died four years later.
- The daughter of Marcus.
- So Melito in his Apology (Eus. H.E. iv. 26, § 7) calls him εὐκταῖος.
- About the year 146 Marcus devoted himself more exclusively to philosophy and neglected rhetoric (see Ad Mar. iv. 13, i. p. 216). Later he eschewed it entirely; see Thoughts, i. 7; i. 17, § 4. But there was rhetoric in his writings, and Dio, lxxi. 35, § 1, says he was "practised in rhetoric."
- Hom. Od. vi. 106 = Verg. Aen. i. 502.
- About this time Consul II. and praef. urbi. For Marcus's relations with him see Thoughts, i. 17, §§ 4, 6. Soon after this letter was written he condemned Justin Martyr and his companions to death as Christians.
- Perhaps when he entered the Senate as quaestor, but very possibly his Caesar-speech. See i. p. 19.
- The letter printed first in this edition: cp. the reference to audocia.
- cp. De Eloqu. iii. below.
- This letter is not in the collection, but cp. i. p. 39.
- These are the technical figures of rhetoric, whether of language, such as alliteration, antithesis, eto., or of thought, such as παράλειψις (= a passing by) here.
- The earthquake at Cyzicus is apparently alluded to again in the De Eloquentia 1 ad fin. It has a bearing on the date of the disputed Letter to the Commune of Asia relative to the Christians (Euseb. H.E. iv. 13; Justin, Apol. i. ad fin.).
- Adjoining the Forum. It was where the Romans voted by Curiae.
- He is referring to Cornificia's birthday.
- i.e. Antoninus Geminus, see last letter.
- See Aul. Gell xii. 1.
- Plautus uses it (Rud. III. iii. 32) of supplication to Venus, and Festus defines it as opem a sacris petere.
- Nothing more is known of this speech.
- Or, "as quickly as possible."
- The heading and title to this letter are lost, and its attribution is not certain. It reads like a letter to Marcus. Naber, following Mai, assigns it to Verus.
- Hauler says this refers to detailed work and not to size.
- Aul. Gell. vii. 14, defines gracilis of style as combining venustas and subtilitas (= Greek ἰσχνός), and says Varro attributed gracilitas to Lucilius.
- As the names go in pairs, the contrast to Sisenna must have dropped out, and longinque may belong to his vis-à-vis.
- For Cato's trick of using atque . . . atque see i. p. 152.
- Hom. Il. ii. 408.
- A Stoic philosopher friend of Pliny the younger. He committed suicide under Hadrian.
- Of Prusa, called "Golden-mouthed," orator and philosopher. He died about 117.
- Fronto's master.
- A Stoic philosopher under Nero and Vespasian.
- All this was surely addressed to Marcus and not Verus.
- Epictetus, it is said, was made lame by the cruelty of his master, Epaphroditus.
- See for an illustration the first two lines of § 2, and cp. last letter, § 2, verba multiiuga.
- The palladium was a supposed image of Pallas that fell from the sky at Troy and was carried off by the Greeks.
- In this mutilated passage Fronto is speaking of sapentia and eloquentia in connexion with a classification of human functions The officia, or essential functions of man are, he says, of two genera, and can be classified under three heads (rationes or species). The distinction of the two genera is not given in what we have. The three classes are (1) that of existence, that a man must exist and perform certain munera, e.g. eat, in order to live; (2) of quality, he must be such and such and have such and such habits and idiosyncrasies; (3) of objective or result, the two previous officia enabling him to discharge the third. This third class is concerned wholly with negotia, work done, and is self-contained. Under this comes sapientia. Since a man must live before he can be wise, a munus, like eating, is an officium of the wise man, though it has no direct connexion with his negotium, which is wisdom. Eating belongs to specis prima, which is common to all men, but wisdom to species tertia. The pursuit of eloquence comes under species secunda, whioh varies with every man.
- Probably one of Fronto's teachers, e.g. Dionysius or Athenodotus, who must have been mentioned in a lost part of the letter.
- Hom. Il. iii. 212.
- Pliny gives the story, N.H. xxxv. 36, § 12.
- This seems to imply that Marcus's eloquence, great as it is, still requires brushing and trimming up.
- cp. Marcus, Thoughts, vi. 41, etc.
- "The last infirmity of noble mind": see Plato (ap. Athen. xi. 507 D), ἔσχατον τὸν τῆς δόξης χίτῶνα· ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτῷ ἀποδυόμεθα. cp. also Tac. Agr. 9.; Hist. iv. 6; Plat. An Seni, etc., 783 d; Lucian, Peregr. 38.
- See Capit. Vit. Mar. v. 3, and Marcus, Thoughts, v. 16; vi. 12.
- For this custom see Pliny, N.H. xxi. 6.
- This may have been followed by some such sentence as "but you will have to provide for the finances of the state and see that they are husbanded."
- See i. p. 94, and cp. Hor. Ep. II. i. 52, somnia Pythagorea.
- It is by no means clear that Marcus despised words, but he did despise dialectics; see Thoughts, i. 7; vii. 67; viii. 1.
- "Have you lost your horns?" If "yes," then you had horns; if "no," then you still have them.
- "How many grains make a heap?" Do two, or three, or what exact number? As heap is an indefinite term, the answer cannot be given in any definite number of grains. See Hor. Ep. II. i. 47, Elusus ratione ruentis acervi.
- "If a man says he is lying, is he lying or speaking the truth?"
For these fallacies see Diog. Laert. Euclides, iv., and Zeller, Socrates, ch. xii.
- Lit. twisted, or intricate, and entangling.
- A captious disputant who made use of the horn-dilemma. Cicero mentions him with Diodorus, and speaks of his contorta sophismata. See next page.
- These words mean to amplify, divide, treat fully, recapitulate, hark back, make the application, introduce characters.
- The epitaph of Epictetus was: I Epictetus was by name | Who now lie here, | As Irus poor, a slave, and lame | And to the Immortals dear.
- i.e. Pericles. See Cic. De Orat. iii. 34; Orat. iv. 15.
- He was swallowed up by an earthquake, while trying to escape from the disastrous expedition against Thebes. There seems to be a reference to the Cyzicus earthquake in 162.
- The position of this sentence is not certain. Braknmn says it comes two sentences lower down.
- Lucr. i. 925.
- A great part of this letter has obviously been lost.
- See Aulus Gellius, i. 12. This paragraph seems rather out of place. It has much affinity with the similar passage in De Orationibus, ad. med. below.
- Reading luco, we must translate "of whisperers, or warblers, in the grove of eloquence."
- The evolution of eloquence just given.
- See i. p. 217, Ad M. Caes. iv. 13, and cp. Thoughts, i. 7 and 17, §4.
- i.e. apparently paraphrasing old writers by using synonymous but more striking expressions.
- The grandfather of Crassus the triumvir, called ἀγέλαστος.
- Probably Crassus Frugi, Spart. Vit. Hadr. 5.
- "New and startling thoughts." Fronto urges Marcus to aim at striking and unconventional ideas, but to be careful that they should be toned down by their setting, so as not to strike the hearers as bizarre.
- Professor Mackail takes this to mean the "new Latin" style introduced by Fronto.
- Catil. 14.
- Fronto is making fun of the dialectic method of teaching contrasted with the rhetorical.
- The dialecticians.
- He was called λεπτός (see Athen. xi. 7), and also ἀσκάλαφος, from a line in Homer (Il. ii. 512) which he often quoted.
- Capit. (Vit. Veri, 6) tells us that Verus, while on his way to Asia for the Parthian war, was taken ill at Canusium. It appears that he narrowly escaped having a stroke, such as caused his death in January, 169, at the age of thirty-nine.
- If Capit. (Vit. Ver. 6, § 7) is to be trusted, there was much need of this exhortation.
- Marcus hurried to Canusium to see him; see Capit. ibid.
- Nothing more is certainly known of him.
- Cicero (Brut. 17), following Greek precedent, separated tropes from figures. We use trope for the metaphorical use of a word.
- Perhaps in the speech Pro Bithynis mentioned below.
- Nothing is known for certain about him. He was possibly a fellow-countryman of Fronto's from Cirta.
- Nothing more is known of this speech beyond what Fronto tells us.
- A commonplace of the orators. See Cic. Tusc. ii. 7; Seneca, Ep. 66, etc.
- There was another letter to him in this collection (Naber, p. 172), but only the opening words remain (from the Index, as read by Hauler, Wien. Stud. 33, pt. 1, p. 175): Labris cius labra fovi, I kissed him lip to lip.
- Venetus may be a proper name, or = Venetianus (i.e. a partizan of the "Blues" in the Circus), or mean a Venetian.
- One of the names of Julianus, who was consul under Pius and provincial legate under Marcus.
- Possibly the master of the emperor Pertinax (see Capit. Vit. Pert. 12).
- Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Verus (161–169).
- From the fragmentary nature of the evidence, it is not easy to understand the legal points in the case alluded to in these three letters. Matidia, the great-aunt of Marcus and Faustina, had made them her heirs, but whether they were her natural heirs is not known. The codicilli were informal documents added to the will, in which directions were given to the heir as to certain gifts to be distributed by him. These were cancelled by Matidia, but certain interested parties tried to pass them off as valid. Fronto is afraid that Marcus will, for fear of benefiting himself, let them stand, in which case they might absorb more than the three-fourths of the whole property contrary to the Falcidian law, which stipulated that the heir must receive at least one-fourth of the whole inheritance. Marcus could either refuse to act as heir, or decide against the codicils, and so bring the gifts mentioned in them into his own share as residuary legatee, or let the codicils stand in spite of the seals being broken (cp, his own decision in Dig. xxviii. 4, 3, and Gaius, ii. 120 and 151). It is most likely that he took the second course, though he may also have carried out the cancelled provisions.
- See Corp. Insc. Lat. vi. 8440: T. Aurelius Egatheus Imp. Antonini Aug. Lib. a Codicillis.
- Possibly alluded to by Scaevola, one of the amici, in Dig. xxxv. 2, 36.
- cp. Sallust in Suidas s.v. Athenodotus.
- Lucius Verus, who had gone to the Parthian war.
- He chaffingly calls the letter a speech.
- This assaying of the gold (presumably the gold ornaments) was done by means of fire in a small flat vessel called a cupel.
- About £20,000.
- About £500. It is not clear whether these alumni were children of an alimentary foundation, such as the puellae Faustinianae.
- Owing to the confusion in the leaves of the Codex and their partial illegibility, it is impossible to be quite sure of the position of the various parts of this tractate, and consequently of the thread of the argument. It is obviously connected with the similar letters De Eloquentia above, being like them an appeal to Marcus not to neglect eloquence for philosophy. Little seems lost at the beginning, and Fronto enters at once on an indictment of the false eloquence of Seneca and his school, whom he accuses of trickeries and tautology, taking Lucan especially as an instance of the latter fault. He compares their mannerisms to a harpist in a cantata repeating a note again and again. He also charges such writers with meanness and slovenliness of diction, with effeminate fluency and preciosity. Turning to a speech lately delivered by Marcus, he praises him for his invention, and repeats (§ 8) what he had said in the De Eloquentia about clear and imperfect utterance. In connexion with this he refers to a treatise of Theodorus. which he had evidently used in his lessons. In § 9 an unfortunate gap obscures the trend of the argument, but we find him still discussing the Senecan style. From this he turns to the grandiloquence of a Gallic rhetor and his inappropriate use of Ennius. But the abrupt transition from Alexander to the Tiber is puzzling. In conclusion, he criticises severely an edict of Marcus and adds a warning against the debased style.
- See i. p. 140.
- The plain, austere eloquence of Cato is compared to the fruit of the wild pine (Hauler refers to Cato, R.R. xlviii. 3), as contrasted with the soft, feverish style of Seneca.
- Sergius Flavius, who, says Quintilian (Inst. viii. 3), formed many new words, some very harsh.
- Dryden, in his Essay on Dramatic Poetry, quotes the proverb aurum ex stercore colligere.
- i.e. ready to aid men; see Cic. De Legg. ii. 11, §28.
- Lucan's Pharsalia, Book I. 2 ff.
- Glories of heroes,—who by the Pontic strait,—as their monarch Pelias bade them,—seeking the Golden Fleece,—rowed forth in the well-built Argo.
- Musical plays so named from their subjects; but the names are by no means certain, and various others have been proposed instead.
- Marcus may have been alluding to himself and Lucius as the eyes of the state.
- See De Eloquentia above, 3, § 1.
- J. W. E. Pearce has suggested to me that this is the meaning of the words. A text-book on rhetoric by Theodorus seems referred to, by the rules of which Fronto judges the expressions quoted. There were two rhetoricians of this name, one of Gadara, the other of Byzantium. For the latter see Cic. Brut. 12 (in arte suitilior).
- This passage, if no other, makes impossible the suggestion of Mommsen that this treatise was written as late as 177. Fronto died, almost certainly, in 166 or 167.
- It is not known who the Censor was.
- The Senecan style.
- Probably not Favorinus, the Gallic orator of Hadrian's circle, who was a friend of Fronto's.
- i.e. in the orator's show speech on the subject.
- The Gallic orator.
- Who the Tuscan was who canalised the Tiber is not clear, nor whether the whole of this is not another extract from the rhetorician.
- cp. Verg. Aen. viii. 77. He probably followed Ennius.
- The Ovilia was a place in the Campus Marti us where the voting at the elections took place.
- Actus, a certain measure of land (see Plin. N.H. xviii. 17).
- Marcus (Ad Caes. i. 2 and v. 7) uses the word illibatus of corpus and salus, coupling it with incolumis in the latter case. Pius uses it in a rescript (Inst. Iust. i. 8, 2) with potestas. It appears, therefore, that its use with a personal subject was objectionable.
- That is, like Seneca's.
- See Index.
- This mention of Commodus is difficult. He was named Caesar in 166, but did not become emperor till 177. Though the father of Lucius Verus was Commodus, the latter could not have been called Commodus. Perperna was consul 130 B.C. There is a coin of the Gens Trebanvia extant; see Eckhel, v. 326.
- Fronto says: Follow the older writers. The Senecan style is as catching as the itch. There is purer metal in the older coins. What, not prefer a coin of Antoninus! Of course the older words are worn and discoloured with age and want careful handling to justify their use.
- From Sallust's Hist. Lib. I. says Hauler. Servius quotes the passage on Verg. Georg. ii. 209.
- Cicero seems to use it so.
- Verus is writing from Syria not long after his arrival at the seat of war, while the Parthians had not yet been definitely beaten.
- Nazarius (Paneg. xxiv. § 6) says that Varus in a panic offered the Parthian king terms which were scornfully rejected, but he means Lucius.
- A second deprecator was probably Marcus.
- The twins Lucius Aurelius Commodus and Antoninus Geminus, born at Lanuvium on August 31, 161. The latter died in 165.
- The author of De Differentiis Vocabulorum—possibly Fronto himself—explains locuples as a copia locorum. Fronto means that he has been able to see Marcus without going to Lorium, where he apparently was, in the faces of his two children.
- cp. "Thy small pipe," Shaks. Tw. N. i. 4, 32.
- Fronto seems to mean that his reply, or payment of his debt, was not made at once but followed later, as the entry in the ledger follows the transaction.
- Does Fronto mean that as the wind finds freer entrance to our bodies when the sun has caused us to lay aside our wraps, so toil makes itself more felt when joy has relaxed our energies?
- Cato (see Aul. Gell. vii. 3, 37) mentions this old law, under which the fine for certain offences was limited to half a man's property less 1000 (asses). Fronto says that, all his wishes and prayers for Marcus having been abundantly fulfilled, he is bound now to perform his part of the bargain and pay the fine due. To meet this liability he tenders his doubled love for Marcus, and does not, as was the old custom, pay with less than half his assets.
- His adoptive father Pius. Marcus's pietas is also mentioned Capit. v. § 8, vii. § 2, and Dio, lxxi. 35.
- Lucius Verus, his colleague.
- This long letter to Lucius in Syria was written on the victorious conclusion of the Armenian portion of the great Parthian war, when Lucius received the title Armeniacus. Besides flattering Lucius on the military successes, he praises the eloquence of his despatch to the senate. The rest of the letter is a glorification of eloquence, in which he includes all good literature, shewing its essential importance to the ruler and the general in the field. Unfortunately the letter is much mutilated, and many interesting passages are only partially intelligible. The last part is taken up with a comparison between Lucius's despatch and other historical documents of a similar character. The picture of the demoralised army is given again in the Principia Historia, but the restoration of discipline was the work of Avidius Cassius and Martius Verus and the other generals.
- See ii. 213.
- Dausara was near Edessa and Nicephorium on the Upper Euphrates in Mesopotamia. Artaxata was the capital of Armenia.
- Capit. (Vit. Mar. ix. § 2) says this title was bestowed on both emperors after the successful campaign of Statius Priscus in Armenia in 163, but refused at first by Marcus. It appears on his coins late in 164, and he dropped it on the death of Lucius in 169.
- A phrase found in the Elder Seneca (Controv. i.) and Quint. (Instit. i. pr.). It apparently originated with Cato.
- Fronto was a native of Cirta.
- Ventidius Bassus was enslaved as a child in the Social war. As legatus of Antony fifty years later he defeated the Parthians, and attained the unique distinction of a triumph over them.
- cp. Suet. Caes. 55. Montaigne (i. 25) speaks of "the soldier-like eloquence, as Suetonius calleth that of Caesar."
- But Josephus (Hist. of Jews, xix. 3, 5) and Tacitus (Ann. xiii. 5) speak highly of the eloquence of Gaius (i.e. Caligula).
- For Hadrian's rococo tastes see Spart. Hadr. xvi. 5.
- There was a proverb ὄνος λύρας, "an ass at the lyre." cp. Lucian, De Merc. Cond. 25: Dial. Meretr. 14; Adv. Ind. 4.
- I have given the probable meaning of the mutilated passage, aacording to Naber's view of it; cp. Min. Felix, Octavius, xviii. 6, and see Herod, iii. 84.
- He is being contrasted probably with Cato.
- Thuc. vii. 11–16.
- Sallust, Hist. iv.
- ibid. Hist. iii. The letter was from Spain; see Plutarch, Life of Sertorius, ad fin.
- ibid. Bell. Jug. 24. If arte be read, translate straitly.
- cp. Cic. Brut. 132, where he speaks of Catulus' book De Consulatu et de rebus gestis suis as written molli et Xenophonteo genere sermonis.
- For Pollio's style see Seneca, Ep. 100, 7. Marcus took a dislike to this author; see i. p. 140.
- A coin of Lucius, A.D. 164, with legend Rex Armeniis datus (Cohen, iii. 189, Plate 1), shews us Lucius giving Sohaemus the crown. He had been driven from his kingdom by the Parthians, and became senator and consul at Rome; for which see Photius, 94.
- A sarcophagus with an inscription by this Aurelius Pacorus to his brother is extant. See Corp. Inscr. Graec. 3559. Vologaesus had made him King of Armenia.
- A Lusitanian guerilla chief (147 B.C.) who defied the Romans for many years.
- A Thracian slave and gladiator who raised an insurrection and held out in Italy itself for two years. 73–71 B.C.
- cp. below, Princ. Hist. ad med. and Ad Am. i. 6.
- cp. Lucian, De Salt.: οἶ Ἀντιοχεῖς . . . πὀλις ὔρχησιν μάλιστα πρεσβεύουσα.
- We know his cursus honorum from Corp. Inscr. Laot. vi. 1549.
- Probably Q. Caecilius Metellus, called Numidicus, who conducted the war against Jugurtha in 109 B.C.; see below, Sallust, quoted Ad Anton. ii. 6.
- From an unknown work of Cato.
- Yet according to Aul. Gellius he could spend more than £3,000 on a bath (Gell xix. 10, § 4).
- cp. Capit. Pii Vit. viii. 4.
- Especially between parents and children. See i. p. 281 and Marcus, Thoughts, i. 11, and Justinian, Inst. ii. 18 pr.
- This letter, contrasting the characteristics of history and oratory in the matter of style, preserves for us long extracts from Sallust which would have been greatly appreciated if Sallust's works had been totally lost. It has not been thought necessary here to give the extracts in full.
- Sallust and Cicero
- Sallust, Catil. 5.
- Sallust, ibid.
- i.e. repetition of an emphatic word.
- Cicero, Pro Cael. 6. The passage continues: Illa vero iudices, in illo homine mirabilia fuerunt, comprehendere multos amicitia, tueri obsequio; cum omnibus communicare quod habebat; servire temporibus omnium suorum, etc.
- Sallust, Jug. 6, § 1.
- Sallust, Jug. 7, § 4-8, § 1.
- ibid. 17, § 5.
- ibid. 20 §§ 1 and 2.
- ibid. 28, § 5.
- Sallust, Jug. 44, § 1.
- ibid. 44, § 4 to end of 45.
- Sallust, Jug. 63, §§ 1-7.
- ibid. 100, §§ 3-5.
- ibid. Cat. 25.
- Sallust, Cat. 31, §§ 1-3.
- ibid. 37, § 3.
- An eminent rhetorician of Galatia; see Philost. Vit. Soph. ii., under Chrestus.
- This conventional use of Domine (cp. Domine frater, p. 244, and even, if the MS. is correct, domine magister, Ad Ant. ii. 1), is ridiculed in an epigram of the Anthologia Palatina. x. 44.
- Victorinus, the son-in-law of Fronto, was appointed legatus of Germany about 162.
- The same person, viz. Gratia, who was possibly with child. The son here mentioned must be the consul of 199 A.D., who set up an inscription to his son of the same name: M • AUFIDIO • FRONTONE • PRONEPOTI • M • CORNELII • FRONTONIS • ORATORIS • CONSULIS • MAGISTRI • IMPERATORUM • LUCI • ET • ANTONINI • NEPOTI • AUFIDI • VICTORINI • PRAEFECTI • URBI • BIS • CONSULIS • FRONTO • CONSUL • DULCISSIMO • (Corp. Inscr. Lat. xi. 6334).
- See Dio, lxxii. 11.
- Publ. Consentius, in his Ars Grammatica, p. 2031, 16 (Putsch), quotes from Fronto, et illae vestrae Athenae Dorocorthoro (Rheims), words which were probably contained in a letter to Victorinus in his province.
- An interesting personality and a relative, probably, of Pius. We have his cursus honorum in an inscription set up by the municipality of Concordia (Corp. Inscr. Lat. v. 1874). There is an inscription also set up to him at Cirta (see Dessau, 1119). Tertullian (Ad Scap. 5) gives us an interesting anecdote of him in connection with a persecution of Christians in Asia Minor, 184–5.
- Hom. Il. ix. 203. The son of Menoetius was Patroclus. Plutarch (Symp. v. 4) discusses the meaning of these words. See also Athen. x. 6. The usual texts of Homer read κέραιε.
- This letter is important for our knowledge of the status of a decurio, or municipal senator. It shews that these were elected by the whole body. The exact merits of the case at issue are obscured by the mutilation of the letter. We know from a law still preserved in the Digest that a decurio temporarily exiled for an offence not involving infamia might on his return take up his old position, but, if not a senator previously, he could only become one with the emperor's express permission. By excluding Volumnius even for a time from the senate, Antoninus might seem to affix upon him the stigma of infamy. Fronto argues that there can be no doubt he was a senator before his exile. We learn from this letter also that the decurions had to pay for their privileges. The case came under the cognizance of Antoninus as juridicus per Italiam regionis Transpadanae (see inscription quoted under the previous letter).
- In Venetia.
- He was praef. urb. in 152 and following years, when this case would have come before him. We know that he condemned certain Christians, named Ptolemaeus and Lucius, to death (Justin, Apol. ii. §§ 1 and 2). He was also governor of Britain, defeated the Brigantes, a Yorkshire tribe, and completed the Wall of Antoninus between the Forth and the Clyde. See Corp. Inscr. Lat. x. 419 (Add.).
- Marcus and Verus. Nothing further is known of the case of Lysias.
- Digest, xlvii. 7, 2; Gaius, iv. 2, etc.
- , Paul, ex Fest. p. 92.
- No one who had reached fifty-five could be forced to become a decurion; see Digest, 1. 2, 2, 8.
- There was a notable jurist named Proculus quoted in the Digest. A Cornelius Proculus is also mentioned in the Digest as the recipient of a rescript from Marcus and Verus.
- This letter seems to refer to a contract for a public building, for part of which Baburiana was responsible. Arrius had found some fault with this, or had fined B. for the work not being finished in time.
- Humanitas was beginning about this time to get the meaning humanity. See Aul. Gell. xiii. 16; Digest, xliv. 37, etc.
- There was another letter to Arrius in the Codex, but we have only its title in the Index (Naber, p. 189; Ambr. 277 or 292) and the first two words, Valerianus Clitianus.
- Possibly consul in 149, and, if so, proconsul about 164, for at this time about fifteen years separated the two offices.
- Probably a pupil of Fronto's.
- The ablest general in the Parthian war. He afterwards, in 175, revolted against Marcus, and after a six months dream of empire was assassinated.
- In token of victory on the successful termination of tht Parthian war. So in the Peninsular war our coaches ran down through the country decked with laurel when a victory had been won.
- The Miles Gloriosus.
- From the defeat of Xerxes to the Peloponnesian war. Thuc. i. 89 S.
- cp. Cic. Ad Fam. v. 12, a letter which Lucius seems to imitate. See also Pliny to Tacitus (vii. 33). m
- This is evidently a covering letter to Marcus with the Principia Historiae. The fuller account of the war was possibly, owing to Fronto's death in 166 or 167, unless Lucian (Quomodo Hist. , 19) refers to Fronto, never written.
- A preface to the history of the Parthian war which Fronto was to write from materials supplied to him by Lucius. This we may presume would have had considerable historical value. This preamble covered twenty-eight pages of the Codex. Fronto praises Lucius extravagantly, setting him even above the great Trajan. But much of the eulogy is mere rhetoric, and he seems to have had his eye on a rhetorical common place, Livy's sketch of Hannibal. The piece is too mutilated for us to be able to judge Fronto's performance fairly, but his account of the virtues and exploits of Lucius does not tally with what we learn of him elsewhere. Lucian may be referring to Fronto in his Quom. Hist. Scrib. § 19, where he ridicules the contemporary historians of the Parthian war, when he speaks of ἄλλος τις ἀοίδιμος ἐπὶ λόγων δυνάμει.
- Euphrates and Tigris.
- At Charrae in Mesopotamia, B.C. 53.
- Mark Antony, in 36.
- Maximus, mentioned again below. See Dio, lxviii. 29, 30.
- He is speaking of Trajan. See Pliny, Paneg. 15.
- See Spart. Hadr. 5 and Aug. De Civ. Dei, iv. 29.
- Such as the Moles Hadriana at Rome, and perhaps the tomb of Antinous in the Campus.
- Mai compares Livy's description of Hannibal (xxi. 24) and Pliny's Panegyric of Trajan, 13.
- Hor. Ep. I. vii. 59.
- cp. Dio, lii. 34.
- The bonitas of Lucius is mentioned several times by the historians.
- See Dio, lxviii. 17, Victor, xlviii. 10. But Pliny, Paneg. 16, defends Trajan.
- See Lucian, Pseudomant. 27, and Quom. Hist. Scrib. 21 and 25.
- Appius Maximus Santra (see Hauler, Wien. Stud. 38, 1916, p. 170). Fronto is blaming Trajan for attending to unimportant matters while his troops are attacked in the rear.
- According to Hauler's reading.
- See Capit. Vit. Veri, viii. §§ 10, 11, and for Trajan see Dio, lxviii. 24.
- cp. Juvenal, Sat. x. 78, panem at circenses.
- Added by Brakman from the Codex.
- Demostratus appears twice as an accuser of Herodes in the year 142 (for the trial see i. 60 ff.), and again in 170, as we learn from Philostratus, who also tells us that he wrote speeches against Herodes. The speech of Fronto here mentioned may also be the one against Herodes spoken of above (i. 65), but the allusion reads as if it were a recent one.
- i.e. Marcus.
- This grandson may be the one who died, aged three, in Germany (see Ad Verum, ii. 9, 10, below).
- See Marcus, Thoughts, ii. 2, 3; 13, 16; iv. 3, 32; vi. 49, etc.
- See Dio, lxxii. II.
- cp. Psalms, xvii. 14.
- Lit. task weighed or measured. It would almost do to translate it "neither in rhyme nor reason."
- cp. Marcus, Thoughts, iv. 58; ix. 2; x. 36.
- ibid. ii. 11; vi. 44.
- cp. the well-known fragment of Menander, ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος.
- Charisius, in his Ars Grammatica, quotes from Fronto's second book of letters to Antoninus: Male me, Marce, praeteritae vitae meae paenitet.
- In a letter from the fourth book of letters Ad Anton. Imp., quoted by Charisius, Ars Grammatica, ii. 197, 3 (Kiel), Fronto says Satis abundeque honorum est quos mihi cotidiano tribuis.
- He could not have been very poor; see Aul. Gellius, below.
- Some think this is the grandson's name.
- See the preceding letters De Nepote.
- Notes on the conduct of the war mentioned above, Ad Verum, ii. 3. See above, p. 194.
- Socrum cannot = socerum and mean Marcus. Faustina must therefore have been with Verus and her daughter Lucilla, but whether in Asia or in Italy is not clear. As Lucius married Lucilla in 164, he is not likely to have had more than one child yet, and in any case the children would have been too young to have a message sent them. Therefore Faustina's other children must be included in liberos, as vestros also seems to shew.
- The loss of the opening words makes it difficult to divine the meaning of the first two sentences. There had apparently been some jealousy excited among the entourage of Verus at the favour shewn to Fronto. The latter seems to have suggested some plan for obviating this, which Verus had not fallen in with, but followed another course.
- Savages rub foreheads and noses. Shaking hands could not have been unknown, as clasped right hands were a common symbol of amity and unity.
- Fronto suffered from rheumatism, but not, it appears, as his contemporary Polemo, from arthritis.
- Was legatus of Numidia in 166; this letter may be to him in his province.
- Possibly the famous jurist Ulpius Marcellus, who was one of the Consilium of Marcus.
- Fronto writes to his friend Gallicanus on the success of his son at the bar. This son was evidently one of his pupils who lived in his house (contubernales). The word dominus had come to be used as a complimentary title with filius and frater.
Select critical notesEdit
- About eight lines are lost.
- In these lacunae twelve lines are lost.
- From opportune to paravit the Codex has eleven lines not deciphered.
- Plaut. Rud. II. i. 10.
- Plaut. Mil. Glor. III. ii. 38.
- Plaut. Asin. V. iii 1. cp. cael = caelum, gau = gaudium (Ennius), and nol = nolueris (Lucilius). It was the fashion in Elizabethan times to curtail English words, e.g. sor = sorrow.
- Galen, vi. 406 (Kühn) says the same of Marcus.
- The margin of Cod. has theatrum twice, and implies that it was another reading. Capit. Vit. Pii, xi. 2 says Pius was fond of fishing.
- From Ennius's tragedy Telamon, quoted also by Cic. Tusc. iii. 13. Fronto adapts the words of Ennius, which are ad Troiam quom misi ob defendendam Graeciam. He also has mortiferum bellum.
- Twenty-six lines are lost.
- Eleven lines are missing. The names are from the margin.
- Nine lines are lost.
- Four lines are illegible.
- Thirteen lines are lost.
- There is a gap, says Naber, of 32 pp. between tenueris and nullius.
- The lost passage was on Friendship, as we learn from a marginal note.
- About a column and a half are lost in the lacunae.
- A lacuna of four pages follows to meremur in Ad Amicos, i. 12, below.
- About twenty-five letters missing.
- About ten letters lost.
- In these lacunae eight lines are lost.
- In the first gap ten letters are lost, in the second ten lines, and in the third three lines.
- Two lines lost.
- These two words are not certain.
- Perhaps ten lines are lost here.
- In the lacunae after imbribus about a quarter of a page would seem to be lost.
- A little more than a line is lost.
- Nine or ten letters lost.
- Three lines lost.
- The lacunae cover more than a column.
- The best part of a page is lost between the end of Ad Verum, ii. 1, and here.
- This word is from the margin of Cod. Mommsen says at least two leaves are lost between this word and the mutilated beginning of Ad Verum, ii. 3.
- The following letter.
- Eight lines are lost from the beginning of Vat. 14.
- Here Fronto addresses both emperors.
- From the margin, and quoted, says Hauler, from Sallust, who he asserts is mentioned in the previous lacuna.
- There is a gap in the Codex here of twelve pages, says Naber, the last being Vat. 158. The fragments he gives at the beginning of the letter do not seem to belong to it.
- Four lines are lost.
- About a hundred letters are lost.
- This letter, says Hauler (Rhein. Mus. 54, Pt. 2, p. 161), is followed by an undeciphered letter of thanks from Marcus. To this apparently belong the fragments given by Naber (p. 111; Ambr. 89, col. 2): misisti . . . nonus . . . sed quem . . . sal<utem>. It may have reference to the letters which follow Ad Antoninum, ii 7 and 8.
- Thirty-seven and a half lines are lost.
- Five lines lost.
- Eighteen lines are illegible here.
- Seven lines are lost.
- Eight lines lost.
- Three lines are lost.
- Three lines are lost.
- Two pages are lost before the next letter (III viris et Decurionibus) Ambr. 306.
- To the end of the page six lines are lost.
- Niebuhr annexes this letter to Ad Verum, ii. 10, which seems very unlikely. Mai suggests that it may be part of Ad Verum, ii. 2, which is impossible from the contents of it.
- There are twenty-four lines lost at the beginning of this letter.
- Four and a half lines lost.
- After this letter follow two letters, Domino meo and Magistro meo salutem, illegible except for a word here and there. They are contained on Ambr. 71 (Naber, p 112). Moreover the words, given by Naber, p. 107, at the beginning of Ad Anton, ii. 6 (Ambr. 143, col. 2), do not appear to belong to that letter, and I give them here as read by Brakman Vel a <te> visum quanta sollicitudinem <mihi adferant> . . . . ita deo . . . . id ago . . . . explora diligentius. They are from a letter of Fronto's and refer, perhaps, to his grief.
- The Cons. Suff. in 150 was M. Petr. Mamertinus, the father, no doubt, of the Petr. Mamertinus who married a daughter of Marcus; see Capit. Vit. Comm. vii. 5.
- There are seventeen lines from here to the end of the letter.
- Two pages are missing between this and what we have of the next letter. These contained three letters, probably like this one, letters of consolation, for the margin has consolatoriae. See Index (Naber, p. 172; Ambr. 337): (1) Iunio Maximo; Humani casus homini. . . . (2) Praecilio Pompeiano: Labris eius labra fovi. . . . (3) Sardio Saturnino: Hortatus sum constanter. . . .
- Consul in 150.
- From here to the end of the letter are twenty-six lines.