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The character of Quintus is very remarkable. One is familiar with the domestic bully, who in the world is an obsequious sycophant. But in Quintus we have the exactly opposite type. With his friends he is
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel : the violence of his expressions* makes us feel that in his tragedies he must have 'torn the passion to tatters': in his province he is a wild beast in ferocity, though he seems to have sought to be just, and he certainly was not rapacious; he returned from Asia as poor as he left Rome; but woe to the luckless provincial who was caught tripping; the scourge was not cruel enough for Quintus, nor the axe sufficiently expeditious. Not Shakspere's Richard was more ready to cry Off with his head'! But in private life he was the humblest of men. Haec ego patior quotidie is his plaintive ejaculation when Pomponia insults him in presence of his brother Marcus, and refuses to sit at table because Quintus had sent his slave Statius on before to see if dinner were ready (Att. v. 1). No doubt the undue influence accorded to Statius in domestic matters was resented by the mistress of the household; but the paramount position of that slave seems to show that in his private life), had Quintus been emancipated from the tyranny of Pomponia, he would have experienced but a change of rulers. The letters of Marcus are full of affection towards his brother Quintus. Nor does he fail in solicitude for him and his son even after he has discovered their base treachery in seeking to prejudice him with Caesar.
T. Pomponius Atticus, who stood to Cicero in the relation which Sir Horace Mann occupied to the Cicero of English letterwriting, Sir Horace Walpole, is not a pleasing person. His persistent neutrality in politics † was a course which, though nowise reprehensible in our own times, must have been very much condemned in the days of Cicero. Yet he seems to have escaped to a great extent from adverse criticism; and, though connected with the unfortunate Sulpicius, he succeeded in living uninjured by Cinnan or Sullan, and in affording pecuniary assistance to Marius in his flight. He was intimate with the best Romans, from Sulla to Augustus; he was on good terms with both Caesar and Pompeius; he had the warm friendship of Brutus, Hortensius, and Cicero, and excited the enthusiastic admiration of Cornelius Nepos, the friend of Catullus. This he accomplished partly by availing himself of the shelter of his philosophic opinions. The Epicurean was speculatively bound to prefer the life of thought to the life of action. But he could not have preserved his complete tranquillity had he not early migrated to Athens, and there remained for about twenty years. In Athens we find him leading the life of a cultured gentleman, a recognised patron of literature and the fine arts, and recommending himself to his adopted fellow-citizens by gifts of corn, grown, no doubt, on his Epirote estate-a Roman practice which Cicero seems disposed to condemn.* As a thorough man of business, † a ready lender of money, and a literary critic of the first order, Atticus was, of course, very useful to Cicero, but no doubt the keen negotiator found not a little that was negotiable in his relations with the great littérateur. Atticus kept large numbers of librarii, or slaves who acted as copyists. These, no doubt, executed many copies of the masterpieces of Cicero, and thus contributed not a little to fill the coffers of their master. Atticus seems to have neglected none of the avenues to wealth, and even to have discovered some new ones for himself. Not only do we find him practising money-lending on a large scale, but we even read of his buying and training bands of gladiators, to be hired out to the Aediles for their public shows. And the wealth thus accumulated was preserved by a consistent parsimony in his household ménage, on which Cicero often rallies him. In Att. vi. 1, 13, he takes him to task for serving up cheap vegetables on expensive plate, and asks what would be his fare if his service were of earthenware; and in Att. xvi. 3, 1, he sends Atticus his treatise de Gloria, which he asks him to have copied on large paper, and, in suggesting that he should read it for his guests at a dinner which he was about to give, Cicero adds: “but give them a decent entertainment, an you love me; else they will vent on my treatise their indignation against you. Nepos (vit. Att. 13) says that he knows as a' fact that the amount allowed by Atticus for household expenses was 3000 asses, or about six guineas of our money, per month.
* Cicero, writing to Atticus (xv. 29, 2), says of Quintus, ego tamen suspicior hune, UT SOLET, alucinari : for examples of the violence of Quintus, see Ep. lüïi. 6, where Cicero by no means hints that his brother is in the habit of 'going off his head.'
† As regards actions at least. He had, it appears, the strongest political feelings. We are told that Atticus exclaimed periisse causam si (Cacsar) funere elatus esset.
* Att. vi. 6, 2, Heus tu nupoùs eis oņuov Athenis! Placet hoc tibi ?
† Nepos tells us (ch. 6) nullius rei neque praes neque manceps factus est. See note on Ep. xxv. $ 8.
Att. iv. 46, 2; iv. Sa, 2.
Nothing seemed more important to Atticus than to conceal as much as possible his business relations, and to appear before the world as a literary gentleman living on his estates in Epirus and elsewhere. When we find that his uncle, the odious Caecilius, from whom Cicero tells us even his own relations could not get a farthing under twelve per cent., adopted Atticus, and left him heir to a large fortune, one is a little tempted to think that the usurer Caecilius was in reality a secret partner of Atticus, taking much of the profits and all the obloquy, and not unwilling on those terms to play Jorkins to the Spenloe of his influential nephew.
One cannot much admire the character of the man who was on terms of intimate friendship with Clodius during his persecution of Cicero, and who, after the murder of Cicero, was the friend and entertainer of Fulvia, the wife of Antonius. His knowledge of business was, no doubt, of much service to Cicero; but we find that Cicero even here was able to repay him in kind. The very last letter of Cicero to Atticus* shows the keen interest which Cicero took in the material interests of his friend.
A short account of the movements of Atticus between Greece and Rome will be found in the Introduction to Parts II., III. He married Pilia in Feb. 698 (b.c. 56), at the age of 53. Of this marriage the only issue was a daughter, born 703 (b. c. 51), who was married to M. Agrippa, and whose daughter, Vipsania Agrippina, was the wife of the Emperor Tiberius. We are told that, believing that he was suffering from an incurable disease, he destroyed himself by abstaining from food for five days (vit. Att. 22).
• Att. xvi. 16.
§ 1. ON THE LETTERS THEMSELVES.
In the time of Cicero the letter was written either (1) on thin tablets of wood or ivory covered with wax, in which the letters were cut in uncial characters by the stilus, the characters being protected from defacement by the projecting rim of the tablets ; or (2), they were written on paper or parchment with a reed pen and ink. It seems to me more probable that the letters of Cicero were written in the second fashion. We have frequent allusions to charta in the letters; for instance, in Fam. vii. 18, Cicero asks Trebatius whether he wrote on a palimpsest, and if so, what could have been the writing so worthless as to make way for the letter. So in Q. Fr. ii. 14 (156), 1, it is plain that charta, calamus, and atramentum were used. The same inference is to be drawn from Att. v. 4, 4, and perhaps from the passage already adverted to above (Att. vi. 6, 4), where Cicero avails himself of the services of the copying slave of Atticus to pass off on Caelius the letter written by himself, but purporting to come from Atticus ; for Cicero's handwriting on charta with a pen would have been much more easily recognised than his uncials carved with a stilus on wax. Moreover, the use of pen and paper would be so obviously more suitable for long letters that we can hardly doubt that it was the vehicle used by Cicero for his correspondence. Nor is there any real evidence to set against the passages adduced above, for expressions like tabella, exaravi, &c., are applied to the use of pen and paper as well as to the use of cera and stilus.* When the letter was finished the tabellae were bound together by a thread, which was sealed at the knot. This seal was generally looked on as the formal guaranty of genuineness, for the handwriting was generally that of a slave, if the writer possessed sufficient means to keep a serrus a manu or ab epistolis.
* That in old times the cera and stilus were employed in letter-writing there can be no doubt. We have all the materials enumerated together, the stilus, the wax, the thread, the tablets, and the signet-ring, in Plaut. Bacch. iv. 3, 78, seq.; such phrases as ezarare and tabellae would be survivals from the ancient usage; nor is it at all improbable that chartae would be enclosed between tablets of wood or ivory and bound by a thread, so that the tabellae, even though actually thus employed, would not necessarily imply the use of the cera.
There being no postal arrangements whatever in the time of Cicero, it was necessary either to employ private messengers, or to avail oneself of the services of the tabellarii of the publicani, who were constantly travelling between Rome and the provinces.
The outside address was brief. In Att. viii. 5, 2, Cicero speaks of a packet with the superscription M'. Curio, and in a fresco &t Pompeii there is a letter directed M. Lucretio.
The letter began with simple greeting, M. Cicero s. d. (salutem dicit) M. Caelio, or s. p. d. = salutem plurimam dicit, and it seems that in a very frequent or familiar correspondence even this form was dispensed with. Cicero Attico Sal., as a heading to each letter to Atticus, is probably not genuine, for Cicero never uses the name Attice in the body of a letter until we come to the year 704 (b.c. 50) (Att. vi. 1, 20). Mi Pomponi is the nearly invariable form of address, even after the year 689 (b.c. 65), before which he must have received his surname Atticus ; therefore it is not probable that this surname was used all along by Cicero in the headings of his letters and nowhere else. These considerations have induced Boot to strike out the words CICERO ATTICO SAL. throughout; but it is probable that Cicero used some words of formal greeting, and it has therefore seemed to me better to retain these words, having first warned the reader that they cannot be looked on as certainly genuine.*
Cicero occasionally calls Atticus mi Attice (vi. 1, 20; xiv. 12, 1); sometimes, but very rarely, mi Tite (ix. 6, 5) and mi T. Pomponi (iv. 2, 5). In dedicating the De Senectute to him he writes O TITE; but in this passage he is quoting from Ennius. Cicero addresses Trebatius as mi Trebati, mi Testa, Testa mi, and in one place as mi retule (Fam. vii. 16, 1). He calls him C. Trebati in Top. i. 1, as he is dedicating his work to Trebatius; but to address his friend thus in a letter would be stiff and formal. The omission of the praenomen was a mark of close intimacy in the time of
* It has been observed that Cicero very rarely introduces the name of his correspon. dents into his letters. In the whole of the sixteen books to Atticus, containing 397 letters, he apostrophises his friend by name only 22 times. Such apostrophes are very much more frequent in the Brutine correspondence ; there are 23 in the first book of 18 letters. This is one of the arguments against the authenticity of the Brutine correspondence.