Cicero Fam. 8.7: quam cito tu istinc decedere

by Tom Gardner


quam cito tu istinc decedere cupias nescio; ego quidem eo magis, quo adhuc felicius res gessisti, dum istic eris, de belli Parthici periculo cruciabor, ne hunc risum meum metus aliqui perturbet. breviores has litteras properanti publicanorum tabellario subito dedi; tuo liberto pluribus verbis scriptas pridie dederam.

res autem novae nullae sane acciderunt, nisi haec vis tibi scribi, quae certe vis: Cornificius adulescens Orestillae filiam sibi despondit; Paula Valeria, soror Triari, divortium sine causa, quo die vir e provincia venturus erat, fecit nuptura est D. Bruto. mundum rettuleras. multa in hoc genere incredibilia te absente acciderunt. Servius Ocella nemini persuasisset se moechum esse, nisi triduo bis deprensus esset. quaeres, ubi. Ubi hercules ego minime vellem. relinquo tibi quod ab aliis quaeras; neque enim displicet mihi imperatorem singulos percontari cum qua sit aliqui deprensus.

Caelius to Cicero. Rome, 50 BC.

I don’t know how soon you wish to leave from where you are. I for one, am tormented all the more by the danger of a Parthian war when your achievements have been more successful to this point, for fear that some dread should disturb this laughter I have. This letter is shorter than usual, but I gave it to a messenger of the publicani who was in a hurry; yesterday I gave a longer letter to your freedman.

What’s more, nothing new has happened at all, unless you want me to tell you these little tidbits (which I’m sure you do). Cornificius promised Orestilla he’d marry his daughter! And Paula Valeria (Triarus’ daughter), got a divorce without cause, on the day that her husband left his province, so that she could marry Decimus Brutus. She gave him back her whole wardrobe.

Lots of these incredible things have happened in your absence. Servius Ocella wouldn’t have convinced anyone that he wasn’t an adulterer if he hadn’t been caught in the act twice in three days! Where, you ask? God, it was the very last place I would want. I’ll leave that one for others to tell. And I quite like the idea of a general interrogating one person after another about which woman’s someone been caught with.