Cicero, Letters to friends 7.23
Poor old Cicero. Marcus Fadius Gallus has been buying antiques on his behalf, but Cicero doesn’t like them and thinks they cost far too much, so he writes a letter to complain. He has a particular dislike of a group of Bacchantes. (Damasippus had evidently offered to take these works of art off Cicero’s hands.)
sed velim maneat Damasippus in sententia; prorsus enim ex istis emptionibus nullam desidero; tu autem ignarus instituti mei, quanti ego genus omnino signorum omnium non aestimo, tanti ista quattuor aut quinque sumpsisti. Bacchas istas cum Musis Metelli comparas: quid simile? primum ipsas ego Musas numquam tanti putassem, atque id fecissem Musis omnibus approbantibus, sed tamen erant aptum bibliothecae studiisque nostris congruens; Bacchis vero ubi est apud me locus?
But I’d like Damasippus to remain of this opinion, as there’s absolutely none of these purchases of yours that I want. Yet you, being unaware of my habits, have got those four or five items at a price which I wouldn’t pay for all the statues in the world! You compare these Bacchantes of yours with Metellus’s Muses; what’s the similarity? In the first place I’d never have reckoned those Muses were worth so much – and I think all the Muses would approve me doing that – but it would still have been suitable for a library and appropriate for my enthusiasms. But what place is there in my house for Bacchantes?!