aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Cicero, Letters to friends 7.23

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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?!

Written by aleatorclassicus

August 5, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Cicero

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