Cornelius Nepos: Life of Atticus

Translated by Rev. J.S.Watson (1853).   See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The original Latin text can be found in the Latin Library.

T. Pomponius Atticus (110-32 B.C.) is best known as the intimate friend of the orator Cicero. This biography seems originally to have been part of a series of biographies of Latin historians which was written by Cornelius Nepos while Atticus was still alive.

[1] Titus Pomponius Atticus, descended from a most ancient Roman family, held the equestrian rank received in uninterrupted succession from his ancestors. 2 He had a father who was active, indulgent, and, as times then were, wealthy, as well as eminently devoted to literature; and, as he loved learning himself, he instructed his son in all branches of knowledge with which youth ought to be made acquainted. 3 In the boy, too, besides docility of disposition, there was great sweetness of voice, so that he not only imbibed rapidly what was taught him, but repeated it extremely well. He was in consequence distinguished among his companions in his boyhood, and shone forth with more lustre than his noble fellow-students could patiently bear; 4 hence he stirred them all to new exertions by his application. In the number of them were Lucius Torquatus, Caius Marius the younger, and Marcus Cicero, whom he so attached to himself by his intercourse with them, that no one was ever more dear to them.

[2] His father died at an early age. # He himself, in his youth, on account of his connexion with Publius Sulpicius, who was killed when tribune of the people, was not unapprehensive of sharing in his danger; for Anicia, Pomponius's cousin, was married to Servius, the brother of Sulpicius. 2 When he saw that the state, therefore, after the death of Sulpicius, was thrown into confusion by the disturbances of Cinna, and that no facility was allowed him of living suitably to his dignity without offending one side or the other (the feelings of the citizens being divided, as some favoured the party of Sulla and others that of Cinna) he thought it a proper time for devoting himself to his studies, and betook himself to Athens. He nevertheless, however, assisted young Marius, when declared an enemy, by such means as he could, and relieved him in his exile with money. 3 And, lest his sojourn in a foreign country should cause any detriment to his estate, he transported thither a great portion of his fortune. Here he lived in such a manner, that he was deservedly much beloved by all the Athenians; 4 for, in addition to his interest, which was great for so young a man, he relieved their public exigencies from his own property; since, when the government was obliged to borrow money, and had no fair offer of it, he always came to their aid, and in such a way, that he never received any interest of them, and never allowed them to be indebted to him longer than had been agreed upon; 5 both which modes of acting were for their advantage, for he neither suffered their debt to grow old upon them, nor to be increased by an accumulation of interest. 6 He enhanced this kindness also by other instances of liberality; for he presented the whole of the people with such a supply of corn, that seven modii of wheat (a kind of measure which is called a medimnus at Athens) were allotted to each person.

[3] He also conducted himself in such a way, that he appeared familiar with the lowest, though on a level with the highest. Hence it happened that they publicly bestowed upon him all the honours that they could, and offered to make him a citizen of Athens; an offer which he would not accept, because some are of opinion that the citizenship of Rome is forfeited by taking that of another city. 2 As long as he was among them, he prevented any statue from being erected to him; but when absent, he could not hinder it; and they accordingly raised several statues both to him and (?) Pilia, in the most sacred places, for, in their whole management of the state, they took him for their agent and adviser. 3 It was the gift of fortune, then, in the first place, that he was born in that city, above all others, in which was the seat of the empire of the world, and had it not only for his native place but for his home; and, in the next, it was a proof of his wisdom, that when he betook himself to a city which excelled all others in antiquity, politeness, and learning, he became individually dear to it beyond other men.

[4] # When Sulla arrived at Athens in his journey from Asia, he kept Pomponius in his company as long as he remained there, being charmed with the young man's politeness and knowledge; for he spoke Greek so well that he might have been thought to have been born at Athens; while there was such agreeableness in his Latin style, as to make it evident that the graces of it were natural, not acquired. He also recited verses, both in Greek and Latin, in so pleasing a manner that nothing could have been added to its attractions. 2 It was in consequence of these accomplishments that Sulla would never suffer him to be out of his company, and wanted to take him away with him to Rome. But when he endeavoured to persuade him to go, "Do not desire, I entreat you," replied Pomponius, "to lead me with you against those, with whom, that I might not bear arms against you, I quitted Italy." Sulla, commending the good feeling of the young man, directed, at his departure, that all the presents which he had received at Athens should be carried to his house.

3 # Though he resided at Athens many years, paying such attention to his property as a not unthrifty father of a family ought to pay, and devoting all the rest of his time either to literature or to the public affairs of the Athenians, he nevertheless afforded his services to his friends at Rome; 4 for he used to come to their elections, and whatever important business of theirs was brought forward, he was never found wanting on the occasion. Thus he showed a singular fidelity to Cicero in all his perils; and presented him, when he was banished from his country, with the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand sestertii. 5 And when the affairs of the Romans became tranquil, he returned to Rome, in the consulship, as I believe, of Lucius Cotta and Lucius Torquatus [ 65 B.C. ]; and the whole city of Athens observed the day of his departure in such a manner, that they testified by their tears the regret which they would afterwards feel for him.

[5] # He had an uncle, Quintus Caecilius, a Roman knight, an intimate friend of Lucius Lucullus, a rich man, but of a very morose temper, whose peevishness he bore so meekly, that he retained without interruption, to the extremity of old age, the good will of a person whom no one else could endure. In consequence, he reaped the fruit of his respectful conduct; 2 for Caecilius, at his death, adopted him by his will, and made him heir to three-fourths of his estate, from which bequest he received about ten million sestertii.

3 A sister of Atticus was married to Quintus Tullius Cicero; and Marcus Cicero had been the means of forming the connexion, a man with whom Atticus had lived in the closest intimacy from the time that they were fellow-students, in much greater intimacy, indeed, than with Quintus; whence it may be concluded that, in establishing friendship, similarity of manners has more influence than affinity. 4 He was likewise so intimate with Quintus Hortensius, who, in those times, had the highest reputation for eloquence, that it could not be decided which of the two had the greater love for him, Cicero or Hortensius; and he succeeded in effecting what was most difficult, namely, that no enmity should occur between those between whom there was emulation for such eminence, and that he himself should be the bond of union between such great men.

[6] He conducted himself in such a manner in political affairs, that he always was, and always was thought to be, on the best side; yet he did not mingle in civil tumults, because he thought that those who had plunged into them were not more under their own control than those who were tossed by the waves of the sea. 2 He aimed at no offices (though they were open to him as well through his influence as through his high standing), since they could neither be sought in the ancient method, nor be gained without violating the laws in the midst of such unrestrained extravagance of bribery, nor be exercised for the good of the country without danger in so corrupt a state of the public morals. 3 He never went to a public sale, nor ever became surety or contractor in any department of the public revenue. He accused no one, either in his own name or as a subscriber to an accusation. He never went to law about property of his own, nor was ever concerned in a trial. 4 Offers of places, under several consuls and praetors, he received in such a way as never to follow any one into his province, being content with the honour, and not solicitous to make any addition to his property; # for he would not even go into Asia with Quintus Cicero, when he might have held the office of legate under him; for he did not think it became him, after he had declined to take the praetorship, to become the attendant on a praetor. 5 In such conduct he consulted not only his dignity but his quiet; since he avoided even the suspicion of evil practices. Hence it happened that attentions received from him were more valued by all, as they saw that they were attributable to kindness, not to fear or hope.

[7] When he was about sixty years old, the civil war with Caesar broke out; but he availed himself of the privilege of his age, and went nowhere out of the city. Whatever was needful for his friends when going to Pompeius, he supplied for them out of his own property. To Pompeius himself, who was his intimate friend, he gave no offence; 2 for he had accepted no distinction from him like others, who had gained honours or wealth by his means, and of whom some followed his camp most unwillingly, and some remained at home to his great disgust. 3 But to Caesar the neutrality of Atticus was so pleasing, that when he became conqueror, and desired money from several private persons by letter, he not only forebore to trouble Atticus, but even released, at his request, his sister's son and Quintus Cicero from Pompeius' camp. Thus, by adhering to his old course of life, he avoided new dangers.

[8] Then followed the time, when, on the assassination of Caesar, the commonwealth seemed to be in the hands of [Marcus Brutus and Decimus] Brutus and Cassius, and the whole state turned towards them. 2 Atticus, at that period, conducted himself towards Brutus in such a way, that that young man was not in more familiar intercourse with any one of his own age, than with him who was so advanced in years, and not only paid him the highest honour at the council, but also at his table. 3 It was projected by some that a private fund should be formed by the Roman knights for the assassins of Caesar; a scheme which they thought might easily be accomplished if even only the leading men of that order would furnish contributions. Atticus was accordingly solicited by Caius Flavius, an intimate friend of Brutus, to consent to become a promoter of the plan. 4 But Atticus, who thought that services were to be done to friends without regard to party, and had always kept himself aloof from such schemes, replied that, "If Brutus wished to make use of any of his property, he might avail himself of it as far as it would allow; but that about that project he would never confer or join with any man." Thus that combination of a party was broken by his dissent alone. 5 Not long after, Antonius began to get the advantage; so that Brutus and Cassius, despairing of their fortune, went into exile, into the provinces which had been given them for form's sake by the consuls. 6 Atticus, who had refused to contribute with others to that party when it was prosperous, sent to Brutus, when he was cast down and retiring from Italy, a hundred thousand sestertii as a present; and, when he was parted from him, he ordered three hundred thousand to be sent to him in Epirus. Thus he neither paid greater court to Antonius when in power, nor deserted those that were in desperate circumstances.

[9] Next followed the war that was carried on at Mutina, in which, if I were only to say that he was wise, I should say less of him than I ought; for he rather proved himself divine, if a constant goodness of nature, which is neither increased nor diminished by the events of fortune, may be called divinity. 2 Antonius, being declared an enemy, had quitted Italy, nor was there any hope of bringing him back. Not only his open enemies, who were then very powerful and numerous, but also such as had lent themselves to the party opposed to him, and hoped to gain some share of praise by doing him injury, persecuted his friends, sought to deprive his wife Fulvia of all her property, and endeavoured even to get his children put to death. 3 Atticus, though he lived in intimate friendship with Cicero, and was very warmly attached to Brutus, yet would not only never give them his consent to act against Antonius, but, on the contrary, protected, as much as he could, such of his friends as fled from the city, and supplied them with whatever they wanted. 4 On Publius Volumnius, indeed, he conferred such obligations, that more could not have proceeded from a father. To Fulvia herself, too, when she was distracted with lawsuits, and troubled with great alarms, he gave his services with such constancy, that she never appeared to answer to bail without the attendance of Atticus. He was her surety in all cases, 5 and even when she had bought an estate, in her prosperous circumstances, to be paid for by a certain day, and was unable after her reverse of fortune to borrow money to discharge the debt, he came to her aid, and lent her the money without interest, and without requiring any security for the repayment, thinking it the greatest gain to be found grateful and obliging, and to show, at the same time, that it was his practice to be a friend, not to fortune but to men; 6 and when he acted in such a manner, no one could imagine that he acted for the sake of time-serving, for it entered into nobody's thoughts that Antonius could regain his authority. 7 But he gradually incurred blame from some of the nobles, because he did not seem to have sufficient hatred towards bad citizens.

[10] Being under the guidance of his own judgment, however, he considered rather what it was right for him to do, than what others would commend. On a sudden fortune was changed. When Antonius returned into Italy, every one thought that Atticus would be in great peril, on account of his close intercourse with Cicero and Brutus. 2 He accordingly withdrew from the forum on the approach of the leaders, from dread of the proscription, and lived in retirement at the house of Publius Volumnius, to whom, as we have said, he had not long before given assistance; (such were the vicissitudes of fortune in those days, that sometimes one party, and sometimes the other, was in the greatest exaltation or in the greatest peril;) and he had with him Quintus Gellius Canus, a man of the same age, and of a character very similar to his own; 3 and this also may be given as an instance of the goodness of Atticus's disposition, that he lived in such close intimacy with him whom he had known when a boy at school, that their friendship increased even to the end of their lives. 4 But Antonius, though he was moved with such hatred towards Cicero, that he showed his enmity, not only to him, but to all his friends, and resolved to proscribe them, yet, at the instance of many, was mindful of the obliging conduct of Atticus; and, after ascertaining where he was, wrote to him with his own hand, that he need be under no apprehension, but might come to him immediately; as he had excepted him and Gellius Canus, for his sake, from the number of the proscribed; 5 and that he might not fall into any danger, as the message was sent at night, he appointed him a guard. Thus Atticus, in a time of the greatest alarm, was able to save, not only himself, but him whom he held most dear; for he did not seek aid from any one for the sake of his own security only, but in conjunction with his friend; so that it might appear that he wished to endure no kind of fortune apart from him. 6 But if a pilot is extolled with the greatest praise, who saves a ship from a tempest in the midst of a rocky sea, why should not his prudence be thought of the highest character, who arrives at safety through so many and so violent civil tumults?

[11] When he had delivered himself from these troubles, he had no other care than to assist as many persons as possible, by whatever means he could. When the common people, in consequence of the rewards offered by the triumvirs, were searching for the proscribed, no one went into Epirus without finding a supply of everything; and to every one was given permission to reside there constantly. 2 After the battle of Philippi, too, and the death of Caius Cassius and Marcus Brutus, he resolved on protecting Lucius Julius Mocilla, a man of praetorian rank, and his son, as well as Aulus Torquatus, and others involved in the same ill fortune, and caused supplies of everything to be sent them from Epirus to Samothrace.

To enumerate all such acts of his would be difficult; nor is it necessary to mention them all. 3 One point we would wish to be understood, that his generosity was not timeserving or artful, 4 as may be judged from the circumstances and period in which it was shown; for he did not court the prosperous, but was always ready to succour the distressed. Servilia, for instance, the mother of Brutus, he treated with no less consideration after Brutus's death than when she was in the height of good fortune. 5 Indulging his liberality in such a manner, he incurred no enmities, since he neither injured any one, nor was he, if he received any injury, more willing to resent than to forget it. Kindnesses that he received he kept in perpetual remembrance; but such as he himself conferred, he remembered only so long as he who had received them was grateful. 6 He accordingly made it appear, to have been truly said, that "Every man's manners make his fortune." Yet he did not study his fortune before he formed himself, taking care that he might not justly suffer for any part of his conduct.

[12] By such conduct, therefore, he brought it to pass, that Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who was united in the closest intimacy with young Caesar, though, through his own interest and Caesar's influence, he had power to choose a wife from any rank whatever, fixed on a connexion with him rather than with any other, and preferred a marriage with the daughter of a Roman knight to an alliance with the most noble of women. 2 The promoter of this match (for it is not to be concealed) was Marcus Antonius, when triumvir for settling the state; but though Atticus might have increased his property by the interest of Antonius, he was so far from coveting money, that he never made use of that interest except to save his friends from danger or trouble; 3 a fact which was eminently remarkable at the time of the proscription; for when the triumvirs, according to the way in which things were then managed, had sold the property of Lucius Saufeius, a Roman knight, who was of the same age as Atticus, and who, induced by a love for the study of philosophy, had lived with him several years at Athens, and had valuable estates in Italy, it was effected by the efforts and perseverance of Atticus, that Saufeius was made acquainted by the same messenger, that "he had lost his property and had recovered it." 4 He also brought off Lucius Julius Calidus, whom I think I may truly assert to have been the most elegant poet that our age has produced since the death of Lucretius and Catullus, as well as a man of high character, and distinguished by the best intellectual accomplishments, who, in his absence, after the proscription of the knights, had been enrolled in the number of the proscribed by Publius Volumnius, the captain of Antonius's engineers, on account of his great possessions in Africa; 5 an act on the part of Atticus, of which it was hard to judge at the time, whether it were more onerous or honourable. But it was well known that the friends of Atticus, in times of danger, were not less his care in their absence than when they were present.

[13] Nor was he considered less deserving as a master of a family than as a member of the state; for though he was very rich, no man was less addicted to buying or building than he. Yet he lived in very good style, and had everything of the best; 2 for he occupied the house that had belonged to Tamphilus on the Quirinal hill, which was bequeathed to him by his uncle, and the attractions of which consisted, not in the building itself, but in the wood by which it was surrounded; for the edifice, constructed after the ancient fashion, showed more regard to convenience than expense, and Atticus made no alteration in it except such as he was obliged to make by the effects of time. 3 He kept an establishment of slaves of the best kind, if we were to judge of it by its utility, but if by its external show, scarcely coming up to mediocrity; for there were in it well-taught youths, excellent readers, and numerous transcribers of books, insomuch that there was not even a footman that could not act in either of those capacities extremely well. Other kinds of artificers, also, such as domestic necessities require, were very good there, 4 yet he had no one among them that was not born and instructed in his house; all which particulars are proofs, not only of his self-restraint, but of his attention to his affairs; for not to desire inordinately what he sees desired by many, gives proof of a man's moderation; and to procure what he requires by labour rather than by purchase, manifests no small exertion. 5 Atticus was elegant, not magnificent; polished, not extravagant; he studied, with all possible care, neatness, and not profusion. His household furniture was moderate, not superabundant, but so that it could not be considered as remarkable in either respect. 6 Nor will I omit the following particular, though I may suppose that it will be unimportant to some: that though he was a hospitable Roman knight, and invited, with no want of liberality, men of all ranks to his house, we know that he was accustomed to reckon from his day-book, as laid out in current expenses, not more than three thousand asses a month, one month with another; 7 and we relate this, not as hearsay, but as what we know, for we were often present, by reason of the intimacy between us, at his domestic arrangements.

[14] At his banquets no one ever heard any other entertainment for the ears than a reader; an entertainment which we, for our parts, think in the highest degree pleasing; nor was there ever a supper at his house without reading of some kind, that the guests might find their intellect gratified no less than their appetite, 2 for he used to invite people whose tastes were not at variance with his own. After a large addition, too, was made to his property, he made no change in his daily arrangements, or usual way of life, and exhibited such moderation, that he neither lived unhandsomely, with a fortune of two million sestertii, which he had inherited from his father, nor did he, when he had a fortune of ten million sestertii, adopt a more splendid mode of living than that with which he had commenced, but kept himself at an equal elevation in both states. 3 He had no gardens, no expensive suburban or maritime villa, nor any farm except those at Ardea and Nomentum; and his whole revenue arose from his property in Epirus and at Rome. Hence it may be seen that he was accustomed to estimate the worth of money, not by the quantity of it, but by the mode in which it was used.

[15] He would neither utter a falsehood himself, nor could he endure it in others. His courtesies, accordingly, were paid with a strict regard to veracity, just as his gravity was mingled with affability; so that it is hard to determine whether his friends' reverence or love for him were the greater. Whatever he was asked to do, he did not promise without solemnity, for he thought it the part, not of a liberal, but of a light-minded man, to promise what he would be unable to perform. 2 But in striving to effect what he had once engaged to do, he used to take so much pains, that he seemed to be engaged, not in an affair entrusted to him, but in his own. Of a matter which he had once taken in hand, he was never weary; for he thought his reputation, than which he held nothing more dear, concerned in the accomplishment of it. 3 Hence it happened that he managed all the commissions of the Ciceros, Marcus Cato, Quintus Hortensius, Aulus Torquatus, and of many Roman knights besides. It may therefore be thought certain that he declined business of state, not from indolence, but from judgment.

[16] # Of his kindness of disposition, I can give no greater proof than that, when he was young, he was greatly liked by Sulla, who was then old, and when he was old, he was much beloved by Marcus Brutus, then but young; and that with those friends of the same age as himself, Quintus Hortensius and Marcus Cicero, he lived in such a manner that it is hard to determine to which age his disposition was best adapted, 2 though Marcus Cicero loved him above all men, so that not even his brother Quintus was dearer or more closely united to him. 3 In testimony of this fact (besides the books in which Cicero mentions him, and which have been published to the world), there are sixteen books of letters, written to Atticus, which extend from his consulship to his latter days. He that reads these letters will not much require a regular history of those times; 4 for all particulars concerning the inclinations of leading men, the faults of the generals, and the revolutions in the government, are so fully stated in them that every thing is made clear; and it may be easily concluded that wisdom is in some degree divination, as Cicero not only predicted that those things would happen which took place during his life, but foretold, like a prophet, the things which are coming to pass at present.

[17] Of the affectionate disposition of Atticus towards his relatives, why should I say much, since I myself heard him proudly assert, and with truth, at the funeral of his mother, whom he buried at the age of ninety, that "he had never had occasion to be reconciled to his mother," and that "he had never been at all at variance with his sister," who was nearly of the same age with himself; 2 a proof that either no cause of complaint had happened between them, or that he was a person of such kind feelings towards his relatives, as to think it an impiety to be offended with those whom he ought to love. 3 Nor did he act thus from nature alone, though we all obey her, but from knowledge; for he had fixed in his mind the precepts of the greatest philosophers, so as to use them for the direction of his life, and not merely for ostentation.

[18] He was also a strict imitator of the customs of our ancestors, and a lover of antiquity, of which he had so exact a knowledge, that he has illustrated it throughout in the book in which he has characterized the Roman magistrates; 2 for there is no law, or peace, or war, or illustrious action of the Roman people, which is not recorded in it at its proper period, and, what was extremely difficult, he has so interwoven in it the origin of families, that we may ascertain from it the pedigrees of eminent men. 3 He has given similar accounts too, separately, in other books; as, at the request of Marcus Brutus, he specified in order the members of the Junian family, from its origin to the present age, stating who each was, from whom sprung, what offices he held, and at what time. 4 In like manner, at the request of Marcellus Claudius, he gave an account of the family of the Marcelli; at the request of Scipio Cornelius and Fabius Maximus, of that of the Fabii and Aemilii; than which books nothing can be more agreeable to those who have any desire for a knowledge of the actions of illustrious men.

5 He attempted also poetry, in order, we suppose, that he might not be without experience of the pleasure of writing it; for he has characterized in verse such men as excelled the rest of the Roman people in honour and the greatness of their achievements, 6 so that he has narrated, under each of their effigies, their actions and offices, in not more than four or five lines; and it is almost inconceivable that such important matters could have been told in so small a space. There is also a book of his written in Greek, on the consulship of Cicero.

[19] These particulars, so far, were published by me whilst Atticus was alive.

Since fortune has chosen that we should outlive him, we will now proceed with the sequel, and will show our readers by example, as far as we can, that (as we have intimated above) "it is in general a man's manners that bring him his fortune." 2 For Atticus, though content in the equestrian rank in which he was born, became united by marriage with the emperor, son of the deified [Julius], whose friendship he had previously obtained by nothing else but his elegant mode of living, by which he had charmed also other eminent men in the state, of equal birth, but of lower fortune; 3 for such prosperity attended Caesar, that fortune gave him everything that she had previously bestowed upon any one, and secured for him what no citizen of Rome had ever been able to attain. 4 Atticus had a granddaughter, the daughter of Agrippa, to whom he had married his daughter in her maidenhood; and Caesar betrothed her, when she was scarcely a year old, to Tiberius Claudius Nero, son of Drusilla, and step-son to himself; an alliance which established their friendship, and rendered their intercourse more frequent.

[20] Even before this connexion, however, Caesar not only, when he was absent from the city, never despatched letters to any one of his friends without writing to Atticus what he was doing, what, above all, he was reading, in what place he was, and how long he was going to stay in it, 2 but even when he was in Rome, and through his numberless occupations enjoyed the society of Atticus less frequently than he wished, scarcely any day passed in which he did not write to him, sometimes asking him something relating to antiquity, sometimes proposing to him some poetical question, and sometimes, by a jest, drawing from him a longer letter than ordinary. 3 Hence it was, that when the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, built in the Capitol by Romulus, was unroofed and falling down through age and neglect, Caesar, on the suggestion of Atticus, took care that it should be repaired.

4 Nor was he less frequently, when absent, addressed in letters by Marcus Antonius; so that, from the remotest parts of the earth, he gave Atticus precise information what he was doing, and what cares he had upon him. 5 How strong such attachment is, he will be easily able to judge, who can understand how much prudence is required to preserve the friendship and favour of those between whom there existed not only emulation in the highest matters, but such a mutual struggle to lessen one another as was sure to happen between Caesar and Antonius, when each of them desired to be chief, not merely of the city of Rome, but of the whole world.

[21] # After he had completed, in such a course of life, seventy-seven years, and had advanced, not less in dignity, than in favour and fortune (for he obtained many legacies on no other account than his goodness of disposition), and had also been in the enjoyment of so happy a state of health, that he had wanted no medicine for thirty years, 2 he contracted a disorder of which at first both himself and the physicians thought lightly, for they supposed it to be a dysentery, and speedy and easy remedies were proposed for it; 3 but after he had passed three months under it without any pain, except what he suffered from the means adopted for his cure, such force of the disease fell into the one intestine, that at last a putrid ulcer broke out through his loins. 4 Before this took place, and when he found that the pain was daily increasing, and that fever was superadded, he caused his son-in-law Agrippa to be called to him, and with him Lucius Cornelius Balbus and Sextus Peducaeus. 5 When he saw that they were come, he said, as he supported himself on his elbow, "How much care and diligence I have employed to restore my health on this occasion, there is no necessity for me to state at large, since I have yourselves as witneses; and since I have, as I hope, satisfied you, that I have left nothing undone that seemed likely to cure me, it remains that I consult for myself. Of this feeling on my part I had no wish that you should be ignorant; for I have determined on ceasing to feed the disease; 6 as, by the food and drink that I have taken during the last few days, I have prolonged life only so as to increase my pains without hope of recovery. I therefore entreat you, in the first place, to give your approbation to my resolution, and in the next, not to labour in vain by endeavouring to dissuade me from executing it."

[22] Having delivered this address with so much steadiness of voice and countenance, that he seemed to be removing, not out of life, but out of one house into another,- 2 when Agrippa, weeping over him and kissing him, entreated and conjured him "not to accelerate that which nature herself would bring, and, since he might live some time longer, to preserve his life for himself and his friends,"- he put a stop to his prayers, by an obstinate silence. 3 After he had accordingly abstained from food for two days, the fever suddenly left him, and the disease began to be less oppressive. He persisted, nevertheless, in executing his purpose; and in consequence, on the fifth day after he had fixed his resolution, and on the last day of March, in the consulship of Cnaeus Domitius and Caius Sosius [ 32 B.C. ], he died. 4 His body was carried out of his house on a small couch, as he himself had directed, without any funereal pomp, all the respectable portion of the people attending, and a vast crowd of the populace. He was buried close by the Appian Way, at the fifth milestone from the city, in the sepulchre of his uncle Quintus Caecilius.

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