As to the statue of Africanus--what a mass of confusion I But that was just what interested me in your letter. Do you really mean it? Does the present Metellus Scipio not know that his great-grandfather was never censor? Why, the statue placed at a high elevation in the temple of Ops had no inscription except CENS, while on the statue near the Hercules of Polycles there is also the inscription CENS, and that this is the statue of the same man is proved by attitude, dress, ring, and the likeness itself. But, by Hercules, when I observed in the group of gilded equestrian statues, placed by the present Metellus on the Capitol, a statue of Africanus with the name of Serapio inscribed under it, I thought it a mistake of the workman. I now see that it is an error of Metellus's. What a shocking historical blunder! For that about Flavius and the Fasti, if it is a blunder, is one shared in by all, and you were quite right to raise the question. I followed the opinion which runs through nearly all historians, as is often the case with Greek writers. For example, do they not all say that Eupolis, the poet of the old comedy, was thrown into the sea by Alcibiades on his voyage to Sicily? Eratosthenes disproves it: for he produces some plays exhibited by him after that date. Is that careful historian, Duris of Samos, laughed out of court because he, in common with many others, made this mistake? Has not, again, every writer affirmed that Zaleucus drew up a constitution for the Locrians? Are we on that account to regard Theophrastus as utterly discredited, because your favourite Timams attacked his statement? But not to know that one's own great-grandfather was never censor is discreditable, especially as since his consulship no Cornelius was censor in his lifetime.
As to what you say about Philotimus and the payment ot the 20,600 sestertia, I hear that Philotimus arrived in the Chersonese about the 1st of January: but as yet I have not had a word from him. The balance due to me Camillus writes me word that he has received; I don't know how much it is, and I am anxious to know. However, we will talk of this later on, and with greater advantage, perhaps, when we meet? + But, my dear Atticus, that sentence almost at the end of your letter gave me great uneasiness. For you say, "What else is there to say?" and then you go on to entreat me in most affectionate terms not to forget my vigilance, and to keep my eyes on what is going on. Have you heard any-thing about anyone? I am sure nothing of the sort has taken place. No, no, it can't be! It would never have eluded my notice, nor will it. Yet that reminder of yours, so carefully worded, seems to suggest something.
As to M. Octavius, I hereby again repeat that your answer was excellent: I could have wished it a little more positive still. For Caelius has sent me a freedman and a carefully written letter about some panthers and also a grant from the states. I have written back to say that, as to the latter, I am much vexed if my course of conduct is still obscure, amid if it is not known at Rome that not a penny has been exacted from my province except for the payment of debt; and I have explained to him that it is improper both for me to solicit the money and for him to receive it; and I have advised him (for I am really attached to him) that, after prosecuting others, he should be extra-careful as to his own conduct. As to the former request, I have said that it is inconsistent with my character that the people of Cibyra should hunt at the public expense while I am governor.
Lepta jumps for joy at your letter. it is indeed prettily written, and has placed me in a very agreeable light in his eyes. I am much obliged to your little daughter for so earnestly bidding you send me her love. It is very kind of Pilia also; but your daughter's kindness is the greater, because she sends the message to one she has never seen. Therefore pray give my love to both in return. The day on which your letter was dated, the last day of December, reminded me pleasantly of that glorious oath of mine, which I have not forgotten. I was a civilian Magnus on that day.
There's your letter completely answered! Not as you were good enough to ask, with "gold for bronze," but tit for tat. Oh, but here is another little note, which I will not leave unanswered. Lucceius, on my word, could get a good price for his Tusculan property, unless, perchance, his flute-player is a fixture (for that's his way), and I should like to know in what condition it is. Our friend Lentulus, I hear, has advertised everything for sale except his Tusculan property. I should like to see these men cleared of their embarrassments, Cestius also, and you may add Caelius, to all of whom the line applies,
"Ashamed to shrink and yet afraid to take."
I suppose you have heard of Curio's plan for recalling Memmius. Of the debt due from Egnatius of Sidicinum I am not without some hope, though it is a feeble one. Pinarius, whom you recommended to me, is seriously ill, and is being very carefully looked after by Deiotarus. So there's the answer to your note also.
Pray talk to me on paper as frequently as possible while I am at Laodicea, where I shall be up to the 15th of May: and when you reach Athens at any rate send me letter-carriers, for by that time we shall know about the business in the city and the arrangements as to the provinces, the settlement of all which has been fixed for March.