Scr. Laodiceae fort. med. m. Mart. an. 50
CICERO IMP. PAETO1
Summum me ducem litterae tuae reddiderunt. plane nesciebam te tam peritum esse rei militaris; Pyrrhi te libros et Cineae video lectitasse. itaque obtemperare cogito praeceptis tuis; hoc amplius, navicularum habere aliquid in ora maritima. contra equitem Parthum negant ullam armaturam meliorem inveniri posse. sed quid ludimus? nescis quo cum imperatore tibi negotium sit. IIαιδείαν Kύρoυ, quam contrieram legendo, totam in hoc imperio 2explicavi. sed iocabimur alias coram, ut spero, brevi tempore.
Nunc ades ad imperandum, vel ad parendum potius; sic enim antiqui loquebantur. cum M. Fabio, quod scire te arbitror, mihi summus usus est valdeque eum diligo cum propter summam probitatem eius ac singularem modestiam tum quod in iis controversiis quas habeo cum tuis 3combibonibus Epicuri<i>s optima opera eius uti soleo. is, cum ad me Laodiceam venisset mecumque ego eum esse vellem, repente percussus est atrocissimis litteris, in quibus
Laodicea, mid March (?) 50
From Cicero, Imperator, to Paetus.
Your letter has made a first-rate general out of me. I had no idea you were such a military expert—evidently you have thumbed the treatises of Pyrrhus and Cineas.1 So I intend to follow your precepts, with one addition—I mean to keep a few boats handy on the coast. They say there’s no better weapon against Parthian cavalry! But why this frivolity? You don’t know what sort of Commander-in-Chief you have to deal with. In my command here I have put into practice the whole Education of Cyrus,2 a work which I read so often that I wore out the book. But we’ll joke another time when we meet, as soon I hope we shall.
Now stand by for orders (or rather to obey them), to use the ancient expression. I have a great deal to do with M. Fabius, as I think you know, and a great regard for him as a man of the highest integrity and unusual modesty, also because he helps me very effectively in my controversies3 with your Epicurean boozing partners. After he joined me at Laodicea and I asked him to stay with me, he received a quite appalling letter, a bolt from the blue, informing him
- 1King Pyrrhus of Epirus wrote a treatise on tactics, and his minister Cineas epitomized a work on strategy by one Aelian.
- 2Xenophon’s work on the Ideal Ruler (cf. Letters to Atticus 23 (II.3).2), much of which is concerned with the Ruler as General.
- 3Perhaps with reference to the De Republica. M. Fabius Gallus was an Epicurean and a littérateur.