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Laelius - de Amicitia

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago



A Dialog About Friendship


To leave a comment, or read commentary on any chapter, simply click the number heading of that chapter. The password for the Commentary wiki is Laelius.


Introduction and Dedication to Atticus


1. Quintus Mucius (called Scaevola by his friends) always used to talk about his father-in-law, Gaius Laelius. Old Scaevola would reminisce about Laelius, always saying how he was such a wise man. When I was young, you see, my father took me to live with Scaevola. I was apprenticed to him, and we thought that I wouldn't ever leave the old man's side. I worked hard to remember all the things he said...he used to discuss things so wisely, always speaking to the point. I knew I could become wiser just listening to him. Then he died. I was sent to live with his cousin (who was also called Scaevola), and I would dare to say that he is the brightest of all the Romans, the wisest and the most just. But that's another story - let's return to the first Scaevola.


2. As I was saying, Scaevola would often talk about Laelius. I remember one time in particular: Scaevola was sitting with a few of his closest friends (I was there too), when an event came up in conversation that everyone had been talking about. Atticus, my dear friend, you'll remember how surprised everyone was when Publius Sulpicius and Quintus Pompeius had a falling out, especially because you were such good friends with Sulpicius. They had been very close friends; then a great hatred separated them.


3. When someone mentioned how those friends split apart, Scaevola explained to us what his father-in-law had once told him about friendship just a few days after the death of Africanus, a good friend of Laelius. I kept the main points of the speech in my mind, and now I've writen them down in this book, using my own particular style. I'm going to present this as a dialog - that way I don't have to keep writing "and then I said:", "and then he said:" - it will be just like you are there for the conversation.


Atticus, you keep encouraging me to write something about friendship. It seems to be a topic worth writing about - and not only because of its good for everyone, but especially because of our close friendship. I'm happy to do it. This way many people will learn from your question.


4. Now, in the ''Older Cato'' - the book I wrote for you about old age - I wrote as if Cato himself were speaking. No character could have been better than him to talk about old age. After all, he was an old man for a very long time, and lived his life with a flourish despite his age!

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