Academica eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about Academica.

In the intermediate form of the Academica, the speech of Lucullus was no doubt transferred to Brutus, but as he has only such a slight connection with the work, I do not think it necessary to do much more than call attention to the fact.  I may, however, notice the close relationship in which Brutus stood to the other persons with whom we have had to deal.  He was nephew of Cato, whose half-sister Servilia was wife of Lucullus[289].  Cato was tutor to Lucullus’ son, with Cicero for a sort of adviser:  while Hortensius had married a divorced wife of Cato.  All of them were of the Senatorial party, and Cato and Brutus lived to be present, with Cicero, during the war between Pompey and Caesar.  Brutus and Cicero were both friends of Antiochus and Aristus, whose pupil Brutus was[290].

c. The Second Edition.

When Cicero dedicated the Academica to Varro, very slight alterations were necessary in the scenery and other accessories of the piece.  Cicero had a villa close to the Cuman villa of Catulus and almost within sight of Hortensius’ villa at Bauli[291].  Varro’s villa, at which the scene was now laid, was close to the Lucrine lake[292].  With regard to the feigned date of the discourse, we may observe that at the very outset of the work it is shown to be not far distant from the actual time of composition[293].  Many allusions are made to recent events, such as the utter overthrow of the Pompeian party, the death of Tullia[294], and the publication of the Hortensius[295].  Between the date of Tullia’s death and the writing of the Academica, it can be shown that Varro, Cicero and Atticus could not have met together at Cumae.  Cicero therefore for once admits into his works an impossibility in fact.  This impossibility would at once occur to Varro, and Cicero anticipates his wonder in the letter of dedication[296].

For the main facts of Varro’s life the student must be referred to the ordinary sources of information.  A short account of the points of contact between his life and that of Cicero, with a few words about his philosophical opinions, are alone needed here.  The first mention we have of Varro in any of Cicero’s writings is in itself sufficient to show his character and the impossibility of anything like friendship between the two.  Varro had done the orator some service in the trying time which came before the exile.  In writing to Atticus Cicero had eulogised Varro; and in the letter to which I refer he begs Atticus to send Varro the eulogy to read, adding “Mirabiliter moratus est, sicut nosti, [Greek:  elikta kai ouden][297].”  All the references to Varro in the letters to Atticus are in the same strain.  Cicero had to be pressed to write Varro a letter of thanks for supposed exertions in his behalf, during his exile[298].  Several passages show that Cicero refused to believe in Varro’s zeal, as reported by Atticus[299].  On Cicero’s return from exile, he and Varro remained in the same semi-friendly

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Academica from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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