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Cicero. (106 B.C.–43 B.C.). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Puteoli, 21 December

XXIX. To Atticus (At Rome)

WELL, I have no reason after all to repent my formidable guest! For he made himself exceedingly pleasant. But on his arrival at the villa of Philippus on the evening of the second day of the Saturnalia, the villa was so choke-full of soldiers that there was scarcely a dining-room left for Cæsar himself to dine in. Two thousand men, if you please! I was in a great taking as to what was to happen the next day; and so Cassius Barba came to my aid and gave me guards. A camp was pitched in the open, the villa was put in a state of defence. He stayed with Philippus on the third day of the Saturnalia till one o’clock, without admitting anyone. He was engaged on his accounts, I think, with Balbus. Then he took a walk on the beach. After two he went to the bath. Then he heard about Mamurra without changing countenance. He was anointed: took his place at the table. He was under a course of emetics, and so ate and drank without scruple and as suited his taste. It was a very good dinner, and well served, and not only so, but
        “Well cooked, well seasoned food, with rare discourse:
A banquet in a word to cheer the heart.”
Besides this, the staff were entertained in three rooms in a very liberal style. The freedmen of lower rank and the slaves had everything they could want. But the upper sort had a really recherché dinner. In fact, I shewed that I was somebody. However, he is not a guest to whom one would say, “Pray look me up again on your way back.” Once is enough. We didn’t say a word about politics. There was plenty of literary talk. In short, he was pleased and enjoyed himself. He said he should stay one day at Puteoli, another at Baiæ. That’s the story of the entertainment, or I might call it the billeting on me—trying to the temper, but not seriously inconvenient. I am staying on here for a short time and then go to Tusculum. When he was passing Dolabella’s villa, the whole guard formed up on the right and left of his horse, and nowhere else. This I was told by Nicias.