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Sed ante alias dilexit Marci Bruti matrem Serviliam, cui et primo suo consulatu sexagiens sestertium margaritam mercatus est et bello civili super alias donationes amplissima prædia ex auctionibus hastæ minimo addixit; cum quidem plerisque vilitatem mirantibus facetissime Cicero: “Quo melius,” inquit, “emptum sciatis, tertia deducta;” existimabatur enim Servilia etiam filiam suam Tertiam Cæsari conciliare.
Above all others, [Caesar] loved Servilia, who was the mother of Marcus Brutus, and in his first consulship he bought for her a pearl costing six million sesterces. During the civil war, he acquired some fine estates for her in a public auction at a nominal price and when some expressed their surprise at the low figure, Cicero quipped: “It’s a better bargain than you think, for he got a third off” [alternate meaning: "he seduced Tertia"]. And in fact it was thought that Servilia was pimping her own daughter Tertia to Caesar.
–Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De vita xii Cæsarum, Divus Julius, bk i, sec l (ca. 119 CE) in the Loeb Classical Library ed., vol. 31, p. 68(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”