Classical Quarterly 42 (01):279- (1992)

In his prefatory epistle dedicating his Naturalis Historia to Vespasian, the elder Pliny takes great pains to plead that his magnum opus is unworthy of the emperor: ‘maiorem te sciebam, quam ut descensurum hue putarem’ . Continuing in this vein, Pliny goes on to say ‘praeterea est quaedam publica etiam eruditorum reiectio’, and appeals for support to the great Cicero: ‘utitur ilia et M. Tullius extra omnem ingenii aleam positus, et, quod miremur, per aduocatum defenditur’ . Cicero's aduocatus is the satirist Lucilius, from whom a mangled fragment in trochaic septenarii is then quoted: ‘nec doctissimis. Manium Persium haec legere nolo, Iunium Congum uolo.’ The sense of this fragment, which Pliny very probably quoted from the now-lost beginning of Cicero's preface to his De Re Publica, can be restored from Cicero, De Oratore 2.25: ‘nam ut C. Lucilius…dicere solebat ea quae scriberet neque ab indoctissimis se neque a doctissimis legi uelle, quod alteri nihil intelligerent, alteri plus fortasse quam ipse; quo etiam scripsit “Persium non curo legere” , “Laelium Decimum uolo” : sic ego…’. This latter passage has allowed the former to be restored, to some extent exempli gratia, to the following form in Warmington's and Krenkel's editions of Lucilius
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800042804
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