Pliny Writes to a Zillow Agent

Pliny, Letters 1.24 to Baebius Hispanus

“My good friend Suetonius Tranquillus wants to buy a little land which your friend is reportedly selling. I ask you to take care to make sure he buys it for a fair price. Then he will be happy he bought it. A bad purchase is always displeasing and all the more so because it seems to remind its owner of his stupidity. Many things about this property are to Suetonius’ taste, if the price is good. It is close to the city, the roads are good, it is a moderate sized house and enough land to distract him without constraining him.

It is sufficient land for a scholar lately turned owner if it relieves a heavy head and refreshes eyes while one walks the boundary and wears out a single path, becoming familiar, taking the time to learn every little vine and keeping track of every tree.

I am explaining these things to you so you will understand how much he will be in my debt and I in yours if he can purchase this small property which has all the advantages to leave him no space at all for regret.”

C. Plinius Baebio Hispano Suo S.
Tranquillus contubernalis meus vult emere agellum, quem venditare amicus tuus dicitur. Rogo cures, quanti aequum est emat; ita enim delectabit emisse. Nam mala emptio semper ingrata, eo maxime quod exprobrare stultitiam domino videtur. In hoc autem agello, si modo adriserit pretium, Tranquilli mei stomachum multa sollicitant, vicinitas urbis, opportunitas viae, mediocritas villae, modus ruris, qui avocet magis quam distringat. Scholasticis porro dominis, ut hic est, sufficit abunde tantum soli, ut relevare caput, reficere oculos, reptare per limitem unamque semitam terere omnesque viteculas suas nosse et numerare arbusculas possint. Haec tibi exposui, quo magis scires, quantum esset ille mihi ego tibi debiturus, si praediolum istud, quod commendatur his dotibus, tam salubriter emerit ut paenitentiae locum non relinquat. Vale.

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