Email to Class: Instructor is Sick; Aurelius: I’m Dying

Marcus Aurelius to Fronto, Lorium 145-7 CE

“My teacher,

You must be messing with me, but you have sent me extraordinary worry and egregious anguish, the most severe pain and the hottest fever with your letter, so that I cannot eat, sleep or even study.

While you might find some relief in your speech today, what can I do when I have lost the pleasure of hearing it and I fear that you may come a bit late to Lorium and I am in pain because you are in pain?

Farewell my teacher, whose health makes my health untroubled and secure.”

| Magistro meo.

Ludis tu quidem, at mihi peramplam anxietatem et summam aegritudinem, <acerbissimum> dolorem, et ignem flagrantissimum litteris his tuis misisti, ne cenare, ne dormire, ne denique studere libeat. Verum tu orationis hodiernae tuae habeas aliquod solacium; at | ego quid faciam? qui et auditionis iam voluptatem consumpsi, et metuo ne Lorium tardiuscule venias, et doleo quod interim doles. Vale, mi magister, cuius salus meam salutem inlibatam et incolumem facit.

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c. 1480, Yates Thompson 7, f. 174r

Away Messages? Ancient Advice On Getting Someone To Respond to Your Email

Here is a model letter from Libanius (1 in the Loeb; 15 in the Foerster Teubner). Yes, Libanius is (allegedly) writing a letter about how he is no longer going to write letters.

1 To Zenobius

“I have decided to fight silence with silence. Indeed, I do still understand that this penalty falls short of the wrongs done to me: It is not the same for me to be bereft of your letters and my letters to fail to go to you. The harm I suffer is as much greater than my vengeance as your letters are better than mine.”

  1. Ζηνοβίῳ

Σιγῇ τὴν σιγὴν ἔγνωμεν ἀμύνασθαι. καίτοι γε ἠπιστάμην λειπομένην τῶν ἀδικημάτων τὴν δίκην. οὐ γὰρ ἴσον ἦν ἐμὲ σῶν ἀποστερεῖσθαι γραμμάτων καὶ σοὶ <τὰ>1 παρ᾿ ἡμῶν μὴ φοιτᾶν. ἀλλ᾿ ὅσῳ καλλίω τὰ σά, τοσούτῳ μείζων ἡ βλάβη τῆς τιμωρίας.

 

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