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Titus Pomponius Atticus


  Male      Roman      Poet



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Titus Pomponius Atticus (c. 110–32 BC; also known as Quintus Caecilius Pomponianus) is best known for his correspondence and close friendship with prominent Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero. Atticus, who was an editor, banker, and patron of letters, was from a wealthy Roman family of the equestrian class (lower aristocratic non-ruling class) and Pomponian ancestry.

Close friends since childhood, Cicero dedicated his work, Laelius de Amicitia (Latin for Treatises on Friendship), to Atticus. Their correspondence, often written in subtle code to disguise their political observations, is preserved in Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus) compiled by Tiro, Cicero's slave (later his freedman) and personal secretary.

Born Titus Pomponius in Rome c. November 110 BC, Atticus descended from a family of equestrian rank and was the son of Titus Pomponius and Caecilius Metellus. Growing up, he studied and developed close friendships with Cicero, Lucius Manlius Torquatus, and Gaius Marius the Younger. He is said to have been an excellent student, and in 85 BC, Atticus moved to Athens to further his education, particularly in philosophy. His love of Athens inspired his self-appointed nickname "Atticus", or "Man of Attica", which is mentioned in the fifth book of Cicero's De Finibus (section 4).[2] During his visit to Athens, Julius Caesar was Atticus's guest.

Atticus inherited family money, which he successfully invested in real estate, enhancing his wealth. Using his income to support his love of letters, he had trained Roman slaves as scribes and taught them to make papyrus scrolls, allowing Atticus to publish, amongst other things, the works of his friend Cicero. Other than his correspondence with Cicero, none of Atticus's own writings have survived, but it is believed that he wrote one book (in Ancient Greek) on Cicero's political dealings and a small amount of Roman poetry. Some believe he also wrote multiple memoirs.

In 65 BC, Atticus returned from Athens to Rome. In keeping with his epicurean sympathies, he kept out of politics to the greatest extent possible, except to lend Cicero a helping hand in times of peril — for instance, when Cicero was forced to flee the country in 49 BC Atticus made him a present of 250,000 sesterces. All in all, his political activity was minimal, though we know that, like Cicero, he belonged to the optimates (the aristocratic party), and held generally conservative views. He was also a partner of the Triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus...


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