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C. Cilnius Maecenas, a "doctus", learned author, and rich 'eques', organized a fairly independent Roman cultural politics up to his resignation due to disagreement with Augustus, who had an affair with his wife, whose M. was very much in love (Hor. Carm. II 12, 13 ff.); her brother had been just indict of plot. It is not proved his presence to battlefield (Actium, Sextus Pompeius). To his circle gravitated the best-known Vergilius ( Georg. 1, 1 ff.; 2, 39 ff.; 3, 40 ff.), Horatius, Propertius; and Varius, Plotius Tucca, Quintilius Varus, Valgius Rufus, Domitius Marsus, Aemilius Macer, Aristius Fuscus, (cf. Hor. Serm. I, 5, 39 ff.; Serm. I. 10, 81 ff.), many of them Epicureans. He wrote a Symposium (fr. 12.), in which Virgil, Horace and Valerius Messalla were leading actors. Augustus attempted also to attract Horatius through some office, but got only polite justifications, and some patriotic stoic-like Odes for the triumph of the emperor..

The Maecenas' talk to Augustus, as reported by Cassius Dio (Roman History, LII. He looked at M.' s Autobiography), may reverberate The good King according to Homer of Philodemus, which, beyond a few remains, mentioned for sure Ulisses, paragon of prudence. The "divus" Imperator has to imitate the "divi", the gods (for Epicureans: they do not favor anybody, and they are a paragon of prudence). But he advises against theocracy: no demigod's temples, no gold/silver statues, few pomp expenditures, no bringing to trail for lese-majesty, but reasonableness and righteousness. Might we catch sight of an Epicurean constitutional monarchy - a well-balanced combination of mildness and strictness - which reigns but does not govern, or: the better government, the lesser governing? "Sell all state-owned landed properties". Most of all, a secluded living: "If you will be slow-moving to give your confidence to somebody, you shall undergo no great damages, but if you will be hasty, is it there possibility you incur some mistakes you cannot remedy".* Even tough Cassius Dio testifies that he looked down to philosophers ("There is plenty of so-called philosophers") - this was possibly an effect of sectarianism - his Epicureanism’s quotations are orthodox:
Vita dum superest bene est,"Until one survives, life is a good". "Grave doesn't worry me, Nature annihilates what she has leaved behind". "Height in itself attracts lightning on his tops".(fr. 10: Ipsa enim altitudo attonat summa). In a neoteric paignion M. protest he don't like magnificence [fr. 2 Morel: mea vita... Flacce]. He did not want to belong to senatorial nobility

His private life is well known through Seneca, who criticized his outfit and pusillanimity, and through his best friend Horatius. He liked limited circle without conversation frenzy, playing tirelessly sport, drank genuine wine; he took remarks about his affection possessiveness, as he grieved from separation anxiety (Si te visceribus meis, Horati, \ Plus tam diligo, tu tuum sodalem \ Nimio videas strigosorem, "As I love you, Horace, more than myself, you' would see your friend haggard to the utmost”: at a convivial amusement); he entrusted Horatius to the Emperor even in his will "Horati Flacci ut mei esto memor." [Svet.]; he practiced the Epicurean open-handedness with his friends, as a rich man. But conventional relations friend/client -patron, are hardly understandable today. For instance he was called 'pater', 'dominus', 'rex' by his clients, who took pride in it; parallel-but deeper than paternalism today: affections were there too.
He constructed his own villa among the trees (Horti, Gardens) of a big garden with heated swimming pool, libraries and auditorium in an old burial ground in Esquilino hill, in disregard of superstition; here Horace sets his eight satire of Priapus and the sorceress Canidia.

  • In The good King Philodemus wrote that a politician must have: «clemency and affability, as it's seen among common citizens, besides moderation and wisdom, that are virtues one improves through education and discernment from that derived» [PHerc. 1426, col. XVa 31-33 e col. XVIa 1-9].
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