Cicero on the “Living Voice”

With all the talk of “eyewitnesses” and the “living voice,” I found this story from Cicero quite curious:

But observe a coincidence. I had just made my way from Antium on to the via Appia at Three Taverns, on the very day of the Cerealia, when my friend Curio meets me on his way from Rome. At the same place and the same moment comes a slave from you with letters. The former asked whether I hadn’t heard the news? I said, “No.” “Publius,” says he, “is a candidate for the tribuneship.” “You don’t mean it?” “Yes, I do,” says he, “and at daggers drawn with Caesar. His object is to rescind his acts.” “What says Caesar?” said I. “He denies having proposed any lex for his adoption.” Then he poured forth about his own hatred, and that of Memmius and Metellus Nepos. I embraced the youth and said good-bye to him, hastening to your letters. A fig for those who talk about a “living voice”! What a much clear view I got of what was going on from your letters than from his talk?


  • Jeallman

    What is the source of the quotation?