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Letter dated roughly a week after the earthquake.

Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus,

Hope all is well with your domus and familia after the recent event. No casualties on our end of thing except for parts of the roof, a couple of trees and a bust I never liked.

To take our minds off all that's happened and because it's the right season for it, my brother and sister-in-law are travelling down to Neapolis for a while and inviting friends and family to join them for their beach parties. There will be entertainment not unlike that party you hosted a few months back, as well as more family-friendly activities. As you may remember my brother Quintus was consul in 72, and given your current aspirations (which I fully support), I took the liberty of assuming you might be interested in fostering that connection.

It goes without saying that this invitation extends to your lady wife and your lovely children. Mine are also coming, so they will not be left to their own devices.

We will be heading down on the 13th (I expect the Via Appia will be fully up and running again by then), and our good friend Longinus is coming with. He has been rather morose as of late, so I will be counting on you to help raise his spirits.

Farewell, my dear friend.



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To Titus Sulpicius Rufus, from his dear friend Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus,


After writing that opening, I have had to put my pen down to relieve the writer's cramp that comes from writing the incredibly long name I was graced with - I supposed I could have been cursed with 'Octavius' to make it longer, though. The domus is fine, a crack or two in a couple of interior walls and some plaster off in the atrium, which are both easily repaired.

A beach party at Neapolis? I am sure that Horatia Justina will have no objection to spending some time by the sea, and Calpurnia and my Titus will love it, especially in the company of other young people their age. (It is hard to believe Titus Calpurnius will be taking his toga virilis in the next couple of years - where has the time gone?)

If you are taking Cassius Longinus with you, most certainly we will come - although I am uncertain of the reception if he is surrounded by happily-married couples on the way. He has not been himself lately at all, and went haring off to his country villa almost without letting anyone know the wedding was not to happen. I am glad you have talked him round, at least this far.

Sun, sea and sand may well help raise his spirits - we can but pray.

Farewell, my friend



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