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THE IGNORANT BOOK-COLLECTOR
truly, what you are now doing is the reverse of what you are aiming to do. You expect to get a reputation for learning by zealously buying up the finest books, but the thing goes by opposites and in a way becomes proof of your ignorance. Indeed, you do not buy the finest; you rely upon men who bestow their praise hit-and-miss, you are a godsend to the people that tell such lies about books, and a treasure-trove ready to hand to those who traffic in them. Why, how can yoti tell what books are old and highly valuable, and what are worthless and simply in wretched repair1—unless you judge them by the extent to which they are eaten into and cut up, calling the book-worms into counsel to settle the question ? As to their correctness and freedom from mistakes, what judgement have you, and what is it worth ?
Yet suppose I grant you that you have selected the very editions de luxe that were prepared by Callinus or by the famous Atticus with the utmost care.2
1 Not old, though they look old.
* Both Atticus and Callinus are mentioned again as scribes in this piece (24) ; Callinus is not elsewhere mentioned, but Atticus is supposed to be the "publisher" of the Atticiana, editions which had great repute in antiquity. It is hardly likely that he is Cicero's friend.