Liberalitate

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Illud unum intellegi volumus, illius liberalitatem neque temporariam neque callidam fuisse. id ex ipsis rebus ac temporibus iudicari potest, quod non florentibus se venditavit, sed afflictis semper succurrit; qui quidem Serviliam, Bruti matrem, non minus post mortem eius quam florentem coluerit. sic liberalitate utens nullas inimicitias gessit, quod neque laedebat quemquam neque, si quam iniuriam acceperat, non malebat oblivisci quam ulcisci. Idem immortali memoria percepta retinebat beneficia; quae autem ipse tribuerat, tamdiu meminerat, quoad ille gratus erat, qui acceperat. itaque hic fecit, ut vere dictum videatur “sui cuique mores fingunt fortunam hominibus”. neque tamen ille prius fortunam quam se ipse finxit, qui cavit, ne qua in re iure plecteretur.
(Cornelius Nepos, Vita Attici 11.3-6)

I want one point to be understood, that his generosity did not depend on circumstances or on calculation. It may be concluded from the facts and circumstances themselves that he did not sell himself to the successful but always helped those in trouble. He even took care of Servilia, Brutus’ mother, no less after his death than while she prospered. He was magnanimous and pursued no feuds, since he harmed no one, and if he had received some injury, certainly preferred to forget, not to avenge. He likewise retained the kindnesses he had received in an unfading memory, while those he had himself bestowed he remembered for as long as the recipient was grateful. He so acted as to bear out the truth of the saying ‘each man’s character moulds his own fortune’. Nor did he mould his fortune before he moulded himself, and took care not to be blamed with justification in any matter. (tr. Nicholas Horsfall)

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