Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Q. fr.].
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The letter [Note]which you have already read I had sent off in the morning. But Licinius was polite enough to call on me in the evening after the senate had risen, that, in case of any business having been done there, I might, if I thought good, write an account of it to you. The senate was fuller than I had thought possible in the month of December just

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before the holidays. Of us consulars there were P. Servilius, M. Lucullus, Lepidus, Volcatius, Glabrio: the two consuls-designate; the praetors. We were a really full house: two hundred in all. [Note] Lupus had excited some interest. [Note] He raised the question of the Campanian land in considerable detail. He was listened to in profound silence. You are not unaware what material that subject affords. He omitted none of the points which I had made in this business. [Note] There were some sharp thrusts at Caesar, some denunciations of Gellius, some appeals to the absent Pompey. After concluding his speech at a late hour, he said that he would not ask for our votes lest he might burden us with a personal controversy; he quite understood the sentiments of the senate from the denunciations of past times and the silence on the present occasion. Milo spoke. Lupus begins the formula of dismissal, [Note] when Marcellinus says: " Don't infer from our silence, Lupus, what we approve or disapprove of at this particular time. As far as I am concerned, and I think it is the same with the rest, I am only silent because I do not think it suitable that the case of the Campanian land should be debated in Pompey's absence." Then Lupus said that he would not detain the senate. [Note] Racilius rose and began bringing before the house the case of the pro-posed prosecutions. He calls upon Marcellinus, of course, first; who, after complaining in serious tones of the Clodian incendiaries, massacres, and stonings, proposed a resolution that "Clodius himself should, under the superintendence of the praetor urbanus, have his jury allotted to him; that the elections should be held only when the allotment of

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jurors [Note] had been Completed; that whoever stopped the trials would be acting against the interests of the state." [Note] The proposal having been received with warm approval, Gaius Cato [Note] —as did also Cassius—spoke against it, with very emphatic murmurs of disapprobation on the part of the senate, when he proposed to hold the elections before the trials. Philippus supported Lentulus. [Note] After that Racilius called on me first of the unofficial senators for my opinion. [Note] I made a long speech upon the whole story of P. Clodius's mad proceedings and murderous violence: I impeached him at considerable length, and, by Hercules with no little as though he were on his trial, amidst frequent murmurs of approbation from the whole senate. My speech was praised oratorical skill by Antistius Vetus, who also supported the priority of the legal proceedings, and declared that he should consider it of the first importance. The senators were crossing the floor in support of this view, [Note] when Clodius, being called on, began trying to talk out the sitting. He spoke in furious terms of having been attacked by Racilius in an unreasonable and discourteous manner. Then his roughs on the Graecostasis [Note] and the steps of the house suddenly raised

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a pretty loud shout, in wrath, I suppose, against Q. Sextilius and the other friends of Milo. At this sudden alarm we broke up with loud expressions of indignation on all sides. Here are the transactions of one day for you: the rest, I think, will be put off to January. Of all the tribunes I think Racilius is by far the best: Antistius also seems likely to be friendly to me: Plancius, of course, is wholly ours. Pray, if you love me, be careful and cautious about sailing in December.




It was not from the multiplicity of business, though I am very much engaged, but from a slight inflammation of the eyes that I was induced to dictate this letter, and not, as is my usual habit, write it with my own hand. And, to begin with, I wish to excuse myself to you on the very point on which I accuse yoti. For no one up to now has asked me "whether I have any commands for Sardinia "—I think you often have people who say, "Have you any commands for Rome?" As to what you have said in your letters to me about the debt of Lentulus and Sestius, I have spoken with Cincius. [Note] However the matter stands, it is not the easiest in the world. But surely Sardinia must have some special property for recalling one's memory of the past. For just as the famous Gracchus—as augur—after arriving in that province remembered something that had happened to him, when holding the elections in the Campus Martius, in violation of the auspices, so you appear to me to have recalled at your ease in Sardinia the design of Numisius and the debts due to Pomponius. As yet I have made no purchase. Culleo's auction has taken place: there was no purchaser for his Tusculan property. If very favourable terms were to be offered, I should perhaps not let it slip About your building I do not fail to press Cyrus. [Note] I hope he will do his duty But everything goes on somewhat slowly owing to the prospect of that madman's aedileship. [Note] For it seems that the legislative assembly will take place without delay it has been fixed for the 20th of January. However I would not have you uneasy. Every precaution shall be taken by me In regard to the Alexandrine king, a decree of the senate was passed declaring

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it dangerous to the Republic that he should be restored "with a host." The point remaining to be decided in the senate being whether Lentulus or Pompey should restore him, Lentulus seemed on the point of carrying the day. In that matter Ididjustice to my obligations to Lentulus marvellously well, while at the same time splendidly gratifying Pompey's wishes: but the detractors of Lentulus Contrived to talk the matter out by obstructive speeches. Then followed the comitial days, on which a meeting of the senate was impossible. What the villainy of the tribunes is going to accomplish I cannot guess; I suspect, however, that Caninius will carry his bill by violence. [Note] In this business I cannot make Out what Pompey really wishes. What his entourage desire everybody sees. Those who are financing the king are openly advancing sums of money against Lentulus. There seems no doubt that the commission has been taken out of Lentulus's hands, to my very great regret, although he has done many things for which I might, if it were not for superior considerations, be justly angry with him. I hope, if it is consistent with your interests, that you will embark as soon as possible, when the weather is fair and settled, and come to me. For there are countless things, in regard to which I miss you daily in every possible way. Your family and my own are well.

18 January.


CI (Q FR II, 3)


I have already told you the earlier proceedings; now let me describe what was done afterwards. The legations were post-poned from the 1st of February to the 13th. On the former day our business was not brought to a settlement. On the 2nd of February Milo appeared for trial. Pompey came to support him. Marcellus spoke on being called upon by me. [Note] We came off with flying colours. The case was adjourned to the 7th. Meanwhile (in the senate), the legations having been postponed to the i3th, the business of allotting the quaestors and furnishing the outfit of the praetors was brought before the house. But nothing was done, because many speeches were interposed denouncing the state of the Republic. Gaius Cato published his bill for the recall of Lentulus, whose son thereupon put on mourning. On the 7th Milo appeared. Pompey spoke, or rather wished to speak. For as soon as he got up Clodius's ruffians raised a shout, and throughout his whole speech he was interrupted, not only by hostile cries, but by personal abuse and insulting remarks. However, when he had finished his speech—for he shewed great courage in these circumstances, he was

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not cowed, he said all he had to say, and at times had by his Commanding presence even secured silence for his words —well, when he had finished, up got Clodius. Our party received him with such a shout—for they had determined to pay him out—that he lost all presence of mind, power of speech, or control over his countenance. This went on up to two o'clock-Pompey having finished his speech at noon —and every kind of abuse, and finally epigrams of the most outspoken indecency were uttered against Clodius and Clodia. Mad and livid with rage Clodius, in the very midst of the shouting, kept putting questions to his claque: "Who was it who was starving the commons to death?" His ruffians answered, "Pompey." "Who wanted to be sent to Alexandria?" They answered, "Pompey." "Who did they wish to go?" They answered, "Crassus." The latter was present at the time with no friendly feelings to Milo. About three o'clock, as though at a given signal, the Clodians began spitting at our men. There was an outburst of rage. They began a movement for forcing us from our ground. Our men charged: his ruffians turned tail. Clodius was pushed off the rostra: and then we too made our escape for fear of mischief in the riot. The senate was summoned into the Curia: Pompey went home. However, I did not myself enter the senate-house, lest I should be obliged either to refrain from speaking on matters of such gravity, or in defending Pompey (for he was being attacked by Bibulus, Curio, Favonius, and Servilius the younger) should give offence to the loyalists. The business was adjourned to the next day. Clodius fixed the Quirinalia (17th of February) for his prosecution. On the 8th the senate met in the temple of Apollo, that Pompey might attend. Pompey made an impressive speech. That day nothing was concluded. On the 9th in the temple of Apollo a decree passed the senate "that what had taken place on the 7th of February was treasonable." On this day Cato warmly inveighed against Pompey, and throughout his speech arraigned him as though he were at the bar. He said a great deal about me, to my disgust, though it was in very laudatory terms. When he attacked Pompey's perfidy to me, he was listened to in profound silence on the part of my enemies. Pompey answered him boldly with a palpable allusion to Crassus, and said outright that "he would take

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better precautions to protect his life than Mricanus had done, whom C. Carbo had assassinated." [Note] Accordingly, important events appear to me to be in the wind. For Pompey understands what is going on, and imparts to me that plots are being formed against his life, that Gaius Cato is being supported by Crassus, that money is being supplied to Clodius, that both are backed by Crassus and Curio, as well as by Bibulus and his other detractors: that he must take extraordinary precautions to prevent being overpowered by that demagogue-with a people all but wholly alienated, a nobility hostile, a senate ill-affected, and the younger men corrupt. So he is making his preparations and summoning men from the country. On his part, Clodius is rallying his gangs: a body of men is being got together for the Quirinalia. For that occasion we are considerably in a majority, owing to the forces brought up by Pompey himself: and a large contingent is expected from Picenum and Gallia, to enable us to throw out Cato's bills also about 'Milo and Lentulus. On the ioth of February an indictment was lodged against Sestius for bribery by the informer Cn. Nerius, of the Pupinian tribe, and on the same day by a certain M. Tullius for [Note] riot. He was ill. I went at once, as I was bound to do, to his house, and put myself wholly at his service: and that was more than people expected, who thought that I had good cause for being angry with him. The result is that my extreme kindness and grateful disposition are made manifest both to Sestius himself and to all the world, and I shall be as good as my word. But this same informer Nerius also named Cn. Lentulus Vatia and C. Cornelius to the commissioners. [Note] On the same day a decree passed the

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senate "that political clubs and associations should be broken up, and that a law in regard to them should be brought in, enacting that those who did not break off from them should be liable to the same penalty as those convicted of riot." On the 11th of February I spoke in defence of Bestia [Note] on a charge of bribery before the praetor Cn. Domitius, [Note] in the middle of the forum and in a very crowded court; and in the course of my speech I came to the incident of Sestius, after receiving many wounds in the temple of Castor, having been preserved by the aid of Bestia. Here I took occasion to pave the way beforehand for a refutation of the charges which are being got up against Sestius, and I passed a well-deserved encomium upon him with the cordial approval of everybody. He was himself very much delighted with it. I tell you this because you have often advised me in your letters to retain the friendship of Sestius. I am writing this on the 12th of February before daybreak the day on which I am to dine with Pomponius on the occasion of his wedding. Our position in other respects is such as you used to cheer my despondency by telling me it would be-one of great dignity and popularity: this is a return to old times for you and me effected, my brother, by your patience, high character, loyalty, and, I may also add, your conciliatory manners. The house of Licinius, near the grove of Piso, [Note] has been taken for you. But, as I hope, in a few months' time, after the 1st of July, you will move into your own. Some excellent tenants, the Lamim, have taken your house in Carinae. [Note] I have received no letter from you since the one dated Olbia. I am anxious to hear how you are and what you find to amuse you, but above all to see you your-self as soon as possible. Take care of your health, my dear

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brother, and though it is winter time, yet reflect that after all it is Sardinia that you are in. [Note]

15 February.




Our friend Sestius was acquitted on the uth of March, and, what was of great importance to the Republic—that there should be no appearance of difference of opinion in a case of that sort—was acquitted unanimously. As to what I had often gathered from your letters, that you were anxious about—that I should not leave any loophole for abuse to an unfriendly critic on the score of my being ungrateful, if I did not treat with the utmost indulgence his occasional wrong-headedness—let me tell you that in this trial I established my character for being the most grateful of men. For in conducting the defence I satisfied in the fullest manner possible a man of difficult temper, and, what he above all things desired, I cut up Vatinius (by whom he was being openly attacked) just as I pleased, with the applause of gods and men. And, farther, when our friend Paullus [Note] was brought forward as a witness against Sestius, he affirmed that he would lay an information against Vatinius [Note] if Licinius Macer hesitated to do so, and Macer, rising from Sestius's benches, declared that he would not fail. Need I say more? That impudent swaggering fellow Vatinius was overwhelmed with confusion and thoroughly discredited. That most excellent boy, your son Quintus, is getting on splendidly with his education. I notice this the more because Tyrannio [Note] gives his lessons in my house. The building of both your house and mine is being pushed on

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energetically. I have caused half the money to be paid to your contractor. I hope before winter we may be under the same roof. As to our Tullia, who, by Hercules, is very warmly attached to you, I hope I have settled her engagement with Crassipes. [Note] There are two days after the Latin festival which are barred by religion. [Note] Otherwise the festival of luppiter Latiaris has come to an end. The affluence which you often mention I feel the want of to a certain extent; but while I welcome it if it comes to me, I am not exactly beating the covert for it. [Note] I am building in three places, and am patching up my other houses. I live somewhat more lavishly than I used to do. I am obliged to do so. If I had you with me I should give the builders full swing for a while. [Note] But this too (as I hope) we shall shortly talk over together. The state of affairs at Rome is this: Lentulus Marcellinus is splendid as consul, and his colleague does not put any difficulty in his way: he is so good, I repeat, that I have never seen a better. He deprived them of aH the comitial days for even the Latin festival is being repeated, [Note] nor were thanks-giving days wanting. [Note] In this way the passing of most mischievous laws is prevented, especially that of Cato, [Note] on whom, however, our friend Milo played a very pretty trick. For that defender of the employment of gladiators and beast-fighters had bought some beast-fighters from Cosconius and Pomponius, and had never appeared in public without them in their full armour. He could not afford to maintain

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them, and accordingly had great difficulty in keeping them together. Milo found this out. He commissioned an individual, with whom he was not intimate, to buy this troop from Cato without exciting his suspicion. As soon as it had been removed, Racilius—at this time quite the only real tribune-revealed the truth, acknowledged that the men had been purchased for himself—for this is what they had agreed—and put up a notice that he intended to sell "Cato's troop." This notice caused much laughter. Accordingly, Lentulus has prevented Cato from going on with his laws, and also those who published bills of a monstrous description about Caesar, with no tribune to veto them. Caninius's proposal, indeed, about Pompey has died a natural death. For it is not approved of in itself, and our friend Pompey is also spoken of with great severity for the breach of his friendship with Publius Lentulus. He is not the man he was. The fact is that to the lowest dregs of the populace his support of Milo gives some offence, while the aristocrats are dissatisfied with much that he omits to do, and find fault with much that he does. This is the only point, however, in which I am not pleased with Marcellinus- that he handles him too roughly. Yet in this he is not going counter to the wishes of the senate: consequently I am the more glad towithdrawfrom the senate-house and from politics altogether. In the courts I have the same position as I ever had: never was my house more crowded. One untoward circumstance has occurred owing to Milo's rashness—the acquittal of Sext. Clodius [Note] -whose prosecution at this particular time, and by a weak set of accusers, was against my advice. In a most Corrupt panel his conviction failed by only three votes. Consequently the people clamour for a fresh trial, and he must surely be brought back into court. For people will not put up with it, and seeing that, though pleading before a panel of his own kidney, he was all but condemned, they look upon him as practically condemned. Even in this matter the unpopularity of Pompey was an obstacle in our path. For the votes of the senators were largely in his favour, those of the knights were equally divided, while the tribuni aerarii voted for his condemntion.

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But for this eon'rekmps I am consoled by the daily condemnations of my enemies, among whom, to my great delight, Servius [Note] got upon the rocks: the rest are utterly done for. Gaius Cato declared in public meeting that he would not allow the elections to be held, if he were deprived of the days for doing business with the people. Appius has not yet returned from his visit to Caesar. I am looking forward with extraordinary eagerness to a letter from you. Although I know the sea is still closed, yet they tell me that certain persons have, nevertheless, arrived from Olbia full of your praises, and declaring you to be very highly thought of in the province. They said also that these persons reported that you intended to cross as soon as navigation became possible. That is what I desire: but although it is yourself, of course, that I most look forward to, yet meanwhile I long for a letter. Farewell, my dear brother.




I have already sent you a letter containing the information of my daughter Tullia having been betrothed to Crassipes on the 4th of April, and other intelligence public and private. The following are the events since then. On the 5th of April, by a decree of the senate, a sum of money amounting to 40,000 sestertia (about £320,000) was voted to Pompey for the business of the corn-supply. But on the same day there was a vehement debate on the Campanian land, the senators making almost as much noise as a public meeting. The shortness of money and the high price of corn increased the exasperation. Nor will I omit the following: the members of the colleges of the Capitolini and the Mercuriales [Note]

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expelled from their society a Roman knight named M. Furius Flaccus, a man of bad character: the expulsion took place when he was at the meeting, and though he threw himself at the feet of each member. On the 6th of April, the eve of my departure from town, I gave a betrothal party to Crassipes. That excellent boy, your and my Quintus, was not at the banquet owing to a very slight indisposition. On the 7th of April I visited Quintus and found him quite restored. He talked a good deal and with great feeling about the quarrels between our wives. What need I say more? Nothing could have been pleasanter. Pomponia, however, had some Complaints to make of you also: but of this when we meet. After leaving your boy I went to the site of your house: the building was going on with a large number of workmen. I urged the contractor Longilius to push on. He assured me that he had every wish to satisfy us. The house will be splendid, for it Can be better seen now than we could judge from the plan: my own house is also being built with despatch. On this day I dined with Crassipes. After dinner I went in my sedan to visit Pompey at his suburban villa. I had not been able to call on him in the daytime as he was away from home. However, I wished to see him, because I am leaving Rome tomorrow, and he is on the point of starting for Sardinia. I found him at home and begged him to restore you to us as soon as possible. "Immediately," he said. He is going to start, according to what he said, on the uth of April, with the intention of embarking at Livorno or Pisa. [Note] Mind, my dear brother, that, as soon as he arrives, you seize the first opportunity of setting sail, provided only that the weather is favourable. I write this on the 8th of April before daybreak, and am on the point of starting on my journey, with the intention of stopping today with Titus Tititis at Anagnia. Tomorrow I think of being at Laterium, [Note]

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thence, after five days in Arpinum, going to my Pompeian house, just looking in upon my villa at Cumae on my return journey, with the view—since Milo's trial has been fixed for the 7th of May—of being at Rome on the 6th, and of seeing you on that day, I hope, dearest and pleasantest of brothers. I thought it best that the building at Arcanum [Note] should be suspended till your return. Take good care, my dear brother, of your health, and come as soon as possible.




How delighted I was to get your letter! It had been expected by me at first, it is true, only with longing, but recently with alarm also. And, in fact, let me tell you that this is the only letter which has reached me since the one brought me by your sailor and dated Olbia. But let everything else, as you say, be reserved till we can talk it over together. One thing, however, I cannot put off: on the 15th of May the senate covered itself with glory by refusing Gabinius a supplicatio. Procilius [Note] vows that such a slight was never inflicted on anyone. Out of doors there is much applause. To me, gratifying as it is on its own account, it is even more so because it was done when I was not in the house. For it was an unbiassed [Note] judgment of the senate, without any attack or exercise of influence on my part. The debate previously arranged for the 15th and 16th, namely, the question of the Campanian land, did not come on. In this matter I don't quite see my way. [Note] But I have said more than I meant to say: for it is best reserved till we meet. Good-bye, best and most longed—for of brothers! Fly to me. Our boys both share my prayer: of course, you will dine with me the day of your arrival.

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I thought you would like my book: [Note] that you like it as much as you say I am greatly delighted. As to your hint about my Urania and your advice to remember the speech of lupiter, [Note] which comes at the end of that book, I do indeed remember it, and that whole passage was aimed at myself rather than at the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the day after you started I went long before daybreak with Vibullius to call on Pompey; and upon addressing him on the subject of the works and inscriptions in your honour, [Note] he answered me very kindly, gave me great hopes, said he would like to talk to Crassus about it, and advised me to do so too. I joined in escorting Crassus to his house on his assuming the consulate: he undertook the affair, and said that Clodius would at this juncture have something that wanted to get by means of himself and Pompey: he thought that, if I did not baulk Clodius's views, I might get what I wanted without any opposition. I left the matter entirely in his hands and told him that I would do exactly as he wished. Publius Crassus the younger was present at this conversation, who, as you know, is very warmly attached to me. What Clodius wants is an honorary mission (if not by decree of the senate, then by popular vote) to Byzantium or to Brogitarus, or to both. [Note] There is a good deal of money in it. It is a thing I don't trouble myself about much, even if I don't get what I am trying to get. Pompey, however, has spoken

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to Crassus. They seem to have taken the business in hand. If they carry it through, well and good: if not, let us return to my "Iupiter." On the 11th of February a decree passed the senate as to bribery on the motion of Afranius, against which I had spoken when you were in the house. To the loudly expressed disapprobation of the senate the consuls did not go on with the proposals of those who, while agreeing with Afranius's motion, added a rider that after their election the praetors were to remain private citizens for sixty days. [Note] On that day they unmistakably threw over Cato. In short, they manage everything their own way, and wish all the world to understand it to be so.




Afraid that you will interrupt me—you? In the first place, if I were as busy as you think, do you know what interruption means? Have you taken a lesson from Ateius ? [Note] So help me heaven, in my eyes you give me a lesson in a kind of learning which I never enjoy unless you are with me. Why, that you should talk to me, interrupt me, argue against me, or converse with me, is just what I should like. Nothing could be more delightful! Never, by Hercules, did any crazy poet read with greater zest his last composition than I listen to you, no matter what business is in hand, public or private, rural or urban. But it was all owing to my foolish scrupulousness that I did not carry you off with me when I was leaving town. You confronted me the first time with an unanswerable excuse—the health of my son: I was silenced. The second time it was both boys, yours and mine: I

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acquiesced. [Note] Now comes a delightful letter, but with this drop of gall in it—that you seem to have been afraid, and still to be afraid, that you might bore me. I would go to law with you if it were decent to do so; but, by heaven! if ever I have a suspicion of such a feeling on your part, I can only say that I shall begin to be afraid of boringyou at times, when in your company. [I perceive that you have sighed at this. 'Tis the way of the world: "But if you lived on earth" ... I will never finish the quotation and say, "Away with all care!" [Note]] Marius, [Note] again, I should certainly have forced into my sedan—I don't mean that famous one of Ptolemy that Anicius got hold of : [Note] for I remember when I was conveying him from Naples to Baiae in Anicius's eight-bearer sedan, with a hundred armed guards in our train, I had a real good laugh when Marius, knowing nothing of his escort, suddenly drew back the curtains of the sedan—he was almost dead with fright and I with laughing: well, this same friend, I say, I should at least have carried off; to secure, at any rate, the delicate charm of that old-fashioned courtesy, and of a conversation which is the essence of culture. But I did not like to invite a man of weak health to a villa practically without a roof, and which even now it would be a compliment to describe as unfinished. It would indeed be a special treat to me to have the enjoyment of him here also. For I assure you that the neighbourhood of Marius makes the sunshine of that other country residence of mine. [Note] I will see about getting him put up in the house of Anicius. For I myself, though a student, can live with workpeople in the house. I get this philosophy, not from Hymettus, but from Arpinum. [Note] Marius is feebler in health

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and constitution. As to interrupting my book [Note]—I shall take from you just so much time for writing as you may leave me I only hope you'll leave me none at all, that my want of progress may be set down to your encroachment rather than to my idleness! In regard to politics, I am sorry that you worry yourself too much, and are a better citizen than Philoctetes, who, on being wronged himself, was anxious for the very spectacle [Note] that I perceive gives you pain. Pray hasten hither: I will console you and wipe all sorrow from your eyes: and, as you love me, bring Marius. But haste, haste, both of you! There is a garden at my house. [Note]




Your note by its strong language has drawn out this letter. For as to what actually occurred on the day of your start, it supplied me with absolutely no subject for writing. But as when we are together we are never at a loss for something to say, so ought our letters at times to digress into loose chat. Well then, to begin, the liberty of the Tenedians has received short shrift, [Note] no one speaking for them except myself, Bibulus, Calidius, and Favonius. A complimentary reference to you was made by the legates from Magnesia ad Sipylum, they saying that you were the man who alone

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had resisted the demand of L. Sestius Pansa. [Note] On the remaining days of this business in the senate, if anything occurs which you ought to know, or even if there is nothing, I will write you something every day. On the 12th I will not fail you or Pomponius. The poems of Lucretius are as you say—with many flashes of genius, yet very technical. [Note] But when you return, ... if you succeed in reading the Empedoclea of Sallustius, I shall regard you as a hero, yet scarcely human.




I am glad you like my letter: however, I should not even now have had anything to write about, if I had not received yours. For on the 12th, when Appius had got together a thinly-attended meeting of the senate, the cold was so great that he was compelled by the general clamour [Note] to dismiss us. As to the Commagenian, because I have blown that proposition to the winds, Appius makes wonderful advances to me both personally and through Pomponius; for he sees that if I adopt a similar style of discussion in the other business, February will not bring him anything in. And

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certainly I did chaff him pretty well, and not only wrenched from his grasp that petty township of his—situated in the territory of Zeugma on the Euphrates [Note] —but also raised a loud laugh by my satire on the man's purple-edged toga, which he had been granted when Caesar was consul. [Note] "His wish," said I, "for a renewal of the same honour, to save the yearly re-dying of his purple-edged toga, I do not think calls for any decree of the house; but you, my lords, who could not endure that the Bostrian [Note] should wear the toga praetexta, will you allow the Commagenian to do so?" You see the style of chaff, and the line I took. I spoke at length against the petty princeling, with the result that he was utterly laughed out of court. Alarmed by this exhibition, as I said, Appius is making up to me For nothing could be easier than to explode the rest of his proposals. But I will not go so far as to trip him up, lest he appeal to the god of hospitality, and summon all his Greeks—it is they who make us friends again. I will do what Theopompus wants. I had forgotten to write to you about Caesar: for I perceive what sort of letter you have been expecting. But the fact is, he has written word to Balbus that the little packet of letters, in which mine and Balbus's were packed, had been so drenched with rain that he was not even aware that there was a letter from me. He had, however, made out a few words of Balbus's letter, to which he answered as follows: "I perceive that you have written something about Cicero, which I have not fully made out: but, as far I could guess, it was of a kind that I thought was more to be wished than hoped for." Accordingly, I afterwards sent Caesar a duplicate copy of the letter. Don't be put off by that passage

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about his want of means. In answer to it I wrote back saying that he must not stop payment from any reliance on my money chest, and descanted playfully on that subject, in familiar terms and yet without derogating from my dignity. His good feeling towards us, however, according to all accounts, is marked. The letter, indeed, on the point of which you expect to hear, will almost coincide with your return : [Note] the other business of each day I will write on condition of your furnishing me with letter-carriers. However, such cold weather is threatening, [Note] that there is very great danger that Appius may find his house frost-bitten and deserted! [Note]




Your "black snow" [Note] made me laugh, and I am very glad that you are in a cheerful frame of mind and ready for a joke. As to Pompey, I agree with you, or rather you agree with me. For, as you know, I have long been singing the praises of your Caesar. Believe me, he is very close to my heart, and I am not going to let him slip from his place. Now for the history of the Ides (13th). It was Caelius's tenth day. [Note] Domitius had not obtained a full panel. I am afraid that foul ruffian, Servius Pola, will appear for the prosecution. For our friend Caelius has a dead set made at him by the Clodian gens. There is nothing certain as yet, but I am afraid. On the same day there was a full house for the case of the Tyrians: the publicani of Syria appeared in

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large numbers against them. Gabinius was abused roundly : [Note] the publicani were also denounced by (the consul) Domitius for having escorted him on his start on horseback. Our friend Lucius Lamia was somewhat insolent: for on Domitius saying, "It is your fault, equites of Rome, that such things have happened: for you give verdicts laxly," he said, "Yes, we give verdicts, but you senators give evidence of character." [Note] Nothing was done that day: the house stood adjourned at nightfall. On the comitial days which follow the Quirinalia (17th February), Appius holds the view that he is not prevented by the lex Pupia from holding a meeting of the senate, and that by the lex Gabinia he is even compelled to have a meeting for the legations from the 1st of February to the 1st of March. [Note] And so the elections are supposed to be put off till March. Nevertheless, on these comitial days the tribunes say that they will bring forward the case of Gabinius. [Note] I collect every item of intelligence, that I may have some news to tell you: but, as you see, I am short of material. Accordingly, I return to Callisthenes and Philistus, in whom I see that you have been wallowing. Callisthenes is a commonplace and hackneyed piece of business, like a good many Greeks. The Sicilian is a first-rate writer, terse, sagacious, concise, almost a minor Thucydides ; [Note] but which of his two books you have—for there are two works—I don't know. That about Dionysius is my favourite. For Dionysius himself is a magnificent intriguer, and was familiarly

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known to Philistus. But as to your Postscript—are you really going in for writing history? You have my blessing on your project: and since you furnish me with letter-carriers, you shall hear today's transactions on the Lupercalia (15th February). Enjoy yourself with our dear boy to your heart's content.


CXXXVIII (Q FR II, 12 [14])


I have up to now received two letters from you, one just as I was leaving town, the other dated Ariminum: others which you say in your letter that you have sent I have not received. I am having a fairly pleasant time (except that you are not here) at Cumae and Pompeii, and intend staying in these parts till the 1st of June. I am writing the treatise of which I spoke to you, On the Republic, a very bulky and laborious work. But if it turns out as I wish, it will be labour well bestowed, and if not I shall toss it into the very sea which I have before my eyes as I write, and set to work on something else; since to do nothing is beyond my power. I will carefully observe your instruction both as to attaching certain persons to myself and not alienating certain others.

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But my chief care will be to see your son, or rather our son, if possible, every day at any rate, and to watch the progress of his education as often as possible; and, unless he declines my help, I will even offer to be his instructor, a practice to which I have become habituated in the leisure of these days while bringing my own boy, the younger Cicero, on. Yes, do as you say in your letter, what, even if you had not said so, I know you do with the greatest care—digest, follow up, and carry out my instructions. For my part, when I get to Rome, I will let no letter-carrier of Caesar go without a letter for you. During these days you must excuse me: there has been no one to whom I could deliver a letter until the present bearer M. Orfius, a Roman knight, a man that is my friend as well from personal consideration as because he comes from the municipium of Atella, [Note] which you know is under my patronage. Accordingly, I recommend him to you with more than common warmth, as a man in a brilliant position in his own town and looked up to even beyond it. Pray attach him to yourself by your liberal treatment of him: he is a military tribune in your army. You will find him grateful and attentive. I earnestly beg you to be very friendly to Trebatius.


CXL (Q FR II,13)


On the 2nd of June, the day of my return to Rome, I received your letter dated Placentia: then next day another dated Blandeno, along with a letter from Caesar filled full of courteous, earnest, and pleasant expressions. These expressions are indeed valuable, or rather most valuable, as tending very powerfully to secure our reputation and exalted position in the state. But believe me—for you know my heart—that what I value most in all this I already possess, that is, first of all, your active contribution to our common position; and, secondly, all that warm affection of Caesar for me, which I prefer to all the honours which he desires me to expect at his hands. His letter too, despatched at the same time as your own—which begins by saying what pleasure your arrival and the renewed memory of our old affection had given him, and goes on to say that he will take care that, in the midst of my sorrow and regret at losing you, I shall have reason to be

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glad that you are with him of all people—gave me extraordinary delight. Wherefore you, of course, are acting in a truly brotherly spirit when you exhort me, though, by heaven, I am now indeed forward enough to do so, to concentrate all my attentions upon him alone. Yes, I will do so, indeed, with a burning zeal: and perhaps I shall manage to accomplish what is frequently the fortune of travellers when they make great haste, who, if they have got up later than they intended, have, by increasing their speed, arrived at their destination sooner than if they had waked up before daylight. Thus I, since I have long overslept myself in cultivating that great man, though you, by heaven, often tried to wake me up, will make up for my slowness with horses and (as you say he likes my poem) a poet's chariots. Only let me have Britain to paint in colours supplied by yourself, but with my own brush. But what am I saying? What prospect of leisure have I, especially as I remain at Rome in accordance with his request? But I will see. For perhaps, as usual, my love for you will overcome all difficulties. For my having sent Trebatius to him he even thanks me in very witty and polite terms, remarking that there was no one in the whole number of his staff who knew how to draw up a recognizance. I have asked him for a tribuneship for M. Curtius—since Domitius (the consul) would have thought that he was being laughed at, if my petition had been addressed to him, for his daily assertion is that he hasn't the appointment of so much as a military tribune: he even jested in the senate at his colleague Appius as having gone to visit Caesar, [Note] that he might get from him at least one tribuneship. But my request was for next year, for that was what Curtius wished. Whatever line you think I ought to take in politics and in treating my opponents, be sure I shall take, and shall be "gentler than any ear-lap." Affairs at Rome stand thus: there is some hope of the elections taking place, but it is an uncertain one. There is some latent idea of a dictatorship, [Note] but neither is that confirmed. There is profound calm in the

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forum, but it is rather the calm of decrepitude than content. The opinions I express in the senate are of a kind to win the assent of others rather than my own: Such the effects of miserable war.


CXLI (Q FR II, 14 [15 b])


Well! this time I'll use a good pen, well-mixed ink, and superfine paper. For you say you could hardly read my previous letter, for which, my dear brother, the reason was none of those which you suppose. For I was not busy, nor agitated, nor out of temper with some one: but it is always my way to take the first pen that turns up and use it as if it were a good one. But now attend, best and dearest of brothers, to my answer to what you wrote in this same short letter in such a very business-like way. On this subject you beg that I should write back to you with brotherly candour, without concealment, or reserve, or consideration for your feelings—I mean whether you are to hasten home, as we had talked of, or to stay where you are, if there is any excuse for doing so, in order to extricate yourself from your embarrassments. If, my dear Quintus, it were some small matter on which you were asking my opinion, though I should have left it to you to do what you chose, I should yet have shewn you what mine was. But on this subject your question amounts to this—what sort of year I expect the next to be? Either quite undisturbed as far as we are concerned, or at any rate one that will find us in the highest state of preparation for defence. This is shewn by the daily throng at my house, my reception in the forum, the cheers which greet me in the theatre. My friends feel no anxiety, because they know the strength of my position in my hold upon the favour

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both of Caesar and Pompey. These things give me entire confidence. But if some furious outbreak of that madman occurs, everything is ready for crushing him. This is my feeling, my deliberate opinion: I write to you with entire confidence. I bid you have no doubts, and I do so with no intention of pleasing you, but with brotherly frankness. Therefore, while I should wish you to come at the time you arranged, for the sake of the pleasure we should have in each other's society, yet I prefer the course you yourself think the better one. I, too, think these objects of great importance—ample means for yourself and extrication from your load of debt. Make up your mind to this, that, free from embarrassments, we should be the happiest people alive if we keep well. For men of our habits the deficiency is small, and such as can be supplied with the greatest ease, granted only that we keep our health.

There is an enormous recrudescence of bribery. Never was there anything equal to it. On the 15th of July the rate of interest rose from four to eight per cent, owing to the compact made by Memmius with the consul Domitius : [Note] I wish Scaurus could get the better of it. Messalla is very shaky. I am not exaggerating—they arrange to offer as much as 10,000 sestertia for the vote of the first century. The matter is a burning scandal. The candidates for the tribuneship have made a mutual compact—having deposited 500 sestertia apiece with Cato, they agree to conduct their canvass according to his direction, with the understanding that anyone offending against it is to be condemned by him. If this election then turns out to be pure, Cato will have been of more avail than all laws and jurors put together.

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When you receive a letter from me by the hand of an amanuensis, you may be sure that I have not even a little leisure; when by my own—a little. For let me tell you that in regard to causes and trials in court, I have never been closer tied, and that, too, at the most unhealthy season of the year, and in the most oppressively hot weather. But these things, since you so direct me, I must put up with, and must not seem to have come short of the ideas and expectations which you and Caesar entertain of me, especially since, even if it were somewhat difficult not to do that, I am yet likely from this labour to reap great popularity and

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prestige. Accordingly, as you wish me to do, I take great pains not to hurt anyone's feelings, and to secure being liked even by those very men who are vexed at my close friendship with Caesar, while by those who are impartial, or even inclined to this side, I may be warmly courted and loved. When some very violent debates took place in the senate on the subject of bribery for several days, because the candidates for the consulship had gone to such lengths as to be past all bearing, I was not in the house. I have made up my mind not to attempt any Cure of the political situation without powerful protection. The day I write this Drusus has been acquitted on a charge of collusion by the tribuni aerarii, in the grand total by four votes, for the majority of senators and equites were for condemnation. On the same day I am to defend Vatinius. That is an easy matter. The comitia have been put off to September. Scaurus's trial will take place immediately, and I shall not fail to appear for him. I don't like your "Sophoclean Banqueters" at all, though I see that you played your part with a good grace. [Note] I come now to a subject which, perhaps, ought to have been my first. How glad I was to get your letter from Britain! I was afraid of the ocean, afraid of the coast of the island. The other parts of the enterprise I do not underrate; but yet they inspire more hope than fear, and it is the suspense rather than any positive alarm that renders me uneasy. You, however, I can see, have a splendid subject for description, topography, natural features of things and places, manners, races, battles, your commander himself—what themes for your pen! I will gladly, as you request, assist you in the points you mention, and will send you the verses you ask for, that is, "An owl to Athens." [Note] But, look you ! I think you are keeping me in the dark. Tell me, my dear brother, what Caesar thinks of my verses. For he wrote before to tell me he had read my first book. Of the first part, he said that he had never read anything better even in Greek: the rest, up to a particular passage, somewhat "careless " [Note] —that is his word. Tell me the truth—is it the subject-matter or

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the "style" that he does not like? You needn't be afraid: I shall not admire myself one whit the less. On this subject speak like a lover of truth, and with your usual brotherly frankness.

Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Q. fr.].
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