Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Q. fr.].
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After extraordinarily hot weather—I never remember greater heat—I have refreshed myself at Arpinum, and enjoyed the extreme loveliness of the river during the days of the games, having left my tribesmen under the charge of Philotimus. [Note] I was at Arcanum on the 10th of September. There I found Mescidius and Philoxenus, and saw the water, for which they were making a course not far from your villa, running quite nicely, especially considering the extreme drought, and they said that they were going to collect it in much greater abundance. Everything is right with Herus. In your Manilian property I came across Diphilus outdoing himself in dilatoriness. Still, he had nothing left to construct, except baths, and a promenade, and an aviary. I liked that villa very much, because its paved colonnade gives it an air of very great dignity. I never appreciated this till now that the colonnade [Note] itself has been all laid open, and the columns have been polished. It all depends—and this I will look to—upon the stuccoing being prettily done. The pavements seemed to be being well laid. Certain of the ceilings I did not like, and ordered them to be changed. As to the place in which they say that you write word that a small entrance hall is to be built—namely, in the colonnade—I liked it better as it is. For I did not think there was space sufficient for an entrance hall; nor is it usual to have one, except in those buildings which have a larger court; nor could it have bedrooms and apartments of that kind attached

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to it. As it is, from the very beauty of its arched roof, it will serve as an admirable summer room. However, if you think differently, write back word as soon as possible. In the bath I have moved the hot chamber to the other corner of the dressing-room, because it was so placed that its steam-pipe was immediately under the bedrooms. A fair-sized bedroom and a lofty winter one I admired very much, for they were both spacious and well-situated—on the side of the promenade nearest to the bath. Diphilus had placed the columns out of the perpendicular, and not opposite each other. These, of course, he shall take down; he will learn some day to use the plumb-line and measure. On the whole, I hope Diphilus's work will be completed in a few months: for Caesius, who was with me at the time, keeps a very sharp lookout upon him. Thence I started straight along the via Vitularia to your Fufidianum, the estate which we bought for you a few weeks ago at Arpinum for 100,000 sesterces. I never saw a shadier spot in summer-water springs in many parts of it, and abundant into the bargain. In short, Caesius thought that you would easily irrigate fifty jugera of the meadow land. For my part, I can assure you of this, which is more in my line, that you will have a villa marvellously pleasant, with the addition of a fish-pond, spouting fountains, a palaestra, and a shrubbery. I am told that you wish to keep this Bovillae estate. You will determine as you think good. Calvus said that, even if the control of the water were taken from you, and the right of drawing it off were established by the vendor, and thus an easement were imposed on that property, we could yet maintain the price in case we wished to sell. He said that he had agreed with you to do the work at three sesterces a foot, and that he had stepped it, and made it three miles. It seemed to me more. But I will guarantee that the money could nowhere be better laid out. I had sent for Cillo from Venafrum, but on that very day four of his fellow servants and apprentices had been crushed by the falling in of a tunnel at Venafrum. On the 13th of September I was at Laterium. I examined the road, which appeared to me to be so good as to seem almost like a high road, except a hundred and fifty paces—for I measured it myself from the little bridge at the temple of Furina, in the direction of Satricum. There they had put

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down dust, not gravel (this shall be changed), and that part of the road is a very steep incline. But I understood that it could not be taken in any other direction, particularly as you did not wish it to go through the property of Locusta or Varro. The latter alone had made the road very well where it skirted his own property. Locusta hadn't touched it but I will call on him at Rome, and think I shall be able to stir him up, and at the same time I shall ask M. Taurus, who is now at Rome, and whom I am told promised to allow you to do so, about making a watercourse through his property. I much approved of your steward Nicephorius, and I asked him what orders you had given about that small building at Laterium, about which you spoke to me. He told me in answer that he had himself contracted to do the work for sixteen sestertia, but that you had afterwards made many additions to the work, but nothing to the price, and that he had therefore given it up. I quite approve, by Hercules, of your making the additions you had determined upon; although the villa as it stands seems to have the air of a philosopher, meant to rebuke the extravagance of other villas. Yet, after all, that addition will be pleasing. I praised your landscape gardener: he has so covered everything with ivy, both the foundation-wall of the villa and the spaces between the columns of the walk, that, upon my word, those Greek statues seemed to be engaged in fancy gardening, and to be shewing off the ivy. Finally, nothing can be cooler or more mossy than the dressing-room of the bath. That is about all I have to say about country matters. The gardener, indeed, as well as Philotimus and Cincius are pressing on the ornamentation of your town house; but I also often look in upon it myself, as I can do without difficulty. Wherefore don't be at all anxious about that.

As to your always asking me about your son, of course I "excuse you"; but I must ask you to "excuse" me also, for I don't allow that you love him more than I do. And oh that he had been with me these last few days at Arpinum, as he had himself set his heart on being, and as I had no less done! As to Pomponia, please write and say that, when I go out of town anywhere, she is to come with me and bring the boy. I'll do wonders with him, if I get him to myself when I am at leisure: for at Rome there is no time to breathe. You

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know I formerly promised to do so for nothing. What do you expect with such a reward as you promise me? I now come to your letters which I received in several packets when I was at Arpinum. For I received three from you in one day, and, indeed, as it seemed, despatched by you at the same time—one of considerable length, in which your first point was that my letter to you was dated earlier than that to Caesar. Oppius at times cannot help this: the reason is that, having settled to send letter-carriers, and having received a letter from me, he is hindered by something turning up, and obliged to despatch them later than he had intended; and I don't take the trouble to have the day altered on a letter which I have once handed to him. You write about Caesar's extreme affection for us. This affection you must on your part keep warm, and I for mine will endeavour to increase it by every means in my power. About Pompey, I am carefully acting, and shall continue to act, as you advise. That my permission to you to stay longer is a welcome one, though I grieve at your absence and miss you exceedingly, I am yet partly glad. What you can be thinking of in sending for such people as Hippodamus and some others, I do not understand. There is not one of those suburban estate. However, there is no reason for your fellows that won't expect a present from you equal to a classing my friend Trebatius with them. I sent him to Caesar, and Caesar has done all I expected. If he has not done quite what he expected himself, I am not bound to make it up to him, and I in like manner free and absolve you from all claims on his part. Your remark, that you are a greater favourite with Caesar every day, is a source of undying satisfaction to me. As to Balbus, who, as you say, promotes that state of things, he is the apple of my eye. I am indeed glad that you and my friend Trebonius like each other. As to what you say about the military tribuneship, I, indeed, asked for it definitely for Curtius, and Caesar wrote back definitely to say that there was one at Curtius's service, and chided me for my modesty in making the request. If I have asked one for anyone else—as I told Oppius to write and tell Caesar—I shall not be at all annoyed by a refusal, since those who pester me for letters are annoyed at a refusal from me. I like Curtius, as I have told him, not only

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because you asked me to do so, but from the character you gave of him; for from your letter I have gathered the zeal he shewed for my restoration. As for the British expedition, I conclude from your letter that we have no occasion either for fear or exultation. As to public affairs, about which you wish Tiro to write to you, I have written to you hitherto somewhat more carelessly than usual, because I knew that all events, small or great, were reported to Caesar. I have now answered your longest letter.

Now hear what I have to say to your small one. The first point is about Clodius's letter to Caesar. In that matter I approve of Caesar's policy, in not having given way to your request so far as to write a single word to that Fury. The next thing is about the speech of Calventius "Marius." [Note] I am surprised at your saying that you think I ought to answer it, particularly as, while no one is likely to read that speech, unless I write an answer to it, every schoolboy learns mine against him as an exercise. My books, all of which you are expecting, I have begun, but I cannot finish them for some days yet. The speeches for Scaurus and Plancius which you clamour for I have finished. The poem to Caesar, which I had begun, I have cut short. I will write what you ask me for, since your poetic springs are running dry, as soon as I have time.

Now for the third letter. It is very pleasant and welcome news to hear from you that Balbus is soon coming to Rome, and so well accompanied! [Note] and will stay with me continuously till the 15th of May. As to your exhorting me in the same letter, as in many previous ones, to ambition and labour, I shall, of course, do as you say: but when am I to enjoy any real life?

Your fourth letter reached me on the 13th of September,

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dated on the 10th of August from Britain. In it there was nothing new except about your Erigona, and if I get that from Oppius I will write and tell you what I think of it. I have no doubt I shall like it. [Note] Oh yes I had almost forgotten to remark as to the man who, you say in your letter, had written to Caesar about the applause given to Milo—I am not unwilling that Caesar should think that it was as warm as possible. And in point of fact it was so, and yet that applause, which is given to him, seems in a certain sense to be given to me. [Note]

I have also received a very old letter, but which was late in coming into my hands, in which you remind me about the temple of Tellus and the colonnade of Catulus. Both of these matters are being actively carried out. At the temple of Tellus I have even got your statue placed. So, again, as to your reminder about a suburban villa and gardens, I was never very keen for one, and now my town house has all the charm of such a pleasure-ground. On my arrival in Rome on the 18th of September I found the roof on your house finished: the part over the sitting-rooms, which you did not wish to have many gables, now slopes gracefully towards the roof of the lower colonnade. Our boy, in my absence, did not cease working with his rhetoric master. You have no reason for being anxious about his education, for you know his ability, and I see his application. Everything else I take it upon myself to guarantee, with full consciousness that I am bound to make it good.

As yet there are three parties prosecuting Gabinius: first, L. Lentulus, son of the flamen, who has entered a prosecution for ; [Note] secondly, Tib. Nero, with good names at the back of his indictment; thirdly, C. Memmius the tribune in conjunction with L. Capito. He came to the walls of the city on the 19th of September, undignified and neglected to the last degree. But in the present state of the law courts I do not venture to be confident of anything. As Cato is unwell, he has not yet been formally indicted for extortion. Pompey

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is trying hard to persuade me to be reconciled to him, but as yet he has not succeeded at all, nor, if I retain a shred of liberty, will he succeed. I am very anxious for a letter from you. You say that you have been told that I was a party to the Coalition of the consular candidates—it is a lie. The compacts made in that coalition, afterwards made public by Memmius, were of such a nature that no loyal man ought to have been a party to them ; [Note] nor at the same time was it possible for me to be a party to a coalition from which Messalla was excluded, who is thoroughly satisfied with my conduct in every particular, as also, I think, is Memmius. To Domitius himself I have rendered many services, which he desired and asked of me. I have put Scaurus under a heavy obligation by my defence of him. It is as yet very uncertain both when the elections will be and who will be consuls.

Just as I was folding up this epistle letter-carriers arrived from you and Caesar (20th September) after a journey of twenty days. How anxious I was! How painfully I was affected by Caesar's most kind letter! [Note] But the kinder it was, the more sorrow did his loss occasion me. But to turn to your letter. To begin with, I reiterate my approval of your staying on, especially as, according to your account, you have consulted Caesar on the subject. I wonder that Oppius has anything to do with Publius, for I advised against it. Farther on in your letter you say that I am going to be made legatus to Pompey on the 13th of September: I have heard nothing about it, and I wrote to Caesar to tell him that neither Vibullius nor Oppius had delivered his message to Pompey about my remaining at home. Why, I know not. However, it was I who restrained Oppius from doing so, because it was Vibullius who should take the leading part in that matter: for with him Caesar had communicated personally, with Oppius only by letter. I indeed can have no "second thoughts " [Note] in matters connected with Caesar. He comes next after you and our children in my regard, and not much after. I think I act in this with deliberate

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judgment, for I have by this time good cause for it, yet warm personal feeling no doubt does influence me also.

Just as I had written these last words—which are by my own hand—your boy came in to dine with me, as Pomponia was dining out. He gave me your letter to read, which he had received shortly before—a truly Aristophanic mixture of jest and earnest, with which I was greatly charmed. [Note] He gave me also your second letter, in which you bid him cling to my side as a mentor. How delighted he was with those letters! And so was I. Nothing could be more attractive than that boy, nothing more affectionate to me !—This, to explain its being in another handwriting, I dictated to Tiro while at dinner.

Your letter gratified Annalis very much, as shewing that you took an active interest in his concerns, and yet assisted him with exceedingly candid advice. Publius Servilius the elder, from a letter which he said he had received from Caesar, declares himself highly obliged to you for having spoken with the greatest kindness and earnestness of his devotion to Caesar. After my return to Rome from Arpinum I was told that Hippodamus had started to join you. I cannot say that I was surprised at his having acted so discourteously as to start to join you without a letter from me: I only say this, that I was annoyed. For I had long resolved, from an expression in your letter, that if I had anything I wished conveyed to you with more than usual care, I should give it to him : for, in truth, into a letter like this, which I send you in an ordinary way, I usually put nothing that, if it fell into certain hands, might be a source of annoyance. I reserve myself for Minucius and Salvius and Labeo. Labeo will either be starting late or will stay here altogether. Hippodamus did not even ask me whether he could do anything for me. T. Penarius sends me a kind letter about you: says that he is exceedingly charmed with your literary pursuits, conversation, and above all by your dinners. He was always a favourite of mine, and I see a good deal of his brother. Wherefore continue, as you have begun, to admit the young man to your intimacy.

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From the fact of this letter having been in hand during many days, owing to the delay of the letter-carriers, I have jotted down in it many various things at odd times, as, for instance, the following. Titus Anicius has mentioned to me more than once that he would not hesitate to buy a suburban property for you, if he found one. In these remarks of his I find two things surprising: first, that when you write to him about buying a suburban property, you not only don't write to me to that effect, but write even in a contrary sense; and, secondly, that in writing to him you totally forget his letters which you shewed me at Tusculum, and as totally the rule of Epicharmus, "Notice how he has treated another": [Note] in fact, that you have quite forgotten, as I think, the lesson conveyed by the expression of his face, his conversation, and his spirit. But this is your concern. As to a suburban property, be sure to let me know your wishes, and at the same time take care that that fellow doesn't get you into trouble. What else have I to say? Anything? Yes, there is this: Gabinius entered the city by night on the 27th of September, and today, at two o'clock, when he ought to have appeared on his trial for , in accordance with the edict of C. Alfius, he was all but crushed to the earth by a great and unanimous demonstration of the popular hatred. Nothing could exceed his humiliating position. However, Piso comes next to him. So I think of introducing a marvellous episode into my second book [Note] —Apollo declaring in the council of the gods what sort of return that of the two commanders was to be, one of whom had lost, and the other sold his army. From Britain I have a letter of Caesar's dated the 1st of September, which reached me on the 27th, satisfactory enough as far as the British expedition is concerned, in which, to prevent my wondering at not getting one from you, he tells me that you were not with him when he reached the coast. To that letter I made no reply, not even a formal congratulation, on account of his mourning. Many, many wishes, dear brother, for your health.

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In the evening of the 10th of October Salvius started on board ship for Ostia with the things you wished sent to you from home. On that same day Memmius [Note] gave Gabinius such a splendid warming in public meeting that Calidius couldn't say a word for him. Tomorrow (which is strictly the day after tomorrow, for I am writing before daybreak) there is a trial before Cato for the selection of his prosecutor between Memmius, Tiberius Nero, and Gaius and Lucius, sons of M. Antonius. I think the result will be in favour of Memmius, though a strong case is being made out for Nero. In short, he is in a fairly tight fix, unless our friend Pompey, to the disgust of gods and men, upsets the whole concern. Let me give you a specimen of the fellow's impudence, and extract something amusing from the public disasters. Gabinius having given out wherever he came that he was demanding a triumph, and having suddenly, the

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excellent general! invaded the city of his enemies by night, [Note] did not venture to enter the senate. Meanwhile, exactly on the tenth day, on which he was bound to report the number of the enemy and of his own soldiers who had been killed, he slunk into the house, which was very thinly attended. When he made as if to go out, he was stopped by the consuls. The publicani were introduced. The fellow was assailed on every side, and my words stinging him more than all, he lost patience, and in a voice quivering with anger called me "Exile." Thereupon—Heavens I never had such a compliment paid me in all my life —the senate rose up to a man with a loud shout and made a menacing movement in his direction : the publicani made an equal noise and a similar movement. In fine, they all behaved exactly as you would have done. It is the leading topic of conversation out of the house. However, I refrain from prosecuting, with difficulty, by Hercules ! yet refrain I do : either because I don't want to quarrel with Pompey—the impending question of Milo is enough in that direction—or because we have no jurors worthy of the name. I fear a fiasco: besides, there is the ill-will of certain persons to me, and I am afraid my conducting the prosecution might give him some advantage: besides, I do not despair of the thing being done both without me and yet partly through my assistance. All the candidates for the consulships have had prosecutions for bribery lodged against them: Domitius Calvinus by Memmius (the tribune), Memmius (the candidate) by Q. Acutius, an excellent young man and a good lawyer, Messalla by Q. Pompeius, Scaurus by Triarius. The affair causes great commotion, because it is a plain alternative between shipwreck for the men concerned or for the laws. Pressure is being applied to prevent the trials taking place. It looks like an interregnum again. The consuls desire to hold the comitia: the accused don't wish it, and especially Memmius, because he hopes that Caesar's approach [Note]

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may secure him the consulship. But he is at a very low ebb. Domitius, with Messalla as his colleague, I think is a certainty. Scaurus has lost his chance. Appius declares that he will relieve Lentulus even without a curiate law, [Note] and, indeed, he distinguished himself amazingly that day (I almost forgot to mention it) in an attack upon Gabinius. He accused him of , and gave the names of his witnesses without Gabinius answering a word. That is all the public news. At home all is well : your house itself is being proceeded with by the contractors with fair expedition.


CL (Q FR III, 3)


The writing of an amanuensis must shew you the amount of my engagements. I assure you that no day passes without my appearing for the defence of some one. Accordingly, all composition or reflexion I reserve for the hour of my walk. So stands my business: matters at home, however, are everything I could wish. Our boys are well, diligent in their studies, and affectionate to me and each other. The decoration of both of our houses is still in hand: but your rural works at Arcanum and Laterium are now completed. For the rest, as to the water and the road, I went into the case thoroughly, in a certain letter of mine, without Omitting anything.

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But, in truth, the anxiety which is now giving me great uneasiness and pain is that for a period of fifty days I have heard nothing from you or from Caesar—nothing has found its way from those parts, either in the shape of a letter, or even of a rumour. Moreover, both the sea and land out there make me uneasy, and I never cease imagining, as one does when one's affections are deeply involved, all that I least desire. Wherefore I do not, indeed, for the present ask you to write me an account of yourself and your doings, for that you never omit doing when possible, but I wish you to know this—that I have scarcely ever been so anxious for anything as at the moment of writing I am for a letter from you. Now for what is going on in politics. One day after another for the comitia is struck out by notices of bad omens, to the great satisfaction of all the loyalists: so great is the scandal in which the consuls are involved, owing to the suspicion of their having bargained for a bribe from the candidates. The four candidates for the consulship are all arraigned : their cases are difficult of defence, but I shall do my best to secure the safety of our friend Messalla—and that is inseparable from the acquittal of the others. Publius Sulla has accused Gabinius of bribery—his stepson Memmius his cousin Caecilius, and his son Sulla backing the indictment. L. Torquatus put in his claim to the conduct of the prosecution, and, to everybody's satisfaction, failed to establish it. You ask, "What will become of Gabinius?" We shall know in three days' time about the charge of . In that case he is at a disadvantage from the hatred entertained by all classes for him; witnesses against him as damaging as can be: accusers in the highest degree inefficient: the panel of jurors of varied character: the president a man of weight and decision—Alfius: Pompey active in soliciting the jurors on his behalf. What the result will be I don't know; I don't see, however, how he can maintain a position in the state. I shew no rancour in promoting his destruction, and await the result with the utmost good temper. That is nearly all the news. I will add this one item: your boy (who is mine also) is exceedingly devoted to his rhetoric master Paeonius, a man, I think, of great experience in his profession, and of very good character. But you are aware that my method of instruction aims at a somewhat more

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scholarly and philosophical style. [Note] Accordingly I, for my part, am unwilling that his course of training should be interrupted, and the boy himself seems to be more drawn to that declamatory style, and to like it better; and as that was the style in which I was myself initiated, let us allow him to follow in my path, for I feel sure it will eventually bring him to the same point; nevertheless, if I take him with me somewhere in the country, I shall guide him to the adoption of my system and practice. For you have held out before me a great reward, which it certainly shall not be my fault if I fail to fully obtain. I hope you will write and tell me most carefully in what district you are going to pass the winter, and what your prospects are.




Gabinius has been acquitted. Nothing could be more absolutely futile than his accuser, Lentulus, and the backers of the indictment, or more corrupt than the jury. Yet, after all, had it not been for incredible exertions and entreaties on Pompey's part, and even an alarming rumour of a dictatorship, he would not have been able to answer even Lentulus; for even as it was, with such an accuser and such a jury, he had thirty-two votes out of seventy recorded against him. This trial is altogether so scandalous, that he seems certain to be convicted in the other suits, especially in that for extortion. But you must see that the Republic, the senate, the law courts are mere ciphers, and that not one of us has any constitutional position at all. What else should I tell you about the jurors? Two men of praetorian rank were on the panel—Domitius Calvinus, who voted for acquittal so openly that everybody could see; and Cato, who, as soon as the voting tablets had

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been counted, withdrew from the ring of people, and was the first to tell Pompey the news. Some people—for instance, Sallust—say that I ought to have been the prosecuting counsel. Was I to have exposed myself to such a jury as this? What would have been my position, if he had escaped when I conducted the case? But there were other considerations which influenced me. Pompey would have looked upon it as a contest with me, not for that man's safety, but for his own position: he would have entered the city; [Note] it would have become a downright quarrel; I should have seemed like a Pacideianus matched with the Samnite Aeserninus [Note] —he would, perhaps, have bitten off my ear, [Note] and at least he would have become reconciled to Clodius. For my part, especially if you do not disapprove of it, I strongly approve my own policy. That great man, though his advancement had been promoted by unparalleled exertions on my part, and though I owed him nothing, while he owed me all, yet could not endure that I should differ from him in politics—to put it mildly—and, when in a less powerful position, shewed me what he could do against me when in my zenith. At this time of day, when I don't even care to be influential, and the Republic certainly has no power to do anything, while he is supreme in everything, was I to enter upon a contest with him? For that is what I should have had to have done. I do not think that you hold me bound to have undertaken it. "Then, as an alternative," says the grave Sallust, "you should have defended him, and have made that concession to Pompey's earnest wish, for he begged you very hard to do so." An ingenious friend is Sallust, to give me the alternative of a dangerous quarrel or undying infamy! I, however, am quite pleased with the middle course which I have steered; and another gratifying circumstance is that, when I had given my evidence with the utmost solemnity, in accordance with my honour and oath, the defendant said that, if he retained his right to remain in the city, he would repay me, and did not attempt to cross-question me.

As to the verses which you wish me to compose, it is true

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that I am deficient in industry in regard to them, which requires not only time, but also a mind free from all anxiety, but I am also wanting in inspiration. For I am not altogether without anxiety as to the coming year, though without fear. At the same time, and, upon my word, I speak without irony, I consider you a greater master of that style of writing than myself. As to filling up your Greek library, effecting interchanges of books, and purchasing Latin books, I should be very glad that your wishes should be carried out, especially as they would be very useful to me. But I have no one to employ for myself in such a business: for such books as are really worth getting are not for sale, and purchases cannot be effected except by an agent who is both well-informed and active. However, I will give orders to Chrysippus and speak to Tyrannio. I will inquire what Scipio has done about the treasury. I will see that what seems to be the right thing is done. As to Ascanio, do what you like: I shall not interfere. As to a suburban property, I commend your not being in a hurry, but I advise your having one. I write this on the 24th of October, the day of the opening of the games, on the point of starting for my Tusculan villa, and taking my dear young Cicero with me as though to school (a school not for sport, but for learning), since I did not wish to be at any greater distance from town, because I purposed supporting Pomptinus's [Note] claim of a triumph on the 3rd of November. For there will be, in fact, some little difficulty; as the praetors, Cato and Servilius, [Note] threaten to forbid it, though I don't know what they can do. For he will have on his side Appius the consul, some praetors and tribunes. Still, they do threaten—and among the foremost Q. Scaevola, "breathing war." [Note] Most delightful and dearest of brothers, take good care of your health.

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You ask me what I have done about the books which I begun to write when in my Cuman villa: I have not been idle and am not being idle now; but I have frequently changed the whole plan and arrangement of the work. I had already completed two books, in which I represented a conversation taking place on the Novendialia held in the consulship of Tuditanus and Aquilius, [Note] between Africanus, shortly before his death, and Laelius, Philus, Manilius, P. Rutilius, Q. Tubero, and Laelius's sons-in-law, Fannius and Scaevola; a conversation which was extended to nine days and the same number of books "On the best Constitution of the State" and "On the best Citizen." The work was excellently composed, and the rank of the speakers added considerable weight to the style. But when these books were read to me in the presence of Sallustius at Tusculum, it was suggested to me by him that a discourse on such subjects would come with much greater force if I were myself the speaker on the Republic, especially as I was a no mere Heraclides Ponticus, [Note] but an ex-consul, and one who had been engaged in the most important affairs in the state: that when I put them in the mouth of men of such ancient date they would have an air of unreality: that I had shewn good taste in my books about the science of rhetoric in keeping the dialogue of the orators apart from myself, and yet had attributed it to men whom I had personally seen: and, finally, that Aristotle delivers in the first person his essays "On the Republic "and "On the Eminent Man." I was influenced the more by this from the fact that I was unable to touch on

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the most important commotions in our state, because they were subsequent to the age of the speakers. Moreover, my express object then was not to offend anyone by launching into the events of my own time: as it is, I shall avoid that and at the same time be the speaker with you. Nevertheless, when I come to Rome I will send you the dialogues as they originally stood. For I fancy that those books will convince you that they have not been abandoned by me without some chagrin.

I am extremely gratified by Caesar's affection of which you write to me. The offers which he holds out I do not much reckon on, nor have I any thirst for honours or longing for glory; and I look forward more to the continuation of his kindness than to the fulfillment of his promises. Still, I live a life so prominent and laborious that I might seem to be expecting the very thing that I deprecate. As to your request that I should compose some verses, you could hardly believe, my dear brother, how short of time I am: nor do I feel much moved in spirit to write poetry on the subject you mention. Do you really come to me for disquisitions on things that I can scarcely conceive even in imagination—you who have distanced everybody in that style of vivid and descriptive writing? Yet I would have done it if I could, but, as you will assuredly not fail to notice, for writing poetry there is need of a certain freshness of mind of which my occupations entirely deprive me. I withdraw myself, it is true, from all political anxiety and devote myself to literature; still, I will hint to you what, by heaven, I specially wished to have concealed from you. It cuts me to the heart, my dearest brother, to the heart, to think that there is no Republic, no law courts, and that my present time of life, which ought to have been in the full bloom of senatorial dignity, is distracted with the labours of the forum or eked out by private studies, and that the object on which from boyhood I had set my heart, Far to excel, and tower above the crowd,
[Note] is entirely gone: that my opponents have in some cases been left unattacked by me, in others even defended: that

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not only my sympathies, but my very dislikes, are not free: and that Caesar is the one man in the world who has been found to love me to my heart's Content, or even, as others think, the only one who was inclined to do so. However, there is none of all these vexations of such a kind as to be beyond the reach of many daily consolations; but the greatest of consolations will be our being together. As it is, to those other sources of vexation there is added my very deep regret for your absence. If I had defended Gabinius, which Pansa thought I ought to have done, I should have been quite ruined: those who hate him—and that is entire orders—would have begun to hate me for the sake of their hatred for him. I confined myself, as I think with great dignity, to doing only that which all the world saw me do. And to sum up the whole case, I am, as you advise, devoting all my efforts to tranquillity and peace. As to the books: Tyrannio is a slow-coach : I will speak to Chrysippus, but it is a laborious business and requires a man of the utmost industry. I find it in my own case, for, though I am as diligent as possible, I get nothing done. As to the Latin books, I don't know which way to turn—they are copied and exposed for sale with such a quantity of errors! However, whatever can possibly be done I will not neglect to do. Gaius Rebilus, as I wrote to you before, is at Rome. He solemnly affirms his great obligations to you, and reports well of your health. [Note] I think the question of the treasury was settled in my absence. When you speak of having finished four tragedies in sixteen days, I presume you are borrowing from some one else? And do you deign to be indebted to others after writing the Electra and the Troades? Don't be idle; and don't think the proverbial γνῶθι σεαυτόν was only meant to discourage vanity: it means also that we should be aware of our own qualities. But pray send me these tragedies as well as the Erigona. I have now answered your last two letters.

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At Rome, and especially on the Appian road as far as the temple of Mars, there is a remarkable flood. The promenade of Crassipes has been washed away, pleasure grounds, a great number of shops. There is a great sheet of water right up to the public fish-pond. That doctrine of Homer's is in full play: The days in autumn when in violent flood
Zeus pours his waters, wroth at sinful men
— for it falls in with the acquittal of Gabinius— Who wrench the law to suit their crooked ends
And drive out justice, recking naught of Gods.
[Note] But I have made up my mind not to care about such things. When I get back to Rome I will write and tell you my observations, and especially about the dictatorship, and I will also send a letter to Labienus and one to Ligurius. I write this before daybreak by the carved wood lamp-stand, in which I take great delight, because they tell me that you had it made when you were at Samos. Good-bye, dearest and best of brothers.

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The earlier of your two letters is full of irritability and complainings, and you say you gave another of the same sort the day before to Labienus, who has not yet arrived—but I have nothing to say in answer to it, for your more recent letter has obliterated all trace of vexation from my mind. I will only give you this hint and make this request, that in the midst of your vexations and labours you should recall what our notion was as to your going to Caesar. For our object was not the acquisition of certain small and unimportant gains. For what was there of that kind which we should have thought worth the price of our separation? What we sought was the strongest possible security for the maintenance of our entire political position by the countenance of a man of the highest character and most commanding influence. Our interest is not so much in the acquisition of sums of money, as in the realization of this hope: all else that you get is to be regarded only as a security against actual loss. [Note] Wherefore, if you will frequently turn your thoughts back upon what we originally proposed to ourselves and hoped to do, you will bear with less impatience the labours of military service of which you speak and the

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other things which annoy you, and, nevertheless, will resign them whenever you choose. But the right moment for that step is not yet come, though it is now not far off. Furthermore, I give you this hint—don't commit anything at all to writing, the publication of which would be annoying to us. There are many things that I would rather not know than learn at some risk. I shall write at greater length to you with a mind less preoccupied, when my boy Cicero is, as I hope he will be, in a good state of health. Pray be careful to let me know to whom I should give the letter which I shall then send you—to Caesar's letter-carriers, for him to forward them direct to you, or to those of Labienus? For where your Nervii dwell, and how far off, I have no idea. [Note] I derived great pleasure from your letter describing the courage and dignity displayed (as you say) by Caesar in his extreme sorrow. You bid me finish the poem in his honour which I had begun; and although I have been diverted from it by business, and still more by my feelings, yet, since Caesar knows that I did begin something, I will return to my design, and will complete in these leisure days of the "supplications," [Note] during which I greatly rejoice that our friend Messalla and the rest are at last relieved from worry. In reckoning on him as certain to be consul with Domitius, you are quite in agreement with my own opinion. I will guarantee Messalla to Caesar: but Memmius Cherishes a hope, founded on Caesar's return to Italy, in which I think he is under a mistake. He is, indeed, quite out of it here. Scaurus, again, has been long ago thrown over by Pompey. The business has been put off: the comitia postponed and postponed, till we may expect an interregnum. The rumour of a dictator is not pleasing to the aristocrats; for myself, I like still less what they say. But the proposal, as a whole, is looked upon with alarm, and grows unpopular. Pompey says outright that he doesn't wish it: to me previously he used not personally to deny the wish. Hirrus seems likely to be the proposer. Ye gods ! what folly!

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How in love with himself and without—a rival! He has Commissioned me to choke off Caelius Vinicianus, a man much attached to me. Whether Pompey wishes it or not, it is difficult to be sure. However, if it is Hirrus who makes the proposal, he will not convince people that he does not wish it. There is nothing else being talked about in politics just now; at any rate, nothing else is being done. The funeral of the son of Serranus Domesticus took place in very melancholy circumstances on the 23rd of November. His father delivered the funeral Oration which I composed for him. Now about Milo. Pompey gives him no support, and is all for Gutta, saying also that he will secure Caesar on his side. Milo is alarmed at this, and no wonder, and almost gives up hope if Pompey is created dictator. If he assists anyone who vetoes the dictatorship by his troop and bodyguard, [Note] he fears he may excite Pompey's enmity: if he doesn't do so, he fears the proposal may be carried by force. He is preparing games on a most magnificent scale, at a cost, I assure you, that no one has ever exceeded. It is foolish, on two or even three accounts, to give games that were not demanded—he has already given a magnificent show of gladiators : he cannot afford it: he is only an executor, and might have reflected that he is now an executor, not an aedile. That is about all I had to write. Take care of yourself, dearest brother.




In regard to Gabinius, I had not to carry out any of the measures which you suggested with such affectionate solicitude. "May the earth swallow me rather, etc.! [Note] I acted with very great dignity and also with the greatest consideration.

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I neither bore hardly on him nor helped him. I gave strong evidence, in other respects I did not stir. The disgraceful and mischievous result of the trial I bore with the utmost serenity. And this is the advantage which, after all that has happened, has accrued to me—that I am not even affected in the least by those evils in the state and the licentious conduct of the shameless, which used formerly to make me burst with indignation : for anything more abandoned than the men and the times in which we are living there cannot be. Accordingly, as no pleasure can possibly be got from politics, I don't know why I should lose my temper. Literature and my favourite studies, along with the retirement of my country houses, and above all our two boys, furnish my enjoyments. The one man who vexes me is Milo. But I hope an end will be put to my anxieties by his getting the consulship: and to obtain this for him I shall struggle as hard as I did for my own, and you, I am sure, will continue to give assistance from over there. In his case other things are all secure, unless it is snatched from his grasp by downright violence: it is about his means that I am frightened: For he is now beyond all bearing mad,
[Note] to spend 1,000,000 sesterce on his games. His want of prudence in this one particular I shall put up with as well as I can, and you should be strong-minded enough to do the same. In mentioning the changes to be expected next year, I didn't mean you to understand me to refer to domestic alarms : the reference was wholly to the state of the Republic, in which, though not charged with any actual duty, I can scarcely discharge myself from all anxiety. Yet how cautious I would have you be in writing you may guess from the fact that I do not mention in my letters to you even open acts of disorder in the state, lest my letter should be intercepted and give offence to the feelings of anyone. Wherefore, as far as domestic affairs are concerned, I would have you be quite easy: in politics I know how anxious you always are. I can see that our friend Messalla will

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be consul, if by means of an interrex, without any prosecution, if by that of a dictator, without danger of conviction. He is not disliked by anyone. Hortensius's warm support will stand him in good stead. Gabinius's acquittal is looked upon as a general act of indemnity. En passant: nothing has, after all, been done as yet about a dictatorship. Pompey is out of town; Appius is intriguing darkly; Hirrus is paving the way: there are many tribunes calculated on to veto it: the people are indifferent: the leading men disinclined to it: I don't stir a finger. I am exceedingly obliged for your promises as to slaves, and I am indeed, as you say, shorthanded both at Rome and on my estates. But pray do nothing for my convenience unless it entirely suits your own, and your means. About the letter of Vatinius I laughed heartily. But though I know I am being watched by him, I can swallow his hatred and digest it too. You urge me to "finish": well, I have finished what, in my own opinion at least, is a very pretty "epic " on Caesar, but I am in search of a trustworthy letter-carrier, lest it should share the fate of your Erigona [Note] —the only personage who has missed a safe journey from Gaul during Caesar's governorship.

What? because I had no good stone was I to pull down the whole building ?—a building which I like better every day of my life: the lower court especially and the chambers attached to it are admirable. As to Arcanum, it is a building worthy of Caesar, or, by heaven, of some one even more tasteful still. For your statues, palaestra, fish-pond, and conduit are worthy of many Philotimuses, and quite above your Diphiluses. But I will visit them personally, as well as sending men to look after them and giving orders about them. As to the will of Felix, you will complain more when you know all. For the document which he believed himself to have sealed, in which your name was most certainly entered as heir to a twelfth, this, by a mistake of his own and of his slave Sicura, he did not seal: while the one which he did not intend to seal he did seal. But let it go hang, so long as we keep well! I am as devoted to your son Cicero as you can wish, and as he deserves, and as I am bound to be. However, I am letting him leave me, both to

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avoid keeping him from his teachers, and because his mother is leaving, without whom I am very much alarmed as to the boy's large appetite. Yet, after all, we see a great deal of each other. I have now answered all your letters. Dearest and best of brothers, good-bye.

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