Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Att.].
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DCC (A XIV, 1)


I have come on a visit to the man, of whom I was talking to you this morning. [Note] His view is that "the state of things is perfectly shocking: that there is no way out of the embroglio. For if a man of Caesar's genius failed, who can hope to succeed?" In short, he says that the ruin is complete. I am not sure that he is wrong but then he rejoices in it, and declares that within twenty days there will be a rising in Gaul: that he has not had any conversation with anyone except Lepidus since the Ides of March: finally that these things can't pass off like this. What a wise man Oppius is, who regrets Caesar quite as much, but yet says nothing that can offend any loyalist! But enough of this. Pray don't be idle about writing me word of anything new, for I expect a great deal. Among other things, whether we can rely on Sextus Pompeius; but above all about our friend Brutus, of whom my host says that Caesar was in the habit of remarking: "It is of great importance

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what that man wishes; at any rate, whatever he wishes he wishes strongly": and that he noticed, when he was pleading for Deiotarus at Nicaea, [Note] that he seemed to speak with great spirit and freedom. Also—for I like to jot down things as they occur to me—that when on the request of Sestius I went to Caesar's house, and was sitting waiting till I was called in, he remarked: "Can I doubt that I am exceedingly disliked, when Marcus Cicero has to sit waiting and cannot see me at his own convenience? And yet if there is a good-natured man in the world it is he; still I feel no doubt that he heartily dislikes me." This and a good deal of the same sort. But to my purpose. Whatever the news, small as well as great, write and tell me of it. I will on my side let nothing pass.




I received two letters from you yesterday. The first informed me of the scene in the theatre and at Publilius's mime [Note] —a good sign of the unanimous feeling of the people at large. Indeed the applause given to Lucius Cassius appeared to me even a trifle effusive. [Note]

Your second letter was about our friend Bald-pate. [Note] He

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has no tendency to savage measures, as you imagine. For he has advanced, though not very far.

I have been detained rather a long time by his talk: but as to what I told you in my last, perhaps I did put it obscurely. It was this. He said Caesar remarked to him, on the occasion of my calling on him at the request of Sestius and having to sit waiting: "Do you suppose I am such a fool as to think that this man, good-natured as he is, can like me, when he has to sit all this time waiting on my convenience?" [Note]

Well then, there is your Bald-pate bitterly opposed to the public peace, that is, to Brutus.

I go to Tusculum today; tomorrow at Lanuvium; thence I think of staying at Astura. I shall be glad to see Pilia, but I could have wished for Attica also. However, I forgive you. Kind regards to both.




Your letter has a peaceful tone. I hope it may last! for Matius declared it impossible. Here are my builders who went to Rome to purchase corn, and returning empty-handed, bring a loud report that at Rome all corn is being

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collected into Antony's quarters. [Note] It must certainly be a mere panic rumour; for you would have written to tell me about it. Balbus's man Corumbus has not as yet put in an appearance. I know him by name very well; for he is said to be a skilful architect. The motive of inviting you to witness the sealing of wills is, I think, evident: they want me to think that the disposition of their property is of this kind. [Note] I don't know why they should not be sincere as well. But what does it matter to me? However, try and get scent of what Antony's disposition is. Yet I am inclined to think that he is more occupied with his banquets than with any mischievous designs. If you have any news of practical importance, write and tell me: if not, at any rate tell me whom the people cheered in the theatre and the latest bons mots of the mimes. Love to Pilia and Attica.




What news do you suppose I get now at Lanuvium? But I suspect that at Rome you hear something fresh every day. Matters are coming to a crisis: for when Matius talks like that, what do you think the rest will do? My vexation is that—as never happened before in any free state—the constitution has not been recovered along with liberty. It makes one shudder to hear their talk and their threats. Moreover, I am afraid of a rising in Gaul also, as well as of the line Sextus Pompeius may take. But come one, come all, the Ides of March console me. Moreover, our "heroes," as far as anything decisive could be accomplished by their

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unaided efforts, accomplished it in the most glorious and most magnificent manner. The rest requires material resources and troops, neither of which we possess. So far I am giving you information: It is your turn now to send me—promptly anything fresh that occurs—for I expect something every day—and if there is nothing fresh, nevertheless let us keep up our habit of allowing no break in our interchange of notes. I certainly will allow none.




I hope you are now as well as I could wish—for you were fasting owing to a slight indisposition: still, I should like to know how you are. [Note] Among good signs is Calvena's annoyance at being an object of suspicion to Brutus. It will be a bad symptom if the legions come from Gaul with their ensigns. What think you as to those that were already in Spain—won't they make the same demands? As also those that Annius has taken across thither? I didn't mean Annius, I meant to say C. Asinius. [Note] It was a slip of memory. A fine embroglio the Gambler [Note] has brought about! For that conspiracy of Caesar's freedmen would have been easily put down, if Antony had had his wits about him. How foolishly

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scrupulous I was not to accept a free legation before the vacation! I didn't wish to appear to shirk this ferment: for if it had been possible for me to remedy it, I should certainly have been bound to stick to my post. But you see what sort of magistrates we have—if magistrates they are to be called. You see, after all, the tyrant's hangers—on in enjoyment of imperium, you see his armies, his veterans on our flank! All these are materials easily fanned into a flame. While the men who ought not merely to be hedged round, but to be protected by the watchful care of all the world, you see merely made the objects of commendation and affection, but confined within the walls of their houses. Yet they—whatever their position—are happy. It is the state that is wretched.

But I should like to know something about the arrival of Octavius. [Note] Is there a great flocking to visit him, any suspicion of a coup on his part? I don't expect it myself: still I should like to know the truth whatever it is.

I write this to you on the point of starting from Astura, 11th of April.




On the 12th I received your letter at Fundi while at dinner. First—you are better: second—you give better news. For that was a disquieting report about the legions coming. As

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for Octavius, it is of no consequence. I want to hear about Marius : [Note] I thought he had been got rid of by Caesar. Antony's conversation with our "heroes" is not unsatisfactory in the circumstances. But after all the only thing so far that gives me any pleasure is the Ides of March. For as I am at Fundi with my friend Ligur, I am vexed to the heart that the estate of a Sextilius is in the hands of a rascally Curtilius. [Note] And in mentioning that instance I include a whole class of similar cases. For what can be more contemptible than that we should maintain the measures which caused us to detest him? Are we also to have the consuls and tribunes which he chooses for the next two years? I see no possibility of my taking part in the administration of affairs. For could there be a more flagrant solecism than that the tyrannicides should be exalted to the skies, the tyrant's administrative acts defended? But you see what sort of consuls and other magistrates we have—if they are to be called magistrates! You see the indifference of the loyalists. In the municipal towns they are jumping for joy. In fact I can't describe to you how rejoiced they are, how they flock to see me, how eager they are to hear me speak on the state of the Republic. Meanwhile, however, we can get no decrees out of the senate. The result of our policy is that we stand in awe of the conquered party. I write this to you after the dessert has been put on the table. More another time, and more exclusively political. Mind you let me know how you are and what is going on.

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On the 14th I saw Paullus at Caieta. He told me some really odious stories about Marius, [Note] and the state of the Republic. From you of course I have nothing, for none of my letter-carriers have arrived. But I hear that our friend Brutus has been seen near Lanuvium. Where in the world is he going to be? For I want to know all about this, as well as everything else. I write this at the moment of leaving my Formian villa on the 15th, intending to be at Puteoli the next day.

I have had a very well written and pretty long letter from my son. Other things may be put on, but the classic style of his letter shews that he is improving in scholarship. Now I beg you earnestly—a point on which I recently spoke to you—to see that he is not in want of anything. That is a duty on my part, and also concerns my reputation and position: which I perceive is your opinion also. Of course if I go to Greece in July, as is my present intention, everything will be easier; but as the present state of affairs makes it impossible to be sure of what is consistent with my honour, or within my power, or to my interest to do, pray make it your business to see that we give him an allowance on the most honourable and liberal scale. Pray, as usual, think over these or other matters of importance to me, and write and tell me anything that concerns me, or, if there is nothing, then anything that comes into your head.

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Yes, you thought when you wrote that I was already in my seaside houses, and I received your letter on the 15th, whilst in my little lodge at Sinuessa. As to Marius, excellent! [Note] Yet I sympathize with the grandson of Lucius Crassus. [Note] I am glad that Antony's conduct is so much approved even by our friend Brutus. For as to your saying that Iunia has brought a letter [Note] written in a moderate and friendly spirit—Paullus [Note] showed me one which he had received from his brother, at the end of which he said that he knew there was a plot forming against himself, and that he had ascertained it on undoubted authority. I wasn't pleased with that, and Paullus much less so. I am not sorry for the Queen's [Note] flight. I should like you to tell me what Clodia has done. See to the business of the Byzantine's, as everything else, and send for Pelops to come and see you. [Note] I will, as you ask, see to the fellows at Baiae and all that lot, about whom you wish to know; and when I have seen how things stand, I will write and tell you everything. What the Gauls, the Spaniards, and Sextus Pompeius are doing I am

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anxious to hear. You will of course make all that clear to me, as you have done everything else. I am not sorry that your slight attack of sickness has given you an excuse for taking a holiday; for as I read your letter I thought you had had a short rest. Always write and tell me everything about Brutus, where he is, what he is thinking of doing. I do hope that by this time he is able even without a guard to wander in safety in any part of the city. But after all—




I have learnt a good deal about public affairs from your letters, a considerable batch of which I received at the same time from the freedman of Vestorius. However, to your questions I shall make a short answer. I must premise that I am delighted with the Cluvian estate. [Note] As to your question about the reason for my having sent for Chrysippus—two of my shops have fallen down and the rest are cracking. So not only the tenants but the very mice have migrated. Other people call this a misfortune, I don't call it even a nuisance. Oh Socrates and Socratic philosophers, I shall never be able to thank you enough! Good heavens, how paltry such things are in my eyes! But after all I am adopting a plan of building on the suggestion and advice of Vestorius, which will convert this loss into a gain.

Here there is a great crowd of visitors and there will, I hear, be a greater still. Our two consuls-designate forsooth ! [Note] Good God, the tyranny survives though the tyrant is dead! We rejoice at his assassination, yet support his acts! Accordingly, M. Curtius [Note] criticises us with such severity that one feels ashamed to be alive. And not without reason: for it had been better to die a thousand deaths than to endure the present state of things, which seems to me likely to be more than a passing phase. Balbus too is here and often at my house. He has had a letter from Vetus, dated on the last day of the year, announcing that "when he was investing Caecilius Bassus, and was on the point of compelling him

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to surrender, the Parthian Pacorus arrived with an immense force: that accordingly Bassus was snatched from his hands, for which he blames Volcatius." [Note] Accordingly, I think that a war there is imminent. But that will be the affair of Dolabella and Nicias. [Note] Balbus also gives better news from Gaul. [Note] He has a letter dated twenty-one days back announcing that the Germans and the tribes there, on hearing about Caesar's death, sent legates to Aurelius, who was put in command by Hirtius, promising obedience. In short, everything speaks of peace in those parts, contrary to what Calvena said to me. [Note]


DCCX (A XIV, 10)


CAN it be true? Is this all that our noble Brutus has accomplished—that he should have to live at Lanuvium, and Trebonius should have to slink to his province by by-roads? That all the acts, memoranda, words, promises, and projects of Caesar should have more validity than if he were still

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alive? Do you remember that on that very first day of the retreat upon the Capitol I exclaimed that the senate should be summoned into the Capitoline temple? Good heavens, what might have been effected then, when all loyalists—even semi-loyalists—were exultant, and the brigands utterly dismayed! You lay the blame on the Liberalia. [Note]

What was possible at the time? Our case had long been hopeless. Do you remember that you explained that it was all over with us, if he were allowed a funeral? But he was even burnt in the forum, and a funeral oration was pronounced over him in moving terms, and a number of slaves and starvelings instigated to attack our houses with firebrands. What next! They even have the impudence to say: "You utter a word against the will of Caesar?" These and other things like

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them I cannot endure, and accordingly I am thinking of wandering away "from land to land." Your land, [Note] however, is too much in the eye of the wind.

Is your sickness quite gone by this time? I rather judged so from the tone of your letter.

I return to the case of the veterans-your Tebassi, Scaevae, and Frangones. Do you suppose these men feel any confidence in retaining their grants so long as our party have any footing in the state? They have found it possessed of more resolution than they expected. They, I presume, are devoted to the cause of public tranquillity rather than supporters of robbery! But when I wrote to you about Curtilius and the estate of Sextilius, I must be understood to have included Censorinus, Messalla, Plancus, Postumus, [Note] and the whole lot. It had been better to have risked destruction [Note] —which would never have befallen us—when Caesar was killed, rather than to have lived to see this sort of thing.

Octavius arrived at Naples on the 18th of April. There Balbus called on him early next day, and on the same day came to see me at Cumae, with the information that he intended to accept the inheritance, [Note] but that, as you say, there will be a fine scrimmage with Antony. Your business about Buthrotum [Note] is receiving, as it is bound to do, and will continue to receive my attention. You ask me whether Cluvius's legacy is reaching one hundred sestertia yet. It seems to be approaching that. At least I made eighty the first year.

My brother Quintus writes to me with heavy complaints of his son, chiefly because he is now taking his mother's

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part, whereas in old times when she was kind to him he was on bad terms with her. He sent me a very hot letter against him. If you know what the young man is doing, and have not yet left Rome, I wish you would write me word, and, by Hercules, on any other matter besides. I find great pleasure in your letters.




THE day before yesterday I sent you a fairly long letter. Now I will answer your last. I only wish to heaven Brutus would stay at Astura. You mention the "intemperance" [Note] of the Caesarians. Did you expect anything else? For my part, I look for worse things. For when I read his speech "Concerning so great a man," "Concerning a most illustrious citizen," I can scarcely contain myself; yet all that sort of thing is now really ludicrous. But remember this: the habit of delivering unprincipled speeches is being fostered to such a pitch that our—I won't say heroes—our gods, while sure of eternal glory, will yet not escape prejudice or even danger. They, however, have a great consolation in the consciousness of a most magnificent and noble deed: what consolation is there for us, who, though the tyrant is slain, are not free? But let fortune look to this, since reason is not at the helm. What you say about my son is very gratifying—God bless him! I am exceedingly obliged to you for arranging that he should have an allowance ample for the amenities as well as the necessaries of life; and I emphatically beg you to continue to do so. About the Buthrotians your idea is quite right. I am not losing sight of that affair. I will undertake to plead the entire case, and I perceive that it daily grows simpler. As to the Cluvian inheritance, since in

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all business of mine you even surpass me in interest—I may tell you that the total is approaching one hundred-sestertia. The fall of the houses did not depreciate the value of the property: I am not sure that it didn't increase it. [Note] I have here with me Balbus, Hirtius, and Pansa. Octavius has lately arrived at the next villa to mine, that of Philippus. [Note] He is quite devoted to me. Spinther is staying with me today: he goes early tomorrow.




Ah, my dear Atticus, I fear the Ides of March have brought us nothing beyond exultation, and the satisfaction of our anger and resentment. What news reaches me from Rome! What things are going on here under my eyes! Yes, it was a fine piece of work, but inconclusive after all! You know how fond I am of the Sicilians, and what an honour I consider it to be their patron. Caesar granted them many privileges with my full approval, though their having the ius Latinum was intolerable; yet, after all—

But look at Antony! For an enormous bribe he has put up a law—alleged to have been Carried at the comitia by the dictator, granting the Sicilians full Roman citizenship; though while he was alive there was never a word said about it. Again: take the case of my client Deiotarus, isn't it exactly parallel? He, of course, deserved any kingdom you please, but not through Fulvia. [Note] There are hundreds of

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similar cases. However, I come back to this: shall I not be able to maintain in some degree the case of Buthrotium—a case so clear, so fully supported by witnesses, and so intrinsically just ? [Note] And indeed all the more so that Antony is being so lavish in his grants? Octavius here treats me with great respect and friendliness. His own people addressed him as "Caesar," but Philippus did not, so I did not do so either. [Note] I declare that it is impossible for him to be a good citizen. [Note] He is surrounded by such a number of people, who even threaten our friends with death. He says the present state of things is unendurable. But what do you think of it, when a boy like that goes to Rome, where our liberators cannot be in safety. They indeed will always be illustrious, and even happy, from the consciousness of their great deed. But for us, unless I am mistaken, we shall be ruined. Therefore I long to leave the country and go "Where of the Pelopidae," etc. [Note] I don't like even these consuls-designate, [Note] who have actually forced me to give them some declamations, to prevent my having any rest even at the seaside. But that's what I get by being too good-natured. For in old times declamation was in a

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manner a necessity of my existence: now, however things turn out, it is not so. For what a long time now have I had nothing to write to you about! Yet I do write, not to give you any pleasure by this letter, but to extract one from you. Pray write on every sort of thing, but anyhow about Brutus, whatever there is to say. I write this on the 22nd of April, while dining with Vestorius, a man who has no idea of philosophy, but is well versed in figures. [Note]




YOUR letter of the 19th did not reach me till the seventh day. In it you ask me (and even seem to think I can't answer) which of the two I like best-hills and a fine view or a walk along a flat coast. Well, it is quite true that, as you say, the charm of both spots is so great, that I can't make up my mind which is to be preferred. But 'tis no time to think of dainty fare,
When heaven upon us rolls this cloud of woe:
We look and shudder—is it life or death ?
[Note] For though you have sent me important and welcome news about Decimus Brutus having joined his legions, [Note] in which I see the promise of very great things. Nevertheless, if there is to be a civil war, as there is sure to be, if Sextus Pompeius is going to remain in arms—as I know for certain he will—what I am to do I am at loss to conceive. For it will not be allowable now, as it was in Caesar's war, to go neither to the one nor to the other. For anyone that this party shall believe to have rejoiced at Caesar's death—and we all of us shewed our joy in the most open way—they will consider in the light of a public enemy: and that means a formidable massacre. The only resource is to go

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to the camp of Sextus Pompeius or perhaps to that of Brutus. It is a tiresome step and quite unsuitable to our time of life, Considering the uncertainty of war, and somehow or another I can say to you and you to me: "My son, the deeds of war are not for you:
Seek rather thou the witching works of"—speech.
[Note] But I will leave all this to chance, which in such matters is more powerful than design. For ourselves let us only take care—a thing which is within our power—that we bear whatever happens with courage and philosophy, remember that we are but mortal, and allow literature to console us much, but the Ides of March most of all.

Now join me in the deliberation which is distracting my mind, owing to the many conflicting arguments which occur to me on either side. Shall I start for Greece, as I had determined, with a libera legatio? Thereby I seem to avoid a considerable risk of impending massacre, but to be likely to expose myself to some reproach for having deserted the state at such a grave crisis. If on the other hand I remain, I perceive that I shall be in danger indeed, but I suspect that an opportunity may occur of my being able to benefit the republic. There is also a consideration of a private nature, namely, that I think it of great importance for confirming my son in his good resolutions that I should go to Athens, and I had no other motive for my journey at the time when I contemplated accepting a libera legatio from Caesar. Therefore pray take under your consideration the whole question, as you always do in anything which you think touches my interests.

Now I return to your letter. You say that there are rumours that I am about to sell my property on the Lake; [Note] while I am going to convey my bijou villa—and that at a fancy price—to my brother Quintus, for him to bring home, as young Quintus has told you, the rich heiress Aquilia. The real truth is that I have no thoughts of selling unless I find something that pleases me better; while Quintus has no idea of purchasing at this time. He is quite bothered

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enough by his obligation to repay the dowry. To marriage, moreover, he has such a distaste that he assures me that nothing can be pleasanter than a bed to oneself. [Note] But enough of that. I return to the downcast or rather to the non-existent republic. Marcus Antonius has written to me about the recall of Sextus Clodius—in what a complimentary manner, as far as I am concerned, you may see from his letter, for I am sending you a copy. But you will at the same time have no difficulty in recognizing the unprincipled and improper nature of his proposal,—so mischievous in fact that it sometimes makes one wish Caesar back again. For measures which Caesar would never have taken or sanctioned are now produced from his forged minutes. However, I made no difficulty about it to Antony: for of course, having once made up his mind that he may do what he chooses, he would have done it all the same if I had refused. So I inclose a copy of my letter also.




I was prevented by my engagements, and by your own sudden departure from town, from mentioning to you a request by word of mouth, which I fear will have less weight in your eyes owing to its not being personally presented. But if your liberality answers to the opinion which I have always entertained of you I shall rejoice. I asked Caesar for the restoration of Sextus Clodius. [Note] I obtained my request. It was in my mind even at the time only to avail myself of the favour if you did not object. I am therefore the more anxious to be allowed to do it now with your acquiescence. But if you shew yourself sternly inclined towards his distressing and ruinous position, I will not contest the matter with you though I consider myself bound to carry out a minute of Caesar's. But, by Hercules, if you are inclined to take a large-hearted philosophical and kindly view of my proceedings, you will certainly shew your good nature

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and will wish P. Clodius, [Note] a boy of very great promise, to feel that you have not been inveterate to his father's friends. I beg you to suffer it to be seen that you quarrelled with his father on public grounds only. Of this family you can have no reason for thinking meanly. It is of course more to our honour, and more agreeable to our feelings, to give up quarrels undertaken on public grounds than those that are the result of personal prejudice. Let me then at once lead the youth to think and be convinced, while his mind is young and impressionable, that enmities are not to be transmitted to another generation. Although your fortunes, my dear Cicero, are now, I feel assured, removed from every danger, nevertheless I think you would prefer spending a peaceful and honoured old age rather than one full of anxiety. Finally, I claim a right to ask this favour of you myself; for I have omitted nothing that I could do for your sake. But if I don't obtain it I shall not make this grant to Clodius as far as I am concerned, in order that you may understand what weight your authority has with me, and may on that account shew yourself all the more placable.


DCCXIV (A XIV, 13 b)


THE request you make to me by letter I have only one reason for wishing that you had made personally. For in that case you would have been able to perceive my affection for you not merely by my language, but from my "expression, eyes, and brow"—as the phrase goes. For while I have always loved you—incited thereto at first by your zeal in my service and then by your actual favours—so in these times the interests of the state have so recommended me to you, that there is no one whom I regard with warmer

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affection. Moreover, the very affectionate and complimentary tone of your letter had such an effect upon me that I felt as though I were not doing you a favour, but receiving one from you, when you qualified your request by an assurance that you would not restore a personal enemy of mine, who was a friend of your own, if I did not wish it, though you could have done so without any trouble. Of course, my dear Antony, I give you my free consent, besides acknowledging that by expressing yourself as you have done you have treated me with the utmost liberality and courtesy. And while I should have thought it my duty to have granted what you ask without reserve, whatever the circumstances, I now grant it as a concession to my own feelings and inclination. For I never had a spark, I won't' say of bitterness, in me, but even of sternness or severity beyond what the service of the state required. I may add that even against Clodius himself my exasperation has never been extravagant, and I have always held that the friends of my enemies were not proper objects for attack, especially those in a lower position of life. Nor ought we ourselves to be deprived of such supporters.

As for the boy Clodius, I think it is your duty to imbue what you call "his young and impressionable" mind with the conviction that no vindictive feelings remain between our families. I fought P. Clodius, since I was supporting the interests of the state, he his own. Upon the merits of our controversies the state has decided. If he were now alive, I should have had no cause of contention with him remaining. Wherefore, since you put this request to me with the reservation that you will not avail yourself of what is undoubtedly within your power against my wishes, please grant this to the boy also as a present from me, if you think it right. Not because a man of my age need suspect any danger from a boy of his, nor because a man in my position has reason to shrink from any controversy, [Note] but that we may be still more closely united than we have as yet been: for owing to the intervention of these feuds your heart has been more open to me than your house. But enough

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of this. I will only add, that I shall always zealously do without hesitation whatever I think to be your wish and to your advantage. [Note]




"Oh tell me o'er your tale again." [Note] Our nephew Quintus at the Parilia wearing a garland ? [Note] Was he alone? You certainly mention Lamia also, which does utterly astonish me, but I am eager to know who the others were: although I am quite sure that there was no one that wasn't a traitor. Please therefore make this clearer. For myself, it chanced that I had just despatched a fairly long letter to you on the 26th, when about three hours later I received yours, which was also very bulky. So I needn't write to tell you that I

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had a hearty laugh over your witty and amusing remarks about Vestorius's "sect" and the Puteolian custom of the Pheriones. [Note]

Now about things more "political." You defend the two Brutuses and Cassius as though I were finding fault with them: whereas the fact is I cannot praise them enough. lt was the weak points in the situation, not in the individuals, that I reviewed. For though the tyrant has been removed, I see that the tyranny remains. For instance, things which Caesar never intended to do are being done: as in the case of Clodius—in regard to which I have full assurance not only that Caesar was not likely to have done it himself, but that he would have actually forbidden it. The next will be Vestorius's old foe Rufio, [Note] Victor whose name was never in Caesar's minutes, and so on with the rest—who shall we not see restored? We could not endure being his slaves; we are the humble servants of his memorandum books.

As to the senate of the 17th of March [Note] —who was strong enough to refuse to attend? Suppose that could somehow have been done: when I did attend, could I possibly speak with freedom? Wasn't it on every ground necessary, seeing that I had nothing to protect me, to speak up for the veterans who were there with arms in their hands? You can bear me witness that I never approved of that lingering on the Capitol. Well, was that the fault of the Brutuses? Not at all, but of those other dull brutes, who think themselves cautious and wise, who thought it enough in some cases to rejoice, in others to congratulate, in none to persevere. But let us leave the past: let us bestow all our care and power of protection on our heroes, and, as you

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advise, let us be content with the Ides of March. Yet though they gave our friends-those inspired heroes—an entrance to heaven, they have not given the Roman people liberty. Recall your own words. Don't you remember exclaiming that all was lost if Caesar had a public funeral? [Note] Wisely said! Accordingly, you see what has been the issue of it.

So you say that on the 1st of June Antony means to bring the allotment of provinces before the senate, and to propose taking the Gauls himself. Well, will the senate be free to pass a decree? If it is, then I shall rejoice that liberty has been recovered. If not, what will that change of masters have brought me except the joy with which I feasted my eyes on the just execution of a tyrant? You mention plundering going on at the temple of Ops. [Note] I, too, was a witness to that at the time. Yes in truth, we have been freed by heroic champions with the result that we are not free after all! So theirs is the glory, ours the fault. And do you advise me to write history? To record the outrageous crimes of the men by whom we are still held down? Shall I be able to refrain from complimenting those very persons, who have asked you to act as their witness? [Note] And it isn't, by heaven, the petty gain that moves me; but it is painful to attack with invectives men who have shewn me personal goodwill, whatever their character.

However, as you say, I shall be able to determine my whole line of conduct with greater clearness by the 1st of June. I shall attend on that day and shall strive by every means and exertion in my power-with the assistance of your influence and popularity and the essential justice of the cause—to get a decree through the senate about the Buthrotians in the sense of your letter. The plan of which you bid me think I will of course think over, though I had

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already in my previous letter Commended it to your consideration. But here are you seeking-just as though the Constitution were already recovered—to give back their just rights to your neighbours of Marseilles. These rights may possibly be restored to them by arms—though I do not know how far we can rely on them—they cannot be so by anybody's influence. [Note]

P.S. The short letter written by you afterwards was very agreeable to me—that about Brutus's letter to Antony, and also his to you. It seems possible that things may be better than they have been hitherto. But I must take measures as to my present position and as to where to go immediately.




My admirable Dolabella! For now I call him mine. Before this, believe me, I had my secret doubts. It is indeed a notable achievement-execution from the rock, on the cross, removal of the column, the contract given out for paving the whole spot. [Note] In short-positively heroic! He

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seems to me to have put an end to that artificial pretence of regret, which up to this time was daily growing, and which, if it became deeply rooted, I feared might prove dangerous to our tyrannicides. As it is, I entirely agree with your letter and hope for better things: though I cannot stand those people who, while pretending to desire peace, defend unprincipled proceedings: but we can't have everything at once. Things are beginning to go better than I had expected: and of course I will not leave the country till you think I may do so with honour. Brutus certainly I will always be ready to serve at any time or place, and that I should have done, even if there were no ties between us, for the sake of his unparalleled and extraordinary character. I put this whole villa and all that it contains at the service of our dear Pilia, being myself on the point of departing this 1st of May for my house at Pompeii. How I wish you could persuade Brutus to stay at Astura.




I despatch this letter on the 3rd of May, when on the point of embarking on a rowing boat from the Cluvian pleasure-grounds, [Note] after having handed over to Pilia my villa on the Lucrine lake, its servants, and bailiffs. I myself on that day am threatening the cheese-and-sardine dishes of my friend Paetus. [Note] In a very few days I shall go to Pompeii, and afterwards shall return to my domains at Puteoli and Cumae. What desirable spots in other respects, yet owing to the crowd of visitors almost to be shunned!

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But to come to business. What a gallant coup de main of my Dolabella! What a magnificent display! For my part I never cease mingling praise and exhortation in writing to him. [Note] Yes, you are quite right in the opinion you express in all your letters about the action as well as the man. In my opinion our friend Brutus might walk through the forum even with a gold crown on his head. For who would venture to assault him with the fear of the cross and the rock before their eyes? Especially as this transaction has been so loudly cheered and so heartily approved by the very mob?

Now, my dear Atticus, do make things all right for me. I want, as soon as I have done fully all that Brutus requires of me, to make an excursion into Greece. It is much to my son's interest, or rather to mine, or by heaven to that of us both, that I should drop in upon him in his studies. For in the letter of Leonides [Note] which you forwarded to me, what is there, after all, to give us any great pleasure? I shall never think the boy's report satisfactory while it contains such a phrase as "as he is going on at present." These are not the words of confidence, but rather of anxiety. Moreover, I had charged Herodes [Note] to write to me in detail; but as yet I have not had a line from him. I fear he had nothing to say which he thought would be pleasant for me to know. I am much obliged to you for having written to Xeno. [Note] It concerns my duty as well as my reputation that my son should not be in any way short of means. I hear that Flaminius Flamma [Note] is at Rome. I have written to tell him that I have given you a written commission to speak to him about the business of Montanus. Please see that the letter I have sent him is delivered, and—if quite convenient to yourself—have a personal interview with him. I think, if there is a spark of shame in the man, he will see that the payment is not deferred to my loss. As

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to Attica you have done me a great kindness in seeing that I knew of her recovery before I knew that she had been unwell.




I arrived at my Pompeian villa on the 3rd of May, having on the day before—as I wrote to tell you—established Pilia in my villa at Cumae. There, as I was at dinner, the letter was put into my hands which you had delivered to your freedman Demetrius on the 3oth of April. It contained much that was wise; still, as you remarked yourself, you had to allow that every plan depended entirely on fortune. Therefore on these matters we will consult on the spot and when we meet. As to the Buthrotian business, I wish to heaven I could have an interview with Antony! I am sure I should effect a great deal. But people think he Won't budge from Capua, whither I fear he has gone for a

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purpose very mischievous to the state. [Note] Lucius Caesar was of this opinion also, whom I saw yesterday in a very bad state of health at Naples. So I shall have to raise a debate on this subject and settle it on the 1st of June. [Note] But enough of this. The younger Quintus has written a very unpleasant letter to his father, which was delivered to him on our arrival at Pompeii. The chief point, however, was that he would not put up with Aquilia as a stepmother. Perhaps that was excusable. But what do you think of his saying "that he had hitherto owed everything to Caesar, nothing to his father, and for the future looked to Antony?" What an abandoned rascal! But we'll see to it.

I have written letters to our friend Brutus, to Cassius, and Dolabella. I send you copies; not that I hesitate as to whether they should be delivered—for I am clearly of opinion that they should be, and I have no doubt that you will be of the same opinion.

Pray, my dear Atticus, supply my son with as much as you think right, and allow me to impose this burden upon you. All you have done up to the present time has been exceedingly acceptable to me. My unpublished book I have not yet polished up to my satisfaction. [Note] The additional matter which you wish introduced must wait for a second volume of some kind. I think, however—and I would have you believe me when I say so—that it was safer to attack that abominable party while the tyrant was alive than now that he is dead. For in a manner he was surprisingly tolerant of me. Now, whichever way we turn, we are confronted not merely by Caesar's enactments, but also by those

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which he merely contemplated. Since Flamma has arrived, please see about Montanus. [Note] I think the business should be on a better footing.


DCCXIX (A XIV, 17 a AND F IX, 14)


Though I am quite content, my dear Dolabella, with the glory you have earned, and feel it to be a source of great exultation and pleasure, yet I Cannot help confessing that it adds a finishing stroke to my joy that popular opinion associates my name with your praises. I meet a great many people every day, for large numbers of men of rank are collected in this district for their health, besides a goodly crowd of friends of mine from the country towns. Well, I have met none who did not with one consent praise you to the skies, adding in the same breath a very warm expression of thanks to me. For they say that they have no doubt that it is in obedience to my precepts and advice that you are shewing yourself to be a most eminent citizen and brilliant consul. Though I can answer such men with the most absolute truth that what you are doing you do on your own judgment and your own initiative, and do not need any man's advice, yet I neither admit outright the truth of their remark, lest I should detract from your glory by making it Seem to have sprung entirely from my advice, nor do I deny it entirely either. For I am even too covetous of honour. And, after all, it is no disparagement to your dignity—as it was not to that of Agamemnon himself the "king of kings"—to have some Nestor to assist you in forming your plans. Whereas it redounds to my glory that as still a young man [Note] you should have a brilliant reputation as a Consul while being, so to speak, a pupil of my school. [Note]

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Lucius Caesar, for instance, when I visited him on his sick bed at Naples, though racked with pains all over his body, scarcely got the formal words of greeting out of his mouth before he exclaimed: "Oh my dear Cicero, I congratulate you on having an influence with Dolabella, such as if I had had with my sister's son, [Note] we might now have been safe. Your Dolabella indeed I both congratulate and thank—for he is the only man since your consulship that I can with any truth call a consul." Then he proceeded to say a great deal about the occurrence, and how you had managed the affair, declaring that no more splendid and brilliant act had ever been done, nor one more beneficial to the state. And this was the observation of everyone.

Now, I beg of you to allow me to accept this quasi-inheritance, so to speak, of another man's glory, and to permit me to some extent to be a sharer in your reputation. However, my dear Dolabella—for this is only my joke—it would give me greater pleasure to divert the full stream of my glories, if I may be said to have any, upon you, than to draw off any part of yours. For while I have always had the warm attachment to you which you have had every opportunity of appreciating, by your recent acts I have been so inflamed that nothing can exceed the ardour of my attachment. For there is nothing, believe me, fairer, more beautiful, or more attractive than virtue. I have always, as you know, loved Marcus Brutus for his eminent ability, his very agreeable manners, [Note] and unequalled honesty and consistency. Nevertheless, on the Ides of March my affection was so much enhanced, that I was surprised to find an addition possible in what I had looked upon as having long ago reached its height. Who could have thought that any addition was possible to my affection for you? Yet so great an addition has been made that I seem to myself never to have loved before, only to have liked. Wherefore what need to exhort you to support your position and reputation? Shall I quote to you the examples of illustrious men, as people usually do when exhorting another.

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I have none to quote more illustrious than yourself. You must imitate yourself, vie with yourself. It is not even admissible after such great achievements for you to fail to be like yourself. [Note]

This being so, exhortation is superfluous. What is called for is rather congratulation. For it has been your good fortune—as I think it has never been anyone else's—to inflict the most severe punishment, not only without exciting ill feeling, but with full popular approval, and to the greatest and most universal satisfaction of aristocrat and plebeian alike. If this were merely a stroke of luck in your case I should have congratulated your good fortune; but it is in fact the result of a certain largeness of spirit, ability, and prudence. For I read your speech. It was wisdom itself. So well did you feel your way in first approaching and then avoiding the points of the case, that by universal consent the time for striking the blow seemed naturally to arise from the facts. So you have freed the city from danger and the state from terrorism, and not only done a useful service in view of the present emergency, but have set a precedent. Wherefore you ought to understand that the constitution depends on you, and that you are bound not only to protect, but to honour the men who laid the foundation of liberty. But of such matters at greater length when we meet, which I hope will be soon. For you, my dear Dolabella, since you are preserving the Republic and us, take care to guard your own life with every possible precaution.

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You are always going on at me for what you consider my extravagance in praising Dolabella's achievement to the skies. Now, though I do highly approve of what he did, I was after all led to speak of it in such high terms by first one and then another letter from you. But Dolabella has entirely lost your favour for the same reason which has made me very bitter with him too. A brazen-faced fellow indeed! He should have paidon the 1st of January: he has not paid yet, and that though he has freed himself from a vast load of debt by the handwriting of Faberius, and has sought an "opening"in the temple of Ops. [Note] For a pun is permissible, lest you should think me very much upset. And, in fact, I wrote to him very early in the morning of the 8th. On the same day I received a letter from you at Pompeii—which had travelled very quickly, for it reached me on the third day. But, as I wrote you word on that very day, I sent Dolabella a fairly stinging letter. Even if that does no good, I think he will at any rate be unable to face me when we meet.

I think you have settled the business of Albius. As to the debt from Patulcius, your having come to my aid is most

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kind, and exactly like everything you are always doing. But I seem to have deserted Eros, who is the very man to settle that business, for it was owing to his serious mistake that they went wrong in their accounts. But I will see to that when I meet him. As to Montanus, as I have often mentioned to you before, you will please see to the whole business. I am not at all surprised that Servius spoke to you in a tone of despair as he was leaving town, and I am not a whit behind him in his despairing view of the situation. What our friend Brutus, that unequalled hero, is going to do in the forum, if he does not intend to come to the senate on the 1st of June, I cannot imagine. But he will settle that himself better than I can. Judging from the measures I see in course of preparation, I conclude that little good was done by the Ides of March. Accordingly, I think of going to Greece more and more every day. For I don't see what good I can do my friend Brutus, who—as he writes me word—is contemplating exile for himself. The letter of Leonides did not give me much pleasure. About Herodes I agree with you. I could wish I had read that of Saufeius. I am thinking of leaving Pompeii on the 10th of May.




Being in my Pompeian villa on the 7th of May I received two letters from you, the first dated five days ago, the second three. I will therefore answer the earlier one first. How glad I am that Barnaeus delivered my letter at the nick of time! Yes, with Cassius as before. It is, however, a lucky coincidence that I had just done what you advise me to do. Five days ago I wrote to him and sent you a copy of my letter. But after I had been thrown into a great state of despair by Dolabella's avarice [Note] —to use your expression—lo and behold, arrives a letter from Brutus and one from you. He is meditating exile: I, however, see before me a different port, and one better suited to my time of life. [Note] Though, of course, I should prefer entering it with Brutus in prosperity and the constitution on a sound footing. As it is indeed, you are right in saying that we have now no choice in the matter. For you agree with me that my age is unsuitable to a camp, especially in a civil war. Marcus Antonius merely said about Clodius, in answer to my letter, that my leniency and placability had been very gratifying to him, and would be a source of great pleasure to myself.

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But Pansa seems to be fuming about Clodius as well as about Deiotarus. His words are stern enough, if you choose to believe them. Nevertheless, he is not sound—as I think—on the subject of- Dolabella's achievement, [Note] of which he loudly expresses His disapproval. As to the men with the garlands, [Note] when your sister's son was reproved by his father, he wrote back to say that he had worn a garland in honour of Caesar, that he had laid it aside as a sign of mourning; lastly, that he -was quite content to be vilified for loving Caesar even when dead. To Dolabella I have written cordially, as you said that you thought I ought to do. I have also done so to Sicca. I don't lay the responsibility of this upon you: I don't want you to incur his wrath. I recognize Servius's style of talk, in which I see more of timidity than wisdom. But since we have all been frightened out of our wits, I have nothing to say against Servius. Publilius has taken you in. For Caerellia was sent here by them as their envoy; but I convinced her without difficulty that what she asked was not even legal, to say nothing of my disliking it. [Note] If I see Antony I will seriously press the case of Buthrotum.

I come now to your later letter, though I have already answered you in regard to Servius. You say that I am "making a good deal of Dolabella's achievement." Well, by heaven, it is my genuine opinion that it could not be surpassed in the circumstances and actual state of affairs. But after all, whatever credit I give him is founded on what you wrote. However, I agree with you that it would be a still greater "achievement" on his part, if he paid me what he owes me. [Note] I should like Brutus to stay at Astura. You praise me for coming to no decision about leaving Italy till I see how affairs at Rome are likely to turn out. But I have changed my mind about that. I shall not, however, do anything till I have seen you. I am pleased that our dear Attica thanks me for what I have done for her mother. I have in fact put the whole villa and

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store-room at her service, and am thinking of going to see her on the 11th. Please give my love to Attica. I will take good care of Pilia.




From Pompeii I came by boat to the hospitable house of my friend Lucullus on the 10th, about nine o'clock in the morning. On disembarking I received your letter which your letter-Carrier is said to have taken to my house at Cumae, dated the 7th of May. Next day, leaving Lucullus, I arrived at my house at Puteoli about the same hour. There I found two letters from you, one dated the 7th, the other the 9th. So now take my answer to all three.

First, thank you for what you have done on my behalf both as to the payment and the business with Albius. Next,

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as to your Buthrotum. When I was at my Pompeian villa, Antony came to Misenum: but left it for Samnium before I heard of his arrival. You must not build too much hope on him. Accordingly, I shall have to see to Buthrotum at Rome. L. Antonius's [Note] speech-shocking! Dolabella's-famous! By all means let him keep his money, so long as he pays on the Ides. I am sorry for dear Tertia's [Note] miscarriage: we want as many Cassii produced as Bruti. I wish it may be true about the Queen and that Caesar of hers. [Note]

I have answered your first letter: I now Come to your second. I will see to the Quinti and Buthrotum when I come, as you say. Thank you for supplying my son. You think me mistaken in my idea that the constitution depends on Brutus. The truth is that it will all go or will be saved by him and his friends. You urge me to send you a written copy of a speech to the people. Well, here, my dear Atticus, you may take it from me as a general maxim applicable to the affairs in which we have had a fairly wide experience—no one ,whether poet or orator, ever yet thought anyone else better than himself This is the case even with bad ones. What can you expect of the brilliant and accomplished Brutus. I had actual experience of him recently in the matter of the edict. [Note] I drafted one on your request. I liked mine, he his. Nay, more, when in answer to what I may almost call his en treaties I had dedicated my book "On the best Style of Oratory" to him, he wrote not only to me, but to you also,

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to say that he did not agree with my choice of style. Wherefore, pray, let each man write for himself: Each man has the best of wives:
So have I.
That you have a sweeter love, I deny.

It is not well put, for it is by Atilius, [Note] the most wooden of poets. And I only hope he may be allowed to deliver a speech at all! If he can but shew himself in the city with safety, it will be a triumph for us. For if he sets up as a leader in a new civil war, no one will follow him, or only such as can be easily beaten.

Now for your third letter. I am glad that Brutus and Cassius liked my letter. Accordingly, I have written back to them. They want Hirtius made a better citizen by my influence. Well, I am doing my best, and his language is very satisfactory, but he passes his time and almost shares houses with Balbus, who also uses loyalist language. What to believe of that I must leave you to determine. I see that you are much pleased with Dolabella; I am eminently so. I saw a good deal of Pansa at Pompeii. He quite convinced me of the soundness of his views and his desire for peace. I can see plainly that a pretext for war is being sought. I quite approve of the edict of Brutus and Cassius. You wish me to turn over in my mind what course I think they ought to take. We must adapt our plans to circumstances, which you see change every hour. Dolabella seems to me to have done a great deal of good both by that first move of his and by this speech against Antonius. Certainly there is progress. Now, too, we seem likely to have a leader; which is the one thing the country towns and loyal citizens want. Do you allude to Epicurus and venture to quote: "Engage not in politics "? Does not the frown of our Brutus warn you off from such talk? The younger Quintus, as you say, is Antony's right hand. By his means, therefore, we shall get what we want. I am anxious to hear, in case Lucius

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Antonius has introduced Octavius to a public meeting, as you think he will, what kind of speech he has made. I can add no more, for Cassius's letter-carrier is just about to start. I am going directly to call on Pilia; thence to dinner with Vestorius [Note] by boat. Best love to Attica.




Only a little while ago I had sent you a letter by Cassius's letter-carrier, when my own letter-carrier arrived on the 11th, and, marvellous to say, without a letter from you. But I soon concluded that you had been at Lanuvium. Eros, however, made great haste to have Dolabella's letter delivered to me. It was not about my money—for he had not received my letter: but he wrote in answer to the letter of which I sent you a copy. It was very well expressed. Balbus, however, came to see me immediately after I had despatched Cassius's letter-carrier. Good heavens! how plainly he shewed his dread of peace! You know, too, what a reserved fellow he is, yet he told me Antony's plans. That he was making the round of the veterans, to induce them to confirm Caesar's acta, and to take an oath that they would do so; to secure that they all had arms; and that two commissioners should inspect them every month. [Note] He also grumbled about the prejudice existing against himself, and his whole conversation indicated an affection for Antony. In a word, there is nothing sound about him. For my part, I feel certain that things have a warlike look. For that deed was done with the courage of men, but the imprudence of a child. For who

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can fail to see that an heir to the tyranny has been left? [Note] Now what can be more irrational than To fear the one, nor dread at all the other? Nay, at this very moment there are many circumstances of a paradoxical character. What about the mother of the tyrannicide retaining the Neapolitan villa of Pontius ? [Note] I must read over again and again my Cato Maior, which is dedicated to you. For old age is spoiling my temper. Everything puts me in a rage. But for me life is over. The rising generation must look to it. Take care of my affairs, as you always do.

I write, or rather dictate this, after the dessert has been put on the table at the house of Vestorius. Tomorrow I am thinking of dining with Hirtius—the sole survivor indeed of our set of five. [Note] That is my way of bringing him Over to the Optimates. It is all nonsense: for there is not one of that party who does not dread a period of peace. Wherefore let us look out our winged-sandals! For I prefer anything to a camp. Pray give my best love to Attica. I am anxious to hear of Octavius's speech and anything else, but specially whether Dolabella has the true money chink, or has gone in for "repudiation" in regard to my debt also. [Note]

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Having been informed by Pilia that letter-carriers were starting for you on the 15th, I scrawl these few lines. First then I want you to know that I am leaving this place for Arpinum on the 17th of May. So please direct there if there is anything to write after this: though I shall be with you almost immediately myself. For I am anxious that before I arrive at Rome very careful inquiry should be made as to what is going to happen. However, I fear that my presentiments are not wide of the mark. It is in truth quite plain what these fellows are at. For my pupil, [Note] who dines with me today, is much devoted to the victim of our Brutus's dagger: and if you ask my opinion, I see very plainly their attitude—they dread peace. Moreover, their constant theme is that "a man of the most illustrious character has been killed: that by his death the constitution has been thoroughly shaken: that his acta will be rendered nugatory as soon as we cease to be frightened: that his clemency did him harm; and that if he had not shewn it, nothing of the sort would have befallen him." It strikes me therefore, that if Pompeius arrives with a strong army—as is reasonable to expect—there will certainly be war. This idea haunts my imagination and terrifies me. For we shall not now be able to do what you did on the former occasion. For I made no secret of my triumphant joy. In the next place, they talk of our ingratitude. It certainly will be impossible for me on any grounds to take up the position which was then possible for you and many others. [Note] Must I then put a good face on it and go to the camp? A thousand times better die, especially at my time of life. Accordingly,

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the Ides of March do not console me so much as they did: for they involve a serious blunder, unless our young heroes By other noble deeds wipe out this shame. [Note] But if you have any brighter hope as being more in the way of hearing news and being cognizant of their plans, pray write me word and at the same time turn over in your mind what I ought to do about taking a "votive legation." [Note] The fact is that in these parts many warn me against appearing in the senate on the 1st of June. Troops [Note] are said to be secretly collecting for that day, and that too against the men who seem to me likely to be safer anywhere than in the senate.

Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Att.].
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