Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Att.].
<<Cic. Att. 14 Cic. Att. 15 (Latin) >>Cic. Att. 16




How sad about Alexio ! [Note] you would scarcely believe the extent to which it has afflicted me; and, by heaven! not from the point of view suggested by most people to me—"Where will you go for a physician now?" For what need have I of a physician? Or if I do need one, is there such a dearth of them? It is his affection for me, his culture, his gracious manners that I miss. Then there is this consideration—what is there that we may not fear when a man of such temperate habits, of such eminence as a physician, is carried off by such a sudden illness? But to all such thoughts the only consolation is that the conditions of our birth forbid us to shrink from anything to which flesh is heir.

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As to Antony, I have already told you that I did not meet him. For he came to Misenum while I was at my Pompeian house, and left it before I knew of his arrival. But, as it happened, Hirtius was with me at Puteoli when I was reading your letter. I read it out to him and stated the case. [Note] As at first advised he would make no concession. At last, however, he said that I should be judge, not only in this matter but of the whole of his administration as consul. With Antony again I will put the case in such a way as to make him perceive that, if he does what we want in that business, I shall be wholly his in the future. I hope Dolabella is in town. Let us return to our heroes, of whom you shew that you have good hopes owing to the moderate tone of their edicts. Now, when Hirtius left my house at Puteoli on the 16th of May for Naples, to visit Pansa, I had a clear view of his whole mind. For I took him aside and exhorted him earnestly to preserve the peace. He could not of course say that he did not wish for peace: but he indicated that he was no less afraid of our side appealing to arms than of Antony doing so: and that after all both sides had reason to be on their guard, but that he feared the arms of both. I needn't go on: there is nothing sound about him. As to the younger Quintus, I agree with you: at any rate your charming letter to him gave the greatest pleasure to his father. Caerellia, indeed, I had no difficulty in convincing. She did not seem to me to be very anxious for it, and if she had been, I certainly should not have done so. [Note] As to the lady whom you say has been troublesome to you, I am quite surprised that you listened to her at all. For because I spoke in complimentary terms of her in the presence of friends and in the hearing of her three sons, and your daughter, does the rest follow? [Note] What is the point of— Why should I pace the streets with features masked ? Isn't the mask of old age itself ugly enough?

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You say that Brutus asks me to come to Rome before the 1st. He has written to me to the same effect, and perhaps I will do so. But I don't at all know why he wishes it. For what advice can I offer him, when I am at a loss what plan to adopt myself, and when he has done more for his own undying fame than for our peace? About the Queen the gossip will die out. [Note] As to Flamma, [Note] pray do what you can.




I wrote to you yesterday as I was leaving Puteoli, and I then paid a visit to my villa at Cumae. There I saw Pilia looking quite well. [Note] Nay, more, I saw her afterwards in the town of Cumae: for she had come to a funeral which I also attended. Our friend Gnaeus Lucullus was burying his mother. I stayed therefore that day in the lodge at Sinuessa, and when on the point of starting early the next day for Arpinum I dash off this letter. However, I have nothing new to tell you or to ask you; unless by chance you think the following is to the point. Our friend Brutus has sent me his speech delivered at the public meeting on the Capitol, and has asked me to correct it before publication without any regard to his feelings. It is, I may add, a speech of the utmost finish as far as the sentiments are concerned, and in point of language not to be surpassed. Nevertheless, if I had had to handle that cause, I should have written with more fire. But the theme and the character of the writer being as you see, I was unable to correct it. For, granting the kind of orator that our Brutus aims at being, and the opinion he entertains of the best style of speech, he has

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secured an unqualified success. Nothing could be more finished. But I have always aimed, rightly or wrongly, at something different. However, read the speech yourself, unless indeed you have read it already, and tell me what you think of it. However, I fear that, misled by your surname, you will be somewhat hyper-Attic in your criticism. But if you will only recall Demosthenes's thunder, you will understand that the most vigorous denunciation is consistent with the purest Attic style. But of this when we meet. For the present my only wish is that Metrodorus should not go to you without a letter, nor with one that had nothing in it.




After despatching a letter to you on the 18th of May as I was starting from the lodge at Sinuessa, I stopped at the villa at Vescia. There a letter-carrier delivered me a letter from you in which you say more than enough about Buthrotum; for that business is not a source of more anxiety to you than to me. It is but right that you should care for my business, I for yours. Wherefore I have taken up that matter with the determination to regard it as of the first importance.

I know from your letter and others that Lucius Antonius had delivered a miserably poor speech, but I don't know its purport: for you say nothing in your letter. About Menedemus—that's a good thing! [Note] Yes, Quintus certainly habitually says what you mention in your letter. I am relieved to find that you approve of my resolution of not writing the sort of thing which you once demanded of me,

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and you will approve all the more when you read the speech of which I have written to you today. [Note] What you say of the legions is true. But you do not appear to me to have sufficiently convinced yourself of it, when you retain a hope that the business of our friends at Buthrotum can be settled by the senate. [Note] In my opinion—for I can see as far as that—I don't think we are likely to prevail. But supposing me to be mistaken in that view, you will not be disappointed about Buthrotum. As to Octavius's speech my opinion agrees with yours: and I don't like his grand set-out for the games, nor Matius and Postumius acting as his agents for them. [Note] Saserna is a worthy colleague. [Note] But all those fellows, as you perceive, are as much afraid of peace as we are of war. I should like to be the means of relieving Balbus of the popular prejudice against him, but he does not even himself feel any confidence of that being possible. So he is thinking of other measures.

I am rejoiced that you find the first book of my Tusculan Disputations arm you against the fear of death: there is, in fact, no other refuge either better or more available. [Note] I am not sorry that Flamma uses language that is satisfactory. What the case of the people of Tyndaris [Note] is, about which he is anxious, I do not know: yet they are men whom I shall be glad to assist. The circumstances you mention appear to agitate our "last of five," [Note] especially the withdrawal of

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public money. [Note] I am sorry about Alexio: but since he had fallen into so painful a disease, I think he must be esteemed fortunate. Yet I should like to know whom he appointed heirs in the second reversion and the day for acceptance named in the will.




ON the 22nd I received two letters from you at Arpinum, in which you answered two of mine. One was dated the 18th, the other the 21st. First, then, to the earlier of the two. Yes, do make an excursion to Tusculum, as you say, where I think I shall arrive on the 27th. You say we must yield to the victors. Not I indeed. There are many things I prefer to that. For as to the proceedings in the temple of Apollo in the consulship of Lentulus and Marcellus [Note] which you recall-neither the merits of the case nor the circumstances are the same, especially as you say that Marcellus and others are leaving town. So when we meet we must scent out the truth and make up our minds whether it is possible for us to stay at Rome with safety. The inhabitants of the new community cause me anxiety. [Note] For I am in a very embarrassing position. But all that is of small importance: I am treating more serious things than that with disdain.

I know all about Calva's will, a mean shabby fellow! Thank you for attending to the auction of Demonicus.

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About (Manlius) [Note] I wrote some time ago to Dolabella with the most minute care, if only my letter reached him. I am very anxious for his success and I am in duty bound to be so.

Now for the later of your two letters. I know all I want to know about Alexio. Hirtius is altogether devoted to you. I wish things were going worse with Antony than they are. About the younger Quintus, as you say, assez! About his father I will discuss when we meet. Brutus I wish to assist in every way within my power. About his little speech—I see you think the same as I do. But I don't understand why you would have me compose one as though delivered by Brutus, when he has already published his own. How would that do, pray? Should my theme be—a tyrant most righteously put to death? I shall have to say much, and write much, but in a different manner, and at another time. About Caesar's chair, well done the tribunes ! [Note] Well done, too, the fourteen rows of knights! I am very glad Brutus has been staying at my house : [Note] I only hope he was comfortable and stayed a good long time.


DCCXXXI (A XV, 4, ¤¤ 1-4)


ON the 24th of May about four o'clock in the afternoon a letter-carrier arrived from Q. Fufius. [Note] He brought me some

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sort of a note from him expressing a wish that I would restore my favour to him. It was very awkwardly expressed, as is his way: unless perchance the truth is that everything one doesn't like has the appearance of being awkwardly done. My answer was one which I think you will approve.

I will reply to your later and fuller letter first. Good! Why, if even Carfulenus does so—le dŽluge! [Note]

Antony's policy—as you describe it—is revolutionary, and I hope he will carry it out by popular vote rather than by decree of the senate! I think he will do so. But to my mind his whole policy seems to point to war, since the province [Note] is being wrested from Decimus Brutus. Whatever my estimate of the latter's resources, I do not think that this can be done without war. But I don't desire it, for the Buthrotians are being sufficiently secured as it is! [Note] Do you laugh? In good truth I am vexed that they do not rather owe it to my persistence, activity, and influence.

You say you don't know what our men are to do. Well, that difficulty has been troubling me all along. Accordingly, I was a fool, I now see, to be consoled by the Ides of March. The fact is, we shewed the courage of men, the prudence of children. The tree was felled, but not cut up by the roots. Accordingly, you see how it is sprouting up. Let us go back, then, to the Tusculan Arguments [Note] —since

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you often quote them. Let us keep Saufeius in the dark about you. I will never blab. [Note] You send me a message from Brutus asking on what day I am to arrive at Tusculum. On the 27th of May, as I wrote you word before. And then, in fact, I should like very much to see you as soon as possible. For I think I shall have to go to Lanuvium, [Note] and shan't get off without a great deal of talk. But I will see to it.

I now come back to your earlier letter. I will pass over the first clause about the Buthrotians, for That in my heart of hearts is fixed. I only hope, as you say, we may have some opportunity of acting in the matter. You must be very keen about Brutus's speech, considering the length at which you discuss it again. Would you have me treat the subject after he has actually produced a written oration on it? Am I to write without being asked by him? That would be putting one's oar in with a vengeance I Nothing could be ruder. But some thing, say you, in the style of Heracleides. [Note] Well, I don't decline that much: but it is necessary first to settle on a line of argument, and secondly to wait for a more suitable time for writing. For think what you will of me (though of course I should like you to think as well as possible), if things go on as they seem to be doing-you will not be vexed at my saying it—I feel no pleasure in the Ides of March. For Caesar would never have come back : [Note] fear would not have forced us to confirm his acts. Or supposing me to join Saufeius's school and abandon the doctrines of the Tusculans, I was so high in his favour (whom may the gods confound though dead!) that to a man of my age he

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was not a master to be shunned, since the slaying of the master has not made us free men. I blush-believe me. But I have written the words, and will not erase them. I only wish it had been true about Menedemus. [Note] About the Queen I hope it may turn out to be true. [Note] The rest when we meet, and especially as to what our heroes are to do, and even what I am to do myself if Antony means to blockade the senate with soldiers. If I had given this letter to his letter-carrier I feared he would open it. So I send it with special care: for I was obliged to answer yours.




How I wish that you could have accomplished your purpose for Brutus! I am accordingly writing to him. I am sending Tiro to Dolabella with a letter and a message. Send for him to see you and write if you have anything you wish to say. But lo and behold a request from L. Caesar is suddenly sprung on me to go to Nemus [Note] to see him, or to write and tell him when I should wish him to come; because Brutus thinks he ought to have an interview with me. What a disagreeable and puzzling business! I think therefore that I shall go, and thence to Rome, unless I change my plans. At present I only write briefly to you, for I have not yet heard anything from Balbus. I am anxious therefore for a letter from you, and not telling me only of what has been done, but also what is going to happen.

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MY letter-carrier has come back from Brutus, and has brought me a letter both from him and from Cassius. They are very earnest to have my advice-Brutus, indeed, wants to know which of the two courses I recommend. What a miserable state of things! I am quite uncertain what to say to them. So I think I shall try silence, unless you think I had better not. But if anything occurs to you, pray write and tell me. Cassius, however, begs and entreats me earnestly to bring Hirtius over to the right side as much as possible. Do you think he is in his right senses? Ashes and dust
Is all our trust.
[Note] I inclose his letter. Balbus also writes to the same effect as you do as to the province of Brutus and Cassius to be assigned by decree of the senate. And Hirtius, too, says that he shall absent himself. [Note] For he is now in his Tusculan villa, and is earnestly advising me to keep away. He does so because of

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the danger which he asserts to have threatened even him: I, however-even supposing there to be no danger—am so far from caring to avoid Antony's suspicion and his thinking me displeased at his success, that the very cause of my unwillingness to come to Rome is to avoid seeing him. Our friend Varro, however, has sent me a letter—I don't know from whom, for he had erased the name—in which it was asserted that the veterans whose claims are postponed—for a certain number had been disbanded—are using most mutinous language, declaring that those who are thought to be against their party will find themselves in great danger at Rome. What then will be "our coming and going, our look and our gait," among such fellows? Nay, if Lucius Antonius—as you tell me—is attacking Decimus Brutus, and the rest our heroes, what am I to do? How am I to bear myself? In short, I have made up my mind—at any rate, if things don't alter—to absent myself from a city in which I once not only flourished in the highest position, but even when a subject enjoyed one of some sort. However, I have not so much resolved to quit Italy—about which I will consult you—as not to come to Rome.




OUR friend Brutus has, as well as Cassius, written to me to urge that I should bring over Hirtius to the right side as much as possible. I neither knew that he entertained loyal sentiments, nor did I feel any confidence in being able to improve him in that respect by my influence : [Note] for though he is perhaps somewhat irritated with Antony, he is devotedly attached to the cause. Nevertheless, I wrote to him and commended to him the maintenance of the civil position of

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Brutus and Cassius. I wished you to know the nature of his answer, in case you might entertain the same opinion as myself, namely, that that party are even now afraid of those heroes of ours having perhaps more courage than they actually do retain. Hirtius to his friend Cicero.

You want to know whether I have yet returned from the country. Am I to be skewing indifference, when all the world is in a state of excitement? I in fact have left town because it is my belief that my absence is more advantageous than my presence. I despatch this letter to you when on the point of starting for my Tusculan villa. Don't imagine me to be so indefatigable as to hurry back by the 5th. I can't see that there is anything now requiring my attention, especially as provision for safety has been made for so many years in advance. How I wish that Brutus and Cassius may be induced by your entreaties not to enter upon any hot-headed design, as easily as they can obtain a like promise from you in regard to myself! For you say that they have written what you mention when on the point of leaving the country. Why or whither are they going? Stop them, I beseech you, Cicero: and don't allow the present settlement to be entirely undone, which, on my honour, is being shaken by plunder, arson, and murder. Let them only take precautions against absolute danger: don't let them attempt anything beyond. I assure you they will gain nothing more by the most spirited policy than by resolutely playing the waiting game, so long as they remain on the alert. For things here are in a state of transition, and cannot from their very nature last long as they are. If a struggle occurs they have means to strike an ugly blow. What your hopes are for them write and tell me at my Tusculan villa.

There is Hirtius's letter. I said in answer that they were not contemplating anything more stirring than usual; and I assured him of it. I wanted you to know this, for what it was worth. Just as I had sealed this letter Balbus writes to say that Servilia has returned to town, and assures him tnat they do not intend to leave the country. So now I am looking forward to a letter from you

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Thank you for those letters, which have given me great pleasure, especially that of my friend Sextus. [Note] You will say: "Yes, because he compliments you." I suppose, by Hercules, that it is partly the reason: but all the same, even before I came to that passage, I was greatly delighted both by his sentiments on politics and his style of writing. Servius, however, the peacemaker, and his young secretary seem to have undertaken a mission and to be on their guard against all possible quibbles of the law. However, what they ought to have been afraid of was not "the joining hands in legal claim," but what follows. [Note] Pray write.




SINCE you left me I have had two letters from Brutus, without anything new in them. Also one from Hirtius, who says that the veterans are much incensed with him. I am still uncertain what to do about the 1st. I am therefore sending Tiro, and with Tiro a number of men, to each one of whom pray give a letter as each event occurs. I have written also to Antony about a legation, for fear that, if I only wrote to Dolabella, that quick-tempered man [Note] might be stirred up to wrath. As, however, he is said to be somewhat difficult of approach, I have written to Eutrapelus, [Note] asking him to forward my letter to him, saying that I want a legatio. A votive legation would be the more honour-able of the two, but I could manage with either one or the other. [Note] I beg you again and again to consider your own position. If possible I should like to talk it over with you; if you cannot meet me, we shall attain the same object by letter. Graeceius writes me word that C. Cassius has written to tell him that men are being got ready to send armed to my Tusculan villa. I scarcely think that this is true: but, nevertheless, I must take precautions and have sundry other villas ready. But tomorrow will bring us something for reflexion on that subject. [Note]

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ON the evening of the 2nd I received a letter from Balbus telling me that there would be a meeting of the senate on the 5th, in order to appoint Brutus to the superintendence of the corn-supply in Asia, Cassius in Sicily. What an indignity! To begin with, to take any appointment from that party, and then, if they must take some office, such a subordinate one as that, which could be done by legati! And yet I don't feel sure that it isn't better than sitting idle on the banks of his Eurotas. [Note] But these things will be governed by fortune. He says also that a decree is going to be passed at the same meeting for assigning provinces to them and other ex-praetors. This is certainly better than his "Persian Portico"—for I would not have you imagine that I mean a Sparta farther off than Lanuvium. [Note] "Are you laughing," you ask, "in such grave matters?" What am I to do? I am tired of lamenting. Good heavens, what a fright the first page of your letter gave me! Why, how did that warlike outbreak in your house come about? But I rejoice that that storm-cloud at any rate has passed quickly away. I am very anxious to hear how you sped on that conciliatory mission—it was a melancholy as well as a difficult one. [Note] For the knot cannot be

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untied: we are so completely hemmed in by every kind of force. For myself, the letter of Brutus, which you shew me that you have read, has caused me so much agitation that, though I was already at a loss which course to adopt, I am yet rendered still less ready to act from distress of mind. But I will write more fully when I have your news. For the present I have nothing to say, and the less so that I am doubtful of your getting even this letter. For it is uncertain whether the letter-carrier will find you. I am very anxious for a letter from you.


DCCXL (A XV, 10)


WHAT an affectionate letter from Brutus! How unlucky for you that you are unable to go to see him! Yet, what am I to say? That they should accept the favour of that party? What could be more degrading? That they should attempt some move? They neither have the courage nor—as things are now—the power. Well, suppose they take my advice and do nothing. Who can guarantee their safety? For if any severe measure is taken as to Decimus, what kind of life will our heroes lead, even supposing no one actually attacks them? Again, not to preside at his own games, what could be a greater indignity? [Note] To give them the duty of purchasing

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corn-isn't that a case of "Dion's embassy" ? [Note] Is there a more menial office in the public service? Even advice in such a matter is absolutely dangerous to those who give it. However, I might neglect that consideration if I were only doing some good. But why put my foot in, if it is all for nothing? Since he is availing himself of his mother's [Note] advice, not to say prayers, why should I put my oar in? Nevertheless, I will consider what style of letter to write. For hold my tongue I cannot. Therefore I will send a letter at once to Antium [Note] or Circeii.




I reached Antium on the 8th. Brutus was delighted at my arrival. Thereupon in the presence of a large party-Servilia, dear Tertia, and Porcia [Note] —he asked me my opinion. Favonius [Note] was there too. I had thought over what to say as I was on the road, and now advised him to avail himself of the corn-purchasing office in Asia. I urged that all we could now do was to consult for his safety: that on him depended the defence of the constitution itself. I had just got well into my speech when Cassius came in. I repeated the same remarks. At this point Cassius with a determined

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look in his eyes-you would have said he was breathing war-declared that "he would not go to Sicily. Was he to accept as a favour what was meant as an insult?" "What are you going to do then?" said I. He replied that he would go to Achaia. "And you, Brutus?" said I. "To Rome, if you think it right," said he. "I don't think so at all," said I, "for you will not be safe." "But if I could be there safely, would you think I ought to go?" "Yes," said I, "and that you should not go to a province either now or after your praetorship. But I do not advise your trusting yourself to the city." Then I stated the reasons, which will doubtless occur to you, why he was not likely to be safe there. Then followed a long conversation in which they complained—and especially Cassius—that opportunities had been let slip. They were especially hard upon Decimus. [Note] I said that they should not harp on the past, but I agreed with them all the same. When, however, I had begun discussing what ought to have been done—my topics were the old ones and such as are in everybody's mouth-without touching upon the question as to whether some one else ought to have been attacked, [Note] I said that the senate should have been summoned, the people already burning with excitement should have been still farther roused, that the whole government of the state should have been taken in hand by them. At that point your friend Servilia exclaims: "That indeed I never heard anyone—" Here I stopped her. But I not only think that Cassius will go, [Note] for Servilia promised to see that this corn-commissionership should be cut out of the senatorial decree, but Brutus also was quickly induced to give up that foolish talk of being determined to go to Rome. He accordingly settled that the games should be given in his name without his presence. He, however, appeared to me to wish to start for Asia from Antium. In short, I got no satisfaction from my journey except the consciousness of having done my duty. For it was impossible for me to allow him to quit Italy without my having had an interview with him. Barring

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the discharge of this obligation of duty and affection, I could only ask myself: What doth thy journey here avail thee, seer? In good truth I found a ship with timbers all started, or rather gone to pieces. No plan, no system, no method! Accordingly, though I had no doubt before, I am now more bent than ever "to fly away"—and that at the first chance— Where deeds and fame of the Pelopidae
May greet my ears no more.
[Note] But look here! Not to keep you in the dark, Dolabella named me his legatus on the 2nd of June. That announcement reached me yesterday evening. Even you did not approve of my having a "votive legation." And indeed it would have been absurd for me to be discharging the vows made in case of the constitution being maintained, after that constitution had been overthrown. Besides "free legations" have, I think, a fixed limit of time by the Julian law, and an addition is difficult to secure. The sort of legation I want is one that admits of my coming back or going out as I choose: and that is now secured to me. [Note] Very pleasant too is the privilege of exercising this right for five years. [Note] Yet why think about five years? If I am not deceived the end is not far off. But absit omen.

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I am glad to hear about Buthrotum. [Note] But I had sent Tiro, as you bade me, to Dolabella with a letter. What harm can it do? About our friends at Antium I think my last letter was sufficiently full and explicit. It must have convinced you that they intended to take no active step, but to avail themselves of Antony's insulting favour. Cassius would have nothing to do with the corn business. Servilia said that she would get it cut out of the senatorial decree. [Note] Our friend Brutus, however, assumes very tragic airs and says-after agreeing with me that he cannot be safe at Rome—that he will start for Asia as soon as he has handed over the equipment for the games to those who are to hold them, for he prefers to give them, though he won't be present at them. He is collecting vessels. He is full of his voyage. Meanwhile they intend to stay where they are. Brutus indeed says that he will visit Astura. Lucius Antonius on his part writes to me in a courteous tone bidding me have no anxiety. I owe him one favour, perhaps I shall owe him another if he comes to my Tusculan house. [Note] What unendurable worries! Yet we do endure them after all. "Which of the Bruti (oh rightly named!) is to blame for this?" [Note] In

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Octavianus, [Note] as I have perceived, there is no little ability and spirit; and he seems likely to be as well disposed to our heroes as I could wish. But what confidence one can feel in a man of his age, name, inheritance, and upbringing may well give us pause. His stepfather, whom I have seen at Astura, thinks none at all. However, we must foster him and—if nothing else-keep him apart from Antony. Marcellus [Note] will be doing admirable service if he gives him good advice. [Note] Octavian seemed to me to be devoted to him: but he has no great confidence in Pansa and Hirtius. His disposition is good, if it does but last.




On the 25th I received two letters from you. I will therefore answer the earlier one first. I agree with you: but I would neither lead the van or bring up the rear, and yet be on that side in sympathy. I am sending you my speech. As to whether it is to be kept locked up or published, I leave the decision to you. But when shall we see the day when you shall think that it ought to be published? [Note] I cannot

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see the possibility of the truce which you mention. Better a masterly silence, which I think I shall employ. You say that two legions have arrived at Brundisium: you in Rome get all news first. So please write and tell me whatever you hear. I am anxious for Varro's "Dialogue." [Note] I am now all for writing something in the Heracleides style, [Note] especially as you like it so much. But I should like to know the sort you want. As to what I said to you before (or "previously"—as you prefer to express it), you have, to confess the honest truth, made me keener for writing. For to your own opinion, with which I was already acquainted, you have added the authority of Peducaeus—a very high one in my eyes, and among the most weighty. I will therefore do my best to prevent your feeling the lack either of industry or accuracy on my part.

Yes, as you suggest in your letter, I am keeping up with Vettienus and Faberius. I don't think Clodius meant any harm, although. But it is all one! As to the maintenance of liberty-surely the most precious thing in the world— I agree with you. So it is Caninius Gallus's [Note] turn now, is it? What a rascal he is! That's the only word for him. Oh cautious Marcellus! I am the same-yet not after all the most cautious of men!

I have answered your longer and earlier letter. Now for the shorter and later one—what answer am I to make except that it was a most delightful one? Events in Spain are going very well. If I do but see Balbilius safe and sound, I shall have a support for my old age. As to the estate of Annius your opinion is mine. Visellia shews me great attention. But that's the way of the world. Of Brutus

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you say that you know nothing: but Servilia says that Marcus Scaptius [Note] has arrived, and that he will pay her a secret visit at her house without any parade, and that I shall know everything. Meanwhile, she also tells me that a slave of Bassus has arrived to announce that the legions at Alexandria are in arms; that Bassus [Note] is being summoned; Cassius's [Note] arrival looked for with eagerness. In short, the Republic seems about to recover its legitimate authority. But no shouting before we are out of the wood! You know what adepts in rascality and how reckless these fellows [Note] are.

Dolabella is a fine fellow! Although, as I am writing this with the dessert on the table, I am told that he had arrived at Baiae, he nevertheless wrote to me from Formiae—a letter which reached me just as I had left the bath-saying that he had done his best about assigning debtors to me. He lays the blame on Vettienus. Of course he is up to some dodge, like a true business man. But he says that our friend Sestius has undertaken the whole affair. He indeed is an excellent man and very much attached to us. Still, I am at a loss to know what in the world Sestius can do in a business like this which any one of us could not do. But if anything unexpected happens, please let me know. If; on the other hand, the business, as I think, is hopeless, write all the same. It won't disturb me at all. I am here philosophizing—what else could I do? I am

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composing a brilliant essay "On Duties": and addressing it to my son. For on what subject should a father address a son in preference? After that I shall begin other subjects. In short, this tour shall have something to shew for itself. People expect Varro today or tomorrow. I, however, am hurrying off to Pompeii, not because anything can be more beautiful than this place, but interrupters are less troublesome there.

But do tell me distinctly what was the charge against Myrtilus, [Note] for I hear that he has been executed. Is it discovered who suborned him? As I am writing these words I imagine that the speech [Note] is being delivered to you. Dear, dear! how nervous I am as to what you think of it! And yet, what does it matter to me? For it is not likely to get abroad unless the constitution has been restored. And as to that I do not venture to say what I hope in a letter.


DCCLV (A xv, 14)


ON the 26th I received a letter from Dolabella, a copy of which I inclose. He says in it that he has acted in all ways to your satisfaction. I wrote back at once thanking him at some length. However, to prevent his wondering why I should do the same a second time, I explained that the reason was that I had not been able previously to get any information from you when we were together. However, to cut the matter short, my answer was as follows: Cicero to his friend Dolabella, consul. Having on a previous occasion been informed by a letter from our friend Atticus of the great liberality and the very great kindness which you had shewn him; and you having yourself written to tell me of your having done everything that we wished, I wrote to thank you in language meant to shew that you could have done me no greater favour. But when Atticus himself came to see me with the express purpose of declaring his gratitude to you, whose really eminent and surprising kindness in the business of the Buthrotians and marked affection for himself he had thoroughly appreciated, I could not be restrained from giving a more open expression to the same feeling on my part in this letter. Let me assure you, my dear Dolabella, that of all your kindnesses and services to me—eminent as they are—the most generous and gratifying in my eyes is this, that you have made Atticus understand how much I love you and you me. For the rest, though the claims and political existence of the Buthrotians have been set on a firm foundation by you, I would wish you—for I always want to make my favours secure—to resolve that, having been taken under your care and frequently recommended by me, they shall continue to enjoy the support of your influence and active assistance. That will be sufficient protection to the Buthrotians for ever, and you will have set both Atticus

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and myself free from great Care and anxiety if you undertake in compliment to me to resolve that they shall always enjoy your defence. I warmly and repeatedly entreat you to do so.

After writing this letter I devoted myself to my treatise, [Note] which, however, I fear will require to be scored by your red wax [Note] in a good number of places. I have been so distracted and hindered by engrossing thoughts.




CONFOUND Lucius Antonius, if he makes himself trouble some to the Buthrotians! I have drawn out a deposition which shall be signed and sealed whenever you please. As for the money of the Arpinates, if the aedile. [Note] L. Fadius asks for it, pay him back every farthing. In a previous letter I mentioned to you a sum of 110 sestertia to be paid to Statius. If, then, Fadius applies for the money, I wish it paid to him, and to no one except Fadius. I think that amount was put into my hands, and I have written to Eros to produce it. I can't stand the Queen: and the voucher for her promises, Hammonius, knows that I have good cause for saying

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so. What she promised, indeed, were all things of the learned sort and suitable to my character-such as I could avow even in a public meeting. [Note] As for Sara, besides finding him to be an unprincipled rascal, I also found him inclined to give himself airs to me. I only saw him once at my house. And when I asked him politely what I could do for him, he said that he had come in hopes of finding Atticus. [Note] The Queen's insolence, too, when she was living in Caesar's trans-Tiberine villa, I cannot recall without a pang. I won't have anything to do therefore with that lot. They think not so much that I have no spirit, as that I have scarcely any proper pride at all. My leaving Italy is hindered by Eros's way of doing business. For whereas from the balances struck by him on the 5th of April I ought to be well off; I am obliged to borrow, while the receipts from those paying properties of mine I think have been put aside for building the shrine. [Note] But I have charged Tiro to see to all this, whom I am sending to Rome for the express purpose.

I did not wish to add to your existing embarrassments. The steadier the conduct of my son, the more I am vexed at his being hampered. For he never mentioned the subject to me—the first person to whom he should have done so. But he said in a letter to Tiro that he had received nothing since the 1st of April—for that was the end of his financial year. Now I know that your own kind feeling always caused you to be of opinion that he ought to be treated not only with liberality, but with splendour and generosity, and that you also considered that to be due to my position. Wherefore pray see—I would not have troubled you if I could have done it through anyone else—that he has a bill of exchange at Athens for his year's allowance. Eros will pay you the money. I am sending Tiro on that business. Pray therefore see to it, and write and tell me any idea you may have on the subject.

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AT length a letter-carrier from my son! And, by Hercules, a letter elegantly expressed, shewing in itself some progress. Others also give me excellent reports of him. Leonides, however, still sticks to his favourite "at present." [Note] But Herodes speaks in the highest terms of him. In short, I am glad even to be deceived in this matter, and am not sorry to be credulous. Pray let me know if Statius has written to you anything of importance to me. situation-Marcus for refusing to include Antony in the assassination, or Decimus for not using the troops which he possessed as governor of Cisalpine Gaul against Antony.

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I TELL you what! this is a lovely place-retired at any rate and, if you want to write anything, free from anyone to spy you out. But somehow or other "home is sweet ": and my feet draw me back to Tusculum. And after all one seems very soon likely to have enough of the somewhat artificial charms of this pretty coast. I am also for my part afraid of rain, if our prognostics are true; for the frogs are loudly "discoursing." Please let me know where and on what day I can see Brutus.




I received two letters on the 14th, one dated the same day, the other the day before. First, then, to the earlier one. Yes, tell me about Brutus when you know. I am informed about the pretended terror of the consuls. [Note] For Sicca had-with loyal warmth indeed, but somewhat confusedly-already informed me of that suspicion also. [Note] Well, what is your opinion? Is it, "Never refuse a good offer "? [Note] For I haven't a word from Siregius. [Note] I don't like it. I am very much annoyed that anyone was informed about your neighbour Plaetorius before myself. [Note] As to Syrus, you acted with wisdom. You will, I think, have no difficulty in keeping Lucius Antonius off by means of his brother. [Note] I told you not to pay Antro, but you had not received my letter telling you not to pay anyone but L. Fadius. [Note] I am not at all angry with Arabio about Sittius. [Note] I don't think of starting on my journey unless my accounts are all square, [Note] and I think you agree with me in that. So much for your earlier letter.

Now for the other. It is like your usual kindness to serve

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Servilia, that is, Brutus. As to the Queen I am glad you don't feel anxious, and that you accept the evidence. For the accounts furnished by Eros, I have both gone into them myself and have summoned him to come to me. I am exceedingly obliged by your promise to furnish my son with what is needful. Messalla, [Note] on his way from Lanuvium, called on me; he had just come from Athens and gave me a wonderfully good report of him. And upon my word his own letter was so affectionate and well-written, that I shouldn't shrink from reading it before company: which makes me all the more desirous of indulging him. I don't think Sestius is annoyed about Bucilianus. [Note] When Tiro once gets back I think of going to Tusculum. Pray write at once and tell me anything I ought to know.




THOUGH I think I told you sufficiently fully what I needed and what I wanted you to do, if it was convenient to you, nevertheless, having started on the 15th, and while on board the boat in the lake, I came to the conclusion that I must send Tiro to you, that he might take part in the business affairs now in progress. I am also writing to Dolabella telling him that if he has no objection I wished to start, and asking him for an order for sumpter mules for the journey. [Note] Considering the circumstances—for I quite understand that, what with

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the Buthrotians and what with Brutus, "you are distracted with business, while I suspect that the trouble and even the superintendence of the latter's costly games falls to a great extent on you—well, as far as circumstances will admit, give me some little of your services: for I don't want much. In my opinion the state of affairs points to bloodshed, and that at a near date. You see what the men are, you see how they are arming. [Note] I really don't think I am safe. But if you think otherwise, I should like you to write to me. For I should much prefer staying at home if I can do so safely.




WHAT need is there for any farther venture on behalf of the Buthrotians? I ask, because you remark that all your trouble has been thrown away. Why again is Brutus returning? I am grieved, on my honour, that you have been so distracted. You have to thank those ten land-commissioner fellows for that. [Note] Yes, that was a tough piece of business, but it had to be borne, and I am exceedingly obliged to you. As to taking up arms—I never saw anything more patent. So let me be off; as you say. I don't know what Theophanes [Note] wants with an interview: he has already written to me, and I answered him as best I could. However, he writes to say that he wants to call on me, to discuss some business of his own and certain matters affecting myself. I am anxious for a letter from you. Pray take care that nothing rash is done. Statius has written to tell

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me that Quintus Cicero [Note] has spoken to him in very strong terms, saying that he cannot put up with the present state of affairs: that he is resolved to go over to Brutus and Cassius. Of course I am now anxious to learn all about this: I am quite unable to explain its meaning. It may be that he is angry with Antony about something; it may be that he now wants some new chance of distinguishing himself; it may be a mere passing fancy. And, indeed, it is doubtless that. All the same I am nervous about it and his father is quite upset. For he knows what he used to say about Antony: in fact he said to me what won't bear repetition. I cannot conceive what he has got in his head. I shall only have such commissions from Dolabella as I choose—that is, none at all. Tell me about Gaius Antonius—did he wish to be on the land-commission? He was at any rate worthy of such a company. [Note] As to Menedemus it is as you say. Pray keep me acquainted with everything.




I have thanked Vettienus, for nothing could have been kinder. Let Dolabella give me any commissions he chooses, even to take a message to Nicias. [Note] For who, as you say, will care to ask questions ? [Note] Or does anyone with any sense in his head doubt that my departure is an act of despair,

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and not really a legation? You say that men are using certain extremist expressions about public affairs, and that too men of sound loyalty. Well, ever since I heard of his speaking of the tyrant in a public meeting as "that most illustrious man," [Note] I began to have qualms of doubt: but when along with you I saw our heroes at Lanuvium with no hope of life but what they received from Antony, I gave it up for lost. And so, my dear Atticus, I would have you receive what I am going to say with the same courage as that with which I write it. Regarding the kind of death experienced by Catulus [Note] as shocking, and yet as in a manner already pronounced against us by Antony, I have resolved to escape from this net, not with a view to flight, but with a hope of a better sort of death. For this Brutus is entirely to blame. You say that Pompeius has been received at Carteia, [Note] so we shall presently see an army sent against him. Which camp am I to join then? For Antony makes neutrality impossible. The one is weak, the other criminal. Let us make haste therefore. But help me to make up my mind-Brundisium or Puteoli? Brutus for his part is starting somewhat suddenly, but wisely. I feel it a good deal, for when shall I see him again. [Note] But such is life. Even you cannot see him. Heaven confound that dead man for ever meddling with Buthrotum! But let us leave the past. Let us look to what there is to do.

The accounts of Eros, though I have not yet seen him personally, I yet know pretty thoroughly from his own letter and Tiro's report. You say that I must raise a fresh loan for five months, that is, till the 1st of November, of 200 sestertia: [Note] that on that day a certain sum of money falls in owed by Quintus. As Tiro tells me that you would not have me come to Rome on that business, please see, if it does not bore you too much, where to raise the money and put it down to my account. That is what I see for the

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present to be necessary. As to other details I will demand a stricter account from Eros himself-among other things as to the rents of the dower properties. [Note] If these are faithfully collected for the benefit of my son, though I wish him more liberally provided, yet he will have pretty well as much as he needs. And indeed I see that I shall want some journey-money also. But my son will be paid from these properties as the money comes in. I, on the contrary, need a lump sum. The fact is that though that trembler at shadows [Note] appears to me to have his eye on massacre, I am nevertheless not going to budge unless the payment of the money is arranged. But whether it has been arranged or not I shall learn when I see you. I thought this ought to be written by my own hand, and I have accordingly so written it. Yes, you are right about Fadius—not in any case to anyone else. [Note] Please answer this today.


DCCL (A XV, 21)


Let me tell you this-Quintus the elder is jumping for joy. For his son has written to say that he desired to desert to Brutus, because, when Antony charged him to secure his being made dictator, and to seize some fort, he refused. He says also that he refused for fear of hurting his father's feelings: and that ever since Antony had been his enemy. "Thereupon," says he, "I pulled myself together for fear he should do you some injury. So I smoothed him down: and indeed got 400 sestertia from him in cash, and a promise of more." Statius, moreover, writes word that the young man

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desires to share his father's house. This is a wonderful story, and my brother is in raptures with it. Did you ever know a greater fraud ? [Note]

You were both quite right to hesitate as to the affair of Canus. [Note] I had had no suspicion about the deeds—I thought her dowry had been repayed in full. [Note] I shall look forward to hearing what you postpone mentioning in order to discuss it when we meet. Keep my letter-carriers as long as you like: for I know you are busy. As to Xeno—quite right! I will send you what I am writing when I have finished it. [Note] You told Quintus that you had sent him a letter: no one had brought one. Tiro says that you don't now approve of my going by Brundisium, and indeed that you say some-thing about soldiers there. Well, I had already settled in my mind upon Hydruntum ; [Note] for your saying that it was only a five hours' voyage had great weight with me. But to start from this side—what a weary voyage! But I shall see. I have had no letter from you on the 21st. Naturally; for what is there new to say any longer? Therefore come as soon as you can. I am in haste, lest Sextus Pompeius should get here first. They say he is on his way. [Note]

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I congratulate ourselves that young Quintus has gone out of town: he won't be a nuisance to us. I believe Pansa is using satisfactory language. For I know that he has always been closely united with Hirtius. I think he will be a very warm friend to Brutus and Cassius if—it turns out to be expedient. But when will he ever see them ? [Note] And that he will be opposed to Antony—but when and on what grounds? How long are we to be fooled? However, I wrote you word that Sextus Pompeius was coming, not because he was actually near, but because he was certainly contemplating that move and because he was not shewing any signs of abandoning arms. Doubtless, if he goes on, war is a certainty. On this side too our dear lover of Cytheris [Note] thinks no one sure of his life unless he gains a victory. What has Pansa to say to this? Which side will he take if there is war, as I think there will be? But of this and other things when we meet, that is, today—as you say in your letter—or tomorrow.

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I am wonderfully distracted, yet not with pain: but a thou-sand opposite ideas about my journey occur to me. "How long is that to go on?" you will say. Why, until I finally commit myself, that is, till I am actually on board ship. If Pansa has written an answer to your letter, I will send you mine and his together. I am expecting Silius, [Note] for whom I have drawn up a memorandum. Send any news. I am writing to Brutus, about whose journey I should like to hear something also from you, if you know anything.


DCCLIV (A xv, 24)


THE letter-carrier whom I sent to Brutus came straight back without stopping on the 25th. Servilia told him that Brutus had started at half-past six in the morning. I was much annoyed at my letter not being returned. Silius has not arrived. I have drawn up a statement of his case: I in-close that document to you. I should like to know on what day to expect you.

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As to my journey various opinions are expressed: for I have a great number of visitors. But pray throw yourself heart and soul into that question. It is a serious matter. Do you approve of my idea of returning by the 1st of January? My mind is quite open on the subject-only provided that I do not give offence. I should like to know also the day on which the Olympic games begin. As you say in your letter, chance will decide the plan of my journey. [Note] Don't let me

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make up my mind, therefore. For a winter voyage is detestable, and it was on that account I asked you the day of the mysteries. Brutus, as you say, I imagine that I shall probably see. I think of leaving this place on the 30th.


DCCLX (A xv, 26)


I see that you have done all you can about Quintus's business. For his part, he is hesitating whether to oblige Lepta or to damage his son's credit. [Note] I have heard it whispered that Lucius Piso wants to go abroad as a legate in virtue of a forged decree of the senate. [Note] I should like to know the truth. That letter-carrier, whom I told you that I sent to Brutus, returned to me at Anagnia on the night of the 3oth of June, and brought me a letter, which contained that same request—as unlike as could possibly be conceived to his usually conspicuous good sense—that I should be present at his games. [Note] I wrote back of course to say, first, that I have already started on my journey, so that it is no longer in my power to do so: and secondly, that it would be the strangest paradox that, while I have not set foot in Rome since this arming [Note] began—and that, not so much from consideration of my personal danger as of my self-respect—I should suddenly come to the games. For to be giving games at such a crisis is honourable enough for him, because he can't help it; but for me to attend them, as it is not necessary, so neither is it honourable. Of course I eagerly desire them to be largely attended and as popular as possible, and I feel sure they will be so; and I bargain with

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you to send me an account of how they are received from the very first hour they begin, and thenceforth all that happens day by day to their close. But enough of the games.

The remainder of his letter may indeed be regarded in two different lights, yet, nevertheless, he does at times emit some sparks of manly courage. I want you to be able to express what you think of it, and therefore inclose a copy of the letter: though our letter-carrier told me that he had brought a letter from you also from Brutus, and that it had been forwarded to you from Tusculum. I have arranged my journeys so as to be at Puteoli on the 7th of July. For though I am in a great hurry, I mean to take every precaution humanly possible as to my voyage.

Please free Marcus Aelius from his anxiety: tell him that my idea was that a few feet along the edge of the land—and that under the surface-would have some sort of easement upon them : [Note] and that I absolutely objected to it, and did 'not think that anything could make up for it. But, as you suggest, put it as gently as possible, rather by way of relieving him of anxiety than giving him any suspicion of my being annoyed. So also about Tullius's debt, speak to Cascellius in a liberal spirit. It's a small matter, but I am obliged to you for attending to it. It was a bit of rather sharp practice. And if he had taken me in at all, as he nearly did-only that you were too many for him—I should have been seriously annoyed. So, whatever is to be the result, I would prefer the transaction being stayed. Remember that an eighth share of the aedes Tullianae near the temple of Strenia, is due to Caerellia: see that it is conveyed to her at the highest price bid at the auction. I think that was 380 sestertia. [Note]

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If there is any news, even if you foresee anything that you think likely to happen, pray write and tell me as often as possible. As I have already Charged you to do, pray remember to apologize to Varro for the late arrival of my letter. What terms your friend Mundus has made with Marcus Ennius about the will I should like you to tell me—for I always like to know things.

Arpinum, 2nd July.




I am glad that you advise me to do precisely what I did of my own accord yesterday. For when I despatched my letter to you on the 2nd, I gave the same letter-carrier one for Sestius written in very warm terms. As for him, his intention of escorting [Note] me to Puteoli is polite; in complaining about me he is unfair. For I was not so much bound to wait for him until he got back from Cosa, as he was not to have gone there until he had seen me, or to have hastened his return. For he knew that I was in a hurry to start, and he had written to say that he would join me at Tusculum.

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I am much moved at your having wept after parting from me. If you had done so in my presence, I should perhaps have entirely abandoned my design of going abroad. But it was a great thing that you were consoled by the hope of a speedy reunion. That, indeed, is the hope that supports me more than anything else. You shall not want letters from me. I will write you a full account of Brutus. I will before long send you a book of mine "On Glory." I will hammer out something in the vein of Heracleides [Note] to be treasured up in your secret stores. I haven't forgotten about Plancus. Attica has a good right to grumble. I am much obliged for your informing me about Bacchis and the garlands for the statues. [Note] Do not omit anything hereafter, I don't say of so much importance, but even of so little. I won't forget about either Herodes or Mettius, [Note] or anything else which I have the least idea of your wishing. What a scandalous person your sister's son is! [Note] As I am writing this he arrives at the witching hour of evening while I am at dinner. Take care of your health.




As I wrote to you yesterday I have settled to arrive at Puteoli on the 7th. There then I shall look for a letter from you daily, and especially about the games, about which you must also write to Brutus. I have a letter from him which I could scarcely make out, of which I sent you a copy yesterday. Pray make my excuses to Attica, and take

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all the blame upon yourself. Assure her all the same that I am taking away with me an affection for her that has undergone no change. [Note]




I send you Brutus's letter. Good heavens, what helplessness! You will understand when you have read it. About the celebration of Brutus's games I agree with you. No, don't go to see M. Aelius at his house, but speak to him wherever you may chance to meet him. About the moiety of Tullius's debt consult Marcus Axianus, as you suggest. Your arrangement with Cosianus—first rate! For your disentanglement of my own affairs and yours at the same time—thanks! I am glad my legation is approved. Heaven send that your promises are fulfilled! For what could be more gratifying to me and mine? But I feel misgiving about her, of whom you make an exception. [Note] When I have met Brutus, I will send you a full account. About Plancus and Decimus, I wish it may be so ! [Note] I wouldn't have Sextus

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throw away his shield. [Note] About Mundus tell me anything you learn.

So I have answered all your news. Now for my own. The younger Quintus is going to escort me as far as Puteoli—what an admirable loyalist! you might call him a Favonius—Asinius. [Note] He has two motives for doing so: my society, and a wish to make terms with Brutus and Cassius. But what say you? For I know you are intimate with the Othones. Quintus says that Tutia offers herself to him, as a divorce has been arranged. His father asked me what sort of reputation she had. I said—for I didn't know why he asked the question—that I had never heard anything except about her looks and her father. "But why do you ask?" said I. Then he said that his son wanted her. Thereupon, though I felt disgusted, I said that I didn't believe those stories. His aim—for that is the truth—is to make our friend no allowance. But the lady says she won't be baulked by the like of him. [Note] However, I suspect young Quintus is, as usual, romancing. But please make inquiries—for you can easily do so—and let me know.

Pray what's this all about? When I had already sealed this letter some Formians who were dining with me told me that the day before I write this—that is, on the 5th—they had seen our Buthrotian commissioner Plancus [Note] With downcast look and bare of ornament; and that his poor slaves said that he and the land-grabbers

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had been turned out of the Country by the Buthrotians. Well done they I But please write me a full account of the whole affair.

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