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




I arrived at Puteoli on the 7th. I write this on the following day as I am crossing to Nesis. [Note] But on the day of my arrival, as I was at dinner Eros brought me your letter. Is it really so? "Nones ofJuly!" [Note] The gods confound them! But one might rage all day long. What could be a greater insult to Brutus than "July"? I come back to my old quousque tandem? I have never seen anything worse. But what is this, pray, about the land-grabbers being cut to pieces at Buthrotum ? [Note] How also came Plancus to be on the run day and night—for that is whispered to me? I am very anxious to know what it means. I am glad that my going abroad is commended: I must try and get my staying at home praised also. That the Dymaeans [Note] should harry the sea after being expelled from their lands is no wonder. There seems to be some protection in making the voyage in company with Brutus. But I think his vessels

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are small. However, I shall know all about it directly, and will write to you tomorrow. As to Ventidius, [Note] I think it is a canard. As to Sextus, it is regarded as certain that he is giving in. [Note] If this is true, we must submit to being slaves even without a civil war. What are we to say then? Is our hope in Pansa and the 1st of January? That's all moonshine, considering the drunken and drowsy habits of these men. About the 230 sestertia-capital! Let my son's accounts be put straight. For Ovius has just arrived [Note] and his report is much to my satisfaction: among other things it is by no means bad that seventy-two sestertia is enough, and quite liberal, but that Xeno furnishes him very sparingly and stingily. You say that your bill of exchange amounted to more than the rent of the town lots. Well, let the year in which he had the additional expense of the journey be credited with the balance. From the 1st of April next let his allowance be kept to the eighty sestertia. [Note] For the town lots now produce that amount. We must see to some settlement for him when he is back in Rome. For I don't think that he could endure that woman as a mother-in-law. About my Cuman villa I aid "no" to Pindarus.

Now let me inform you of my motive for sending you a letter-carrier. Young Quintus promises me that he will be a regular Cato. But both father and son urged me to guarantee this to you, though with the understanding that you shouldn't believe it till you had practical proof of it yourself. I will give him a letter such as he desires. Don't let it influence your opinion. I am writing this to prevent your supposing that I am convinced. Heaven send that he carries out his promises!

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It will be a satisfaction to everyone concerned. But I-well, I will say nothing more. He starts on the 10th. He says he is making a consignment of debts for the 15th, but that he is being very hard pressed. You will judge from my letter what answer to give him. I will write at greater length when I have seen Brutus and am sending Eros back. I quite accept my dear Attica's apology, and love her dearly Give my kind regards to her and Pilia.




ON the 10th I received two letters, one from my own letter-carrier and the other from that of Brutus. The story about the

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Buthrotians was widely different in these parts, but that is only one of the many inconveniences with which one must put up.. I am sending Eros back sooner than I intended; that there might be some one to pay Hortensius, and those in fact with whom he says that he has fixed the 15th as the day of settlement Hortensius, however, is shameless in his demand; for nothing is due to him except in virtue of the third instalment, payable on the 1st of August—and of this very instalment the greater part has been paid him considerably before the day. [Note] But Eros will see to this on the 15th. As for Publilius, [Note] however, I think there ought to be no delay in paying him the amount for which a draft is due. But when you come to look at the concessions I have made from my legal rights in having paid in ready money 200 of the balance of 400 sestertia, and in now giving a note for the remainder, you will be able, if you think right, to say to him that he ought to wait my convenience in consideration of my having surrendered such a considerable proportion of my legal right. But, my very dear Atticus—you see how insinuatingly I put it—do pray transact, direct, and steer all my business without waiting for directions from me. For though my balances are sufficient for the discharge of debts, still it often happens that debtors don't come up to time. If anything of that sort occurs, don't regard anything as of more importance than my reputation. Preserve my credit not only by raising a fresh loan, but even by selling if necessary. Brutus was gratified by your letter. For I spent several hours with him at Nesis shortly after having received your letter. He seemed delighted with your account of the Tereus, [Note] and to be more obliged to Accius than to Antony. In my eyes, however, the better the news the more annoyance and regret

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I feel that the Roman people uses up its hands in clapping, rather than in defending the constitution. To my mind, indeed, that party appears to be even more inspired to give an immediate display of their own disloyalty. However, "so that they feel a pang, no matter what." I am not sorry to hear your remark about my designs being daily more commended, and I was looking forward to hear what you had to say about it. For I myself was hearing remarks made in different senses. Nay, more, I was letting it drag on expressly to avoid coHimitting myself as long as possible. But since I am being turned out with a pitchfork, I am now thinking of going to Brundisium. For the avoidance of the legions [Note] is easier and more certain than that of the pirates, who are said to be shewing themselves. Sestius was expected on the 10th, but he has not come, as far as I know. Cassius has arrived with his little fleet. On the uth, after having seen him, I am thinking of going to Pompeii and thence to Aeculanum. [Note] You know the rest of the road. As to Tutia [Note] —that's what I thought. About Aebutius, I don't believe it, but I do not care any more than you do. I have written of course to Plancus and Oppius, since you asked me to do so. But don't think it necessary to deliver the letters, if you consider it better not. For, as they have acted entirely from consideration for you, I fear my letters may appear superfluous—at any rate to Oppius, whom I know to be devotedly attached to you. However, just as you choose. As you say that you mean to winter in Epirus, I shall be very grateful if you arrive there before the time comes at which by your advice I am to return to Italy. Write to me as often as possible: if it is on matters of little importance, employ any messenger you get hold of; but if it is more urgent, send one of your own men. If I get safe to Brundisium, I shall attempt something in the vein of Heracleides. [Note] I am sending you my de Gloria. You will therefore please to keep it under lock and key as usual: but

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let select passages be marked for Salvius at least to read when he has got some fitting hearers at a dinner party. I like them much; I should wish you to do the same. Goodbye! Good-bye!




YOU acted wisely—I am now at length answering the letter you sent me after meeting Lucius Antonius at Tibur—well then, you acted wisely in surrendering and even going so far as to thank him. For certainly, as you say, we shall be stripped of the constitution sooner than of our property. Your saying that you take more and more delight in my essay on Old Age increases my energy in writing. You say that you are expecting Eros not to come to you empty-handed. I am glad that you were not disappointed in that expectation: but nevertheless I am sending you the same essay somewhat more carefully revised—and it is indeed the original copy itself with interlineations and corrections in many places. [Note] Get this copied on large paper [Note] and read it privately to your guests, but, as you love me, when they are cheerful and have had a good dinner, lest they vent their wrath on me, though really angry with you. [Note] With my son I only hope things are as I am told. About Xeno [Note] I shall learn when I see him: however, I don't think he has acted in any way with carelessness or meanness. About Herodes I will do as you charge me, and I shall get information as to what you mention from Saufeius and Xeno.

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As to young Quintus, I am glad that you got my letter sent by my letter-carrier before the one delivered by himself—though in any case you would not have been taken in. Yet, after all-well, I am anxious to hear what he said to you and what you said in your turn: I don't doubt you both spoke characteristically. [Note] But I hope Curius will deliver that letter to me. He is in himself indeed an attractive person and a man I like, but now he will have the crowning grace of your recommendation.

I have answered your letter sufficiently. Now listen to what, though I know it is not necessary to write, I yet am going to write. Many things distress me in my departure-first and foremost, by heaven, that I am being separated from you. But I am also distressed by the fatigue of the voyage, so unsuitable not only to my time of life, but also to my rank. Moreover, the time of my departure is rather ridiculous. I am leaving peace to return to war; and the season which might have been spent in my favourite country places—so prettily built and so full of charm—I am wasting on a foreign tour. The consolations are that I shall either do my son some good, or make up my mind how much good he is capable of receiving. In the next place you will—as I hope and as you promise-presently be there. If that happens indeed things will be better all round. But what gives me more uneasiness than anything is the making up of my balances. Though they have been put straight, yet since Dolabella's debt is on the list, and among the debtors assigned to me are some unknown persons, I feel quite at sea, and this matter gives me more uneasiness than everything else. Accordingly, I don't think I have been wrong to write to Balbus more openly than usual, to ask him that, if it should so happen that the debts did not come in at the proper time, he should come to the rescue; and telling him that I had commissioned you, in case of such an occurrence, to communicate with him. Please do so, if you think proper, and all the more if you are starting for Epirus.

I write this when on the point of embarking from my Pompeian house with three ten-oared pinnaces. Brutus is

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still at Nesis, Cassius at Naples. Can you love Deiotarus and yet dislike Hieras? When Blesamius came to me about it, though he was charged not to take any step except on the advice of our friend Sextus Peducaeus, he never communicated with him or with any one of our party. [Note] I should like to kiss our dear Attica, far off as she is, so delighted was I with the good wishes she sent me by you. Please give her mine in return and many of them, and the. same to Pilia.




So, as I told you yesterday—or perhaps I should say today, for Quintus said he should not reach you till the second day—I went to Nesis on the 8th. Brutus was there. How hurt he was by the "Nones of July"! [Note] He was really surprisingly upset. Accordingly, he said that he should write orders to advertise the beast-hunt, which is to follow the games of Apollo, as to take place on the "3rd day before the Ides of Quinctilis." Libo came in while I was there. He said that Philo, a freedman of Pompey's, and Hilarus, a freedman of his own, had come from Sextus Pompeius with a letter addressed to the consuls, or whatever they are called. [Note] He read us a copy of it, to see if anything occurred to us. There were a few ill-expressed sentences: in other respects it was written with considerable dignity and without violence. The only addition we decided upon was that instead of being addressed "to the consuls" only, it should be addressed "to consuls, praetors, tribunes of the plebs, and senate," for fear the consuls should decline to produce a letter addressed to themselves personally. They also report that Sextus has been at New Carthage with only one legion, and that on the very day on which he captured the town of Barea he received the news about Caesar. That after the capture of the town there was great rejoicing and recovery of spirits, and people flocked to him from every side; but that he returned to the six legions which he had left in lower Spain. He also wrote to Libo saying that be cared for nothing unless he were allowed to return to his own house. The upshot of his demands was that all armies

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wherever stationed should be disbanded. That is nearly all about Sextus. [Note]

Though I have been asking questions of everybody about the Buthrotians, I cannot find out the truth. Some say the land-grabbers were badly mauled, others that Plancus for a sum of money abandoned them and fled. So I don't see how I am to know the truth of the matter unless I get some sort of letter at once. [Note]

The route to Brundisium, about which I was hesitating, appears now to be out of the question: for the legions are said to be arriving there. But the voyage from this place is not without its suspicion of dangers. Therefore I am making up my mind to a joint voyage. I found Brutus more advanced in his preparations than I had been told was the case. For both he and Domitius have some really good two-banked galleys; there are also some fine vessels belonging to Sestius, Bucilianus, and others. For, as to the fleet of Cassius, which is a really fine one, I don't count on that beyond the Sicilian Strait. One thing does cause me some little uneasiness—that Brutus seems to be in no great hurry. In the first place he is waiting for news as to the completion of his games; in the next place, as far as I can understand, he is likely to make the voyage slowly, stopping at several points. However, I think it is better to sail slowly than not to sail at all. And if; when we have got some distance on, things seem more certain we shall take advantage of the Etesian winds.




BRUTUS is anxious for a letter from you. I told him about the Tereus of Accius, [Note] though he had heard it before. He thought that it was the Brutus. But, after all, some whisper of a report had reached him that at the opening of the Greek games the attendance had been small, at which for one I was not surprised. For you know my opinion of Greek games. [Note] But now listen to what is of more importance than everything else. Young Quintus stayed with me several days, and if I had wished it would have been quite willing to stay longer. But as far as his visit went you could hardly believe how much delighted I was with him in every particular, but especially in the point in which he used most to disappoint me. For he has become such an entirely changed man-partly by certain writings of mine on which I am now engaged, and partly by my constantly talking to him and impressing my maxims upon him—that he is really going to be all that I wish in politics. After having not

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only declared this to me, but also thoroughly convinced me of it, he implored me at great length to guarantee to you that he would in the future be worthy of you and of us. And he didn't ask you to believe this at once, but that you should only restore your affection to him when you had seen it with your own eyes. Had he not convinced me of this, and had I not made up my mind that what I am saying might be relied upon, I would not have done what I am going to tell you. I took the young man with me to see Brutus. The latter was so convinced of what I am telling you, that he took upon himself to believe in him independently, and would have none of me as guarantee. He praised him and spoke of you in the most friendly tone, and dismissed him with embraces and kisses. Wherefore, though I have more reason to congratulate you than to prefer any request to you, yet I do also request you that if there appeared to be certain irregularities in his conduct heretofore, owing to the weakness of youth, you should believe that he has now rid himself of them, and should trust me when I say that your influence will contribute much, or I should rather say more than anything else, to make his decision permanent. [Note]

Though I made frequent hints to Brutus about our sailing together, he didn't seem to catch at the suggestion as eagerly as I had expected. I thought him in an uneasy frame of mind, and indeed he was so-especially about the games. But when I had got back to my villa Gnaeus Lucceius, who sees a good deal of Brutus, told me that he was hesitating a great deal as to his departure, not from any change of policy, but because he was waiting to see if any-thing turned up. So I am doubting whether I shall direct my steps to Venusia and there wait to hear about the legions : [Note] and if they do not come, as some expect—go on to Hydruntum: [Note] but if neither port is safe-come back to

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where I am. Do you think I am joking? Upon my life you are the only tie that keeps me here. For take a careful view of the situation: but do it before I have cause to blush for my conduct. Ah! Lepidus's notice of his inauguration days is just like him, and just suits with my plan of return. [Note] Your letter conveys a strong motive for my starting for Greece. And oh, that I might find you there! But it must be as you think most to your advantage. I am anxious for a letter from Nepos. Can he really want my books, when he thinks the subjects on which I plume myself not worth reading? Yes—as you say: in form and face
Ajax the flower of all the Grecian host
Next to the flawless son whom Thetis bore.
[Note] You are the "flawless" one—he is one of the "immortals." There is no collection of my letters in existence: but Tiro has something like seventy. Moreover, there are some to be got from you. I ought to look through and correct them. They shall not be published till I have done so. [Note] Brundisium, at which latter Atticus warned him he might meet the legions of Antony. Neutrum, i.e., neither Brundisium nor Hydruntum.

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As yet—for I have got as far as Sicca's house at Vibo—I have prosecuted my voyage with more comfort than energy. For the greater part has been done by rowing, and there have been no nor'-nor'-easters. That has been rather lucky, for there were two bays to be crossed, that of Paestum and that of Vibo. We crossed both with sheets taut. I arrived at Sicca's house therefore on the eighth day from Pompeii, having rested one day at Velia. There I stayed at our friend Talna's house, and couldn't possibly have been received more hospitably-especially as Talna himself was away from home. So on the 24th I went to Sicca's house. There I found myself quite at home. So I put on an extra day to my visit. But I think when I reach Rhegium I shall consider—being

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On long and weary sea voyage bent [Note] whether to make for Patrae on a merchant vessel or to go as far as Tarentine Leucopetra on packet-boats, and thence to Corcyra: and if on the ship of burden, whether to go from the strait direct or from Syracuse. [Note] On this point I will write to you from Rhegium. By heaven, Atticus, it often occurs to me to ask: What boots it you to journey hither thus? [Note] Why am I not with you? Why do I not see my pretty villas-those sweet eyes of Italy? But it is enough and to spare that I am losing you. And from what am I running away? Is it danger? But of that at the present moment, if I do not mistake, there is none. For it is precisely to that which you use your influence to bid me return. For you say that my quitting the country is praised to the skies, but only on the understanding that I return before the 1st of January. That I shall certainly try to do; for I had rather be at home even in fear, than at Athens without it. But look out to see to what things at Rome are tending, and either write me news of them or, as I should much prefer, bring it with you in person. Enough of this.

I hope you will not be annoyed at my next request, which I know is a subject of more anxiety to you than to myself: in heaven's name, set straight and clear up my debtor and creditor accounts. I have left an excellent balance, but there is need of careful attention. See that my co-heirs are paid for the Cluvian property [Note] on the 1st of August; and what terms I ought to make with Publilius. He ought not to press, as I am not taking full advantage of my legal privileges: but, after all, I much wish him also to be satisfied. Terentia, again—what am I to assign to her? Pay her even before the day if you can. But if—as I hope-you are quickly coming to Epirus, I beg you to provide before you start for what I owe on security, to put it straight and leave it fully discharged.

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But enough on these matters, and I fear you will think too much. Now just notice my carelessness. I have sent you a book "On Glory": but there is the same preface in it as in the third book of the Academics. That results from the fact that I keep a volume of prefaces. From it I am accustomed to select one when I have begun some treatise. So being at the time at Tusculum, as I did not remember that I had already used that preface, I put it into the book which I sent you. When, however, I was reading the Academics on board ship, I noticed my mistake. Accordingly, I have written out a new preface, and am sending it to you. Please cut the other one off and glue this on. Give my love to Pilia and Attica, my pet and darling.




Having started on the 6th of August from Leucopetra—for that was to be my port of embarkation—when I had made about 300 furlongs, [Note] I was driven back upon that same Leucopetra by a violent south wind. While waiting there for a change of wind—I was staying in the villa of our friend Valerius, where I am quite at home and comfortable-certain men of high rank from Rhegium came thither, having lately returned from Rome, among others a friend of our Brutus, who (as he told me) had left Brutus at Naples. They brought, first, an edict of Brutus and Cassius; secondly, intelligence that there would be a full meeting of

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the senate on the 1st, and that a despatch had been sent by Brutus and Cassius to all ex-Consuls and ex-praetors asking them to be present. They announced also that there was a great hope of Antony yielding, an arrangement being Come to, and our partisans returning to Rome. They added also that I was wanted, and that my absence was being somewhat unfavourably criticised. On hearing these news I without hesitation threw aside my design of leaving the country, which, by heaven! I had never really liked. When, however, I read your letter, I was of course surprised that you had so entirely changed your opinion, but I thought that you must have some good reason for it. However, though you had never advised nor urged my leaving the country, you had at least expressed approval of my doing so, provided that I returned to Rome by the 1st of January. The result of that would have been that I should have been abroad as long as the danger seemed less imminent, but have returned to find everything in a blaze. But this advice, however short-sighted, I have no claim to resent; because in the first place what I did was in accordance with my own opinion; and in the second place, even if it were adopted on your suggestion, for what is an adviser responsible except good faith? It is the following expression of yours at which I cannot sufficiently wonder: "Can you with honour, you who talk of a noble death—can you with honour abandon your country?" Was I abandoning it, or did I seem to you at that time to be abandoning it? Why, you not only did not forbid my doing what I was doing, but even expressed approval. Still severer is what you say afterwards: "I wish you would elaborate for me some prŽcis of the reasons justifying your action." Is it really so, my dear Atticus? Does my action need a defence, and with you of all people, who expressed such strong approval of it? I of course will compose the defence which you require, but addressed to some one of those against whose wish and advice I started. Vet, what need now of a prŽcis? If I had persevered, there would have been such need. "But," say you, "this very fact is an instance of vacillation." No philosopher ever yet—and there has been a great deal written upon the subject-defined a mere change of plan as vacillation. So next you say: "For if the change had been made by our friend

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Phaedrus, [Note] your defence would have been easy. As it is, what answer are we to make?" So then my action was one which I could not justify to Cato, that is, was criminal and disgraceful—is that so? I only wish you had been of that opinion from the first! You would have been my Cato, as you ever are! But your last sentence is the most I might say exasperating: "For our friend Brutus says nothing '-that is to say, does not venture to remonstrate with a man of my age. I can't imagine what else you Can mean by those words, and by heaven that is it! For on the 17th of August, on my arrival at Velia, Brutus heard of it. He was with his ships in the river Hales, three miles north of Velia. He immediately walked over to see me. Good heavens! with what transports of delight at my return, or rather at my abandonment of the journey, did he pour out all that he had repressed before! It made me recall those words of yours, "For our friend Brutus holds his tongue." But what he most regretted was that I had not been in the senate on the 1st of August. He praised Piso [Note] to the skies, but remarked that he was delighted at my having avoided two grounds of reproach. One of these I was well aware that I was incurring by this journey—that of despairing of and abandoning the Republic. Many people remonstrated with me upon it with tears in their eyes, and I was unable to console them by promising a quick return. The other was one in regard to which Brutus and his following—and its number was large-were much pleased: I mean that I escaped the reproach of being thought to be going to attend the Olympic games. There Could be nothing more unbecoming than this at any period of the Republic, but at this particular crisis it would have been entirely unjustifiable. So I am grateful to the South wind for having saved me from such a scandal. There you have the avowed motives for my turning back. They are indeed sound and weighty ones, but none could be really sounder than what you yourself said in another letter: "Take measures in case of any creditor you may have, that there is enough to pay every man his due. For owing to

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the feat of war the money market is wonderfully tight." I read that letter when I was in the middle of the strait, with the result that I could think of no way of making such provision, except by being on the spot to support my own credit. But enough of this, the rest when we meet. I got hold of Antony's edict from Brutus and read it, as well as our friends' splendid answer to it. But I do not clearly see the use or object of these edicts: and I am not now, as Brutus thought I ought to do, coming to Rome with a view of entering upon politics. For what can be done? Did anyone back up Piso? [Note] Did he come to the house again next day himself? But after all a man of my age ought not to be far from his place of burial, as people say. But, I beseech you, what is this that I hear from Brutus? He said that you had written to say that Pilia was suffering from paralysis. I was much alarmed, although he added that you also said that you hoped she was better. I devoutly trust so! Give her my very kindest remembrances, as also to my dearest Attica.

I write this at sea on my way to my Pompeian villa. 19 August.




When I know what day I am coming to town I will let you know. I must expect some hindrances, and there is illness among my household. On the evening of the 1st I got a letter from Octavian. He is entering upon a serious undertaking. He has won over to his views all the veterans at Casilinum and Calatia. And no wonder: he gives a bounty of 500 denarii apiece. Clearly, his view is a war with Antony under his leadership. So I perceive that before many days are over we shall be in arms. But whom are we to follow? Consider his name, consider his age! [Note] Again, to begin with, he demands a secret interview with me, at Capua of all

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places! It is really quite childish if he supposes that it can be kept private. I have written to explain to him that it is neither necessary nor practicable. He sent a certain Caecina of Volaterrae [Note] to me, an intimate friend of his own, who brought me the news that Antony was on his way towards the city with the legion Alauda, was imposing a money contribution on the municipal towns, and was marching at the head of the legion with colours flying. He wanted my opinion whether he should start for Rome with his army of 3,000 veterans, or should hold Capua, and so intercept Antony's advance, or should join the three Macedonian legions now sailing by the Mare Superum, which he hopes are devoted to himself. They refused to accept a bounty offered them by Antony, as my informant at least says. They even used grossly insulting language to him, and moved off when he attempted to address them. In short, Octavian offers himself as our military leader, and thinks that our right policy is to stand by him. On my part I advised his making for Rome. For I think that he will have not only the city mob, but, if he can impress them with confidence, the loyalists also on his side. Oh, Brutus, where are you? What an opportunity you are losing I For my part I did not foresee this, but I thought that something of the sort would happen. Now, I desire to have your advice. Shall I come to Rome or stay on here? Or am I to fly to Arpinum? There is a sense of security about that place! My opinion is—Rome, lest my absence should be remarked, if people think that a blow has been struck. Unravel this difficulty. I was never in greater perplexity.

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Two letters on the same day from Octavian! His present view is that I should come to Rome at once: and that he wishes to act through the senate. I told him that a meeting of the senate was impossible before the 1st of January: [Note] and I believe it is really so. But he adds also: "And by your advice." In short, he insists: while I "suspend judgment." I don't trust his youth. I am in the dark as to his disposition. I am not willing to do anything without your friend Pansa. I am afraid of Antony succeeding, and I don't like going far from the sea: and at the same time I fear some great coup without my being there. Varro, for his part, doesn't like the youth's plan. I don't agree with him. He has forces on which he can depend. He can count on Decimus Brutus, [Note] and is making no secret of his intentions. He is organizing his men in companies at Capua; he is paying them their bounty-money. War seems to be ever coming nearer and nearer. Do answer this letter. I am surprised that my letter-carrier left Rome on the 1st without anything from you.

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On the 7th I arrived at my lodge at Sinuessa. On the same day it was the common talk that Antony was going to halt at Casilinum. So I changed my plan: for I had

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resolved to go straight along the Appian road to home. He would have easily caught me up; for they say he travels with Caesarian rapidity. I therefore turned off at Minturnae by the road to Arpinum. I made up my mind to stay on the 9th at Aquinum or in Arcanum. [Note] Now then, my dear Atticus, give your whole mind to this anxious consideration: for it is a very grave business. There are three alternatives: am I to remain at Arpinum, or to remove nearer town, or to come to Rome? Which ever you think right, I will do. But answer at once: I am waiting eagerly for a letter from you.

Morning, 8 November, at Sinuessa.




I RECEIVED two letters from you on the 5th, one dated on the 1st, the other on the day previous. So first for the earlier one. I am delighted that you like my pamphlet, from which you have picked the plums. They seem all the more brilliant to my eyes for your approval of them. For I was mortally afraid of those little red wax wafers [Note] of yours As to Sicca, it is as you say. I could scarcely refrain from the subject you mention. [Note] So I will pass over the matter lightly, and without fixing any opprobrium upon Sicca and Septimia, only just enough to let our children's children know, without any Lucilian ambiguity, that Antony had had children by the daughter of Fadius Gallus. [Note] And I only wish I may live to see the day when that oration may have such free circulation in Rome as to find its way even into Sicca's house. "But we must have a return to the state of things under the triumvirs!" [Note] Hang me, if that isn't a good

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joke! However, please read it to Sextus Peducaeus, and write and tell me his opinion of it. Better his one than ten thousand in my eyes. Be on your guard against the appearance of Calenus and Calvena [Note] on the scene. You fear that I shall think you long-winded. who less so? As Aristophanes [Note] thought of the iambics of Archilochus—the longest letter from you ever seems the best. As to your "admonishing me "—why, even if you reprimanded me, I should bear it not merely with patience, but with real pleasure, for in your reprimand there were both wisdom and kindly purpose. Therefore I shall cheerfully correct faults pointed out by you. I will write "by the same right as you did the property of Rubrius," instead of "the property of Scipio": [Note] and I will soften down my excessive praise of Dolabella. Yet, after all, there seems a very neat piece of irony in saying "that he had fought three battles against his fellow citizens." [Note] Again, I prefer your suggestion: "It is the most inequitable thing in the world that this man should be living" to "What could be more inequitable?" [Note] I am not jealous of your admiring Varro's Peplographia. [Note] But I haven't yet got out of him his "Essay in the style of Heracleides." [Note] You urge me to write. It is very friendly

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of you, but the fact is I do nothing else. I am very sorry to hear of your cold. Pray attend to it with all your accustomed care. I am very glad my "Oh Titus" [Note] does you good. The "men of Anagnia" [Note] are Mustela, captain of his ruffians, and Laco who is a notorious toper. The book for which you ask me I will polish up and send you.

Now for your later letter. The de Officiis—as far as Panaetius goes—I have completed in two books. His treatise is in three. But at the beginning he had defined the cases in which duty has to be determined to be three: one when we deliberate as to whether a thing is right or wrong; another whether it is expedient or inexpedient; and a third when there seems to be a contest between the right and the expedient; on what principle we are to decide-as, for instance, in the case of Regulus, it was right to return, expedient to stay. Well, having begun by defining these three categories, he discussed the first two in brilliant style; on the third he promised an essay in due course, but never wrote it. That topic was taken up by Posidonius. I, however, both sent for the latter's book, and also wrote to Athenodorus Calvus to send me an analysis of it. I am now waiting for this, and I should be obliged if you would give him a reminder and ask him to send it as soon as possible. In that treatise there are remarks upon "relative duty." As to your question about the title, I have no doubt about officium representing καθῆκον—unless you have something else to suggest—but the fuller title is de Officiis. Finally, I address it to my son. It seemed to me to be not inappropriate.

About Myrtilus [Note] you make all clear. Oh, what a vivid picture you always give of that set! Does he really try to implicate Decimus Brutus? Heaven confound them! I have not gone into hiding at Pompeii, as I told you I should do. In the first place owing to the weather, which has been most abominable; and in the second because I get a letter from Octavian every day, begging me to undertake the business, to come to Capua, once more to save the Republic, and in any case to go at once to Rome:

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Ashamed to shrink and yet afraid to take. [Note] After all, his action has been extremely vigorous, and still is so. He will come to Rome with a large body of men, but he is very green. He thinks he can have a meeting of the senate at once. Who will come to it? Who, if he does come, will venture to oppose Antony in the present undecided state of things? On the 1st of January he will perhaps be a protection to them, or before that time a pitched battle will perhaps be fought. The municipal towns shew astonishing enthusiasm for the boy. For instance, on his way into Samnium he came to Cales and stopped at Teanum. There was a wonderful procession to meet him, and loud expressions of encouragement. Would you have thought that? It makes me resolve to go to Rome earlier than I had intended. As soon as I have made up my mind, I will write.

Though I have not yet read the terms of agreement—for Eros has not yet arrived-yet I would have you settle the business on the 12th. I shall be able to send letters to Catina, Tauromenium, and Syracuse with greater ease, if Valerius the interpreter will send me the names of the influential people. For such men vary from time to time, and our special friends are mostly dead. However, I have written some circular letters for Valerius to use if he chooses, or he must send me names. About the holidays for Lepidus's inauguration, [Note] Balbus tells me that they will extend to the 30th. I shall look anxiously for a letter from you, and I think I shall learn about that little affair of Torquatus. I am forwarding you a letter from Quintus, to shew you how strongly attached he is to the youth, [Note] whom it vexes him that you do not love enough. As Attica is inclined to be merry—the best sign in children-give her a kiss for me.

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I send you a copy of a letter from Oppius, because of its great kindness. As to Ocella, while you are dallying about and never writing me a line I have taken the law into my own hands. So I think I shall be at Rome on the 12th. It seems to me to be better to be there for nothing, though it may not be absolutely necessary, than not to be there if it is. And at the same time I am afraid of being cut off from a return. For Antony may be already on his way thither, for there are various rumours afloat, and many of them which I only wish were true. There is, however, nothing certain But for my part, whatever the truth may be, I would rather be with you than be in suspense both for you and myself, owing to my absence from you. But what am I to say to you? Cheer up! As to Varro's Heracleidean [Note] work—it is really rather comic! I was never so tickled with anything. But this and other things when we meet.




What a wonderful coincidence! On the 8th, [Note] having got up before daybreak to quit my lodge at Sinuessa, and having just before dawn reached the Tiretian bridge at Minturnae, where the road to Arpinum branches off, there met me a letter-carrier, who found me On long, long voyage bent. I at once exclaimed, "Here! anything from Atticus?" I wasn't able at first to read it: for I had sent away the torches and there wasn't sufficient daylight. As soon, however, as it grew light-having already written a letter to you—I began reading the earlier of your two. It certainly is the most charming letter in the world. May I perish if I do not write and exactly what I think: I never read anything kinder. So I will come when you call me, only

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provided that you support me. At first, however, I thought nothing could be more at cross purposes than that you should send me such an answer to the letter in which I asked for your advice. Then there is your second letter, in which you advise me to go By windy Mimas towards the Psyrian isle, [Note] that is, leaving the Appian Way ˆ gauche. Accordingly, I stay this day at Aquinum. It was a somewhat weary journey and a bad road. I despatch this letter next day, as I am leaving Aquinum.

THE letter of Eros compelled me very much against my will to let - go. [Note] Tiro will tell you about the affair. Pray consider what ought to be done. And also please say whether it is possible for me to come nearer town—for I should prefer being at Tusculum or in some suburban residence—or whether I must remove to a still greater distance. Write frequently, for there will be somebody to take a letter every day. You ask my advice besides as to what I think you ought to do. It is difficult to say at this distance. However, if the two [Note] are equally matched-stay where you are. Otherwise, the mischief will spread, and that will even reach us. Then we must put our heads together.

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I am eagerly waiting for your advice. I am afraid of being absent when it may be more honourable to be present: yet I dare not come without proper precautions. About Antony's march I am now told something different from what I wrote to you. Please therefore unravel the whole mystery and let me have trustworthy intelligence. As to the rest, what am I to say to you? I am very keen in the study of history—for your suggestion inspires me beyond belief. But it can neither be begun nor finished without your aid. When we meet, therefore, we will hold conference on that subject at any rate. For the present, I should be glad if you would write me word in what consulship Gaius Fannius, son of Marcus, was tribune. I think I have heard that it was in the censorship of P. Africanus and L. Mummius. [Note] So I want to know if it was so. Pray send me news of every political development——entirely trustworthy and definite.

From Arpinum, 11 November.




I have absolutely nothing to write about. For when I was at Puteoli there was always something new about Octavian,

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much also that was false about Antony. However, in regard to what you have said in your letters—for I received three from you on the 11th—I quite agree with you that, if Octavian gets much power, the acta of the tyrant will be confirmed much more decisively than they were in the temple of Tellus, [Note] and that this will be against the interests of Brutus. Yes, but if he is beaten, you perceive that Antony becomes intolerable: so that you can't tell which to prefer.

What a rascal that letter-carrier of Sestius is! He said he would be at Rome on the day after leaving Puteoli. You advise me to move cautiously. Yes, I agree with you; though I had once other ideas. I am not influenced by Philippus or Marcellus. [Note] For their position is different; and if it isn't, it is nevertheless thought so. But though that young man has plenty of spirit, he lacks prestige. Nevertheless, consider whether I can be safely in my house at Tusculum, and whether it would be better for me to be there. I should prefer it: for then I shall be up to date in my information. Or had I better stay here when Antony arrives?

But to turn to another subject—I am quite satisfied that what the Greeks call καθῆκον (duty) we call officium. Now, why should you doubt of this being also applicable to the language of public life? Don't we speak of the officium of consuls, of senate, or of an imperator? It is eminently applicable: if not, suggest some other word.

I am very sorry to hear your news about the son of Nepos. [Note] I am much disturbed and sincerely sorry. I did not know that he had a son at all. I have lost Caninius [Note] —a man who, as far as I am concerned, was the reverse of ungrateful. There is no occasion for you to whip up Athenodorus: he has sent me a very good prŽcis. [Note] Pray use every possible means to get rid of your cold. The

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great-grandson of your grandfather [Note] writes to the grandson of my father, [Note] that after the Nones, in which I made my, famous coup, [Note] he intends to unfold the story of the temple of Ops, and that too in the face of the whole people. You will look out, therefore, and write me word. I am anxious to hear the criticism of Sextus. [Note]




Don't put it down to idleness that I do not write with my own hand—and yet, by heaven, do put it down to idleness; for I have no other excuse to give: and, after all, I think I recognize the hand of Alexis in your letters. But to come to business. If Dolabella had not treated me in the most dishonourable manner, I should perhaps have considered whether to be somewhat easy with him or to press for my strict rights. As it is, however, I even rejoice that an opportunity has been presented me of making both him and everybody else perceive that I have become alienated from him. I will avow it openly, and shew indeed that it is not only for my own sake, but for that of the Republic also, that I detest him: because, after having undertaken under my advice to support it, he has not only deserted it for a money bribe, but has also, as far as in him lay, contributed to its ruin. Well, you ask what proceedings I wish to be taken. As soon as the day comes, I should like them to be of such a nature as to make it natural for me to be at Rome. But in regard to that, as in regard to everything else, I will yield to your opinion. On the main question, however, I wish the matter pressed with all vigour and severity. Though it does not look well to call upon sureties for payment, yet I would have you consider how far such a step is justifiable. For it is open to me, with a view to his sureties being eventually called upon, to bring his agents into the case. I am sure the latter will

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not defend the suit. Though, if they do, I am aware that the sureties are thereby relieved from obligation. But I think that it would be a stigma on him not to free his agents from a debt for which he gave security; and that my character requires me to enforce my right without inflicting signal disgrace upon him. Pray write and tell me what you think of this. I have no doubt that you will conduct the whole case with all proper mildness.

I return to public affairs. I have received-heaven knows—many a prudent word from you under the head of politics, but never anything wiser than your last letter: "Though that youth is powerful and has given Antony a fine check: yet, after all, we must wait to see the end." Why, what a speech! [Note] It has been sent to me. He qualifies his oath by the words: "So may I attain to the honours of my father !" and at the same time he held out his right hand in the direction of his statue. Nec servatoribus istis! But, as you say in your letter, the most certain source of danger I see to be the tribuneship of this Caesar of ours. This is what I spoke about to Oppius. When he urged me to open my arms to the young man, the whole cause, and the levy of veterans, I replied that I could by no means do so unless I was completely satisfied that he would be not only not hostile to the tyrannicides, but actually their friend. When he remarked that it would be so, I said, "What is our hurry then? For Octavian does not require my services till the 1st of January: whereas we meanwhile shall learn his disposition before the 13th of December in the case of Casca." [Note] He cordially assented. Wherefore, so far so good. For the rest you shall have a letter-carrier every day, and, as I think, you will have something to write to me every day. I inclose a copy of Lepta's letter, from which I gather that that braggart captain [Note] has lost his footing. But you will judge when you read it.

P.S.—When I had already sealed this letter I got one from you and Sextus. [Note] Nothing could be more delightful and

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loving than Sextus's letter. For yours was only a short note. Your previous one was fuller of matter. Your advice is as prudent as it is friendly—that I should remain in this neighbourhood by preference, until I hear how the present movements end. But for myself, my dear Atticus, it isn't the Republic that at this moment gives me great anxiety-not because there is anything dearer than it in my eyes or ought to be so, but Hippocrates himself forbids medical treatment in desperate cases. So good-bye to all that! It is my personal property that affects me. Property, do I say? Nay, rather my personal reputation. For great as my balances are, I have not yet realized enough even to pay Terentia. Terentia, do I say? You know that we some time ago settled to pay twenty-five sestertia for the debt to Montanus. My son, from a very keen sense of honour, asked us to pay this out of his allowance: and very liberal too it was of him, as you also thought. I promised him, and told Eros to earmark it. Not only did he not do so; but Aurelius [Note] was forced to raise a fresh loan at a most oppressive rate of interest. For as to the debt to Terentia, Tiro wrote me word that you said that there would be cash from Dolabella. I believe that he misunderstood you—if ever a man did misunderstand—or rather that he did not understand anything about it. For you wrote and told me the answer made by Cocceius, and so did Eros in nearly the same words.

We must come therefore to Rome—however hot the conflagration. For personal insolvency is more discreditable than public disaster. Accordingly, on the other subjects, on which you wrote to me in a most charming style, I was too completely upset to be able to reply in my usual way. Give your mind to enabling me to extricate myself from the anxiety in which I now am. By what measures I am to do so, some ideas do occur to my mind, but I can settle nothing for certain until I have seen you. Why should I be less safe at Rome than Marcellus? But that is not now the question; nor is that the thing about which I am chiefly anxious. You see what is occupying my thoughts. I am with you directly therefore. [Note]

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I have read your most delightful letter. I have written and despatched one to Plancus. I shall learn from Tiro himself what Plancus said to him. You will be able to give closer attention to the negotiation with your sister [Note] now that you have obtained a relaxation of that other engrossing business of yours. [Note]




MARCUS Cicero greets Lucius Munatius Plancus, praetor-designate. I know you are fond of our friend Atticus, while for my society you show so much taste that upon my word I think I have few friends so attentive and affectionate. For to our ancestral ties—so close, old, and legitimate—a great additional force has been added by your personal kind feeling

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towards me and an equal and mutual one on my part towards you. Now you are acquainted with the case of the Buthrotians, for I have often pleaded it and clearly set it forth in your hearing. Its history is as follows. As soon as we observed that the territory of Buthrotum was declared confiscate, Atticus in great alarm drew up a petition. He put that in my hands to present to Caesar: for I happened to be going to dine with him on that day. I presented that petition to Caesar. He approved of the plea and wrote in answer to Atticus saying that his demand was fair. He, however, warned him that the Buthrotians must pay their arrears to the day. Atticus in his eager desire for the preservation of the state paid the money out of his own pocket. That being done I approached Caesar, stated the Buthrotian case, and obtained a decree of the most generous nature, which was countersigned by men of the highest rank. In these circumstances I own that I used to be surprised at Caesar allowing a number of men who had cast greedy eyes on the Buthrotian territory to hold meetings; and that he not only allowed that, but even put you at the head of the land-commission. Accordingly, on my remonstrating with him, and indeed so often that I incurred a rebuke from him for not trusting his fidelity to his word, he told both Marcus Messalla and Atticus himself not to be alarmed, and made no concealment of the fact that he did not wish—for he was fond of popularity, as you know—to hurt the feelings of those who were in possession; but since they had already crossed the sea, he would see to their being removed to some other land. This is what happened while he was alive. Well, after Caesar's death, as soon as the consuls in accordance with a decree of the senate began hearing cases, what I have just told you was laid before them. They admitted the plea without any hesitation and said that they would send you a despatch. However, my dear Plancus, though I did not doubt that a senatorial decree, a law, and the decision and despatch of the consuls would have the greatest weight with you, and although I quite understood that you wished to please Atticus himself, yet in view of our friendship and mutual goodwill I have ventured to beg of you, what your own unique kindness and exquisite goodness of heart would be sure to obtain from you. It is that, what I feel sure you

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will do of your own accord, you should out of compliment to me do with heartiness, completeness, and speed. No one is a warmer, more charming, or dearer friend than Atticus is to me. Formerly it was only his money, and that a very large sum, that was at stake: now it concerns his credit also, that he should by your assistance maintain what he had secured by the exertion of great industry and influence both in Caesar's lifetime and after it. If I obtain this favour from you, I should wish you to consider that I shall construe your liberality as a personal benefit of the highest kind to myself. I will attend with zeal and diligence to whatever I may think is your wish or to your interest. Take care of your health.




I have already written to request you [Note] that the cause of the Buthrotians having received the approval of the consuls, to whom authority had been given both by a law and a senatorial decree, "that they should investigate, determine, and decide on Caesar's acta," you would support that decision and relieve both our friend Atticus—whom I know you to be anxious to serve—and myself, who am no less anxious than he, from all trouble. For as the whole business has been completed with much care and much labour, it now rests with you that we should be able to make as early an end as possible to our anxiety. Although I am well aware that a man of your wisdom must see that, if the decrees of the consuls which have been delivered as to Caesar's acta are not observed, a most chaotic state of things will be the result. The fact is that though many of Caesar's arrangements—as was inevitable in the multitude of his occupations—are not now thought good, I am yet accustomed to sup-port them with the utmost vigour for the sake of peace and quietness. I think you ought by all means to do the same, though this letter is not meant to persuade but to prefer a request. Therefore, my dear Plancus, I beg and beseech you with an earnestness and a heartiness beyond which, upon my honour, I cannot plead any cause, to carry on,

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treat, and settle this business in such a way that what we have obtained from the consuls without any hesitation, owing to their great kindness and the justice of our cause, you will not only acquiesce, but even rejoice, in our having secured. What your disposition towards Atticus is you have often shewn him to his face, as well as myself. If you do this you will have put me—always closely allied to you by personal feeling and inherited friendship-under the greatest possible obligation. I ask you earnestly and repeatedly to do so.




I never thought that I should have to come to you as a suppliant. But, by heaven, I am not sorry that an opportunity has been given me to test your affection. You know how highly I value Atticus. Pray do me this favour also: forget for my sake that he wished support given to his own friend who happened to be an opponent of yours, when that person's reputation was at stake. That you should grant this pardon is demanded by your own sense of fairness; for every man is bound to support his own friends. In the next place, if you love me—I put Atticus out of the question—let this be a concession made entirely to your Cicero your value for whom you constantly avow, in order that I may now unmistakably understand, what I have always thought, that I am deeply loved by you.

By a decree—which I in company of many men of the highest rank countersigned-Caesar freed the Buthrotians, and indicated to us that, since the assignees of land had crossed the sea, he would send a despatch stating into what district they were to be taken. After that, as chance would have it, he met with a sudden death. Then, as you know—for you were present when the consuls were bound by a sena

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tonal decree to decide on Caesar's acta—the business was deferred by them to the 1st of June. To the decree of the senate there was added a law passed on the 2nd of June, which gave the consuls power to decide on "all things appointed, decreed, done by Caesar." The case of the Buthrotians was brought before the consuls. The decree of Caesar was read and many other minutes of Caesar's were also produced. The consuls by the advice of their assessors pronounced judgment in favour of the Buthrotians. They commissioned Plancus. Now, my dear Capito—as I know how much influence you always exercise over those with whom you are associated, especially over a man of the extreme good nature and kindness of Plancus—use every exertion, strain every nerve, or rather every power of fascination, to secure that Plancus, who, I hope, is likely to be very good to us, should become still better by your means. In any case the facts are of such a nature, in my opinion, that without anyone's influence Plancus, considering his character and practical wisdom, is himself not likely to hesitate in sup-porting a decision of the consuls, to whom by a law as well as a senatorial decree the inquiry into and decision of the matter has been committed. More especially so as—if this kind of judicial investigation is discredited—the acta of Caesar seem likely to be called in question, the maintenance of which is desired not only by those whose personal interests are concerned, but for the sake of peace by those also who do not approve of them. This being the case, it is yet to our interest that Plancus should act with a ready and obliging disposition. And he will certainly do so, if you display that fortiter in re of which I have had frequent examples, and that suaviter in modo in which no one is your equal. I earnestly beg you to do so.

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I valued your father very highly, and he also shewed me remarkable attention and affection, nor, by heaven, had I ever any doubt of your affection for me. For my part I have never ceased feeling it for you. Therefore I beg you with more than common earnestness to help in relieving the state of Buthrotum; and take pains to induce our friend Plancus at the earliest opportunity to ratify and approve the decree of the consuls which they made in favour of the Buthrotians, since they had the power of settling the matter both by a law and a senatorial decree. I beg you, my dear Cupiennius, earnestly and repeatedly to do so.




CICERO to Plancus, praetor-designate. Pardon me for writing to you frequently on the same subject, in spite of having already written on it with the greatest minuteness. I do not do so, my dear Plancus, from distrust of your right feeling or of our friendship. The reason is the great amount of property [Note] of our friend Atticus—and now of his credit also—involved in his being proved able to maintain a measure ratified by Caesar, witnessed and countersigned by ourselves as being present at the execution of Caesar's decrees and

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answers to petitions. And I appeal especially to you, because the whole control over that business is in your hands, I don't say to approve, but to approve with zeal and cheerfulness of what the consuls have decreed in virtue of Caesar's decrees and promises. It is impossible for me to be more grateful for anything than I shall be for that. But although I hope that by the time you receive this letter what I asked of you in my previous letter will have been granted, yet I will not make an end of asking until I have received intelligence of your having actually done what I am looking forward to with strong hope. Further, I feel confident of being able to employ a different style of letter, and to thank you for an instance of your extreme kindness. If that comes to pass I would have you think that it is not so much Atticus—whose interests at stake are very large—as myself, who am equally anxious, that will be under an obligation to you.




I do not doubt that you are wondering and even feeling annoyed at my frequently pressing you on the same topic. Atticus—my most intimate friend and in every respect most closely united with me—has a very great interest at I know how ready you are to serve your friends, and bow ready your friends are to serve you. I know the kindness of your heart. I know how charming you are to your friends. Now no one can help us in this business more than you. The thing itself also is as certain as that ought to be which the consuls have decided on the advice of their assessors, after investigating it on the authority of a law and a decree of the senate. Still we regard everything as depending on the liberality of your friend Plancus: whom indeed I consider certain to confirm a consular decision, both as a private

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duty and in loyalty to the constitution, and also to do so cheerfully for my sake. Give us your assistance, therefore, my dear Capito: I earnestly and repeatedly beg you to do so.

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