Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Q. fr.].
<<Cic. Q. fr. 1 Cic. Q. fr. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Q. fr. 2


XXIX (Q FR I, 1)


ch. 1 Though I have no doubt that many messengers, [Note] and even common rumour, with its usual speed, will anticipate this letter, and that you will already have heard from others that a third year has been added to my loss and your labour, yet I thought you ought to receive from me also the news of this tiresome circumstance. For not in one, but in several of my previous letters, in spite of others having given up the idea in despair, I gave you hope of being able at an early date to quit your province, not only that I might as

-- 71 --

long as possible cheer you with a pleasurable belief, but also because I and the praetors took such pains in the matter, that I felt no misgiving as to the possibility of its being arranged. As it is, since matters have so turned out that neither the praetors by the weight of their influence, nor I by my earnest efforts, have been able to prevail, it is certainly difficult not to be annoyed, yet our minds, practised as they are in conducting and supporting business of the utmost gravity, ought not to be crushed or weakened by vexation. And since men ought to feel most vexed at what has been brought upon them by their own fault, it is I who ought in this matter to be more vexed than you. For it is the result of a fault on my part, against which you had protested both in conversation at the moment of your departure, and in letters since, that your successor was not named last year. In this, while consulting for the interests of our allies, and resisting the shameless conduct of some merchants, and while seeking the increase of our reputation by your virtues, I acted unwisely, especially as I made it possible for that second year to entail a third. And as I confess the mistake to have been mine, it lies with your wisdom and kindness to remedy it, and to see that my imprudence is turned to advantage by your careful performance of your duties. And truly, if you exert yourself in every direction to earn men's good word, not with a view to rival others, but henceforth to surpass yourself, if you rouse your whole mind and your every thought and care to the ambition of gaining a superior reputation in all respects, believe me, one year added to your labour will bring us, nay, our posterity also, a joy of many years' duration. Wherefore I begin by entreating you not to let your soul shrink and be cast down, nor to allow yourself to be overpowered by the magnitude of the business as though by a wave; but, on the contrary, to stand upright and keep your footing, or even advance to meet the flood of affairs. For you are not administering a department of the state, in which fortune reigns supreme, but one in which a well-considered policy and an attention to business are the most important things. But if I had seen you receiving the prolongation of a command in a great and dangerous war, I should have trembled in spirit, because I should have

-- 72 --

known that the dominion of fortune over us had been at the same time prolonged. As it is, however, a department of the state has been entrusted to you in which fortune occupies no part, or, at any rate, an insignificant one, and which appears to me to depend entirely on your virtue and self-control. We have no reason to fear, as far as I know, any designs of our enemies, any actual fighting in the field, any revolts of allies, any default in the tribute or in the supply of corn, any mutiny in the army: things which have very often befallen the wisest of men in such a way, that they have been no more able to get the better of the assault of been granted profound peace, a dead calm: yet if the pilot fortune, than the best of pilots a violent tempest. You have falls asleep, it may even so overwhelm him, though if he keeps awake it may give him positive pleasure. For your province consists, in the first place, of allies of a race which; of all the world, is the most civilized; and, in the second place, of Citizens, who, either as being publicani are very closely connected with me, or, as being traders who have made money, think that they owe the security of their property to my consulship.

ch. 2 But it may be said that among even such men as these there occur serious disputes, many wrongful acts are committed, and hotly contested litigation is the result. As though I ever thought that you had no trouble to contend with! I know that the trouble is exceedingly great, and such as demands the very greatest prudence; but remember that it is prudence much more than fortune on which, in my opinion, the result of your trouble depends. For what trouble is it to govern those over whom you are set, if you do but govern yourself? That may be a great and difficult task to others, and indeed it is most difficult: to you it has always been the easiest thing in the world, and indeed ought to be so, for your natural disposition is such that, even without discipline, it appears capable of self-control; whereas a discipline has, in fact, been applied that might educate the most faulty of characters. But while you resist, as you do, money, pleasure, and every kind of desire yourself, there will, I am to be told, be a risk of your not being able to suppress some fraudulent banker or some rather over-extortionate tax-collector! For as to the Greeks, they will think, as they behold the innocence of

-- 73 --

your life, that one of the heroes of their history, or a demigod from heaven, has come down into the province. And this I say, not to induce you to act thus, but to make you glad that you are acting or have acted so. It is a splendid thing to have been three years in supreme power in Asia without allowing statue, picture, plate, napery, slave, anyone's good looks, or any offer of money—all of which are plentiful in your province—to cause you to swerve from the most absolute honesty and purity of life. What can be imagined so striking or so desirable as that a virtue, a command over the passions, a self-control such as yours, are not remaining in darkness and obscurity, but have been set in the broad daylight of Asia, before the eyes of a famous province, and in the hearing of all nations and peoples? That the inhabitants are not being ruined by your progresses, drained by your charges, agitated by your approach? That there is the liveliest joy, public and private, wheresoever you come, the city regarding you as a protector and not a tyrant, the private house as a guest and not a plunderer?

ch. 3

But in these matters I am sure that mere experience has by this time taught you that it is by no means sufficient to have these virtues yourself, but that you must keep your eyes open and vigilant, in order that in the guardianship of your province you may be considered to vouch to the allies, the citizens, and the state, not for yourself alone, but for all the subordinates of your government. However, you have in the persons of your legati men likely to have a regard for their own reputation. Of these in rank, position, and age Tubero is first; who, I think, particularly as he is a writer of history, could select from his own Annals many whom he would like and would be able to imitate. Allienus, again, is ours, as well in heart and affection, as in his conformity to our principles. I need not speak of Gratidius: I am sure that, while taking pains to preserve his own reputation, his fraternal affection for us makes him take pains for ours also. [Note] Your quaestor is not of your own selection, but the one assigned you by lot. He is bound both to act with propriety

-- 74 --

of his own accord, and to conform to the policy and principles which you lay down. But should any one of these adopt a lower standard of conduct, you should tolerate such behaviour, if it goes no farther than a breach, in his private capacity, of the rules by which he was bound, but not if it goes to the extent of employing for gain the authority which you granted him as a promotion. For I am far from thinking, especially since the moral sentiments of the day are so much inclined to excessive laxity and self-seeking, that you should investigate every case of petty misconduct, and thoroughly examine every one of these persons; but that you should regulate your confidence by the trustworthiness of its recipient. And among such persons you will have to vouch for those whom the Republic has itself given you as companions and assistants in public affairs, at least within the limits which I have before laid down.

ch. 4

In the case, however, of those of your personal staff or official attendants whom you have yourself selected to be about you—who are usually spoken of as a kind of praetor's cohort—we must vouch, not only for their acts, but even for their words. But those you have with you are the sort of men of whom you may easily be fond when they are acting rightly, and whom you may very easily check when they show insufficient regard for your reputation. By these, when you were raw to the work, your frank disposition might possibly have been deceived—for the better a man is the less easily does he suspect others of being bad—now, however, let this third year witness an integrity as perfect as the two former, but still more wary and vigilant. Listen to that only which you are supposed to listen to; don't let your ears be open to whispered falsehoods and interested suggestions. Don't let your signet ring be a mere implement, but, as it were, your second self: not the minister of another's will, but a witness of your own. Let your marshal hold the rank which our ancestors wished him to hold, who, looking upon this place as not one of profit, but of labour and duty, scarcely ever conferred it upon any but their freedmen, whom they indeed controlled almost as absolutely as their slaves. Let the lictor be the dispenser of your clemency, not his own; and let the fasces and axes which they carry before you constitute ensigns rather of rank than of power. Let it, in fact,

-- 75 --

be known to the whole province that the life, children, fame, and fortunes of all over whom you preside are exceedingly dear to you. Finally, let it be believed that you will, if you detect it, be hostile not only to those who have accepted a bribe, but to those also who have given it. And, indeed, no one will give anything, if it is made quite clear that nothing is usually obtained from you through those who pretend to be very influential with you. Not, however, that the object of this discourse is to make you over-harsh or suspicious towards your staff. For if any of them in the course of the last two years has never fallen under suspicion of rapacity, as I am told about Caesius and Chaerippus and Labeo—and think it true, because I know them—there is no authority, I think, which may not be entrusted to them, and no confidence which may not be placed in them with the utmost propriety, and in anyone else like them. But if there is anyone of whom you have already had reason to doubt, or concerning whom you have made some discovery, in such a man place no confidence, intrust him with no particle of your reputation. V. If, however, you have found in the province itself anyone, hitherto unknown to us, who has made his way into intimacy with you, take care how much confidence you repose in him; not that there may not be many good provincials, but, though we may hope so, it is risky to be positive. For everyone's real character is covered by many wrappings of pretence and is concealed by a kind of veil: face, eyes, expression very often lie, speech most often of all. Wherefore, how can you expect to find in that class [Note] any who, while foregoing for the sake of money all from which we can scarcely tear ourselves away, [Note] will yet love you sincerely and not merely pretend to do so from interested motives? I think, indeed, it is a hard task to find such men, especially if we notice that the same persons care nothing for almost any man out of office, yet always with one consent show affection for the praetors. But of this class, if by chance you have discovered any one to be fonder of you—for it may so happen—than of your office, such a man indeed gladly admit upon

-- 76 --

your list of friends: but if you fail to perceive that, there is no Class of people you must be more on your guard against admitting to intimacy, just because they are acquainted with all the ways of making money, do everything for the sake of it, and have no consideration for the reputation of a man with whom they are not destined to pass their lives. And even among the Greeks themselves you must be on your guard against admitting close intimacies, except in the case of the very few, if such are to be found, who are worthy of ancient Greece. As things now stand, indeed, too many of them are untrustworthy, false, and schooled by long servitude in the arts of extravagant adulation. My advice is that these men should all be entertained with courtesy, but that close ties of hospitality or friendship should only be formed with the best of them: excessive intimacies with them are not very trustworthy—for they do not venture to oppose our wishes—and they are not only jealous of our countrymen, but of their own as well. VI. And now, considering the caution and care that I would show in matters of this kind—in which I fear I may be somewhat over-severe—what do you suppose my sentiments are in regard to slaves? Upon these we ought to keep a hold in all places, but especially in the provinces. On this head many rules may be laid down, but this is at once the shortest and most easily maintained—that they should behave during your progresses in Asia as though you were travelling on the Appian way, and not suppose that it makes any difference whether they have arrived at Tralles or Formiae. But if, again, any one of your slaves is conspicuously trustworthy, employ him in your domestic and private affairs; but in affairs pertaining to your office as governor, or in any department of the state, do not let him lay a finger. For many things which may, with perfect propriety, be in-trusted to slaves, must yet not be so entrusted, for the sake of avoiding talk and hostile remark. But my discourse, I know not how, has slipped into the didactic vein, though that is not what I proposed to myself originally. For what right have I to be laying down rules for one who, I am fully aware, in this subject especially, is not my inferior in wisdom, while in experience he is even my superior? Yet, after all, if your actions had the additional weight of my approval, I

-- 77 --

thought that they would seem more satisfactory to yourself. Wherefore, let these be the foundations on which your public character rests: first and foremost your own honesty and self-control, then the scrupulous conduct of all your staff, the exceedingly cautious and careful selection in regard to intimacies with provincials and Greeks, the strict and unbending government of your slaves. These are creditable even in the conduct of our private and everyday business: in such an important government, where morals are so debased and the province has such a corrupting influence, they must needs seem divine. Such principles and conduct on your part are sufficient to justify the strictness which you have displayed in some acts of administration, owing to which I have encountered certain personal disputes with great satisfaction, unless, indeed, you suppose me to be annoyed by the complaints of a fellow like Paconius—who is not even a Greek, but in reality a Mysian or Phrygian—or by the words of Tuscenius, a madman and a knave, from whose abominable jaws you snatched the fruits of a most infamous piece of extortion with the most complete justice.

ch. 7

These and similar instances of your strict administration in your province we shall find difficulty in justifying, unless they are accompanied by the most perfect integrity: wherefore let there be the greatest strictness in your administration of justice, provided only that it is never varied from favour, but is kept up with impartiality. But it is of little avail that justice is administered by yourself with impartiality and care, unless the same is done by those to whom you have entrusted any portion of this duty. And, indeed, in my view there is no very great variety of business in the government of Asia: the entire province mainly depends on the administration of justice. In it we have the whole theory of government, especially of provincial government, clearly displayed: all that a governor has to do is to show consistency and firmness enough, not only td resist favouritism, but even the suspicion of it. To this also must be added courtesy in listening to pleaders, consideration in pronouncing a decision, and painstaking efforts to convince suitors of its justice, and to answer their arguments. It is by such habits that C. Octavius has recently made himself

-- 78 --

very popular; [Note] in whose court, for the first time, [Note] the lictor did not interfere, and the marshal kept silence, while every suitor spoke as often and as long as he chose. In which conduct he would perhaps have been thought over-lax, had it not been that this laxity enabled him to maintain the following in stance of severity. The partisans of Sulla were forced to restore what they had taken by violence and terrorism. Those who had made inequitable decrees; while in office, were now as private citizens forced to submit to the principles they had established. This strictness on his part would have been thought harsh, had it not been rendered palatable by many sweetening influences of courtesy. But if this gentleness was sufficient to make him popular at Rome, where there is such haughtiness of spirit, such unrestrained liberty, such unlimited licence of individuals, and, in fine, so many magistrates, so many means of obtaining protection, such vast power in the hands of the popular assembly, and such influence exercised by the senate, how welcome must a praetor's courtesy be in Asia, in which there is such a numerous body of citizens and allies, so many cities, so many communities, all hanging on one man's nod, and in which there are no means of protection, no one to whom to make a complaint, no senate, no popular assembly! Wherefore it requires an exalted character, a man who is not only equitable from natural impulse, but who has also been trained by study and the refinements of a liberal education, so to conduct himself while in the possession of such immense power, that those over whom he rules should not feel the want of any other power.

ch. 8

Take the case of the famous Cyrus, portrayed by Xenophon, not as an historical character, but as a model of righteous government, the serious dignity of whose character is represented by that philosopher as combined with a peculiar courtesy. And, indeed, it is not without reason that our hero Africanus used perpetually to have those books in his hands, for there is no duty pertaining to a careful and equitable governor which is not to be found in them. Well, if he

-- 79 --

cultivated those qualities, though never destined to be in a private station, how carefully ought those to maintain them to whom power is given with the understanding that it must be surrendered, and given by laws under whose authority they must once more come? In my opinion all who govern others are bound to regard as the object of all their actions the greatest happiness of the governed. That this is your highest object, and has been so since you first landed in Asia, has been published abroad by Consistent rumour and the conversation of all. It is, let me add, not only the duty of one who governs allies and citizens, but even of one who governs slaves and dumb animals, to serve the interests and advantage of those under him. In this point I notice that everyone agrees that you take the greatest pains: no new debt is being contracted by the states, while many have been relieved by you from a heavy and long-standing one. Several cities that had become dilapidated and almost deserted—of which one was the most famous state in Ionia, the other in Caria, Samus and Halicarnassus—have been given a new life by you: there is no party fighting, no civil strife in the towns: you take care that the government of the states is administered by the best class of citizens: brigandage is abolished in Mysia; murder suppressed in many districts; peace is established throughout the province; and not only the robberies usual on highways and in country places, but those more numerous and more serious ones in towns and temples, have been completely stopped: the fame, fortunes, and repose of the rich have been relieved of that most oppressive instrument of praetorial rapacity-vexatious prosecution; the expenses and tribute of the states are made to fall with equal weight on all who live in the territories of those states: access to you is as easy as possible: your ears are open to the complaints of all: no man's want of means or want of friends excludes him, I don't say from access to you in public and on the tribunal, but -even from your house and chamber: in a word, throughout your government there is no harshness or cruelty-everywhere clemency, mildness, and kindness reign supreme.

ch. 9

What an immense benefit, again, have you done in having liberated Asia from the tribute exacted by the aediles, a measure which cost me some violent controversies! For

-- 80 --

if one of our nobles complains openly that by your edict, "No moneys shall be voted for the games," you have robbed him of 200 sestertia, what a vast sum of money would have been paid, had a grant been made to the Credit of every magistrate who held games, as had become the regular custom! However, I stopped these Complaints by taking up this position—what they think of it in Asia I don't know, in Rome it meets with no little approval and praise—I refused to accept a sum of money which the states had decreed for a temple and monument in our honour, though they had done so with the greatest enthusiasm in view both of my services and of your most valuable benefactions; and though the law contained a special and distinct exception in these words, "that it was lawful to receive for temple or monument"; and though again the money was not going to be thrown away, but would be employed on decorating a temple, and would thus appear to have been given to the Roman people and gift in its favour, I determined that I must not accept it, for the immortal Gods rather than to myself—yet, in spite of its having desert, law, and the wishes of those who offered the this reason among others, namely, to prevent those, to whom such an honour was neither due nor legal, from being jealous. Wherefore adhere with all your heart and soul to the policy which you have hitherto adopted—that of being devoted to those whom the senate and people of Rome have committed and entrusted to your honour and authority, of doing your best to protect them, and of desiring their greatest happiness. Even if the lot had made you governor of Africans, or Spaniards, or Gauls—uncivilized and barbarous nations—it would still have been your duty as a man of feeling to consult for their interests and advantage, and to have contributed to their safety. But when we rule over a race of men in which civilization not only exists, but from which it is believed to have spread to others, we are bound to repay them, above all things, what we received from them. For I shall not be ashamed to go so far—especially as my life and achievements have been such as to exclude any suspicion of sloth or frivolity—as to confess that, whatever I have accomplished, I have accomplished by means of those studies and principles which have been transmitted to us in Greek literature and schools of thought. Wherefore, over and above the

-- 81 --

general good faith which is due to all men, I think we are in a special sense under an obligation to that nation, to put in practice what it has taught us among the very men by whose maxims we have been brought out of barbarism.

ch. 10

And indeed Plato, the fountain-head of genius and learning, thought that states would only be happy when scholars and philosophers began being their rulers, or when those who were their rulers had devoted all their attention to learning and philosophy. It was plainly this union of power and philosophy that in his opinion might prove the salvation of states. And this perhaps has at length fallen to the fortune of the whole empire: certainly it has in the present instance to your province, to have a man in supreme power in it, who has from boyhood spent the chief part of his zeal and time in imbibing the principles of philosophy, virtue, and humanity. Wherefore be careful that this third year, which has been added to your labour, may be thought a prolongation of prosperity to Asia. And since Asia was more fortunate in retaining you than I was in my endeavour to bring you back, see that my regret is softened by the exultation of the province. For if you have displayed the very greatest activity in earning honours such as, I think, have never been paid to anyone else, much greater ought your activity to be in preserving these honours. What I for my part think of honours of that kind I have told you in previous letters. I have always regarded them, if given indiscriminately, as of little value, if paid from interested motives, as worthless: if, however, as in this case, they are tributes to solid services on your part, I hold you bound to take much pains in preserving them. Since, then, you are exercising supreme power and official authority in cities, in which you have before your eyes the consecration and apotheosis of your virtues, in all decisions, decrees, and official acts consider what you owe to those warm opinions entertained of you, to those verdicts on your character, to those honours which have been rendered you. And what you owe will be to consult for the interests of all, to remedy men's misfortunes, to provide for their safety, to resolve that you will be both called and believed to be the "father of Asia."

ch. 11

However, to such a resolution and deliberate policy on your part the great obstacle are the publicani: for, if

-- 82 --

we oppose them, we shall alienate from ourselves and from the Republic an order which has done us most excellent service, and which has been brought into sympathy with the Republic by our means; if, on the other hand, we comply with them in every case, we shall allow the complete ruin of those whose interests, to say nothing of their preservation, we are bound to consult. This is the one difficulty, if we look the thing fairly in the face, in your whole government. For disinterested conduct on one's own part, the suppression of all inordinate desires, the keeping a check upon one's staff, courtesy in hearing causes, in listening to and admitting suitor—all this is rather a question of credit than of difficulty: for it does not depend on any special exertion, but rather on a mental resolve and inclination. But how much bitterness of feeling is caused to allies by that question of the publicani we have had reason to know in the case of citizens who, when recently urging the removal of the port-dues in Italy, did not complain so much of the dues themselves, as of certain extortionate conduct on the part of the collectors. Wherefore, after hearing the grievances of citizens in Italy, I can comprehend what happens to allies in distant lands. To conduct oneself in this matter in such a way as to satisfy the publicani especially when contracts have been undertaken at a loss, and yet to preserve the allies from ruin, seems to demand a virtue with something divine in it, I mean a virtue like yours. To begin with, that they are subject to tax at all, which is their greatest grievance, ought not to be thought so by the Greeks, because they were so subject by their own laws without the Roman government. Again, they cannot despise the word publicanus, for they have been unable to pay the assessment according to Sulla's poll-tax without the aid of the publican. But that Greek publicani are not more considerate in exacting the payment of taxes than our own may be gathered from the fact that the Caunii, and all the islands assigned to the Rhodians by Sulla, recently appealed to the protection of the senate, and petitioned to be allowed to pay their tax to us rather than to the Rhodians. Wherefore neither ought those to revolt at the name of a publicanus who have always been subject to tax, nor those to despise it who have been unable to make up the tribute by themselves,

-- 83 --

nor those to refuse his services who have asked for them. At the same time let Asia reflect on this, that if she were not under our government, there is no calamity of foreign war or internal strife from which she would be free. And since that government cannot possibly be maintained without taxes, she should be content to purchase perpetual peace and tranquillity at the price of a certain proportion of her products.

ch. 12

But if they will fairly reconcile themselves to the existence and name of publican, all the rest may be made to appear to them in a less offensive light by your skill and prudence. They may, in making their bargains with the publicani, not have regard so much to the exact conditions laid down by the censors as to the convenience of settling the business and freeing themselves from farther trouble. You also may do, what you have done splendidly and are still doing, namely, dwell on the high position of the publicani, and on your obligations to that order, in such a way as—putting out of the question all considerations of your imperium and the power of your official authority and dignity—to reconcile the Greeks with the publicani; and to beg of those, whom you have served eminently well, and who owe you everything, to suffer you by their compliance to maintain and preserve the bonds which unite us with the publicani. But why do I address these exhortations to you, who are not only capable of carrying them out of your own accord without anyone's instruction, but have already to a great extent thoroughly done so? For the most respectable and important companies do not cease offering me thanks daily, and this is all the more gratifying to me because the Greeks do the same. Now it is an achievement of great difficulty to unite in feeling things which are opposite in interests, aims, and, I had almost said, in their very nature. But I have not written all this to instruct you—for your wisdom requires no man's instruction—but it has been a pleasure to me while writing to set down your virtues, though I have run to greater length in this letter than I could have wished, or than I thought I should.

ch. 13

There is one thing on which I shall not cease from giving you advice, nor will I, as far as in me lies, allow your praise to be spoken of with a reservation. For all who

-- 84 --

come from your province do make one reservation in the extremely high praise which they bestow on your virtue, integrity, and kindness—it is that of sharpness of temper. That is a fault which, even in our private and everyday life, seems to indicate want of solidity and strength of mind; but nothing, surely, can be more improper than to combine harshness of temper with the exercise of supreme power. Wherefore I will not undertake to lay before you now what the greatest philosophers say about anger, for I should not wish to be tedious, and you can easily ascertain it yourself from the writings of many of them: but I don't think I ought to pass over what is the essence of a letter, namely, that the recipient should be informed of what he does not know. Well, what nearly everybody reports to me is this: they usually say that, as long as you are not out of temper, nothing can be pleasanter than you are, but that when some instance of dishonesty or wrong-headedness has stirred you, your temper rises to such a height that no one Can discover any trace of your usual kindness. Wherefore, since no mere desire for glory, but circumstances and fortune have brought us upon a path of life which makes it inevitable that men will always talk about us, let us be on our guard, to the utmost of our means and ability, that no glaring fault may be alleged to have existed in us. And I am not now urging, what is perhaps difficult in human nature generally, and at our time of life especially, that you should change your disposition and suddenly pluck out a deeply-rooted habit, but I give you this hint: if you cannot completely avoid this failing, because your mind is surprised by anger before cool calculation has been able to prevent it, deliberately prepare yourself beforehand, and daily reflect on the duty of resisting anger, and that, when it moves your heart most violently, it is just the time for being most careful to restrain your tongue. And that sometimes seems to me to be a. greater virtue than not being angry at all. For the latter is not always a mark of superiority to weakness, it is sometimes the result of dullness; but to govern temper and speech, however angry you may be, or even to hold your tongue and keep your indignant feelings and resentment under control, although it may not be a proof of perfect wisdom, yet requires no ordinary force of character. And,

-- 85 --

indeed, in this respect they tell me that you are now much more gentle and less irritable. No violent outbursts of indignation on your part, no abusive words, no insulting language are reported to me: which, while quite alien to culture and refinement, are specially unsuited to high power and place. For if your anger is implacable, it amounts to extreme harshness; if easily appeased, to extreme weakness. The latter, however, as a choice of evils, is, after all, preferable to harshness.

ch. 14

But since your first year gave rise to most talk in regard to this particular complaint—I believe because the wrong-doing, the covetousness, and the arrogance of men came upon you as a surprise, and seemed to you unbearable-while your second year was much milder, because habit and refection, and, as I think, my letters also, rendered you more tolerant and gentle, the third ought to be so completely reformed, as not to give even the smallest ground for anyone to find fault. And here I go on to urge upon you, not by way of exhortation or admonition, but by brotherly entreaties, that you would set your whole heart, care, and thought on the gaining of praise from everybody and from every quarter. If, indeed, our achievements were only the subject of a moderate amount of talk and commendation, nothing eminent, nothing beyond the practice of others, would have been demanded of you. As it is, however, owing to the brilliancy and magnitude of the affairs in which we have been engaged, if we do not obtain the very highest reputation from your province, it seems scarcely possible for us to avoid the most violent abuse. Our position is such that all loyalists support us, but demand also and expect from us every kind of activity and virtue, while all the disloyal, seeing that we have entered upon a lasting war with them, appear contented with the very smallest excuse for attacking us. Wherefore, since fortune has allotted to you such a theatre as Asia, completely packed with an audience, of immense size, of the most refined judgment, and, moreover, naturally so capable of conveying sound, that its expressions of opinion and its remarks reach Rome, put out all your power, I beseech you, exert all your energies to appear not only to have been worthy of the part we played here, but to have surpassed everything done there by your high qualities.

-- 86 --

ch. 15

And since chance has assigned to me among the magistracies the Conduct of public business in the city, to you that in a province, if my share is inferior to no one's, take care that yours surpasses others. At the same time think of this: we are not now working for a future and prospective glory, but are fighting in defence of what has been already gained; which indeed it was not so much an object to gain as it is now our duty to defend. And if anything in me could be apart from you, I should desire nothing more than the position which I have already gained. The actual fact, however, is that unless all your acts and deeds in your province correspond to my achievements, I shall think that I have gained nothing by those great labours and dangers, in all of which you have shared. But if it was you who, above all others, assisted me to gain a most splendid reputation, you will certainly also labour more than others to enable me to retain it. You must not be guided by the opinions and judgments of the present generation only, but of those to come also: and yet the latter will be a more candid judgment, for it will not be influenced by detraction and malice. Finally, you should think of this—that you are not seeking glory for yourself alone (and even if that were the case, you still ought not to be careless of it, especially as you had determined to consecrate the memory of your name by the most splendid monuments), but you have to share it with me, and to hand it down to our children. In regard to which you must be on your guard lest by any excess of carelessness you should seem not only to have neglected your own interests, but to have begrudged those of your family also.

ch. 16

And these observations are not made with the idea of any speech of mine appearing to have roused you from your sleep, but to have rather "added speed to the runner. For you will continue to compel all in the future, as you have compelled them in the past, to praise your equity, self-control, strictness, and honesty. But from my extreme affection I am possessed with a certain insatiable greed for glory for you. However, I am convinced that, as Asia should now be as well-known to you as each man's own house is to himself, and since to your supreme good sense such great experience has now been added, there is nothing that affects reputation which you do not know as well as possible yourself, and

-- 87 --

which does not daily occur to your mind without anybody's exhortation. But I, who when I read your writing seem to hear your voice, and when I write to you seem to be talking to you, am therefore always best pleased with your longest letter, and in writing am often somewhat prolix myself. My last prayer and advice to you is that, as good poets and painstaking actors always do, so you should be most attentive in the last scenes and conclusion of your function and business, so that this third year of your government, like a third act in a play, may appear to have been the most elaborated and most highly finished. You will do that with more ease if you will think that I, whom you always wished to please more than all the world besides, am always at your side, and am taking part in everything you say and do. It remains only to beg you to take the greatest care of your health, if you wish me and all your friends to be well also. Farewell.


LII (Q FR I, 2)


Statius arrived at my house on the 25th October. His arrival gave me uneasiness, because you said in your letter that you would be plundered by your household in his absence. However, I thought it a very happy circumstance that he anticipated the expectation of his arrival, and the company that would have assembled to meet him, if he had

-- 126 --

left the province with you, and had not appeared before. For people have exhausted their remarks, and many observations have been made and done with of the "Nay, but I looked for a mighty man" [Note] kind, which I am glad to have all over before you come. But as for the motive for your sending him—that he might clear himself with me—that was not at all necessary. For, to begin with, I had never suspected him, nor in what I wrote to you about him was I expressing my own judgment; but since the interest and safety of all of us who take part in public business depends, not on truth alone, but on report also, I wrote you word of what people were saying, not what I thought myself. How prevalent and how formidable that talk was Statius ascertained himself on his arrival. For he was present when certain persons at my house gave vent to some complaints on that very subject, and had the opportunity of perceiving that the observations of the malevolent were being directed at himself especially. But it used to annoy me most when I was told that he had greater influence with you, than your sober time of life and the wisdom of a governor required. How many people, do you suppose, have solicited me to give them a letter of introduction to Statius? How often, do you suppose, has he himself, while talking without reserve to me, made such observations as, "I never approved of that," "I told him so," "I tried to persuade him," "I warned him not to"? And even if these things show the highest fidelity, as I believe they do, since that is your judgment, yet the mere appearance of a freedman or slave enjoying such influence cannot but lower your dignity: and the long and short of it is—for I am in duty bound not to say anything without good grounds, nor to keep back anything from motives of policy—that Statius has supplied all the material for the gossip of those who wished to decry you; that formerly all that could be made out was that certain persons were. angry at your strictness; but that after his manumission the angry had something to talk about.

-- 127 --

Now I will answer the letters delivered to me by L. Caesius, whom, as I see you wish it, I will serve in every way I can. One of them is about Zeuxis of Blaundus, whom you say was warmly recommended to you by me though a most notorious matricide. In this matter, and on this subject generally, please listen to a short statement, lest you should by chance be surprised at my having become so conciliatory towards Greeks. Seeing, as I did, that the complaints of Greeks, because they have a genius for deceit, were allowed an excessive weight, whenever I was told of any of them making complaint of you, I appeased them by every means in my power. First, I pacified the Dionysopolitans, who were very bitter: whose chief man, Hermippus, I secured not only by my conversation, but by treating him as a friend. I did the same to Hephaestus of Apameia; the same to that most untrustworthy fellow, Megaristus of Antandrus; the same to Nicias of Smyrna; I also embraced with all the courtesy I possessed the most trumpery of men, even Nymphon of Colophon. And all this I did from no liking for these particular people, or the nation as a whole: I was heartily sick of their fickleness and obsequiousness, of feelings that are not affected by our kindness, but by our position.

But to return to Zeuxis. When he was telling me the same story as you mention in your letter about what M. Cascellius had said to him in conversation, I stopped him from farther talk, and admitted him to my society. I cannot, however, understand your virulence when you say that, having sewn up in the parricide's-sack two Mysians at Smyrna, you desired to display a similar example of your severity in the upper part of your province, and that, therefore, you had wished to inveigle Zeuxis into your hands by every possible means. For if he had been brought into court, he ought perhaps not to have been allowed to escape: but there was no necessity for his being hunted out and inveigled by soft words to stand a trial, as you say in your letter—especially as he is one whom I learn daily, both from his fellow citizens and from many others, to be a man of higher character than you would expect from such an obscure town as his. [Note] But, you will say, it is only Greeks

-- 128 --

to whom I am indulgent. What! did not I do everything to appease L. Caecilius? What a man! how irritable! how violent! In fact, who is there except Tuscenius, [Note] whose case admitted of no cure, have I not softened? See again, I have now on my hands a shifty, mean fellow, though of equestrian rank, called Catienus: even he is going to be smoothed down. I don't blame you for having been somewhat harsh to his father, for I am quite sure you have acted with good reason: but what need was there of a letter of the sort which you sent to the man himself? "That the man was rearing the cross for himself from which you had already pulled him off once; that you would take care to have him smoked to death, and would be applauded by the whole province for it." Again, to a man named C. Fabius—for that letter also T. Catienus is handing round—"that you were told that the kidnapper Licinius, with his young kite of a son, was collecting taxes." And then you go on to ask Fabius to burn both father and son alive if he can; if not, to send them to you, that they may be burnt to death by legal sentence. That letter sent by you in jest to C. Fabius, if it really is from you, exhibits to ordinary readers a violence of language very injurious to you.

Now, if you will refer to the exhortations in all my letters, you will perceive that I have never found fault with you for anything except harshness and sharpness of temper, and occasionally, though rarely, for want of caution in the letters you write. In which particulars, indeed, if my influence had had greater weight with you than a somewhat excessive quickness of disposition, or a certain enjoyment in indulging temper, or a faculty for epigram and a sense of humour, we should certainly have had no cause for dissatisfaction. And don't you suppose that I feel no common vexation when I am told how Vergilius is esteemed, and your neighbour

-- 129 --

C. Octavius? [Note] I For if you only excel your neighbours farther up country, in Cilicia and Syria, that is a pretty thing to boast of! And that is just the sting of the matter, that though the men I have named are not more blameless than yourself, they yet outdo you in the art of winning favour, though they know nothing of Xenophon's Cyrus or Agesilaus; from which kings, in the exercise of their great office, no one ever heard an irritable word. But in giving you this advice, as I have from the first, I am well aware how much good I have done. [Note]

Now, however, as you are about to quit your province, pray do leave behind you—as I think you are now doing—as pleasant a memory as possible. You have a successor of very mild manners; in other respects, on his arrival, you will be much missed. In sending letters of requisition, as I have often told you, you have allowed yourself to be too easily persuaded. Destroy, if you can, all such as are inequitable, or contrary to usage, or contradictory to others. Statius told me that they were usually put before you ready written, read by himself, and that, if they were inequitable, he informed you of the fact: but that before he entered your service there had been no sifting of letters; that the result was that there were volumes containing a selection of letters, which were usually adversely criticised. [Note] On this subject I am not going to give you any advice at this time of day, for

-- 130 --

it is too late; and you cannot but be aware that I have often warned you in various ways and with precision. But I have, on a hint from Theopompus, entrusted him with this message to you: do see by means of persons attached to you, which you will find no difficulty in doing, that the following classes of letters are destroyed—first, those that are inequitable; next, those that are contradictory; then those expressed in an eccentric or unusual manner; and lastly, those that contain reflections on anyone. I don't believe all I hear about these matters, and if, in the multiplicity of your engagements, you have let certain things escape you, now is the time to look into them and weed them out. I have read a letter said to have been written by your nomenclator Sulla himself, which I cannot approve: I have read some written in an angry spirit. But the subject of letters comes in pat: for while this sheet of paper was actually in my hands, L. Flavius, praetor-designate and a very intimate friend, came to see me. He told me that you had sent a letter to his agents, which seemed to me most inequitable, prohibiting them from taking anything from the estate of the late L. Octavius Naso, whose heir L. Flavius is, until they had paid a sum of money to C. Fundanius; and that you had sent a similar letter to the Apollonidenses, not to allow any payment on account of the estate of the late Octavius till the debt to Fundanius had been discharged. It seems to me hardly likely that you have done this; for it is quite unlike your usual good sense. The heir not to take anything? What if he disowns the debt? What if he doesn't owe it at all? Moreover, is the praetor wont to decide whether a debt is due ? [Note] Don't I, again, wish well to Fundanius? Am I not his friend? Am I not touched with compassion? No one more so: but in certain matters the course of law is so clear as to leave no place for personal feeling. And Flavius told me that expressions were used in the letter,

-- 131 --

which he said was yours, to the effect that you would "either thank them as friends, or make yourself disagreeable to them as enemies." In short, he was much annoyed, complained of it to me in strong terms, and begged me to write to you as seriously as I could. This I am doing, and I do strongly urge you again and again to withdraw your injunction to Flavius's agents about taking money from the estate, and not to lay any farther injunction on the Apollonidenses contrary to the rights of Flavius. Pray do everything you can for the sake of Flavius and, indeed, of Pompey also. I would not, upon my honour, have you think me liberal to him at the expense of any inequitable decision on your part: but I do entreat you to leave behind you some authority, and some memorandum of a decree or of a letter under your hand, so framed as to support the interests and cause of Flavius. For the man, who is at once very attentive to me, and tenacious of his own rights and dignity, is feeling extremely hurt that he has not prevailed with you either on the grounds of personal friendship or of legal right; and, to the best of my belief, both Pompey and Caesar have, at one time or another, commended the interests of Flavius to you, and Flavius has written to you personally, and certainly I have. Wherefore, if there is anything which you think you ought to do at my request, let it be this. If you love me, take every care, take every trouble, and insure Flavius's cordial thanks both to yourself and myself. I cannot use greater earnestness in making any request than I use in this.

As to what you say about Hermias, it has been in truth a cause of much vexation to me. I wrote you a letter in a rather unbrotherly spirit, which I dashed off in a fit of anger and now wish to recall, having been irritated by what Lucullus's freedman told me, immediately after hearing of the bargain. For this letter, which was not expressed in a brotherly way, you ought to have brotherly feeling enough to make allowance. As to Censorinus, Antonius, the Cassii, Scaevola—I am delighted to hear from you that you possess their friendship. The other contents of that same letter of yours were expressed more strongly than I could have wished, such as your "with my ship at least well trimmed" [Note] and your "die

-- 132 --

once for all." [Note]

You will find those expressions to be unnecessarily strong. My scoldings have always been very full of affection. They mention certain things for complaint, [Note] but these are not important, or rather, are quite insignificant. For my part, I should never have thought you deserving of the least blame in any respect, considering the extreme purity of your conduct, had it not been that our enemies are numerous. Whatever I have written to you in a tone of remonstrance or reproach I have written from a vigilant caution, which I maintain, and shall maintain; and I shall not cease imploring you to do the same. Attalus of Hypaepa has begged me to intercede with you that you should not prevent his getting the money paid which has been decreed for a statue of Q. Publicius. In which matter I both ask as a favour and urge as a duty, that you should not consent to allow the honour of a man of his character, and so close a friend of mine, to be lowered or hindered by your means. Furthermore, Licinius, who is known to you, a slave of my friend Aesopus, has run away. He has been at Athens, living in the house of Patron the Epicurean as a free man. Thence he has made his way to Asia. Afterwards a certain Plato of Sardis, who is often at Athens, and happened to be at Athens at the time that Licinius arrived there, having subsequently learnt by a letter from Aesopus that he was an escaped slave, arrested the fellow, and put him into confinement at Ephesus; but whether into the public prison, or into a slave mill, we could not clearly make out from his letter. But since he is at Ephesus, I should be obliged if you would trace him in any manner open to you, and with all care

-- 133 --

either [send him] or bring him home with you. Don't take into consideration the fellow's value: such a good-for-nothing is worth very little; but Aesopus is so much vexed at his slave's bad conduct and audacity, that you can do him no greater favour than by being the means of his recovering him.

Now for the news that you chiefly desire. We have so completely lost the constitution that Cato, [Note] a young man of no sense, but yet a Roman citizen and a Cato, scarcely got off with his life because, having determined to prosecute Gabinius for bribery, when the praetors could not be approached for several days, and refused to admit anyone to their presence, he mounted the rostra in public meeting and called Pompey an "unofficial dictator." No one ever had a narrower escape of being killed. From this you may see the state of the whole Republic. People, however, show no inclination to desert my cause. They make wonderful professions, offers of service, and promises: and, indeed, I have the highest hopes and even greater spirit—so that I hope to get the better in the struggle, and feel confident in my mind that, in the present state of the Republic, I need not fear even an accident. However, the matter stands thus: if Clodius gives notice of an action against me, the whole of Italy will rush to my support, so that I shall come off with many times greater glory than before; but if he attempts the use of violence, I hope, by the zeal not only of friends but also of opponents, to be able to meet force with force. All promise me the aid of themselves, their friends, clients, freedmen, slaves, and, finally, of their money. Our old regiment of loyalists is warm in its zeal and attachment to me. If there were any who had formerly been comparatively hostile or lukewarm, they are now uniting themselves with the loyalists from hatred to these despots. Pompey makes every sort of promise, and so does Caesar: but my confidence in them is not enough to induce me to drop any of my preparations. The tribunes-designate are friendly to us. The consuls-designate make excellent professions. Some of the new praetors are very friendly and very brave citizens-Domitius, Nigidius, Memmius,

-- 134 --

Lentulus [Note] —the others are loyalists also, but these are eminently so. Wherefore keep a good heart and high hopes. However, I will keep you constantly informed on particular events as they occur from day to day.


LXV (Q FR I, 3)


BROTHER! Brother! Brother! did you really fear that I had been induced by some angry feeling to send slaves to you without a letter? Or even that I did not wish to see you? I to be angry with you! Is it possible for me to be angry with you? Why, one would think that it was you that brought me low! Your enemies, your unpopularity, that miserably ruined me, and not I that unhappily ruined you! The fact is, the much-praised consulate of mine has deprived me of you, of children, country, fortune; from you I should hope it will

-- 149 --

have taken nothing but myself. Certainly on your side I have experienced nothing but what was honourable and gratifying: on mine you have grief for my fall and fear for your own, regret, mourning, desertion. Not wish to see you? The truth is rather that I was unwilling to be seen by you. For you would not have seen your brother-not the brother you had left, not the brother you knew, not him to whom you had with mutual tears bidden farewell as he followed you on your departure for your province: not a trace even or faint image of him, but rather what I may call the likeness of a living corpse. And oh that you had sooner seen me or heard of me as a corpse! Oh that I could have left you to survive, not my life merely, but my undiminished rank! But I call all the gods to witness that the one argument which recalled me from death was, that all declared that to some extent your life depended upon mine. In which matter I made an error and acted Culpably. For if I had died, that death itself would have given clear evidence of my fidelity and love to you. As it is, I have allowed you to be deprived of my aid, though I am alive, and with me still living to need the help of others; and my voice, of all others, to fail when dangers threatened my family, which had so often been successfully used in the defence of the merest strangers. For as to the slaves coming to you without a letter, the real reason (for you see that it was not anger) was a deadness of my faculties, and a seemingly endless deluge of tears and sorrows. How many tears do you suppose these very words have Cost me? As many as I know they will cost you to read them! Can I ever refrain from thinking of you or ever think of you without tears? For when I miss you, is it only a brother that I miss? Rather it is a brother of almost my own age in the charm of his companionship, a son in his consideration for my wishes, a father in the wisdom of his advice! What pleasure did I ever have without you, or you without me? And what must my case be when at the same time I miss a daughter: How affectionate! how modest! how clever! The express image of my face, of my speech, of my very soul! Or again a son, the prettiest boy, the very joy of my heart? Cruel inhuman monster that I am, I dismissed him from my arms better schooled in the world than I could have wished: for the poor child began to understand

-- 150 --

what was going on. So, too, your own son, your own image, whom my little Cicero loved as a brother, and was now beginning to respect as an elder brother! Need I mention also how I refused to allow my unhappy wife—the truest of helpmates—to accompany me, that there might be some one to protect the wrecks of the calamity which had fallen on us both, and guard our common children? Nevertheless, to the best of my ability, I did write a letter to you, and gave it to your freedman Philogonus, which, I believe, was delivered to you later on; and in this I repeated the advice and entreaty, which had been already transmitted to you as a message from me by my slaves, that you should go on with your journey and hasten to Rome. For, in the first place, I desired your protection, in case there were any of my enemies whose cruelty was not yet satisfied by my fall. In the next place, I dreaded the renewed lamentation which our meeting would cause : while I could not have borne your departure, and was afraid of the very thing you mention in your letter—that you would be unable to tear yourself away. For these reasons the supreme pain of not seeing you—and nothing more painful or more wretched could, I think, have happened to the most affectionate and united of brothers-was a less misery than would have been such a meeting followed by such a parting. Now, if you can, though I, whom you always regarded as a brave man, cannot do so, rouse yourself and collect your energies in view of any contest you may have to confront. I hope, if my hope has anything to go upon, that your own spotless character and the love of your fellow citizens, and even remorse for my treatment, may prove a certain protection to you. But if it turns out that you are free from personal danger, you will doubtless do whatever you think can be done for me. In that matter, indeed, many write to me at great length and declare that they have hopes; but I personally cannot see what hope there is, since my enemies have the greatest influence, while my friends have in some cases deserted, in others even betrayed me, fearing perhaps in my restoration a censure on their own treacherous conduct. But how matters stand with you I would have you ascertain and report to me. In any case I shall continue to live as long as you shall need me, in view of any danger you may

-- 151 --

have to undergo: longer than that I cannot go on in this kind of life. For there is neither wisdom nor philosophy with sufficient strength to sustain such a weight of grief. I know that there has been a time for dying, more honourable and more advantageous; and this is not the only one of my many omissions, which, if I should choose to bewail, I should merely be increasing your sorrow and emphasizing my own stupidity. But one thing I am not bound to do, and it is in fact impossible-remain in a life so wretched and so dishonoured any longer than your necessities, or some well-grounded hope, shall demand. For I, who was lately supremely blessed in brother, children, wife, wealth, and in the very nature of that wealth, while in position, influence, reputation, and popularity, I was inferior to none, however distinguished—I cannot, I repeat, go on longer lamenting over myself and those dear to me in a life of such humiliation as this, and in a state of such utter ruin. Wherefore, what do you mean by writing to me about negotiating a bill of exchange? As though I were not now wholly dependent on your means! And that is just the very thing in which I see and feel, to my misery, of what a culpable act I have been guilty in squandering to no purpose the money which I received from the treasury in your name, [Note] while you have to satisfy your creditors out of the very vitals of yourself and your son. However, the sum mentioned in your letter has been paid to M. Antonius, and the same amount to Caepio. For me the sum at present in my hands is sufficient for what I contemplate doing. For in either case-whether I am restored or given up in despair—I shall not want any more money. For yourself, if you are molested, I think you should apply to Crassus and Calidius. I don't know how far Hortensius is to be trusted. Myself, with the most elaborate pretence of affection and the closest daily intimacy, he treated with the most utter want of principle and the most consummate treachery, and Q. Arrius helped him in it: acting under whose advice, promises, and injunctions, I was left helpless to fall into this disaster. But this you will keep dark for fear they might injure you. Take care also—and it is on this account that I

-- 152 --

think you should Cultivate Hortensius himself by means of Pomponius—that the epigram on the lex Aurelia [Note] attributed to you when Candidate for the aedileship is not proved by false testimony to be yours. For there is nothing that I am so afraid of as that, when people understand how much pity for me your prayers and your acquittal will rouse, they may attack you with all the greater violence. Messalla I reckon as really attached to you : Pompey I regard as still pretending only. But may you never have to put these things to the test! And that prayer I would have offered to the gods had they not ceased to listen to prayers of mine. However, I do pray that they may be content with these endless miseries of ours; among which, after all, there is no discredit for any wrong thing done-sorrow is the beginning and end, sorrow that punishment is most severe when our conduct has been most unexceptionable. As to my daughter and yours and my young Cicero, why should I recommend them to you, my dear brother? Rather I grieve that their orphan state will cause you no less sorrow than it does me. Yet as long as you are uncondemned they will not be fatherless. The rest, by my hopes of restoration and the privilege of dying in my fatherland, my tears will not allow me to write! Terentia also I would ask you to protect, and to write me word on every subject. Be as brave as the nature of the case admits. Thessalonica, 13 June.


LXXI (Q FR I, 4)


I beg you, my dear brother, if you and all my family have been ruined by my single misfortune, not to attribute it to dishonesty and bad conduct on my part, rather than to shortsightedness and the wretched state I was in. I have committed no fault except in trusting those whom I believed to be bound by the most sacred obligation not to deceive me, or whom I thought to be even interested in not doing so. All my most intimate, nearest and dearest friends were either alarmed for themselves or jealous of me: the result was that all I lacked was good faith on the part of my friends and caution on my own. [Note] But if your own blameless character and the compassion of the world prove sufficient to preserve you at this juncture from molestation, you can, of course, observe whether any hope of restoration is left for me. For Pomponius, Sestius, and my son-in-law Piso have caused me as yet to stay at Thessalonica, forbidding me, on account of certain impending movements, to increase my distance. But in truth I am awaiting the result more on account of their letters than from any firm hope of my own. For what can I hope with an enemy possessed of the most formidable power, with my detractors masters of the state, with friends unfaithful, with numbers of people jealous? However, of the new tribunes there is one, it is true, most warmly attached to me—Sestius—and I hope Curius, Milo, Fadius,

-- 159 --

Fabricius; but still there is Clodius in violent opposition, who even when out of office will be able to stir up the passions of the mob by the help of that same gang, and then there will be found some one also to veto the bill. Such a state of things was not put before me when I was leaving Rome, but I often used to be told that I was certain to return in three days with the greatest >Žclat. "What made you go, then?" you will say. What, indeed! Many circumstances concurred to throw me off my balance—the defection of Pompey, the hostility of the consuls, and of the praetors also, the timidity of the publicani, the armed bands. The tears of my friends prevented me seeking refuge in death, which would certainly have been the best thing for my honour, the best escape from unbearable sorrows. But I have written to you on this subject in the letter I gave to Phaetho. Now that you have been plunged into griefs and troubles, such as no one ever was before, if the compassion of the world can lighten our common misfortune, you will, it seems, score a success beyond belief! But if we are both utterly ruined—ah me-I shall have been the absolute destruction of my whole family, to whom I used to be at least no discredit! But pray, as I said in a previous letter to you, look into the business, test it thoroughly, and write to me with the candour which our situation demands, and not as your affection for me would dictate. I shall retain my life as long as I shall think that it is in your interest for me to do so, or that it ought to be preserved with a view to future hope. You will find Sestius most friendly to us, and I believe that Lentulus, the coming consul, will also be so for your sake. However, deeds are not so easy as words. You will see what is wanted and what the truth is. On the whole, supposing that no one takes advantage of your unprotected position and our common calamity, it is by your means, or not at all, that something may be effected. But even if your enemies have begun to annoy you, don't flinch: for you will be attacked by legal process, not by swords. However, I hope that this may not occur. I beg you to write me back word on all subjects, and to believe that though I have less spirit and resource than in old times, I have quite as much affection and loyalty.

-- 160 --

Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Q. fr.].
<<Cic. Q. fr. 1 Cic. Q. fr. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Q. fr. 2

Powered by PhiloLogic