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Translated by Evelyn S. Shuckburg (1843-1906)
The letters of Cicero are of a varied character. They range from the most informal communications with members of his family to serious and elaborate compositions which are practically treatises in epistolary form. A very large proportion of them were obviously written out of the mood of the moment, with no thought of the possibility of publication; and in these the style is comparatively relaxed and colloquial. Others, addressed to public characters, are practically of the same nature as his speeches, discussions of political questions intended to influence public opinion, and performing a function in the Roman life of the time closely analogous to that fulfilled at the present day by articles in the great reviews, or editorials in prominent journals.
In the case of both of these two main groups the interest is twofold: personal and historical, though it is naturally in the private letters that we find most light thrown on the character of the writer. In spite of the spontaneity of these epistles there exists a great difference of opinion among scholars as to the personality revealed by them, and both in the extent of the divergence of view and in the heat of the controversy we are reminded of modern discussions of the characters of men such as Gladstone or Roosevelt. It has been fairly said that there is on the whole more chance of justice to Cicero from the man of the world who understands how the stress and change of politics lead a statesman into apparently inconsistent utterances than from the professional scholar who subjects these utterances to the severest logical scrutiny, without the illumination of practical experience.
Many sides of Cicero's life other than the political are reflected in the letters. From them we can gather a picture of how an ambitious Roman gentleman of some inherited wealth took to the legal profession as the regular means of becoming a public figure; of how his fortune might be increased by fees, by legacies from friends, clients, and even complete strangers who thus sought to confer distinction on themselves; of how the governor of a province could become rich in a year; of how the sons of Roman men of wealth gave trouble to their tutors, were sent to Athens, as to a university in our day, and found an allowance of over $4,000 a year insufficient for their extravagances. Again, we see the greatest orator of Rome divorce his wife after thirty years, apparently because she had been indiscreet or unscrupulous in money matters, and marry at the age of sixty-three his own ward, a young girl whose fortune he admitted was the main attraction. The coldness of temper suggested by these transactions is contradicted in turn by Cicero's romantic affection for his daughter Tullia, whom he is never tired of praising for her cleverness and charm, and whose death almost broke his heart.
Most of Cicero's letters were written in ink on paper or parchment with a reed pen; a few on tablets of wood or ivory covered with wax, the marks being cut with a stylus. The earlier letters he wrote with his own hand, the later were, except in rare cases, dictated to a secretary. There was, of course, no postal service, so the epistles were carried by private messengers or by the couriers who were constantly traveling between the provincial officials and the capital.
Apart from the letters to Atticus, the collection, arrangement, and publication of Cicero's correspondence seem to have been due to Tiro, the learned freedman who served him as secretary, and to whom some of the letters are addressed. Titus Pomponius Atticus, who edited the large collection of the letters written to himself, was a cultivated Roman who lived more than twenty years in Athens for purposes of study. His zeal for cultivation was combined with the successful pursuit of wealth; and though Cicero relied on him for aid and advice in public as well as private matters, their friendship did not prevent Atticus from being on good terms with men of the opposite party.
Generous, amiable, and cultured, Atticus was not remarkable for the intensity of his devotion either to principles or persons. "That he was the lifelong friend of Cicero," says Professor Tyrrell, "is the best title which Atticus has to remembrance. As a man he was kindly, careful, and shrewd, but nothing more: there was never anything grand or noble in his character. He was the quintessence of prudent mediocrity."
The period covered by the letters of Cicero is one of the most interesting and momentous in the history of the world, and these letters afford a picture of the chief personages and most important events of that age from the pen of a man who was not only himself in the midst of the conflict, but who was a consummate literary artist.
To Atticus (at Athens) Rome, July, 65 B.C.
The state of things in regard to my candidature, in which I know that you are supremely interested, is this, as far as can be as yet conjectured. The only person actually canvassing is P. Sulpicius Galba. He meets with a good old-fashioned refusal without reserve or disguise. In the general opinion this premature canvass of his is not unfavourable to my interests; for the voters generally give as a reason for their refusal that they are under obligations to me. So I hope my prospects are to a certain degree improved by the report getting about that my friends are found to be numerous. My intention was to begin my own canvass just at the very time that Cincius tells me that your servant starts with this letter, namely, in the campus at the time of the tribunician elections on the 17th of July. My fellow candidates, to mention only those who seem certain, are Galba and Antonius and Q. Cornificius. At this I imagine you smiling or sighing. Well, to make you positively smite your forehead, there are people who actually think that Caesonius will stand. I don't think Aquilius will, for he openly disclaims it and has alleged as an excuse his health and his leading position at the bar. Catiline will certainly be a candidate, if you can imagine a jury finding that the sun does not shine at noon. As for Aufidius and Palicanus, I don't think you will expect to hear from me about them. Of the candidates for this y creditors being concerned - and that two men of the highest rank, who, without the aid of anyone specially retained by Caecilius, would have no difficulty in maintaining their common cause - it was only fair that he should have consideration both for my private friendship and my present situation. He seemed to take this somewhat less courteously than I could have wished, or than is usual among gentlemen; and from that time forth he has entirely withdrawn from the intimacy with me which was only of a few day's standing. Pray forgive me, and believe that I was prevented by nothing but natural kindness from assailing the reputation of a friend in so vital a point at a time of such very great distress, considering that he had shewn me every sort of kindness and attention. But if you incline to the harsher view of my conduct, take it that the interests of my canvass prevented me. Yet, even granting that to be so, I think you should pardon me, "since not for sacred beast or oxhide shield." You see in fact the position I am in, and how necessary I regard it, not only to retain but even to acquire all possible sources of popularity. I hope I have justified myself in your eyes; I am at any rate anxious to have done so. The Hermathena you sent I am delighted with: it has been placed with such charming effect that the whole gymnasium seems arranged specially for it. I am exceedingly obliged to you.
To Atticus (at Athens) Rome, July, 65 B.C.
I have to inform you that on the day of the election of L. Julius Caesar and C. Marcius Figulus to the consulship, I had an addition to my family in the shape of a baby boy. Terentia doing well.
Why such a time without a letter from you? I have already written to you fully about my circumstances. At this present time I am considering whether to undertake the defence of my fellow candidate, Catiline. We have a jury to our minds with full consent of the prosecutor. I hope that if he is acquitted he will be more closely united with me in the conduct of our canvass; but if the result be otherwise I shall bear it with resignation. Your early return is of great importance to me, for there is a very strong idea prevailing that some intimate friends of yours, persons of high rank, will be opposed to my election. To win me their favour I see that I shall want you very much. Wherefore be sure to be in Rome in January, as you have agreed to be.
To Cn. Pompeius Magnus Rome, 62 B.C.
M. Tullius Cicero, son of Marcus, greets Cn. Pompeius, son of Cneius, Imperator.
If you and the army are well I shall be glad. From your official despatch I have, in common with everyone else, received the liveliest satisfaction; for you have given us that strong hope of peace, of which, in sole reliance on you, I was assuring everyone. But I must inform you that your old enemies now posing as your friends - have received a stunning blow by this despatch, and, being disappointed in the high hopes they were entertaining, are thoroughly depressed. Though your private letter to me contained a somewhat slight expression of your affection, yet I can assure you it gave me pleasure: for there is nothing in which I habitually find greater satisfaction than in the consciousness of serving my friends; and if on any occasion I do not meet with an adequate return, I am not at all sorry to have the balance of kindness in my favour. Of this I feel no doubt - even if my extraordinary zeal in your behalf has failed to unite you to me - that the interests of the state will certainly effect a mutual attachment and coalition between us. To let you know, however, what I missed in your letter I will write with the candour which my own disposition and our common friendship demand. I did expect some congratulation in your letter on my achievements, for the sake at once of the ties between us and of the Republic. This I presume to have been omitted by you from a fear of hurting anyone's feelings. But let me tell you that what I did for the salvation of the country is approved by the judgment and testimony of the whole world. You are a much greater man than Africanus, but I am not much inferior to Laelius either; and when you come home you will recognize that I have acted with such prudence and spirit, that you will not now be ashamed of being coupled with me in politics as well as in private friendship.
To Atticus (In Epirus) Rome, 5 December, 61 B.C.
Your letter, in which you inclose copies of his letters, has made me realize that my brother Quintus' feelings have undergone many alternations, and that his opinions and judgments have varied widely from time to time. This has not only caused me all the pain which my extreme affection for both of you was bound to bring, but it has also made me wonder what can have happened to cause my brother Quintus such deep offence, or such an extraordinary change of feeling. And yet I was already aware, as I saw that you also, when you took leave of me, were beginning to suspect, that there was some lurking dissatisfaction, that his feelings were wounded, and that certain unfriendly suspicions had sunk deep into his heart. On trying on several previous occasions, but more eagerly than ever after the allotment of his province, to assuage these feelings, I failed to discover on the one hand that the extent of his offence was so great as your letter indicates; but on the other I did not make as much progress in allaying it as I wished. However, I consoled myself with thinking that there would be no doubt of his seeing you at Dyrrachium, or somewhere in your part of the country: and, if that happened, I felt sure and fully persuaded that everything would be made smooth between you, not only by conversation and mutual explanation, but by the very sight of each other in such an interview. For I need not say in writing to you, who know it quite well, how kind and sweet-tempered my brother is, as ready to forgive as he is sensitive in taking offence. But it most unfortunately happened that you did not see him anywhere. For the impression he had received from the artifices of others had more weight with him than duty or relationship, or the old affection so long existing between you, which ought to have been the strongest influence of all. And yet, as to where the blame for this misunderstanding resides, I can more easily conceive than write: since I am afraid that' while defending my own relations, I should not spare yours. For I perceive that, though no actual wound was inflicted by members of the family, they yet could at least have cured it. But the root of the mischief in this case, which perhaps extends farther than appears, I shall more conveniently explain to you when we meet. As to the letter he sent to you from Thessalonica, and about the language which you suppose him to have used both at Rome among your friends and on his journey, I don't know how far the matter went, but my whole hope of removing this unpleasantness rests on your kindness. For if you will only make up your mind to believe that the best men are often those whose feelings are most easily irritated and appeased, and that this quickness, so to speak, and sensitiveness of disposition are generally signs of a good heart; and lastly - and this is the main thing that we must mutually put up with each other's gaucheries (shall I call them?), or faults, or injurious acts, then these misunderstandings will, I hope, be easily smoothed away. I beg you to take this view, for it is the dearest wish of my heart (which is yours as no one else's can be) that there should not be one of my family or friends who does not love you and is not loved by you.
That part of your letter was entirely superfluous, in which you mention what opportunities of doing good business in the provinces or the city you let pass at other times as well as in the year of my consulship: for I am thoroughly persuaded of your unselfishness and magnanimity, nor did I ever think that there was any difference between you and me except in our choice of a career. Ambition led me to seek official advancement, while another and perfectly laudable resolution led you to seek and honourable privacy. In the true glory, which is founded on honesty, industry, and piety, I place neither myself nor anyone else above you. In affection towards myself, next to my brother and immediate family, I put you first. For indeed, indeed I have seen and thoroughly appreciated how your anxiety and joy have corresponded with the variations of my fortunes. Often has your congratulation added a charm to praise, and your consolation a welcome antidote to alarm. Nay, at this moment of your absence, it is not only your advice - in which you excel - but the interchange of speech - in which no one gives me so much delight as you do that I miss most, shall I say in politics, in which circumspection is always incumbent on me, or in my forensic labour, which I formerly sustained with a view to official promotion, and nowadays to maintain my position by securing popularity, or in the mere business of my family? In all these I missed you and our conversations before my brother left Rome, and still more do I miss them since. Finally, neither my work nor rest, neither my business nor leisure, of December, delivered long speeches on the dignity and harmony of the two orders. The business is not yet settled, but the favourable feeling of the senate has been made manifest: for no one had spoken against it except the consul-designate, Metellus; while our hero Cato had still to speak, the shortness of the day having prevented his turn being reached. Thus I, in the maintenance of my steady policy, preserve to the best of my ability that harmony of the orders which was originally my joiner's work; but since it all now seems in such a crazy condition, I am constructing what I may call a road towards the maintenance of our power, a safe one I hope, which I cannot fully describe to you in a letter, but of which I will nevertheless give you a hint. I cultivate close intimacy with Pompey. I foresee what you will say. I will use all necessary precautions, and I will write another time at greater length about my schemes for managing the Republic. You must know that Lucceius has it in his mind to stand for the consulship at once; for there are said to be only two candidates in prospect. Caesar is thinking of coming to terms with him by the agency of Arrius, and Bibulus also thinks he may effect a coalition with him by means of C. Piso. You smile? This is no laughing matter, believe me. What else shall I write to you? What? I have plenty to say, but must put it off to another time. If you mean to wait till you hear, let me know. For the moment I am satisfied with a modest request, though it is what I desire above everything - that you should come to Rome as soon as possible.
To Terentia, Tulliola, and Young Cicero (at Rome) Brundisium, 29 April, 58 B.C.
29 April, from Brundisium.
To His Brother Quintus (on His Way to Rome) Thessalonica, 15 June, 58 B.C.
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 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 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 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.
To Atticus (in Epirus) Rome, September, 57 B.C.
Directly I arrived at Rome, and there was anyone to whom I could safely intrust a letter for you, I thought the very first thing I ought to do was to congratulate you in your absence on my return. For I knew, to speak candidly, that though in giving me advice you had not been more courageous or far seeing than myself, nor - considering my devotion to you in the past - too careful in protecting me from disaster, yet that you - though sharing in the first instance inlmy mistake, or rather madness, and in my groundless terror had nevertheless been deeply grieved at our separation, and had bestowed immense pains, zeal, care, and labour in securing my return. Accordingly, I can truly assure you of this, that in the midst of supreme joy and the most gratifying congratulations, the one thing wanting to fill my cup of happiness to the brim is the sight of you, or rather your embrace; and if I ever forfeit that again, when I have once got possession of it, and if, too, I do not exact the full delights of your charming society that have fallen into arrear in the past, I shall certainly consider myself unworthy of this renewal of my good fortune.
In regard to my political position, I have resumed what I thought there would be the utmost difficulty in recovering - my brilliant standing at the bar, my influence in the senate, and a popularity with the loyalists even greater than I desired. In regard, however, to my private property - as to which you are well aware to what an extent it has been crippled, scattered, and plundered - I am in great difficulties, and stand in need, not so much of your means (which I look upon as my own), as of your advice for collecting and restoring to a sound state the fragments that remain. For the present, though I believe everything funds its way to you in the letters of your friends, or even by to that of their governors. After that our consular law seems moderate indeed: that of Messius is quite intolerable. Pompey professes to prefer the former; his friends the latter. The consulars led by Favonius murmur: I hold my tongue, the more so that the pontifices have as yet given no answer in regard to my house. If they annul the consecration I shall have a splendid site. The consuls, in accordance with a decree of the senate, will value the cost of the building that stood upon it; but if the pontifices decide otherwise, they will pull down the Clodian building, give out a contract in their own name (for a temple), and value to me the cost of a site and house. So our affairs are
"For happy though but ill, for ill not worst."
In regard to money matters I am, as you know, much embarrassed. Besides, there are certain domestic troubles, which I do not intrust to writing. My brother Quintus I love as he deserves for his eminent qualities of loyalty, virtue, and good faith. I am longing to see you, and beg you to hasten your return, resolved not to allow me to be without the benefit of your advice. I am on the threshold, as it were, of a second life. Already certain persons who defended me in my absence begin to nurse a secret grudge at me now that I am here, and to make no secret of their jealousy. I want you very much.
To His Brother Quintus (in Sardinia) Rome, 12 February, 56 B.C.
I have already told you the earlier proceedings; now let me describe what was done afterwards. The legations were postponed from the 1st of February to the 13th. On the former day our business was not brought to a settlement. On the 2nd of February Milo appeared for trial. Pompey came to support him. Marcellus spoke on being called upon by me. We came off with flying colours. The case was adjourned to the 7th. Meanwhile (in the senate), the legations having b hostile, a senate ill-affected, and the younger men corrupt. So he is making his preparations and summoning men from the country. On his part, Clodius is rallying his gangs: a body of men is being got together for the Quirinalia. For that occasion we are considerably in a majority, owing to the forces brought up by Pompey himself: and a large contingent is expected from Picenum and Gallia, to enable us to throw out Cato's bills also about Milo and Lentulus.
On the 10th of February an indictment was lodged against Sestius for bribery by the informer Cn. Nerius, of the Pupinian tribe, and on the same day by a certain M. Tullius for riot. He was ill. I went at once, as I was bound to do, to his house, and put myself wholly at his service: and that was more than people expected, who thought that I had good cause for being angry with him. The result is that my extreme kindness and grateful disposition are made manifest both to Sestius himself and to all the world, and I shall be as good as my word. But this same informer Nerius also named Cn. Lentulus Vatia and C. Cornelius to the commissioners. On the same day a decree passed the senate "that political clubs and associations should be broken up, and that a law in regard to them should be brought in, enacting that those who did not break off from them should be liable to the same penalty as those convicted of riot."
On the 11th of February I spoke in defence of Bestia on a charge of bribery before the praetor Cn. Domitius, in the middle of the forum and in a very crowded court; and in the course of my speech I came to the incident of Sestius, after receiving many wounds, in the temple of Castor, having been preserved by the aid of Bestia. Here I took occasion to pave the way beforehand for a refutation of the charges which are being got up against Sestius, and I passed a well-deserved encomium upon him with the cordial approval of everybody. He was himself very much delighted with it. I tell you this because you have often advised me in your letters to retain the friendship of Sestius. I am writing this on the 12th of February before daybreak; the day on which I am to dine with Pomponius on the occasion of his wedding.
Our position in other respects is such as you used to cheer my despondency by telling me it would be - one of great dignity and popularity: this is a return to old times for you and me effected, my brother, by your patience, high character, loyalty, and, I may also add, your conciliatory manners. The house of Licinius, near the grove of Piso, has been taken for you. But, as I hope, in a few months' time, after the 1st of July, you will move into your own. Some excellent tenants, the Lamiae, have taken your house in Carinae. I have received no letter from you since the one dated Olbia. I am anxious to hear how you are and what you find to amuse you, but above all to see you yourself as soon as possible. Take care of your health, my dear brother, and though it is winter time, yet reflect that after all it is Sardinia that you are in.
To Atticus (Returning from Epirus) Antium, April, 56 B.C.
It will be delightful if you come to see us here. You will find that Tyrannio has made a wonderfully good arrangement of my books, the remains of which are better than I had expected. Still, I wish you would send me a couple of your library slaves for Tyrannio to employ as gluers, and in other subordinate work, and tell them to get some fine parchment to make title pieces, which you Greeks, I think, call "sillybi." But all this is only if not inconvenient to you. In any case, be sure you come yourself, if you can halt for a while in such a place, and can persuade Pilia to accompany you. For that is only fair, and Tulia is anxious that she should come. My word! You have purchased a fine troop! Your gladiators, I am told, fight superbly. If you had chosen to let them out you would have cleared your expenses by the last two spectacles. But we will talk about this later on. Be sure to come, and, as you love me, see about the library slaves.
To L. Lucceius Arpinum, April, 56 B.C.
I have often tried to say to you personally what I am about to write, but was prevented by a kind of almost clownish bashfulness. Now that I am not in your presence I shall speak out more boldly: a letter does not blush. I am inflamed with an inconceivably ardent desire, and one, as I think, of which I have no reason to be ashamed, that in a history written by you my name should be conspicuous and frequently mentioned with praise. And though you have often shewn me that you meant to do so, yet I hope you will pardon my impatience. For the style of your composition, though I had always entertained the highest expectations of it, has yet surpassed my hopes, and has taken such a hold upon me, or rather has so fired my imagination, that I was eager to have my achievements as quickly as possible put on record in your history. For it is not only the thought of being spoken of by future ages that makes me snatch at what seems a hope of immortality, but it is also the desire of fully enjoying in my lifetime an authoritative expression of your judgment, or a token of your kindness for me, or the charm of your genius. Not, however, that while thus writing I am unaware under what heavy burdens you are labouring in the portion of history you have undertaken, and by this time have begun to write. But because I saw that your history of the Italian and Civil Wars was now all but finished, and because also you told me that you were already embarking upon the remaining portions of your work, I determined not to lose my chance for the want of suggesting to you to consider whether you preferred to weave your account of me into the main context of your history, or whether, as many Greek writers have done - Callisthenes, the Phocian War; Timaeus, the war of Pyrrhus; Polybius, that of Numantia; all of whom separated the wars I have named from their main narratives - you would, like them, separate the civil conspiracy from public and external wars. For my part, I do not see that it matters much to my reputation, but it does somewhat concern my impatience, that you should not wait till you come to the proper place, but should at once anticipate the discussion of that question as a whole and the history of that ep (as you generally do), you will bring out the perfidy, intrigues, and treachery of many people towards me. For my vicissitudes will supply you in your composition with much variety, which has in itself a kind of charm, capable of taking a strong hold on the imagination of readers, when you are the writer. For nothing is better fitted to interest a reader than variety of circumstance and vicissitudes of fortune, which, though the reverse of welcome to us in actual experience, will make very pleasant reading: for the untroubled recollection of a past sorrow has a charm of its own. To the rest of the world, indeed, who have had no trouble themselves, and who look upon the misfortunes of others without any suffering of their own, the feeling of pity is itself a source of pleasure. For what man of us is not delighted, though feeling a certain compassion too, with the death-scene of Epaminondas at Mantinea? He, you know, did not allow the dart to be drawn from his body until he had been told, in answer to his question, that his shield was safe, so that in spite of the agony of his wound he died calmly and with glory. Whose interest is not roused and sustained by the banishment and return of Themistocles? Truly the mere chronological record of the annals has very little charm for us - little more than the entries in the fasti: but the doubtful and varied fortunes of a man, frequently of eminent character, involve feelings of wonder, suspense, joy, sorrow, hope, fear: if these fortunes are crowned with a glorious death, the imagination is satisfied with the most fascinating delight which reading can give. Therefore it will be more in accordance with my wishes if you come to the resolution to separate from the main body of your narrative, in which you embrace a continuous history of events, what I may call the drama of my actions and fortunes: for it includes varied acts, and shifting scenes both of policy and circumstance. Nor am I afraid of appearing to lay snares for your favour by flattering suggestions, when I declare that I desire to be complimented and mentioned with praise by you above all other writers. For you are not the man to be ignorant of your own powers, or not to be sure that those who but adds, "and by one who has himself been praised." But if I fail to obtain my request from you, which is equivalent to saying, if you are by some means prevented - for I hold it to be out of the question that you would refuse a request of mine - I shall perhaps be forced to do what certain persons have often found fault with, write my own panegyric, a thing, after all, which has a precedent of many illustrious men. But it will not escape your notice that there are the following drawbacks in a composition of that sort: men are bound, when writing of themselves, both to speak with greater reserve of what is praiseworthy, and to omit what calls for blame. Added to which such writing carries less conviction, less weight; many people, in fine, carp at it, and say that the heralds at the public games are more modest, for after having placed garlands on the other recipients and proclaimed their names in a loud voice, when their own turn comes to be presented with a garland before the games break up, they call in the services of another herald, that they may not declare themselves victors with their own voice. I wish to avoid all this, and, if you undertake my cause, I shall avoid it: and, accordingly, I ask you this favour. But why, you may well ask, when you have already often assured me that you intended to record in your book with the utmost minuteness the policy and events of my consulship, do I now make this request to you with such earnestness and in so many words? The reason is to be found in that burning desire, of which I spoke at the beginning of my letter, for something prompt: because I am in a flutter of impatience, both that men should learn what I am from your book, while I am still alive, and that I may myself in my lifetime have the full enjoyment of my little bit of glory. What you intend doing on this subject I should like you to write me word, if not troublesome to you. For if you do undertake the subject, I will put together some notes of all occurrences: but if you put me off to some future time, I will talk the matter over with you. Meanwhile, do not relax your efforts, and thoroughly polish what you have already on the stocks, and - continue to love me.
To M. Fadius Gallus Rome, May, 55 B.C.
I had only just arrived from Arpinum when your letter was delivered to me; and from the same bearer I received a letter from Avianius, in which there was this most liberal offer, that when he came to Rome he would enter my debt to him on whatever day I chose. Pray put yourself in my place: is it consistent with your modesty or mine, first to prefer a request as to the day, and then to ask more than a year's credit? But, my dear Gallus, everything would have been easy, if you had bought the things I wanted, and only up to the price that I wished. However, the purchases which, according to your letter, you have made shall not only be ratified by me, but with gratitude besides: for I fully understand that you have displayed zeal and affection in purchasing (because you thought them worthy of me) things which pleased yourself - a man, as I have ever thought, of the most fastidious judgment in all matters of taste. Still, I should like Damasippus to abide by his decision: for there is absolutely none of those purchases that I care to have. But you, being unacquainted with my habits, have bought four or five of your selection at a price at which I do not value any statues in the world. You compare your Bacchae with Metellus' Muses. Where is the likeness? To begin with, I should never have considered the Muses worth all that money, and I think all the Muses would have approved my judgment: still, it would have been appropriate to a library, and in harmony with my pursuits. But Bacchae! What place is there in my house for them? But you will say, they are pretty. I know them very well and have often seen them. I would have commissioned you definitely in the case of statues known to me, if I had decided on them. The sort of statues that I am accustomed to buy are such as may adorn a place in a palaestra after the fashion of gymnasia. What, again, have I, the promoter of peace, to do with a statue of Mars? I am glad there was not a statue of Saturn also: for I should have thought these two statues had brought me debt! I should have preferred some representation of Mercury: I might then, I suppose, have made a more favourable bargain with Arrianus. You say you meant the table - stand for yourself; well, if you like it, keep it. But if you have changed your mind I will, of course, have it. For the money you have laid out, indeed, I would rather have purchased a place of call at Tarracina, to prevent my being always a burden on my host. Altogether I perceive that the fault is with my freedman, whom I had distinctly commissioned to purchase certain definite things, and also with Iunius, whom I think you know, an intimate friend of Avianius. I have constructed some new sitting-rooms in a miniature colonnade on my Tusculan property. I want to ornament them with pictures: for if I take pleasure in anything of that sort it is in painting. However, if I am to have what you have bought, I should like you to inform me where they are, when they are to be fetched, and by what kind of conveyance. For if Damasippus doesn't abide by his decision, I shall look for some would-be Damasippus, even at a loss.
As to what you say about the house, as I was going out of town I intrusted the matter to my daughter Tullia: for it was at the very hour of my departure that I got your letter. I also discussed the matter with your friend Nicias, because he is, as you know, intimate with Cassius. On my return, however, before I got your last letter, I asked Tullia what she had done. She said that she had approached Licinia (though I think Cassius is not very intimate with his sister), and that she at once said that she could venture, in the absence of her husband (Dexius is gone to Spain), to change houses without his being there and knowing about it. I am much gratified that you should value association with me and my domestic life so highly as, in the first place, to take a house which would enable you to live not only near me, but absolutely with me, and, in the second place, to be in such a hurry to make this change of residence. But, upon my life, I do not yield to you in eagerness for that arrangement. So I will try every means in my power. For I see the advantage to myself, and, indeed, the advantages to us both. If I succeed in doing anything, I will let you know. Mind you also write me word back on everything, and let me know, if you please, when I am to expect you.
To M. Marius (at Cumae) Rome, October (?), 55 B.C.
If some bodily pain or weakness of health has prevented your coming to the games, I put it down to fortune rather than your own wisdom: but if you have made up your mind that these things which the rest of the world admires are only worthy of contempt, and, though your health would have allowed of it, you yet were unwilling to come, then I rejoice at both facts - that you were free from bodily pain, and that you had the sound sense to disdain what others causelessly admire. Only I hope that some fruit of your leisure may be forthcoming, a leisure, indeed, which you had a splendid opportunity of enjoying to the full, seeing that you were left almost alone in your lovely country. For I doubt not that in that study of yours, from which you have opened a window into the Stabian waters of the bay, and obtained a view of Misenum, you have spent the morning hours of those days in light reading, while those who left you there were watching the ordinary farces half asleep. The remaining parts of the day, too, you spent in the pleasures which you had yourself arranged to suit your own taste, while we had to endure whatever had met with the approval of Spurius Maecius. On the whole, if you care to know, the games were most splendid, but not to your taste. I judge from my own. For, to begin with, as a special honour to the occasion, those actors had come back to the stage who, I thought, had left it for their own. Indeed, your favourite, my friend Aesop, was in such a state that no one could say a word against his retiring from the profession. On b they are, there is no life worth having. For, on the one hand, I expect no profit of my labour; and, on the other, I am sometimes forced to defend men who have been no friends to me, at the request of those to whom I am under obligations. Accordingly, I am on the look-out for every excuse for at last managing my life according to my own taste, and I loudly applaud and vehemently approve both you and your retired plan of life: and as to your infrequent appearances among us, I am the more resigned to that because, were you in Rome, I should be prevented from enjoying the charm of your society, and so would you of mine, if I have any, by the overpowering nature of my engagements; from which, if I get any relief - for entire release I don't expect - I will give even you, who have been studying nothing else for many years, some hints as to what it is to live a life of cultivated enjoyment. Only be careful to nurse your weak health and to continue your present care of it, so that you may be able to visit my country houses and make excursions with me in my litter. I have written you a longer letter than usual, from superabundance, not of leisure, but of affection, because, if you remember, you asked me in one of your letters to write you something to prevent you feeling sorry at having missed the games. And if I have succeeded in that, I am glad: if not, I yet console myself with this reflexion, that in future you will both come to the games and come to see me, and will not leave your hope of enjoyment dependent on my letters.
To His Brother Quintus (in the Country) Rome, February, 54 B.C.
Your note by its strong language has drawn out this letter. For as to what actually occurred on the day of your start, it supplied me with absolutely no subject for writing. But as when we are together we are never at a loss for something to say, so ought our letters at times to digress into loose chat. Well, then, to begin, the liberty of the Tenedians has received short shrift, no one speaking for them except myself, Bibulus, Calidius, and Favonius. A complimentary reference to you was made by the legates from Magnesia and Sipylum, they saying that you were the man who alone had resisted the demand of L. Sestius Pansa. On the remaining days of this business in the senate, if anything occurs which you ought to know, or even if there is nothing, I will write you something every day. On the 12th I will not fail you or Pomponius. The poems of Lucretius are as you say - with many flashes of genius, yet very technical. But when you return,...if you succeed in reading the Empedoclea of Sallustius, I shall regard you as a hero, yet scarcely human.
To His Brother Quintus (in Britain) Arpinum and Rome, 28 September, 54 B.C.
After extraordinarily hot weather - I never remember greater heat - I have refreshed myself at Arpinum, and enjoyed the extreme loveliness of the river during the days of the games, having left my tribesmen under the charge of Philotimus. I was at Arcanum on the 10th of September. There I found Mescidius and Philoxenus, and saw the water, for which they were making a course not far from your villa, running quite nicely, especially considering the extreme drought, and they said they were going to collect it in much greater abundance. Everything is right with Herus. In your Manilian property I came across Diphilus outdoing himself in dilatoriness. Still, he had nothing left to construct, except baths, and a promenade, and an aviary. I liked that villa very much, because its paved colonnade gives it an air of very great dignity. I never appreciated this till now that the colonnade itself has been all laid open, and the columns have been polished. It all depends - and this I will look to - upon stuccoing being prettily done. The pavements seemed to be being well laid. Certain of the ceilings I did not like, and ordered them to be changed. As to the place in which they say that you write word that a small entrance hall is to be built - namely, in the colonnade - I liked it better as it is. For I did not think there was space sufficient for an entrance hall; nor is it usual to have one, except in those buildings which have a larger court; nor could it have bedrooms and apartments of that kind attached to it. As it is, from the very beauty of its arched roof, it will serve as an admirable summer room. However, if you think differently, write back word as soon as possible. In the bath I have moved the hot chamber to the other corner of the dressing-room, because it was so placed that its steam-pipe was immediately under the bedrooms. A fair-sized bedroom and a lofty winter one I admired very much, for they were both spacious and well situated - on the side of the promenade nearest to the bath. Diphilus had placed the columns out of the perpendicular, and not opposite each other. These, of course, he shall take down; he will learn some day to use the plumb-line and measure. On the whole, I hope Diphilus' work will be completed in a few months: for Caesius, who was with me at the time, keeps a very sharp look-out upon him.
Thence I started straight along the via Vitularia to your Fufidianum, the estate which we bought for you a few weeks ago at Arpinum for 100,000 sesterces (about 800 pounds). I never saw a shadier spot in summer - water springs in many parts of it, and abundant into the bargain. In short, Caesius thought that you would easily irrigate fifty iugera of the meadow-land. For my part, I can assure you of this, which is more in my line, that you will have a villa marvelously pleasant, with the addition of a fish-pond, spouting fountains, a palaestra, and a shrubbery. I am told that you wish to keep this Bovillae estate. You will determine as you think good. Calvus said that, even if the control of the water were taken from you, and the right of drawing it off were established by the vendor, and thus an easement were imposed on that property, we could yet maintain the price in case we wish to sell. He said that he had agreed with you to do the work at three sesterces a foot, and that he had stepped it, and made it three miles. It seemed to me more. But I will guarantee that the money could nowhere be better laid out. I had sent for Cillo from Venafrum, but on that very day four of his fellow servants and apprentices had been crushed by the falling in of a tunnel at Venafrum. On the 13th of September I was at Laterium. I examined the road, which appeared to me to be so good as to seem almost like a highroad, except a hundred and fifty paces - for I measured it myself form the little bridge at the temple of Furina, in the direction of Satricum. There they had put down dust, not gravel (this shall be changed), and that part of the road is a very steep incline. But I understood that it could not be taken in any other direction, particularly as you did not wish it to go through the property of Locusta or Varro. The latter alone had made the road very well where it skirted his own property. Locusta hadn't touched it; but I will call on him at Rome, and think I shall be able to stir him up, and at the same time I think I shall ask M. Tarus, who is now at Rome, and whom I am told promised to allow you to do so, about making a watercourse through his property. I much approved of your steward Nicephorius and I asked him what orders you had given about that small building at Laterium, about which you spoke to me. He told me in answer that he had himself contracted to do the work for sixteen sestertia (about 128 pounds), but that you had afterwards made many additions to the work, but nothing to the price, and that he had therefore given it up. I quite approve, by Hercules, of your making the additions you had determined upon; although the villa as it stands seems to have the air of a philosopher, meant to rebuke the extravagance of other villas. Yet, after all, that addition will be pleasing. I praised your landscape gardener: he has so covered everything with ivy, both the foundation-wall of the villa and the spaces between the columns of the walk, that, upon my word, those Greek statues seemed to be engaged in fancy gardening, and to be shewing off the ivy. Finally, nothing can be cooler or more mossy than the dressing-room of the bath. That is about all I have to say about country matters. The gardener, indeed, as well as Philotimus and Cincius are pressing on the ornamentation of your town house; but I also often look in upon it myself, as I can do without difficulty. Wherefore don't be at all anxious about that.
As to your always asking me about your son, of course I "excuse you"; but I must ask you to "excuse" me also, for I don't allow that you love him more than I do. And oh, that he had been with me these last few days at Arpinum, as he had himself set his heart on being, and as I had no less done! As to Pomponia, please write and say that, when I go out of town anywhere, she is to come with me and bring the boy. I'll do wonders with him, if I get him to myself when I am at leisure: for at Rome there is no time to breathe. You know I formerly promised to do so for nothing. What do you expect with such a reward as you promise me? I now come to your letters which I received in several packets when I was at Arpinum. For I received three from you in one day, and, indeed, as it seemed, despatched by you at the same time - one of considerable length, in which your first point was that my letter to you was dated earlier than that to Caesar. Oppius at times cannot help this: the reason is that, having settled to send letter-carriers, and having received a letter from me, he is hindered by something turning up, and obliged to despatch them later than he had intended; and I don't take the trouble to have the day altered on a letter which I have once handed to him. You write about Caesar's extreme affection for us. This affection you must on your part keep warm, and I for mine will endeavour to increase it by every means in my power. About Pompey, I am carefully acting, and shall continue to act, as you advise. That my permission to you to stay longer is a welcome one, though I grieve at your absence and miss you exceedingly, I am yet partly glad. What you can be thinking of in sending for such people as Hippodamus and some others, I do not understand. There is not one of those fellows that won't expect a present from you equal to a suburban estate. However, there is no reason for your classing my friend Trebatius with them. I sent him to Caesar, and Caesar has done all I expected. If he has not done quite what he expected himself, I am not bound to make it up to him, and I in like manner free and absolve you from all claims on his part. Your remark, that you are a greater favourite with Caesar every day, is a source of undying satisfaction to me. As to Balbus, who, as you say, promotes that state of things, he is the apple of my eye. I am indeed glad that you and my friend Trebonius like each other. As to what you say about the military tribuneship, I, indeed, asked for it definitely for Curtius, and Caesar wrote back definitely to say that there was one at Curtius' service, and chided me for my modesty in making the request. If I have asked one for anyone else - as I told Oppius to write and tell Caesar - I shall not be at all annoyed by a refusal, since those who pester me for letters are annoyed at a refusal from me. I like Curtius, as I have told him, not only because you asked me to do so, but from the character you gave of him; for from your letter I have gathered the zeal he shewed for my restoration. As for the British expedition, I conclude from your letter that we have no occasion either for fear or exultation. As to public affairs, about which you wish Tiro to write to you, I have written to you hitherto somewhat more carelessly than usual, because I knew that all events, small or great, were reported to Caesar. I have now answered your longest letter.
Now hear what I have to say to your small one. The first point is about Clodius' letter to Caesar. In that matter I approve of Caesar's policy, in not having given way to your request so far as to write a single word to that Fury. The next thing is about the speech of Calventius "Marius." I am surprised at your saying that you think I ought to answer it, particularly as, while no one is likely to read that speech, unless I write an answer to it, every schoolboy learns mine against him as an exercise. My books, all of which you are expecting, I have begun, but I cannot finish them for some days yet. The speeches for Scaurus and Plancius which you clamour for I have finished. The poem to Caesar, which I had begun, I have cut short. I will write what you ask me for, since your poetic springs are running dry, as soon as I have time.
Now for the third letter. It is very pleasant and welcome news to hear from you that Balbus is soon coming to Rome, and so well accompanied! and will stay with me continuously till the 15th of May. As to your exhorting me in the same letter, as in many previous ones, to ambition and labour, I shall, of course, do as you say: but when am I to enjoy any real life?
Your fourth letter reached me on the 13th of September, dated on the 10th of August from Britain. In it there was nothing new except about your Erigona, and if I get that from Oppius I will write and tell you what I think of it. I have no doubt I shall like it. Oh, yes! I had almost forgotten to remark as to the man who, you say in your letter, had written to Caesar about the applause given to Milo - I am not unwilling that Caesar should think that it was as warm as possible. And in point of fact it was so, and yet that applause, which is given to him, seems in a certain sense to be given to me.
I have also received a very old letter, but which was late in coming into my hands, in which you remind me about the temple of Tellus and the colonnade of Catulus. Both of these matters are being actively carried out. At the temple of Tellus I have even got your statue placed. So, again, as to your reminder about a suburban villa and gardens, I was never very keen for one, and now my town house has all the charm of such a pleasure-ground. On my arrival in Rome on the 18th of September I found the roof on your house finished: the part over the sitting-rooms, which you did not wish to have many gables, now slopes gracefully towards the roof of the lower colonnade. Our boy, in my absence, did not cease working with his rhetoric master. You have no reason for being anxious about his education, for you know his ability, and I see his application. Everything else I take it upon myself to guarantee, with full consciousness that I am bound to make it good.
As yet there are three parties prosecuting Gabinius: first, L. Lentulus, son of the flamen, who has entered a prosecution for lese majeste; secondly, Tib. Nero, with good names at the back of his indictment; thirdly, C. Memmius the tribune in conjunction with L. Capito. He came to the walls of the city on the 19th of September, undignified and neglected to the last degree. But in the present state of the law courts I do not venture to be confident of anything. As Cato is unwell, he has not yet been formally indicted for extortion. Pompey is trying hard to persuade me to be reconciled to him, but as yet he has not succeeded at all, nor, if I retain a shred of liberty, will he succeed. I am very anxious for a letter from you. You say that you have been told that I was a party to the coalition of the consular candidates - it is a lie. The compacts made in that coalition, afterwards made public by Memmius, were of such a nature that no loyal man ought to have been a party to them; nor at the same time was it possible for me to be a party to a coalition from which Messalla was excluded, who is thoroughly satisfied with my conduct in every particular, as also, I think, is Memmius. To Domitius himself I have rendered many services which he desired and asked of me. I have put Scaurus under a heavy obligation by my defence of him. It is as yet very uncertain both when the elections will be and who will be consuls.
Just as I was folding up this epistle letter-carriers arrived from you and Caesar (20th September) after a journey of twenty days. How anxious I was! How painfully I was affected by Caesar's most kind letter! But the kinder it was, the more sorrow did his loss occasion me. But to turn to your letter: To begin with, I reiterate my approval of your staying on, especially as, according to your account, you have consulted Caesar on the subject. I wonder that Oppius has anything to do with Publius, for I advised against it. Farther on in your letter you say that I am going to be made legatus to Pompey on the 13th of September: I have heard nothing about it, and I wrote to Caesar to tell him that neither Vibullius nor Oppius had delivered his message to Pompey about my remaining at home. Why, I know not. However, it was I who restrained Oppius from doing so, because it was Vibullius who should take the leading part in that matter: for with him Caesar had communicated personally, with Oppius only by letter. I indeed can have no "second thoughts" in matters connected with Caesar. He comes next after you and our children in my regard, and not much after. I think I act in this with deliberate judgment, for I have by this time good cause for it, yet warm personal feeling no doubt does influence me also.
Just as I had written these last words - which are by my own hand - your boy came in to dine with me, as Pomponia was dining out. He gave me your letter to read, which he had received shortly before - a truly Aristophanic mixture of jest and earnest, with which I was greatly charmed. He gave me also your second letter, in which you bid him cling to my side as a mentor. How delighted he was with those letters! And so was I. Nothing could be more attractive than that boy, nothing more affectionate to me! - This, to explain its being in another handwriting, I dictated to Tiro while at dinner.
Your letter gratified Annalis very much, as shewing that you took an active interest in his concerns, and yet assisted him with exceedingly candid advice. Publius Servilius the elder, from a letter which he said he had received from Caesar, declares himself highly obliged to you for having spoken with the greatest kindness and earnestness of his devotion to Caesar. After my return to Rome from Arpinum I was told that Hippodamus had started to join you. I cannot say that I was surprised at his having acted so discourteously as to start to join you without a letter from me: I only say this, that I was annoyed. For I had long resolved, from an expression in your letter, that if I had anything I wished conveyed to you with more than usual care, I should give it to him: for, in truth, into a letter like this, which I send you in an ordinary way, I usually put nothing that, if it fell into certain hands, might be a source of annoyance. I reserve myself for Minucius and Salvius and Labeo. Labeo will either be starting late or will stay here altogether. Hippodamus did not even ask me whether he could do anything for me. T. Penarius sends me a kind letter about you: says that he is exceedingly charmed with your literary pursuits, conversation, and above all by your dinners. He was always a favourite of mine, and I see a good deal of his brother. Wherefore continue, as you have begun, to admit the young man to your intimacy.
From the fact of this letter having been in hand during many days, owing to the delay of the letter-carriers, I have jotted down in it many various things at odd times, as, for instance, the following: Titus Anicius has mentioned to me more than once that he would not hesitate to buy a suburban property for you, if he found one. In these remarks of his I find two things surprising: first that when you write to him about buying a suburban property, you not only don't write to me to that effect, but write even in a contrary sense; and, secondly, that in writing to him you totally forget his letters which you shewed me at Tusculum, and as totally the rule of Epicharmus, "Notice how he has treated another": in fact, that you have quite forgotten, as I think, the lesson conveyed by the expression of his face, his conversation, and his spirit. But this is your concern. As to a suburban property, be sure to let me know your wishes, and at the same time take care that that fellow doesn't get you into trouble. What else have I to say? Anything? Yes, there is this: Gabinius entered the city by night on the 27th of September and to-day, at two o'clock, when he ought to have appeared on his trial for lese majeste, in accordance with the edict of C. Alfius, he was all but crushed to the earth by a great and unanimous demonstration of the popular hatred. Nothing could exceed his humiliating position. However, Piso comes next to him. So I think of introducing a marvellous episode into my second book - Apollo declaring in the council of the gods what sort of return that of the two commanders was to be, one of whom had lost, and the other sold his army. From Britain I have a letter of Caesar's dated the 1st of September, which reached me on the 27th, satisfactory enough as far as the British expedition is concerned, in which, to prevent my wondering at not getting one from you, he tells me that you were not with him when he reached the coast. To that letter I made no reply, not even a formal congratulation, on account of his mourning. Many, many wishes, dear brother, for your health.
To P. Lentulus Spinther (in Cilicia) Rome, October, 54 B.C.
M. Cicero desires his warmest regards to P. Lentulus, imperator. Your letter was very gratifying to me, from which I gather that you fully appreciated my devotion to you: for why use the word "kindness," when even the word "devotion" itself, with all its solemn and holy associations, seems too weak to express my obligations to you? As for your saying that my services to you are gratefully accepted, it is you who in your overflowing affection make things, which cannot be omitted without criminal negligence, appear deserving of even gratitude. However, my feelings towards you would have been much more fully known and conspicuous, if, during all this time that we have been separated, we had been together, and together at Rome. For precisely in what you declare your intention of doing - what no one is more capable of doing, and what I confidently look forward to from you - that is to say, in speaking in the senate, and in every department of public life and political activity, we should together have been in a very strong position (what my feelings and position are in regard to politics I will explain shortly, and will answer the questions you ask), and at any rate I should have found in you a supporter, at once most warmly attached and endowed with supreme wisdom, while in me you would have found an adviser, perhaps not the most unskillful in the world, and at least both faithful and devoted to your interests. However, for your own sake, of course, I rejoice, as I am bound to do, that you have been greeted with the title of imperator, and are holding your province and victorious army after a successful campaign. But certainly, if you had been here, yo, would have enjoyed to a fuller extent and more directly the benefit of the services which I am bound to render you. Moreover, in taking vengeance on those whom you know in some cases to be your enemies, because you championed the cause of my recall, in others to be jealous of the splendid position and renown which that measure brought you, I should have done you yeoman's service as your associate. However, that perpetual enemy of his own friends, who, in spite of having been honoured with the highest compliments on your part, has selected you of all people for the object of his impotent and enfeebled violence, has saved me the trouble by punishing himself. For he has made attempts, the disclosure of which has left him without a shred, not only of political position, but even of freedom of action. And though I should have preferred that you should have gained your experience in my case alone, rather than in your own also, yet in the midst of my regret I am glad that you have learnt what the fidelity of mankind is worth, at no great cost to yourself, which I learnt at the price of excessive pain. And I think that I have now an opportunity presented me, while answering the questions you have addressed to me, of also explaining my entire position and view. You say in your letter that you have been informed that I have become reconciled to Caesar and Appius, and you add that you have no fault to find with that. But you express a wish to know what induced me to defend and compliment Vatinius. In order to make my explanation plainer I must go a little farther back in the statement of my policy and its grounds.
Well, Lentulus! At first - after the success of your efforts for my recall - I looked upon myself as having been restored not alone to my friends, but to the Republic also; and seeing that I owed you an affection almost surpassing belief, and every kind of service, however great and rare, that could be bestowed on your person, I thought that to the Republic, which had much assisted you in restoring me, I at least was bound to entertain the feeling which I had in old times shewed merely from the duty incumbent on all citizens alike, and not as an obligation incurred by some special kindness to myself. That these were my sentiments I declared to the senate when you were consul, and you had yourself a full view of them in our conversations and discussions. Yet from the very first my feelings were hurt by many circumstances, when, on your mooting the question of the full restoration of my position, I detected the covert hatred of some and the equivocal attachment of others. For you received no support from either in regard to my monuments, or the illegal violence by which, in common with my brother, I had been driven from my house; nor, by heaven, did they shew the good will which I had expected in regard to those matters which, though necessary to me owing to the shipwreck of my fortune, were yet regarded by me as least valuable - I mean as to indemnifying me for my losses by decree of the senate. And though I saw all this - for it was not difficult to see - yet their present conduct did not affect me with so much bitterness as what they had done for me did with gratitude. And therefore, though according to your own assertion and testimony I was under very great obligation to Pompey, and though I loved him not only for his kindness, but also from my own feelings, and, so to speak, from my unbroken admiration of him, nevertheless, without taking any account of his wishes, I abode by all my old opinions in politics. With Pompey sitting in court, upon his having entered the city to give evidence in favour of Sestius, and when the witness Vatinius had asserted that, moved by the good fortune and success of Caesar, I had begun t brother Marcus, you will have to pay up what you guaranteed on his behalf." I need not go on. He grumbled a great deal: mentioned his own services to me: recalled what he had again and again said to my brother himself about the "acts" of Caesar, and what my brother had undertaken in regard to me; and called my brother himself to witness that what he had done in regard to my recall he had done with the consent of Caesar: and asked him to commend to me the latter's policy and claims, that I should not attack, even if I would not or could not support them. My brother having conveyed these remarks to me, and Pompey having, nevertheless, sent Vibullius to me with a message, begging me not to commit myself on the question of the Campanian land till his return, I reconsidered my position and begged the state itself, as it were, to allow me, who had suffered and done so much for it, to fulfil the duty which gratitude to my benefactors and the pledge which my brother had given demanded, and to suffer one whom it had ever regarded as an honest citizen to shew himself an honest man. Moreover, in regard to all those motions and speeches of mine which appeared to be giving offence to Pompey, the remarks of a particular set of men, whose names you must surely guess, kept on being reported to me; who, while in public affairs they were really in sympathy with my policy, and had always been so, yet said that they were glad that Pompey was dissatisfied with me, and that Caesar would be very greatly exasperated against me. This in itself was vexatious to me: but much more so was the fact that they used, before my very eyes, so to embrace fondle, make much of, and kiss my enemy mine do I say? rather the enemy of the laws, of the law courts, of peace, of his country, of all loyal men! - that they did not indeed rouse my bile, for I have utterly lost all that, but imagined they did. In these circumstances, having, as far as is possible for human prudence, thoroughly examined my whole position, and having balanced the items of the account, I arrived at a final result of all my reflexions, which, as well as I can, I will now briefly put before you.
If I had seen the Republic in the hands of bad or profligate citizens, as we know happened during the supremacy of Cinna, and on some other occasions, I should not under the pressure, I don't say of rewards, which are the last things to influence me, but even of danger, by which, after all, the bravest men are moved, have attached myself to their party, not even if their services to me had been of the very highest kind. As it is, seeing that the leading statesman in the Republic was Pompey, a man who had gained this power and renown by the most eminent services to the state and the most glorious achievements, and one of whose position I had been a supporter from my youth up, and in my praetorship and consulship an active promoter also, and seeing that this same statesman had assisted me, in his own person by the weight of his influence and the expression of his opinion, and, in conjunction with you, by his counsels and zeal, and that he regarded my enemy as his own supreme enemy in the state - I did not think that I need fear the reproach of inconsistency, if in some of my senatorial votes I somewhat changed my standpoint, and contributed my zeal to the promotion of the champion my cause before I had fallen, when after that fall they had proved strong enough to raise me up again. And the real feelings of these men you not only had the penetration to see, when bringing forward my case, but the power to encourage and keep alive. In promoting which measure - I will not merely not deny, but shall always remember also and gladly proclaim it - you found certain men of the highest rank more courageous in securing my restoration than they had been in preserving me from my fall: and, if they had chosen to maintain that frame of mind, they would have recovered their own commanding position along with my salvation. For when the spirit of the loyalists had been renewed by your consulship, and they had been roused from their dismay by the extreme firmness and rectitude of your official conduct; when, above all, Pompey's support had been secured; and when Caesar, too, with all the prestige of his brilliant achievements, after being honoured with unique and unprecedented marks of distinction and compliments by the senate, was now supporting the dignity of the house, there could have been no opportunity for a disloyal citizen of outraging the Republic.
But now notice, I beg, what actually ensued. First of all, that intruder upon the women's rites, who had shewn no more respect for the Bona Dea than for his three sisters, secured immunity by the votes of those men who, when a tribune wished by a legal action to exact penalties from a seditious citizen by the agency of the loyalists, deprived the Republic of what would have been hereafter a most splendid precedent for the punishment of sedition. And these same persons, in the case of the monument, which was not mine, indeed - for it was not erected from the proceeds of spoils won by me, and I had nothing to do with it beyond giving out the contract for its construction - well, they allowed this monument of the senate's to have branded upon it the name of a public enemy, and an inscription written in blood. That those men wished my safety rouses my liveliest gratitude, but I could have wished that they had not chosen to take my bare safety into consideration, like doctors, but, like trainers, my strength and complexion also! As it is, just as Apelles perfected the head and bust of his Venus with the most elaborate art, but left the rest of her body in the rough, so certain persons only took pains with my head, and left the rest of my body unfinished and unworked. Yet in this matter I have falsified the expectation, not only of the jealous, but also of the downright hostile, who formerly conceived a wrong opinion from the case of Quintus Metellus, son of Lucius - the most energetic and gallant man in the world, and in my opinion of surpassing courage and firmness - who, people say, was much cast down and dispirited after his return from exile. Now, in the first place, we are asked to believe that a man who accepted exile with entire willingness and remarkable cheerfulness, and never took any pains at all to get recalled, was crushed in spirit about an affair in which he had shewn more firmness and constancy than anyone else, even than the pre-eminent M. Scaurus himself! But, again, the account they had received, or rather the conjectures they were indulging in about him, they now transferred to me, imagining that I should be more than usually broken in spirit: whereas, in fact, the Republic was inspiring me with even greater courage than I had ever had before, by making it plain that I was the one citizen it could not do without; and by the fact that while a bill proposed by only one tribune had recalled Metellus, the whole state had joined as one man in recalling me - the senate leading the way, the whole of Italy following after, eight of the tribunes publishing the bill, a consul putting the question at the centuriate assembly, all orders and individuals pressing it on, in fact, with all the forces at its command. Nor is it the case that I afterwards made any pretension, or am making any at this day, which can justly offend anyone, even the most malevolent: my only effort is that I may not fail either my friends or those more remotely connected with me in either active service, or counsel, or personal exertion. This course of life perhaps offends those who fix their eyes on the glitter and show of my professional position, but are unable to appreciate its anxieties and laboriousness.
Again, they make no concealment of their dissatisfaction on the ground that in the speeches which I make in the senate in praise of Caesar I am departing from my old policy. But while giving explanations on the points which I put before you a short time ago, I will not keep till the last the following, which I have already touched upon. You will not find, my dear Lentulus, the sentiments of the loyalists the same as you left them strengthened by my consulship, suffering relapse at intervals afterwards, crushed down before your consulship, revived by you: they have now been abandoned by those whose duty it was to have maintained them: and this fact they, who in the old state of things as it existed in our day used to be called Optimates, not only declare by look and expression of countenance, by which a false pretence is easiest supported, but have proved again and again by their actual sympathies and votes. Accordingly, the entire view and aim of wise citizens, such as I wish both to be and to be reckoned, must needs have undergone a change. For that is the maxim of that same great Plato, whom I emphatically regard as my master: "Maintain a political controversy only so far as you can convince your fellow citizens of its justice: never offer violence to parent or fatherland." He, it is true, alleges this as his motive for having abstained from politics, because, having found the Athenian people all but in its dotage, and seeing that it could not be ruled by persuasion, or by anything short of compulsion, while he doubted the possibility of persuasion, he looked upon compulsion as criminal. My position was different in this: as the people was not in its dotage, nor the question of engaging in politics still an open one for me, I was bound hand and foot. Yet I rejoiced that I was permitted in one and the same cause to support a policy at once advantageous to myself and acceptable to every loyalist. An additional motive was Caesar's memorable and almost superhuman kindness to myself and my brother, who thus would have deserved my support whatever he undertook; while as it is, considering his great success and his brilliant victories, he would seem, even if he had not behaved to me as he has, to claim a panegyric from me. For I would have you believe that, putting you aside, who were the authors of my recall, there is no one by whose good offices I would not only confess, but would even rejoice, to have been so much bound.
Having explained this matter to you, the questions you ask about Vatinius and Crassus are easy to answer. For, since you remark about Appius, as about Caesar, "that you have no fault to find," I can only say that I am glad you approve my policy. But as to Vatinius, in the first place there had been in the interval a reconciliation effected through Pompey, immediately after his election to the praetorship, though I had, it is true, impugned his candidature in some very strong speeches in the senate, and yet not so much for the sake of attacking him as of defending and complimenting Cato. Again, later on, there followed a very pressing request from Caesar that I should undertake his defence. But my reason for testifying to his character I beg you will not ask, either in the case of this defendant or of others, lest I retaliate by asking you the same question when you come home: though I can do so even before you return: for remember for whom you sent a certificate of character from the ends of the earth. However, don't be afraid, for those same persons are praised by myself, and will continue to be so. Yet, after all, there was also the motive spurring me on to undertake his defence, of which, during the trial, when I appeared for him, I remarked that I was doing just what the parasite in the Eunuchus advised the captain to do:
"As oft as she names Phaedria, you retort With Pamphila. If ever she suggest, 'Do let us have in Phaedria to our revel;' Quoth you, 'And let us call on Pamphila To sing a song.' If she shall praise his looks, Do you praise hers to match them: and, in fine, Give tit for tat, that you may sting her soul."
So I asked the jurors, since certain men of high rank, who, had also done me very great favours, were much enamoured of my enemy, and often under my very eyes in the senate now took him aside in grave consultation, now embraced him familiarly and cheerfully - since these men had their Publius, to grant me another Publius, in whose person I might repay a slight attack by a moderate retort. And, indeed, I am often as good as my word, with the applause of gods and men. So much for Vatinius. Now about Crassus. I thought I had done much to secure his gratitude in having, for the sake of the general harmony, wiped out by a kind of voluntary act of oblivion all his very serious injuries, when he suddenly undertook the defence of Gabinius, whom only a few days before he had attacked with the greatest bitterness. Nevertheless, I should have borne that, if he had done so without casting any offensive reflections on me. But on his attacking me, though I was only arguing and not inveighing against him, I fired up not only, I think, with the passion of the moment - for that perhaps would not have been so hot - but the smothered wrath at his many wrongs to me, of which I thought I had wholly got rid, having, unconsciously to myself, lingered in my soul, it suddenly shewed itself in full force. And it was at this precise time that certain persons (the same whom I frequently indicate by a sign or hint), while declaring that they had much enjoyed my outspoken style, and had never before fully realized that I was restored to the Republic in all my old character, and when my conduct of that controversy had gained me much credit outside the house also, began saying that they were glad both that he was now my enemy, and that those who were involved with him would never be my friends. So when their ill-natured remarks were reported to me by men of most respectable character, and when Pompey pressed me as he had never done before to be reconciled to Crassus, and Caesar wrote to say that he was exceedingly grieved at that quarrel, I took into consideration not only my circumstances, but my natural inclination: and Crassus, that our reconciliation might, as it were, be attested to the Roman people, started for his province, it might almost be said, from my hearth. For he himself named a day and dined with me in the suburban villa of my son-in-law Crassipes. On this account, as you say that you have been told, I supported his cause in the senate, which I had undertaken on Pompey's strong recommendation, as I was bound in honour to do.
I have now told you with what motives I have supported each measure and cause, and what my position is in politics as far as I take any part in them: and I would wish you to make sure of this - that I should have entertained the same sentiments, if I had been still perfectly uncommitted and free to choose. For I should not have thought it right to fight against such overwhelming power, nor to destroy the supremacy of the most distinguished citizens, even if it had been possible; nor, again, should I have thought myself bound to abide by the same view, when circumstances were changed and the feelings of the loyalists altered, but rather to bow to circumstances. For the persistence in the same view has never been regarded as a merit in men eminent for their guidance of the helm of state; but as in steering a ship one secret of the art is to run before the storm, even if you cannot make the harbour; yet, when you can do so by tacking about, it is folly to keep to the course you have begun rather than by changing it to arrive all the same at the destination you desire: so while we all ought in the administration of the state to keep always in view the object I have very frequently mentioned, peace combined with dignity, we are not bound always to use the same language, but to fix our eyes on the same object. Wherefore, as I laid down a little while ago, if I had had as free a hand as possible in everything, I should yet have been no other than I now am in politics. When, moreover, I am at once induced to adopt these sentiments by the kindness of certain persons, and driven to do so by the injuries of others, I am quite content to think and speak about public affairs as I conceive best conduces to the interests both of myself and of the Republic. Moreover, I make this declaration the more openly and frequently, both because my brother Quintus is Caesar's legate, and because no word of mine, however trivial, to say nothing of any act, in support of Caesar has ever transpired, which he has not received with such marked gratitude as to make me look upon myself as closely bound to him. Accordingly, I have the advantage of his popularity, which you know to be very great, and his material resources, which you know to be immense, as though they were my own. Nor do I think that I could in any other way have frustrated the plots of unprincipled persons against me, unless I had now combined with those protections, which I have always possessed, the good will also of the men in power. I should, to the best of my belief, have followed this same line of policy even if I had had you here. For I well know the reasonableness and soberness of your judgment: I know your mind, while warmly attached to me, to be without a tinge of malevolence to others, but on the contrary as open and candid as it is great and lofty. I have seen certain persons conduct themselves towards you as you might have seen the same persons conduct themselves towards me. The same things that have annoyed me would certainly have annoyed you. But whenever I shall have the enjoyment of your presence, you will be the wise critic of all my plans: you who took thought for my safety will also do so for my dignity. Me, indeed, you will have as the partner and associate in all your actions, sentiments, wishes - in fact, in everything; nor shall I ever in all my life have any purpose so steadfastly before me as that you should rejoice more and more warmly every day that you did me such eminent service.
As to you request that I would send you any books I have written since your departure, there are some speeches, which I will give Menocritus, not so very many, so don't be afraid! I have also written - for I am now rather withdrawing from oratory and returning to the gentler Muses, which now give me greater delight than any others, as they have done since my earliest youth well, then, I have written in the Aristotelian style, at least that was my aim, three books in the form of a discussion in dialogue "On the Orator," which, I think, will be of some service to your Lentulus. For they differ a good deal from the current maxims, and embrace a discussion on the whole oratorical theory of the ancients, both that of Aristotle and Isocrates. I have also written in verse three books "On My Own Times," which I should have sent you some time ago, if I had thought they ought to be published - for they are witnesses, and will be eternal witnesses, of your services to me and of my affection - but I refrained because I was afraid, not of those who might think themselves attacked, for I have been very sparing and gentle in that respect, but of my benefactors, of whom it were an endless task to mention the whole list. Nevertheless, the books, such as they are, if I find anyone to whom I can safely commit them, I will take care to have conveyed to you: and as far as that part of my life and conduct is concerned, I submit it entirely to your judgment. All that I shall succeed in accomplishing in literature or in learning - my old favourite relaxations - I shall with the utmost cheerfulness place before the bar of your criticism, for you have always had a fondness for such things. As to what you say in your letter about your domestic affairs, and all you charge me to do, I am so attentive to them that I don't like being reminded, can scarcely bear, indeed, to be asked without a very painful feeling. As to your saying, in regard to Quintus' business, that you could not do anything last summer, because you were prevented by illness from crossing to Cilicia, but that you will now do everything in your power to settle it, I may tell you that the fact of the matter is that, if he can annex this property, my brother thinks that he will owe to you the consolidation of this ancestral estate. I should like you to write about all your affairs, and about the studies and training of your son Lentulus (whom I regard as mine also) as confidentially and as frequently as possible, and to believe that there never has been anyone either dearer or more congenial to another than you are to me, and that I will not only make you feel that to be the case, but will make all the world and posterity itself to the latest generation aware of it.
Appius used some time back to repeat in conversation, and afterwards said openly, even in the senate, that if he were allowed to carry a law in the comitia curiata, he would draw lots with his colleague for their provinces; but if no curiatian law were passed, he would make an arrangement with his colleague and succeed you: that a curiatian law was a proper thing for a consul, but was not a necessity: that since he was in possession of a province by a decree of the senate, he should have imperium in virtue of the Cornelian law until such time as he entered the city. I don't know what your several connexions write to you on the subject: I understand that opinion varies. There are some who think that you can legally refuse to quit your province, because your successor is named without a curiatian law: some also hold that, even if you do quit it, you may leave someone behind you to conduct its government. For myself, I do not feel so certain about the point of law although there is not much doubt even about that - as I do of this, that it is for your greatest honour, dignity, and independence, which I know you always value above everything, to hand over your province to a successor without any delay, especially as you cannot thwart his greediness without rousing suspicion of your own. I regard my duty as twofold - to let you know what I think, and to defend what you have done.
P.S. - I had written the above when I received your letter about the publicani, to whom I could not but admire the justice of your conduct. I could have wished that you had been able by some lucky chance to avoid running counter to the interests and wishes of that order, whose honour you have always promoted. For my part, I shall not cease to defend your decrees: but you know the ways of that class of men; you are aware how bitterly hostile they were to the famous Q. Scaevola himself. However, I advise you to reconcile that order to yourself, or at least soften its feelings, if you can by any means do so. Though difficult, I think it is, nevertheless, not beyond the reach of your sagacity.
To C. Trebatius Testa (in Gaul) Rome, November, 54 B.C.
In the "Trojan Horse," just at the end, you remember the words, "Too late they learn wisdom." You, however, old man, were wise in time. Those first snappy letters of yours were foolish enough, and then - ! I don't at all blame you for not being overcurious in regard to Britain. For the present, however, you seem to be in winter quarters somewhat short of warm clothing, and therefore not caring to stir out:
"Not here and there, but everywhere, Be wise and ware: No sharper steel can warrior bear."
If I had been by way of dining out, I would not have failed your friend Cn. Octavius; to whom, however, I did remark upon his repeated invitations, "Pray, who are you?" But, by Hercules, joking apart, he is a pretty fellow: I could have wished you had taken him with you! Let me know for certain what you are doing and whether you intend coming to Italy at all this winter. Balbus has assured me that you will be rich. Whether he speaks after the simple Roman fashion, meaning that you will be well supplied with money, or according to the Stoic dictum, that "all are rich who can enjoy the sky and the earth," I shall know hereafter. Those who come from your part accuse you of pride, because they say you won't answer men who put questions to you. However, there is one thing that will please you: they all agree in saying that there is no better lawyer than you at Samarobriva!
To Atticus (at Rome) Minturnae, May, 51 B.C.
Yes, I saw well enough what your feelings were as I parted from you; what mine were I am my own witness. This makes it all the more incumbent on you to prevent an additional decree being passed, so that this mutual regret of ours may not last more than a year. As to Annius Saturninus, your measures are excellent. As to the guarantee, pray, during your stay at Rome, give it yourself. You will find several guarantees on purchase, such as those of the estates of Memmius, or rather of Attilius. As to Oppius, that is exactly what I wished, and especially your having engaged to pay him the 800 sestertia (about 6,400 pounds), which I am determined shall be paid in any case, even if I have to borrow to do so, rather than wait for the last day of getting in my own debts.
I now come to that last line of your letter written crossways, in which you give me a word of caution about your sister. The facts of the matter are these: On arriving at my place at Arpinum, my brother came to see me, and our first subject of conversation was yourself, and we discussed it at great length. After this I brought the conversation round to what you and I had discussed at Tusculum, on the subject of your sister. I never saw anything so gentle and placable as my brother was on that occasion in regard to your sister: so much so, indeed, that if there had been any cause of quarrel on the score of expense, it was not apparent. So much for that day. Next day we started from Arpinum. A country festival caused Quintus to stop at Arcanum; I stopped at Aquinum; but we lunched at Arcanum. You know his property there. When we got there Quintus said, in the kindest manner, "Pomponia, do you ask the ladies in; I will invite the men." Nothing, as I thought, could be more courteous, and that, too, not only in the actual words, but also in his intention and the expression of face. But she, in the hearing of us all, exclaimed, "I am only a stranger here!" The origin of that was, as I think, the fact that Statius had preceded us to look after the luncheon. Thereupon Quintus said to me, "There, that's what I have to put up with every day!" You will say, "Well, what does that amount to?" A great deal, and, indeed, she had irritated even me: her answer had been given with such unnecessary acrimony, both of word and look. I concealed my annoyance. We all took our places at table except her. However, Quintus sent her dishes from the table, which she declined. In short, I thought I never saw anything better-tempered than my brother, or crosser than your sister: and there were many particulars which I omit that raised my bile more than they did that of Quintus himself. I then went on to Aquinum; Quintus stopped at Arcanum, and joined me early the next day at Aquinum. He told me that she had refused to sleep with him, and when on the point of leaving, she behaved just as I had seen her. Need I say more? You may tell her herself that in my judgment she shewed a marked want of kindness on that day. I have told you this story at greater length, perhaps, than was necessary, to convince you that you, too, have something to do in the way of giving her instruction and advice.
There only remains for me to beg you to complete all my commissions before leaving town; to give Pomptinus a push, and make him start; to let me know as soon as you have left town, and to believe that, by heaven, there is nothing I love and find more pleasure in than yourself. I said a most affectionate good-bye to that best of men, A. Torquatus, at Minturnae, to whom I wish you would remark, in the course of conversation, that I have mentioned him in my letter.
To M. Porcius Cato (at Rome) Cilicia, January, 50 B.C.
Your own immense prestige and my unvarying belief in your consummate virtue have convinced me of the great importance it is to me that you should be acquainted with what I have accomplished, and that you should not be ignorant of the equity and disinterestedness with which I protected our allies and governed my province. For if you knew these facts, I thought I should with greater ease secure your approval of my wishes.
Having entered my province on the last day of July, and seeing th thoroughly secured, should hold the kingdom with proper dignity.
Meanwhile, I was informed by despatches and messengers from many sides, that the Parthians and Arabs had approached the town of Antioch in great force, and that a large body of their horsemen, which had crossed into Cilicia, had been cut to pieces by some squadrons of my cavalry and the praetorian cohort then on garrison duty at Epiphanea. Wherefore, seeing that the forces of the Parthians had turned their backs upon Cappadocia, and were not far from the frontiers of Cilicia, I led my army to Amanus with the longest forced marches I could. Arrived there, I learnt that the enemy had retired from Antioch, and that Bibulus was at Antioch. I thereupon informed Deiotarus, who was hurrying to join me with a large and strong body of horse and foot, and with all the forces he could muster, that I saw no reason for his leaving his own dominions, and that in case of any new event, I would immediately write and send to him. And as my intention in coming had been to relieve both provinces, should occasion arise, so now I proceeded to do what I had all along made up my mind was greatly to the interest of both provinces, namely, to reduce Amanus, and to remove from that mountain an eternal enemy. So I made a feint of retiring from the mountain and making for other parts of Cilicia: and having gone a day's march from Amanus and pitched a camp, on the 12th of October, towards evening, at Epiphanea, with my army in light marching order I effected such a night march, that by dawn on the 13th I was already ascending Amanus. Having formed the cohorts and auxiliaries into several columns of attack - I and my legate Quintus (my brother) commanding one, my legate C. Pomptinus another, and my legates M. Anneius and L. Tullius the rest - we surprised most of the inhabitants, who, being cut off from all retreat, were killed or taken prisoners. But Erana, which was more like a town than a village, and was the capital of Amanus, as also Sepyra and Commoris, which offered a determined and protracted resistance from before daybreak till four in the afternoon - Pomptinus being in command in that part of Amanus - we took, after killing a great number of the enemy, and stormed and set fire to several fortresses. After these operations we lay encamped for four days on the spurs of Amanus, near the Arae Alexandri, and all that time we devoted to the destruction of the remaining inhabitants of Amanus, and devastating their lands on that side of the mountain which belongs to my province. Having accomplished this, I led the army away to Pindenissus, a town of the Eleutherocilices. And since this town was situated on a very lofty and strongly fortified spot, and was inhabited by men who have never submitted even to the kings, and since they were offering harbourage to deserters, and were eagerly expecting the arrival of the Parthians, I thought it of importance to the prestige of the empire to suppress their audacity, in order that there might be less difficulty in breaking the spirits of all such as were anywhere disaffected to our rule. I encircled them with a stockade and trench: I beleaguered them with six forts and huge camps: I assaulted them by the aid of earth-works, pent-houses, and towers: and having employed numerous catapults and bowmen, with great personal labour, and without troubling the allies or costing them anything, I reduced them to such extremities that, after every region of their town had been battered down or fired, they surrendered to me on the fifty-seventh day. Their next neighbours were the people of Tebara, no less predatory and audacious: from them after the capture of Pindenissus I received hostages. I then dismissed the army to winter quarters; and I put my brother in command, with orders to station the men in villages that had either been captured or were disaffected.
Well, now, I would have you feel convinced that, should a motion be brought before the senate of these matters, I shall consider that the highest possible compliment has been paid me, if you give your vote in favour of a mark of honour being bestowed upon me. And as to this, though I am aware that in such matters men of the most respectable character are accustomed to ask and to be asked, yet I think in your case that it is rather a reminder than a request which is called for from me. For it is you who have on very many occasions complimented me in votes which you delivered, who have praised me to the skies in conversation, in panegyric, in the most laudatory speeches in senate and public meeting: you are the man to whose words I ever attached such weight as to hold myself in possession of my utmost ambition, if your lips joined the chorus of my praise. It was you finally, as I recollect, who said, when voting against a supplication in honour of a certain illustrious and noble person, that you would have voted for it, if the motion had related to what he had done in the city as consul. It was you, too, who voted for granting me a supplicatio, though only a civilian, not as had been done in many instances, "for good services to the state," but, as I remember, "for having saved the state." I pass over your having shared the hatred I excited, the dangers I ran, all the storms that I have encountered, and your having been entirely ready to have shared them much more fully if I had allowed it; and finally your having regarded my enemy as your own; of whose death even thus shewing me clearly how much you valued me - you manifested your approval by supporting the cause of Milo in the senate. On the other hand, I have borne a testimony to you, which I do not regard as constituting any claim on your gratitude, but as a frank expression of genuine opinion: for I did not confine myself to a silent admiration of your eminent virtues - who does not admire them? But in all forms of speech, whether in the senate or at the bar; in all kinds of writing, Greek or Latin; in fine, in all the various branches of my literary activity, I proclaimed your superiority not only to contemporaries, but also to those of whom we have heard in history.
You will ask, perhaps, why I place such value on this or that modicum of congratulation or compliment from the senate. I will be frank with you, as our common tastes and mutual good services, our close friendship, nay, the intimacy of our fathers demand. If there ever was anyone by natural inclination, and still more, I think, by reason and reflexion, averse from the empty praise and comments of the vulgar, I am certainly the man. Witness my consulship, in which, as in the rest of my life, I confess that I eagerly pursued the objects capable of producing true glory: mere glory for its own sake I never thought a subject for ambition. Accordingly, I not only passed over a province after the votes for its outfit had been taken, but also with it an almost certain hope of a triumph; and finally the priesthood, though, as I think you will agree with me, I could have obtained it without much difficulty, I did not try to get. Yet after my unjust disgrace - always stigmatized by you as a disaster to the Republic, and rather an honour than a disaster to myself - I was anxious that some very signal marks of the approbation of the senate and Roman people should be put on record. Accordingly, in the first place, I did subsequently wish for the augurship, about which I had not troubled myself before; and the compliment usually paid by the senate in the case of success in war, though passed over by me in old times, I now think an object to be desired. That you should approve and support this wish of mine, in which you may trace a strong desire to heal the wounds inflicted upon me by my disgrace, though I a little while ago declared that I would not ask it, I now do earnestly ask of you: but only on condition that you shall not think my humble services paltry and insignificant, but of such a nature and importance, that many for far less signal successes have obtained the highest honours from the senate. I have, too, I think, noticed this - for you know how attentively I ever listen to you - that in granting or withholding honours you are accustomed to look not so much to the particular achievements as to the character, the principles and conduct of commanders. Well, if you apply this test to my case, you will find that, with a weak army, my strongest support against the threat of a very formidable war has been my equity and purity of conduct. With these as my aids I accomplished what I never could have accomplished by any amount of legions: among the allies I have created the warmest devotion in place of the most extreme alienation; the most complete loyalty in place of the most dangerous disaffection; and their spirits fluttered by the prospect of change I have brought back to feelings of affection for the old rule.
But I have said too much of myself, especially to you, in whom singly the grievances of all our allies alike find a listener. You will learn the truth from those who think themselves restored to life by my administration. And while all with nearly one consent will praise me in your hearing as I most desire to be praised, so will your two chief client states - the island of Cyprus and the kingdom of Cappadocia - have something to say to you about me also. So, too, I think, will Deiotarus, who is attached to you with special warmth. Now, if these things are above the common run, and if in all ages it has been rarer to find men capable of conquering their own desires than capable of conquering an enemy's army, it is quite in harmony with your principles, when you find these rarer and more difficult virtues combined with success in war, to regard that success itself as more complete and glorious.
I have only one last resource - philosophy: and to make her plead for me, as though I doubted the efficacy of a mere request: philosophy, the best friend I have ever had in all my life, the greatest gift which has been bestowed by the gods upon mankind. Yes! this common sympathy in tastes and studies - our inseparable devotion and attachment to which from boyhood have caused us to become almost unique examples of men bringing that true and ancient philosophy (which some regard as only the employment of leisure and idleness) down to the forum, the council chamber, and the very camp itself pleads the cause of my glory with you: and I do not think a Cato can, with a good conscience, say her nay. Wherefore I would have you convince yourself that, if my despatch is made the ground of paying me this compliment with your concurrence, I shall consider that the dearest wish of my heart has been fulfilled owing at once to your influence and to your friendship.
To Atticus (in Epirus) Laodicea, 22 February, 50 B.C.
I Received your letter on the fifth day before the Terminalia (19th of February) at Laodicea. I was delighted to read it, for it teemed with affection, kindness, and an active and obliging temper. I will, therefore, answer it sentence by sentence - for such is your request - and I will not introduce an arrangement of my own, but will follow your order.
You say that the last letter you had of mine was from Cybistra, dated 21st September, and you want to know which of yours I have received. Nearly all you mention, except the one that you say that you delivered to Lentulus' messengers at Equotuticus and Brundisium. Wherefore your industry has not been thrown away, as you fear, but has been exceedingly well laid out, if, that is to say, your object was to give me pleasure. For I have never been more delighted with anything. I am exceedingly glad that you approve of my self restraint in the case of Appius, and of my independence even in the case of Brutus: and I had thought that it might be somewhat otherwise. For Appius, in the course of his journey, had sent me two or three rather querulous letters, because I rescinded some of his decisions. It is exactly as if a doctor, upon a patient having been placed under another doctor, should choose to be angry with the latter if he changed some of his prescriptions. Thus Appius, having treated the province on the system of depletion, bleeding, and removing everything he could, and having handed it over to me in the last state of exhaustion, he cannot bear seeing it treated by me on the nutritive system. Yet he is sometimes angry with me, at other times thanks me; for nothing I ever do is accompanied with any reflexion upon him. It is only the dissimilarity of my system that annoys him. For what could be a more striking difference - under his rule a province drained by charges for maintenance and by losses, under mine, not a penny exacted either from private persons or public bodies? Why speak of his praefecti, staff, and legates? Or even of acts of plunder, licentiousness, and insult? While as things actually are, no private house, by Hercules, is governed with so much system, or on such strict principles, nor is so well disciplined, as is my whole province. Some of Appius' friends put a ridiculous construction on this, holding that I wish for a good reputation to set off his bad one, and act rightly, not for the sake of my own credit, but in order to cast a reflexion upon him. But if Appius, as Brutus' letter forwarded by you indicated, expresses gratitude to me, I am satisfied. Nevertheless, this very day on which I write this, before dawn, I am thinking of rescinding many of his inequitable appointments and decisions.
I now come to Brutus, whose friendship I embraced with all possible earnestness on your advice. I had even begun to feel genuine affection for him - but here I pull myself up short, lest I should offend you: for don't imagine that there is anything I wish more than to fulfil his commissions, or that there is anything about which I have taken more trouble. Now he gave me a volume of commissions, and you had already spoken with me about the same matters. I have pushed them on with the greatest energy. To begin with, I put such pressure on Ariobarzanes, that he paid him the talents which he promised me. As long as the king was with me, the business was in excellent train: later on he began to be pressed by countless agents of Pompey. Now Pompey has by himself more influence than all the rest put together for many reasons, and especially because there is an idea that he is coming to undertake the Parthian war. However, even he has to put up with the following scale of payment: on every thirtieth day thirty-three Attic talents (7,920 pounds), and that raised by special taxes: nor is it sufficient for the monthly interest. But our friend Gnaeus is an easy creditor: he stands out of his capital, is content with the interest, and even that not in full. The king neither pays anyone else, nor is capable of doing so: for he has no treasury, no regular income. He levies taxes after the method of Appius. They scarcely produce enough to satisfy Pompey's interest. The king has two or three very rich friends, but they stick to their own as energetically as you or I. For my part, nevertheless, I do not cease sending letters asking, urging, chiding the king. Deiotarus also has informed me that he has sent emissaries to him on Brutus' business: that they have brought him back word that he has not got the money. And, by Hercules, I believe it is the case; nothing can be stripped cleaner than his kingdom, or be more needy than the king. Accordingly, I am thinking either of renouncing my guardianship, or, as Scaevola did on behalf of Glabrio, of stopping payment altogether - principal and interest alike. However, I have conferred the prefectures which I promised Brutus through you on M. Scaptius and L. Gavius, who were acting as Brutus' agents in the kingdom: for they were not carrying on business in my own province. You will remember that I made that condition, that he might have as many prefectures as he pleased, so long as it was not for a man in business. Accordingly, I have given him two others besides: but the men for whom he asked them had left the province. Now for the case of the Salaminians, which I see came upon you also as a novelty, as it did upon me. For Brutus never told me that the money was his own. Nay, I have his own document containing the words, "The Salaminians owe my friends M. Scaptius and P. Matinius a sum of money." He recommends them to me: he even adds, as though by way of a spur to me, that he has gone surety for them to a large amount. I had succeeded in arranging that they should pay with interest for six years at the rate of twelve per cent., and added yearly to the capital sum. But Scaptius demanded forty-eight per cent. I was afraid, if he got that, you yourself would cease to have any affection for me. For I should have receded from my own edict, and should have utterly ruined a state which was under the protection not only of Cato, but also of Brutus himself, and had been the recipient of favours from myself. When lo and behold! at this very juncture Scaptius comes down upon me w starvation. Accordingly, the first day of my entering my province, Cyprian legates having already visited me at Ephesus, I sent orders for the cavalry to quit the island at once. For these reasons I believe Scaptius has written some unfavourable remarks about me to Brutus. However, my feeling is this: if Brutus holds that I ought to have decided in favour of forty-eight per cent., though throughout my province I have only recognized twelve per cent., and had laid down that rule in my ed ct with the assent even of the most grasping money-lenders; if he complains of my refusal of a prefecture to a man in business, which I refused to our friend Torquatus in the case of your protege Laenius, and to Pompey himself in the case of Sext. Statius, without offending either of them; if, finally, he is annoyed at my recall of the cavalry, I shall indeed feel some distress at his being angry with me, but much greater distress at finding him not to be the man that I had thought him. Thus much Scaptius will own - that he had the opportunity in my court of taking away with him the whole sum allowed by my edict. I will add a fact which I fear you may not approve. The interest ought to have ceased to run (I mean the interest allowed by my edict) but I induced the Salaminians to say nothing about that. They gave in to me, it is true, but what will become of them if Paullus comes here? However, I have granted all this in favour of Brutus, who writes very kind letters to you about me, but to me myself, even when he has a favour to ask, writes usually in a tone of hauteur, arrogance, and offensive superiority. You, however, I hope will write to him on this business in order that I may know how he takes what I have done. For you will tell me. I have, it is true, written you a full and careful account in a former letter, but I wished you clearly to understand that I had not forgotten what you had said to me in one of your letters: that if I brought home from this province nothing else except his good will, I should have done enough. By all means, since you will have it so: but I assume my dealings with him to be without breach of duty on my part. Well, then, by my decree the payment of the money to Statius is good at law: whether that is just you must judge for yourself - I will not appeal even to Cato. But don't think that I have cast your exhortations to the winds: they have sunk deeply into my mind. With tears in your eyes you urged me to be careful of my reputation. Have I ever got a letter from you without the same subject being mentioned? So, then, let who will be angry, I will endure it: "for the right is on my side," especially as I have given six books as bail, so to speak, for my good conduct. I am very glad you like them, though in one point - about Cn. Flavius, son of Annius you question my history. He, it is true, did not live before the decemvirs, for he was curule aedile, an office created many years after the decemvirs. What good did he do, then, by publishing the Fasti? It is supposed that the tablet containing them had been kept concealed up to a certain date, in order that information as to days for doing business might have to be sought from a small coterie. And indeed several of our authorities relate that a scribe named Cn. Flavius published the Fasti and composed forms of pleading - so don't imagine that I, or rather Africanus (for he is the spokesman), invented the fact. So you noticed the remark about the "action of an actor," did you? You suspect a malicious meaning: I wrote in all simplicity.
You say that Philotimus told you about my having been saluted imperator. But I feel sure that, as you are now in Epirus, you have received my own letters on the whole subject, one from Pindenissus after its capture, another from Laodicea, both delivered to your own messengers. On these events, for fear of accidents at sea, I sent a public despatch to Rome in duplicate by two different letter-carriers.
As to my Tullia, I agree with you, and I have written to her and to Terentia giving my consent. For you have already said in a previous letter to me, "and I could wish that you had returned to your old set." There was no occasion to alter the letter you sent by Memmius: for I much prefer to accept this man from Pontidia, than the other from Servilia. Wherefore take our friend Saufeius into council. He was always fond of me, and now I suppose all the more so as he is bound to have accepted Appius' affection for me with the rest of the property he has inherited. Appius often showed how much he valued me, and especially in the trial of Bursa. Indeed you will have relieved me of a serious anxiety.
I don't like Furnius' proviso. For, in fact, there is no state of things that alarms me except just that of which he makes the only exception. But I should have written at great length to you on this subject if you had been at Rome. I don't wonder that you rest all your hope of peace on Pompey: I believe that is the truth, and in my opinion you must strike out your word "insincerity." If my arrangement of topics is somewhat random, blame yourself: for I am following your own haphazard order.
My son and nephew are very fond of each other. They take their lessons and their exercise together; but as Isocrates said of Ephorus and Theopompus, the one wants the rein, the other the spur. I intend giving Quintus the toga virilis on the Liberalia. For his father commissioned me to do so. And I shall observe the day without taking intercalation into account. I am very fond of Dionysius: the boys, however, say that heagets into mad passions. But after all there could not be a man of greater learning, purer character, or more attached to you and me. The praises you hear of Thermus and Silius are thoroughly deserved: they conduct themselves in the most honourable manner. You may say the same of M. Nonius, Bibulus, and myself, if you like. I only wish Scrofa had had an opportunity to do the same: for he is an excellent fellow. The rest don't do much honour to Cato's policy. Many thanks for commending my case to Hortensius. As for Amianus, Dionysius thinks there is no hope. I haven't found a trace of Terentius. Moeragenes has certainly been killed. I made a progress through his district, in which there was not a single living thing left. I didn't know about this, when I spoke to your man Democritus. I have ordered the service of Rhosian ware. But, hallo! what are you thinking of? You generally serve us up a dinner of herbs on fern-pattern plates, and the most sparkling of baskets: what am I to expect you to give on porcelain? I have ordered a horn for Phemius: one will be sure to turn up; I only hope he may play something worthy of it.
There is a threat of a Parthian war. Cassius' despatch was empty brag: that of Bibulus had not arrived: when that is read I think the senate will at length be roused. I am myself in serious anxiety. If, as I hope, my government is not prolonged, I have only June and July to fear. May it be so! Bibulus will keep them in check for two months. What will happen to the man I leave in charge, especially if it is my brother? Or, again, what will happen to me, if I don't leave my province so soon? It is a great nuisance. However, I have agreed with Deiotarus that he should join my camp in full force. He has thirty cohorts of four hundred men apiece, armed in the Roman fashion, and two thousand cavalry. That will be sufficient to hold out till the arrival of Pompey, who in a letter he writes to me indicates that the business will be put in his hands. The Parthians are wintering in a Roman province. Orodes is expected in person. In short, it is a serious matter. As to Bibulus' edict, there is nothing new, except the proviso of which you said in your letter, "that it reflected with excessive severity on our order." I, however, have a proviso in my own edict of equivalent force, but less openly expressed (derived from the Asiatic edict of Q. Mucius, son of Publius) - "provided that the agreement made is not such as cannot hold good in equity." I have followed Scaevola in many points, among others in this - which the Greeks regard as a charta of liberty - that Greeks are to decide controversies between each other according to their own laws. But my edict was shortened by my method of making a division, as I thought it well to publish it under two heads: the first, exclusively applicable to a province, concerned borough accounts, debt, rate of interest, contracts, all regulations also referring to the publicani: the second, including what cannot conveniently be transacted without an edict, related to inheritances, ownership and sale, appointment of receivers, all which are by custom brought into court and settled in accordance with the edict: a third division, embracing the remaining departments of judicial business, I left unwritten. I gave out that in regard to that class of business I should accommodate my decisions to those made at Rome: I accordingly do so, and give general satisfaction. The Greeks, indeed, are jubilant because they have non-Roman jurors. "Yes," you will say, "a very poor kind." What does that matter? They, at any rate, imagine themselves to have obtained "autonomy." You at Rome, I suppose, have men of high character in that capacity - Turpio the shoemaker and Vettius the broker! You seem to wish to know how I treat the publicani. I pet, indulge, compliment, and honour them: I contrive, however, that they oppress no one. The most surprising thing is that even Servilius maintained the rates of usury entered on their contracts. My line is this: I name a day fairly distant, before which, if they have paid, I give out that I shall recognize only twelve per cent: if they have not paid, the rate shall be according to the contract. The result is that the Greeks pay at a reasonable rate of interest, and the publicani are thoroughly satisfied by receiving in full measure what I mentioned complimentary speeches and frequent invitations. Need I say more? They are all on such terms with me that each thinks himself my most intimate friend. However, mNdev aurois - you know the rest.
As to the statue of Africanus - what a mass of confusion! But that was just what interested me in your letter. Do you really mean it? Does the present Metellus Scipio not know that his great-grandfather was never censor? Why, the statue placed at a high elevation in the temple of Ops had no inscription except cens, while on the statue near the Hercules of Polycles there is also the inscription cens, and that this is the statue of the same man is proved by attitude, dress, ring, and the likeness itself. But, by Hercules, when I observed in the group of gilded equestrian statues, placed by the present Metellus on the Capitol, a statue of Africanus with the name of Serapio inscribed under it, I thought it a mistake of the workman. I now see that it is an error of Metellus'. What a shocking historical blunder! For that about Flavius and the Fasti, if it is a blunder, is one shared in by all, and you were quite right to raise the question. I followed the opinion which runs through nearly all historians, as is often the case with Greek writers. For example, do they not all say that Eupolis, the poet of the old comedy, was thrown into the sea by Alcibiades on his voyage to Sicily? Eratosthenes disproves it: for he produces some plays exhibited by him after that date. Is that careful historian, Duris of Samos, laughed out of court because he, in common with many others, made this mistake? Has not, again, every writer affirmed that Zaleucus drew up a constitution for the Locrians? Are we on that account to regard Theophrastus as utterly discredited, because your favourite Timaeus attacked his statement? But not to know that one's own great grandfather was never censor is discreditable, especially as since his consulship no Cornelius was censor in his lifetime.
As to what you say about Philotimus and the payment of the 20,600 sestertia, I hear that Philotimus arrived in the Chersonese about the 1st of January: but as yet I have not had a word from him. The balance due to me Camillus writes me word that he has received; I don't know how much it is, and I am anxious to know. However, we will talk of this later on, and with greater advantage, perhaps, when we meet?
But, my dear Atticus, that sentence almost at the end of your letter gave me great uneasiness. For you say, "What else is there to say?" and then you go on to entreat me in most affectio ate terms not to forget my vigilance, and to keep my eyes on what is going on. Have you heard anything about anyone? I am sure nothing of the sort has taken place. No, no, it can't be! It would never have eluded my notice, nor will it. Yet that reminder of yours, so carefully worded, seems to suggest something.
As to M. Octavius, I hereby again repeat that your answer was excellent: I could have wished it a little more positive still. For Caelius has sent me a freedman and a carefully written letter about some panthers and also a grant from the states. I have written back to say that, as to the latter, I am much vexed if my course of conduct is still obscure, and if it is not known at Rome that not a penny has been exacted from my province except for the payment of debt; and I have explained to him that it is improper both for me to solicit the money and for him to receive it; and I have advised him (for I am really attached to him) that, after prosecuting others, he should be extra-careful as to his own conduct. As to the former request, I have said that it is inconsistent with my character that the people of Cibyra should hunt at the public expense while I am governor.
Lepta jumps for joy at your letter. It is indeed prettily written, and has placed me in a very agreeable light in his eyes. I am much obliged to your little daughter for so earnestly bidding you send me her love. It is very kind of Pilia also; but your daughter's kindness is the greater, because she sends the message to one she has never seen. Therefore pray give my love to both in return. The day on which your letter was dated, the last day of December, reminded me pleasantly of that glorious oath of mine, which I have not forgotten. I was a civilian Magnus on that day.
There's your letter completely answered! Not as you were good enough to ask, with "gold for bronze," but tit for tat. Oh, but here is another little note, which I will not leave unanswered. Lucceius, on my word, could get a good price for his Tusculan property, unless, perchance, his flute-player is a fixture (for that's his way), and I should like to know in what condition it is. Our friend Lentulus, I hear, has advertised everything for sale except his Tusculan property. I should like to see these men cleared of their embarrassments, Cestius also, and you may add Caelius, to all of whom the line applies,
"Ashamed to shrink and yet afraid to take."
I suppose you have heard of Curio's plan for recalling Memmius. Of the debt due from Egnatius of Sidicinum I am not without some hope, though it is a feeble one. Pinarius, whom you recommended to me, is seriously ill, and is being very carefully looked after by Deiotarus. So there's the answer to your note also.
Pray talk to me on paper as frequently as possible while I am at Laodicea, where I shall be up to the 15th of May: and when you reach Athens at any rate send me letter-carriers, for by that time we shall know about the business in the city and the arrangements as to the provinces, the settlement of all which has been fixed for March.
But look here! Have you yet wrung out of Caesar by the agency of Herodes the fifty Attic talents? In that matter you have, I hear, roused great wrath on the part of Pompey. For he thinks that you have snapped up money rightly his, and that Caesar will be no less lavish in his building at the Nemus Dianae.
I was told all this by P. Vedius, a hare-brained fellow enough, but yet an intimate friend of Pompey's. This Vedius came to meet me with two chariots, and a carriage and horses, and a sedan, and a large suite of servants, for which last, if Curio has carried his law, he will have to pay a toll of a hundred sestertii apiece. There was also in a chariot a dog-headed baboon, as well as some wild asses. I never saw a more extravagant fool. But the cream of the whole is this: He stayed at Laodicea with Pompeius Vindullus. There he deposited his properties when coming to see me. Meanwhile Vindullus dies, and his property is supposed to revert to Pompeius Magnus. Gaius Vennonius comes to Vindullus' house: when, while putting a seal on all goods, he comes across the baggage of Vedius. In this are found five small portrait busts of married ladies, among which is one of the wife of your friend - "brute," indeed, to be intimate with such a fellow! and of the wife of Lepidus - as easy-going as his name to take this so calmly! I wanted you to know these historiettes by the way; for we have both a pretty taste in gossip. There is one other thing I should like you to turn over in your mind. I am told that Appius is building a propylaeum at Eleusis. Should I be foolishly vain if I also built one at the Academy? "I think so," you will say. Well, then, write and tell me that that is your opinion. For myself, I am deeply attached to Athens itself. I would like some memorial of myself to exist. I loathe sham inscriptions on statues really representing other people. But settle it as you please, and be kind enough to inform me on what day the Roman mysteries fall, and how you have passed the winter. Take care of your health.
Dated the 765th day since the battle of Leuctra!
M. Porcius Cato to Cicero (in Cilicia) Rome, June, 50 B.C.
I Gladly obey the call of the state and of our friendship, in rejoicing that your virtue, integrity, and energy, already known at home in a most important crisis, when you were a civilian, should be maintained abroad with the same painstaking care now that you have military command. Therefore what I could conscientiously do in setting forth in laudatory terms that the province had been defended by your wisdom; that the kingdom of Ariobarzanes, as well as the king himself, had been preserved; and that the feelings of the allies had been won back to loyalty to our empire - that I have done by speech and vote. That a thanksgiving was decreed I am glad, if you prefer out thanking the gods rather than giving you the credit for a success which has been in no respect left to chance, but has been secured for the Republic by your own eminent prudence and self-control. But if you think a thanksgiving to be a presumption in favour of a triumph, and therefore prefer fortune having the credit rather than yourself, let me remind you that a triumph does not always follow a thanksgiving; and that it is an honour much more brilliant than a triumph for the senate to declare its opinion, that a province has been retained rather by the uprightness and mildness of its governor, than by the strength of an army or the favour of heaven: and that is what I meant to express by my vote. And I write this to you at greater length than I usually do write, because I wish above all things that you should think of me as taking pains to convince you, both that I have wished for you what I believed to be for your highest honour, and am glad that you have got what you preferred to it. Farewell: continue to love me; and by the way you conduct your home-journey, secure to the allies and the Republic the advantages of your integrity and energy.
To M. Porcius Cato (at Rome) Asia, September, 50 B.C.
"Right glad am I to be praised" - says Hector, I think, in Naevius - "by thee, reverend senior, who hast thyself been praised." For certainly praise is sweet that comes from those who themselves have lived in high repute. For myself, there is nothing I should not consider myself to have attained either by the congratulation contained in your letter, or the testimony borne to me in your senatorial speech: and it was at once the highest compliment and the greatest gratification to me, that you willingly conceded to friendship, what you transparently conceded to truth. And if, I don't say all, but if many were Catos in our state - in which it is a matter of wonder that there is even one - what triumphal chariot or laurel should I have compared with praise from you? For in regard to my feelings, and in view of the ideal honesty and subtlety of your judgment, nothing can be more complimentary than the speech of yours, which has been copied for me by my friends. But the reason of my wish, for I will not call it desire, I have explained to you in a former letter. And even if it does not appear to you to be entirely sufficient, it at any rate leads to this conclusion - not that the honour is one to excite excessive desire, but yet is one which, if offered by the senate, ought certainly not to be rejected. Now I hope that that House, considering the labours I have undergone on behalf of the state, will not think me undeserving of an honour, especially one that has become a matter of usage. And if this turns out to be so, all I ask of you is that - to use your own most friendly words - since you have paid me what in your judgment is the highest compliment, you will still "be glad" if I have the good fortune to get what I myself have preferred. For I perceive that you have acted, felt, and written in this sense: and the facts themselves shew that the compliment paid me of a supplicatio was agreeable to you, since your name appears on the decree: for decrees of the senate of this nature are, I am aware, usually drawn out by the warmest friends of the man concerned in the honour. I shall, I hope, soon see you, and may it be in a better state of political affairs than my fears forebode!
To Tiro (at Patrae) Brundisium, 26 November, 50 B.C.
Cicero and his son greet Tiro warmly. We parted from you, as you know, on the 2nd of November. We arrived at Leucas on the 6th of November, on the 7th at Actium. There we were detained till the 8th by a storm. Thence on the 9th we arrived at Corcyra after a charming voyage. At Corcyra we were detained by bad weather till the 15th. On the 16th we continued our voyage to Cassiope, a harbour of Corcyra, a distance of 120 stades. There we were detained by winds until the 22nd. Many of those who in this interval impatiently attempted the crossing suffered shipwreck. On the 22nd, after dinner, we weighed anchor. Thence with a very gentle south wind and a clear sky, in the course of that night and the next day we arrived in high spirits on Italian soil at Hydrus, and with the same wind next day - that is, the 24th of November - at 10 o'clock in the morning we reached Brundisium, and exactly at the same time as ourselves Terentia (who values you very highly) made her entrance into the town. On the 26th, at Brundisium, a slave of Cn. Plancius at length delivered to me the ardently expected letter from you, dated the 13th of November. It greatly lightened my anxiety: would that it had entirely removed it! However, the physician Asclapo positively asserts that you will shortly be well. What need is there for me at this time of day to exhort you to take every means to re-establish your health? I know your good sense, temperate habits, and affection for me: I am sure you will do everything you can to join me as soon as possible. But though I wish this, I would not have you hurry yourself in any way. I could have wished you had shirked Lyso's concert, for fear of incurring a fourth fit of your seven-day fever. But since you have preferred to consult your politeness rather than your health, be careful for the future. I have sent orders to Curius for a douceur to be given to the physician, and that he should advance you whatever you want, engaging to pay the money to any agent he may name. I am leaving a horse and mule for you at Brundisium.
At Rome I fear that the 1st of January will be the beginning of serious disturbances. I shall take a moderate line in all respects. It only remains to beg and entreat you not to set sail rashly - seamen are wont to hurry things for their own profit: be cautious, my dear Tiro: you have a wide and difficult sea before you. If you can, start with Mescinius; he is usually cautious about a sea passage: if not, travel with some man of rank, whose position may give him influence over the ship-owner. If you take every precaution in this matter and present yourself to us safe and sound, I shall want nothing more of you. Good-bye, again and again, dear Tiro! I am writing with the greatest earnestness about you to the physician, to Curius, and to Lyso. Good-bye, and God bless you.
To L. Papirius Paetus (at Naples) Tusculum, July, 46 B.C.
I was charmed with your letter, in which, first of all, what I loved was the tenderness which prompted you to write, in alarm lest Silius should by his news have caused me any anxiety. About this news, not only had you written to me before - in fact twice, one letter being a duplicate of the other - shewing me clearly that you were upset, but I also had answered you in full detail, in order that I might, as far as such a business and such a crisis admitted, free you from your anxiety, or at any rate alleviate it. But since you shew in your last also how anxious you are about that matter - make up your mind to this, my dear Paetus: that whatever could possibly be accomplished by art - for it is not enough nowadays to contend with mere prudence, a sort of system must be elaborated - however, whatever could be done or effected towards winning and securing the good will of those men I have done, and not, I think, in vain. For I receive such attentions, such politenesses from all Caesar's favourites as ma not say or do anything foolish or rash against the men in power: that too, I think, is the part of the wise man. As to the rest - what this or that man may say that I said, or the light in which he views it, or the amount of good faith with which those who continually seek me out and pay me attention may be acting - for these things I cannot be responsible. The result is that I console myself with the consciousness of my uprightness in the past and my moderation in the present, and apply that simile of Accius' not to jealousy, but to fortune, which I hold - as being inconstant and frail - ought to be beaten back by a strong and manly soul, as a wave is by a rock. For, considering that Greek history is full of examples of how the wisest men endured tyrannies either at Athens or Syracuse, when, though their countries were enslaved, they themselves in a certain sense remained free - am I to believe that I cannot so maintain my position as not to hurt anyone's feelings and yet not blast my own character?
I now come to your jests, since as an afterpiece to Accius' Oenomaus, you have brought on the stage, not, as was his wont, an Atellan play, but, according to the present fashion, a mime. What's all this about a pilot fish, a denarius, and a dish of salt fish and cheese? In my old easy-going days I put up with that sort of thing: but times are changed. Hirtius and Dolabella are my pupils in rhetoric, but my masters in the art of dining. For I think you must have heard, if you really get all news, that their practice is to declaim at my house, and mine to dine at theirs. Now it is no use your making an affidavit of insolvency to me: for when you had some property, petty profits used to keep you a little too close to business; but as things are now, seeing that you are losing money so cheerfully, all you have to do, when entertaining me, is to regard yourself as accepting a "composition"; and even that loss is less annoying when it comes from a friend than from a debtor. Yet, after all, I don't require dinners superfluous in quantity: only let what there is be first-rate in quality and recherche. I remember you used to tell me stories of Phamea's dinner. Let yours be earlier, but in other respects like that. But if you persist in bringing me back to a dinner like your mother's, I should put up with that also. For I should like to see the man who had the face to put on the table for me what you describe, or even a polypus looking as red as Iupiter Miniatus. Believe me, you won't dare. Before I arrive the fame of my new magnificence will reach you: and you will be awestruck at it. Yet it is no use building any hope on your hors d'oeuvre. I have quite abolished that: for in old times I found my appetite spoilt by your olives and Lucanian sausages. But why all this talk? Let me only get to you. By all means - for I wish to wipe away all fear from your heart - go back to your old cheese-and-sardine dish. The only expense I shall cause you will be that you will have to have the bath heated. All the rest according to my regular habits. What I have just been saying was all a joke.
As to Selicius' villa, you have managed the business carefully and written most wittily. So I think I won't buy. For there is enough salt and not enough savour.
To L. Papirius Paetus (at Naples) Tusculum, July, 46 B.C.
Being quite at leisure in my Tusculan villa, because I had sent my pupils to meet him, that they might at the same time present me in as favourable a light as possible to their friend, I received your most delightful letter, from which I learnt that you approved my idea of having begun - now that legal proceedings are abolished and my old supremacy in the forum is lost - to keep a kind of school, just as Dionysius, when expelled from Syracuse, is said to have opened a school at Corinth. In short, I too am delighted with the idea, for I secure many advantages. First and foremost, I am strengthening my position in view of the present crisis, and that is of primary importance at this time. How much that amounts to I don't know: I only see that as at present advised I prefer no one's policy to this, unless, of course, it had been better to have died. In one's own bed, I confess it might have been, but that did not occur: and as to the field of battle, I was not there. The rest indeed - Pompey, your friend Lentulus, Afranius - perished ingloriously. But, it may be said, Cato died a noble death. Well, that at any rate is in our power when we will: let us only do our best to prevent its being as necessary to us as it was to him. That is what I am doing. So that is the first thing I had to say. The next is this: I am improving, in the first place in health, which I had lost from giving up all exercise of my lungs. In the second place, my oratorical faculty, such as it was, would have completely dried up, had I not gone back to these exercises. The last thing I have to say, which I rather think you will consider most important of all, is this: I have now demolished more peacocks than you have young pigeons! You there revel in Haterian law sauce, I here in Hirtian hot sauce. Come then, if you are half a man, and learn from me the maxims which you seek: yet it is a case of "a pig teaching Minerva." But it will be my business to see to that: as for you, if you can't find purchasers for your foreclosures and so fill your pot with denarii, back you must come to Rome. It is better to die of indigestion here, than of starvation there. I see you have lost money: I hope these friends of yours have done the same. You are a ruined man if you don't look out. You may possibly get to Rome on the only mule that you say you have left, since you have eaten up your pack horse. Your seat in the school, as second master, will be next to mine: the honour of a cushion will come by and by.
To L. Papirius Paetus (at Naples) Rome, August, 46 B.C.
I was doubly charmed by your letter, first because it made me laugh myself, and secondly because I saw that you could still laugh. Nor did I in the least object to being overwhelmed with your shafts of ridicule, as though I were a light skirmisher in the war of wits. What I am vexed at is that I have not been able, as I intended, to run over to see you: for you would not have had a mere guest, but a brother-in-arms. And such a hero! not the man whom you used to do for by the hors d'oeuvre. I now bring an unimpaired appetite to the egg, and so the fight is maintained right up to the roast veal. The compliments you used to pay me in old times - "What a contented person!" "What an easy guest to entertain!" - are things of the past. All my anxiety about the good of the state, all meditating of speeches to be delivered in the senate, all getting up of briefs I have cast to the winds. I have thrown myself into the camp of my old enemy Epicurus - not, however, with a view to the extravagance of the present day, but to that refined splendour of yours - I mean your old style when you had money to spend (though you never had more landed estate). Therefore prepare! You have to deal with a man, who not only has a large appetite, but who also knows a thing or two. You are aware of the extravagance of your bourgeois gentilhomme. You must forget all your little baskets and your omelettes. I am now so far advanced in the art that I frequently venture to ask your friend Verrius and Camillus to dinner what dandies! how fastidious! But think of my audacity: I even gave Hirtius a dinner, without a peacock however. In that dinner my cook could not imitate him in anything but the hot sauce.
So this is my way of life nowadays: in the morning I receive not only a large number of "loyalists," who, however, look gloomy enough, but also our exultant conquerors here, who in my case are quite prodigal in polite and affectionate attentions. When the stream of morning callers has ebbed, I wrap myself up in my books, either writing or reading. There are also some visitors who listen to my discourses under the belief of my being a man of learning, because I am a trifle more learned than themselves. After that all my time is given to my bodily comfort. I have mourned for my country more deeply and longer than any mother for her only son. But take care, if you love me, to keep your health, lest I should take advantage of your being laid up to eat you out of house and home. For I am resolved not to spare you even when you are ill.
To Aulus Caecina (in Exile) Rome, September, 46 B.C.
I am afraid you may think me remiss in my attentions to you, which, in view of our close union resulting from many mutual services and kindred tastes, ought never to be lacking. In spite of that I fear you do find me wanting in the matter of writing. The fact is, I would have sent you a letter long ago and on frequent occasions, had I not, from expecting day after day to have some better news for you, wished to fill my letter with congratulation rather than with exhortations to courage. As it is, I shall shortly, I hope, have to congratulate you: and so I put off that subject for a letter to another time. But in this letter I think that your courage - which I am told ard hope is not at all shaken - ought to be repeatedly braced by the authority of a man, who, if not the wisest in the world, is yet the most devoted to you: and that not with such words as I should use to console one utterly crushed and bereft of all hope of restoration, but as to one of whose rehabilitation I have no more doubt than I remember that you had of mine. For when those men had driven me from the Republic, who thought that it could not fall while I was on my feet, I remember hearing from many visitors from Asia, in which country you then were, that you were emphatic as to my glorious and rapid restoration. If that system, so to speak, of Tuscan augury which eyes." In this war there was not a single disaster that I did not foretell. Therefore, since, after the manner of augurs and astrologers, I too, as a state augur, have by my previous predictions established the credit of my prophetic power and knowledge of divination in your eyes, my prediction will justly claim to be believed. Well, then, the prophecy I now give you does not rest on the flight of a bird nor the note of a bird of good omen on the left - according to the system of our augural college - nor on the normal and audible pattering of the corn of the sacred chickens. I have other signs to note; and if they are not more infallible than those, yet after all they are less obscure or misleading. Now omens as to the future are observed by me in what I may call a twofold method: the one I deduce from Caesar himself, the other from the nature and complexion of the political situation. Caesar's characteristics are these: a disposition naturally placable and clement - as delineated in your brilliant book of "Grievances" - and a great liking also for superior talent, such as your own. Besides this, he is relenting at the expressed wishes of a large number of your friends, which are well-grounded and inspired by affection, not hollow and self-seeking. Under this head the unanimous feeling of Etruria will have great influence on him.
Why, then - you may ask - have these things as yet had no effect? Why, because he thinks if he grants you yours, he cannot resist the applications of numerous petitioners with whom to all appearance he has juster grounds for anger. "What hope, then," you will say, "from an angry man?" Why, he knows very well that he will draw deep draughts of praise from the same fountain, from which he has been already - though sparingly - bespattered. Lastly, he is a man very acute and farseeing: he knows very well that a man like you - far and away the greatest noble in an important district of Italy, and in the state at large the equal of anyone of your generation, however eminent, whether in ability or popularity or reputation among the Roman people - cannot much longer be debarred from taking part in public affairs. He will be unwilling that you should, as you would sooner or later, have time to thank for this rather than his favour.
So much for Caesar. Now I will speak of the nature of the actual situation. There is no one so bitterly opposed to the cause, which Pompey undertook with better intentions than provisions, as to venture to call us bad citizens or dishonest men. On this head I am always struck with astonishment at Caesar's sobriety, fairness, and wisdom. He never speaks of Pompey except in the most respectful terms. "But," you will say, "in regard to him as a public man his actions have often been bitter enough." Those were acts of war and victory, not of Caesar. But see with what open arms he has received us! Cassius he has made his legate; Brutus governor of Gaul; Sulpicius of Greece; Marcellus, with whom he was more angry than with anyone, he has restored with the utmost consideration for his rank. To what, then, does all this tend? The nature of things and of the political situation will not suffer, nor will any constitutional theory - whether it remain as it is or is changed - permit first, that the civil and personal position of all should not be alike when the merits of their cases are the same; and, secondly, that good men and good citizens of unblemished character should not return to a state, into which so many have returned after having been condemned of atrocious crimes.
That is my prediction. If I had felt any doubt about it I would not have employed it in preference to a consolation which would have easily enabled me to support a man of spirit. It is this: If you had taken up arms for the Republic - for so you then thought - with the full assurance of victory, you would not deserve special commendation. But if, in view of the uncertainty attaching to all wars, you had taken into consideration the possibility of our being beaten, you ought not, while fully prepared to face success, to be yet utterly unable to endure failure. I would have urged also what a consolation the consciousness of your action, what a delightful distraction in adversity, literature ought to be. I would have recalled to your mind the signal disasters not only of men of old times, but of those of our own day also, whether they were your leaders or your comrades. I would even have named many cases of illustrious foreigners: for the recollection of what I may call a common law and of the conditions of human existence softens grief. I would also have explained the nature of our life here in Rome, how bewildering the disorder, how universal the chaos: for it must needs cause less regret to be absent from a state in disruption, than from one well-ordered. But there is no occasion for anything of this sort. I shall soon see you, as I hope, or rather as I clearly perceive, in enjoyment of your civil rights. Meanwhile, to you in your absence, as also to your son who is here - the express image of your soul and person, and a man of unsurpassable firmness and excellence - I have long ere this both promised and tendered practically my zeal, duty, exertions, and labours: all the more so now that Caesar daily receives me with more open arms, while his intimate friends distinguish me above everyone. Any influence or favour I may gain with him I will employ in your service. Be sure, for your part, to support yourself not only with courage, but also with the brightest hopes.
Servius Sulpicius to Cicero (at Astura) Athens, March, 45 B.C.
When I received the news of your daughter Tullia's death, I was indeed as much grieved and distressed as I was bound to be, and looked upon it as a calamity in which I shared. For, if I had been at home, I should not have failed to be at your side, and should have made my sorrow plain to you face to face. That kind of consolation involves much distress and pain, because the relations and friends, whose part it is to offer it, are themselves overcome by an equal sorrow. They cannot attempt it without many tears, so that they seem to require consolation themselves rather than to be able to afford it to others. Still I have decided to set down briefly for your benefit such thoughts as have occurred to my mind, not because I suppose them to be unknown to you, but because your sorrow may perhaps hinder you from being so keenly alive to them.
Why is it that a private grief should agitate you so deeply? Think how fortune has hitherto dealt with us. Reflect that we have had snatched from us what ought to be no less dear to human beings than their children - country, honour, rank, every political distinction. What additional wound to your feelings could be inflicted by this particular loss? Or where is the heart that should not by this time have lost all sensibility and learned to regard everything else as of minor importance? Is it on her account, pray, that you sorrow? How many times have you recurred to the thought - and I have often been struck with the same idea - that in times like these theirs is far from being the worst fate to whom it has been granted to exchange life for a painless death? Now what was there at such an epoch that could greatly tempt her to live? What scope, what hope, what heart's solace? That she might spend her life with some young and distinguished husband? How impossible for a man of your rank to select from the present generation of young men a son-in-law, to whose honour you might think yourself safe in trusting your child! Was it that she might bear children to cheer her with the sight of their vigorous youth? who might by their own character maintain the position handed down to them by their parent, might be expected to stand for the offices in their order, might exercise their freedom in supporting their friends? What single one of these prospects has not been taken away before it was given? But, it will be said, after all it is an evil to lose one's children. Yes, it is: only it is a worse one to endure and submit to the present state of things.
I wish to mention to you a circumstance which gave me no common consolation, on the chance of its also proving capable of diminishing your sorrow. On my voyage from Asia, as I was sailing from Aegina towards Megara, I began to survey the localities that were on every side of me. Behind me was Aegina, in front Megara, on my right Piraeus, on my left Corinth: towns which at one time were most flourishing, but now lay before my eyes in ruin and decay. I began to reflect to myself thus: "Hah! do we mannikins feel rebellious if one of us perishes or is killed - we whose life ought to be still shorter - when the corpses of so many towns lie in helpless ruin? Will you please, Servius, restrain yourself and recollect that you are born a mortal man?" Believe me, I was no little strengthened by that reflexion. Now take the trouble, if you agree with me, to put this thought before your eyes. Not long ago all those most illustrious men perished at one blow: the empire of the Roman people suffered that huge loss: all the provinces were shaken to their foundations. If you have become the poorer by the frail spirit of one poor girl, are you agitated thus violently? If she had not died now, she would yet have had to die a few years hence, for she was mortal born. You, too, withdraw soul and thought from such things, and rather remember those which become the part you have played in life: that she lived as long as life had anything to give her; that her life outlasted that of the Republic; that she lived to see you - her own father - praetor, consul, and augur; that she married young men of the highest rank; that she had enjoyed nearly every possible blessing; that, when the Republic fell, she departed from life. What fault have you or she to find with fortune on this score? In fine, do not forget that you are Cicero, and a man accustomed to instruct and advise others; and do not imitate bad physicians, who in the diseases of others profess to understand the art of healing, but are unable to prescribe for themselves. Rather suggest to yourself and bring home to your own mind the very maxims which you are accustomed to impress upon others. There is no sorrow beyond the power of time at length to diminish and soften: it is a reflexion on you that you should wait for this period, and not rather anticipate that result by the aid of your wisdom. But if there is any consciousness still existing in the world below, such was her love for you and her dutiful affection for all her family, that she certainly does not wish you to act as you are acting. Grant this to her - your lost one! Grant it to your friends and comrades who mourn with you in your sorrow! Grant it to your country, that if the need arises she may have the use of your services and advice.
Finally - since we are reduced by fortune to the necessity of taking precautions on this point also - do not allow anyone to think that you are not mourning so much for your daughter as for the state of public affairs and the victory of others. I am ashamed to say any more to you on this subject, lest I should appear to distrust your wisdom. Therefore I will only make one suggestion before bringing my letter to an end. We have seen you on many occasions bear good fortune with a noble dignity which greatly enhanced your fame: now is the time for you to convince us that you are able to bear bad fortune equally well, and that it does not appear to you to be a heavier burden than you ought to think it. I would not have this be the only one of all the virtues that you do not possess.
As far as I am concerned, when I learn that your mind is more composed, I will write you an account of what is going on here, and of the condition of the province. Good-bye.
To Servius Sulpicius Rufus (In Achaia) Ficulea, April, 45 B.C.
Yes, indeed, my dear Servius, I would have wished - as you say - that you had been by my side at the time of my grievous loss. How much help your presence might have given me, both by consolation and by your taking an almost equal share in my sorrow, I can easily gather from the fact that after reading your letter I experienced a great feeling of relief. For not only was what you wrote calculated to soothe a mourner, but in offering me consolation you manifested no slight sorrow of heart yourself. Yet, after all, your son Servius by all the kindnesses of which such a time admitted made it evident, both how much he personally valued me, and how gratifying to you he thought such affection for me would be. His kind offices have of course often been pleasanter to me, yet never more acceptable. For myself again, it is not only your words and (I had almost said) your partnership in my sorrow that consoles me, it is your character also. For I think it a disgrace that I should not bear my loss as you - a man of such wisdom - think it should be borne. But at times I am taken by surprise and scarcely offer any resistance to my grief, because those consolations fail me, which were not wanting in a similar misfortune to those others, whose examples I put before my eyes. For instance, Quintus Maximus, who lost a son who had been consul and was of illustrious character and brilliant achievements, and Lucius Paullus, who lost two within seven days, and your kinsman Gallus and M. Cato, who each lost a son of the highest character and valour - all lived in circumstances which permitted their own great position, earned by their public services, to assuage their grief. In my case, after losing the honours which you yourself mention, and which I had gained by the greatest possible exertions, there was only that one solace left which has now been torn away. My sad musings were not interrupted by the business of my friends, nor by the management of public affairs: there was nothing I cared to do in the forum: I could not bear the sight of the senate-house; I thought - as was the fact - that I had lost all the fruits both of my industry and of fortune. But while I thought that I shared these losses with you and certain others, and while I was conquering my feelings and forcing myself to bear them with patience I had a refuge, one bosom where I could find repose, one in whose conversation and sweetness I could lay aside all anxieties and sorrows. But now, after such a crushing blow as this, the wounds which seemed to have healed break out afresh. For there is no republic now to offer me a refuge and a consolation by its good fortunes when I leave my home in sorrow, as there once was a home to receive me when I returned saddened by the state of public affairs. Hence I absent myself both from home and forum, because home can no longer console the sorrow which public affairs cause me, nor public affairs that which I suffer at home. All the more I look forward to your coming, and long to see you as soon as possible. No reasoning can give me greater solace than a renewal of our intercourse and conversation. However, I hope your arrival is approaching, for that is what I am told. For myself, while I have many reasons for wishing to see you as soon as possible, there is this one especially - that we may discuss beforehand on what principles we should live through this period of entire submission to the will of one man who is at once wise and liberal, far, as I think I perceive, from being hostile to me, and very friendly to you. But though that is so, yet it is a matter for serious thought what plans, I don't say of action, but of passing a quiet life by his leave and kindness, we should adopt. Good-bye.
To Atticus (at Rome) Puteoli, 21 December, 45 B.C.
Well, I have no reason after all to repent my formidable guest! For he made himself exceedingly pleasant. But on his arrival at the villa of Philippus on the evening of the second day of the Saturnalia, the villa was so choke-full of soldiers that there was scarcely a dining-room left for Caesar himself to dine in. Two thousand men, if you please! I was in a great taking as to what was to happen the next day; and so Cassius Barba came to my aid and gave me guards. A camp was pitched in the open, the villa was put in a state of defence. He stayed with Philippus on the third day of the Saturnalia till one o'clock, without admitting anyone. He was engaged on his accounts, I think, with Balbus. Then he took a walk on the beach. After two he went to the bath. Then he heard about Mamurra without changing countenance. He was anointed: took his place at the table. He was under a course of emetics, and so ate and drank without scruple and as suited his taste. It was a very good dinner, and well served, and not only so, but
"Well-cooked, well-seasoned food, with rare discourse: A banquet in a word to cheer the heart."
Besides this, the staff were entertained in three rooms in a very liberal style. The freedmen of lower rank and the slaves had everything they could want. But the upper sort had a really recherche dinner. In fact, I shewed that I was somebody. However, he is not a guest to whom one would say, "Pray look me up again on your way back." Once is enough. We didn't say a word about politics. There was plenty of literary talk. In short, he was pleased and enjoyed himself. He said he should stay one day at Puteoli, another at Baiae. That's the story of the entertainment, or I might call it the billeting on me - trying to the temper, but not seriously inconvenient. I am staying on here for a short time and then go to Tusculum. When he was passing Dolabella's villa, the whole guard formed up on the right and left of his horse, and nowhere else. This I was told by Nicias.
To Atticus (at Rome) Matius' Suburban Villa, 7 April, 44 B.C.
I have come on a visit to the man, of whom I was talking to you this morning. His view is that "the state of things is perfectly shocking: that there is no way out of the imbroglio. For if a man of Caesar's genius failed, who can hope to succeed?" In short, he says that the ruin is complete. I am not sure that he is wrong; but then he rejoices in it, and declares that within twenty days there will be a rising in Gaul: that he has not had any conversation with anyone except Lepidus since the Ides of March: finally that these things can't pass off like this. What a wise man Oppius is, who regrets Caesar quite as much, but yet says nothing that can offend any loyalist! But enough of this. Pray don't be idle about writing me word of anything new, for I expect a great deal. Among other things, whether we can rely on Sextus Pompeius; but above all about our friend Brutus, of whom my host says that Caesar was in the habit of remarking: "It is of great importance what that man wishes; at any rate, whatever he wishes he wishes strongly": and that he noticed, when he was pleading for Deiotarus at Nicaea, that he seemed to speak with great spirit and freedom. Also - for I like to jot down things as they occur to me - that when on the request of Sestius I went to Caesar's house, and was sitting waiting till I was called in, he remarked: "Can I doubt that I am exceedingly disliked, when Marcus Cicero has to sit waiting and cannot see me at his own convenience? And yet if there is a good-natured man in the world it is he; still I feel no doubt that he heartily dislikes me." This and a good deal of the same sort. But to my purpose: Whatever the news, small as well as great, write and tell me of it. I will on my side let nothing pass.
To Atticus (at Rome) Astura, 11 June, 44 B.C.
At length a letter-carrier from my son! And, by Hercules, a letter elegantly expressed, shewing in itself some progress. Others also give me excellent reports of him. Leonides, however, still sticks to his favourite "at present." But Herodes speaks in the highest terms of him. In short, I am glad even to be deceived in this matter, and am not sorry to be credulous. Pray let me know if Statius has written to you anything of importance to me.
To Atticus (at Rome) Astura, 13 June, 44 B.C.
Confound Lucius Antonius, if he makes himself troublesome to the Buthrotians! I have drawn out a deposition which shall be signed and sealed whenever you please. As for the money of the Arpinates, if the aedile L. Fadius asks for it, pay him back every farthing. In a previous letter I mentioned to you a sum of 110 sestertia to be paid to Statius. If, then, Fadius applies for the money, I wish it paid to him, and to no one except Fadius I think that amount was put into my hands, and I have written to Eros to produce it.
I can't stand the Queen: and the voucher for her promises, Hammonius, knows that I have good cause for saying so. What she promised, indeed, were all things of the learned sort and suitable to my character - such as I could avow even in a public meeting. As for Sara, besides finding him to be an unprincipled rascal, I also found him inclined to give himself airs to me. I only saw him once at my house. And when I asked him politely what I could do for him, he said that he had come in hopes of finding Atticus. The Queen's insolence, too, when she was living in Caesar's trans-Tiberine villa, I cannot recall without a pang. I won't have anything to do therefore with that lot. They think not so much that I have no spirit, as that I have scarcely any proper pride at all. My leaving Italy is hindered by Eros' way of doing business. For whereas from the balances struck by him on the 5th of April I ought to be well off, I am obliged to borrow, while the receipts from those paying properties of mine I think have been put aside for building the shrine. But I have charged Tiro to see to all this, whom I am sending to Rome for the express purpose.
I did not wish to add to your existing embarrassments. The steadier the conduct of my son, the more I am vexed at his being hampered. For he never mentioned the subject to me - the first person to whom he should have done so. But he said in a letter to Tiro that he had received nothing since the 1st of April - for that was the end of his financial year. Now I know that your own kind feeling always caused you to be of opinion that he ought to be treated not only with liberality, but with splendour and generosity, and that you also considered that to be due to my position. Wherefore pray see - I would not have troubled you if I could have done it through anyone else - that he has a bill of exchange at Athens for his year's allowance. Eros will pay you the money. I am sending Tiro on that business. Pray therefore see to it, and write and tell me any idea you may have on the subject.
To C. Trebatius Testa (at Rome) (?) Tusculum, June, 44 B.C.
You jeered at me yesterday amidst our cups, for having said that it was a disputed point whether an heir could lawfully prosecute on an embezzlement which had been committed before he became the owner. Accordingly, though I returned home full of wine and late in the evening, I marked the section in which that question is treated and caused it to be copied out and sent to you. I wanted to convince you that the doctrine which you said was held by no one was maintained by Sextus Aelius, Manius Manilius, Marcus Brutus. Nevertheless, I concur with Scaevola and Testa.
M. Cicero (the Younger) to Tiro Athens, August, 44 B.C.
After I had been anxiously expecting letter-carriers day after day, at length they arrived forty-six days after they left you. Their arrival was most welcome to me: for while I took the greatest possible pleasure in the letter of the kindest and most beloved of fathers, still your most delightful letter put a finishing stroke to my joy. So I no longer repent of having suspended writing for a time, but am rather rejoiced at it; for I have reaped a great reward in your kindness from my pen having been silent. I am therefore exceedingly glad that you have unhesitatingly accepted my excuse. I am sure, dearest Tiro, that the reports about me which reach you answer your best wishes and hopes. I will make them good, and will do my best that this belief in me, which day by day becomes more and more en evidence, shall be doubled. Wherefore you may with confidence and assurance fulfil your promise of being the trumpeter of my reputation. For the errors of my youth have caused me so much remorse and suffering, that not only does my heart shrink from what I did, my very ears abhor the mention of it. And of this anguish and sorrow I know and am assured that you have taken your share. And I don't wonder at it! for while you wished me all success for my sake, you did so also for your own; for I have ever meant you to be my partner in all my good fortunes. Since, therefore, you have suffered sorrow through me, I will now take care that through me your joy shall be doubled. Let me assure you that my very close attachment to Cratippus is that of a son rather than a pupil: for though I enjoy his lectures, I am also specially charmed with his delightful manners. I spend whole days with him, and often part of the night: for I induce him to dine with me as often as possible. This intimacy having been established, he often drops in upon us unexpectedly while we are at dinner, and, laying aside the stiff airs of a philosopher, joins in our jests with the greatest possible freedom. He is such a man - so delightful, so distinguished - that you should take pains to make his acquaintance at the earliest possible opportunity. I need hardly mention Bruttius, whom I never allow to leave my side. He is a man of a strict and moral life, as well as being the most delightful company. For in him fun is not divorced from literature and the daily philosophical inquiries which we make in common. I have hired a residence next door to him, and as far as I can with my poor pittance I subsidize his narrow means. Furthermore, I have begun practising declamation in Greek with Cassius; in Latin I like having my practice with Bruttius. My intimate friends and daily company are those whom Cratippus brought with him from Mitylene - good scholars, of whom he has the highest opinion. I also see a great deal of Epicrates, the leading man at Athens, and Leonides, and other men of that sort. So now you know how I am going on.
You remark in your letter on the character of Gorgias. The fact is, I found him very useful in my daily practice of declamation; but I subordinated everything to obeying my father's injunctions, for he had written ordering me to give him up at once. I wouldn't shilly-shally about the business, for fear my making a fuss should cause my father to harbour some suspicion. Moreover, it occurred to me that it would be offensive for me to express an opinion on a decision of my father's. However, your interest and advice are welcome and acceptable. Your apology for lack of time I quite accept; for I know how busy you always are. I am very glad that you have bought an estate, and you have my best wishes for the success of your purchase. Don't be surprised at my congratulations coming in at this point in my letter, for it was at the corresponding point in yours that you told me of your purchase. Your are a man of property! You must drop your city manners: you have become a Roman country-gentleman. How clearly I have your dearest face before my eyes at this moment! For I seem to see you buying things for the farm, talking to your bailiff, saving the seeds at dessert in the corner of your cloak. But as to the matter of money, I am as sorry as you that I was not on the spot to help you. But do not doubt, my dear Tiro, of my assisting you in the future, if fortune does but stand by me; especially as I know that this estate has been purchased for our joint advantage. As to my commissions about which you are taking trouble - many thanks! But I beg you to send me a secretary at the earliest opportunity - if possible a Greek; for he will save me a great deal of trouble in copying out notes. Above all, take care of your health, that we may have some literary talk together hereafter. I commend Anteros to you.
Quintus Cicero to Tiro (Time and Place Uncertain)
I have castigated you, at least with the silent reproach of my thoughts, because this is the second packet that has arrived without a letter from you. You cannot escape the penalty for this crime by your own advocacy: you will have to call Marcus to your aid, and don't be too sure that even he, though he should compose a speech after long study and a great expenditure of midnight oil, would be able to establish your innocence. In plain terms, I beg you to do as I remember my mother used to do. It was her custom to put a seal on wine - jars even when empty to prevent any being labelled empty that had been surreptitiously drained. In the same way, I beg you, even if you have nothing to write about, to write all the same, lest you be thought to have sought a cover for idleness: for I always find the news in your letters trustworthy and welcome. Love me, and good-bye.
To M. Iunius Brutus (in Macedonia) Rome, Middle of July, 43 B.C.
You have Messalla with you. What letter, therefore, can I write with such minute care as to enable me to explain to you what is being done and what is occurring in public affairs, more thoroughly than he will describe them to you, who has at once the most intimate knowledge of everything, and the talent for unfolding and conveying it to you in the best possible manner? For beware of thinking, Brutus - for though it is unnecessary for me to write to you what you know already, yet I cannot pass over in silence such eminence in every kind of greatness - beware of thinking, I say, that he has any parallel in honesty and firmness, care and zeal for the Republic. So much so that in him eloquence - in which he is extraordinarily eminent - scarcely seems to offer any opportunity for praise. Yet in this accomplishment itself his wisdom is made more evident; with such excellent judgment and with so much acuteness has he practised himself in the most genuine style of rhetoric. Such also is his industry, and so great the amount of midnight labour that he bestows on this study, that the chief thanks would not seem to be due to natural genius, great as it is in his case. But my affection carries me away: for it is not the purpose of this letter to praise Messalla, especially to Brutus, to whom his excellence is not less known than it is to me, and these particular accomplishments of his which I am praising even better. Grieved as I was to let him go from my side, my one consolation was that in going to you who are to me a second self, he was performing a duty and following the path of the truest glory. But enough of this. I now come, after a long interval of time, to a certain letter of yours, in which, while paying me many compliments, you find one fault with me - that I was excessive and, as it were, extravagant in proposing votes of honour. That is your criticism: another's, perhaps, might be that I was too stern in inflicting punishment and exacting penalties, unless by chance you blame me for both. If that is so, I desire that my principle in both these things should be very clearly known to you. And I do not rely solely on the dictum of Solon, who was at once the wisest of the Seven and the only lawgiver among them. He said that a state was kept together by two things - reward and punishment. Of course there is a certain moderation to be observed in both, as in everything else, and what we may call a golden mean in both these things. But I have no intention to dilate on such an important subject in this place.
But what has been my aim during this war in the motions I have made in the senate I think it will not be out of place to explain. After the death of Caesar and your ever memorable Ides of March, Brutus, you have not forgotten what I said had been omitted by you and your colleagues, and what a heavy cloud I declared to be hanging over the Republic. A great pest had been removed by your means, a great blot on the Roman people wiped out, immense glory in truth acquired by yourselves: but an engine for exercising kingly power had been put into the hands of Lepidus and Antony, of whom the former was the more fickle of the two, the latter the more corrupt, but both of whom dreaded peace and were enemies to quiet. Against these men, inflamed with the ambition of revolutionizing the state, we had no protecting force to oppose. For the fact of the matter was this: the state had become roused as one man to maintain its liberty; I at the time was even excessively warlike; you, perhaps with more wisdom, quitted the city which you had liberated, and when Italy offered you her services declined them. Accordingly, when I saw the city in the possession of parricides, and that neither you nor Cassius could remain in it with safety, and that it was held down by Antony's armed guards, I thought that I too ought to leave it: for a city held down by traitors, with all opportunity of giving aid cut off, was a shocking spectacle. But the same spirit as always had animated me, staunch to the love of country, did not admit the thought of a departure from its dangers. Accordingly, in the very midst of my voyage to Achaia, when in the period of the Etesian gales a south wind - as though remonstrating against my design - had brought me back to Italy, I saw you at Velia and was much distressed: for you were on the point of leaving the country, Brutus - leaving it, I say, for our friends the Stoics deny that wise men ever "flee." As soon as I reached Rome I at once threw myself in opposition to Antony's treason and insane policy: and having roused his wrath against me, I began entering upon a policy truly Brutus-like - for this is the distinctive mark of your family - that of freeing my country. The rest of the story is too long to tell, and must be passed over by me, for it is about myself. I will only say this much: that this young Caesar, thanks to whom we still exist, if we would confess the truth, was a stream from the fountainhead of my policy. To him I voted honours, none indeed, Brutus, that were not his due, none that were not inevitable. For directly we began the recovery of liberty, when the divine excellence of even Decimus Brutus had not yet bestirred itself sufficiently to give us an indication of the truth, and when our sole protection depended on the boy who had shaken Antony from our shoulders, what honour was there that he did not deserve to have decreed to him? However, all I then proposed for him was a complimentary vote of thanks, and that too expressed with moderation. I also proposed a decree conferring imperium on him, which, although it seemed too great a compliment for one of his age, was yet necessary for one commanding an army - for what is an army without a commander with imperium? Philippus proposed a statue; Servius at first proposed a licence to stand for office before the regular time. Servilius afterwards proposed that the time should be still farther curtailed. At that time nothing was thought too good for him.
But somehow men are more easily found who are liberal at a time of alarm, than grateful when victory has been won. For when that most joyful day of Decimus Brutus' relief from blockade had dawned on the Republic and happened also to be his birthday, I proposed that the name of Brutus should be entered in the fasti under that date. And in that I followed the example of our ancestors, who paid this honour to the woman Laurentia, at whose altar in the Velabrum you pontiffs are accustomed to offer service. And when I proposed this honour to Brutus I wished that there should be in the fasti an eternal memorial of a most welcome victory: and yet on that very day I discovered that the ill-disposed in the senate were somewhat in a majority over the grateful. In the course of those same days I lavished honours - if you like that word - upon the dead Hirtius, Pansa, and even Aquila. And who has any fault to find with that, unless he be one who, no sooner an alarm is over, forgets the past danger? There was added to this grateful memorial of a benefit received some consideration of what would be for the good of posterity also; for I wished that there should exist some perpetual record of the popular execration of our most ruthless enemies. I suspect that the next step does not meet with your approbation. It was disapproved by your friends, who are indeed most excellent citizens, but inexperienced in public business. I mean my proposing an ovation for Caesar. For myself, however - though I am perhaps wrong, and I am not a man who believes his own way necessarily right I think that in the course of this war I never took a more prudent step. The reason for this I must not reveal, lest I should seem to have a sense of favours to come rather than to be grateful for those received. I have said too much already: let us look at other points. I proposed honours to Decimus Brutus, and also to Lucius Plancus. Those indeed are noble spirits whose spur to action is glory: but the senate also is wise to avail itself of any means provided that they are honourable - by which it thinks that a particular man can be induced to support the Republic. But - you say - I am blamed in regard to Lepidus: for, having placed his statue on the rostra, I also voted for its removal. I tried by paying him a compliment to recall him from his insane policy. The infatuation of that most unstable of men rendered my prudence futile. Yet all the same more good was done by demolishing the statue of Lepidus, than harm by putting it up.
Enough about honours; now I must say a few words about penalties. For I have gathered from frequent expressions in your letters that in regard to those whom you have conquered in war, you desire that your clemency should be praised. I hold, indeed, that you do and say nothing but what becomes a philosopher. But to omit the punishment of a crime - for that is what "pardoning" amounts to - even if it is endurable in other cases, is mischievous in a war like this. For there has been no civil war, of all that have occurred in the state within my memory, in which there was not certain to be some form of constitution remaining, whichever of the two sides prevailed. In this war, if we are victorious, I should not find it easy to affirm what kind of constitution we are likely to have; if we are conquered, there will certainly never be any. I therefore proposed severe measures against Antony, and severe ones also against Lepidus, and not so much out of revenge as in order that I might for the present prevent unprincipled men by this terror from attacking their country, and might for the future establish a warning for all who were minded to imitate their infatuation.
However, this proposal was not mine more than it was everybody's. The point in it which had the appearance of cruelty was that the penalty extended to the children who did not deserve any. But that is a thing of long standing and characteristic of all states. For instance, the children of Themistocles were in poverty. And if the same penalty attaches to citizens legally condemned in court, how could we be more indulgent to public enemies? What, moreover, can anyone say against me when he must confess that, had that man conquered, he would have been still more revengeful towards me?
Here you have the principles which dictated my senatorial proposals, at any rate in regard to this class of honours and penalties. For, in regard to other matters, I think you have been told what opinions I have expressed and what votes I have given. But all this is not so very pressing. What is really pressing, Brutus, is that you should come to Italy with your army as soon as possible. There is the greatest anxiety for your arrival. Directly you reach Italy all classes will flock to you. For if we win the victory - and we had in fact won a most glorious one, only that Lepidus set his heart on ruining everything and perishing himself with all his friends - there will be need of your counsel in establishing some form of constitution. And even if there is still some fighting left to be done, our greatest hope is both in your personal influence and in the material strength of your army. But make haste, in God's name! You know the importhnce of seizing the right moment, and of rapidity. What pains I am taking in the interests of your sister's children, I hope you know from the letters of your mother and sister. In undertaking their cause I shew more regard to your affection, which is very precious to me, than, as some think, to my own consistency. But there is nothing in which I more wish to be and to seem consistent than in loving you.
End of Cicero Selected Letters
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