The matter of Caesar’s candidature for the consulship in absentia, while retaining his provinces and legions, causes a crisis towards the end of the year.
The matter of Caesar’s candidature for the consulship in absentia, while retaining his provinces and legions, causes a crisis towards the end of the year.
The Senate refuses Caesar’s candidature in absentia for the year 48 and orders him to surrender his provinces at a fixed date and to return to
On which Caesar crosses the Rubicon near
Acc. to Plut.Pomp. Caesar would have said in Greek on this occasion:
”Anerriphtho kubos” In Latin, “Alea iacta est” In English
“The die is cast”.
The letters of
These letters are in the public domain.
In this year the Civil War began in earnest as soon as Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Directly the news arrived Pompey left
CCCIII (A VII. II)
What in the world does it mean? What is going on? I am quite in the dark.
"We are in occupation of Cingulum," says some one; "we have lost
How can there be any "honour" where there is no moral right? Can it be morally right to have an army without commission from the state? To seize cities inhabited by one's fellow citizens, as a means of attacking one's own country? To be contriving abolition of debts, restoration of exiles, hundreds of other crimes “For royalty, the first of things divine?” Let him keep his fortune, and welcome! By heaven, I would rather have one hour of basking in your free sun than all the royalties of that kind in the world, or rather I would die a thousand times sooner than once take an idea of that sort into my mind: "What if you should take the fancy?" say you.
Well, everyone's wishes are free: but I regard the mere wish as a greater misfortune than the cross. There is one greater misfortune still - to attain such a wish.But enough of this.
It is a kind of relief to philosophize thus much in the midst of such troubles.
To return to our friend. In the name of fortune, what do you think of Pompey's plan? I mean in abandoning the city? For I am at a loss to explain it. Nothing, again, could be more irrational. Do you mean to abandon the city? Then you would have done the same if the Gauls were upon us. "The Republic," says he, "does not depend on brick and mortar." No, but it does depend on altars and hearths. "Themistocles did the same." Yes, for one city was incapable of resisting the flood of the whole East.
But Pericles did not so act, about fifty years afterwards, for he abandoned everything except the walls. Our own country men in the old times held the citadel, though the rest of the city was taken:
“Such deeds of fame - so poets told-
Our fathers wrought in days of old.”
”On the other hand, I gather from the indignation aroused in the municipia, and the conversation of those whom I meet, that this plan is likely to prove successful in a way. There is an extraordinary outcry - I don't know what people are saying with you, but pray let me know - at the city being without magistrates or senate.
Our fathers wrought in days of old.”
”On the other hand, I gather from the indignation aroused in the municipia, and the conversation of those whom I meet, that this plan is likely to prove successful in a way. There is an extraordinary outcry - I don't know what people are saying with you, but pray let me know - at the city being without magistrates or senate.
In fact, there is a wonderfully strong feeling at Pompey's being in flight.Indeed, the point of view is quite changed: people are now for making no concessions to Caesar. Expound to me what all this means. My department is a very quiet one. For Pompey wishes me to be a kind of "president" of the whole of this Campanian seacoast, to superintend the levy, and hold the chief command. Accordingly, I meditate being continually on the move. I think you must see by this time what Caesar's aim, what the disposition of the people, and the general position of affairs are. Pray write and tell me about them, and that, too, as often as possible, since they are continually shifting. For I find relief both in writing to you and in reading your letters.
CCCIV (A VII. 12)
As yet I have received only one letter from you dated the 19th, and in it you indicated that you had written another, which I have not received. But I beg you to write as often as possible, not only whatever you know or have been told, but also what you suspect, and above all what you think I ought to do or not to do. You ask me to be sure to let you know what Pompey is doing: I don't think he knows himself, certainly none of us do. I saw the consul Lentulus at Formiae on the 21st; I have seen Libo. Nothing but terror and uncertainty everywhere! Pompey is on the road to Larinum; for there are some cohorts there, as also at Luceria and Teanum, and in the rest of
Manius Lepidus, for his part - for we have been together - draws the line at that, and so does L. Torquatus I am hampered, among many other things, by my lictors: I have never seen such a hopeless entanglement. Accordingly, I don't expect anything positive from you, but merely your present impression. In fact, I want to know what the precise difficulty in your mind is. It is all but certain that Labienus2 has abandoned him. If it could only have been possible that on coming to Rome Labienus had found magistrates and a senate there, he would have been of eminent service to our cause. For it would have been clear that loyalty to the Republic had caused him to hold one who was his friend guilty of treason. This is clear even now, but of less practical advantage: for there is no one to be of advantage to, and I expect him to feel some dissatisfaction - unless perchance it is not true, after all, that he has abandoned Caesar. For myself; I am convinced that it is true. Pray, though you say you confine yourself to the limits of your own house, do give me a sketch of the City.
Is Pompey missed? Is there any appearance of a feeling against Caesar? What, too, is your opinion as to Terentia and Tullia? Should they stay at2] T. Atius Labienus had been Caesar's legatus in
or join me, or seek some place of safety? On this, and indeed on any other
point, pray write to me, or rather keep on writing. Rome
1] Cruelty like that of the tyrant Phalaris.
1] Cruelty like that of the tyrant Phalaris.
CVI (A VII.
MINTURNAE, 23 JANUARY 49 B.C.
As to the business of Vennonius, I agree with you. Labienus I regard as a "demigod."
There has been no political stroke this long time past more brilliant. If he has done no other good, he has at least given him pain. But as a matter of fact, I do think that some good has been done to the cause. I am charmed also with Piso, whose judgment on his son-in-law I think will have weight. But you perceive the nature of the war. It is only a civil war in the sense that it has originated from the unscrupulous boldness of one unprincipled citizen, not as arising from a division of sentiment between the citizens generally. But that man is strong in the possession of an army, he commands the allegiance of many by the prospects he holds out and the promises he makes: nothing that anyone possesses is beyond the scope of his desires. To such a man as this the city has been abandoned, without any garrison to protect it, crammed with every kind of wealth. What would you not have to fear from the man who regards those temples and roofs, not as constituting his fatherland? but as objects for plunder? What his proceedings are going to be, and how they are to be put into any shape, without senate and without magistrates, I cannot tell. He will not be able to keep up even a pretence of constitutional action. For us, however-where shall we be able to raise our heads or when? How utterly incapable our general is you yourself observe, in having had no intelligence of the state of affairs even in Picenum: and how devoid of any plan of campaign, the facts are witness. For, to say nothing of other mistakes committed during the last ten years, could any terms be worse than such a flight? Nor, indeed, have I any idea what he is contemplating at this moment, though I never cease asking again and again by letter. Everyone agrees that he is in a state of abject alarm and agitation. Accordingly, as far as I can see, there is no garrison to organize which he was kept at the city walls, nor any place where a garrison could be posted. His whole hope rests on the two legions somewhat treacherously retained, and almost to be regarded as belonging to another. For as yet, indeed, those whom he is enlisting are men reluctant to serve and averse from fighting. While the time for making terms has been let slip. I do not see what is going to happen. At any rate we, or our leader, have allowed things to come to this pass, that, having left harbour without a rudder, we must let ourselves drift before the storm. So I hesitate as to what to do with my son and nephew: sometimes I think I had better despatch them to
1] μάντις δ᾽ἄριστος, which, as usual, he leave Atticus to fill up. It is a line from a lost tragedy of Euripides: μάντις δ᾽ ἄριστος ὅστιςεἰκάζει καλῶς, “the best prophet is the good guesser.”
CCCVIII (A VII. 13 b)
MINTURNAE, 24 JANUARY 49 B.C.
I didn't guess your riddle: it is more obscure than Plato's number.1 However, I have made it out now: you meant the Oppii of Velia by your succones (blood-suckers).2
I wavered about it a long time; but when I hit on the solution, the rest became clear and quite agreed with Terentia's total.
I saw L. Caesar3 at Minturnae early on the 23rd of January with his utterly absurd message - he is not a human being, but a broom with the binding off. I think Caesar himself must have acted with the purpose of throwing ridicule on the affair, in trusting a message on matters so important to such a man as this - unless, perchance, he never did intrust it, and the fellow has, without warrant, made use of some conversation which he picked up as a message. Labienus, a man of noble character in my opinion, arrived at Teanum on the 22nd. There he met Pompey and the consuls. What their conversation was, and what arrangement was come to, I will write and tell you when I know for certain. Pompey set off from Teanum in the direction of Larinum on the 23rd. He stopped that day at Venafrum. Labienus seems to have brought no little courage to our side. But I haven't yet anything to tell you from these parts: I expect rather to hear news from you - what intelligence from Caesar reaches Rome, how he takes Labienus's desertion, what Domitius is doing among the Marsi, Thermus at Iguvium, P. Attius at Cingulum;4 what the feeling of the city folk is, what your own conjecture as to the future: on all these points pray write frequently, and tell me what your opinion is about my ladies, and what you intend doing yourself. If I had been writing with my own hand, this letter would have been longer, but I dictated it owing to my eyes being inflamed.
1] The "nuptial number" in the Republic, 545c-547A. On its interpretation much learned ink has been spent, mostly in vain. See Nuptial Number of Plato, its Solution and Significance, by James Adam, 1891.
2] The Oppii were money-lenders who had a house in
3] A distant connexion of Iulius Caesar. His father was Caesar's legatus, and he visited Caesar at Ariminum with a message from Pompey (with one of the praetors), and brought back a proposal that Pompey should go to his province of Spain, and that all troops in Italy should be disbanded, the comitia left free, and an interview immediately arranged between them (Caes. B.C. i. 8-9).
4] L. Domitius Ahenobarbus occupied Corfinium, but presently had to surrender it to Caesar. The same had happened to P. Attius Varus at Auximum (not Cingulum), and Q. Minucius Thermus had to surrender Iguvium to Curio (Caesar, B.C. 1.12.17).
CCCIX (A VII. 14)
CALES, 25 JANUARY 49 B.C.
I write this letter, though suffering from slight inflammation of the eyes, when on the point of quitting Cales for
Please let me know what you and Sextus are thinking of doing as to leaving town, and what your opinion is on the whole situation. For my part, I never cease urging peace, which, however unfair, is better than the justest war in the world. But this is in the hands of fortune.
1] Caesar (Bell.Civ. 1.14) calls this proposal unfair, for Pompey, who consented to promise to go to his province, mentioned no time at which he would go to
2] Many of Pompey's own veterans had been settled with grants of land in the ager Campanus, the old
3] Caesar gives an account of this (Caes. B.C. 1.14). He says that Lentulus, the consul, at first called these men out with a promise of freedom. But this seemed shocking to Roman ideas, and, being remonstrated with, he billeted them out as described.
CCCX (A VII. 15)
Ever since I left Rome I have not let a single day pass without sending you something by way of letter; not because I had anything particularly to write about, but in order that I might chat with you in my absence, than which - since I cannot do so face to face - nothing gives me greater pleasure. On arriving at
All were anxious that Caesar should stand by his offer, with the addition of withdrawing his garrisons. Favonius alone disapproved of any conditions being imposed on us by him; but he was not listened to in the discussion. For even Cato himself now prefers slavery to fighting. However, he says that he wishes to be in the senate when the terms are debated, if Caesar can be induced to withdraw his garrisons. So he is not eager about going to
- the very thing most wanted: but he does wish to be in the senate, where I
fear he will only do mischief. Postumius, moreover, who was definitely named in
the senatorial decree to go to Sicily at once and succeed Furfanius, says that
he will not go without Cato, and thinks very highly of his own personal service
and influence in the senate. Accordingly, this duty has fallen to Fannius. He
is being sent in advance to Sicily
with imperium. In our discussions a great variety of opinion is expressed. Most
declare that Caesar will not abide by his offer, and say that these demands
were only thrown in by him to prevent our making the necessary preparations for
war. I, however, am of opinion that he will carry out the withdrawal of the
garrisons. For he will have gained his point if he is elected consul, and
gained it with less crime than that of his first step. But we must put up with
the blow: for we are scandalously unprepared both in regard to soldiers and
money. All the latter, indeed - not only private money in the city, but the public
money in the treasury also - we have left for him. Pompey has started to join
the Appian legions.1
He has Labienus with him. I am anxious to hear what you think of these events. I am thinking
of returning to Formiae at once. Sicily
1] Apparently the two legions sent from Gaul a year before by Caesar for the Parthian war, which, according to Plutarch (Pomp. 57), were led into
CCCXI (F XVI. 12)
CICERO TO TIRO (AT PATRAE) –
How seriously my personal safety and that of all loyalists is imperilled, as well as that of the whole senate and Republic, you may judge from the fact that we have abandoned our town houses, and the very city itself, to plunder and conflagration. Matters have come to such a pitch that, unless some god or some accident intervenes, we cannot possibly be saved. For my part, ever since I arrived at the city, I have never ceased promoting in thought, word, and deed everything that made for peace: but a strange mad passion for fighting has inflamed not only the disloyal, but even those who are reckoned loyalists, though I loudly proclaim that nothing can be more lamentable than a civil war. Accordingly, when Caesar yielded to the promptings of what may be called downright insanity, and - forgetting his name and his honours - had successively occupied Ariminum, Pisaurum,
I wished you to know these facts, but don't let them agitate you and retard your recovery. I have recommended you with great earnestness to Aulus Varro, whom I know to be warmly attached to me and very fond of you, asking him to interest himself in your health and your voyage, and generally to take you under his charge and look after you. I feel certain he will do all this, for he promised to do so, and spoke to me in the kindest manner. Pray, since you were unable to be with me at the time I most wanted your help and fidelity, do not hurry or allow yourself to embark upon a voyage while ill, or in bad weather. I shall never think you come late if you come well and strong. As yet I have seen no one who had seen you since M. Volusius, who handed me your letter. I don't wonder at this, for I don't think my letters either can reach you in such stormy weather. But do your best to recover, and, when you do recover, only sail when you can do so with safety. My son is at Formiae, Terentia and Tullia at
Take care of yourself. Rome
, 27 January. Capua
1] That is, seventeen clear days.
2] Two of the three legates of Pompey in
CCCXIV (A VII. 17)
Your letter is both welcome and delightful. I thought of sending the boys to
1] Atticus invested much money in city property (Nepos, Att. 14).
CCCXVIII (A VII. 21)
About our misfortunes you hear sooner than I: for they flow from
1] Sanctius aerarium. A reserve fund, said originally to have been made in case of a Gallic invasion, was replenished by the tax of five per cent. on the selling value of manumitted slaves. This was first levied in B.C. 357 (Livy, vii. i6), and remained in force till a late period of the empire. The reserve fund was drawn upon in B.C. 212, during the second Punic war (Livy, 27.11). According to Caesar (B.C. 1.4), the consuls were just about to open it before they left Rome, but, teirrified by a false report of Caesar's immediate approach, fled without doing so. Pompey now wishes them to go back for it.
CCCXXI (A VIII.
POMPEY TO CICERO (AT FORMIAE) –LUCERIA, 10 FEBRUARY 49 B.C.
Quintus Fabius came to me on the 10th of February. He brings me word that L. Domitius, with twelve cohorts of his own and with fourteen brought to him by Vibullius,1 were on the march to join me: that his intention was to quit Corfinium on the 9th of February, that Gaius Hirrus with five cohorts was coming up behind him.2 My opinion is that you should join me at Luceria. For here I think you will be safest.
1] L. Vibullius Rufus, Pompey's praefectus fabrum. 2] Caesar (B.C. 1.17) makes Domitius, writing to Pompey, mention "more than thirty cohorts," which agrees with these numbers (thirty one). L. Domitius Ahenobarbus had been nominated by the senate to the
CCCXXVIII (A VIII. 12 c)
POMPEY TO L. DOMITIUS AHENOBARBUSLUCERIA, 16 FEBRUARY 49 B.C.
(IN CORFINIUM) -
(IN CORFINIUM) -
GNAEUS POMPRIUS, proconsul, salutes Lucius Domitius, proconsul.
M. Calenius has brought me a despatch from you dated the 16th of February, in which you say that your intention is to watch Caesar, and, if he commences his march upon me by the coast road, to come to me with speed into Samnium; but that, if he spends time about the towns in your district, you wish to resist him in case of his approaching you. I think your plan is spirited and gallant; but I am compelled to be more solicitous as to whether we may not, if divided, be unequal to our opponent; since he has large forces and is likely soon to have larger. For a man of your foresight ought not to reckon how many cohorts Caesar has at this moment against you, but what amounts of infantry and cavalry he is likely to collect before long. This is proved in my eyes by a letter from Bussenius to me, in which he says—as I learn from other letters also—that Curio is drawing the garrisons in
Umbria and together, and marching to
join Caesar. Now if all these forces are combined, even suppose a detachment is
sent to Alba, and another threatens you, and though Caesar should not offer
battle, but should remain on the defensive in his own strongholds, you will
still be at a stand, and will not be able, isolated with a force the size of
yours, to offer a resistance to such vast numbers sufficient even to allow of
your foraging for corn. Wherefore I strongly urge you to come here as soon as
possible with your entire force. The consuls have decided to do so. I sent a
message to you by M. Tuscilius to say that we must take care that the two
legions should not, without the cohorts from Picenum, be allowed to come within
sight of Caesar. Wherefore do not disturb yourself if you hear that I am making
a backward movement, 1 should Caesar chance to advance
towards me: for I think I must by all means avoid being caught in the toils and
prevented from stirring. For I cannot construct a camp owing to the season and
the disposition of my soldiers, nor is it proper to call in the garrisons from
all the towns, lest I should be left without a place of retreat. Accordingly, I
have not mustered more than fourteen cohorts at Luceria. The consuls are about
to bring in all garrisons to me, or are going to Etruria . For I must either have an army
sufficiently strong to make me feel sure of being able to break out, or hold
districts of such a kind as to enable us to act on the defensive. At the
present time we have neither, for Caesar has occupied a large part of Sicily ,
and we have an army neither as well-appointed nor as large as he has. We must
therefore be careful and look to the main interests of the Republic. I urge on
you again and again to come to me at the earliest opportunity with your whole
force. We may even now restore the fortunes of
the state, if we conduct our operations in common: if we are divided we shall
be weak. I am quite satisfied of this. Italy
After I had written the above, Sicca brought me a despatch and message from you. You urged me to come to you: I do not think that I can do so, because I don't feel great confidence in these legions.2
CCCXXIX (A VIII. 12 d)
POMPEY TO L. DOMITIUS AHENOBARBUS
(IN CORFINIUM) -
LUCERIA, 17 FEBRUARY 49 B.C.
(IN CORFINIUM) -
LUCERIA, 17 FEBRUARY 49 B.C.
I received a despatch from you on the 17th of February, in which you say that Caesar has pitched his camp near Corfinium. What I thought and warned you of is now taking place, namely, that at present he would not give you battle, and yet would hem you in by concentrating all his forces, to prevent the road to me being open to you, and your being able to unite your troops, formed of the strongest loyalists, with the legions of whose fidelity we are doubtful. I am therefore all the more disturbed by your letter. For I am not sufficiently confident in the good disposition of the soldiers, whom I now have with me, to risk a battle involving the safety of the state, nor have the levies made by the consuls as yet come in. Wherefore do your best, if it is still by any means possible, to extricate yourself, and Come here as soon as you can, before our opponent is joined by all his forces. For it is neither possible for the new levies to arrive here quickly, nor, if they had arrived, can it escape your observation how impossible it is to trust men, who are not even acquainted with each other, against veteran legions.1
1] This seems to be the letter, the contents of which Domitius tried to conceal from his council and the army at Corfinium, pretending that Pompey had promised to come speedily to his relief. The soldiers and centurions detected the truth, and hastened to make terms with Caesar. See Caesar, B.C. 1.19-20.
CCCXXX (A VIII.
POMPEY TO THE CONSULS –LUCERIA, 17 FEBRUARY 49 B.C.
GNAEUS MAGNUS, proconsul, greets the consuls, C. Marcellus and L. Lentulus.
Being of opinion that if we were scattered we could neither be of service to the state, nor protect ourselves, I sent a despatch to L. Domitius that, if possible, he should join me with all his men, and that, if he felt doubtful about himself, he should send me the nineteen cohorts which were on the march to join me from Picenum. What I feared has taken place: Domitius is surrounded, and is not in sufficient force to form a camp, because he has my nineteen and his own twelve cohorts distributed among three towns - for he has stationed some at Alba and some at Sulmo - and he cannot now extricate himself even if he wished. In these circumstances I am, I can assure you, in extreme anxiety. I am eager to relieve men who are so numerous and of such high position1 from the danger of a siege, and yet I cannot go to their assistance, because I do not think that we can trust these two legions to go there - of whom, after all, I have not been able to keep together more than fourteen cohorts; for I have sent two to Brundisium, and I did not think that Canusium ought to be left in my absence without a garrison. I had told Decimus Laelius to suggest to you, as I hope for an increase to my numbers, that one of you should join me, the other go to Sicily with the force you have collected at Capua and the neighbourhood of Capua, and the soldiers whom Faustus has recruited: that Domitius with his own twelve cohorts should form a junction with the same, and that all other forces of every description should muster at Brundisium, and be shipped thence to Dyrrachium. But as it is, since at this juncture I cannot go, any more than you, to the relief of Domitius, he must extricate himself by crossing the mountains, and I must be careful not to allow the enemy to get near these fourteen cohorts, whose loyalty is doubtful, or to catch me up on the march. Wherefore I have determined - and I find that Marcellus and other senators who are here agree with me - to march the force I have with me to Brundisium. I urge you to collect all the troops that you can collect, and come to me at Brundisium also as promptly as possible. I think you should use the arms, which you were intending to send to me, to arm the soldiers whom you have with you: if you will have all arms that may be to spare carted to Brundisium, you will have done the state excellent service. Please let my men know about this. I have sent word to the praetors P. Lupus and C. Coponius, to join you and take whatever men they have to you.
1] Domitius had with him his son, five senators, with many young men of senatorial families, a large number of equites, and magistrates from neighbouring municipia (cities) (Caes. B.C. 1.2
CCCXXXVIII (A VIII. 8)
FORMIAE, 24 FEBRUARY 49 B.C.
What a disgraceful and, for that reason, what a miserable thing! For, in my opinion, that which is disgraceful is ultimately, or rather is alone, miserable. He (Pompeius) had fostered Caesar, and then, all on a sudden, had begun to be afraid of him: he had declined any terms of peace: he had made no preparation for war: he had abandoned the city: he had lost Picenum by his own fault: he had blocked himself up in Apulia: he was preparing to go to Greece: he was going to leave us without a word, entirely uninformed of a move on his part so important and so unprecedented. Lo and behold, there is suddenly sprung on us a letter from Domitius to him, and one from him to the consuls. I thought honour had flashed before his eyes, and that he - the real man he ought to be - had exclaimed:
“ So let them try each sleight they may against me,
And every craft their cunning can devise:
The right is on my side.”1
But our hero, bidding a long good-bye to honour, takes himself to Brundisium, while Domitius, they say, and those with him, on hearing of this, surrendered. What a lamentable thing! Distress prevents my writing any more to you. I wait for a letter from you.
1] A fragment of Euripides, parodied by Aristoph. Acharn. 659.
CCCXLIII (F VIII. 15)
M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (AT FORMIAE) –
Did you ever see a more futile person than your friend Pompey, for having stirred up all this dust, without any stuff in him, after all? And, on the other hand, did you ever read or hear of anyone prompter in action than our Caesar, and more moderate in victory? Why! Do you think that our soldiers, who in the most inclement and frozen districts, in the severest winter weather, have successfully finished a war at a walk, have been fed on the pick of the orchard?1 "What, then," say you, "is it all glory with you?" Nay, if you only knew how anxious I am, you would laugh at this glory of mine, which, after all, has nothing to do with me. I can't explain matters to you unless we meet, and I hope that will soon take place. For as soon as he has driven Pompey out of
1] The people who have left their name in Ventimiglia.
2] L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who surrendered to Caesar at Corfinium, but was allowed to depart unharmed.
3] Apparently a slave, mother of Bellienus.
CXLVI (A IX.
CAESAR TO C. OPPIUS AND CORNELIUS BALBUS(AT
I am very glad that your letter expresses such strong approval of what happened at Corfinium. I shall be glad to follow your advice, and all the more so, that I had spontaneously resolved to display the greatest clemency and to do my best to reconcile Pompey. Let us try in this way if we can recover the affections of all parties, and enjoy a lasting victory; for others, owing to their cruelty, have been unable to avoid rousing hatred, or to maintain their victory for any length of time, with the one exception of Lucius Sulla, whom I have no intention of imitating. Let this be our new method of conquering - to fortify ourselves by mercy and generosity. As to how that may be secured, certain ideas suggest themselves to my mind, and many more may be hit upon. I beg you to take these matters into consideration. I have taken Pompey's prefect Numerius Magius. Of course I kept to my policy, and caused him at once to be set at liberty. I have now had two of Pompey's prefects of engineers in my hands, and have set them both at liberty.1 If they wish to be grateful, they will be bound to advise Pompey to prefer my friendship to that of the men who have ever been most bitterly hostile both to him and myself, by whose intrigues the Republic has been reduced to its present position.2
1] L. Vibullius Rufus and Numerius Magius. The latter Caesar employed to negotiate with Pompey at Brundisium (Caes. B.C. 1.15, 24, 26). 2] Caesar dwells on this point, that Pompey was now joined with those who bad been enemies to them both, in the B.C. i. 4, declaring that much of their enmity, as far as he was concerned, had been actually incurred by his union with Pompey.
CCCLII (A IX. I)
Although by the time you read this I think I shall know what has happened at Brundisium - for Gnaeus left Canusium on the 21st of February, and I write on the 6th of March, the fourteenth day after his removing from Canusium - yet I am kept in painful suspense as to what each hour may bring, and am wondering that nothing even by way of rumour has reached me. There is a surprising silence. But perhaps all this is mere idle curiosity1 about what, after all, must soon be known.
One thing worries me, that I cannot at present make out where our friend P. Lentulus and Domitius are. Now I want to know, in order the easier to find out their intentions, whether they are going to Pompey, and if so, by what route and when. The city, indeed, I am told, is now crammed full of Optimates. I hear that Sosius and Lupus are sitting in court,2 whom our friend Gnaeus thought would arrive at Brundisium before himself. From these parts there is a general exodus. Even Manius Lepidus, with whom I am used to spend the day, is thinking of starting tomorrow.
For myself, I am stopping on at Formiae in order to get quicker intelligence. Then I am for Arpinum. Thence, by whatever road there is least chance of meetings, to the
2] C. Sosius and P. Rubilius Rufus, praetors.
CCCLVIII (A IX. 5)
On your birthday1 you wrote me a letter full of advice, and not only shewing the greatest kindness to me, but also the most admirable wisdom. Philotimus delivered it to me the day after receiving it from you. The points you put are indeed of extreme difficulty - the journey to the Upper Sea, a voyage by the Lower, a departure to Arpinum, lest I should seem to have avoided Caesar, a continuance at Formiae, lest I should seem to have put myself forward to congratulate him - but nothing is more distressing than the sight of those things, which, I tell you, must before long be seen.
Curtius Postumus has been with me: I told you how oppressive he was. Q. Fufius also has been to see me. What a triumphant look! What assurance! Post haste for Brundisium: denouncing the crime of Pompey, the recklessness and folly of the senate. If I can't stand such things in my own villa, shall I be able to put up with Curtius in the senate-house? But suppose me to endure this with good temper, what will be the sequel of the usual "Speak, Marcus Tullius"? To say nothing of the Republican cause, which I look upon as lost, both from the wounds inflicted on it and the cures prepared for them, what am I to do about Pompey? With whom - for why should I deny it? I am downright angry. For I am always more affected by the causes of events than by the events themselves. Therefore, turning over these disastrous events in my mind - and what could be more disastrous!-or rather, coming to the conclusion that they are his doing and his fault, I feel more hostile to him than to Caesar himself: just as our ancestors decided that the day of the battle of the Allia was more fatal than that of the capture of the city, because the latter evil was the result of the former; and accordingly the one day is even now regarded as accursed, while the other is generally unknown - so I, remembering the errors of ten years, among which was also that year which ruined me, without his defending me (not to put it more strongly), and being fully aware of the rashness, incompetence, and carelessness of the present management, felt my anger growing. But that is all forgotten now. It is of his kindness that I think, and also of my own position. I understand later, indeed, than I could have wished, thanks to the letters and conversations of Balbus - I see plainly, I repeat, that the one object now, nay, the one object from the beginning, was the death of Pompey. As for me, therefore, since Homer's hero, when his goddess mother said to him,
"For next to Hector's death thy doom is fixed," answered his mother:
“ Death, then! since fate allowed me not to save
The friend I loved.”2 What should I do for one who was not merely a "friend," but a "benefactor" also? One, too, of such a great character, and engaged in such a great cause? Why, in truth, I regard such duties as worth the loss of life. In your Optimates, however, I have no sort of confidence, and henceforth do not devote myself either to their service. I see how they are surrendering themselves to Caesar, and will continue to do so in the future. Do you suppose that those decrees of the municipalities as to Pompey's illness are to be compared with these congratulations now offered to Caesar on his victory? "All terror," you will say. Yes, but they themselves assert that they were alarmed on the former occasion. However, let us wait to see what has happened at Brundisium, Perhaps from that may come a change of plan and in the tone of my letters.
1] Natali die tuo. Several editors wish to omit natali, in which case the words will mean "on the day of your ague fit," as in previous letters.
2] Homer, Il. 18.96
CCCLIX (A IX. 6)
Nothing as yet from Brundisium. Balbus has written from
I had written thus far when a letter arrived from
, as follows: “Pompey
has crossed the sea with all the men he had with him. The total is 30,000;
besides the consuls, two tribunes of the plebs, and the senators who were with
him, all with wives and children. He is said to have embarked on the 4th of
March. Since that day the
north wind has prevailed. They say that he disabled or burnt all such ships as
he did not use.” Capua
On this subject a letter has been received at
by L. Metellus, the
tribune, from his mother-in-law Clodia, who has herself crossed. I was anxious
and full of pain before, as, of course, the bare facts of the case compelled,
when I found myself unable to unravel the mystery by any consideration; but
now, when Pompey and the consuls have left Italy, I am not merely pained, I am
burning with indignation: “
Reason deserts her throne, Capua
And I am torn with grief.”4
And I am torn with grief.”4
Believe me, I really am beside myself to think of the dishonour I have brought upon myself. That I, in the first place, should not be with Pompey, whatever plan he has followed, nor, in the second place, with the loyalists, however imprudently managed their cause! Especially, too, when those very persons, for whose sake I was somewhat timid in trusting myself to fortune - wife, daughter, son, and nephew - prefered that I should follow that design, and thought that my present plan was discreditable and unworthy of me. For, as to my brother Quintus, whatever I determined upon he said that he considered right, and he accepted it with the most absolute acquiescence.
I am reading over your letters from the beginning of the business. They somewhat relieve me. The earliest ones warn and entreat me not to be precipitate. The next indicate that you are glad that I stayed. Whilst reading themI feel less base, but only while I read them. Presently grief and the "vision of shame" rises again. Wherefore, my dear Titus, pray pluck out this sorrow from my mind, or at least mitigate it by consoling words or advice, or by anything you can. But what could you or any human being do? It is now almost beyond the power of God.
For my part, my object now, as you advise and think possible, is to obtain leave from Caesar to absent myself when any motion is being made against Pompey in the senate. But I fear I may not obtain the concession. Furnius has arrived from Caesar. To shew you the sort of men we are following, he tells me that the son of Q. Titinius is with Caesar, but that the latter thanks me even more than I could wish. What, however, it is that he asks of me, expressed indeed, for his part, in few words, but still en grand seigneur, you may learn from his own letter. How distressed I am at your ill-health: if we had only been together, you would at least not have wanted advice. For "two heads," you know.5 But don't let us cry over spilt milk:6 let us do better for the future. Up to this time I have been mistaken in two particulars: at the beginning I hoped for peace, and, if that were once gained, was prepared to be content with the life of a private citizen, and an old age freed from anxiety: and later, I found that a bloody and destructive war was being undertaken by Pompey. Upon my honour, I thought it shewed a better man and a better citizen to suffer any punishment whatever rather than, I don't say to lead, but even to take part in such bloody work. I think it would have been better even to die than to be with such men. I shall bear any result with greater courage than such a pain.
1] The via Minucia is spoken of by Horace (Ep. 1.18, 20) as an alternative route to the Appia leading to Brundisium. It seems to have been by this road that the Martia and fourth legion came to Alba Fucentia in 44 B.C., instead of proceeding up the coast road from Brundisium to Gaul, as
2] Usually given at the Liberalia (17th March).
3] M. Curtius Postumus.
4] Hom. Il. 10.91.
5] “Two comrades on the road: two beads in council:
Each sees for each and finds the better way
But he whose council is his single breast
Is scant of skill and slower to divine.
” Hom. 51.10.224-226.
6] Acta ne agamus, "let us not do what has been done," a proverb answering to "shutting the stable door when the horse is stolen," or "whipping a dead horse," or as in the text. See de Am. 85, where
CCCLXIII (A IX. 9)
I received three letters from you on the 16th of March. They were dated on the 12th, 13th, and 14th. So I will answer each in its order of time. I quite agree with you in thinking Formiae the best of all places for me to stay. I also agree with you about the Upper Sea, and I am very desirous, as I told you in a previous letter, to discover how I may without annoying Caesar avoid taking any part whatever in the conduct of public affairs. You praise me for saying that I put away the memory of my friend's past and his shortcomings. I really do so: nay, I even forget those very injuries inflicted by him upon myself which you mention. So much more influence do I choose gratitude for kindness to have with me, than resentment for injury. Let me act, then, according to your opinion, and summon up all my energies. The fact is, I am philosophizing all the time I am riding about the country, and in the course of my expeditions I never cease meditating on my theses. But some of them are very difficult of solution. As to the Optimates, be it as you will: but you know the proverb, "Dionysius at
I now come to your second. You are quite right to be incredulous about the number of Pompey's men. Clodia just doubled them in her letter.3 It was all a lie also about disabling the ships. You praise the consuls: so do I as far as their spirit is concerned, but I blame their policy. For by their departure the negotiation for peace was rendered impossible, which I for one was meditating. Accordingly, after this I sent you back Demetrius's book "On Concord," and gave it to Philotimus. Nor have I any doubt left of a murderous war impending, which will begin with a famine. And yet I am vexed that I am not taking part in such a war! A war in which wickedness is certain to attain such dimensions, that, whereas it is a crime not to support one's parents, our leaders will think themselves entitled to starve to death the supreme and holiest of parents - their country! And this fear is not with me a matter of conjecture: I have heard their actual words. The whole object of collecting this fleet from
Alexandria, Colchis, Tyre, Sidon, Aradus, Cyprus,
Rhodes, Chios, Byzantium, Lesbos, Zmyrna, Miletus, Cos,4
is to intercept the supplies of and blockade the corn growing
provinces. Then, again, in what a state of anger will Pompey come! and
especially with the very men most anxious for his safety, as though he had been
abandoned by those whom he, in fact, abandoned himself. Accordingly, in my state
of doubt as to what it is right for me to do, my feeling of obligation to
Pompey becomes a very weighty motive: if that feeling were away, it were better
in my eyes to perish in my country, than to ruin it in the attempt to save it.
About the north wind it is clearly as you say: I am afraid Italy may be harassed. But what
part of Epirus
do you suppose will not be plundered? For Pompey gives out openly, and
demonstrates to his soldiers, that he will outdo Caesar even in his liberality.
It is an excellent suggestion of yours that, when I do see Caesar, I should not
speak with too much tolerance, but rather with a grave severity. I clearly
ought to do so. I am thinking of Arpinum, but not till I have had my meeting
with him; thus avoiding being absent when he arrives, or having to hurry
backwards and forwards along a detestably bad road. I am told, as you say in
your letter, that Bibulus has arrived and started back again on the I4th.5 You were expecting
Philotimus, you say in your third letter. But he only left me on the 15th. That
was why you got my letter in reply to yours rather late, though I wrote the
answer at once. I agree with what you say about Domitius - he is at Cosa, and
no one knows what his design is. Yes, that basest, meanest fellow in the world,
who says that a consular election can be held by a praetor, is the same as he
always was in constitutional matters.6 So of
course that was what Caesar meant by saying in the letter, of which I sent you
a copy,7 "that
he wished to avail himself of my advice , (well, well! that is a mere
generality), "of my popularity" (that's empty flattery - but I
suppose he adopts that tone with a view to my influencing certain senatorial
votes), "of my position" (perhaps he means my vote as a consular). He
finishes up by saying "of my help in every particular." I had already
begun to suspect from your letter that this was the real meaning of it, or
something very like it. For it is of great importance to him that there should
not be an interregnum: and that he secures, if the consuls are
"created" by the praetor. However, it is on record in our augural
books that, so far from consuls being legally capable of being created by a
praetor, the praetors themselves cannot be so created, and that there is no
precedent for it: that it is illegal in case of the consuls, because it is not
legal for the greater imperium to be proposed to the people by the less; in
case of the praetors, because their names are submitted to the people as
colleagues of the consuls, to whom belongs the greater imperium. Before long he
will be demanding that my vote in the college should be given, and he won't be
content with Galba, Scaevola, Cassius, and Antonius: “Then let the wide earth
gape and swallow me”8
But you see what a storm is impending. Which of the senators have crossed the
sea I will tell you when I know for certain. About the corn-supply you are
quite right, it cannot possibly be managed without a revenue: and you have good
reason for fearing the clamorous demands of Pompey's entourage, and an
unnatural war. I should much like to see my friend Trebatius, though, as you
say, he is in despair about everything. Pray urge him to make haste and come:
for it will be a great convenience to see him before Caesar's arrival.9 As to the property at
Lanuvium, as soon as I heard of Phamea's death, I conceived the wish-provided the
constitution was to survive - that some one of my friends should buy it, yet I
never thought of you, the greatest of my friends. For I knew that you usually
wanted to know how many years' purchase it was worth, and what was the value of
the fixtures, and I had seen your digamma10
not only at Rome, but also at Delos. After all, however, I value it, pretty as
it is, at less price than it was valued in the consulship of Marcellinus,11 when I thought - owing
to the house I possessed at that time at Antium - that those little
pleasure-grounds would suit me better, and be less expensive, than repairing my
Tusculan house. I was then willing to give 500 sestertia (about £4,000) for
them. I made an offer through a third person, which he refused, when he was
putting it up for sale at Antium. But in these days I presume all such
properties are gone down in value, owing to the dearness of money. It will suit
me exactly, or rather us, if you buy it. But don't be put off by the late
owner's follies: it is really a lovely place. However, all such properties
appear to me to be now doomed to desolation. I have answered your three
letters, but am expecting others. For up to this time it is letters from you
that have kept me going. Greece
1]The Liberalia (17th March).
1] This is generally interpreted by a reference to the story told in Tusc. 3.27, of Dionysius the younger, after being expelled from Syracuse, keeping a school at Corinth because he could not live without some absolute power; so the Optimates will not rest, Cicero is supposed to argue, till they get power, and then they will persecute me. Tyrrell and Purser think it sufficient to explain it as an example of the ups and downs of life. This hardly seems sufficiently in point here. I am inclined to dismiss the school-keeping altogether. Plutarch (in his life of Timoleon), giving a pretty full account of Dionysius's exile, says nothing about it; but does say that he adopted a life of dissipation and frivolity in Corinth to avert suspicion of intending to recover his power.
3] See Letter CCCLIX.
4] The fleet which Pompey was collecting from the East, where his name was still of the greatest weight.
5] I.e., has come home from
6] M. Aemilius Lepidus, praetor this year, consul B.C. 45, master of the horse to Caesar as dictator, Pontifex Maximus B.C. 44, triumvir B.C. 43-36.
7] Letter CCCLVI.
8] Hom. Il. 4.182.
9] I.e., to consult him on the legal question, and so strengthen his hands in answering Caesar.
10] No one knows what this digamma means. It may be some mark used by Atticus in the ledgers containing an account of properties on which he had lent money; or it may be that the word is a mistake for διάγραμμα, "a schedule," as was long ago conjectured.
11] B.C. 56.
CCCLXV (A IX.
On reading your letter, handed to me by our friend Furnius, in which you ask me to come to the city walls, I was not so much surprised at your wishing "to avail yourself of my advice and position," but what you meant by speaking of my "influence and assistance" I did ask myself. My thoughts, however, were so far dominated by my hope, that I was induced to think that you wished to consult for the tranquillity, peace, and harmony of our fellow citizens: and for a policy of that kind I regarded both my natural disposition and my public character as sufficiently well adapted. If this is the case, and if you are at all anxious to preserve our common friend Pompey, and to reconcile him to yourself and the Republic, you will assuredly find no one better calculated than myself for supporting such measures. For, as soon as opportunity offered, I pleaded for peace both to him and the senate; nor since the commencement of hostilities have I taken any part whatever in the war; and I have held the opinion that by that war you are being wronged, in that men who were hostile to and jealous of you were striving to prevent your enjoying an office granted you by the favour of the Roman people.1 But as at that period I was not only personally a supporter of your rights, but also advised everybody else to assist you, so at the present moment I am strongly moved by consideration for the position of Pompey. It is now a good number of years ago since I picked out you two as the special objects of my political devotion, and - as you still are of my warm personal affection. Wherefore I ask you, or rather entreat you, and appeal to you with every form of prayer, that in the midst of your very great preoccupations you would yet spare some part of your time to reflect how by your kindness I may be enabled to do what goodness and gratitude, and, in point of fact, natural affection demand, by remembering the extreme obligation under which I stand. If these considerations only affected myself, I should yet have hoped to secure your assent; but, in my opinion, it concerns both your own honour and the public interest that I - a friend to peace and to you both - should, as far as you are concerned, be maintained in a position best calculated to promote harmony between you and among our fellow citizens.
Though I have thanked you before in regard to Lentulus,2 for saving the man who saved me, yet after reading a letter from him, in which he speaks with the utmost gratitude of your generous treatment and kindness to him, I felt that the safety you gave him was given to me also: and if you perceive my gratitude in his case, pray take means to allow me to shew the same in the case of Pompey.
1] Cicero is using language which he had reason to know was such as Caesar had himself used to L. Caesar at Ariminum - doluisse se, quod P. R. beneficium percontumeliam ab inimicis extorqueretur (Caes. B. C. 1.9). It is rather a pitiflil attempt to "sit on the hedge," considering what his real sentiments were. 2] P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, consul B.C. 57, to whom we have had many letters addressed while he was in
CCCLXIX (A IX.
BALBUS TO CICERO (AT FORMIAE) -
Caesar has sent me a very short note, of which I append a copy. From the shortness of the letter you will be able to gather that he is much occupied, or he would not have written so briefly on so important a subject. If I get any farther intelligence I will at once write you word.
CAESAR TO OPPIUS AND CORNELIUSOn the 9th of March I reached Brundisium. I have pitched my camp under the walls. Pompey is at Brundisium. He sent Numerius Magius to me to negotiate for peace.1 I answered as I thought right. I wished you to know this at once. As soon as I see any prospect of success in coming to terms, I will at once inform you of it.
You can imagine, my dear
, my state of torturing anxiety, after
having again conceived some hope of peace, lest any circumstance should prevent
their coming to terms. For I earnestly wish it, which is all I can do at this
distance. If I were only there, I might perhaps possibly seem of some use in
the matter; as it is, I am wracked with anxious suspense. Cicero
1] Numerius Magius was Pompey's praefectus fabrum. According to Caesar (B.C. 1.24 – 26), he fell into Caesar's hands during his march on Brundisium, and was sent by him with a message to Pompey, but did not return with any answer. Caesar then sent Caninius Rutilius to endeavour to induce Pompey to, have a personal conference. In the Commentaries Caesar may, from a lapse of memory, have confused matters. Still, it looks as though in the commentary he meant to justify himself. He has represented the proposals for peace as emanating from himself, whereas the letter shews that they came from Pompey. It may, however, be that when Magius is said to have been deprensus ex itinere he was really on his way with a message from Pompey.
CCCLXXI (A IX. 14）
TO ATTICUS (ATFORMIAE, 25 MARCH 49 B.C.
) – ROME
I had sent you, on the 24th of March, a copy of a letter from Balbus to me and of Ceasar's to him. Lo and behold, on the same day I receive a letter from Q. Pedius, from
Where is the peace, as to which Balbus said that he was in a state of anxiety? Could there be anything more vindictive, more ruthless? Moreover, a certain person told me on good authority that Caesar gives out that he is avenging Cn. Carbo, M. Brutus,2 and all those on whom Sulla, with Pompey's assistance, had wreaked his cruelty; that Curio was doing nothing under his leadership which Pompey had not done under Sulla's; that he was seeking the restoration of those whose exile had not been inflicted upon them by earlier laws, while Pompey had restored men who had been traitors to their country; that he complained of the violence used to secure Milo's exile, but that, nevertheless, he would harm no one unless he appeared in array against him.
This is the story told by a certain Baebius, who left Curio on the 13th, a man who is not without some sense, but yet not capable of inventing this out of his own head. I am quite at a loss what to do. From Brundisium, indeed, I suppose Pompey has already started. Whatever has happened, we shall know in two days. I haven't a line from you, not even by Anteros. No wonder: for what is there for us to write about? Nevertheless, I don't omit a single day.P.S
After this letter was written, I got a letter from Lepta before daybreak dated from
on the 15th of March. Pompey has embarked from Brundisium, but Caesar will be
at Capua on the
26th of March. Capua
1] Caesar occupied nine days in this work, which was only half completed then. He did not really expect to be able thoroughly to block the harbour. His object was to frighten Pompey into leaving
CCCLXXII (A IX. 15)
After I had despatched the letter informing you that Caesar would be at Capua on the 26th, I received one from Capua saying that he would be in Curio's Alban villa on the 28th.1 When I have seen him I shall go to Arpinum. If he grants me the indulgence I ask for,2 I shall avail myself of his terms: if not, I shall take my own line without consulting anyone but myself.3 Caesar, as he has informed me, has stationed a legion at Brundisium, Tarentum, and Sipontum respectively. He appears to me to be closing up exits by sea, and yet himself to have his eyes on
You say that I have written more bitterly about Dionysius than suits my character. See what an old-fashioned man I am! I thought, upon my honour, that you would be annoyed at this affair more than I was myself. For, besides the fact that I think you ought to be moved by an injury done me by anyone, this man has also in a certain sense outraged yourself in having behaved badly to me. But what account you should take of this it is for you to judge. However, in this matter I don't wish to lay any burden upon you. For my part, I always thought him half cracked, now I think him a scoundrel and a good-for-nothing besides: and yet, after all, not a worse enemy to me than to himself. What you said to Philargyrus was quite right: you certainly have a clear and good case in proving that I had been abandoned rather than had abandoned. When I had already despatched my letter on the 25th, the servants whom I had sent with Matius and Trebatius brought me a letter, of which this is a copy:
MATIUS AND TREBATIUS TOAfter leaving Capua we heard, while on the road, that Pompey, with all the forces he had, started from Brundisium on the 15th of March: that Caesar next day entered the town, made a speech, hurried thence for Rome, intending to be at the city before the 1st of April and to remain there a few days, and then to start for Spain. We thought it the proper thing to do, since we were assured of Caesar's approach, to send your servants back to you, that you might be informed of it as early as possible. We do not forget your charges, and we will carry them out as circumstances shall demand. Trebatius is making great exertions to reach you before Caesar. After this letter had been written we received tidings that Caesar would stop at Beneventum on the 25th of March, at
1] Messrs. Tyrrell and Purser adopt a conjecture of Madvig's, et hiccopiam mihi et in
2] I.e., leave to absent himself from the senate, and to take neither side in the war.
3] Lit. "I shall ask and obtain something from myself." He means,
4] See epistle CCCLXIII (A IX, 9)
5] Who was proscribed by Sulla.
6] Homer, Odyss. 20.18: "Endure, oh heart! still worse hast borne before."
8] The text of this passage is hopelessly corrupt. I have taken tentatively Schütz's reading, neque descripta attulit illa Lucius. The refer ence is thus to the proposals sent in January by Caesar to the consuls and Pompey by L. Caesar and the praetor Roscius (Caes. B.C. 1.9-10; Letter CCCXIV).
CCCLXXV (A IX. 18)
I followed your advice in both particulars: for I spoke in such a manner as rather to gain his respect than his thanks, and I stuck to the resolution of not going to
But I wait for a letter from you. For you can't say, as in former ones, "Let us see how this turns out." The final test was to be our meeting, and in that I feel certain I have offended him. All the more prompt must be my next step. Pray send me a packet, and full of politics! I am very anxious for a letter from you.
1] Some other words (in qua eraterosceleri) occur here, manifestly corrupt, of which nothing can be made.
2] Λαλαγεῦσαvillam, which seems a certain restoration of the Greek letters of the MSS., as is explained by Letter CCCLXI, where he quotes another part of the Greek epigram (Anth. 10.1), on the season for sailing announced by the swallow, harbinger of spring:
“See the meads bloom! the time has come for sailing:
The twittering swallow hails spring here at last. Hushed is the sea,
the soft west wind prevailing,
Late swollen with waves and lashed with bitter blast.”
3] Actum ne agas. It should be noticed that in this account of the interview with Caesar the name of Caesar does not occur, perhaps from caution.
CCCLXXXII (F VIII. 16)
M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (AT FORMIAE) -
ON THE ROAD TO
,1 (16) APRIL 49 B.C. SPAIN
ON THE ROAD TO
Being mortally alarmed by your letter, in which you shewed that your mind was filled with gloomy ideas, without saying outright what they were, and yet betraying the kind of action which you were contemplating, I write this letter to you on the spot. In the name of your fortunes and your children, my dear Cicero, I beg and beseech you not rashly to imperil your safety and security. I protest in the name of gods and men, and of our friendship, that I told you beforehand, and that my warning was not given inconsiderately, but that after meeting Caesar, and ascertaining what his view would be, if he gained the victory, I informed you of it. If you think that Caesar will maintain the same policy in letting his adversaries go and offering terms, you are mistaken. His thoughts, and even his words, forebode nothing but severity and cruelty. He left town incensed with the senate: he was thoroughly roused by the recent tribunician intercessions:2 there will be no place, by heaven, for mediation. Wherefore, if you love yourself, if you love your only son, if your family and your remaining hopes are dear to you: if I, or that excellent man your son-in-law, have any influence with you - and you surely ought not to wish to ruin us, in order to force us to choose between loathing and abandoning the cause, on the triumph of which our safety depends, or harbouring an unnatural wish against your safety. Finally consider this: whatever offence your hesitation has caused Pompey you have already incurred; it would be a piece of most consummate folly to act against Caesar now that he is victorious, when you refused to attack him while his fortunes were doubtful - to join the men after they have been driven into flight, whom you refused to follow when they were holding their ground. Take care lest, while feeling ashamed of not being a good enough Optimate, you fail to select the best course for yourself. But if I can't persuade you to take my advice in toto, at least wait till it is known how we get on in the Spanish provinces, which I have to tell you will be ours as soon as Caesar arrives. What hope your people have when the
1] Probably near
CCCLXXXIV (A X. 8 b)
CAESAR TO CICERO (AT FORMIAE) –ON THE ROAD TO
CAESAR imperator greets CICERO imperator.
Although I had come to the conclusion that you were not likely to do anything unadvisedly or imprudently, yet, being made anxious by common report, I thought that I ought to write to you and to appeal to you, in the name of our mutual kindness, not to go anywhere now that fortune has declared in my favour, that you had not thought yourself bound to go even when it was still uncertain. For you will have at once committed a somewhat serious offence against our friendship, and have adopted a course far from beneficial to yourself: since you will make it clear that you have not followed fortune - for all the good luck has notoriously been on our side, all the bad on theirs - nor the merits of the cause, for they are the same now as when you judged it best not to assist at their deliberations: but you will shew that you have condemned some act of mine, and that is the heaviest blow you can inflict on me. In the name of our friendship, I beg you not to do so. Finally, what can be from civil strife? It is a thing some would have been glad to do,1 but could not on account of the danger. For yourself, when you have satisfied yourself as to the evidence which my life furnishes, and the decision at which my friendship for you has arrived,2 you will find nothing at once safer and more honourable than to abstain entirely from active intervention in the fray.
On the march, 16 April.
1] He seems to mean himself. 2] It is difficult to be certain what Caesar means by iudicio amicitiae. I think he refers to his decision to allow
CCCXC (A X.
M. ANTONIUS TO
(AT ) – CUMAE
Had I not been warmly attached to you - much more warmly, indeed, than you suppose - I should not have been alarmed at the rumour which has reached me about you, especially as I thought it was without foundation. But just because I am so exceedingly devoted to you, I cannot conceal the fact that even a report, however groundless, is a serious thing in my eyes. I cannot believe that you are about to cross the sea, considering how highly you value Dolabella and your dear Tullia, and how highly you are valued by me, to whom, by heaven, your rank and reputation are almost dearer than they are to yourself. Nevertheless, I did not think that it would be friendly in me not to be rendered anxious by the talk even of men of low character. And, indeed, I have been the more zealous, because I considered that I had thrust upon me a somewhat difficult part to play, owing to the misunderstanding between us, which was the result of jealousy on my part rather than of any wrong done me by you.1 For I want to convince you that no one is dearer to me than you are, except my Caesar, and that my conviction at the same time is that Caesar gives M. Cicero a very high place among his friends. Wherefore, my dear Cicero, I beg you not to take any compromising step; and not to place any reliance on the man who, to do you a favour, first inflicted an injury upon you; and, on the other hand, not to fly from one who, even supposing he loses all affection for you - which is impossible - will yet desire your safety and your highest honour. I have taken pains to send my most intimate friend Calpurnius2 to you, that you may know that your life and honour are great objects with me.
1] We have no references in previous letters to any misunderstanding between Antony and Cicero, but in the second Philippic, 2, 48, 49, Cicero says that Antony was an intimate friend of P. Clodius in B.C. 58, that he (Cicero) had interfered to break off his connexion with the younger Curio, and had a controversy with him in regard to a lawsuit with one Sicca, a freedman of Antony's. Again, in B.C. 53, they had both been candidates for the augurship, though
CCCXCI (A X. 8)
The state of affairs itself, as well as your remark and my own observation, make it clear that the time has come to put an end to our correspondence on subjects which it would be dangerous to have intercepted. But as my dear Tullia keeps writing to me begging me to wait and see how things go in
All my interests have been confided to you, though they need no recommendation of mine, considering your affection for me. Nor, by Hercules, can I hit upon anything to write: for I am sitting waiting "sailing orders." Yet I never felt more bound to tell you anything than that none of all the delightful services you have done has been more grateful to my feelings, than your most delicate and careful attentions to my Tullia. She has herself been exceedingly charmed with them - as I have been no less. What high qualities she has shewn! How admirably she faces the public disaster! How admirably her domestic difficulties! What spirit she has displayed in the matter of my departure! She loves me dearly, she has the deepest sympathy with my feelings - yet she will have me act rightly and preserve my reputation. But don't let me enlarge too much on this theme, lest I should at this juncture rouse my own self-pity. If you get any surer intelligence about Spain, or anything else, pray write and tell me while I am still in the country; and, perhaps, at the moment of my departure I shall send you some intelligence, the more so that Tullia thinks that you are at present not thinking of leaving Italy. I must put before
Antony, as I did before Curio, my wish to reside in ,
and my determination not to take part in this civil war. I only hope I may find him as complaisant
and good-natured to me as I did Curio. He
is said to be intending to come to Misenum on the 2nd, that is, today: but he
has sent me a disagreeable letter in advance, of which I inclose a copy.13 Malta
3] Because, though they were his friends, and had been defended by him, they had been legally condemned, and their recall by Caesar's bare authority would be looked upon as offensive to a friend of the constitution.
4] The text of this sentence is hopelessly corrupt. But the general sense is, I think, something like what I have given.
6] Attus Naevius, the famous augur in the time of the Tarquins.
7] Referring apparently to Plato's Republic, 8.562 to 9.580; but the inevitable shortness of a tyrant's sway is not much brought out in this passage of Plato. It is rather the misery of his own feelings that is dwelt upon.
8] L. Caecilius Metellus, the tribune. His opposition in the senate on Caesar's visit to
9] By his seizing the treasury.
10] Thucydides, i 138.
11] P. Scipio Africanus the younger, after delivering a speech in defence of the rights of the Italians, was found dead in his bed. Popular rumour attributed his death to assassination at the bands of Carbo, to which belief
12] Cicero is thinking, not of a future life - in the Christian sense - but of the eternity of fame: as he says elsewhere that he cared more for what people said of him 600 years hence than what they said now.
13] Letter CCCXC.
CCCXCIV (A X. 10)
How blind of me not to have seen this before! I send you
4] Who had closed their gates to Caesar, and were now being besieged by Caesar's officers, Dec. Brutus and Trebonius.
CDII (A X. 18)
My Tullia was confined on the 19th of May - a boy, a seven months' child. I have reason to be thankful that she had a good delivery. The child itself is a poor little weakling. An astonishingly dead calm has as yet kept me from starting, and has been a greater impediment than the watch kept upon me. For all that talk of Hortensius was mere persiflage. The truth will turn out to be this: that most dissolute of men has been corrupted by his freedman Salvius.1 Accordingly, henceforth I shall not write and tell you what I am going to do, but only what I have done. For all the eavesdroppers of Corycus2 seem to be listening to what I say. Do you, however, I beg, continue to tell me any news there are of Spain, or anything else; but don't expect a letter from me, except when I have arrived at my wished - for destination, or in case I can send anything during my voyage. Even this I write with fear and trembling: so slowly and heavily does everything drag on. The foundation was badly laid, the rest follows suit. I am now making for Formiae: perhaps the Furies will follow me there too. a However, to judge from Balbus's conversation with you, my idea of
1] The text of these sentences is doubtful. 2] Κωpυκαῖoι became a proverbial term for spies or eavesdroppers, says Stephanos of Byzantium, from the piratic folk of Corycus in lonia, who listened for the arrival of merchant vessels, in order to plunder them: or, as others explain, because they spied out the merchant vessels and gave information to the pirates.
a [R.I. The Furies: three goddesses of vengeance: Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (the jealous) and Alecto (constant anger). They were also called the Daughters of the Night, but were actually the daughters of Uranus and Gaea. Another name for them is the Erinyes.]
CDIII (F XIV. 7)
FORMIAE, 7 JUNE 49 B.C.
All those uneasy feelings and melancholy thoughts, by which I kept you in such extreme distress, which makes me more uneasy than anything - as well as Tulliola, who is dearer to me than life itself - I have got rid of and ejected. The reason of it all I discovered the day after I parted from you. I threw up sheer bile during the night: I was at once so much relieved, that I really think some god worked the cure. Pray make full and pious acknowledgment to the god (Apollo or Aesculapius), according to your wont. I hope I have a very good ship. I write this at the moment of embarkation. Presently I will compose a large number of letters to our friends, to whose protection I will commend you and our dear Tulliola with the greatest earnestness. I would have added exhortations to you with a view to raising your courage, had I not known that you were more courageous than any man. And, after all, I hope affairs are of such a nature, that I may venture to expect you to be as comfortable as possible there, and myself to be at last likely, in company with men like-minded with myself, to be acting in defence of our country. Let your first care be your health: next, if it seems to you possible, make use of the villas farthest removed from men in arms. You can with advantage use the place at Arpinum with your town establishment, if the price of food goes up. Our charming young