The last letter from
possessed by us is
dated not later than the 27th of July: he was murdered on the 7th of December.
For the last four months of his life therefore we have nothing from him to tell
us of the events leading up to his death. But up to the battle of Forum
Gallorum (15th of April) we have letters from or to Cicero which carry us through the exciting
events of the early months. Antony's investment of Decimus Brutus in Mutina:
the negotiations between him and the senate, the march to the relief of Mutina
of Octavian, and the consuls Hirtius and Pansa successively, and the final
battles which compelled or induced Antony to raise the siege of Mutina and
march away to Gallia Narbonensis. But it only lets us see the beginning of the
subsequent collapse of the senatorial hopes. How Decimus Brutus failed to
retain the support of Octavian, and in his vain pursuit of Cicero - after being first joined and then
deserted by Plancus - found his army melt away, till he lost his own life. How Antony , reinforced by
Ventidius Bassus, was joined first by Lentulus and then by Pollio, and finally
by Plancus in Narbonensis. How Octavian, having first marched upon Antony Rome and forced an unwilling senate to allow him to be
returned consul, then came to terms with Antony
and Lepidus, ostensibly to attack whom he had again marched from . How the triumvirate
was arranged, nominally as a corn mission of reform, really to override the
constitution itself, and the terrible vengeance the three were to take upon
their enemies—and upon the Ciceros among the first. Rome , though of course he could not
foretell the exact course which events were to take, yet well knew that he and
his party were in the gravest danger. His one hope was in provincial governors
known to be favourable to the constitution and in command of forces -
especially Cornificius in Africa, Cassius in Cicero Syria,
and Marcus Brutus in .
We find him therefore to the last exhorting them to come to Macedonia Italy with their troops, that the senate might
resist possible attacks from
and deal with a free hand with Octavian. But when on Octavian's entry into Rome
(August) Cicero made his last despairing effort to collect the senate and
organize an opposition, he must have known that all hope was over, and he probably
spent the next two months in retirement at Tusculum, till he heard of the
triumvirate and the proscription lists. Antony Cicero's
literary work was now all over; but the Philippic Speeches (5-14) belong to the
first four months of this year, and represent vividly to us the progressive
steps in the quarrel with .
DCCCXIII (F XI, 8)
TO DECIMUS BRUTUS (AT MUTINA) -
Your wife Paulla1 sent a message asking me "whether I had anything to send to you," at a time when I had nothing particular to say. For everything is in a state of suspense because we are waiting for the return of the ambassadors, 2 of whose success there is as yet no news. However, I thought I ought to write and tell you this much: the senate and people of
1] Paulla Valeria, whom he here calls Polla (cp. Claudius and Clodius). See Fam. 8.7. For her brother Triarius, see vol. iii., p.221.
2] Those sent to
DCCCXV (F XII, 4)
TO C. CASSIUS LONGINUS (IN
I could wish that you had invited me to the banquet of the Ides of March: there would have been nothing left over! As it is, your leavings give me much trouble - yes, me more than anybody. Though our consuls are splendid, our consulars are utterly shameful. Though the senate is courageous, it is the lowest in rank that are most so. Nothing, indeed, can surpass the resolute bearing of the people, and of all
But what you are doing or intending to do, even where you are, I do not know. Report will have it that you are in
But there is no confirmation of it. About M. Brutus, as he is less remote, news
seems more trustworthy. Dolabella is being soundly abused by the wits for being
so prompt in relieving you before you had been full thirty days in Syria.2 So all are agreed
that he ought not to be admitted into Syria . You and Brutus are both
highly commended because you are thought to have collected an army beyond what
was hoped. I would have written at greater length, had I known the facts and
the real state of the case. As it is, what I write is founded on common opinion
and rumour. I am anxiously longing for a letter from you. Syria
1] This is the subject of the eighth Philippic delivered on the 3rd of February.
2] Dolabella had spent some time in Asia on his way to
The quid nuncs spoke jestingly of his Opposition to Cassius.
DCCCXVI (F X, 28)
TO GAIUS TREBONIUS (IN ASIA) -
How I could wish that you had invited me to that most glorious banquet on the Ides of March! We should have had no leavings! While, as it is, we are having such a trouble with them, that the magnificent service which you men then did the state leaves room for some grumbling. In fact, for Antony's having been taken out of the way by you - the best of men - and that it was by your kindness that this pest still survives, I sometimes do feel, though perhaps I have no right to do so, a little angry with you. For you have left behind an amount of trouble which is greater for me than for everyone else put together.
For as soon as a meeting of the senate could be freely held, after Antony's very undignified departure,1 I returned to that old courage of mine, which along with that gallant taking over the province, as though he were "succeeding" to the governorship, without allowing his predecessor even the thirty days beyond his year given him by the Julian law. citizen, your father, you ever had upon your lips and in your heart. For the tribunes having summoned the senate for the 20th of December, and having brought a different piece of business before it, I reviewed the situation as a whole, and spoke with the greatest fire, and tried all I could to recall the now languid and wearied senate to its ancient and traditional valour, more by an exhibition of high spirit than of eloquence.2
This day and this earnest appeal from me were the first things that inspired the Roman people with the hope of recovering its liberty. And had not I supposed that a gazette of the city and of all acts of the senate was transmitted to you, I would have written you out a copy with my own hand, though I have been overpowered with a multiplicity of business. But you will learn all that from others. From me you shall have a brief narrative, and that a mere summary. Our senate is courageous, but the consulars are partly timid, partly disaffected.3 We have had a great loss in Servius.4 Lucius Caesar entertains the most loyal sentiments, but, being
2] This is the speech known as the third Philippic.
4] Servius Sulpicius Rufus, who died while on the mission in
5] The Martia and the quarta.
DCCCXVIII (F XII, 5)
TO GAIUS CASSIUS LONGINUS (IN
I suppose that the winter has as yet prevented us from getting any certain news from you, as to what you are doing, and above all where you are. Nevertheless, it is the general talk - the wish, no doubt, is father to the thought - that you are in
1] Referring to M. Brutus having collected an army, occupied
2] Modern Quaderna, on the Aemilian road between Forum Cornelium and Bononia (
3] The surviving consulars were in several cases those who had owed their promotion to Caesar.
DCCCXIX (F XII, 11)
GAIUS CASSIUS TO
If you are well, I am glad. I and the army are well. I have to inform you that I went to
7 March, in camp at Tarichea.
1] Crispus and Murcus had been sent with proconsular authority by Caesar to put down Bassus. Allienus was a legatus of Trebonius (Phil. 11.30). Cassius says nothing of the murder of Trebonius by Dolabella, but he must have known it by this time.
DCCCXX (F XII, 7)
TO GAIUS CASSIUS LONGINUS (IN
IN MARCH) 43 B.C. ROME
With what zeal I have defended your political position, both in the senate and before the people, I would rather you learnt from your family than from me: and my proposal would have been carried in the senate, had it not been for the strong opposition of Pansa.1 After having made that proposal in the senate I was introduced to a public meeting by the tribune M. Servilius. I said what I could about you in a voice loud enough to fill the whole forum, and with such cheering and acclamation from the people, that I have never seen anything like it. Pray pardon me for acting in this against the wish of your mother-in-law.2 The lady is timid and was afraid of Pansa's feelings being hurt. In the public meeting in fact Pansa stated that your own mother also and your brother were against my making that motion. But I was not moved by these things. My mind was set on other objects. It was the Republic of which I was thinking, of which I have always thought, and of your position and glory. Now I hope that you will redeem the pledges which I gave both in senate and before the people at considerable length. For I promised and almost pledged myself that you had not waited and would not wait for any decrees of ours, but would yourself defend the constitution in your own way. And although we have not yet had any intelligence either of where you are or what forces you have, yet I have made up my mind that all the resources and troops in that part of the world are in your hands, and feel confident that by your means the province of Asia has been already recovered for the Republic. Take care to surpass yourself in promoting your own glory. Good-bye.
1] The proposal of Calenus supported in the eleventh Philippic, delivered in the senate after the news of the murder of Trebonius, intrusting the war against Dolabella, already declared a public enemy, to Cassius. The contio on the same subject to which
2] Servilia, whose daughter Tertia was the wife of Cassius.
DCCCXXII (F XII, 25, §§1-5)
TO QUINTUS CORNIFICIUS (IN AFRICA) -
On the 17th of March I received your letter, which your son handed to me on the 21st day - as he said - from its despatch. Neither on that nor the following day was there any meeting of the senate. On the Quinquatrus Minervae (19th of March) before a full house I pleaded your cause - not unfavoured by Minerva herself.For in fact on that very day the senate decreed that my statue of Minerva, which a storm had thrown down, should be restored.1 Pansa read your despatch. It was followed by strong expression of approval from the senate, to my great joy and the great chagrin of the "Minotaur "- I mean Calvisius and Taurus;2 and a decree was passed about you in complimentary terms. A demand was even made that these men should have some stigma inflicted upon them, but Pansa was for milder measures. For myself, my dear Cornificius, on the day (the 20th of December) on which I first conceived a hope of freedom and, while everybody else shrank from beginning, laid the foundations of a recovered constitution - on that very day, I say, I made careful provision and calculation for the maintenance of your position. For it was for my motion as to the retention of the provinces that the senate voted. Nor indeed did I subsequently cease from discrediting the man, who to your great injury and to the discredit of the Republic was retaining the province, though he had himself left it.3 Accordingly, he was unable to stand out against my frequent, or rather daily attacks upon him, and unwillingly returned to Rome: and was driven not from a mere hope, but from what was now a certainty and an actual possession, by my most righteous and dignified invective. That you have employed your eminent courage in successfully retaining your position, and have been complimented by the greatest honours a province can bestow, is a subject of lively satisfaction to me.
As to your defence of yourself in regard to Sempronius, I accept your explanation; for that was a dark period of servitude. I, the supporter of your policy and champion of your position, enraged at the position of affairs and despairing of freedom, was on the point of hurrying off to Greece, when the Etesian winds, like loyal citizens, refused to further me in my desertion of the Republic, and a south wind blowing in my teeth carried me back by his strongest blast to your fellow tribesmen of Rhegium. And so from thence I hurried at full speed - sail and oar together - to my country; and the day after my arrival was the one free man in a nation of slaves.4 I delivered such an invective against Antony5 that he could not bear it, and vented all his vinous madness on my devoted head,6 and endeavoured at one time to entice me to give him an excuse for bloodshed, at another tried to entrap me. But I hunted him belching and vomiting into the toils of Caesar Octavianus. For that illustrious youth collected for himself a protecting force - at first in favour of our party, and subsequently in that of the supreme state. And if it hadn't been for him,
“ But time has passed and taught a different way;
And nobler manners asks our nobler day,”
as Terence says.8 Wherefore, my dear Quintus, embark with us, and even approach the helm. All loyalists are now in the same boat, which we are doing our best to keep in the straight course. Pray heaven for a prosperous voyage! But whatever the winds may be, skill on my part at least shall not be wanting: for to what beyond that can virtue pledge itself? For your part keep a good heart and lofty spirit, and reflect that your whole position must needs stand and fall with the Republic.
1] Cicero uses the common phrase non invita Minerva, "not without success", in order to bring in the double reference to the feast of Minerva (quinquatrus Minervae) and to the statue of bust of Minerva which he had dedicated on the Capitol before he went into exile, as a guardian goddess of the city. See de Leg. 2.42.
2] Calvisius, appointed to succeed Sulpicius. T. Statilius Taurus had been named his legatus. The senate now confirmed Sulpicius in the province of
3] C. Calvisius made provision for retaining the province of
4] Because he refused
5] The first Philippic on the 2nd of September.
6] In the carefully prepared speech of the 19th of September.
7] Where he had been to meet the legions.
8] Terence, Andr. 189.
DCCCXXIV A (13 PHIL. §§ 22-46)
M. ANTONIUS TO HIRTIUS AND CAESAR1
THE CAMP AT MUTINA (MARCH) 43 B.C.
THE CAMP AT MUTINA (MARCH) 43 B.C.
The news of the death of Gaius Trebonius caused me as much regret as joy. One cannot help being glad that a wicked wretch has given satisfaction to the ashes and bones of a most illustrious man, and that Divine Providence has manifested its power before the end of one revolving year in the punishment, or immediate prospect of the punishment, of parricide. On the other hand, one cannot repress a sigh that Dolabella at such a time as this should be adjudged a public enemy for having killed a murderer; and that the Roman people should care more for the son of a mere man-about-town than for Gaius Caesar. But the most painful thing of all, Aulus Hirtius, is that you who were ennobled by the favours of Caesar and left by him in a position which surprises yourself - and that you, young sir, who owe everything to his name - are acting in a way to sanction Dolabella's condemnation and to release this pestilent fellow from his state of siege. In order, I suppose, that Brutus and Cassius may be all-powerful! The fact is, you regard the present situation as you did the former, when you used to speak of Pompey's camp as "the senate." You have taken Cicero as your leader, who was beaten then; you are strengthening Macedonia with troops; you have intrusted Africa to Varus, who had been twice made a prisoner; you have sent Cassius to Syria; you have allowed Casca to be tribune; you have withdrawn the revenue given by Iulius to the Luperci;2 you have by decree of the senate abolished colonies of veterans which were established by law; you are promising the Massilians to refund what was taken from them by the right of war; you give out that no living Pompeian comes under the lex Hirtia;3 you have supplied M. Brutus with money sent by Appuleius;4 you have commended the executions of Petrus had a copy of it which he read in the senate on the 20th of March, when there was a proposal made to send a second embassy to Antony.
Cicero accompanied it
with a running comment of abuse, meant to shew that it was hopeless to deal
with . It
puts forcibly Antony 's
case, and therefore I have thought it well to insert it here. It is extracted
from the thirteenth Philippic. and Menedemus,5 who were presented with the citizenship and were
beloved by Caesar. You have taken no notice of the expulsion of Theopompus by
Trebonius and of his flying stripped of everything to Alexandria; you have
Servius Galba in your camp armed with the self-same dagger.6 You have got together an army of soldiers who are
either legally mine, or who have served their time, on the pretext of
destroying the murderers of Caesar, and yet have forced them contrary to their
expectations to assist in endangering the lives of their own quaestor or
commander or fellow soldiers. In fact what have you not consented to or done
which Gnaeus Pompeius would do, if he could come to life again, or his son if
he could regain his home? Lastly, you say that there can be no peace, unless I
either allow Decimus Brutus to march out or supply him with corn. Do you mean
to tell me that this is the opinion of the veterans who have not yet committed
themselves, even though you have been corrupted by flattery and insidious gifts
to come here? But, you will say, it is besieged soldiers that you are
attempting to relieve. Them I have no objection to spare and to allow to go
wherever you order them, on the one condition that they give him7 up to the death he has so
richly deserved. You say in your letter that mention has been made in the
senate of a pacification, and that five consulars have been appointed as
legates. It is difficult to believe that the men who violently repelled me,
though I offered the most equitable terms, and was thinking nevertheless of
mitigating even them, should be entertaining any thoughts of moderation or be
likely to act with common charity. It is scarcely likely even that men who have
declared Dolabella a public enemy for a most righteous act should be capable of
sparing us who are at one with him in heart. Antony
Wherefore I would have you consider which of the two courses is in the better taste and the more advantageous to your party - to punish the death of Trebonius or that of Caesar: and whether it is more right that we should meet as foes and so allow the Pompeian cause so often defeated to revive, or that we should come to terms and so avoid being a laughing-stock to our enemies, who will be the gainers whichever of us perishes? Such a spectacle as this Fortune herself as yet has shunned. She has not seen, that is, two armies of the same body politic fighting like gladiators with Cicero for a trainer, who has been so far successful as to deceive you both by the same formal honours by which he has boasted of having deceived Caesar.8 For my part I am resolved not to submit to the degradation of myself or my friends, nor to desert the party which Pompey hated, nor to allow the veterans to be turned out of their homes, nor to be dragged off one by one to punishment, nor to break the faith which I pledged to Dolabella, nor to violate my compact with that devoted patriot Lepidus, nor to betray Plancus who is a sharer in my policy.
If the immortal gods, as I hope they will, aid me in my plain and honest course, I shall survive with satisfaction to myself; but if a different fate awaits me, I feel an anticipatory pleasure in the punishment which will befall you. For if the Pompeians are so arrogant in defeat, I would rather you than I should experience what they will be in victory. In fact the upshot of my decision is this: I am ready to put up with the injuries done to my party, if they will either consent to forget that they are Caesar's assassins, or are prepared to join us in avenging his death. I cannot believe in legates approaching a place which is being at the same time menaced by war. When they have arrived I shall learn their demands.
1] This letter is not included in the
had a copy of it which he read in the senate on the 20th of March,
when there was a proposal made to send a second embassy to
shew that it was hopeless to deal with
It is extracted from the thirteenth Philippic.
2] The Lupercalia had been falling into disrepute, but were revived by Iulius and the Luperci endowed.
3] A law, perhaps passed when Hirtius was praetor or praefectus in B.C. 46, to exclude Pompeians from office. But it is not certain.
4] Appuleius was quaestor in
6] That is, with which he killed Caesar.
7] Decimus Brutus.
8] An allusion to the ornandum, laudandum, tollendum epigram, for which see Letter DCCCLXXIV.
DCCCXXXIV (BRUT. II, 3)
M. IUNIUS BRUTUS TO
CICERO (AT ) - ROME
DYRRACHIUM, I APRIL 43 B.C.
DYRRACHIUM, I APRIL 43 B.C.
I am anxiously expecting the letter which you wrote after you received the news of my movements and of the death of Trebonius.1 For I feel certain that you will expound your plan of action. By a shocking crime we have at once lost a most loyal citizen and have been driven from the possession of a province, the recovery of which is easy. But its subsequent recovery will not relieve the scandal and crime. Antonius2 is still in my camp; but, on my honour, I am much affected by the man's entreaties, and I fear a violent outbreak in some quarter may carry him off. I am really distracted with indecision. But if I knew your opinion, I should cease to be anxious: for I should be persuaded that it was the best thing to be done. Wherefore at the earliest possible moment let me know what your opinion is. Our friend Cassius holds
The two things which I want are money and more men. The latter - the sending some part of the soldiers now in
1 April, Dyrrachium.
1] The murder of Trebonius by Dolabella.
2] Gaius Antonius, to whom his brother had caused the senate to transfer the
3] The letter containing this jest of
4] Vetus apparently brought the money sent by Appuleius the quaestor from
DCCCXXXVII (BRUT. II, 4)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (AT DYRRACHIUM) -
After I had given Scaptius a letter for you on the morning of the 11th of April, I received one from you in the evening of the same day, dated from Dyracchium on the 1st of April. Accordingly, on the morning of the 12th, having been informed by Scaptius that the men to whom I had given the letter the day before had not started and were going at once, I have dashed off this brief note in the midst of the turmoil of my morning levée. I am delighted with the news about Cassius, and I congratulate the Republic, and also myself, for having proposed in the senate, in spite of Pansa's opposition and anger, that Cassius should make war upon Dolabella.1 And indeed I boldly maintained that he was already engaged in that war without any decree of ours. About you also I said on that occasion what I thought ought to be said. This speech2 shall be transmitted to you, since I perceive that you like my "Philippics." You ask my advice as to Gaius Antonius: my opinion is that he should be kept under arrest till we know the fate of Decimus Brutus. From the letter you addressed to me it appears that Dolabella is harassing
1] Trebonius, who had gone as governor of Asia soon after the murder of Caesar, was avowedly collecting troops and money and fortifying towns with a view of supporting the tyrannicides. When Dolabella arrived at
2] The eleventh Philippic.
DCCCXXXVIII (F X, 30)
SERVIUS SULPICIUS GALBA TO
CAMP NEAR MUTINA, 16 APRIL 43 B.C.
On the 15th of April, the day on which Pansa was to arrive at the camp of Hirtius, with the former of whom I was - for I had gone along the road a hundred miles to hasten his arrival - Antony brought out two legions, the second and the thirty-fifth, and two praetorian cohorts, one his own and the other that of Silanus, and a party of reservists. He confronted us with such a force because he thought that we had only four legions of recruits. But in the course of the night, in order to enable us to reach the camp in greater safety, Hirtius had sent us the Martian legion—which I usually command - and two praetorian cohorts. As soon as
16 April, in camp.
DCCCXXXIX (BRUT. II, 5)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (AT DYRRACHIUM) -
I believe that your friends - to not one of whom do I yield in affection to you - have written to tell you what despatches were read in the senate on the 13th of April from you, and at the same time from Antony. But though there was no need for us all to repeat the same story, yet it is necessary that I should write and tell you my feeling, deliberate opinion, and sentiments as to the nature of this war generally. My object, Brutus, in imperial politics has always been the same as your own: my policy in certain points - not in all - has perhaps been somewhat more drastic. You know that it was always my opinion that the Republic should be delivered not only from a tyrant but from a tyranny also.1 You took a more indulgent view - to your own undying honour, no doubt. But which was the better course we have felt to our bitter sorrow, and are still feeling to our grave peril. More recently you have directed all your efforts to secure peace - which could not be brought about by mere words - I to secure liberty, which is impossible without peace.2 But my view was that peace itself could be brought about by war and arms. There was no want of enthusiasts who were eager to fight, but we checked their enthusiasm and damped their ardour. And so it had come to such a pass that, had not some god inspired Caesar Octavianus with that resolution, we must necessarily have fallen under the power of Marcus Antonius, the most abandoned and depraved of men, with whom you see at this very moment in what a desperate contest we are engaged. Now that, of course, would never have occurred if Antony had not been spared at that time3 But I pass over these reflexions: for the deed which you performed - ever memorable and all but divine - disarms all criticism, for it is one which can never be even praised in terms adequate to its merit.
You lately came to the front again with a look of stern resolve. In a brief time you collected by your unaided exertions an army, forces, sufficient legions. Great heavens! What a message, what a despatch!4 What exultation was there in the senate, what an outburst of cheerfulness in the city! I never saw anything praised with such complete unanimity. There was some anxiety about the remnants of
Lo and behold, on the 13th of April, early in the morning comes Pilius Celer in hot haste - what a man, good heavens! How trustworthy and consistent! What an honest politician! He brings two letters, one in your name, a second in that of
"ANTONIUS PROCONSUL! " - There was as much surprise expressed as though the words read had been "DOLABELLA IMPERATOR"; from whom indeed letter-carriers have arrived, but no one of the position of Pilius to venture to produce a despatch and to hand it to the magistrates.7 Your despatch is read. It was short indeed, but very indulgent in its reference to Antonius. The senate was greatly astonished. And I could not see my way clearly as to what I ought to do. Was I to declare it a forgery? What if you had acknowledged it? Was I to assert its genuineness? That will be a reflexion on your official position. So I let that day pass without saying anything. But next day, when there had begun to be much talk about it, and Pilius had made himself offensively conspicuous, the first step was after all taken by me. I said a great deal about "the proconsul" Antonius. Sestius backed me up. Afterwards, in private conversation with me, he dwelt on the danger he inferred for his own son and mine if they bore arms against "a proconsul." You know the sort of man he is. However, he did not shrink from supporting the contention.8 Others also spoke. Our friend Labeo, for instance, remarked that there was neither any seal of yours on the despatch, nor any date affixed, and that you had not written to your friends, as was your custom.9 By this he meant to argue that the despatch was a forgery, and, if you would know the truth, he was thought to be convincing.
Now, Brutus, you must take into consideration the whole question of the war. I notice that you take pleasure in lenient measures, and think that the most advantageous line to take. It is an admirable sentiment: but it is for other circumstances and other times that a place for clemency generally is and ought to be reserved. As things are now, Brutus, what is actually being done? The hope of the needy and the ruined is the plunder of the temples of the immortal gods; and what depends upon the issue of this war is neither more nor less than our bare existence. Who is it that we are sparing, or what is our object? Are we then consulting for the interests of those, whose victory means that not a trace of us will be left? For what difference is there between Dolabella and any one of the three Antonies? If we spare any of the latter, we have been harsh in the case of Dolabella. That the senate and Roman people take this view is partly the result of the mere facts of the case, but for the most part has been brought about by my advice and influence. If you disapprove this policy, I will speak up for your opinion, but I shall not abandon my own. From you men expect neither weakness nor cruelty. An obvious mean between these is that you should be stern to the leaders, placable to the soldiers. I should like my son, my dear Brutus, to be as much as possible by your side He will find no better school of virtue than the contemplation and imitation of you.
1] That is, that
3] That is, when Caesar was murdered.
4] The despatch in which Brutus announced that he had taken possession of
5] Young Cicero is said to have defeated Gaius Antonius in an engagement at Byllis, near Apollonia (Plutarch, Brut. 26).
6] Who was praetor urbanus, and therefore presided in the senate in the absence of the consuls.
8] That is, the contention (causa) that M. Brutus was the legal proconsul in
9] That is, that the bearer of the public despatch brought no private letters at the same time, as we have seen was the almost invariable custom. For as there was no postal services, such messengers were always used for this purpose. It was a good argument against the genuineness of the letter.
DCCCXLIII (BRUT. 1, 3, § 4)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (AT DYRRACHIUM) -
We have lost two consuls - good men enough; yes, at any rate good men. As for Hirtius, he fell in the moment of victory,1 having also won a great battle only a few days before. For Pansa had retreated, after receiving wounds which put him out of action.2 Decimus Brutus and Caesar are in pursuit of the remnants of the enemy.3 All, moreover, have been declared "enemies," who followed the party of Antony: and that decree of the senate most people interpret as applying also to those whom you have captured or who have surrendered to you. For my part I refrained from urging any severity, though I proposed a decree referring to Gaius Antonius by name: for I had made up my mind that the senate ought to be informed by you of the merits of his case. 27 April.
] In storming
2] Pansa appears to have retired wounded to Bononia after the battle. It is rather remarkable that Galba says nothing of his being wounded in Letter DCCCXXXVIII.
3] It turned out that Caesar had refused to join Decimus Brutus in the pursuit of
DCCCXLIV (F XI, 9)
DECIMUS BRUTUS TO
REGIUM LEPIDI, 29 APRIL 43 B.C.
What a loss the Republic has sustained by the death of Pansa you must be well aware. In these circumstances you must use your influence and foresight to prevent our opponents hoping to regain their strength now that the consuls have been removed. I will take care that
29 April, in camp at Regium.2
[The next day's march of Decimus Brutus ended at
. There he found that Parma had been some days before him, and had
plundered the town to supply his army. Two words of a despatch from Antony Parma - Parmenses miserrimos, "Oh most wretched
people of "
- are preserved and numbered in some editions Fam. 11.13b. See Phil. 14.9.] Parma
1] Ventidius Bassus, as we have seen, did get past Decimus and join
2] Regium Lepidi, mod. Reggio, on the Aemi1ian road between Mutina and
DCCCXLV (F X, II)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO
I give you undying thanks, and shall do so as long as I live: since I cannot promise to repay you. For I do not think that I can possibly make a return for such great services as yours, unless by chance, as you remarked in such eloquent and impressive words in your letter, you will consider me to have repaid you as long as I remember them. If it had been a question of your own son's position, you could not have acted at any rate more affectionately. Your first motions in the senate proposing unlimited rewards for me, your later ones made to square with circumstances and the wishes of my friends, your constant and formal speeches about me, and your wordy-warfare on my behalf with my detractors-these are all most thoroughly known to me. I must be more than commonly careful to shew myself as a citizen worthy of your praise, mindful and grateful as your friend. For the future see that your bounty is not wasted; and if by results and facts you find that I am the man you wished me to be, defend me and take up my cause. Having crossed the
DCCCXLVIII (BRUT. 1,5)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (AT DYRRACHIUM) -
On the 27th of April, when the speeches were being delivered in the senate as to the proceedings to be taken against the men who had been adjudged public enemies, Servilius referred among others to the case of Ventidius,1 and also advised that Cassius should conduct the war against Dolabella. I spoke in support of this, and added to the motion that you, if you thought it expedient and to the public advantage, should direct your attack upon Dolabella: and that if you could not do so with advantage to the public service, or if you thought that it was to the interests of the state, you should keep your army in the district in which it now is. The senate could not have paid you a greater compliment than leaving you to decide what you thought to be for the benefit of the state. For my own part my feeling is that, if Dolabella has a body of troops, if he has a camp, if he has any footing anywhere, it concerns your honour and position that you should go against him. As to the forces in the hands of our friend Cassius we know nothing, for we have had no despatch from him personally, nor has any news reached us upon which we can rely. But how important it is that Dolabella should be crushed you certainly fully appreciate, both that he may be punished for his crime, and that there may be no place of refuge for the ringleaders of the outlaws after their rout at Mutina. And indeed that this has all along been my opinion you may recollect from my previous letter - though at that time our only harbour of refuge was in your camp, and we were looking to your army to save us from destruction. Much more, now that we have been freed as I hope from absolute danger, ought we to devote ourselves to crushing Dolabella.2 But think the matter over carefully, decide it wisely, and - if you deem it right - let me know what you have resolved and what you are actually doing. I wish my son Cicero to be co-opted into your college.3 I think in the circumstances that in the election of sacerdotes candidates might be voted for in their absence : for it has been done even before this. For instance, Gaius Marius, though he was in
was created an augur under the lex Domitia;4
nor has any law since made that illegal. There is even a clause in the lex
Julia - the most recent legislation on the subject of the priesthoods - in
these words: "the candidate and anyone for whom votes shall be
taken." This clearly indicates that votes can be taken for one who does not
act as a candidate. I have written to my son on this subject telling him to
follow your advice, as in all other things. It is for you again to decide about
Domitius and our friend Cato.5
But however legal it may be for votes to be taken for a man in his absence, yet
it is easier in every way for those who are on the spot. While if you have
resolved that you must go to Asia, we shall
have no means of summoning our friends to the comitia. Certainly I think that
everything would have been more expeditiously done if Pansa were alive: for he
would have at once held the election of his colleague, and then the comitia of
the sacerdotes would have been held before those of the praetors. As it is, I
foresee a long delay on account of the auspicia; for as long as there is a
single patrician magistrate left the auspicia cannot revert to the senate. It
is certainly a serious complication.6
Pray write and tell me your views on the whole question. 5 May.
1] Ventidius Bassus, the praetor, who had marched from Ariminum and joined
3] The college of the pontifices. Two vacancies had occurred by the death of Iulius Caesar and P. Servilius Isauricus. They were filled up later in the year by Ventidius Bassus and Cornelius Balbus.
4] Marius went to
5] That is, whether you wish them to be candidates. L. Domitius Ahenobarbus (who fell at Pharsalia) married Porcia, a sister of Cato Uticensis, and Brutus was married to Porcia, a daughter of the same Cato. Therefore the son of Domitius - Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus and young Cato, the son of Cato Uticensis, were connexions of Brutus, and he might wish to back them.
6] The same difficulty had occurred in B.C. 49, when both consuls were abroad. The lesser magistrate cannot "create," i.e., hold the election for, the greater. In old times, when the consuls were the only curule magistrates, in case of their disappearance by death or otherwise, the auspicial - the right of taking the auspices, without which there could be no valid election - were said to revert to the patres of the senate. The senate then nominated interreges, who held the election. But the question is now complicated by the fact that there are other curule magistrates who possess the auspicia, which therefore cannot revert to the patres unless they abdicate. In B.C. 52 the question did not arise, for the elections having been all prevented till after the 1st of January, all curule magistrates had vacated their offices, and therefore the auspicia had reverted to the patres. By a "patrician magistrate,"
DCCCL (F XI, 10)
DECIMUS BRUTUS TO
DERTONA, 5 MAY 43 B.C.
I do not think that the Republic owes me more than I owe you. You have good assurance of my being capable of greater gratitude to you than those misguided persons shew me: and that if after all my words seem to be dictated by the exigencies of the hour, I prefer your approval to that of all those people on the other side. For your judgment of us proceeds from an independent and sincere feeling: they are debarred from that by malice and jealousy. Let them interpose to prevent my receiving marks of honour, so long as they do not prevent the public service being properly conducted by me. The extreme danger in which that now stands I will explain as briefly as I can. To begin with, you cannot fail to observe what a confusion in city business is caused by the death of the consuls, and how much ambition this vacancy in the office inspires in men. I think I have written as much as can be committed to paper. For I know to whom I am writing. I now return to
5 May, in camp, Dertona.
1] About £320,000.
2] M. Terentius Varro was not a particularly rich man, or at any rate not sufficiently so to be proverbial. But he wrote a book de divitiis, in which he may have told the story of Crassus saying that no one was rich till he could keep a legion on the interest of his capital (Pliny, N. H. 33, § 134). Another suggestion is that it refers to some character in one of Varro's plays.
DCCCLII (F XII, 12)
C. CASSIUS LONGINUS TO
CICERO (AT ROME) -
7 MAY 43 B.C. SYRIA
If you are well, I am glad. I also am well. I have read your letter in which I recognized your uncommon affection for me. For you seemed not merely to wish me well - as you always have done on private arid public grounds alike - but to have involved yourself'in very grave responsibility and to be exceedingly anxious about us. Therefore, because in the first place I thought that you would believe that we could not remain inactive when the Republic was crushed: and in the second place because, as you suspected that we were moving, I thought you would be anxious as to our safety and the result of the operations, as soon as I received the legions brought by Aulus Allienus from Egypt,1 I wrote to you and sent a number of messengers to Rome. I also wrote a despatch to the senate, which I said was not to be delivered until it had been read to you - if by any chance my messengers have chosen to obey me. If these letters have not reached you, I have no doubt that Dolabella, who seized the government of
7 May, in camp.
1] Aulus Allienus was a legatus of Trebonius, and had been sent to
2] L. Murcus and Q. Marcius Crispus, who had been engaged against Caecilius Bassus, and had handed over their legions to Cassius.
DCCCLIII (BRUT. I, 4, §§ 1-3)
M. IUNIUS BRUTUS TO
DYRRACHIUM (7 MAY) 43 B.C.
My joy at hearing of the success of our friend Decimus Brutus and the Consuls it is easier for you to imagine than for me to write.1 I have nothing but praise and pleasure for everything that has occurred, but especially for the fact that the sortie of Brutus not only proved his own salvation, but also a very great assistance to the victory.2
You remark that all the three Antonies stand on one and the same ground, and that it rests with me to decide what view I take. Well, my only conclusion is that the decision in regard to those citizens who have fought and not been killed rests with the senate or the Roman people. "Ah, but," you will say, "you are wrong to begin with in calling men citizens whose feelings to the state are those of enemies." On the contrary, I am acting with the strictest justice. For that which the senate has not yet voted, nor the Roman people ordained - that I do not take upon myself to prejudge, nor do I claim to decide it on my own authority. From this position I do not budge - from the man, whom circumstances did not compel me to put to death, I have not wrested anything in a spirit of cruelty, nor have I given him any indulgence from mere weakness; but I have retained him in my power until the end of the war. I consider it much the more honourable course, and one which the Republic can with more safety concede, not to press heavily on the unfortunate, rather than to indulge men of influence in what is calculated to inflame their ambition and arrogance.3 In this matter, Cicero, you - who have done the most splendid and gallant services, and are most deeply beloved by all on private and public grounds alike - seem to me too ready to believe what you hope; and the moment anyone has done anything well, to be ready to give and concede everything to him. As though it were not quite possible that a mind should be corrupted by bribery and perverted to evil. You are so good-natured that you won't be angry at receiving this hint, especially as it concerns the common safety. You will act, however, as it may seem best to you. Even I, when you have admonished me... 4
1] Brutus could not have known of the death of the consuls, which indeed was not known at first even at
2] According to Dio (46, 40), Decimus Brutus and his besieged garrison made no sortie during the battle, nor took any part in it. But there is nothing surprising in M. Brutus having heard that he did. The inaccuracy of the reports during the war has again and again been apparent.
3] Brutus seems to be referring to those members of the party who were in favour of severities to the opposition, partly from desire for vengeance, and partly with an eye to confiscations and other personal advantages. We heard much of this in the early times of the civil war.
4] The end of the letter is lost.
DCCCLV (F XI, 13, §§ 1-4)
DECIMUS BRUTUS TO
CICERO (AT ) - ROME
POLLENTIA (12 MAY) 43 B.C.
POLLENTIA (12 MAY) 43 B.C.
I am not going to thank you any more; for when one can make a man no return in deeds, it is impossible to satisfy his just claims by mere words. I want you to notice what I have on my hands. For your insight is so great that you will take in the whole situation, if you read my letter with care. I was unable, my dear
1] There is no doubt that Decimus Brutus was completely outmanoeuvred.
2] The end of the letter is lost.
DCCCLVI (F X, 15)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO
CULARO1, 13 MAY 43 B.C.
What has happened since my last letter2 was written I thought it for the public service that you should know. My persevering attention has, I hope, borne some fruit both for myself and the Republic. For by a continual interchange of messages I urged Lepidus, laying aside all controversies and admitting a reconciliation between us, to join me in coming to the rescue of the Republic; to have regard for himself; his children, and the city, as more precious than one abandoned and humiliated outlaw: and I promised him that he should find me thoroughly at his command in every undertaking if he did so. I have made some way with him; and accordingly he has by our intermediary Laterensis pledged his word to me that he will make war on
2] See Letter DCCCXLV. This may have been sent with it.
DCCCLX (BRUT. I, 16)
M. IUNIUS BRUTUS TO
CICERO (AT ROME) -
(MAY) 43 B.C. MACEDONIA
I1 have read an extract from your letter to Octavius which was sent me by Atticus. Your zeal and care for my safety gave me no novel pleasure; for it is not merely a matter of habit, but of daily habit, to be told of you that you have said or done something in defence of my position which displayed your fidelity and complimentary opinion of me. But that same extract of your letter to Octavius about us caused me a distress as great as my heart is capable of feeling. For you thank him in the name of the Republic in such terms! With such abject and whispering humbleness - why must I write the word? I blush to think of my position and high estate, yet I must write it - you commend our safety to him! Could any death be worse disaster? You, in fact, avow that the slavery is not abolished, only the master changed! Recall your words and dare to say that those prayers are not the prayers of an enslaved subject to a tyrant. The one and only thing - you say - that is demanded and expected of him is that he consent to the safety of those citizens, of whom the loyalists and the people have a good opinion. What? If he doesn't consent, shall we not be safe? And yet it is better not to be than to be by his favour.2 Upon my honour I do not think that all the gods are so hostile to the safety of the Roman people, that we need entreat Octavius for the safety of any citizen, not to say for "the liberators of the world" - for there is a certain advantage in using strong language, and at any rate there is a propriety in doing so to people who do not know what every man ought to fear or to aim at.
Do you confess,
This very boy, whom the name of Caesar appears to instigate against the slayers of Caesar, what would he give, if there were a chance of such traffic, to be as powerful with our support, as he certainly will be when we choose life for its own sake, and the possession of money, and the title of consulars! But Caesar will have perished in vain: for why did we rejoice at his death, if we were to become none the less slaves when he is dead? No one else cares about these things, but may the gods and goddesses take from me everything sooner than the resolution of never conceding what I would not endure in Caesar - I won't say to the heir of the man I killed, but even to my father himself if he were to come to life again - namely, that he should, without a protest from me, be more powerful than the laws and the senate. Are you so deluded as to think that the rest of the world will be free from one without whose consent there is no footing for us in
1] The textual history of this and the following letter (to Atticus) is strong enough, and the references in Plutarch's Brutus (ch. xxii) are sufficient to prove that they, or documents exceedingly like them, existed in his time and were believed to be genuine. To my mind the letter to Atticus has much the stronger internal signs of genuineness of the two. For in spite of every attestation one is loath to think that the present letter was really written by a man who enjoyed as high a reputation among his contemporaries as Brutus did. It is so querulous, poor, ill-expressed, and tautological - so entirely unworthy of the subject and the writer and the recipient - that we should be glad to know of a dull pupil in a rhetorical school being discovered to be its author. To read arguments in favour of its being Brutus's usual style reminds one of a criticism of Charles Lamb, who, being told that somebody's sonnets were like those of Petrarch, replied, "Yes, they are like Petrarch's, if we could suppose Petrarch to have been born a fool." I have left these letters in the place assigned them in Messrs. Tyrrell and Purser's edition; but one of the gravest objections to them is the difficulty of deciding to what particular juncture they can refer: and for some reasons it seems to me to be most natural to put at any rate the first of them before the battle of Mutina.
2] This of course recalls Shakespeare, and may have suggested, “ I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.” Jul. Caes. i. 2, 95.
3] Octavius by adoption in Caesar's will was now C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus. Brutus never calls him Octavianus, as that would acknowledge the adoption, and only Caesar ironically.
4] A verse of Stasimus is quoted by Polybius (23, 10) on the policy of killing sons as well as fathers νήπιος ὃς πατέρα κτείνας υἱοὺςκαταλείπει, "Oh fool! to slay the sire and leave the sons!"
DCCCLXI (BRUT. I, 17)
M. IUNIUS BRUTUS TO ATTICUS (AT
You say in your letter that
1] That is, he is as bitter to Casca as Bestia was formerly to himself. L. Calpurnius Bestia had been a partisan of Catiline (pro Sest. § 11). Yet
2] It seems necessary in the context that this sentence should mean that Atticus despaired of remedial measures. Various emendations have been proposed. I have simply changed desperatam to desperatum, and regarded posse sanari as a substantive, "the possibility of a cure," which is a rather characteristic usage in these letters.
3] Atticus - we should observe - had only one child, a daughter. But perhaps we may pass liberi as a facon de parler.
4] Salvidienus Rufus, an early friend of Octavian's, who had been with him at Apollonia. He was a man of obscure origin (ex infima fortuna, Suet. Aug. 66), but was employed on confidential matters for some time by Augustus. He has now apparently been sent to
5] For Philippus would not address him as Caesar, at any rate when he first came to
6] Porcia, if we are to accept the consolatio (Letter DCCCXCVII) as genuine, seems to have died soon after this.
7] Half-sisters: Iunia married to Lepidus, Tertia to Cassius. We have no means of knowing to whom Brutus is referring - perhaps to Lepidus, to whom
DCCCLXV (F X, 34, §§ 1, 2)
M. AEMILIUS LEPIDUS TO
PONS ARGENTEUS (18 MAY) 43 B.C.
If you are well, I am glad. I am well. Having been informed that
1] The confluence of the Rhone and the Durance, near
2] A station on the via Aurelia, but its exact site is uncertain. Mr. Hall (The Romans on the
3] M. Iunius Silanus was a son of Servilia by her second husband, D. Iunius Silanus, and therefore half-brother of Marcus Brutus and brother-in-law of Lepidus. He commanded the praetorian cohort in
4] On the 29th of May Lepidus joined
DCCCLXVI (F X, 18)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO
What I had in my mind when Laevus and Nerva quitted me you have been able to ascertain by the letter which I forwarded by them and from these men personally, who have taken part in all my actions and consultations. There has happened to me what usually does happen to a man of honour and one who is desirous of doing his duty to the state, in fact to all good men, that I preferred to pursue a dangerous course with an approving conscience, rather than a safe one which might lay me open to some reproach. Accordingly, after the departure of his legates, as Lepidus in two successive letters begged me to join him, and Laterensis still more strongly begged me to do so in terms almost of entreaty - shewing no dread of anything except what causes me also some alarm, the fickleness and untrustworthy temper of his army - I thought I ought not to hesitate about hurrying to his assistance and confronting the common danger. Now the safe course for me was to wait on the Isére till Dec. Brutus got his army across the mountains, and to go to meet the enemy with a colleague in sympathy with my views and an army in full accord and well-affected to the had not opposed Antony's passage, and indeed seems to have joined him1. Republic, as his soldiers are. Nevertheless I knew that if Lepidus while entertaining loyal ideas came to any harm, it would all be laid to the charge either of my obstinacy or my timidity. I saw plainly that this would' be so, if I either failed to relieve a man closely united with the Republic, though on bad terms with myself, or had myself withdrawn from the struggle in a war of such moment. So I preferred to run the risk, and to see whether my presence might afford Lepidus protection and render his army better-affected, rather than appear over-cautious. At any rate I think there never was anyone more anxious, without any fault of his own, than myself. For the very situation which was causing me no hesitation, supposing Lepidus's army away, in the present state of things brings me great anxiety and involves great risk. For if it had been my fortune to encounter
1] App. B.C. 3.83.
2] P. Ventidius Bassus had in earlier life contracted for the supply of mules to Caesar's army. It was in that capacity that he seems to have attracted Caesar's notice and confidence.
3] Decimus Brutus was at Eporedia (Ivree), ready to cross by the Little St. Bernard pass, which would bring him into
DCCCLXVIII (F X, 17)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TONEAR FORUM VOCONII, 20 MAY 43 B.C.
CICERO (AT ) – ROME
On the 15th of May
1] [R.I. now Fréjus.]
2] After this name the MSS. have ex tribus fratribus Segaviano, which appear to have no meaning. We know nothing of this L. Gellius. If he was a Romanized Gaul, the right reading may be ex tribus fratribus Segallaunis, "one of three brothers of the Segallauni," a people living round
DCCCLXXIX (F XII, 15)
P. LENTULUS, PROQUAESTOR, PROPRAETOR,
TO THE CONSULS, PRAETORS, TRIBUNES, SENATE,
AND ROMAN PEOPLE - PERGA, 29 MAY-2 JUNE 43 B.C.
TO THE CONSULS, PRAETORS, TRIBUNES, SENATE,
AND ROMAN PEOPLE - PERGA, 29 MAY-2 JUNE 43 B.C.
If you1 and your children are well, I am glad. I am well. Asia having been overrun by the criminal proceedings of Dolabella, I betook myself to the neighbouring province of Macedonia and to those defences of the Republic which the honourable citizen Marcus Brutus had under his command, and urged that the province of Asia and its revenues should be restored to your authority by those who could do so most promptly. This alarmed Dolabella, and therefore, after plundering the province, seizing its revenues, selecting Roman citizens especially to beggar and sell up, he quitted
Meanwhile on my voyage by the island route2 into Asia I was met by the information that Dolabella's fleet was in
After I had written this despatch,8 about thirty soldiers, whom Dolabella had enlisted in Asia, escaping from
2 June, Perga.
1] The title of proquaestor was explained in a note to the previous letter: that of propraetor arose from the fact that, as there was no regular praetorius or consularis in the province (Trebonius being killed), and as the senate had committed the province to the consuls, Lentulus's position was that of legatus to the consuls, and in that case he exercised praetorial functions, and his regular designation was legatus pro praetore. A few years later Augustus used this title for all governors of imperial provinces.
2] As opposed to crossing the Hellespont, reached by the coast road from
3] B.C. 51.
4] About sixty tons burden.
5] Because they always dealt directly with the senate.
6] See previous letter.
8] This is evidently a postscript to the preceding despatch, written a few days later and sent with it, and at the same time as the private letter to
DCCCLXXXVI (F X, 33)
C. ASINIUS POLLIO TO
CORDUBA (MAY-JUNE) 43 B.C.
If you are well, I am glad. I am also well. Lepidus caused me to be later than I should have been in receiving intelligence of the battles fought near Mutina, for he detained my letter-carriers for nine days. However, it is almost a thing to be desired, that one should be as late as possible in hearing of such a calamity to the Republic, especially for those who can do no good or offer any cure for it. And oh! that by the same decree by which you summoned Plancus and Lepidus into
1] April 15th, at Forum Gallorum.
2] He uses the constitutional word tumultus, which was properly applied to civil war within the borders of
3] Lepidus was governor of
4] He seems to confuse the afternoon battle at Forum Gallorum by Hirtius, after Pansa's repulse, with the battle fought in the assault on Antony's camp near Mutina, a week after that at Forum Gallorum (April 15th-21st).
5] Perhaps this parenthesis was inserted when the letters were edited. The mixture of truth and inaccuracy in the war news reaching Pollio will seem very natural to us in these days (1899-1900).
6] Lit. "under standards," i.e., when the several cohorts and maniples were still under their proper standards, and the men not crowded together indiscriminately, as would be the case in a beaten and disorganized legion.
7] This name is very uncertain. The MSS. have pupilli Bagienni. It seems likely that a legion raised among the Bagienni living near the source of the
8] That is, cut and stacked in the fields, and therefore he can get plenty without trouble.
DCCCXCI (F X, 32)
C. ASINIUS POLLIO TO
CORDUBA, 8 JUNE 43 B.C.
My quaestor Balbus1 having amassed from the public taxes a large sum of ready money, a great amount of bullion, and a still greater amount of silver, has withdrawn from Gades without even paying the soldiers, and after being detained three days off Calpe by bad weather, on the 1st of June crossed into the kingdom of Bogudes,2 with a very pretty bit of money in his pocket. With the rumours now going about I don't yet know whether he intends to return to Gades or to go to
1] Balbus the younger, nephew of
3] That is, he made him an eques. Fourteen rows in the theatres, even in the provinces, were reserved for equites, in accordance with the lex Roscia. The gold ring had been the special mark of equites since some period before the Punic wars. Once it had been confined to senators going abroad on missions, and under the empire it was used by all ingenui. The reference to the action of Iulius Caesar is to his treatment of Decimus Laberius (see Suet. Iul. 39), who played his own mime: donatusque L sestertiis et anulo aureo in quattuordecim e scaena per orchestram transiit. But Suetonius infers that Laberius was an eques already.
4] The magistrates of Gades, as a municipium, were quattuorviri. The Balbi were natives of Gades, and he no doubt, being in
5] B.C. 56. Sextus Quintilius Varus was praetor in B.C 57.
6] The story is told by Velleius Paterculus (ii. 51) how Balbus," with a daring almost passing belief," made his way into Pompey's camp at Dyrrachium, and tried to persuade Lentulus (consul B.C. 49) to desert to Caesar.
7] The calcei were taken off before dinner in the house and slippers put on - called soleae or gallicae (see Phil. 2.76). So the story of Caesar's emotion at hearing of Octavius's illness. He was at dinner, and springing up went to the house ἀνυπόδητος, i.e., nudis pedibus, with his dinner-slippers on.
8] The brutality is pointed by the wretched man being half-buried and unable to stir.
9] About £20.
10] Praetexta, sc. fabula, as above. A drama on Roman subjects as opposed to the palliata, a play from the Greek. We know from Horace (Od. 2.1) that Pollio, among other literary accomplishments, was a dramatic writer.
11] The poet (B.C. 66-26), the friend of Augustus, first governor of
DCCCXCII (BRUT. I, 10)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (IN
I have no letter as yet from you - not so much as a rumour - to shew that you are aware of the resolution of the senate and are bringing your army into
That you should do so, and with all speed, the Republic urgently requires: for
the internal mischief daily grows more serious, and we are in difficulties from
enemies at home no less than from those abroad. The former have, it is true,
always existed from the beginning of the war, but they were then more easily
crushed. The senate was then in a more resolute frame of mind, roused to action
not only by the motions which I brought forward, but also by my earnest
exhortations. Pansa was then in the senate very strenuous and bold in his
attacks upon all men of that sort, and especially his father-in-law.1 As consul his courage
never failed him from the beginning, nor his loyalty at the end. The conduct of
the war at Mutina left nothing to complain of in Caesar, though some few points
in Hirtius. The fortune of this war is “For happy though but ill, for ill not
worst.”2 The Republic was
victorious: Italy 's
forces were cut to pieces, and he himself driven out of the country. Then came
so many mistakes on the part of Decimus Brutus, that in a certain sense the
victory slipped through our fingers.3
Our generals did not pursue the demoralized, unarmed, wounded enemy, and time
was granted to Lepidus to give us a taste of that fickleness, which we had had
many occasions to know before, in a more disastrous field. The armies of Brutus
and Plancus are good but raw; their auxiliary forces of Gauls are very numerous
and very loyal. But certain persons by most unprincipled letters and misleading
agents and messages induced Caesar - up to that time wholly governed by my
advice, and personally possessed of brilliant ability and admirable firmness of
character - to entertain a very confident hope of the consulship. As soon as I
discovered that, I never ceased offering him advice by letter in his absence,
and remonstrating with his connexions who were in town, and who seemed to be
supporting his ambition; nor in the senate did I hesitate to lay bare the
sources of a most criminal plot. Nor indeed do I remember a better disposition
on the part of senate or magistrates. For in the case of voting an
extra-constitutional office to a man of power, or rather of super-eminent power
- since power now depends on force and arms - it never yet happened that no
tribune, no one in any other office, no private senator was found to support
it. But in spite of this firmness and manly spirit, the city was after all in a
state of anxiety. For we are flouted, Brutus, both by the airs assumed by the
soldiers and the arrogance of their commander. Each man claims to be powerful
in the Republic in proportion to his physical force. Reason, moderation, law,
custom, duty - all go for nothing: as do the judgment and opinion of their
fellow citizens, and their respect for the verdict of posterity. It was because
I foresaw all this long ago that I was on the point of flying from Antony
at the time when the report of the edicts issued by you and Cassius recalled
me. You also roused my spirits, Brutus, at Italy Velia.
For though it vexed me to be going to a city from which you who freed it were
an exile - which had also happened to me formerly in a similar danger, though
with more melancholy result-yet I continued my journey and reached Rome, and
without any guard to protect me I shook the power of Antony, and encouraged by
my influence and advice the protecting force offered by Caesar against his
treasonable arms. And if Caesar keeps his word and follows my counsel, I think
we shall have protection enough. But if the counsels of the disloyal have
greater weight than mine, or if the weakness of his time of life proves unequal
to the strain of the business, our whole hope is in you. Wherefore fly hither,
I beseech you, and put the last touch to the freedom of a state, which you
liberated by courage and high spirit rather than by any fortunate coincidence.
Men of all sorts will crowd round you. Write and urge Cassius to do the same.
Hope of liberty is nowhere to be found except in the headquarters of your two
camps. We have, it is true, generals and armies in the west on which we can
rely. The protecting force of the young Caesar, for instance, I regard at
present as trustworthy: but so many are trying to shake his loyalty that at
times I am mortally afraid of his giving way.
That is a complete view of the political situation, as it exists at the moment at which I write. I could wish that it might improve as we go on: but if otherwise - which God forbid! I shall grieve for the sake of the Republic, which ought to have been immortal: but for myself - what a brief span of life is left!
1] Fufius Calenus, who desired terms made with
2] Twice quoted before.
3] Very different froni the language which
DCCCXCIII (F XII, 8)
TO GAIUS CASSIUS LONGINUS (IN
43 B.C. ROME
The crime of your relative Lepidus1 and the extreme fickleness and levity of his conduct2 I think that you will have learnt from the gazette3 of the senate, which I am assured is sent to you. Accordingly, after once finishing the war we have a renewed war upon our hands, and our whole hope is in Decimus Brutus and Plancus. If you would have the real truth, it is in you and our friend M. Brutus, not only for immediate safety, if, what I trust may not be the case, any reverse occurs, but also for securing a permanent liberty. We at
1] Lepidus and Cassius were married to the two half-sisters of Brutus, Iunia and Tertia.
2] Lepidus joined
3] The acta of the senate, which would contain the proceedings by which Lepidus was declared a hostis, and Octavian was commissioned to make war on both him and Antony (Dio, 42, 46). For the acta, see Appendix to vol. ii.
[R.I. The Acta Urbis or Acta Diurna was a publication begun by Julius Caesar and – with a break under Tiberius - continued by his successors, which contained official announcements, and general news that the government desired to convey to the public.]
DCCCXCVI (F XII, 13)
CASSIUS PARMENSIS TOCROMMYUACRIS IN
CICERO (AT ) ROME
If you are well, I am glad.1 I am well. I rejoice not only at the safety and victory of the Republic, but also at the revival of your glorious reputation. That as the noblest of consulars you have surpassed yourself as the noblest of consuls I am at once delighted and unable to wonder sufficiently. A certain special favour of destiny has been shewn to your virtue - of which we have often had practical proofs. For your toga has been more fortunate than everyone else's arms; and has now once more rescued the Republic, when all but conquered, from the hands of its enemies, and restored it to us. So now we shall live free men: now we shall have you - greatest of all citizens and most beloved by me, as you discovered in the darkest hour of the public fortunes - now, I say, we shall have you as a witness to our love both to you and to the Republic, which is so closely bound up with you. And that which you often promised that you would suppress while we were slaves, and would say of me when likely to be to my service, now, I shall not so much desire to be said as to be felt by you. For I would not wish to be commended by you to the good opinion of others more than to have been commended to your own in a manner worthy of my deserts, that you may judge these recent acts of mine to have been no mere hasty impulses or departures from principle, but in harmony with those lines of thought of which you are a witness; and may think that I deserve to be brought forward prominently by yourself, as giving promise of doing excellent service to my country. You, Marcus Tullius, have children and relatives worthy of you and deservedly most beloved by you. Next to them those also ought to be dear to you in public life who emulate your special branch of learning, of whom I wish you a goodly store: yet after all I don't regard myself as excluded, however great the crowd. You will always have room to receive me, and to employ me in everything you wish and approve. Of the goodness of my disposition perhaps you have already been convinced: my ability, certainly, such as it is, our prolonged servitude has allowed to appear less than after all it really is.
From the sea-coast of the province of
Good-bye.13 June, Cyprus, off Crommyuacris.5
1] As to the identity of this man - one of the assassins - see my note on Suet. Aug. 4. He is not mentioned before, but is referred to by Horace (Ep. i. 4, 3) as a writer of eminence, and the grammarians who annotated Horace say that he was an Epicurean and wrote satires, elegies and epigrams. He was executed by Augustus at
2] On the coast of
3] That is,
4] Quaestor in
5] Κρομμύου ἄκρα, the northern
CMV (F XII, 10)
TO GAIUS CASSIUS LONGINUS (IN
Lepidus, your marriage relation, and my friend, was on the 30th of June declared a public enemy by a unanimous vote of the senate, as well as all who with him deserted the Republic. To them, however, a chance of returning to their right minds was given up to the 1st of September. The senate was very resolute, but chiefly in reliance on your aid. There is, in fact, a very grave war in progress at the moment of my writing this, owing to the crime and instability of Lepidus. We daily hear satisfactory intelligence about Dolabella, but as yet by mere rumour - without definite source or confirmation. But though that is the case, still the letter which I have received from you dated from camp on the 7th of May has persuaded the whole city to believe that he has already been crushed, and that you are on your way to Italy with an army, so that, if affairs in these parts are settled as we wish, we may rely on your counsel and influence; and if there is any mishap - as will occur in war - we may rely on your army. This army, indeed, I will compliment by all the means in my power. The time for that will be when it has begun to be known what amount of aid it is likely to give to the Republic, or what amount it has already given. For at present we are only told of attempts - excellent indeed and most glorious - but we wait to hear of some decisive action: which for my own part I feel sure has taken place or is near doing so. Nothing can be more glorious than your valour and high spirit. Therefore we long to see you as soon as possible in
2] Plancus and Decimus Brutus.
CMIX (BRUT. I, 15)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (IN
OF JULY) ROME
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 judgement 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.1 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
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's 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 sacrifice. 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
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
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
1] According to Eusebius, Messalla was born in B.C. 59. He would in that case be now only between fifteen and sixteen, and could not possibly have done anything to justify this panegyric or to account for it. Accordingly, it has been argued that he was born in B.C. 70, one of the many expedients that have had to be resorted to to prove the genuineness of these letters. He survived to make the motion in the senate (B.C. 2) conferring on Augustus the title of pater patriae (Suet. Aug. 58). As, however, he was contemporary with young Marcus at
2] This is founded on Phil. 5.45
3] When Lepidus was declared a public enemy.
4] Servilia and his half-sister Iunia, wife of Lepidus.
CMXI (F X, 24)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO
CAMP NEAR CULARO, 28 JULY 43 B.C.
I cannot refrain from thanking you in view of the course of events and of your services. But, by heaven! I blush to do it. For an intimacy as close as that which you have wished me to have with you seems not to require any formal thanks, nor do I willingly pay the poor recompense of words in return for your supreme kindness, and I would rather, when we meet, prove my gratitude by my respect, my obedience to your wishes, and my constant attentions. But if to live on is my fate, in this same respect, obedience to your wishes, and constant attentions, I will surpass all your beloved friends and even your devoted relatives. For whether your affection for me and your opinion of me are likely to bring me greater reputation in perpetuity or greater daily pleasure, I should find it hard to decide.
You have concerned yourself as to the bounties to the soldiers; whom I wished to be rewarded by the senate, not to enhance my own power - for I am conscious of entertaining no thoughts except for the common benefit - but first of all, because in my opinion they deserved it; next, because I wished them to be still more closely attached to the Republic in view of all eventualities; and lastly, in order that I might guarantee their continuing as completely proof against all attempts to tamper with their loyalty, as they have been up to this time.
As yet we have kept everything here in statu quo. And this policy of ours, though I know how eager men are and with reason for a decisive victory, is yet, I hope, approved of by you. For if any disaster happens to these armies, the Republic has no great forces in reserve to resist any sudden attack or raid of the parricides. The amount of our forces I presume is known to you. In my camp there are three legions of veterans, one of recruits perhaps the finest of all: in the camp of Decimus Brutus there is one veteran legion, a second of two-years' - service men, eight of recruits. Therefore the whole force taken together is very strong in numbers, in stamina inferior. For how much it is safe to trust to raw levies in the field we have had too frequent experience. To the strength of these armies of ours, if there was added either the African army which consists of veterans, or that of Caesar, we should hazard the safety of the Republic on a battle without any uneasiness. Now, as to Caesar, we see that he is considerably the nearer of the two. I have therefore never ceased importuning him by letter, and he has uniformly replied that he is coming without delay: while all the time I perceive that he has given up that idea and has taken up some other scheme. Nevertheless, I have sent our friend Furnius1 to him with a message and a letter, in case he may be able to do some good. You know, my dear Cicero, that in regard to love for Caesar you and I are partners, either because, being one of Iulius Caesar's intimates, I was obliged - while he was alive - to look after the boy and shew him affection; or because he was himself, as far as I could make out, of a very orderly and kindly disposition; or because, after such a remarkable friendship as existed between me and Iulius Caesar, it seems discreditable that I should not regard as a son one who was adopted into that position by his decision and by that of your house alike.2 Yet after all - and whatever I write to you I write rather in sorrow than in anger - the fact that Antony is alive today, that Lepidus is with him, that they have far from contemptible armies, that they are hopeful and bold - for all these they may thank Caesar. I will not go back to old matters, but from the moment that he gave out that he was coming to me, if he had chosen to come, the war would at once have either been put an end to, or, to their very great loss, have been thrust back into
28 July, in camp.
1] Gaius Furnius.
2] For the adoption of Octavian, see p.21. By vestro Plancus seems to refer to the senate, which, though the curiate law for the formal adoption had not yet been passed, yet practically acknowledged the adoption of Octavian in his great-uncle's will by the wording of its decrees.
3] The African legions came from Cornificius, but they almost directly joined Octavian, which was the last blow to the hopes of Cicero and the senate (App. B.C. 3.91, 92).