CDXLIX (F XIII. 10)
As Marcus Varro was starting to join you as your quaestor, I did not think that he stood in need of any recommendation: for I thought him sufficiently recommended to you by the custom of our ancestors, which ordained - as you are doubtless aware - that this connexion of a quaestor with his chief should be as nearly as possible that of sons to their father. But as he has convinced himself that a letter from me, carefully expressed in regard to him, would be likely to have great weight with you, and as he pressed me warmly to write as fully as possible, I preferred to do what an intimate friend thought to be of so much importance to himself.
I will shew you, then, that I am bound to act thus. From his first entrance into public life M. Terentius attached himself to me. Presently, when he had established his position, two additional reasons appeared to increase my warm feelings towards him: one was the fact that he was engaged in the same pursuit as myself, that which still forms my greatest delight, displaying, as you are aware, both genius and no lack of industry; the second was that he early embarked on the companies of publicani -unfortunately, as it turned out, for he suffered very heavy losses: still, the interests of an order to which I was very closely bound being thus shared by us both made our friendship all the stronger.
Once more, after an honourable and creditable career on both benches,1 just before the recent revolution he became a candidate for office, and looked upon that as the most honourable fruit of his toil.
Again, in the late crisis he went from my house at Brundisium with a message and letter for Caesar: in which affair I had clear proof of his affection in undertaking the business, and of his good faith in carrying it through and bring mg me back an answer. I had intended to speak separately as to his uprightness and high character, but it seems to me that in thus beginning with a statement of the reason for my loving him, I have in that statement already said enough about his uprightness. Nevertheless, I do promise as a separate thing, and pledge my word, that he will be at once delightful and useful to you. For you will find him a steady, sensible man, as far removed as possible from any self-seeking, and, moreover, a man of the most laborious and industrious character.
Now it is no business of mine to promise what you must form your own judgment upon, when you have become well acquainted with him: yet, after all, in forming new connexions the first approach is always of consequence, and by what kind of introduction the door of friendship, so to speak, is opened. This is what I wished to effect by the present letter: though the tie between a quaestor and his chief ought in itself to have effected it. Yet it will not, after all, be any the weaker by this addition. Be careful, therefore, if you value me as highly as Varro thinks, and I feel that you do, to let me know as soon as possible that my recommendation has done him as much service as he himself hoped, and I had no doubt, that it would.2
1] That is, I think, as accusing or defending men on their trial. The counsel for the prosecution and defence occupied different benches (see vol. ii. pro Flacc. §22; in Verr. 2, § 73). I do not think it can be explained as "advocate and juryman," for the use of subsellia for the seats of the jury is doubtful, and for the praetor (in a civil suit) it would be "tribunal."
2] The person here recommended is M. Terentius Varro Gibba.
CDL (F XIII. II)
I have observed1 that you take great pains to allow nothing which concerns me to be unknown to you; I therefore feel no doubt that you know not only to what municipium I belong, but also how careful I am to defend the interests of my fellow townsmen of Arpinum. Now their entire income and resources, which enable them to keep their temples and other public buildings in repair, depend upon the rents which they own in the
1] Marcus Brutus had not only been pardoned by Caesar for his part in the Civil War, but made governor of Cisalpine Gaul, i.e.,
2] Confirmed by an inscription, C. I. L. 1.1178.In this inscription the name of Fufidius occurs among the three aediles, shewing that the Fufidii were a family of Arpinum. From one of them Quintus Cicero bought a property.
CDLI (F XIII. 12)
In another letter I have commended our commissioners from Arpinum in a body as earnestly as I could. In this with still greater earnestness I commend Q. Fufidius to you separately - with whom I have ties of all kinds - not to detract at all from the former commendation, but to put in this one in addition. He has two special claims on me: he is a stepson of M. Caesius, who is a very intimate friend and close connexion of mine; and he served under me in Cilicia as a military tribune, in which office he conducted himself in such a way as to make me feel that I had received a kindness from him, rather than conferred one. He is besides - which is of very great weight with you - by no means without taste for our favourite studies. Wherefore I would have you admit him to your society without the least reserve, and take pains to make his labour on this commission - which he has undertaken to his own inconvenience and at my instigation - as complete a success as possible. For he wishes, as the best men naturally do, to earn the utmost possible credit both from me, who urged him to undertake it, and from the municipium. This he will succeed in doing, if by this recommendation of mine he secures your good services.
CDLIV (F IX. I)
CICERO TO M. TERENTIUS VARRO –ROME (?) 46 B.C.
From a letter of yours,1 which Atticus read to me, I learnt what you were doing and where you were; but when we were likely to see you, I could gain no idea at all from the letter. However, I am beginning to hope that your arrival is not far off. I wish it could be any consolation to me! But the fact is, I am overwhelmed by so many and such grave anxieties, that no one but the most utter fool ought to expect any alleviation: yet, after all, perhaps you can give me some kind of help, or I you. For allow me to tell you that, since my arrival in the city, I have effected a reconciliation with my old friends, I mean my books: though the truth is that I had not abandoned their society because I had fallen out with them, but because I was half ashamed to look them in the face. For I thought, when I plunged into the maelstrom of civil strife, with allies whom I had the worst possible reason for trusting, that I had not shewn proper respect for their precepts. They pardon me: they recall me to our old intimacy, and you, they say, have been wiser than I for never having left it. Wherefore, since I find them reconciled, I seem bound to hope, if I once see you, that I shall pass through with ease both what is weighing me down now, and what is threatening. Therefore in your company, whether you choose it to be in your Tusculan or Cuman villa, or, which I should like least, at
1] Varro, the "most learned of the Romans," and author, it is said, of 490 books (two only of which remain even partially), had been one of Pompey's legates in
CDLV (F XIII. 29)
ROME (?) 46 B.C.1
I have no doubt of your knowing that, among the connexions bequeathed to you by your father, there was no one more closely united to you than myself, not only for the reasons which give an appearance of close attachment, but also for those which are kept in operation by actual intimacy and association, which you know to have existed between me and your father in the highest degree and with the greatest mutual gratification. Starting from that origin my personal affection enhanced the ancestral friendship, and the more so that I perceived, as soon as your time of life admitted of your forming an independent judgment as to the value you should attach to this or that person, that I at once began to receive from you marks of respect, regard, and affection. To this was added the bond - in itself no slight one – of common studies, and of such studies and accomplishments as, in their very nature, serve to bind together men who have the same tastes in close ties of intimacy also.
I imagine you must be waiting to see to what this elaborate prelude is tending. To begin with, let me assure you that this resume' of facts has not been made by me without good and sufficient reason. I am exceedingly intimate with C. Ateius Capito. You know what the ups and downs of my fortunes have been. In every position of honour or of difficulty of mine, Capito's courage, active assistance, influence, and even money were ever at my service, supplied my occasions, and were ready for every crisis. He had a relation named Titus Antistius. While this man was serving in
as quaestor, according to the lot, and had had no successor appointed,2 Pompey arrived in
that province at the head of an army. Antistius could do nothing. For if he had
had things his own way, there is nothing he would have preferred to going back
to Capito, for whom he had a filial affection, especially as he knew how much
he valued Caesar and had always done so. But, being taken by surprise, he only
engaged in the business as far as he was unable to refuse. When money was being
Coined at Apollonia, I cannot say that he presided at the mint, nor can I deny
that he was engaged in it; but it was not for more than two or three months.
After that he held aloof from the camp: he avoided official employment of every
sort. I would have you
believe me on this point as an eye-witness: for he used to see my melancholy
during that campaign, he used to talk things over with me without reserve.
Accordingly, he withdrew into hiding in central Macedonia at as great a distance as
he could from the camp, so as to avoid not only taking command in any
department, but even being on the spot. After the battle he retired to Macedonia
to a friend's house named Aulus Plautius. When Caesar saw him there he did not
say a single rough or angry word to him; and bade him come to Bithynia . Immediately after that he had an
illness from which he never recovered. He arrived at Rome Corcyra
ill, and there died. By a will which he had made at in the consulship of Paulus and
was made his heir to five-sixths of his estate: as regards the other sixth, the
heirs were men whose share may be confiscated without a word of complaint from
anyone. That amounts to thirty sestertia.4
This is a matter for Caesar to consider. But in the name of our ancestral
friendship, in the name of our mutual affection, in the name of our common
studies and the close identity in the whole current of our existence, I do ask
and entreat you, my dear Plancus, with an anxiety and warmth beyond which I
cannot go in any matter, to exert yourself, to put out your best energies, and
to secure that by my recommendation, your own zeal, and Caesar's indulgence,
Capito may obtain possession of his kinsman's legacy. Everything that I could
possibly have got from you in this your hour of highest favour and influence, I
shall regard you as having voluntarily bestowed upon me, if I obtain this
object. There is a circumstance, of which Caesar has the best means of judging,
which I hope will assist you-Capito always shewed respect and affection for
Caesar. But Caesar can himself bear witness to this: I know the excellence of
his memory: so I don't give you any instructions. Do not pledge yourself to
Caesar on Capito's behalf, any farther than you shall perceive that he
remembers. For my part, I will submit to you what I have been able to put to
the test in my own case: you must judge of its importance for yourself. You are
not ignorant of the side and the cause which I have supported in politics, by
the aid of what individuals and orders I have maintained myself, and by whom I
have been fortified. Believe me when I say this: if I have done anything in the
late war itself which was not quite to Caesar's taste - though I am well aware
that Caesar knows me to have done so quite against my will - I have done it by
the advice, instigation, and influence of others. But in so far as I have been
more moderate and reasonable than anyone else of that party, I have been so by
the influence of Capito more than anyone else: and if my other connexions had
been like him, I should perhaps have done the State some good, certainly I
should have done a great deal to myself. If you accomplish this object, my dear
Plancus, you will confirm my expectations as to your kind feeling towards
myself, and you will by your eminent service have bound Capito himself to you
as a friend - a man of the most grateful and obliging disposition, and of the
most excellent character. Rome
1] Plancus had been Caesar's legatus in Gaul, and was with him in
2] That is, he was staying over his year because the allotment of provinces at the end of B.C. 50 had been vetoed.
3] B.C. 50.
4] About £240.
CDLVII (A XII. 2)
Well, all the same, there are reports here that Statius Murcus1 has been lost at sea, that Asinius2 reached land to fall into the hands of the soldiers, that fifty ships have been carried ashore at Utica by the contrary wind now prevailing, that Pompeius3 is nowhere to be seen and has not been in the Balearic isles at all, as Paciaecus4 asserts. But there is absolutely no confirmation of any single thing. I have told you what people have been saying in your absence. Meanwhile, there are games at Praeneste. Hirtius5 and all that set were there. Indeed, the games lasted eight days. What dinners! what gaiety! Meantime, perhaps the great question has been settled. What astonishing people! But - you say - Balbus is actually building;6 for what does he care? But, if you ask my opinion, is not life all over with a man who makes only pleasure, and not right, his aim? You meanwhile slumber on. The time has come to solve the problem, if you mean td do anything. If you want to know what I think - I think "enjoy while you can."7 But why run on? I shall see you soon, and indeed I hope you will come straight to me when you get back. For I will arrange a day for Tyrannio8 at the same time, and anything else suitable.
1] L. Statius Murcus had been Caesar's legatus in B.C. 48, and seems still to be with him in Africa; he was praetor in B.C. 45 and proconsul of
2] C. Asinius Pollio, the celebrated orator, poet, and historian
3] Gnaeus Pompeius, the elder son of Pompeius Magnus.
4] L. Iunius (or according to some Vibius) Paciaecus appears to be in Baetica, as he was in the following year.
5] Aulus Hirtius, destined to fall at Mutina in his consulship, B.C. 43, had been Caesar's legatus, and was probably the author of the eighth book of the Gallic war. He was presently employed to write a pamphlet against Cato.
6] As though it didn't matter which party won at
7] Fructum; but the word is probably corrupt. The sentiment is repeated in a letter to Paetus (Letter CCCCLXXVIII, p.104), when speaking of the danger of his property at
8 The learned freedman who arranged
See A XII. 9.
CDLXII (F VII. 3)
Very often, as I reflect upon the miseries in which we have all alike been living these many years past, and, as far as I can see, are likely to be living, lam wont to recall that time when we last met: nay, I remember the exact day. Having arrived at my Pompeian villa on the evening of the 12th of May, in the consulship of Lentulus and Marcellus,1 you came to see me in a state of anxiety. What was making you uneasy was your reflexion both on my duty and my danger. If I remained in
Despairing of victory when I saw these things, I first began advising a peace, which had always been my policy; next, finding Pompey vehemently opposed to that idea, I proceeded to advise him to protract the war. Of this he at times expressed approval, and seemed likely to adopt the suggestion; and he perhaps would have done so, had it not been that as a result of a certain engagement2 he began to feel confidence in his soldiers. From that day forth that eminent man ceased to be anything of a general. He accepted battle against the most highly seasoned legions with an army of raw recruits and hastily collected men. Having been shamefully beaten, with the loss also of his camp, he fled alone.
This I regarded as the end of the war, as far as I was concerned, nor did I imagine that, having been found unequal to the struggle while still unbeaten, we should have the upper hand after a crushing defeat. I abandoned a war in which the alternatives were to fall on the field of battle, or to fall into some ambush, or to come into the conqueror's hands, or to take refuge with Iuba, or to select some place of residence as practically an exile, or to die by one's own hand. At least there was no other alternative, if you had neither the will nor the courage to trust yourself to the victor. Now, of all these alternatives I have mentioned, none is more endurable than exile, especially to a man with clean hands, when no dishonour attaches to it: and I may also add, when you lose a city, in which there is nothing that you can look at without pain. For my part, I preferred to remain with my own family - if a man may nowadays call anything his own - and also on my own property. What actually happened I foretold in every particular. I came home, not because that offered the best condition of life, but that after all, if some form of a constitution remained, I might be there as though in my own country, and if not, as though in exile. For inflicting death on myself there seemed no adequate reason: many reasons why I should wish for it. For it is an old saying, "When you cease to be what once you were, there is no reason why you should wish to live." But after all it is a great consolation to be free of blame, especially as I have two things upon which to rely for support - acquaintance with the noblest kind of learning and the glory of the most brilliant achievements: of which the former will never be torn from me while I live, the latter not even after my death.
I have written these things to you somewhat fully, and have bored you with them, because I knew you to be most devoted both to myself and to the Republic. I wished you to be acquainted with my entire views, that in the first place you might know that it was never a wish of mine that any one individual should have more power than the Republic as a whole; but that, when by some one's fault a particular person did become so powerful as to make resistance to him impossible, I was for peace: that when the army was lost, as well as the leader in whom alone our hopes had been fixed, I wished to put an end to the war for the rest of the party also: and, when that proved impossible, that I did so for myself. But that now, if our state exists, I am a citizen of it; if it does not, that I am an exile in a place quite as suited for the position, as if I had betaken myself to Rhodes or Mytilene.
I should have preferred to discuss this with you personally, but as the possibility of that was somewhat remote, I determined to make the same statement by letter, that you might have something to say, if you ever fell in with any of my critics. For there are men who, though my death would have been utterly useless to the state, regard it as a crime that I am still alive, and who I am certain think that those who perished were not numerous enough. Though, if these persons had listened to me, they would now, however unfair the terms of peace, have been living in honour; for while inferior in arms they would have been superior in the merits of their cause. Here's a letter somewhat more wordy than perhaps you would have wished; and that I shall hold to be your opinion, unless you send me a still longer one in reply. If I can get through with some business which I wish to settle, I shall, I hope, see you before long.
1] B.C. 49. This apology for his conduct is somewhat like that addressed to Lentulus.
2] When Pompey pierced Caesar's lines and defeated him.
CDLXIII (F VI. 22)
It1 was not the fact of your never having written to me since your arrival in
1] There is no certain means of dating this letter; but as the death of Cato is perhaps referred to, it must be not earlier than May. The pression as to the finis of the duty of those engaged in the Civil War seems to put it near in time to the preceding letter to Marius, as
2] His father, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, killed in the cavalry pursuit after Pharsalia (2 Phil. §§ 27, 71; Caes. B.C. 3.99), and his uncle Cato, who had committed suicide at
3] Porcia, sister of Cato.
CDLXVI (A XII. 3)
I regard you as the one man who is less of a flatterer than myself, and if we both are sometimes such towards some one else, we are never so to each other. So listen to what I say in all plainness and sincerity. May I perish, my dear Atticus, if, I don't say my Tusculan villa - where in other respects I am very happy - but even "the islands of the blest" are in my eyes worth an absence of so many days from you. Wherefore let us harden ourselves to endure these three days-assuming you to be in the same state of feeling as myself, which is surely the case. But I should like to know whether you are coming today immediately after the auction, or on what day. Meanwhile I am busy with my books, and am much inconvenienced by not having Vennonius's history.1
However, not to omit business altogether, that debt which Caesar assigned to me admits of being recovered in three ways: first, purchase at the auction - but I would rather lose it, although, let alone the disgrace, that is as good as losing it. Secondly, a bond payable a year hence from the purchaser - but who is there I can trust, and when will that "year of Meton" come? Thirdly, accepting half down on the proposal of Vettienus.2 Look into the matter therefore. And indeed I am afraid Caesar may now not have the auction at all, but when the games are over3 will hurry off to the aid of (Q. Pedius),4 lest such a great man should be treated with neglect But I will see to it. Pray take good care of
Attica, and give her and
Pilia, as well as Tullia, the kindest messages from me.
1] A writer on early Roman history, see de Leg. I, 2.
2] Apparently the property of some Pompeian who owed
3] Apparently the great games given by Caesar at the dedication of the
4] The MSS. have clypo, for which Boot - as does Mueller - reads ἀτύπῳ and explains it to refer to Balbus "the stammerer." But there seems no reason to suppose that Caesar should bestir himself just now about Balbus. It seems to me that the reference needed is to the coming campaign in
CDLXVII (A XII. 4)
What a welcome and delightful letter! Need I say more? It is a red-letter day with me after all. For I was made anxious by Tiro's telling me that you seemed to him somewhat flushed. I will therefore add one day to my stay here, in accordance with your wish. But that about Cato is a problem requiring an Archimedes. I cannot succeed in writing what your guests1 can possibly read, I don't say with pleasure, but even without irritation. Nay, even if I keep clear of his senatorial speeches, and of every wish and purpose which he entertained in politics, and chose in merely general terms to eulogise his firmness and consistency, even this in itself would be no pleasant hearing for your friends. But that great man cannot be praised as he really deserves unless the following topics are dilated upon: his having seen that the present state of things was to occur, his having exerted himself to prevent them, and his having quitted life to avoid seeing what has actually happened. What point is there in these on which I could possibly secure the approval of Aledius?2 But, I beseech you, be careful about your health and bring the prudence, which you apply to all matters, to bear before everything else on getting well.
1] The Caesarians, with whom Atticus was intimate, such as Hirtius, Balbus, Oppius, and the like.
2] Some friend of Caesar and Atticus, several times mentioned, but unknown to us.
CDLXIX (A XII. 5, §§ I, 2)
"Quintus the elder for the fourth time"1 (or rather for the thousandth time) - is a fool, for being rejoiced at his son's appointment as a Lupercus,2 and at Statius3 - that he may see his family overwhelmed with a double dishonour! I may add a third in the person of Philotimus. What unparalleled folly, unless indeed mine can beat it! But what impudence to ask a subscription from you for such a purpose!4 Granted that he did not come to a "fount athirst," but a "Peirene" and a "holy well-spring of Alphaeus "5 - to drain you as though you were a fountain, as you say, and that, too, at a time when you are so seriously embarrassed!6 Where will such conduct end? But that's his affair. I am much pleased with my Cato:7 but so is Lucilius Bassus with his compositions.
1] The beginning of a line of Ennius, Quintu' pater quartumconsul. The phrase nihil sapere is a common euphemism; it means "to be a fool" (Phil. 2.8).
2] The Lupercalia had apparently more or less fallen into desuetude, and Caesar had restored them and endowed the Luperci with funds, of which the senate deprived them after his death (Phil. 13.31). Augustus revived the festival again (Suet. Aug. 31 ; Monum. Ancyr. 4), and it continued till nearly the end of the fifth century A.D. But it seems to have been thought undignified in Republican times.
3] What had happened about Quintus's favourite freedman and secretary Statius, or about Philotimus, Terentia's freedman of doubtful honesty, we do not know.
4] Apparently for his nephew's expenses as Lupercus.
5] Words of Pindar (N. i. I) describingthe place at
6] There is, I think, some irony intended. Atticus was always rich, and
7] His panegyric on Cato (lost), which was answered by Caesar's Anticato.
CDLXXI (F IX. 18)
Being quite at leisure in my Tusculan villa, because I had sent my pupils1 to meet him,2 that they might at the same time present me in as favourable a light as possible to their friend, I received your most delightful letter, from which I learnt that you approved my idea of having begun - now that legal proceedings are abolished and my old supremacy in the forum is lost - to keep a kind of school, just as Dionysius, when expelled from Syracuse, is said to have opened a school at Corinth.3 In short, I too am delighted with the idea, for I secure many advantages. First and foremost, I am strengthening my position in view of the present crisis, and that is of primary importance at this time. How much that amounts to I don't know: I only see that as at present advised I prefer no one's policy to this, unless, of course, it had been better to have died. In one's own bed, I confess it might have been, but that did not occur: and as to the field of battle, I was not there. The rest indeed - Pompey, your friend Lentulus, Afranius - perished ingloriously.4 But, it may be said, Cato died a noble death. Well, that at any rate is in our power when we will: let us only do our best to prevent its being as necessary to us as it was to him. That is what I am doing. So that is the first thing I had to say. The next is this: I am improving, in the first place in health, which I had lost from giving up all exercise of my lungs. In the second place, my oratorical faculty, such as it was, would have completely dried up, had I not gone back to these exercises. The last thing I have to say, which I rather think you will consider most important of all, is this: I have now demolished more peacocks than you have young pigeons) You there revel in Haterian5 law-sauce, I here in Hirtian hot-sauce.6 Come then, if you are half a man, and learn from me the maxims which you seek: yet it is a case of" a pig teaching Minerva."7 But it will be my business to see to that: as for you, if you can't find purchasers for your foreclosures8 and so fill your pot with denarii back you must come to
It is better to die of indigestion here, than of starvation there. I see you have lost money: I hope these
friends of yours9
have done the same. You are a ruined man if you don't look out. You may
possibly get to Rome on the only mule that you say you have left, since you
have eaten up your pack horse.10
Your seat in the school, as second master, will be next to mine: the honour of
a cushion will come by-and-by. Rome
1] Dolabella and Hirtius.
2] Caesar, on his return from his victory in
4] Pompey was assassinated in
5] Haterius, probably a lawyer with whom Paetus was in some way engaged. There is doubtless a play on the double meaning of jus, "sauce" and "law." A similar metaphor was used on a celebrated occasion in recent years, when certain politicians were recommended to "stew in their Parnellite juice."
6] Of Hirtius,
7] From a Greek proverb, ὗς Ἀθηνᾶν. See Theocr. 5.53; Acad. 1, § 18.
8] aestimationes, properties taken over for debts at a valuation under Caesar's law.
9] The other Caesarians at
10] I.e., sold it to buy necessaries. We don't know what grumbling about money losses from Paetus drew out all this chaff.
CDLXXVII (F IX. 26)
I have just lain down to dinner at three o'clock, when I scribble a copy of this note to you in my pocket-book.1 You will say, "where?" With Volumnius Eutrapelus. One place above me is Atticus, one below Verrius, both friends of yours. Do you wonder that our slavery is made so gay? Well, what am I to do? I ask your advice as the pupil of a philosopher.2 Am I to be miserable, to torment myself? What should I get by that? And, moreover, how long? "Live with your books," say you. Well, do you suppose that I do anything else? Or could I have kept alive, had I not lived with my books? But even to them there is, I don't say a surfeit, but a certain limit. When I have left them, though I care very little about my dinner - the one problem which you put before the philosopher Dion - still, what better to do with my time before taking myself off to bed I cannot discover.
Now listen to the rest. Below Eutrapelus lay Cytheris.3 At such a party as that, say you, was the famous
"To whom all looked with rev'rence, on whose face Greeks turned their eyes
with wonder?" To tell you the truth, I had no suspicion that she would be
there. But, after all, even the Socratic Aristippus himself did not blush when
he was taunted with having Lais as his mistress: "Yes," quoth he,
"Lais is my mistress, but not my master." It is better in Greek;4 you must make a
translation yourself, if you want one. As for myself, the fact is that that
sort of thing never had any attraction for me when I was a young man, much less
now I am an old one. I like a dinner party. I talk freely there, whatever comes
upon the tapis, as the phrase is, and convert sighs into loud bursts of
laughter. Did you behave better in jeering at a philosopher and saying, when he
invited anyone to put any question he chose, that the question you asked the
first thing in the morning was: "Where shall I dine?" The blockhead thought that you
were going to inquire whether there was one heaven or an infinite number! What
did you care about that? "Well, but, in heaven's name - you will say to me
- "was a dinner a great matter to you, and there of all places?"5 Cicero
Well then, my course of life is this. Every day something read or written: then, not to be quite churlish to my friends, I dine with them, not only without exceeding the law, but even within it, and that by a good deal.6 So you have no reason to be terrified at the idea of my arrival. You will receive a guest of moderate appetite, but of infinite jest.
1] No doubt for his amanuensis to copy. Writing letters at the dinner table seems to have been no unusual thing with busy men. It was Caesar's constant habit (Plut. Caes. 63). And we have already heard of letters being delivered both to host and guest at dinner.
2] Dion, a Stoic (Acad. ii. 4, § 12).
3] Of whom we have heard as accompanying
4] ἔχω οὐκἔχομαι (Diogen. Laert. Vita Aristippi, 74). Anecdotes of the famous Corinthian meretrix will be found in the 13th book of Athenaeus.
5] I have translated this as a retort which
6] Caesar's sumptuary law. Suetonius says that he carried it out so strictly, that he set inspectors in the provision market to seize forbidden dainties, and even sent lictors to remove them from the table if they had been procured. Of course, however, it failed (Suet. Iul. 43; cp. Dio, 43, 25).
CDLXXVIII (F IX. 17)
Aren't you a ridiculous fellow for asking me what I think will be done about those municipal towns and lands, when our friend Balbus1 has been staying with you? As though I were likely to know what he doesn't, and as though, when I do know anything, it is not from him that I always learn it. Nay rather, if you love me, tell me what is going to be done about us: for you have had in your power one from whom you could have learnt it either sober or at any rate drunk. But for myself, I do not ask you for such information: in the first place, because I put it down as so much gain that I have been left alive for the last four years, if gain it is to be called, and if it is life to survive the Republic; and, in the second place, because I think that I myself know what is going to happen. For whatever the stronger chooses will be done, and the stronger will always be the sword. We ought, accordingly, to be content with any concession made to us, whatever it is; the man who was unable to endure this ought to have died.
They are measuring the
and Capena.2 This
is not far from my Tusculan property. However, I don't at all alarm myself. I
enjoy while I may: I only wish it may last. If that does not turn out to be the
case, yet, since I in my courage and philosophy thought that nothing was better
than to remain alive, I cannot but love the man by whose kindness I gained that
object. But even if he should desire the continuance of a republic, such as perhaps
he wishes and we ought all to pray for, he yet does not know how to do it: so
completely has he entangled himself with many other people. territory of Veii
But I am going too far. I forgot that I am writing to you. However, let me assure you of this, that not only I, who am not in his confidence, but even the leader himself is unable to say what is going to happen. For, while we are his slaves, he is a slave to circumstances: and so neither can he possibly be sure of what circumstances will demand, nor we of what he is designing. The reason that I did not send you this answer before was not because I am usually idle, especially in the matter of writing, but because, as I had no certainty about anything, I did not choose to cause you either anxiety from the hesitation, or hope from the confidence of my words. However, I will add this, which is the most absolute truth, that during the present crisis I have not heard a word about the danger you mention.3 In any case you will be bound, like the man of sense that you are, to hope for the best, prepare yourself for the worst, and bear whatever happens.
1] Who, as Caesar's friend and agent, would know his intentions.
2] That is, for allotments of land to veterans.
3] That is, of confiscations in
CDLXXXVI (F VI. 6)
I am afraid you may think me remiss in my attentions to you, which, in view of our close union resulting from many mutual services and kindred tastes, ought never to be lacking. In spite of that I fear you do find me wanting in the matter of writing. The fact is, I would have sent you a letter long ago and on frequent occasions, had I not, from expecting day after day to have some better news for you, wished to fill my letter with congratulation rather than with exhortations to courage. As it is, I shall shortly, I hope, have to congratulate you: and so I put off that subject for a letter to another time. But in this letter I think that your courage - which I am told and hope is not at all shaken - ought to be repeatedly braced by the authority of a man, who, if not the wisest in the world, is yet the most devoted to you: and that not with such words as I should use to console one utterly crushed and bereft of all hope of restoration, but as to one of whose rehabilitation I have no more doubt than I remember that you had of mine. For when those men had driven me from the Republic, who thought that it could not fall while I was on my feet, I remember hearing from many visitors from
Why, then - you may ask - have these things as yet had no effect? Why, because he thinks if he grants you yours, he cannot resist the applications of numerous petitioners with whom to all appearance he has juster grounds for anger. "What hope, then," you will say, "from an angry man?" Why, he knows very well that he will draw deep draughts of praise from the same fountain, from which he has been already - though sparingly - bespattered.6 Lastly, he is a man very acute and farseeing: he knows very well that a man like you - far and away the greatest noble in an important district of Italy, and in the state at large the equal of any one of your generation, however eminent, whether in ability or popularity or reputation among the Roman people - cannot much longer be debarred from taking part in public affairs.7 He will be unwilling that you should, as you would sooner or later, have time to thank for this rather than his favour.
So much for Caesar. Now I will speak of the nature of the actual situation. There is no one so bitterly opposed to the cause, which Pompey undertook with better intentions than provisions, as to venture to call us bad citizens or dishonest men. On this head I am always struck with astonishment at Caesar's sobriety, fairness, and wisdom. He never speaks of Pompey except in the most respectful terms. "But," you will say, "in regard to him as a public man his actions have often been bitter enough." Those were acts of war and victory, not of Caesar. But see with what open arms he has received us! Cassius he has made his legate;8 Brutus governor of
Gaul;9 Sulpicius of Greece;10 Marcellus,11 with whom he was
more angry than with anyone, he has restored with the utmost consideration for
his rank. To what, then, does all this tend? The nature of things and of the
political situation will not suffer, nor will any Constitutional theory - whether
it remain as it is or is changed - permit, first, that the civil and personal
position of all should not be alike when the merits of their cases are the
same; and, secondly, that good men and good citizens of unblemished character
should not return to a state, into which so many have returned after having
been condemned of atrocious crimes.
That is my prediction. If I had felt any doubt about it I would not have employed it in preference to a consolation which would have easily enabled me to support a man of spirit. It is this. If you had taken up arms for the Republic - for so you then thought - with the full assurance of victory, you would not deserve special commendation. But if; in view of the uncertainty attaching to all wars, you had taken into consideration the possibility of our being beaten, you ought not, while fully prepared to face success, to be yet utterly unable to endure failure. I would have urged also what a consolation the consciousness of your action, what a delightful distraction in adversity, literature ought to be. I would have recalled to your mind the signal disasters not only of men of old times, but of those of our own day also, whether they were your leaders or your comrades. I would even have named many cases of illustrious foreigners: for the recollection of what I may call a common law and of the conditions of human existence softens grief. I would also have explained the nature of our life here in
, how bewildering the disorder, how
universal the chaos: for it must needs cause less regret to be absent from a
state in disruption, than from one well-ordered. But there is no occasion for
anything of this sort. I shall soon see you, as I hope, or rather as I clearly
perceive, in enjoyment of your civil rights. Meanwhile, to you in your absence,
as also to your son who is here - the express image of your soul and person,
and a man of unsurpassable firmness and excellence - I have long ere this both
promised and tendered practically my zeal, duty, exertions, and labours: all
the more so now that Caesar daily receives me with more open arms, while his
intimate friends distinguish me above everyone. Any influence or favour I may
gain with him I will employ in your service. Be sure, for your part, to support
yourself not only with courage, but also with the brightest hopes. Rome
1] By "our divination"
2] This prediction seems rather slender capital on which to set up business as a prophet. Pompey and Caesar combined for the express purpose of checkmating the senate, and if they quarrelled difficulties would be sure to follow. Besides, he puts quite a different complexion on it elsewhere (Phil. 2.24), representing the remark as an aspiration expressed to Pompey after the war had begun. But "I told you so " is a gratification that few can resist.
3] It seems almost impossible that
4] The author of the line is not known. Amphiaraus, husband of Eriphyle, sister of Adrastus, was enticed by his wife into joining the expedition of the Seven against
5] The Caecinae were a noble family of Volaterrae in
6] This is
8] After surrendering his fleet to him on his voyage to
9] M. Brutus was made governor of
10] Ser. Sulpicius Rufus.
11] M. Claudius Marcellus, consul B.C. 51.
CDLXXXVIII (F VI. 12)
I congratulate you, my dear Balbus, and with sincerity. Yet I am not so foolish as to wish you to indulge in a passing and groundless exultation, and then to be suddenly depressed and rendered so prostrate, that nothing could afterwards raise your spirits or restore your equanimity. I have pleaded your cause with greater openness than was quite consistent with my present position. For the unfortunate fact itself of my influence having been weakened was overcome by my affection for you and my unbroken love towards you, which has always been most carefully cultivated by yourself. Everything that was promised in regard to your return and restoration has been fulfilled, and is now secure and fully ratified. I have seen it with my own eyes, have had full information, have been personally a witness to it. For very opportunely I have all Caesar's intimate friends so closely knit to me by association and kindly feeling, that next to him they look upon me as first. Pansa, Hirtius, Balbus, Oppius, Matius, all make it clear in this matter that they have a unique regard for me. But if I had had to do it by my own exertions, I should not have regretted having made the attempt in whatever way the exigencies of the situation demanded. But I have not, in fact, made any special concessions to the situation: my old intimacy with all these men comes in here, with whom I have never ceased urging your claims. But Pansa, who is exceedingly zealous on your behalf and anxious to oblige me, I have regarded as my mainstay in this business, as being influential with Caesar no less from his character than from personal predilection. Tillius Cimber, again, has quite satisfied me. Yet, after all, the petitions which have weight with Caesar are not those which proceed from personal considerations, but those which are dictated by duty: and, as that was the case with Cimber, he had more influence than he could have had in anyone else's behalf. The passport has not been issued at once, owing to the amazing rascality of certain persons, who would have been bitterly annoyed at a pardon being granted to you, whom that party call the "bugle of the civil war" - and a good many observations to the same effect are made by them, as though they were not positively glad of that war having occurred. Wherefore it seemed best to carry on the business with Some secrecy, and by no means to let it get abroad that your affair was settled. But it will be so very shortly, and I have no doubt that by the time you read this letter the matter will have been completed. The fact is that Pansa, a man whose character and word can be trusted, not only assured me of it, but also undertook that he would very quickly get the passport. Nevertheless, I resolved that this account should be sent you, because from Eppuleia's report and Ampia's1 tears I gathered that you were less confident than your letter would suggest Moreover, they thought that in their absence from your side you would be in much more serious anxiety. Wherefore I thought it of very great importance, for the sake of alleviating your pain and sorrow, that you should have stated for certain what was in fact certain.
You know that hitherto it has been my habit to write to you rather in the tone of one consoling a man of courage and wisdom, than as holding out any sure hope of restoration beyond that which, in my opinion, was to be expected from the Republic itself as soon as the present excitement died down. Remember your writings, in which you always shewed me a spirit at once great and firmly prepared to endure whatever might happen. Nor was I surprised at that, since I remembered that you had been engaged in public affairs from your earliest youth, and that your terms of office had coincided with the most dangerous crises in the safety and fortunes of the community,2 and that you entered on this very war not solely with the idea of being in prosperity if victorious, but also, if it so happened, of bearing it philosophically if beaten. In the next place, since you devote your time to recording the deeds of brave men,3 you ought to think yourself bound to abstain from doing anything to prevent your shewing yourself exactly like those whom you commend. But this is a style of talk better suited to the position from which you have now escaped: for the present merely prepare yourself to endure with us the state of things here. If I could find any remedy for that, I would impart the same to you.. But our one refuge is philosophy and literature, to which we have always been devoted. In the time of our prosperity these seemed only to be an enjoyment, now they are our salvation also. But, to return to what I said at first, I have no doubt of everything having been accomplished in the matter of your restoration and return.
1] The wife and daughter of T. Ampius.
2] T. Ampius Balbus was a tribune in B.C. 63, and praetor in B.C. 59 the first the Catilinarian year, the second the year of Caesar's consulship, which
3] This work is quoted apparently by Suetonius, Iul. 77.
CDXCIV (F IV. II)
MARCUS MARCELLUS TO
MITYLENE (OCTOBER) 46 B.C.
That your influence has ever had the greatest weight with me everything that has occurred has given you reason to know, but nothing so clearly as the recent transaction. For though C. Marcellus, my very affectionate cousin, not only advised me, but besought me in moving terms, he failed to persuade me. It was only your letter that induced me to follow the advice that you and he gave in preference to every other. Your letters describe to me the nature of the debate in the senate. Though your congratulation is exceedingly acceptable to me, because it proceeds from the kindest of hearts, yet there is one thing still more delightful and gratifying to me - namely, that while I have so few friends, relations, or connexions to take a sincere interest in my safety, I have had reason to know that you desire my company and have shewn in a practical way an unparalleled devotion to my interest. Everything else is as you say. And considering the state of the times, I was well content to be out of it ill. I take the truth, indeed, to be that without the kind-ness of such gallant men and true friends no one, whether in adversity or prosperity, can live a real life. Accordingly, I congratulate myself on this. But for yourself, I will prove to you in a practical manner that you have been loyal to a man who loves you most deeply.
CDXCV (F IX. 21)
You don't say so! You think yourself a madman for imitating the thunder of my eloquence, as you call it?1 You certainly would have been beside yourself if you had failed to do so: but since you even beat me at it, you ought to jeer at me rather than at yourself. So you had no need of that quotation from Trabea,2 rather the fiasco was mine. But, after all, what do you think of my style in letters? Don't I talk with you in the vulgar tongue? Why, of course one doesn't write always in the same style. For what analogy has a letter with a speech in court or at a public meeting? Nay, even as to speeches in court, it is not my practice to handle all in the same style. Private causes and such as are of slight importance we plead in simpler language; those that affect a man's civil existence or reputation, of course, in a more ornate style: but letters it is our custom to compose in the language of everyday life. Well, but letting that pass, how did it come into your head, my dear Paetus, to say that there never was a Papirius who was not a plebeian? For, in fact, there were patrician Papirii, of the lesser houses, of whom the first was L. Papirius Mugillanus, censor with L. Sempronius Atratinus - having already been his colleague in the consulship - in the 312th year of the city. But in those days they were called Papisii. After him thirteen sat in the curule chair before L. Papirius Crassus, who was the first to drop the form Papisius. This man was named dictator, with L. Papirius Cursor as Master of the Horse, in the 415th year of the city, and four years afterwards was consul with Kaeso Duilius. Cursor came next to him, a man who held a very large number of offices3 then comes L. Masso, who rose to the aedileship; then a number of Massones. The busts of these I would have you keep - all patricians. Then follow the Carbones and Turdi. These latter were plebeians, whom I opine that you may disregard. For, except the Gaius Carbo who was assassinated by Damasippus, there has not been one of the Carbones who was a good and useful citizen. We knew Gnaeus Carbo and his brother the wit: were there ever greater scoundrels? About the one who is a friend of mine, the son of Rubrius, I say nothing. There have been those three brothers Carbo - Gaius, Gnaeus, Marcus. Of these, Marcus, a great thief, was condemned for malversation in Sicily on the accusation of Publius Flaccus: Gaius, when accused by Lucius Crassus, is said to have poisoned himself with cantharides; he behaved in a factious manner as tribune, and was also thought to have assassinated Publius Africanus.4 As to the other,5 who was put to death by my friend Pompey at Lilybaeum, there was never, in my opinion, a greater scoundrel. Even his father, on being accused by M. Antonius, is thought to have escaped condemnation by a dose of shoemaker's vitriol. Wherefore my opinion is that you should revert to the patrician Papirii: you see what a bad lot the plebeians were.
1] Paetus had apparently compared his presumption to that of Salmoneus: "Demens, qui nimboset non imitabile fulmen Aere et cornipedum pulsu simularetequorum" (Verg. Aen. 6.590).
2] Quintus Trabea, a writer of comedies, who flourished about B.C. 120.
3] The hero of the second Samnite war was consul six times, dictator three times.
4] C. Papirius Carbo, a friend and supporter of Tib. Gracchus, and one of the commissioners (after the death of Tiberius) for carrying out his land law. He was tribune in B.C. 131.
5] Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, consul in B.C. 85, 84, and 82, the partisan of Marius. For his death at the hands of Pompey, see vol. ii., p.347.
CDXCVII (A XII. 6)
As to Caelius, please see that there is no defect in the gold.1 I don't know anything about such matters. But at any rate there is quite enough loss on exchange. If to this is added gold...but why need I talk? You will see to it. That is a specimen of the style of Hegesias, which Varro commends.2
Now I come to Tyrannio. Do you really mean it? Was this fair? Without me? Why, how often, though quite at leisure, did I yet refuse without you? How will you excuse yourself for this? The only way of course is to send me the book; and I beg you earnestly to do so. And yet the book itself will not give me more pleasure than your admiration of it has already done. For I love everyone who "loves learning," and I rejoice at your feeling such a great admiration for that essay on a minute point. However, you are that sort of man in everything. You want to know, and that is the only food of the intellect. But pray what did you get that contributed to your summum bonum from that acute and grave essay? 158 However, I am talking too much, and you have been occupied in some business which is perhaps mine: and in return for that dry basking of yours in the sun, of which you took such full advantage on my lawn, I shall ask of you in return some sunshine and a good dinner. But I return to what I was saying. The book, if you love me, send me the book! It is certainly yours to give, since indeed it was dedicated to you. "What, Chremes, Have you such leisure from your own affairs "3 as even to read my "Orator"? Well done! I am pleased to hear it, and shall be still more obliged if, not only in your own copy, but also in those meant for others, you will make your scribes alter "Eupolis" to "Aristophanes.4
Caesar again seemed to me to smile at your word quaeso, as being somewhat "fanciful" and cockneyfied. But he bade you to have no anxiety in such a cordial manner, that he relieved me of all feeling of doubt.5 I am sorry that
Attica's ague is so lingering, but
since she has now got rid of shivering fits, I hope all is well.
1] For Tyrannio and his book which
2] Cicero playfully alludes to Atticus as taking part in his dialogue Brutus, which was represented as taking place as they were sitting "on a lawn near Plato's statue" (in pratulo propter Platonis statuam); and, as Atticus had been thus basking in sun on Cicero's imaginary lawn, he says that he shall ask to bask also on Atticus's real lawn, only with more creature comforts, such as a dinner. But it is obscurely expressed.
3] Terence, Haut. 75. Mueller begins a separate letter with these words.
4] Orat. § 29, where Aristophanes (Ach. 530) is quoted as saying that Pericles "blazed, thundered, and threw all
5] Caesar was thinking of planting a colony at Buthrotum, and Atticus was trying to avoid confiscation of lands, either his own or those of the townsmen, near his villa. We shall hear much more of it.
CDXCVIII (A XII. 7)
I have already written all you want in a note and given it to Eros, briefly, but even more than you ask. In it I have spoken about my son, of whose idea you gave me the first hint. I said to him in the most liberal manner what I should like you, if it is convenient to you, to learn from his own mouth. But why put it off? I explained to him that you had reported to me his wishes and what means he required: "He wished to go to
1] With Caesar to fight against the sons of Pompey
CDXCIX (A XII. 8)
As to my son, my plan meets with wide approval. I have got a suitable travelling companion for him.1 But let us first see about getting the first instalment.2 For the day is fast approaching, and Dolabella is hurrying away. Write and tell me, pray, what Celer reports Caesar to have settled about the candidates. Does the great man think of going to the plain of the Fennel or to the plain of Mars?3 And, finally, I should very much like to know whether there is any positive necessity for my being at Rome for the comitia: for I must do what Pilia wishes, and anyhow what Attica does.
1] See Letter DXCVI.
2] Of the dowry to be repaid by Dolabella after his divorce from Tullia.
3] Is Caesar going to
D (A XII. II)
I am sorry to hear about Seius. But we must put up with whatever is natural to man. Why, what are we ourselves, and how long are we destined to feel for such things? Let me look to what is more within my control - yet, after all, not much more so - namely, what I am to do about the senate. And, not to omit anything, Caesonius has written to me to say that Sulpicius's wife Postumia has been to call on him. As to the daughter of Pompeius Magnus, I wrote you back word that I wasn't thinking about her at the present moment. That other lady whom you mention I think you know. I never saw anything uglier. But I am soon to be in town. Therefore we'll talk about it.1
P.S. After I had sealed my packet I received your letter. I am glad to hear that
Attica is so
cheerful; I am sorry for the slight attack.
1] The divorce of Terentia has taken place, and there seems to be a question of choosing a new wife.
DI (F VII. 4)
On the 16th1 I came to my Cuman villa along with your friend Libo,2 or rather I should say our friend. I think of going on at once to my Pompeian,3 but I will give you notice beforehand. I always wish you to be in good health, but especially while I am here. For you see how much we are likely to be together. Wherefore, if you have an appointment with the gout, pray defer it to another day. So take care to be well and expect me in two or three days' time.
1] That is, of the second intercalary month of twenty-eight days in this last year of confusion, answering to 16th of November in the correct calendar.
2] L. Scribonius Libo, whose daughter was married to Sext. Pompeius.
3] Marius's villa looked out on the
DIII (A XII. I)
On the eleventh day from my parting from you I write this notelet on the point of quitting my villa before daybreak. Today I think of being at my house at Anagnia, tomorrow at
Just as I was folding up this letter, your courier arrived late at night with a letter from you. I have read it: I am, of course, very sorry to hear of
attack. Everything else that I wanted to know I learn from your letter. As to
your saying that "a little fire in the morning is an old man's
luxury" - it is still more an old man's way to be a trifle forgetful! I
had appointed the 26th for Axius, the 27th for you, and the 28th (the day of my
for Quintus. Pray consider that settled. There is no change. "Then what
was the use of my writing?" What is the use of our talking when we meet
and prattle about anything that occurs to us? A causerie is, after all,
something: for, even though there is nothing in it substantial, there is a
certain charm in the mere fact of our talking together. Rome
[The rest of the letters of this year are, with one or two exceptions, formal letters of introduction or recommendation. They do not admit of being dated, as to month or day.]