vrijdag 29 juni 2012


 There is a sudden pause in the correspondence after the letter of the 19th of May, B.C. 49, in which we find Cicero abandoning the passing idea of retirement to Malta - still waiting to be assured of Caesar's failure in Spain before taking the plunge and joining Pompey in Greece. The silence is only broken by the one letter to Terentia written on the 7th of June, the day on which he finally set sail. Something then had happened between 19th May and 7th June to finally determine him on taking this step: and it is not unreasonable to suppose that it was the news of Caesar's dangerous position behind the flooded river Segre, which prevented the arrival of his supplies; while his opponents in Spain, Afranius and Petreius, having command of the bridge at Ilerda, could supply themselves with necessaries.  Caesar's difficulty did not last many days, but exaggerated reports of it reached Rome, and "Afranius's town house was thronged with visitors offering their congratulations; and many persons started from Italy to join Pompey, some that they might be the first to carry the good news, others to avoid the appearance of having wished to see how things would go and of coming last" (Caes. B.C. 1.53). Then follows another silence of six months. When we next take up the correspondence, in January, B.C. 48, we have a few short letters up to the middle of July from Pompey's quarters. Those from Cicero are almost wholly on private matters, with only very dark hints at the uneasiness and discontent which he felt at the state of things in Pompey's camp. Caelius had begun to regret his adhesion to Caesar, but Dolabella was still urging Cicero to retire from active participation in the war. Cicero appears to have given much umbrage to the Pompeians by his caustic criticisms on the management of the campaign and the conduct of his party generally (Plut. Cic. 38; Phil. 2.57). After the 15th of July there is another pause in the letters of nearly four months, and when it again opens the issue of the war had been settled at Pharsalia, and Cicero is in Brundisium on sufferance, having been invited or permitted by Caesar to return from Patrae - to which he had gone from the fleet at Corcyra - to Italy, not venturing yet to return to Rome. There he has to remain till late in September, B.C. 47, when Caesar's return from the Alexandrine and Asiatic wars at last relieved him from this quasi-exile. He met Caesar near Tarentum, who greeted him with warmth, and invited him to return to Rome and resume his position there (Plut. Cic. 39). It must have been a dreary time, and his letters, as usual, reflect his feelings, but with somewhat less exaggeration than do those of the exile. He was really in greater danger, and owed something to the forbearance of Antony as well as to that of Caesar (Phil. 2.5). He had besides the sorrow of finding that his brother Quintus and his nephew had not only hastened to give in their adhesion to Caesar, but had passionately denounced him to the conqueror



To think that I was in Spain rather than at Formiae when you started to join Pompey I Oh that Appius Claudius had been on our side, or Gaius Curio on yours!1 It was my friendship for the latter that gradually edged me on to this infernal party - for I feel that my good sense was destroyed between anger and affection. You too - when, being on the point of starting for Ariminum,2 I came at night to visit you - in the midst of your giving me messages for Caesar about peace, and playing your rôle of fine citizen, you quite forgot your duty as a friend and took no thought of my interests. And I am not saying this because I have lost confidence in this cause, but, believe me, I'd rather die than see these fellows here.3 Why, if people were not afraid of your men being bloodthirsty, we should long ago have been driven out of Rome. For here, with the exception of a few moneylenders, there is not a man or a class that is not Pompeian. Personally, I have brought it about that the masses above all, and - what was formerly ours - the main body of citizens should be now on your side.4 "Why did I do so?" quote you. Nay, wait for what is to come: I'll make you conquer in spite of yourselves. You shall see me play the part of a second Cato.5 You are asleep, and do not appear to me as yet to understand where we are open to attack, and what our weak point is. And I shall act thus from no hope of reward, but, what is ever the strongest motive with me, from indignation and a feeling of having been wronged. What are you doing over there? Are you Waiting for a battle? That's Caesar's strongest point. I don't know about your forces; ours have become thoroughly accustomed to fighting battles and making light of cold and hunger.6

1] For Caelius's quarrel with Appius, see vol. ii., pp.194, 195. He thinks that if Appius had been a Caesarian that would have made him turn Pompeian. But the reading is doubtful.
2] Reading Ariminum with Mueller. The MSS. have Arimino; Tyrrell and Purser read Arpino. But Caelius evidently refers to his going to join Caesar, and though we do not know otherwise of his having done so at Ariminum, this best accounts for his having been early employed by Caesar, as we know he was, vol. ii., p.298. His visit to Cicero would then be in the first week of January, and he would probably start for Ariminum before the news had come of the crossing of the Rubicon.
3] Trebonius and other Caesarians.
4] Caelius contrasts plebs and populus. Of course these terms no longer have the old political meaning; but plebs had come to be used as we use the "masses" for the lower orders generally; whereas populus was the whole body of the citizens as possessed of political power; and when contrasted with plebs may be taken to mean the whole body politic which formed the majority at the comitia - the mass of voters. Caelius tried to gain the latter by opposing the exaction of debts under arbitration, as arranged by Caesar, and by proposing a suspension of house rents.
5] The reading is very doubtful. The reference, perhaps, is to Gaius Cato, the turbulent tribune of B.C. 56.
6] Caelius seems to insinuate that Pompey's wisest course would be to avoid an engagement and to make again for Italy, where the Caesarians were weak.                 This is the last appearance of Caelius in the correspondence. The discontent with his position here indicated - founded on the fact that though he had been appointed praetor by Caesar's influence, Trebonius was praetor urbanus and in a superior position to himself - presently led him to take up a position of violent opposition, especially regard to Caesar's financial arrangements, the result of which was that he was forcibly suspended from his functions by the consul Servilius Isauricus. Finally, under pretence of going to Caesar at Alexandria, he attempted to join Milo in Apulia, who was trying to secure by force his own restoration, which had not been included in the revocation of other exiles. Milo, however, had already fallen; and when Caelius proceeded to raise forces on his own account, before he could do anything material, he was killed near Thurii by some foreign auxiliary soldiers, whom he attempted to win over. (Caes. B.C. 3.20-22; Dio Cass. 42.21.)



 If you are well, I am glad. I am quite well, and so is our dear Tullia. Terentia has been rather unwell, but I am assured that she has now recovered. In all other respects things are quite as they should be at your house. Though at no time did I deserve to be suspected by you of acting from party motives rather than from a regard to your interests, when I urged you either to join Caesar and myself, or at least to retire from open war, especially since victory has already inclined in our favour, it is now not even possible that I should create any other impression than that of urging upon you what I could not, with due regard to my duty as your son-in-law, suppress. On your part, my dear Cicero, pray regard what follows - whether you accept or reject the advice - as both conceived and written with the best possible intention and the most complete devotion to yourself.

You observe that Pompey is not secured either by the glory of his name and achievements, or by the list of client kings and peoples, which he was frequently wont to parade: and that even what has been possible for the rank and file, is impossible for him, - to effect an honourable retreat: driven as he has been from Italy, the Spanish provinces lost, a veteran army captured, and now finally inclosed by his enemy's lines.1 Such disasters I rather think have never happened to a Roman general. Wherefore employ all your Wisdom in considering what either he or you have to hope. For thus you will most easily adopt the policy which will be to your highest advantage. Yet I do beg this of you,—that if Pompey succeeds in avoiding this danger and taking refuge with his fleet, you should consult for your own interests, and at length be your own friend rather than that of anyone else in the world. You have by this time satisfied the claims of duty or friendship, whichever you choose to call it: you have fulfilled all obligations to your party also, and to that constitution to which you are devoted. It remains to range ourselves with the constitution as now existing, rather than, while striving for the old one, to find ourselves with none at all. Wherefore my desire is, dearest Cicero, that, supposing Pompey to be driven from this district also and compelled to seek other quarters, you should betake yourself to Athens or any peaceful city you choose. If you decide to do so, pray write and tell me, that I may, if I possibly can, hurry to your side. Whatever marks of consideration for your rank have to be obtained from the commander-in-chief, such is Caesar's kindness, that it will be the easiest thing in the world for you to obtain them from him yourself: nevertheless, I think that a petition from me also will not be without considerable weight with him. I trust to your honour and kindness also to see that the letter-carrier whom I send to you may be enabled to return to me, and bring me a letter from you.

1] This refers to the lines, fifteen miles long, drawn by Caesar round Pompey's position on the bay of Dyrrachium. They were not, however, completed at the southern extremity, and shortly afterwards pierced them at this point, and inflicted a severe defeat upon Caesar.



 It is not very often that there is anyone to whom I can entrust a letter, nor have I anything that I am willing to write. From your letter last received I understand that no estate has been able to find a purchaser. Wherefore pray consider how the person may be satisfied whose claims you know that I wish satisfied. As for the gratitude which our daughter expresses to you, I am not surprised that your services to her are such, that she is able to thank you on good grounds. If Pollex has not yet started, turn him out as soon as you can. Take care of your health.

15 July. [There is now a break in the correspondence for more than three months, in the course of which the fate of the Republic was decided. On the 7th of July, Caesar, after Pompey had pierced his lines and inflicted a defeat upon him, retreated into Thessaly. Pompey's exultant followers forced him to follow, and on the 9th of August the battle of Pharsalia drove Pompey to his retreat and death in Egypt, and made Caesar master of the Empire. The fleet, indeed, still held out, and took those of the Pompeians who had not been in the battle or had escaped from it to Africa and Spain. But Cicero (who was with the fleet at Corcyra) refused to join in continuing the war, and after staying some time at Patrae returned to Brundisium, having, it appears, received Caesar's permission through Dolabella to do so. At Brundisium, however, he waited many months, not venturing to approach Rome till Caesar's will was known. It is during his residence at Brundisium that the next thirty-three letters are written. The dates are according to the unreformed calendar - in advance of the true time as much perhaps as two months.)



 I perceive that you are anxious both for your own and for our common fortunes, and above all for me and my sorrow, which, so far from being lessened by the association of yours with it, is thereby actually increased. Assuredly your sagacity has led you to divine the exact consolation that gives me the greatest relief. For you express approval of my policy, and say that in the circumstances what I did was the best thing I could do. You also add - what is of smaller importance in my eyes than your own opinion, and yet is not unimportant - that everybody else, everybody that is that matters, approves the step I have taken. If I thought that to be the case, it would lessen my pain. "Believe me," you say. I believe you of course, but I know how anxious you are to soothe my pain. Of abandoning the war I have not repented for a moment. So bloodthirsty were their sentiments, so close their alliance with barbarous tribes, that a scheme of proscription was formed - not against individuals, but whole classes - and the conviction was universally entertained by them that the property of you all was the prize of his victory. I say "you" advisedly: for even as to you personally there were never any but the harshest ideas. Wherefore I shall never repent of my decision: what I do repent of is my plan of procedure. I could have wished that I had rather remained in some town until invited to Italy.1 I should have exposed myself to less remark and have felt less pain; this particular regret would not have been wringing my heart. To lie idle at Brundisium is vexatious in every point of view. As to coming nearer the city, as you advise, how can I do so without the lictors given me by the people? They cannot be taken from me as long as I am possessed of my civil rights. These lictors, as a temporary measure, when approaching the town, I caused to mingle with the crowd with only sticks in their hands, to prevent any attack on the part of the soldiery.2 Since then I have confined myself to my house.3 I wrote to ask Oppius and Balbus to turn over in their minds as to how they thought that I should approach Rome. I think they will advise my doing so. For they undertake that Caesar will be anxious not only to preserve, but to enhance my position, and they exhort me to be of good courage, and to hope for the most distinguished treatment in all respects. This they pledge themselves to and affirm. Yet I should have felt more sure of it, if I had remained where I was. But I am harping upon what is past. Look therefore, I beg of you, to what remains to be done and investigate the case in conjunction with them; and if you think it necessary and they approve, let Trebonius and Pansa and anyone else be called into council, that Caesar's approbation of my step may be the better secured as having been taken in accordance with the opinion of his own friends, and let them write and tell Caesar that whatever I have done I have done in accordance with their judgment.

My dear Tullia's ill-health and weakness frightens me to death. I gather that you are shewing her great attention, for which I am deeply grateful.

I never had any doubt about what would be the end of Pompey. Such a complete despair of his success had taken possession of the minds of all the kings and nations, that I thought this would happen wherever he landed. I cannot but lament his fall: for I know him to have been honest, pure, and a man of principle.4

Am I to condole with you about Fannius?5 He used to indulge in mischievous talk about your remaining at Rome: while L. Lentulus had promised himself Hortensius's town house,6 Caesar's suburban villa, and an estate at Baiae. This sort of thing is going on upon this side in precisely the same way. The only difference is that in the former case there was no limit. For all who remained in Italy were held to be enemies. But I should like to talk over this some time or other when my mind is more at ease. I am told that my brother Quintus has started for Asia, to make his peace. About his son I have heard nothing. But ask Caesar's freedman Diochares, who brought the letter you mention from Alexandria. I have not seen him. He is said to have seen Quintus on his way - or perhaps in Asia itself. I am expecting a letter from you, as the occasion demands. Pray take care to get it conveyed to me as soon as possible.
27 November.

1] Apparently the expression of Caesar's wish to Dolabella, which he afterwards quotes in his own justification, does not seem to him sufficiently formal.
2] Brundisium was in the hands of the Caesarians under Vatinius with ships and men.
3] The text of this sentence is very uncertain. I have followed Mueller's reliquotempore me domi tenui...ad Balbumscripsi.
4] Pompey was murdered on landing in Egypt on the 28th of September. The coldness of this reference does not accord well with Cicero's former warm expressions as to his "gratitude" to Pompey. But his language in regard to him is by no means uniformly that of admiration, often quite the reverse; and there had been much strained feeling between them in the camp in Epirus.
5] C. Fannius, tribune in B.C. 59. He was sent to Sicily B.C. 49, but appears not to have gone, or at any rate he soon returned and joined Pompey in Epirus.                   Whether he fell at Pharsalia, or afterwards with Pompey, we have no other information.
6] L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus, one of the consuls of the previous year. Hortensius - the famous orator - was noted for the splendour of his villas; his town house, in which Augustus afterwards lived, is described by Suetonius as a "moderate building" (Aug. ch. 72); but that was in view of the splendid buildings of the imperial age.                  It seems to have been conspicuous at this time. The right owner, the younger Hortensius, was serving Caesar.



 I am much obliged for your letter, in which you have set forth with great care all that you thought had any bearing on my position. Is it the case then, as you say in your letter, that your friends think that I should retain my lictors on the ground that Sestius has been allowed to do so?1 But in his case I don't consider that his own lictors have been allowed him, but that lictors have been given him by Caesar himself.2 For I am told that he refuses to acknowledge any decrees of the Senate passed after the withdrawal of the tribunes.3 Wherefore he will be able without forfeiting his consistency to acknowledge my lictors. However, why should I talk about lictors, who am all but ordered to quit Italy? For Antony has sent me a copy of Caesar's letter to him, in which he says that "he has been told that Cato and L. Metellus had come to Italy, with the intention of living openly at Rome: that he disapproved of that, for fear of its being the cause of disturbances: and that all are forbidden to come to Italy except those whose case he had himself investigated." And on this point the language of the despatch is very strong. Accordingly, Antony in his letter to me begged me to excuse him: "he could not but obey that letter." Then I sent L. Lamia to him, to point out that Caesar had told Dolabella to write and bid me come to Italy at the first opportunity: that I had come in consequence of his letter. 4 Thereupon he made a special exception in his edict of myself and Laelius by name.                I had much rather he had not done that; for the exception itself could have been made without mentioning names.5 Oh, what endless, what formidable dangers! However, you are doing your best to mitigate them: and not without success, - the very fact that you take such pains to lessen my distress lessens it. Pray do not get tired of doing so as frequently as possible. Now, you will best succeed in your object, if you can persuade me to think that I have not entirely forfeited the good opinion of the loyalists. And yet what can you do in that regard? Nothing, of course. But if circumstances do give you any opportunity, that is what will best be able to console me. I see that at present this is impossible, but if any thing should turn up in the course of events, as in the present instance! It used to be said that I ought to have left the country with Pompey. His death has disarmed criticism on that sin of omission. But of all things the one most found wanting in me is that I have not gone to Africa. Now my view of the question was this, - I did not think that the constitution ought to be defended by foreign auxiliaries drawn from the most treacherous race, especially against an army that had been frequently victorious. They perhaps disapprove that view. For I hear that many loyalists have arrived in Africa, and I know that there were many there before. On this point I am much pressed. Here again I must trust to luck, - that Some of them, or, if possible, all should be found to prefer their personal safety. For if they stick to their colours and prevail, you perceive what my position will be. You will say, "What about them, if they are beaten?" Such a blow is more creditable to them. These are the thoughts that torture me. You did not explain in your letter why you do not prefer Sulpicius's6 policy to mine. Though it is not so reputable that of Cato, yet it is free from danger and vexation. The last case is that of those who remain in Achaia. Even they are in a better position than I am, in two respects: there are many together in one place; and, when they do come to Italy, they will come straight back to Rome. Pray continue your present efforts to soften these difficulties and to secure the approbation of as many as possible. You apologize for not coming to me: I however am well acquainted with your reasons, and I also think it to my advantage that you should be where you are, if only to make to the proper people - as you are actually doing - the representations that have to be made in my behalf. Above all pray observe this. I believe that there are a number of people who have reported or will report to Caesar either that I repent of the course I have adopted, or do not approve of what is now going on: and, though both statements are true, yet they are made by them from an unfriendly feeling to me, not because they have perceived them to be so. In regard to this everything depends on Balbus and Oppius supporting my cause, and on Caesar's kind disposition towards me being confirmed by frequent letters from them. Pray do your utmost to secure that. A second reason for my not wishing you to leave Rome is that you mention in your letter that Tullia implores your help. What a misfortune! What am I to say? What can I wish? I will be brief: for a sudden flood of tears stops me. I leave it to you. Do as you think right. Only be careful that at such a crisis as this there may be no danger to her safety. Pardon me, I beseech you: I cannot dwell on this topic any longer for tears and grief. I will only say that nothing is more soothing to my feelings than your affection for her.

I am obliged to you for seeing to letters being sent to those to whom you think it necessary.7 I have seen a man who says that he saw young Quintus at Samos, and his father at Sicyon. They will easily obtain their pardons. I only hope that, as they will have seen Caesar first, they may choose to aid me with him as much as I should have wished to aid them, if I had had the power! You ask me not to be annoyed if there are any expressions in your letter likely to give me pain. Annoyed! Nay, I implore you to write everything to me with complete candour, as you do, and to do so as often as possible.
Good-bye. 15 December.

1] The text is corrupt. I venture to read: arbitratus es. Itane estigitur, ut scribis, istisplacere eisdem lictoribus me uti, quod concessum Sestio sit? Itane may without much violence be extracted from t ea, and factum be an inserted explanation of est.
2] To P. Sestius had been allotted the province of Cilicia in succession to Cicero, but this allotment had taken place after the expulsion of the Tribunes in January, B.C. 49; for we know that Curio had up to 10th December, B.C. 50, prevented any decree as to the provinces. Therefore, Cicero argues, Caesar, who would not acknowledge any Senatus Consultum after the expulsion of the Tribunes, if he allows of Sestius having imperium, must do so as an act of his own. But in Cicero's own case his imperium dated long before, and Caesar could consistently acknowledge it.
3] M. Antonius and Q. Cassius.
4] Cicero repeats this assertion of Caesar's invitation afterwards, in answer to Antony's remark that he spared him at Brundisium when he might have killed him. (Phil. 2.5.)
5] Cicero did not wish his name to be mentioned as specially favoured by Caesar, for fear of being discredited with the Pompeians, should they eventually prevail.
6] Servius Sulpicius Rufus retired to Samos after Pharsalia, and was soon afterwards employed by Caesar to govern Greece. His son had been in Caesar's army.
7] I. e., written in Cicero's name.

CDXX (A XI. 8)


 Though you of course see for yourself with what heavy anxieties I am consumed, yet you will be enlightened on that point by Lepta and Trebatius. I am being severely punished for my rashness, which you wish me to consider prudence; and I do not wish to prevent your maintaining that view and mentioning it in letters as often as possible. For your letter gives me sensible relief at such a time as this. You must exert yourself to the utmost by means of those who are favourably disposed to me and are influential with Caesar, especially by means of Balbus and Oppius, to induce them to write on my behalf as zealously as possible. For I am being attacked, as I hear, both by certain persons who are with him and by letter. We must counteract them as vigorously as the importance of the matter demands.                              

Fufius1 is there, a very bitter enemy of mine. Quintus has sent his son not only to plead on his own behalf, but also to accuse me. He gives out that he is being assailed by me before Caesar, though Caesar himself and all his friends refute this. Indeed he never stops, wherever he is, heaping every kind of abuse upon me. Nothing has ever happened to me so much surpassing my worst expectations, nothing in these troubles that has given me so much pain. People who say that they heard them from his own lips, when he was publicly talking at Sicyon in the hearing of numerous persons, have reported some abominable things to me. You know his style, perhaps have even had personal experience of it:2 well, it is all now turned upon me. But I increase my sorrow by mentioning it, and perhaps do the same to you. Wherefore I return to what I was saying: take care that Balbus sends someone expressly for this purpose. Pray have letters sent in my name to whom you choose.
Good-bye. 25 December.

1] Q Fufius Calenus
2] The tendency of Quintus to indulge in violent language is often referred to.

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