zondag 1 juli 2012


50 B.C.
The matter of Caesar’s candidature for the consulship in absentia, while retaining his provinces and legions, causes a crisis towards the end of the year.

49 B.C.
The Senate refuses Caesar’s candidature in absentia for the year 48 and orders him to surrender his provinces at a fixed date and to return to Rome as a private citizen.
On which Caesar crosses the Rubicon near Ravenna on a.d.IV.Id. Jan. 49
according to the Roman calender, but infact on Nov.22, 50 B.C. according to the Julian calendar.

Acc. to Plut.Pomp. Caesar would have said in Greek on this occasion:
Anerriphtho kubos” In Latin, “Alea iacta est” In English

The die is cast”.

The letters of Cicero: translated into English by Evelyn S.
Shuckburgh. Publ: London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920.
These letters are in the public domain.

In this year the Civil War began in earnest as soon as Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Directly the news arrived Pompey left Rome to gather soldiers stationed in winter quarters and on garrison duty in various parts of Italy, and Italy itself was portioned out into districts for defence under various magistrates and senators. But by the 18th of March Pompey had quitted Italy, never to return, with the two consuls and other magistrates; and before the end of the month Caesar had arrived at Rome, left it in charge of the praetor Lepidus, and Italy in charge of the tribune Antony, specially invested with praetorian powers, and had gone to besiege Marseilles and to fight Pompey's legates in Spain. Cicero, who had had the district of Capua assigned to him, had nothing left but to keep as quiet as he could in his country houses. But his conscience left him no peace until he had joined Pompey in Greece, though he was fully aware of the unsatisfactory nature of the party which had accompanied him there. After long hesitation, he at last made up his mind, early in June, to join Pompey's camp. After his arrival there we have no more letters this year.



What in the world does it mean? What is going on? I am quite in the dark.
"We are in occupation of Cingulum," says some one; "we have lost Ancona." "Labienus has abandoned Caesar." Are we talking of an imperator of the Roman people, or of a Hannibal? Madman! Miserable wretch, that has never seen even a shadow of virtue! And he says that he is doing all this "to support his honour"!

How can there be any "honour" where there is no moral right? Can it be morally right to have an army without commission from the state? To seize cities inhabited by one's fellow citizens, as a means of attacking one's own country? To be contriving abolition of debts, restoration of exiles, hundreds of other crimes “For royalty, the first of things divine?” Let him keep his fortune, and welcome! By heaven, I would rather have one hour of basking in your free sun than all the royalties of that kind in the world, or rather I would die a thousand times sooner than once take an idea of that sort into my mind: "What if you should take the fancy?" say you.

Well, everyone's wishes are free: but I regard the mere wish as a greater misfortune than the cross. There is one greater misfortune still - to attain such a wish.
But enough of this.
It is a kind of relief to philosophize thus much in the midst of such troubles.

To return to our friend. In the name of fortune, what do you think of Pompey's plan? I mean in abandoning the city? For I am at a loss to explain it. Nothing, again, could be more irrational. Do you mean to abandon the city? Then you would have done the same if the Gauls were upon us. "The Republic," says he, "does not depend on brick and mortar." No, but it does depend on altars and hearths. "Themistocles did the same." Yes, for one city was incapable of resisting the flood of the whole East.

But Pericles did not so act, about fifty years afterwards, for he abandoned everything except the walls. Our own country men in the old times held the citadel, though the rest of the city was taken:

“Such deeds of fame - so poets told-
 Our fathers wrought in days of old.”

”On the other hand, I gather from the indignation aroused in the municipia, and the conversation of those whom I meet, that this plan is likely to prove successful in a way. There is an extraordinary outcry - I don't know what people are saying with you, but pray let me know - at the city being without magistrates or senate.

In fact, there is a wonderfully strong feeling at Pompey's being in flight.
Indeed, the point of view is quite changed: people are now for making no concessions to Caesar. Expound to me what all this means. My department is a very quiet one. For Pompey wishes me to be a kind of "president" of the whole of this Campanian seacoast, to superintend the levy, and hold the chief command. Accordingly, I meditate being continually on the move. I think you must see by this time what Caesar's aim, what the disposition of the people, and the general position of affairs are. Pray write and tell me about them, and that, too, as often as possible, since they are continually shifting. For I find relief both in writing to you and in reading your letters.



As yet I have received only one letter from you dated the 19th, and in it you indicated that you had written another, which I have not received. But I beg you to write as often as possible, not only whatever you know or have been told, but also what you suspect, and above all what you think I ought to do or not to do. You ask me to be sure to let you know what Pompey is doing: I don't think he knows himself, certainly none of us do. I saw the consul Lentulus at Formiae on the 21st; I have seen Libo. Nothing but terror and uncertainty everywhere! Pompey is on the road to Larinum; for there are some cohorts there, as also at Luceria and Teanum, and in the rest of Apulia. After that nobody knows whether he means to make a stand anywhere, or to cross the sea. If he stays in Italy, I am afraid he cannot have a dependable army: but if he goes away, where I am to go or stay, or what I am to do, I don't know. For the man, whose "Phalarism"1 you dread, will, I think, spare no form of brutality: nor will the suspension of business, nor the departure of senate and magistrates, nor the closing of the treasury cause him to pause. But all this, as you say, we shall know before long. Meanwhile, forgive my writing to you at such length and so often. For I find some relief in it, and at the same time want to draw a letter from you, and above all some advice as to what I am to do and how to conduct myself. Shall I commit myself wholly to this side? I am not deterred by the danger, but I am bursting with vexation. Such a want of all plan! so utterly opposed in every respect to my advice! Am I to procrastinate and trim, and then join the winning side, the party in power? "I dread to face the Trojans,"  and I am held back from that course by the duty not only of a citizen, but also of a friend, though my resolution is often weakened by pity for my children. Do, therefore, though equally anxious yourself; write something to a man in this state of utter uncertainty, and especially what you think I ought to do in case of Pompey's quitting Italy.

Manius Lepidus, for his part - for we have been together - draws the line at that, and so does L. Torquatus I am hampered, among many other things, by my lictors: I have never seen such a hopeless entanglement. Accordingly, I don't expect anything positive from you, but merely your present impression. In fact, I want to know what the precise difficulty in your mind is. It is all but certain that Labienus2 has abandoned him. If it could only have been possible that on coming to Rome Labienus had found magistrates and a senate there, he would have been of eminent service to our cause. For it would have been clear that loyalty to the Republic had caused him to hold one who was his friend guilty of treason. This is clear even now, but of less practical advantage: for there is no one to be of advantage to, and I expect him to feel some dissatisfaction - unless perchance it is not true, after all, that he has abandoned Caesar. For myself; I am convinced that it is true. Pray, though you say you confine yourself to the limits of your own house, do give me a sketch of the City.

Is Pompey missed? Is there any appearance of a feeling against Caesar? What, too, is your opinion as to Terentia and Tullia? Should they stay at Rome, or join me, or seek some place of safety? On this, and indeed on any other point, pray write to me, or rather keep on writing.

1] Cruelty like that of the tyrant Phalaris.
2] T. Atius Labienus had been Caesar's legatus in Gaul, and was so trusted by him as to be left in charge of Gallia Togata in Caesar's absence (B.C. 50). Caesar was warned that he was being tampered with, but refused to believe it (Caes. B. G. 8.52). It was, however, true, and he became one of the most violent of the Pompeians. He eventually fell at Munda.

CVI (A VII. 13 a)


As to the business of Vennonius, I agree with you. Labienus I regard as a "demigod."
There has been no political stroke this long time past more brilliant. If he has done no other good, he has at least given him pain. But as a matter of fact, I do think that some good has been done to the cause. I am charmed also with Piso, whose judgment on his son-in-law I think will have weight. But you perceive the nature of the war. It is only a civil war in the sense that it has originated from the unscrupulous boldness of one unprincipled citizen, not as arising from a division of sentiment between the citizens generally. But that man is strong in the possession of an army, he commands the allegiance of many by the prospects he holds out and the promises he makes: nothing that anyone possesses is beyond the scope of his desires. To such a man as this the city has been abandoned, without any garrison to protect it, crammed with every kind of wealth. What would you not have to fear from the man who regards those temples and roofs, not as constituting his fatherland? but as objects for plunder? What his proceedings are going to be, and how they are to be put into any shape, without senate and without magistrates, I cannot tell. He will not be able to keep up even a pretence of constitutional action. For us, however-where shall we be able to raise our heads or when? How utterly incapable our general is you yourself observe, in having had no intelligence of the state of affairs even in Picenum: and how devoid of any plan of campaign, the facts are witness. For, to say nothing of other mistakes committed during the last ten years, could any terms be worse than such a flight? Nor, indeed, have I any idea what he is contemplating at this moment, though I never cease asking again and again by letter. Everyone agrees that he is in a state of abject alarm and agitation. Accordingly, as far as I can see, there is no garrison to organize which he was kept at the city walls, nor any place where a garrison could be posted. His whole hope rests on the two legions somewhat treacherously retained, and almost to be regarded as belonging to another. For as yet, indeed, those whom he is enlisting are men reluctant to serve and averse from fighting. While the time for making terms has been let slip. I do not see what is going to happen. At any rate we, or our leader, have allowed things to come to this pass, that, having left harbour without a rudder, we must let ourselves drift before the storm. So I hesitate as to what to do with my son and nephew: sometimes I think I had better despatch them to Greece. For Tullia and Terentia, again - when I see a vision of barbarians arriving in the city - I am filled with all kinds of alarm; but when I think of Dolabella, I breathe again somewhat. But pray consider what you think ought to be done: in the first place, with an eye to their safety - for I must regard their security as requiring to be considered in a different light from my own, secondly, with a view to popular opinion, that I may not be blamed for deciding that they should remain at Rome, when the loyalists generally are flying from it. Nay, even you and Peducaeus - for he has written to me - must take care what you' do. You are men of such shining characters, that the same line of conduct is expected from you as from the noblest citizens. But I can safely leave this to you, since it is to you that I look for advice for myself and my family. All I have to add is to ask you to find out, as far' as you can, what is going on, and to write me word of it, and - what I expect from you even more  - tell me what you are yourself able to conjecture. "The best prophet,"1 you know. Pardon my running on like this: it is a relief to me when writing to you, and draws a letter from you.

1] μάντις δ᾽ἄριστος, which, as usual, he leave Atticus to fill up. It is a line from a lost tragedy of Euripides: μάντις δ᾽ ἄριστος ὅστιςεἰκάζει καλῶς, “the best prophet is the good guesser.”



I didn't guess your riddle: it is more obscure than Plato's number.1 However, I have made it out now: you meant the Oppii of Velia by your succones (blood-suckers).2

I wavered about it a long time; but when I hit on the solution, the rest became clear and quite agreed with Terentia's total.

I saw L. Caesar3 at Minturnae early on the 23rd of January with his utterly absurd message - he is not a human being, but a broom with the binding off. I think Caesar himself must have acted with the purpose of throwing ridicule on the affair, in trusting a message on matters so important to such a man as this - unless, perchance, he never did intrust it, and the fellow has, without warrant, made use of some conversation which he picked up as a message. Labienus, a man of noble character in my opinion, arrived at Teanum on the 22nd. There he met Pompey and the consuls. What their conversation was, and what arrangement was come to, I will write and tell you when I know for certain. Pompey set off from Teanum in the direction of Larinum on the 23rd. He stopped that day at Venafrum. Labienus seems to have brought no little courage to our side. But I haven't yet anything to tell you from these parts: I expect rather to hear news from you - what intelligence from Caesar reaches Rome, how he takes Labienus's desertion, what Domitius is doing among the Marsi, Thermus at Iguvium, P. Attius at Cingulum;4 what the feeling of the city folk is, what your own conjecture as to the future: on all these points pray write frequently, and tell me what your opinion is about my ladies, and what you intend doing yourself. If I had been writing with my own hand, this letter would have been longer, but I dictated it owing to my eyes being inflamed.

1] The "nuptial number" in the Republic, 545c-547A. On its interpretation much learned ink has been spent, mostly in vain. See Nuptial Number of Plato, its Solution and Significance, by James Adam, 1891.
2] The Oppii were money-lenders who had a house in Rome close to that of Atticus (see Letter CCCXXXIII). What Atticus had said about them we cannot tell, or whether there was an obscure pun in the name thus given them by Atticus (from ὀπός, "fig juice,"sucus), we cannot be sure. If there was it is no wonder that Cicero found the riddle a dark one. Tyrrell and Purser, who read saccones, "bagmen," object to the pun on sucus too bad even for Cicero; it is not Cicero's, however, but Atticus's, and Cicero evidently thought it pretty bad.
3] A distant connexion of Iulius Caesar. His father was Caesar's legatus, and he visited Caesar at Ariminum with a message from Pompey (with one of the praetors), and brought back a proposal that Pompey should go to his province of Spain, and that all troops in Italy should be disbanded, the comitia left free, and an interview immediately arranged between them (Caes. B.C. i. 8-9).
4] L. Domitius Ahenobarbus occupied Corfinium, but presently had to surrender it to Caesar. The same had happened to P. Attius Varus at Auximum (not Cingulum), and Q. Minucius Thermus had to surrender Iguvium to Curio (Caesar, B.C. 1.12.17).



I write this letter, though suffering from slight inflammation of the eyes, when on the point of quitting Cales for Capua. L. Caesar brought Caesar's message to Pompey on the 23rd, while the latter was at Teanum with the consuls. His proposal was accepted, but on condition of his withdrawing his garrisons from the towns which he had occupied outside his province. If he did this, they said in their answer that we would return to Rome and conclude the negotiation in the senate.1 I hope for the present we have peace: for he is not quite easy about his mad enterprise, nor our general as to the amount of his forces. Pompey has directed me to come to Capua and assist the levy, to which the Campanian settlers2 do not make a very eager response. Caesar's gladiators at Capua, about whom I gave you some incorrect information on the authority of a letter from A. Torquatus, Pompey has very adroitly distributed among the heads of families, two to each.3 There were 5,000 shields in the school: they were said to be contemplating breaking out. Pompey's measure was a very wise precaution for the safety of the state. As to our ladies, in whom I include your sister, pray consider whether they can stay at Rome with propriety, when other ladies of the same rank have left town. I have said this to them and to yourself in a previous letter. I would like you to urge upon them to leave the city, especially as I have properties on the sea-coast - now under my presidency - on which they might reside in tolerable comfort, considering all things. For if I get into any difficulty4 about my son-in-law, though I am not bound to be responsible for him, yet it is made worse by my women folk having remained in Rome longer than others.

Please let me know what you and Sextus are thinking of doing as to leaving town, and what your opinion is on the whole situation. For my part, I never cease urging peace, which, however unfair, is better than the justest war in the world. But this is in the hands of fortune.

1] Caesar (Bell.Civ. 1.14) calls this proposal unfair, for Pompey, who consented to promise to go to his province, mentioned no time at which he would go to Spain, and proposed to retain his province and legions, while Caesar's army was to be disbanded.
2] Many of Pompey's own veterans had been settled with grants of land in the ager Campanus, the old territory of Capua, by Caesar's agrarian law of B.C. 59.
3] Caesar gives an account of this (Caes. B.C. 1.14). He says that Lentulus, the consul, at first called these men out with a promise of freedom. But this seemed shocking to Roman ideas, and, being remonstrated with, he billeted them out as described. Cicero would seem to put the matter, as though this billeting them out in pairs was, from the first, a precautionary measure. It may be that Cicero is right, and that Caesar got a false idea of the transaction from some hostile source.
4] I. e., with Pompey and his party, because Dolabella was with Caesar.

CCCX (A VII. 15)


Ever since I left Rome I have not let a single day pass without sending you something by way of letter; not because I had anything particularly to write about, but in order that I might chat with you in my absence, than which - since I cannot do so face to face - nothing gives me greater pleasure. On arriving at Capua on the 25th - the day before I write this - I met the consuls and many members of the senate.

All were anxious that Caesar should stand by his offer, with the addition of withdrawing his garrisons. Favonius alone disapproved of any conditions being imposed on us by him; but he was not listened to in the discussion. For even Cato himself now prefers slavery to fighting. However, he says that he wishes to be in the senate when the terms are debated, if Caesar can be induced to withdraw his garrisons. So he is not eager about going to Sicily - the very thing most wanted: but he does wish to be in the senate, where I fear he will only do mischief. Postumius, moreover, who was definitely named in the senatorial decree to go to Sicily at once and succeed Furfanius, says that he will not go without Cato, and thinks very highly of his own personal service and influence in the senate. Accordingly, this duty has fallen to Fannius. He is being sent in advance to Sicily with imperium. In our discussions a great variety of opinion is expressed. Most declare that Caesar will not abide by his offer, and say that these demands were only thrown in by him to prevent our making the necessary preparations for war. I, however, am of opinion that he will carry out the withdrawal of the garrisons. For he will have gained his point if he is elected consul, and gained it with less crime than that of his first step. But we must put up with the blow: for we are scandalously unprepared both in regard to soldiers and money. All the latter, indeed - not only private money in the city, but the public money in the treasury also - we have left for him. Pompey has started to join the Appian legions.1 He has Labienus with him. I am anxious to hear what you think of these events. I am thinking of returning to Formiae at once.

1] Apparently the two legions sent from Gaul a year before by Caesar for the Parthian war, which, according to Plutarch (Pomp. 57), were led into Italy by one Appius. There is, however, a doubt as to the reading between Appianas and Attianas. The legions were in winter quarters in various towns in Apulia.



How seriously my personal safety and that of all loyalists is imperilled, as well as that of the whole senate and Republic, you may judge from the fact that we have abandoned our town houses, and the very city itself, to plunder and conflagration. Matters have come to such a pitch that, unless some god or some accident intervenes, we cannot possibly be saved. For my part, ever since I arrived at the city, I have never ceased promoting in thought, word, and deed everything that made for peace: but a strange mad passion for fighting has inflamed not only the disloyal, but even those who are reckoned loyalists, though I loudly proclaim that nothing can be more lamentable than a civil war. Accordingly, when Caesar yielded to the promptings of what may be called downright insanity, and - forgetting his name and his honours - had successively occupied Ariminum, Pisaurum, Ancona, and Arretium, I left the city. On the wisdom or courage of such a step it is useless to argue. You see how we stand now. The upshot is, proposals are received from Caesar that Pompey should go to Spain: that the levies already completed and our garrisons should be disbanded: that he will hand over farther Gaul to Domitius, hither Gaul to Considius Nonianus (these are the men to whom these provinces have been allotted): that he will come to canvass for the consulship, and no longer demand that his candidature be admitted in his absence: that he will be in town as candidate for the legal three nundinae.1 We accept the proposals, but on the condition that he withdraws his garrisons from the places he has occupied, so that a meeting of the senate may be held at Rome to discuss these same proposals in security. If he does this, there is hope of a peace - not a creditable one, for we accept terms from him, but anything is better than to be as we are. If; on the other hand, he declines to abide by his terms, everything is ready for war, but of a kind that he cannot possibly maintain - especially as he will have shirked terms proposed by himself - provided only that we cut him off from all power of approaching the city. This we hope can be done: for we are holding levies on a large scale, and we think that he is afraid, if he once begins a march upon the city, that he may lose the Gauls, both of which, with the exception of the Transpadani, are bitterly hostile to him: and on the side of Spain he has six legions and a large force of auxiliaries under Afranius and Petreius2 on his rear. If he persists in his madness it seems possible that he may be crushed - if it can only be done without losing Rome! He has, again, received a very severe blow in the fact that Titus Labienus, who occupied the most influential position in his army, has declined to be a partner in his crime. He has abandoned him and is with us, and many are said to intend doing the same. I as yet am president of the sea-coast from Formiae. I refused any more important function, that my letters and exhortations to peace might have greater influence with Caesar. If; however, war does break out, I see that I shall have to take command of a camp and a definite number of legions.            I have another trouble in the fact that my son-in-law Dolabella is with Caesar.

I wished you to know these facts, but don't let them agitate you and retard your recovery. I have recommended you with great earnestness to Aulus Varro, whom I know to be warmly attached to me and very fond of you, asking him to interest himself in your health and your voyage, and generally to take you under his charge and look after you. I feel certain he will do all this, for he promised to do so, and spoke to me in the kindest manner. Pray, since you were unable to be with me at the time I most wanted your help and fidelity, do not hurry or allow yourself to embark upon a voyage while ill, or in bad weather. I shall never think you come late if you come well and strong. As yet I have seen no one who had seen you since                            M. Volusius, who handed me your letter. I don't wonder at this, for I don't think my letters either can reach you in such stormy weather. But do your best to recover, and, when you do recover, only sail when you can do so with safety. My son is at Formiae, Terentia and Tullia at Rome. Take care of yourself.  
Capua, 27 January.

1] That is, seventeen clear days.
2] Two of the three legates of Pompey in Spain.



Your letter is both welcome and delightful. I thought of sending the boys to Greece when there seemed an idea of Pompey's flying from Italy: for I should have made for Spain, which would not have been equally suitable for them. For yourself and Sextus, it seems to me that even now you may remain with propriety at Rome. For you are not at all bound to be my Pompey's friends. For no one ever did more to detract from the value of city property!1 Do you see that I am absolutely joking? You ought now to know what answer L. Caesar is taking back from Pompey, and what sort of a letter he is conveying from him to Caesar: for they were drawn up and despatched with the express purpose of being exposed for public perusal. 'On this point I blamed Pompey in my own heart for having trusted our friend Sestius with the writing of a despatch so important and certain to come into everybody's hands, though he has a very good style of his own. Accordingly, I never read anything more "Sestian."2 Nevertheless, it is made quite clear from Pompey's despatch that nothing is denied to Caesar, and that all his demands are conceded to the full: he will be a sheer madman if he declines the very proposals which it required the most consummate impudence ever to have made! Pray, who are you to say, "If he goes to Spain," "if he dismisses the garrisons"? Nevertheless, the concession is being made: with less dignity, indeed, at this time of day - for it is after the Republic has actually been violated by him and its territory invaded - than if he had some time back obtained his demand to be reckoned a candidate; and yet I doubt his being content even with these concessions. For, after giving that message to L. Caesar, he ought, until he received the answer, to have somewhat relaxed his warlike movements, whereas he is said to be at this moment more active than ever. Trebatius, indeed, writes to say that on the 22nd of January he was asked by him to write to me, urging me to remain at the city walls: that I could not oblige him more. This was put at great length. I calculated by reckoning the days that, as soon as Caesar heard of my departure, he began to be anxious lest we should all leave town. Therefore I have no doubt he has written to Piso, and also to Servius. One thing I am surprised at, that he has not written to me himself; nor opened his communication with me through Dolabella or Caelius: not that I disdain a letter from Trebatius, whom I know to be singularly attached to me. I wrote back to Trebatius - for I wouldn't write to Caesar himself; as he had not written to me - pointing out how difficult that course was for me at such a time as this; that I was, however, at my own country seat and had not undertaken any levy or any active part in the affair.3 By this I shall abide, as long as there is any hope of peace. But if war really begins, I shall not be wanting to my duty or position, after despatching my boys to Greece. For I perceive that all Italy will be blazing with war. Such the mischief that is caused partly by disloyal, partly by jealous citizens! But how far this will go I shall learn within the next few days by his answer to mine. Then I will write to you at greater length, if there is going to be war: but if there is to be peace, or even a truce, I shall, I hope, see you in person. On the 2nd of February, on which I write this, I am expecting the ladies at my Formian house, whither I have returned from Capua. I had written to them on your advice to remain at Rome; but I hear that there is some increase of panic in the city. I mean to be at Capua on the 5th of February, in accordance with orders from the consuls. Whatever news reaches me here from Pompey I will let you know at once, and shall expect a letter from you as to what is going on at Rome.

1] Atticus invested much money in city property (Nepos, Att. 14). Cicero means that Pompey's abandonment of Rome has depreciated the value of such properties. 2] Σηστιωδέστερον. In the many allusions to P. Sestius (whom he defended) Cicero does not seem ever to have depreciated him, except that once he calls him morosus, "whimsical," "difficile," and talks of his "wrong-headedness in certain particulars" (perversitatem quibusdam in rebus).
3] Cicero had been urged to come to Capua to assist in the levy. Those who wish to maintain his veracity assert that he had done nothing in the matter. But at any rate he had accepted the command of the sea-coast of Campania, though he afterwards resigned even that. It must be admitted, however, that he is sailing near the wind.



About our misfortunes you hear sooner than I: for they flow from Rome. As for anything good, there is none to be expected from this quarter. I arrived at Capua for the 5th of February, in accordance with the order of the consuls. Late on that day Lentulus arrived; the other consul had absolutely not come on the 7th. For I left Capua on that day and stayed at Cales. From that town I am sending this letter, before daybreak, on the 8th. What I ascertained while at Capua was that the consuls are no good: that no levy is being held anywhere. For the recruiting officers do not venture to shew their faces, with Caesar close at hand, and our leader, on the contrary, nowhere and doing nothing; nor do recruits give in their names. It is not goodwill to the cause, but hope that is wanting. As to our leader Gnaeus - what an inconceivably miserable spectacle! What a complete breakdown! No courage, no plan, no forces, no energy! I will pass over his most discreditable flight from the city, his abject speeches in the towns, his ignorance not only of his opponent's, but even of his own resources - but what do you think of this? On the 7th of February the tribune C. Cassius came with an order from him to the consuls that they should go to Rome, remove the money from the reserve treasury,1 and immediately quit the town. After leaving the City they are to return! Under what guard? They are to Come out of the City! Who is to give them leave to do so? The Consul (Lentulus) wrote back to say that Pompey must himself first make his way into Picenum. But the fact is, that district has already been entirely lost. No one knows that except myself, who have learnt it from a letter of Dolabella's. I have no manner of doubt but that Caesar is all but actually in Apulia, and our friend Gnaeus already on board ship. What I am to do is a great "problem," though it would have been no problem to me, had not everything been most disgracefully mismanaged, and without consulting me in any way; problem, however, it is, as to what it is my duty to do. Caesar himself urges me to promote peace. But his letter is dated before he began his violent proceedings. Dolabella and Caelius both say that he is well satisfied with my conduct. I am on the rack of perplexity. Assist me by your advice if you can, but all the same look after your own interests to the utmost of your power. In such a total upset I have nothing to say to you. I am looking for a letter from you.

1] Sanctius aerarium. A reserve fund, said originally to have been made in case of a Gallic invasion, was replenished by the tax of five per cent. on the selling value of manumitted slaves. This was first levied in B.C. 357 (Livy, vii. i6), and remained in force till a late period of the empire. The reserve fund was drawn upon in B.C. 212, during the second Punic war (Livy, 27.11). According to Caesar (B.C. 1.4), the consuls were just about to open it before they left Rome, but, teirrified by a false report of Caesar's immediate approach, fled without doing so. Pompey now wishes them to go back for it.



Quintus Fabius came to me on the 10th of February. He brings me word that                   L. Domitius, with twelve cohorts of his own and with fourteen brought to him by Vibullius,1 were on the march to join me: that his intention was to quit Corfinium on the 9th of February, that Gaius Hirrus with five cohorts was coming up behind him.2 My opinion is that you should join me at Luceria. For here I think you will be safest.

1] L. Vibullius Rufus, Pompey's praefectus fabrum. 2] Caesar (B.C. 1.17) makes Domitius, writing to Pompey, mention "more than thirty cohorts," which agrees with these numbers (thirty one). L. Domitius Ahenobarbus had been nominated by the senate to the province of Transalpine Gaul.



GNAEUS POMPRIUS, proconsul, salutes Lucius Domitius, proconsul.

M. Calenius has brought me a despatch from you dated the 16th of February, in which you say that your intention is to watch Caesar, and, if he commences his march upon me by the coast road, to come to me with speed into Samnium; but that, if he spends time about the towns in your district, you wish to resist him in case of his approaching you. I think your plan is spirited and gallant; but I am compelled to be more solicitous as to whether we may not, if divided, be unequal to our opponent; since he has large forces and is likely soon to have larger. For a man of your foresight ought not to reckon how many cohorts Caesar has at this moment against you, but what amounts of infantry and cavalry he is likely to collect before long. This is proved in my eyes by a letter from Bussenius to me, in which he says—as I learn from other letters also—that Curio is drawing the garrisons in Umbria and Etruria together, and marching to join Caesar. Now if all these forces are combined, even suppose a detachment is sent to Alba, and another threatens you, and though Caesar should not offer battle, but should remain on the defensive in his own strongholds, you will still be at a stand, and will not be able, isolated with a force the size of yours, to offer a resistance to such vast numbers sufficient even to allow of your foraging for corn. Wherefore I strongly urge you to come here as soon as possible with your entire force. The consuls have decided to do so. I sent a message to you by M. Tuscilius to say that we must take care that the two legions should not, without the cohorts from Picenum, be allowed to come within sight of Caesar. Wherefore do not disturb yourself if you hear that I am making a backward movement, 1 should Caesar chance to advance towards me: for I think I must by all means avoid being caught in the toils and prevented from stirring. For I cannot construct a camp owing to the season and the disposition of my soldiers, nor is it proper to call in the garrisons from all the towns, lest I should be left without a place of retreat. Accordingly, I have not mustered more than fourteen cohorts at Luceria. The consuls are about to bring in all garrisons to me, or are going to Sicily. For I must either have an army sufficiently strong to make me feel sure of being able to break out, or hold districts of such a kind as to enable us to act on the defensive. At the present time we have neither, for Caesar has occupied a large part of Italy, and we have an army neither as well-appointed nor as large as he has. We must therefore be careful and look to the main interests of the Republic. I urge on you again and again to come to me at the earliest opportunity with your whole force. We may even now restore the fortunes of the state, if we conduct our operations in common: if we are divided we shall be weak. I am quite satisfied of this.

After I had written the above, Sicca brought me a despatch and message from you. You urged me to come to you: I do not think that I can do so, because I don't feel great confidence in these legions.2

1] I. e., in the direction of Brundisium2] The two Caesarian legions, as above



I received a despatch from you on the 17th of February, in which you say that Caesar has pitched his camp near Corfinium. What I thought and warned you of is now taking place, namely, that at present he would not give you battle, and yet would hem you in by concentrating all his forces, to prevent the road to me being open to you, and your being able to unite your troops, formed of the strongest loyalists, with the legions of whose fidelity we are doubtful. I am therefore all the more disturbed by your letter. For I am not sufficiently confident in the good disposition of the soldiers, whom I now have with me, to risk a battle involving the safety of the state, nor have the levies made by the consuls as yet come in. Wherefore do your best, if it is still by any means possible, to extricate yourself, and Come here as soon as you can, before our opponent is joined by all his forces. For it is neither possible for the new levies to arrive here quickly, nor, if they had arrived, can it escape your observation how impossible it is to trust men, who are not even acquainted with each other, against veteran legions.1

1] This seems to be the letter, the contents of which Domitius tried to conceal from his council and the army at Corfinium, pretending that Pompey had promised to come speedily to his relief. The soldiers and centurions detected the truth, and hastened to make terms with Caesar. See Caesar, B.C. 1.19-20.



GNAEUS MAGNUS, proconsul, greets the consuls, C. Marcellus and L. Lentulus.
Being of opinion that if we were scattered we could neither be of service to the state, nor protect ourselves, I sent a despatch to L. Domitius that, if possible, he should join me with all his men, and that, if he felt doubtful about himself, he should send me the nineteen cohorts which were on the march to join me from Picenum. What I feared has taken place: Domitius is surrounded, and is not in sufficient force to form a camp, because he has my nineteen and his own twelve cohorts distributed among three towns - for he has stationed some at Alba and some at Sulmo - and he cannot now extricate himself even if he wished. In these circumstances I am, I can assure you, in extreme anxiety. I am eager to relieve men who are so numerous and of such high position1 from the danger of a siege, and yet I cannot go to their assistance, because I do not think that we can trust these two legions to go there - of whom, after all, I have not been able to keep together more than fourteen cohorts; for I have sent two to Brundisium, and I did not think that Canusium ought to be left in my absence without a garrison. I had told Decimus Laelius to suggest to you, as I hope for an increase to my numbers, that one of you should join me, the other go to Sicily with the force you have collected at Capua and the neighbourhood of Capua, and the soldiers whom Faustus has recruited: that Domitius with his own twelve cohorts should form a junction with the same, and that all other forces of every description should muster at Brundisium, and be shipped thence to Dyrrachium. But as it is, since at this juncture I cannot go, any more than you, to the relief of Domitius, he must extricate himself by crossing the mountains, and I must be careful not to allow the enemy to get near these fourteen cohorts, whose loyalty is doubtful, or to catch me up on the march. Wherefore I have determined - and I find that Marcellus and other senators who are here agree with me - to march the force I have with me to Brundisium. I urge you to collect all the troops that you can collect, and come to me at Brundisium also as promptly as possible. I think you should use the arms, which you were intending to send to me, to arm the soldiers whom you have with you: if you will have all arms that may be to spare carted to Brundisium, you will have done the state excellent service. Please let my men know about this. I have sent word to the praetors P. Lupus and C. Coponius, to join you and take whatever men they have to you.

1] Domitius had with him his son, five senators, with many young men of senatorial families, a large number of equites, and magistrates from neighbouring municipia (cities)  (Caes. B.C. 1.2



What a disgraceful and, for that reason, what a miserable thing! For, in my opinion, that which is disgraceful is ultimately, or rather is alone, miserable. He (Pompeius) had fostered Caesar, and then, all on a sudden, had begun to be afraid of him: he had declined any terms of peace: he had made no preparation for war: he had abandoned the city: he had lost Picenum by his own fault: he had blocked himself up in Apulia: he was preparing to go to Greece: he was going to leave us without a word, entirely uninformed of a move on his part so important and so unprecedented. Lo and behold, there is suddenly sprung on us a letter from Domitius to him, and one from him to the consuls. I thought honour had flashed before his eyes, and that he - the real man he ought to be - had exclaimed:

“ So let them try each sleight they may against me,
  And every craft their cunning can devise:
  The right is on my side.”1

But our hero, bidding a long good-bye to honour, takes himself to Brundisium, while Domitius, they say, and those with him, on hearing of this, surrendered. What a lamentable thing! Distress prevents my writing any more to you. I wait for a letter from you.

1] A fragment of Euripides, parodied by Aristoph. Acharn. 659.



Did you ever see a more futile person than your friend Pompey, for having stirred up all this dust, without any stuff in him, after all? And, on the other hand, did you ever read or hear of anyone prompter in action than our Caesar, and more moderate in victory? Why! Do you think that our soldiers, who in the most inclement and frozen districts, in the severest winter weather, have successfully finished a war at a walk, have been fed on the pick of the orchard?1 "What, then," say you, "is it all glory with you?" Nay, if you only knew how anxious I am, you would laugh at this glory of mine, which, after all, has nothing to do with me. I can't explain matters to you unless we meet, and I hope that will soon take place. For as soon as he has driven Pompey out of Italy, Caesar has resolved to summon me to Rome: and I look upon that as good as done, unless Pompey has preferred being besieged in Brundisium. Upon my life, the chief motive I have for hurrying there is my ardent desire to see you and impart all my thoughts. And what a lot I have! Goodness! I am afraid that, as usual, I shall forget them all when I do see you. But what have I done to be obliged to retrace my steps to the Alps? It is all because the Intemelli 1 are in arms, and that on some trumpery excuse. Bellienus, a slave of Demetrius, who was commanding a garrison there, seized one Domitius - a man of rank and a friend of Caesar's - for a bribe, and strangled him. The tribe rushed to arms: and I have got to go there with my cohorts over the snow. All over the world, say you, the Domitii are coming to grief. I could have wished that our descendant of Venus had shewn as much resolution in the case of your Domitius,2  as the son of Psecas3 did in this one. Give my love to your son.

1] The people who have left their name in Ventimiglia.
2] L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who surrendered to Caesar at Corfinium, but was allowed to depart unharmed.
3] Apparently a slave, mother of Bellienus.



I am very glad that your letter expresses such strong approval of what happened at Corfinium. I shall be glad to follow your advice, and all the more so, that I had spontaneously resolved to display the greatest clemency and to do my best to reconcile Pompey. Let us try in this way if we can recover the affections of all parties, and enjoy a lasting victory; for others, owing to their cruelty, have been unable to avoid rousing hatred, or to maintain their victory for any length of time, with the one exception of Lucius Sulla, whom I have no intention of imitating. Let this be our new method of conquering - to fortify ourselves by mercy and generosity. As to how that may be secured, certain ideas suggest themselves to my mind, and many more may be hit upon. I beg you to take these matters into consideration. I have taken Pompey's prefect Numerius Magius. Of course I kept to my policy, and caused him at once to be set at liberty. I have now had two of Pompey's prefects of engineers in my hands, and have set them both at liberty.1 If they wish to be grateful, they will be bound to advise Pompey to prefer my friendship to that of the men who have ever been most bitterly hostile both to him and myself, by whose intrigues the Republic has been reduced to its present position.2

1] L. Vibullius Rufus and Numerius Magius. The latter Caesar employed to negotiate with Pompey at Brundisium (Caes. B.C. 1.15, 24, 26). 2] Caesar dwells on this point, that Pompey was now joined with those who bad been enemies to them both, in the B.C. i. 4, declaring that much of their enmity, as far as he was concerned, had been actually incurred by his union with Pompey.



Although by the time you read this I think I shall know what has happened at Brundisium - for Gnaeus left Canusium on the 21st of February, and I write on the 6th of March, the fourteenth day after his removing from Canusium - yet I am kept in painful suspense as to what each hour may bring, and am wondering that nothing even by way of rumour has reached me. There is a surprising silence. But perhaps all this is mere idle curiosity1 about what, after all, must soon be known.

One thing worries me, that I cannot at present make out where our friend P. Lentulus and Domitius are. Now I want to know, in order the easier to find out their intentions, whether they are going to Pompey, and if so, by what route and when. The city, indeed, I am told, is now crammed full of Optimates. I hear that Sosius and Lupus are sitting in court,2 whom our friend Gnaeus thought would arrive at Brundisium before himself. From these parts there is a general exodus. Even Manius Lepidus, with whom I am used to spend the day, is thinking of starting tomorrow.

For myself, I am stopping on at Formiae in order to get quicker intelligence. Then I am for Arpinum. Thence, by whatever road there is least chance of meetings, to the Upper Sea, leaving behind or altogether giving up my lictors. For I am told that by some loyalists, who are now and have often been before a protection to the commonwealth, my staying in Italy is disapproved, and that at their entertainments (beginning pretty early in the day too) many severe reflexions are being made upon me! Evidently, then, the thing to do is to leave the country, to wage war on Italy by land and sea, to rouse the hatred of the disloyal against us once more, which had become extinct, and to follow the advice of a Lucceius and Theophanes! For others have some reason for going: Scipio, for instance, starts for Syria, the province allotted to him, or is accompanying his son-in-law, in either case with an honourable pretext, or, if you like, is avoiding the wrath of Caesar. The Marcelli, for their part, had they not feared the sword of Caesar, would have remained: Appius has the same reason for fear, and that, too, in connexion with a recent quarrel. Except him and Q. Cassius, the rest are legates, Faustus is a proquaestor: I am the only one who might take either one course or the other. Added to this, there is my brother, whom it is not fair to involve in this adventure, considering that Caesar would be still more angry with him. But I cannot induce him to stay behind. This concession I shall make to Pompey, as in duty bound: for as far as I am concerned no one else influences me— nor the talk of the loyalists, who do not really exist, nor the cause which has been conducted with timidity and will be conducted with crime. To one man, one alone, I make this concession, and that, too, without any request from him, and though - as he says - he is not defending his own cause, but that of the state. I should like much to know what you are thinking of doing as to crossing into Epirus.

1] κενόσπουδα.
2] C. Sosius and P. Rubilius Rufus, praetors.



On your birthday1 you wrote me a letter full of advice, and not only shewing the greatest kindness to me, but also the most admirable wisdom. Philotimus delivered it to me the day after receiving it from you. The points you put are indeed of extreme difficulty - the journey to the Upper Sea, a voyage by the Lower, a departure to Arpinum, lest I should seem to have avoided Caesar, a continuance at Formiae, lest I should seem to have put myself forward to congratulate him - but nothing is more distressing than the sight of those things, which, I tell you, must before long be seen.

Curtius Postumus has been with me: I told you how oppressive he was.                      Q. Fufius also has been to see me. What a triumphant look! What assurance!                   Post haste for Brundisium: denouncing the crime of Pompey, the recklessness and folly of the senate. If I can't stand such things in my own villa, shall I be able to put up with Curtius in the senate-house? But suppose me to endure this with good temper, what will be the sequel of the usual "Speak, Marcus Tullius"? To say nothing of the Republican cause, which I look upon as lost, both from the wounds inflicted on it and the cures prepared for them, what am I to do about Pompey? With whom - for why should I deny it? I am downright angry. For I am always more affected by the causes of events than by the events themselves. Therefore, turning over these disastrous events in my mind - and what could be more disastrous!-or rather, coming to the conclusion that they are his doing and his fault, I feel more hostile to him than to Caesar himself: just as our ancestors decided that the day of the battle of the Allia was more fatal than that of the capture of the city, because the latter evil was the result of the former; and accordingly the one day is even now regarded as accursed, while the other is generally unknown - so I, remembering the errors of ten years, among which was also that year which ruined me, without his defending me (not to put it more strongly), and being fully aware of the rashness, incompetence, and carelessness of the present management, felt my anger growing. But that is all forgotten now. It is of his kindness that I think, and also of my own position.                        I understand later, indeed, than I could have wished, thanks to the letters and conversations of Balbus - I see plainly, I repeat, that the one object now, nay, the one object from the beginning, was the death of Pompey. As for me, therefore,                since Homer's hero, when his goddess mother said to him,
"For next to Hector's death thy doom is fixed," answered his mother:
“ Death, then! since fate allowed me not to save
The friend I loved.”2                                                                                                     What should I do for one who was not merely a "friend," but a "benefactor" also? One, too, of such a great character, and engaged in such a great cause? Why, in truth, I regard such duties as worth the loss of life. In your Optimates, however, I have no sort of confidence, and henceforth do not devote myself either to their service. I see how they are surrendering themselves to Caesar, and will continue to do so in the future. Do you suppose that those decrees of the municipalities as to Pompey's illness  are to be compared with these congratulations now offered to Caesar on his victory? "All terror," you will say. Yes, but they themselves assert that they were alarmed on the former occasion. However, let us wait to see what has happened at Brundisium, Perhaps from that may come a change of plan and in the tone of my letters.

1] Natali die tuo. Several editors wish to omit natali, in which case the words will mean "on the day of your ague fit," as in previous letters.
2] Homer, Il. 18.96



Nothing as yet from Brundisium. Balbus has written from Rome that he thinks that the consul Lentulus has by this time crossed, and that the younger Balbus did not succeed in getting an interview with him; because the young man heard this news at Canusium, and had written to him from that town. He says, too, that the six cohorts which were at Alba had joined Curius by the Minucian road:1 that Caesar had written to tell him that, and he would himself be shortly at the city. Therefore I shall follow your advice, and shall not go into hiding at Arpinum at the present time, although, as I wished to give my son his toga virilis2 at Arpinum, I contemplated leaving this excuse for Caesar. But perhaps that very thing would offend him - "Why not at Rome rather?" And after all, if meet him I must, I would rather it were here than anywhere. Then I shall consider the rest, that is, whither and by what road and when I am to go. Domitius, I hear, is at Cosa, ready, too, I am told, to set sail: if to Spain I don't approve, if to join Gnaeus I commend him: he had better go anywhere than have to see Curtius,3  of whom, though his patron, I cannot stand the sight. What, then, am I to say of the rest? But, I suppose, we had better keep quiet, lest we prove our own error, who, while loving the city, that is, our country, and while thinking that the matter would be patched up, have so managed matters as to be completely intercepted and made prisoners.

I had written thus far when a letter arrived from Capua, as follows: “Pompey has crossed the sea with all the men he had with him. The total is 30,000; besides the consuls, two tribunes of the plebs, and the senators who were with him, all with wives and children. He is said to have embarked on the 4th of March. Since that day the north wind has prevailed. They say that he disabled or burnt all such ships as he did not use.”

On this subject a letter has been received at Capua by L. Metellus, the tribune, from his mother-in-law Clodia, who has herself crossed. I was anxious and full of pain before, as, of course, the bare facts of the case compelled, when I found myself unable to unravel the mystery by any consideration; but now, when Pompey and the consuls have left Italy, I am not merely pained, I am burning with indignation:                                         “ Reason deserts her throne,
 And I am torn with grief.”4

Believe me, I really am beside myself to think of the dishonour I have brought upon myself. That I, in the first place, should not be with Pompey, whatever plan he has followed, nor, in the second place, with the loyalists, however imprudently managed their cause! Especially, too, when those very persons, for whose sake I was somewhat timid in trusting myself to fortune - wife, daughter, son, and nephew - prefered that I should follow that design, and thought that my present plan was discreditable and unworthy of me. For, as to my brother Quintus, whatever I determined upon he said that he considered right, and he accepted it with the most absolute acquiescence.

I am reading over your letters from the beginning of the business. They somewhat relieve me. The earliest ones warn and entreat me not to be precipitate. The next indicate that you are glad that I stayed. Whilst reading themI feel less base, but only while I read them. Presently grief and the "vision of shame" rises again. Wherefore, my dear Titus, pray pluck out this sorrow from my mind, or at least mitigate it by consoling words or advice, or by anything you can. But what could you or any human being do? It is now almost beyond the power of God.

For my part, my object now, as you advise and think possible, is to obtain leave from Caesar to absent myself when any motion is being made against Pompey in the senate. But I fear I may not obtain the concession. Furnius has arrived from Caesar. To shew you the sort of men we are following, he tells me that the son of Q. Titinius is with Caesar, but that the latter thanks me even more than I could wish. What, however, it is that he asks of me, expressed indeed, for his part, in few words, but still en grand seigneur, you may learn from his own letter. How distressed I am at your ill-health: if we had only been together, you would at least not have wanted advice. For "two heads," you know.5 But don't let us cry over spilt milk:6 let us do better for the future. Up to this time I have been mistaken in two particulars: at the beginning I hoped for peace, and, if that were once gained, was prepared to be content with the life of a private citizen, and an old age freed from anxiety: and later, I found that a bloody and destructive war was being undertaken by Pompey. Upon my honour, I thought it shewed a better man and a better citizen to suffer any punishment whatever rather than, I don't say to lead, but even to take part in such bloody work. I think it would have been better even to die than to be with such men. I shall bear any result with greater courage than such a pain.

1] The via Minucia is spoken of by Horace (Ep. 1.18, 20) as an alternative route to the Appia leading to Brundisium. It seems to have been by this road that the Martia and fourth legion came to Alba Fucentia in 44 B.C., instead of proceeding up the coast road from Brundisium to Gaul, as Antony had directed them. According to Caesar, B.C. 1.24, the six cohorts from Alba Fucentia joined Vibius Curius on the march to Brundisium.
2] Usually given at the Liberalia (17th March).
3] M. Curtius Postumus. Cicero had formerly promoted his interests with Caesar.            He may refer to that in calling himself his patronus, or he may have defended him in some lawsuit.
4] Hom. Il. 10.91.
5]  “Two comrades on the road: two beads in council:
Each sees for each and finds the better way
But he whose council is his single breast
Is scant of skill and slower to divine.
” Hom. 51.10.224-226.

6] Acta ne agamus, "let us not do what has been done," a proverb answering to "shutting the stable door when the horse is stolen," or "whipping a dead horse," or as in the text. See de Am. 85, where Cicero calls it an ancient proverb.



I received three letters from you on the 16th of March. They were dated on the 12th, 13th, and 14th. So I will answer each in its order of time. I quite agree with you in thinking Formiae the best of all places for me to stay. I also agree with you about the Upper Sea, and I am very desirous, as I told you in a previous letter, to discover how I may without annoying Caesar avoid taking any part whatever in the conduct of public affairs. You praise me for saying that I put away the memory of my friend's past and his shortcomings. I really do so: nay, I even forget those very injuries inflicted by him upon myself which you mention. So much more influence do I choose gratitude for kindness to have with me, than resentment for injury. Let me act, then, according to your opinion, and summon up all my energies. The fact is, I am philosophizing all the time I am riding about the country, and in the course of my expeditions I never cease meditating on my theses. But some of them are very difficult of solution. As to the Optimates, be it as you will: but you know the proverb, "Dionysius at Corinth."1 The son of Titinius is with Caesar.2 You seem to have a kind of fear that I do not like your counsels: the fact, however, is that nothing else gives me any pleasure except your advice and your letters. Pray, therefore, keep to your word: do not cease writing to me whatever occurs to you: you can do me no greater favour.

I now come to your second. You are quite right to be incredulous about the number of Pompey's men. Clodia just doubled them in her letter.3 It was all a lie also about disabling the ships. You praise the consuls: so do I as far as their spirit is concerned, but I blame their policy. For by their departure the negotiation for peace was rendered impossible, which I for one was meditating. Accordingly, after this I sent you back Demetrius's book "On Concord," and gave it to Philotimus. Nor have I any doubt left of a murderous war impending, which will begin with a famine. And yet I am vexed that I am not taking part in such a war! A war in which wickedness is certain to attain such dimensions, that, whereas it is a crime not to support one's parents, our leaders will think themselves entitled to starve to death the supreme and holiest of parents - their country! And this fear is not with me a matter of conjecture: I have heard their actual words. The whole object of collecting this fleet from Alexandria, Colchis, Tyre, Sidon, Aradus, Cyprus, Pamphylia, Lycia, Rhodes, Chios, Byzantium, Lesbos, Zmyrna, Miletus, Cos,4 is to intercept the supplies of Italy and blockade the corn growing provinces. Then, again, in what a state of anger will Pompey come! and especially with the very men most anxious for his safety, as though he had been abandoned by those whom he, in fact, abandoned himself. Accordingly, in my state of doubt as to what it is right for me to do, my feeling of obligation to Pompey becomes a very weighty motive: if that feeling were away, it were better in my eyes to perish in my country, than to ruin it in the attempt to save it. About the north wind it is clearly as you say: I am afraid Epirus may be harassed. But what part of Greece do you suppose will not be plundered? For Pompey gives out openly, and demonstrates to his soldiers, that he will outdo Caesar even in his liberality. It is an excellent suggestion of yours that, when I do see Caesar, I should not speak with too much tolerance, but rather with a grave severity. I clearly ought to do so. I am thinking of Arpinum, but not till I have had my meeting with him; thus avoiding being absent when he arrives, or having to hurry backwards and forwards along a detestably bad road. I am told, as you say in your letter, that Bibulus has arrived and started back again on the I4th.5 You were expecting Philotimus, you say in your third letter. But he only left me on the 15th. That was why you got my letter in reply to yours rather late, though I wrote the answer at once. I agree with what you say about Domitius - he is at Cosa, and no one knows what his design is. Yes, that basest, meanest fellow in the world, who says that a consular election can be held by a praetor, is the same as he always was in constitutional matters.6 So of course that was what Caesar meant by saying in the letter, of which I sent you a copy,7 "that he wished to avail himself of my advice , (well, well! that is a mere generality), "of my popularity" (that's empty flattery - but I suppose he adopts that tone with a view to my influencing certain senatorial votes), "of my position" (perhaps he means my vote as a consular). He finishes up by saying "of my help in every particular." I had already begun to suspect from your letter that this was the real meaning of it, or something very like it. For it is of great importance to him that there should not be an interregnum: and that he secures, if the consuls are "created" by the praetor. However, it is on record in our augural books that, so far from consuls being legally capable of being created by a praetor, the praetors themselves cannot be so created, and that there is no precedent for it: that it is illegal in case of the consuls, because it is not legal for the greater imperium to be proposed to the people by the less; in case of the praetors, because their names are submitted to the people as colleagues of the consuls, to whom belongs the greater imperium. Before long he will be demanding that my vote in the college should be given, and he won't be content with Galba, Scaevola, Cassius, and Antonius: “Then let the wide earth gape and swallow me”8 But you see what a storm is impending. Which of the senators have crossed the sea I will tell you when I know for certain. About the corn-supply you are quite right, it cannot possibly be managed without a revenue: and you have good reason for fearing the clamorous demands of Pompey's entourage, and an unnatural war. I should much like to see my friend Trebatius, though, as you say, he is in despair about everything. Pray urge him to make haste and come: for it will be a great convenience to see him before Caesar's arrival.9 As to the property at Lanuvium, as soon as I heard of Phamea's death, I conceived the wish-provided the constitution was to survive - that some one of my friends should buy it, yet I never thought of you, the greatest of my friends. For I knew that you usually wanted to know how many years' purchase it was worth, and what was the value of the fixtures, and I had seen your digamma10 not only at Rome, but also at Delos. After all, however, I value it, pretty as it is, at less price than it was valued in the consulship of Marcellinus,11 when I thought - owing to the house I possessed at that time at Antium - that those little pleasure-grounds would suit me better, and be less expensive, than repairing my Tusculan house. I was then willing to give 500 sestertia (about £4,000) for them. I made an offer through a third person, which he refused, when he was putting it up for sale at Antium. But in these days I presume all such properties are gone down in value, owing to the dearness of money. It will suit me exactly, or rather us, if you buy it. But don't be put off by the late owner's follies: it is really a lovely place. However, all such properties appear to me to be now doomed to desolation. I have answered your three letters, but am expecting others. For up to this time it is letters from you that have kept me going.
1]The Liberalia (17th March).

1] This is generally interpreted by a reference to the story told in Tusc. 3.27, of Dionysius the younger, after being expelled from Syracuse, keeping a school at Corinth because he could not live without some absolute power; so the Optimates will not rest, Cicero is supposed to argue, till they get power, and then they will persecute me. Tyrrell and Purser think it sufficient to explain it as an example of the ups and downs of life. This hardly seems sufficiently in point here. I am inclined to dismiss the school-keeping altogether. Plutarch (in his life of Timoleon), giving a pretty full account of Dionysius's exile, says nothing about it; but does say that he adopted a life of dissipation and frivolity in Corinth to avert suspicion of intending to recover his power. Cicero may mean, "The Optimates may be moderate enough men now, as you say; but wait and see what they will do if they gain power, either by Pompey's success, or by joining Caesar." 2] Cicero seems to think that the presence of the younger Titinius in Caesar's company especially disgraceful or dangerous to himself. His father was on the other side.
3] See Letter CCCLIX.
4] The fleet which Pompey was collecting from the East, where his name was still of the greatest weight.
5] I.e., has come home from Syria, and gone back to join Pompey. Bibulus had the command of Pompey's fleet.
6] M. Aemilius Lepidus, praetor this year, consul B.C. 45, master of the horse to Caesar as dictator, Pontifex Maximus B.C. 44, triumvir B.C. 43-36. Cicero elsewhere describes him as the "greatest weathercock in the world" (homo ventosissimus): and his feebleness was afterwards only too clearly manifested. He was expelled from the triumvirate by Augustus in B.C. 36, and lived on in obscurity (though still nominally Pontifex Maximus) till B.C. 14. The constitutional point Cicero now attacks him on was the doctrine that a praetor could "create" a consul - both consuls being away, Caesar would otherwise be unable to be elected - whereas, the true doctrine Cicero holds to be that the less magistrate cannot "create" the greater.                                                 See Letter CCCLXXII.
7] Letter CCCLVI.
8] Hom. Il. 4.182.
9] I.e., to consult him on the legal question, and so strengthen his hands in answering Caesar.
10] No one knows what this digamma means. It may be some mark used by Atticus in the ledgers containing an account of properties on which he had lent money; or it may be that the word is a mistake for διάγραμμα, "a schedule," as was long ago conjectured.
11] B.C. 56.

CCCLXV (A IX. 11 a)

FORMIAE, 19-20 MARCH 49 B.C.

On reading your letter, handed to me by our friend Furnius, in which you ask me to come to the city walls, I was not so much surprised at your wishing "to avail yourself of my advice and position," but what you meant by speaking of my "influence and assistance" I did ask myself. My thoughts, however, were so far dominated by my hope, that I was induced to think that you wished to consult for the tranquillity, peace, and harmony of our fellow citizens: and for a policy of that kind I regarded both my natural disposition and my public character as sufficiently well adapted.               If this is the case, and if you are at all anxious to preserve our common friend Pompey, and to reconcile him to yourself and the Republic, you will assuredly find no one better calculated than myself for supporting such measures. For, as soon as opportunity offered, I pleaded for peace both to him and the senate; nor since the commencement of hostilities have I taken any part whatever in the war; and I have held the opinion that by that war you are being wronged, in that men who were hostile to and jealous of you were striving to prevent your enjoying an office granted you by the favour of the Roman people.1 But as at that period I was not only personally a supporter of your rights, but also advised everybody else to assist you, so at the present moment I am strongly moved by consideration for the position of Pompey. It is now a good number of years ago since I picked out you two as the special objects of my political devotion, and - as you still are of my warm personal affection. Wherefore I ask you, or rather entreat you, and appeal to you with every form of prayer, that in the midst of your very great preoccupations you would yet spare some part of your time to reflect how by your kindness I may be enabled to do what goodness and gratitude, and, in point of fact, natural affection demand, by remembering the extreme obligation under which I stand. If these considerations only affected myself, I should yet have hoped to secure your assent; but, in my opinion, it concerns both your own honour and the public interest that I - a friend to peace and to you both - should, as far as you are concerned, be maintained in a position best calculated to promote harmony between you and among our fellow citizens.

Though I have thanked you before in regard to Lentulus,2 for saving the man who saved me, yet after reading a letter from him, in which he speaks with the utmost gratitude of your generous treatment and kindness to him, I felt that the safety you gave him was given to me also: and if you perceive my gratitude in his case, pray take means to allow me to shew the same in the case of Pompey.

1] Cicero is using language which he had reason to know was such as Caesar had himself used to L. Caesar at Ariminum - doluisse se, quod P. R. beneficium percontumeliam ab inimicis extorqueretur (Caes. B. C. 1.9). It is rather a pitiflil attempt to "sit on the hedge," considering what his real sentiments were. 2]  P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, consul B.C. 57, to whom we have had many letters addressed while he was in Cilicia. He had fallen into the hands of Caesar at Corfinium, and had been dismissed unharmed.

CCCLXIX (A IX. 13 a)

ROME, 20 MARCH 49 B.C.

Caesar has sent me a very short note, of which I append a copy. From the shortness of the letter you will be able to gather that he is much occupied, or he would not have written so briefly on so important a subject. If I get any farther intelligence I will at once write you word.

On the 9th of March I reached Brundisium. I have pitched my camp under the walls. Pompey is at Brundisium. He sent Numerius Magius to me to negotiate for peace.1            I answered as I thought right. I wished you to know this at once. As soon as I see any prospect of success in coming to terms, I will at once inform you of it.

You can imagine, my dear Cicero, my state of torturing anxiety, after having again conceived some hope of peace, lest any circumstance should prevent their coming to terms. For I earnestly wish it, which is all I can do at this distance. If I were only there, I might perhaps possibly seem of some use in the matter; as it is, I am wracked with anxious suspense.

1] Numerius Magius was Pompey's praefectus fabrum. According to Caesar (B.C. 1.24 – 26), he fell into Caesar's hands during his march on Brundisium, and was sent by him with a message to Pompey, but did not return with any answer. Caesar then sent Caninius Rutilius to endeavour to induce Pompey to, have a personal conference. In the Commentaries Caesar may, from a lapse of memory, have confused matters. Still, it looks as though in the commentary he meant to justify himself. He has represented the proposals for peace as emanating from himself, whereas the letter shews that they came from Pompey. It may, however, be that when Magius is said to have been deprensus ex itinere he was really on his way with a message from Pompey.



I had sent you, on the 24th of March, a copy of a letter from Balbus to me and of Ceasar's to him. Lo and behold, on the same day I receive a letter from Q. Pedius, from Capua, telling me that Caesar had written to him on the 14th of March in the following words: "Pompey keeps himself in the town. Our camp is at the gates. We are attempting a difficult operation, and one which will occupy many days, owing to the depth of the sea; but nevertheless it is the best thing for us to do. We are throwing out moles from both headlands at the mouth of the harbour, in order to compel Pompey to take the forces he has at Brundisium across as soon as possible, or to prevent his getting out at all."1

Where is the peace, as to which Balbus said that he was in a state of anxiety? Could there be anything more vindictive, more ruthless? Moreover, a certain person told me on good authority that Caesar gives out that he is avenging Cn. Carbo, M. Brutus,2 and all those on whom Sulla, with Pompey's assistance, had wreaked his cruelty; that Curio was doing nothing under his leadership which Pompey had not done under Sulla's; that he was seeking the restoration of those whose exile had not been inflicted upon them by earlier laws, while Pompey had restored men who had been traitors to their country; that he complained of the violence used to secure Milo's exile, but that, nevertheless, he would harm no one unless he appeared in array against him.

This is the story told by a certain Baebius, who left Curio on the 13th, a man who is not without some sense, but yet not capable of inventing this out of his own head. I am quite at a loss what to do. From Brundisium, indeed, I suppose Pompey has already started. Whatever has happened, we shall know in two days. I haven't a line from you, not even by Anteros. No wonder: for what is there for us to write about? Nevertheless, I don't omit a single day.

After this letter was written, I got a letter from Lepta before daybreak dated from Capua on the 15th of March. Pompey has embarked from Brundisium, but Caesar will be at Capua on the 26th of March.

1] Caesar occupied nine days in this work, which was only half completed then.             He did not really expect to be able thoroughly to block the harbour. His object was to frighten Pompey into leaving Italy thus leaving him free to enter Rome himself and secure his position in the West generally (Caes. B.C. 1.25-28). 2] Carbo was put to death by Pompey in B.C. 82 or the beginning of B.C. 81 at Cossyra. There were two men named M. Brutus who owed their death to Pompey, the former a partisan of Carbo, who committed suicide off Lilybaeum rather than fall into Pompey's hands; the other, the father of the tyrannicide, whom Pompey put to death at Regium B.C. 77 during the troubles caused by Lepidus, he having surrendered, it is said, on promise of his life.



After I had despatched the letter informing you that Caesar would be at Capua on the 26th, I received one from Capua saying that he would be in Curio's Alban villa on the 28th.1 When I have seen him I shall go to Arpinum. If he grants me the indulgence I ask for,2 I shall avail myself of his terms: if not, I shall take my own line without consulting anyone but myself.3 Caesar, as he has informed me, has stationed a legion at Brundisium, Tarentum, and Sipontum respectively. He appears to me to be closing up exits by sea, and yet himself to have his eyes on Greece rather than on Spain. But these considerations are still remote. For the present I am at once excited by the idea of meeting him (and that is now close at hand), and alarmed as to his first political steps. For he will, I presume, want a decree of the senate, and also a decree of the augurs: we shall be hurried off to Rome or molested, if we hold aloof, with a view of either the praetor holding an election of consuls or naming a dictator, neither of which is constitutional.4 Although, if Sulla was able to secure being named dictator by an interrex, why should he not be able to do so? I see no way out of it, except either meeting the fate of Q. Mucius from the one, or of L. Scipio5 from the other. By the time you read this, I shall perhaps have had my interview with him. "Endure! still worse a fate"6  - no, not even my own old misfortune! In that case there was a hope of a speedy return, there was universal remonstrance. In the present instance I am eager to quit the country, with what hope of return I cannot ever conceive. Again, not only is there no remonstrance on the part of townsmen and countryfolk, but, on the contrary, they are actually afraid of Pompey as bloodthirsty and enraged. Nevertheless, nothing makes me more wretched than to have stayed here, and there is nothing that I more earnestly desire than to fly away, not so much to share in a war as in a flight. But you were for putting off all plans until such time as we knew what had happened at Brundisium. Well, we now know: but we are as undecided as ever. For I can scarcely hope that he will grant me this indulgence; although I have many fair pleas for obtaining it. However, I will at once send you a verbatim report of everything he says to me and I to him. Pray strive with all the affection you have for me to assist me by your caution and wisdom. Caesar is travelling hither at such a pace, that I am unable to have an interview even with Titus Rebilus, apparently, that he will go to Pompey, but he doesn't want to say so clearly. as I had settled upon doing. I have to conduct the whole business without preparation. Yet, as the hero in the Odyssey says: “Some my own heart, and some will God suggest.”7 Whatever I do you shall know promptly. The demands of Caesar sent to Pompey and the consuls, for which you ask, I do not possess: nor did Lucius Caesar bring them in writing.8 I sent you at the time an account from which you might gather what the demands were. Philippus is at Naples, Lentulus at Puteoli. As to Domitius, continue your inquiries as to where he is, and what he contemplates doing.

You say that I have written more bitterly about Dionysius than suits my character. See what an old-fashioned man I am! I thought, upon my honour, that you would be annoyed at this affair more than I was myself. For, besides the fact that I think you ought to be moved by an injury done me by anyone, this man has also in a certain sense outraged yourself in having behaved badly to me. But what account you should take of this it is for you to judge. However, in this matter I don't wish to lay any burden upon you. For my part, I always thought him half cracked, now I think him a scoundrel and a good-for-nothing besides: and yet, after all, not a worse enemy to me than to himself. What you said to Philargyrus was quite right: you certainly have a clear and good case in proving that I had been abandoned rather than had abandoned. When I had already despatched my letter on the 25th, the servants whom I had sent with Matius and Trebatius brought me a letter, of which this is a copy:  

After leaving Capua we heard, while on the road, that Pompey, with all the forces he had, started from Brundisium on the 15th of March: that Caesar next day entered the town, made a speech, hurried thence for Rome, intending to be at the city before the 1st of April and to remain there a few days, and then to start for Spain. We thought it the proper thing to do, since we were assured of Caesar's approach, to send your servants back to you, that you might be informed of it as early as possible. We do not forget your charges, and we will carry them out as circumstances shall demand. Trebatius is making great exertions to reach you before Caesar. After this letter had been written we received tidings that Caesar would stop at Beneventum on the 25th of March, at Capua on the 26th, at Sinuessa on the 27th. We think you may depend on this.

1] Messrs. Tyrrell and Purser adopt a conjecture of Madvig's, et hiccopiam mihi et in Albano, etc., which will mean: a letter informing me "that I can have an interview with Caesar either here or in Curio's Alban villa."
2] I.e., leave to absent himself from the senate, and to take neither side in the war.
3] Lit. "I shall ask and obtain something from myself." He means,
4] See epistle CCCLXIII (A IX, 9)
5] Who was proscribed by Sulla.
6] Homer, Odyss. 20.18: "Endure, oh heart! still worse hast borne before."
7] Mentor (or, rather, Athene in the guise of Mentor), Hom. Odyss. 3.27.
8] The text of this passage is hopelessly corrupt. I have taken tentatively Schütz's reading, neque descripta attulit illa Lucius. The refer ence is thus to the proposals sent in January by Caesar to the consuls and Pompey by L. Caesar and the praetor Roscius (Caes. B.C. 1.9-10; Letter CCCXIV).



I followed your advice in both particulars: for I spoke in such a manner as rather to gain his respect than his thanks, and I stuck to the resolution of not going to Rome.                I found myself mistaken in one respect - in thinking that he would be easily satisfied. I never saw anything less so. He kept remarking that he was condemned by my decision, that the rest would be the slower to come, if I did not do so. I remarked that their case was unlike mine. After much discussion he said, "Come, then, and discuss the question of peace." . " At my own discretion?" said I. "Am I to prescribe to you?" said he. "My motion will be this," said I, "that the senate disapproves of any going to Spain or taking armies across to Greece, and," I added, "I shall make many regretful marks as to Gnaeus." Thereupon he said, "Of course, I don't wish such things said." "So I supposed," said I, "but I must decline being present there, because I must either speak in this sense, and say many things which I could not possibly pass over, if present, or I must not come at all." The upshot was that, by way of ending the discussion, he requested that I would think it over. I couldn't say no to that. So we parted. I feel certain, therefore, that he has no love for me. But I felt warm satisfaction with myself, which hasn't been the case for some time past. For the rest, good heavens! What a crew! What an inferno! to use your word.1 What a gang of bankrupts and desperadoes! What is one to say of a son of Servius, a son of Tullus having been in the camp by which Pompey was besieged? Six legions! He is extraordinarily vigilant, extraordinarily bold: I see no limit to the mischief. Now, at any rate, it is time for you to bring out your counsels. This is where you drew the line. Yet his closing remark in our interview, which I had almost forgotten to mention, was very offensive, that "if he was not allowed to avail himself of my counsels, he would avail himself of such as he could, and would scruple at nothing." "So you have seen with your own eyes," say you, "that the man is such as you described him to be. Did it cost you a sigh?" Yes, indeed. "Tell me the rest." Well, he went straight off to his villa at Pedum, I to Arpinum. Next I await the "twittering swallow" - to which you refer.2 "Come," you will say, "don't cry over spilt milk:3 even the leader himself, whom we are following, has made many mistakes."

But I wait for a letter from you. For you can't say, as in former ones, "Let us see how this turns out." The final test was to be our meeting, and in that I feel certain I have offended him. All the more prompt must be my next step. Pray send me a packet, and full of politics! I am very anxious for a letter from you.

1] Some other words (in qua eraterosceleri) occur here, manifestly corrupt, of which nothing can be made.
2] Λαλαγεῦσαvillam, which seems a certain restoration of the Greek letters of the MSS., as is explained by Letter CCCLXI, where he quotes another part of the Greek epigram (Anth. 10.1), on the season for sailing announced by the swallow, harbinger of spring:
“See the meads bloom! the time has come for sailing:
The twittering swallow hails spring here at last. Hushed is the sea,
the soft west wind prevailing,
Late swollen with waves and lashed with bitter blast.”

Of course, Cicero means that he will sail, as soon as weather permits, to join Pompey.
3] Actum ne agas. It should be noticed that in this account of the interview with Caesar the name of Caesar does not occur, perhaps from caution.



Being mortally alarmed by your letter, in which you shewed that your mind was filled with gloomy ideas, without saying outright what they were, and yet betraying the kind of action which you were contemplating, I write this letter to you on the spot.          In the name of your fortunes and your children, my dear Cicero, I beg and beseech you not rashly to imperil your safety and security. I protest in the name of gods and men, and of our friendship, that I told you beforehand, and that my warning was not given inconsiderately, but that after meeting Caesar, and ascertaining what his view would be, if he gained the victory, I informed you of it. If you think that Caesar will maintain the same policy in letting his adversaries go and offering terms, you are mistaken. His thoughts, and even his words, forebode nothing but severity and cruelty. He left town incensed with the senate: he was thoroughly roused by the recent tribunician intercessions:2 there will be no place, by heaven, for mediation. Wherefore, if you love yourself, if you love your only son, if your family and your remaining hopes are dear to you: if I, or that excellent man your son-in-law, have any influence with you - and you surely ought not to wish to ruin us, in order to force us to choose between loathing and abandoning the cause, on the triumph of which our safety depends, or harbouring an unnatural wish against your safety. Finally consider this: whatever offence your hesitation has caused Pompey you have already incurred; it would be a piece of most consummate folly to act against Caesar now that he is victorious, when you refused to attack him while his fortunes were doubtful - to join the men after they have been driven into flight, whom you refused to follow when they were holding their ground. Take care lest, while feeling ashamed of not being a good enough Optimate, you fail to select the best course for yourself. But if I can't persuade you to take my advice in toto, at least wait till it is known how we get on in the Spanish provinces, which I have to tell you will be ours as soon as Caesar arrives. What hope your people have when the Spains are lost I don't know. Of what, then, you can be thinking to join men in so desperate a position, on my honour, I cannot imagine. What you told me, though not in so many words, Caesar had already heard, and he had scarcely said "good morning!" to me when he mentioned what he had heard about you. I said I did not know anything about it, but yet begged him to write you a letter as the best method of inducing you to stay in the country. He is taking me into Spain with him. For if he were not doing so, before going to Rome, I should have hastened to visit you, wherever you were, and should have pressed this upon you personally, and tried with might and main to keep you from going. Pray, my dear Cicero, reflect again and again, and do not utterly ruin yourself and all your family, nor knowingly, and with your eyes open, put yourself into a situation from which you can see no possible retreat. But if, on the one hand, you are shaken by the remarks of the Optimates, or, on the other, are unable to endure the intemperance and offensive behaviour of certain persons, I think you should select some town not affected by the war, while this controversy is being fought out, which will be settled almost directly. If you do this, you will, in my opinion have acted wisely, and will not offend Caesar.

1] Probably near Marseilles, where Caesar stopped on his way to Spain for some weeks to organize its siege. 2] The intercessions of Metelius.  



CAESAR imperator greets CICERO imperator.
Although I had come to the conclusion that you were not likely to do anything unadvisedly or imprudently, yet, being made anxious by common report, I thought that I ought to write to you and to appeal to you, in the name of our mutual kindness, not to go anywhere now that fortune has declared in my favour, that you had not thought yourself bound to go even when it was still uncertain. For you will have at once committed a somewhat serious offence against our friendship, and have adopted a course far from beneficial to yourself: since you will make it clear that you have not followed fortune - for all the good luck has notoriously been on our side, all the bad on theirs - nor the merits of the cause, for they are the same now as when you judged it best not to assist at their deliberations: but you will shew that you have condemned some act of mine, and that is the heaviest blow you can inflict on me. In the name of our friendship, I beg you not to do so. Finally, what can be from civil strife? It is a thing some would have been glad to do,1 but could not on account of the danger. For yourself, when you have satisfied yourself as to the evidence which my life furnishes, and the decision at which my friendship for you has arrived,2 you will find nothing at once safer and more honourable than to abstain entirely from active intervention in the fray.
On the march, 16 April.

1] He seems to mean himself. 2] It is difficult to be certain what Caesar means by iudicio amicitiae. I think he refers to his decision to allow Cicero to abstain from the senate and to give him no active countenance. He appeals to his life as showing that he will keep his word to Cicero, and to this decision to allow of Cicero's neutrality as a proof of his friendliness.

CCCXC (A X. 8 a)


Had I not been warmly attached to you - much more warmly, indeed, than you suppose - I should not have been alarmed at the rumour which has reached me about you, especially as I thought it was without foundation. But just because I am so exceedingly devoted to you, I cannot conceal the fact that even a report, however groundless, is a serious thing in my eyes. I cannot believe that you are about to cross the sea, considering how highly you value Dolabella and your dear Tullia, and how highly you are valued by me, to whom, by heaven, your rank and reputation are almost dearer than they are to yourself. Nevertheless, I did not think that it would be friendly in me not to be rendered anxious by the talk even of men of low character. And, indeed, I have been the more zealous, because I considered that I had thrust upon me a somewhat difficult part to play, owing to the misunderstanding between us, which was the result of jealousy on my part rather than of any wrong done me by you.1 For I want to convince you that no one is dearer to me than you are, except my Caesar, and that my conviction at the same time is that Caesar gives                 M. Cicero a very high place among his friends. Wherefore, my dear Cicero, I beg you not to take any compromising step; and not to place any reliance on the man who, to do you a favour, first inflicted an injury upon you; and, on the other hand, not to fly from one who, even supposing he loses all affection for you - which is impossible - will yet desire your safety and your highest honour. I have taken pains to send my most intimate friend Calpurnius2 to you, that you may know that your life and honour are great objects with me.

1] We have no references in previous letters to any misunderstanding between Antony and Cicero, but in the second Philippic, 2, 48, 49, Cicero says that Antony was an intimate friend of P. Clodius in B.C. 58, that he (Cicero) had interfered to break off his connexion with the younger Curio, and had a controversy with him in regard to a lawsuit with one Sicca, a freedman of Antony's. Again, in B.C. 53, they had both been candidates for the augurship, though Antony retired from the canvass. The Zηλoτυπία may refer either to Curio or the augurship. Antony was now a tribune, but had been left in charge of Italy with the rank of propraetor.2] Perhaps the L. Calpurnius Piso spoken of afterwards as Antony's legatus and familiaris (Phil. 10.13; Phil. 12.1).


CUMAE, 2 MAY 49 B.C.

The state of affairs itself, as well as your remark and my own observation, make it clear that the time has come to put an end to our correspondence on subjects which it would be dangerous to have intercepted. But as my dear Tullia keeps writing to me begging me to wait and see how things go in Spain, and always adds that this is your opinion also, and since I have gathered this also from your own letter, I do not think it out of place to write and tell you what I think on that point. This advice of yours would be prudent, as it seems to me, only if I intended to shape my course of policy in accordance with the result of the Spanish affair, which is impossible. For it is inevitable either that Caesar - what I should like best - is driven from Spain, or that the campaign there will be a protracted one, or (as he seems to feel certain) that he gets Spain into his hands. If he is driven out, how can I then join Pompey with any grace or honour, when I should think even Curio himself would desert to him? If, again, the war is protracted, what am I to wait for, and how long? The only alternative is, if we are beaten in Spain, to keep quiet. My view is quite the other way. For I think myself more bound to abandon Caesar when he is victorious than when he is beaten, and not more when his success is still uncertain, than when he is quite sure of it.1 For, if Caesar conquers, I foresee massacre, an attack on private wealth, a recall of exiles, repudiation of debts, promotion to office of the lowest dregs, and a despotism intolerable, I don't say to any Roman, but even to a Persian. Will it be possible for my indignation to remain silent? Will my eyes be able to endure the sight of myself delivering my vote by the side of Gabinius - or, in fact, of his being called on before me? Of your client Sext. Clodius2 in attendance? Of C. Ateius's client Plaguleius? And so on with the whole list. But why collect the names of my opponents, when I shall be unable to see in the senate-house without pain my friends whom I have defended, or to associate with them without dishonour.3 Nay, what if I am not even sure that I shall be allowed to come? His friends write me word that he is by no means satisfied with my conduct in not having appeared in the senate. Am I, nevertheless, to think about making advances to him with a risk to myself, after refusing to be united to him when it was to my advantage? Besides, observe that the decision of the whole controversy does not depend on Spain, unless you really think that Pompey will throw down his arms if that is lost! On the contrary, his view is entirely that of Themistocles: for he holds that the master of the sea must inevitably be master of the empire. Accordingly, his object has never been to retain Spain for its own sake: the equipment of a fleet has always been his first care. He will take to the sea, therefore, as soon as the season permits, with an enormous fleet, and will approach the shores of Italy: and what then will be our position who remain there doing nothing? It will be impossible for us to be any longer neutral. Shall we resist the fleet then? What could be a greater crime, or even so great? In fact, what could be more ignominious? I did not shrink from opposing Caesar when I was isolated: shall I do so now with the support of Pompey and the rest of the nobles?4 If, however, putting the question of duty aside, I must take account of danger: it is, if I do wrong, that there is danger from these last, from him, if I do right: nor in such miserable circumstances can any policy be discovered so free from danger, as to make me doubt that I should shun doing disgracefully, when it is dangerous, what I should have shunned doing, even had it been safe. "Not if I had crossed the sea along with Pompey?" That was impossible in any case: you have only to count the days. But all the same - for let me confess the truth (I do not even atttempt concealment), supposing it possible - I was mistaken in a point in which, perhaps, I ought not to have been mistaken: I thought that there would be a reconciliation, and in that case I did not want to have Caesar incensed with me, while he was friends with Pompey.5 For I had learnt to see how exactly alike they were. It was from dread of this that I drifted into this waiting policy. But now I have everything to gain by hastening, everything to lose by delay. And, nevertheless, my dear Atticus, there are auguries also which incite me to action with a certain hope, and no doubtful one, auguries not such as our college derives from Attus,6 hut those of Plato on tyrants.7 For I see clearly that he can by no possibility keep his position much longer without bringing on his own collapse, even though we do not exert ourselves: seeing that at the very heyday of his success, and with the charm of novelty upon him, in six or seven days, he brought upon himself the bitterest hatred even of that needy and reckless city rabble itself and had to drop so quickly two of his assumptions - of clemency in the case of Metellus,8 of wealth in the matter of the treasury.9 Of what sort, again, will he find his confederates or subordinates, whichever you please to call them, if those are to rule provinces, of whom not one could manage his own estate two months? I need not enumerate all the points, which no one sees more clearly than yourself. Still, put them before your eyes: you will at once understand that this despotism can scarcely last six months. If I turn out to be mistaken in this, I will bear it, as many most illustrious men, eminent in the state, have borne it, unless you should actually think that I prefer the fate of Sardanapalus - to die in his own bed, rather than in an exile, as was the fate of Themistocles: who though he had been - in the words of Thucydides10  - " the best judge on the shortest reflexion of the question of the moment, and, in regard to the future, by much the shrewdest at conjecturing what was to happen," yet fell into misfortunes which he would have avoided, if nothing had ever escaped him. Though he was a man, as the same writer says, "who, however obscure the subject, saw the better and the worse course more clearly than anyone, yet did not see how to avoid the jealousy of the Lacedaemonians, nor of his own fellow citizens, nor what promise to make to Artaxerxes. Nor would that night have been so fatal to Africanus,11 nor that day of Sulla's triumph so disastrous to Gaius Marius, the craftiest of men, if neither of them had ever been mistaken. However, I encourage myself by that prophetic utterance (of Plato) which I mentioned. I am not deceived about it, nor will it happen otherwise. Fall he must, either by the hands of his opponents or by his own, who, indeed, is his own most dangerous enemy. I only hope it may happen while we are still alive. Yet it is time for us to be thinking of that continuous life of the future, not of this brief span of our own.12 But if anything happens to me before that occurs, it will not have made much difference to me whether I live to see it, or have seen it long before. That being so, I must not allow myself to submit to men, against whom the senate armed me with authority "to see that the Republic took no harm."

All my interests have been confided to you, though they need no recommendation of mine, considering your affection for me. Nor, by Hercules, can I hit upon anything to write: for I am sitting waiting "sailing orders." Yet I never felt more bound to tell you anything than that none of all the delightful services you have done has been more grateful to my feelings, than your most delicate and careful attentions to my Tullia. She has herself been exceedingly charmed with them - as I have been no less.      What high qualities she has shewn! How admirably she faces the public disaster! How admirably her domestic difficulties! What spirit she has displayed in the matter of my departure! She loves me dearly, she has the deepest sympathy with my feelings - yet she will have me act rightly and preserve my reputation. But don't let me enlarge too much on this theme, lest I should at this juncture rouse my own self-pity. If you get any surer intelligence about Spain, or anything else, pray write and tell me while I am still in the country; and, perhaps, at the moment of my departure I shall send you some intelligence, the more so that Tullia thinks that you are at present not thinking of leaving Italy. I must put before Antony, as I did before Curio, my wish to reside in Malta, and my determination not to take part in this civil war.      I only hope I may find him as complaisant and good-natured to me as I did Curio.  He is said to be intending to come to Misenum on the 2nd, that is, today: but he has sent me a disagreeable letter in advance, of which I inclose a copy.13

1] Reading, with Schütz, nec dubitantem, etc., for et. 2] Sex. Clodius was one of the followers of P. Clodius, and had been condemned under the lex Pompeia after the trial of Milo. See 2 Phil. 8.
3] Because, though they were his friends, and had been defended by him, they had been legally condemned, and their recall by Caesar's bare authority would be looked upon as offensive to a friend of the constitution.
4] The text of this sentence is hopelessly corrupt. But the general sense is, I think, something like what I have given. Cicero's argument is: 'The only motive for putting oneself in opposition to Pompey's fleet must be fear of Caesar. Now I shewed when I was all alone at Formiae that I would not give in to him: shall I do so now that there are Pompey and the rest to support me?"
5] Cicero here lets out his true motives. The plea of time and opportunity he feels to be hollow. His real motive was the uncertainty as to which was the safer course, while he was also no doubt torn by the conviction that the truly loyal side was that of Pompey.
6] Attus Naevius, the famous augur in the time of the Tarquins.
7] Referring apparently to Plato's Republic, 8.562 to 9.580; but the inevitable shortness of a tyrant's sway is not much brought out in this passage of Plato.             It is rather the misery of his own feelings that is dwelt upon.
8] L. Caecilius Metellus, the tribune. His opposition in the senate on Caesar's visit to Rome in April seems to have nearly cost him his life.
9] By his seizing the treasury. 
10] Thucydides, i 138.
11] P. Scipio Africanus the younger, after delivering a speech in defence of the rights of the Italians, was found dead in his bed. Popular rumour attributed his death to assassination at the bands of Carbo, to which belief Cicero often refers. By the Sullanus dies Cicero seems to mean Sulla's first march upon Rome, when Marius fled and went into exile.
12] Cicero is thinking, not of a future life - in the Christian sense - but of the eternity of fame: as he says elsewhere that he cared more for what people said of him 600 years hence than what they said now.
13] Letter CCCXC.


CUMAE, 3 MAY 49 B.C.

How blind of me not to have seen this before! I send you Antony's letter. After I had written again and again to say that I was not entertaining any plans against Caesar, that I remembered my son-in-law, remembered our friendship, that, if I had been otherwise minded, I might have been with Pompey, but that, as I had to my disgust to move about accompanied by lictors, I wished to be away from Italy, but had not made up my mind even to that - see what an admonitory tone1 he adopts in reply! “Your decision is perfectly right. For the man who wishes to be neutral remains in the country: he who leaves it appears to express a judgment on one side or the other. But it is not my duty to determine whether a particular person has the right to go or not. Caesar has assigned me my rôle, which is that I should not allow anyone at all to quit Italy. Therefore it matters little that I approve your idea in the present instance, since I have, nevertheless, no power to grant you any exemption. My opinion is that you should communicate with Caesar direct and ask his leave. I feel no doubt that you will obtain it, especially as you promise that you will take our friendship into consideration.” There is a Laconic despatch for you!2 In any case I will wait for the man himself. He is to arrive on the 3rd, that is, today. Tomorrow, therefore, he will perhaps come to see me. I will test him: I will listen to what he has to say: I will declare loudly that I am in no hurry, that I will communicate with Caesar. I will lie perdu somewhere with the smallest number of attendants possible: at any rate, let these men be ever so reluctant to allow it, from this country I will wing my way, and oh that it might be to Curio!3 Don't mistake what I say. Something worthy of me shall be effected. This is a new and heavy anxiety: I am much distressed by your strangury. Take medical advice, I beseech you, whilst it is in an early stage. I am delighted with your letter about the Massilians.4 I beg you to let me know if you get any news. I should have liked to have Ocella with me, if I could manage it without any concealment; and I had extracted from Curio a promise that I should. Here I am waiting for Servius Sulpicius, for I am requested to do so by his wife and son, and I think it is necessary to see him. Antony, for his part, is carrying about Cytheris with him with his sedan open, as a second wife.5 There are, besides, seven sedans in his train, containing friends female or male. See in what disgraceful circumstances we are being done to death: and doubt, if you can, that if Caesar returns victorious, he will use the sword. For my part, I will withdraw myself in a cock-boat, if I can't get a ship, from their parricidal proceedings. But I shall know more when I have had my interview with him. Our young nephew I cannot help loving, but I see clearly that he does not love me. I never saw a case of such want of principle, of such aversion to his own relations, and of such brooding over mysterious designs. What an overpowering number of anxieties! But it will be my care, as it is now, to correct him. His natural abilities are admirable: it is his character that wants attention.

1] Antony, as propraetor in charge of Italy, was for the moment able to make things disagreeable for Cicero if he chose.2] σκυτάληνΛακωνικήν, a staff round which the writing material was rolled, so arranged that it could not be read when unrolled.
3] To Sicily, on his way to Malta.
4] Who had closed their gates to Caesar, and were now being besieged by Caesar's officers, Dec. Brutus and Trebonius.
5] Antony was married to his cousin Antonia, whom he afterwards divorced. He did not marry Fulvia - who was at this time the wife of Curio - for at least four years afterwards. Cytheris was an actress, and is said by Servius (on Virgil, Eclog. x.) to have been the Lycoris of the poet Gallus. For Antony's intrigue with her see 2 Phil. 58, 77, where this description is repeated.

CDII (A X. 18)

CUMAE, 19 MAY 49 B.C.

My Tullia was confined on the 19th of May - a boy, a seven months' child. I have reason to be thankful that she had a good delivery. The child itself is a poor little weakling. An astonishingly dead calm has as yet kept me from starting, and has been a greater impediment than the watch kept upon me. For all that talk of Hortensius was mere persiflage. The truth will turn out to be this: that most dissolute of men has been corrupted by his freedman Salvius.1 Accordingly, henceforth I shall not write and tell you what I am going to do, but only what I have done. For all the eavesdroppers of Corycus2 seem to be listening to what I say. Do you, however, I beg, continue to tell me any news there are of Spain, or anything else; but don't expect a letter from me, except when I have arrived at my wished - for destination, or in case I can send anything during my voyage. Even this I write with fear and trembling: so slowly and heavily does everything drag on. The foundation was badly laid, the rest follows suit. I am now making for Formiae: perhaps the Furies will follow me there too. a However, to judge from Balbus's conversation with you, my idea of Malta does not find favour. Can you doubt, therefore, that he regards me as an enemy? I have, to be sure, written to Balbus telling him that you had mentioned to me in a letter both his kindly feeling and his suspicion. I thanked him. On the second point I cleared myself with him. Did you ever know anyone more unlucky? I won't say more, lest I should make you suffer too. I am overpowered with the thought that the time has come when I no longer have the power of acting either with courage or with prudence.

1] The text of these sentences is doubtful. 2] Κωpυκαῖoι became a proverbial term for spies or eavesdroppers, says Stephanos of Byzantium, from the piratic folk of Corycus in lonia, who listened for the arrival of merchant vessels, in order to plunder them: or, as others explain, because they spied out the merchant vessels and gave information to the pirates.
a [R.I. The Furies: three goddesses of vengeance: Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (the jealous) and Alecto (constant anger). They were also called the Daughters of the Night, but were actually the daughters of Uranus and Gaea. Another name for them is the Erinyes.]



All those uneasy feelings and melancholy thoughts, by which I kept you in such extreme distress, which makes me more uneasy than anything -  as well as Tulliola, who is dearer to me than life itself - I have got rid of and ejected. The reason of it all I discovered the day after I parted from you. I threw up sheer bile during the night: I was at once so much relieved, that I really think some god worked the cure. Pray make full and pious acknowledgment to the god (Apollo or Aesculapius), according to your wont. I hope I have a very good ship. I write this at the moment of embarkation. Presently I will compose a large number of letters to our friends, to whose protection I will commend you and our dear Tulliola with the greatest earnestness. I would have added exhortations to you with a view to raising your courage, had I not known that you were more courageous than any man. And, after all, I hope affairs are of such a nature, that I may venture to expect you to be as comfortable as possible there, and myself to be at last likely, in company with men like-minded with myself, to be acting in defence of our country. Let your first care be your health: next, if it seems to you possible, make use of the villas farthest removed from men in arms. You can with advantage use the place at Arpinum with your town establishment, if the price of food goes up. Our charming young Cicero sends his warmest love. Good-bye, good bye. 7 June

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