Cicero's letters to and from various public and private figures are considered some of the most reliable sources of information for the people and events surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic. This is volume two out of four with Cicero's letters from the years B.C. 51 through B.C. 49.
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The Letters 2, Cicero
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
Translated by Evelyn S. Shuckburgh (1843 – 1906)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. Details on this licence and the usage of this text can be found at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.
B.C. 51. COSS., M. Claudius Marcellus, Servius Sulpicius Rufus.1
CLXXXII (F III, 2)1
CXC (F III, 3)7
CC (F II, 8)18
CCX (F VIII, 9)27
CCXX (F XV, 1)37
CCXXX (F XIII, 56)55
B.C. 50. coss., L. Aemilius Paulus, C. Claudius C. Claudius. 77
CCXXXVII (F XV, 4)77
CCXL (F XV, 14)84
CCL (F XIII, 63)97
CCLX (F III, 10)113
CCLXX (F VIII, 13)128
CCLXXX (A VI, 8)138
CCXC (F XVI, 7)147
B.C. 49. Coss., C. Claudius, Marcellus, L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus.176
CCC (F XVI, II)176
CCCX (A VII, 15)187
CCCXX (A VII, 23)195
CCCXXX (A VIII, 12 a)202
CCCXL (A VIII, 10)212
CCCL (A IX, 7 a)222
CCCLX (A IX, 4)231
CCCLXX (A XI, 13 § 8)246
CCCLXXX (A X, 3 a)255
CCCXC (A X, 8 a)266
CD (A X, 16)279
From May in this year Cicero was absent from Italy till November, B.C. 50, as proconsul of Cilicia—which, to his chagrin, he was obliged to undertake owing to the regulation in Pompey's law (de provinciis) of the previous year enforcing a five years' interval between consulship or praetorship and a province, and providing for the interim by drawing on the ex-consuls and ex-praetors of previous years who had not had provinces. He is informed by letters of what is going on in Rome, where the burning question was, should Caesar stay in Gaul till consul-designate for B.C. 48, or come home to stand for the consul ship as a private citizen? From the necessity of making his professio in person Caesar had been by name exempted in Pompey's law, but the senate nevertheless (or a party in it) hoped to make him do so by its authority, and Pompey played fast and loose with the question, though gradually coming round to the side of the senate. Caesar believed that he could not safely come home as a privatus, as his enemies would ruin him by a prosecution. There are no speeches or writings during this year.
TO APPIUS CLAUDIUS PULCHER (IN CILICIA)
ROME (BEFORE MAY)
Though, contrary to my own wishes, and to my surprise, it has turned Out that I am obliged to go to a province with imperium, in the midst of many various anxieties and reflexions one consolation occurs to me, that you could have no more friendly successor than I am to you, nor I take over a province from anyone more inclined to hand it over in good order and free from difficulties. And if you, too, entertain the same expectation as to my goodwill towards you, you will certainly never find yourself mistaken. In the name of our intimate union and of your own extraordinary kindness, I again and again beg and beseech you most earnestly, in whatever particulars shall lie in your power—and there are very many in which you will be able to do so—to provide and take measures for my interests. You see that by the decree of the senate I am forced to take a province. If you will, as far as you have the power, hand it over to me as free as possible from difficulties, you will greatly facilitate what I may call the running of my official course. What it may be in your power to do in that direction I leave to you: I confine myself to earnestly begging you to do what occurs to you as being in my interest, I would have written at greater length to you, had either such kindness as yours looked for a longer address, or the friendship between us admitted of it, or had it not been that the matter spoke for itself and required no words. I would have you convinced of this—that if I shall be made aware that my interests have been consulted by you, you will yourself receive from that circumstance a great and abiding satisfaction. [Farewell.]
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
Yes, I saw well enough what your feelings were as I parted from you; what mine were I am my own witness. This makes it all the more incumbent on you to prevent an additional decree being passed, so that this mutual regret of ours may not last more than a year. As to Annius Saturninus, your measures are excellent. As to the guarantee, pray, during your stay at Rome, give it yourself. You will find several guarantees on purchase, such as those of the estates of Memmius, or rather of Attilius. As to Oppius, that is exactly what I wished, and especially your having engaged to pay him the 800 sestertia (about £ 6,400), which I am determined shall be paid in any case, even if I have to borrow to do so, rather than wait for the last day of getting in my own debts. 1
I now come to that last line of your letter written crossways, in which you give me a word of caution about your sister. 2 The facts of the matter are these. On arriving at my place at Arpinum, my brother came to see me, and our first subject of conversation was yourself, and we discussed it at great length. After this I brought the conversation round to what you and I had discussed at Tusculum, on the subject of your sister. I never saw anything so gentle and placable as my brother was on that occasion in regard to your sister: so much so, indeed, that if there had been any cause of quarrel on the score of expense, it was not apparent. So much for that day. Next day we started from Arpinum. A country festival caused Quintus to stop at Arcanum; I stopped at Aquinum; but we lunched at Arcanum. 3 You know his property there. When we got there Quintus said, in the kindest manner, "Pomponia, do you ask the ladies in; I will invite the men." 4 Nothing, as I thought, could be more courteous, and that, too, not only in the actual words, but also in his intention and the expression of face. But she, in the hearing of us all, exclaimed, "I am only a stranger here!" The origin of that was, as I think, the fact that Statius had preceded us to look after the luncheon. Thereupon Quintus said to me, "There, that's what I have to put up with every day !" You will say, "Well, what does that amount to?" A great deal ; and, indeed, she had irritated even me : her answer had been given with such unnecessary acrimony, both of word and look. I concealed my annoyance. We all took our places at table except her. However, Quintus sent her dishes from the table, which she declined. In short, I thought I never saw anything better-tempered than my brother, or crosser than your sister : and there were many particulars which I omit that raised my bile more than they did that of Quintus himself. I then went on to Aquinum ; Quintus stopped at Arcanum, and joined me early the next day at Aquinum. He told me that she had refused to sleep with him, and when on the point of leaving, she behaved just as I had seen her. 5 Need I say more? You may tell her herself that in my judgment she shewed a marked want of kindness on that day. I have told you this story at greater length, perhaps, than was necessary, to convince you that you, too, have something to do in the way of giving her instruction and advice.
There only remains for me to beg you to complete all my commissions before leaving town ; to give Pomptinus 6 a push, and make him start ; to let me know as soon as you have left town, and to believe that, by heaven, there is nothing I love and find more pleasure in than yourself. I said a most affectionate good-bye to that best of men, A. Torquatus, at Minturnae, to whom I wish you would remark, in the course of conversation, that I have mentioned him in my letter.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
POMPEII, 10 MAY
On the 10th of May, the date of this letter, I am about to start from my Pompeian villa, intending to stay to-night with Pontius 7 in his villa near Trebula. After that I mean to make regular days' journeys without any farther delay. 8 While in my Cuman villa I was much gratified by a visit from our friend Hortensius. 9 When he asked me whether he could do anything for me, I answered in general terms about everything else ; but I begged him in particular to prevent, as far as in him lay, any extension of my provincial government. In this please confirm him, and tell him that I was much gratified by his visit, and by his promise to do this for me, and anything else I wanted besides. I have strongly urged the same on our friend Furnius, who, I see, will be a tribune for next year. 10 I had a kind of miniature Rome in my Cuman villa : there was such a crowd of people in the neighbourhood. 11 In the midst of all this our friend "Rufio," seeing that he was being watched by Vestorius, tricked that gentleman by a ruse de guerre. For he never came near me. "What!" you will say, "when Hortensius came, in spite of being in weak health and living at such a distance and being the great Hortensius, and such a crowd of people besides—do you mean to say that he didn't come? So you didn't see the fellow at all?" How could I help seeing him, when my road lay through the mart of Puteoli? There as he was, I presume, doing some business, I said "How d'ye do?" to him ; and on a later occasion I bade him good-bye when he came out of his own villa and asked me whether he could do anything for me. A man like that is one to reckon ungrateful? Doesn't he rather deserve Commendation for not exerting himself to get a hearing ? 12
But to return to my subject. Do not imagine that anything can console me for this gigantic bore, except the hope that it will not last longer than a year. Many will not believe me in this, because they judge from the habit of others. You, who know the truth, pray use every exertion ; I mean, when the time comes for the question to be mooted. As soon as you return from Epirus, I beg you to write about public affairs and tell me anything you may detect. For satisfactory intelligence has not reached as far as this as to how Caesar took the senatorial resolution being written out ; 13 and there was also a rumour about the Transpadani, that they had been bidden to elect quattuorviri. 14 If that is the case I fear some great disturbances. But I shall learn something from Pompey.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
THE TREBULANUM OF PONTIUS, 11 MAY
On the 10th of May I arrived at his Trebulanum to stay with Pontius There two letters from you were delivered to me, dated two days before. On that same day, as I was leaving my Pompeian villa, I had delivered a letter for you to Philotimus ; nor have I at present anything to write about. Write me word what reports there are about politics, I beseech you. For in the towns I observe that there is much alarm, yet for the most part it is mere idle gossip. What you think about all this, and when the crisis will come, please let me know. What letter it is you want answered I don't know : for I have as yet received none except the two delivered to me at Trebulanum, of which the one contained the edict of P. Licinius, 15 dated 7th May, the other an answer to mine from Minturnae How uneasy I feel, lest there should have been something more important than usual in the one which I haven't received, and to which you want an answer! With Lentulus I will bring you into favour. I like Dionysius much. Your Nicanor serve me excellently. Well, I have nothing more to say, and day is breaking. I think of going to Beneventum today. By disinterested conduct and attention to business I shall take care to satisfy all concerned.
At the house of Pontius, Trebulanum, 11 May.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
BENEVENTUM, 12 MAY
I ARRIVED at Beneventum on the 11th of May. There I received the letter which in your previous letter (answered by me the same day from Pontius's Trebulanum) you had mentioned having sent. And, indeed, I have received two letters from you at Beneventum, one delivered to me by Funisulanus early in the morning, and a second handed to me by my secretary Tullius. I am much obliged by the pains you have taken about my first and most important commission : but your leaving town rather damps my hopes.
As to the man you mention, I am coming round in that direction, not that -, but we are forced to be content with him for want of a better. About the other one, of whom you say that he appeared to you to be not unsuitable—I am afraid my daughter could not be persuaded, and you admit that there is not a pin to choose between them. For my part, I am not unreasonable ; but you will be away, and will not, therefore, have a hand in the business in my absence. For if either of. us were on the spot, some fairly satisfactory arrangement might be made with Servius, with Servilia to back him. As at present situated, even though it should be a thing I like, I don't see how I can do anything. 16
Now I come to the letter delivered to me by Tullius. You have been very energetic about Marcellus. Accordingly, if the decree has passed the senate, please write me word : but if not, do your best to get the business through ; for a grant must be made to me, as also to Bibulus. 17 I have no doubt of the decree of the senate being passed without difficulty, especially considering that it is a gain to the people. As to Torquatus, excellent! As to Mason and Ligur, that will do when they have come. As to the request of Chaerippus : since in this case also you have given me no "tip," 18 . . . "Bother your province! Must I look after him too?" Yes ; but only so far as to prevent there being any obstructive "debate!" or "count!" in the senate. 19 For as to the rest—, however, thank you for speaking to Scrofa. 20 As to what you say about Pomptinus, I quite agree. For the upshot is that, if he is going to be at Brundisium before the 1st of June, M. Annius and L. Tullius 21 need not have been so much hurried. As to what you have heard from Sicinius, 22 I quite assent, provided only that this restriction does not apply to anyone who has done me a service. But I will turn the matter over, for I quite approve of it in principle. I will let you know what I have settled as to the plan of my journey, and also what Pompey means to do about the five prefects, when I have learnt it from himself. As to Oppius, you have acted quite rightly in having assured him of the 800 sestertia ; and since you have Philotimus 23 with you, pray see the business through ; examine the account, and, as you love me, settle it before leaving town. 24 You will have relieved me of a great anxiety.
Now I have answered all your letter : but stay! I almost omitted your being short of paper. The loss is mine, if for lack of it your letter to me is curtailed. Why, you cost me a couple of hundred sesterces : 25 though how stingy I am in this particular the cramped nature of this page shews you : while in return I expect from you a gazette of events, rumours, or even anything you know for certain about Caesar. 26 Be sure you give a letter to Pomptinus, as well as to others, on every imaginable topic.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
VENUSIA, 15 MAY
I have absolutely nothing to say. I have neither any commission for you, for everything has been arranged, nor anything to relate, for nothing has happened, nor is there any room for jesting, considering my numerous anxieties. Let me only tell you that I despatch this letter on the 15th of May as I am starting from Venusia. Now on this day I feel sure something has been done in the senate. 27 Therefore let a letter from you follow us, to inform us not only of all actual facts, but of common reports also. I shall get it at Brundisium For it is there that my plan is to await Pomptinus up to the day you mentioned in your letter. 28 I will write out for your perusal the conversations I have with Pompey at Tarentum on the state of the Republic ; although I wish to know precisely up to what time I can write to you safely, that is, how long you are going to be in Rome, so that I may know either where to direct my letters henceforth, or how to avoid sending them to no purpose. But before you leave town, in any case let the payment of the 20 sestertia and the 800 sestertia be put straight. 29 I beg you to look upon this as of all concerns the most important and most urgent, viz., that I should complete with your assistance what I began on your advice.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
TARENTUM, 18 MAY
I arrived at Tarentum on the 18th of May. As I had determined to wait for Pomptinus, I thought the most convenient thing was to spend those days in Pompey's society, and all the more because I saw that it gave him pleasure, for he has actually begged me to give him my company, and be at his house every day; and this I have gladly agreed to do. For I shall get many notable talks with him on the Republic, and I shall also be furnished with useful hints for this business of mine. 30 But I begin now to be briefer in writing to you, because I am doubtful as to whether you have yet started from Rome. However, during my uncertainty as to that, I shall write something rather than allow of no letter from me reaching you as long as it is possible for it to do so. And yet I have no commission to give you, or anything to tell you. I have given you all my commissions, and I pray you carry them fully out in accordance with your promise : I will tell you any news I hear. There is one thing I shall not cease to urge as long as I think you are in town, namely, as to the debt to Caesar, that you will leave it settled and done with. I am eagerly looking for a letter from you, and especially that I may know when you go out of town.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
TARENTUM, 21 MAY
DAY after day, or rather more and more as the days go on, I send you shorter letters. For day after day I become more suspicious of your having started for Epirus. However, to prove to you that I have not neglected what you wrote to me about, I am informed by Pompey that he intends to appoint five new prefects 31 for each of the Spains, in order to exempt them from serving on juries. For myself, after having spent three days with Pompey, and in his house, I am starting for Brundisium on the 21st of May. In him I am quitting a noble citizen, and one most thoroughly well-prepared to ward off the dangers which are at present causing us such alarm. I shall look forward to a letter from you to tell me both what you are doing and where you are.
TO APPIUS CLAUDIUS PULCHER (IN CILICIA)
BRUNDISIUM, 24 MAY
UPON my arrival at Brundisium on the 22nd of May, your legate Q. Fabius Vergilianus was awaiting me, and by your direction put before me what had already occurred, not to me, whom it chiefly concerned, but to the whole Senate—that the province you are holding required a stronger garrison. In fact, nearly all the senators expressed themselves in favour of a reinforcement being enlisted in Italy for my legions and those of Bibulus. Upon Sulpicius declaring that he would not allow that measure, we protested indeed at great length, but so unanimous was the wish of the senate for our early start, that we were obliged to conform to it; and we did so accordingly. As things are now, I beg you, as I did in the letter I gave to your letter-carriers at Rome, that you will make it your object, in consideration of the very intimate union of our sentiments, to bestow attention and care on those details wherein an out-going provincial governor can consult for the advantage of a successor, who is joined to him by the closest ties of interest and affection; so that the whole world may see that I could not have succeeded anyone more kindly disposed to me, nor you have handed over the province to a warmer friend.
From the despatch intended to be read in the senate, of which you have sent me a copy, I had gathered that a large number of soldiers had been dismissed by you; but this same Fabius has pointed out that you had thought of doing so, but at the moment of his leaving you, the number of soldiers was still intact. If that is so, you will be doing me a very great favour if you make as small a reduction as possible in the scanty forces you already have : and I imagine that the decrees of the senate passed on this subject have been sent to you. For myself, so highly do I esteem you, that I shall approve of whatever you have done; but I feel confident that you also will do what you will perceive to be most in my interest. I am waiting for my legate C. Pomptinus at Brundisium, and I presume that he will arrive there before the 1st of June. And as soon as he has come I shall avail myself of the first opportunity of sailing that is offered me.
M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (ON HIS JOURNEY TO CILICIA)
ROME, 24 MAY-1 JUNE
As I promised you32 on the eve of your departure 33 to write a full and careful account of all that went on in the city, I have taken pains to secure a man to describe everything so fully, that I fear his industry in this respect may appear to you somewhat overdone. Although you know your own curiosity, and how men abroad delight in being informed of even the most insignificant things that are going on at home, still in this point I must ask you for a favourable construction—that you should not hold me guilty of giving myself airs in thus performing the duty, because I have delegated this task to another. Not at all because it was not the most delightful thing possible to me—busy as I am and, as you know, the laziest man in the world at writing letters—to keep my memory of you fresh : but the size of the packet itself, which I am sending you, will, in my opinion, easily plead my excuse. It would have required considerable leisure not only to copy out all these details, but even to take notice of them : for the packet Contains all the decrees of the senate, edicts, gossip, and reports. If this specimen does not meet your wishes, let me know, that I may not spend money only to bore you. If anything of unusual importance occurs in public business, which these clerks cannot easily get at, I will myself carefully write you an account of how it was done, what was thought of it, and what is expected to be its result. For the present there is nothing which causes much anticipation. For those rumours as to the admission of the Transpadani to the comitia died out after reaching Cumae : 34 when I got to Rome I didn't find that there was the slightest whisper about it. Besides, Marcellus has not as yet brought before the senate the subject of a successor to the Gallic provinces, 35 and has (as he told me himself) postponed that motion to the 1st of June. He has gone far to bring up again the talk about him which was prevalent when we were in Rome. 36 But pray if; as you wished to do, you have found Pompey at home, 37 write me a full account of what you thought of him, what he said to you, and what wishes he professed to entertain—for he is accustomed to think one thing and say another, and yet is not clever enough to conceal his real aims. As to Caesar, there are frequent and rather ugly reports—at any rate, people keep arriving with mysterious whispers : one says that he has lost his cavalry, which, in my opinion, is without doubt an invention : another says that the seventh legion has had a drubbing, that he himself is besieged among the Bellovaci, 38 and cut off from his main army. But neither is there anything known for certain as yet, nor are even these uncertain rumours publicly bruited abroad after all—they are mentioned as open secrets among the small clique with which you are acquainted; but Domitius, with his finger on his lips, hints at them. On the 24th of May, the quidnuncs of the rostra, Confound them! spread a loud report that you had been assassinated on your journey by Q. Pompeius. 39 Since I happened to know that Q. Pompeius was dieting himself 40 at Bauli, and was fasting to such an extent that I was sorry for him, I was not agitated, and I only wished that we might compound by this lie for all dangers that might be threatening you. Your friend Plancus, for his part, is at Ravenna, and though he has been presented with a large douceur by Caesar, he is neither wealthy nor well set up. Your books on the Republic are in universal vogue. 41
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
BRUNDISIUM, 1 JUNE
INDIFFERENT health, from which I have now recovered (for though ill, I had no fever), as well as waiting for Pomptinus, of whom as yet no rumour even has reached me, have kept me for these twelve days at Brundisium; but I am looking out for an opportunity to set sail. Now if you are still at Rome—for I scarcely think you can be—but if you are, I am Very anxious that you should give your attention to the following. In a letter received from Rome I am informed that my friend Milo writes to complain of my having ill-treated him in allowing Philotimus to have a share in the purchase of his property. I decided on that measure in accordance with the opinion of C. Duronius, 42 whom I had had reason to believe exceedingly friendly to Milo, and whom I knew to be the sort of man you judge him to be. Now his object and mine too was this : first, that the property should remain under our control—lest some outsider, making the purchase at a high price, should deprive him of the slaves, a great number of which he had with him; secondly, that the settlement he had made upon Fausta should be respected. 43 There was the farther motive, that we should ourselves have less difficulty than anyone else in saving anything that could be saved. Now I would have you look thoroughly into the whole affair : for I am frequently having letters on it written in exaggerated terms. If he complains, if he writes about it to his friends, and if Fausta takes the same line, as I told Philotimus by word of mouth, and as he undertook to do, I would not have him take part in the purchase against the will of Milo. It would not be in the least worth our while. But if there is nothing in all this, you will decide the matter. Speak with Duronius. I have written also to Camillus and Lamia, 44 and the more so because I did not feel confident of your being in Rome. The long and short of the whole thing is this : decide as shall seem to you to be in accordance with my honour, good name, and interests.
TO APPIUS CLAUDIUS PULCHER (IN CILICIA)
BRUNDISIUM, 5 JUNE
ON the 4th of June, being at Brundisium, I received your letter stating that you had instructed L. Clodius with what you wished him to say to me. I am much looking forward to his arrival, that I may learn at the earliest possible moment the message he is bringing from you. My warm feeling and readiness to serve you, though I hope they are already known to you by many instances, I shall yet manifest in those circumstances above all others, in which I shall be able to give the most decisive proof that no one's reputation and position is dearer to me than yours. On your side, both Q. Fabius Vergilianus and C. Flaccus, son of Lucius, and—in stronger terms than anyone else—M. Octavius, son of Gneius, have shewed me that I am highly valued by you. This I had already judged to be the case on many grounds, but above all from that book on Augural Law, of which, with its most affectionate dedication, you have made me a most delightful present. On my part, all the services which belong to the closest relationship shall be ever at your command. For ever since you began feeling attachment to me, I have learnt daily to value you more highly, and now there has been added to that my intimacy with your relations—for there are two of them of different ages whom I value very highly, Cn. Pompeius, father-in-law of your daughter, and M. Brutus, your son-in-law 45 —and, lastly, the membership of the same college, especially as that has been stamped by such a complimentary expression of your approval, 46 seems to me to have supplied a bond of no ordinary strength towards securing a union of feeling between us. But I shall not only, if I come across Clodius, write you at greater length after talking with him, but shall also take pains myself to see you as soon as possible. Your saying that your motive for staying in the province was the hope of having an interview with me, to tell you the honest truth, is very agreeable to me.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ON THE ROAD TO ATHENS, 15 JUNE
I arrived at Actium on the 14th of June, after having feasted like priests of Mars both at Corcyra and the Sybota Islands, owing to your presents, which Areus as well as my friend Eutychides had prepared for us with lavish profusion and the utmost kindness. 47 From Actium I preferred to journey by land, considering the unpleasant voyage we had had, and I did not like the idea of rounding Leucatas. 48 To arrive, again, at Patrae in small boats, without all this paraphernalia, seemed to me somewhat undignified. Yes, your frequent exhortations have fallen on willing ears ! I daily turn them over in my own mind and impress them on my staff : in fine, I will make certain of passing through this extraordinary function without the least illegality or extortion. I only hope the Parthian will keep quiet and fortune favour us ! I will do my part. Pray take care to let me know what you are doing, where you mean to be from time to time, in what state you left things at Rome, and, above all, about the 820 sestertia. Put all that into one letter, carefully directed so as to be sure of reaching me in any case. But that my year of office should remain unchanged and without any addition being decreed, for this remember to take proper measures yourself and through all my friends, especially through Hortensius : for, though absent at present, when the question is not before the house, you will, as you said in one of your answers, be in town at the proper time. While pressing this upon you, I feel half-inclined to beg you also to fight against there being an inter-calation. 49 But I don't venture to put all the burdens on your back. As for the year, stick to that at any rate. My son Cicero, the best-behaved and dearest of boys, sends you his regards. I always liked Dionysius, for my part, as you know; but I get to value him more every day, and, by Hercules, principally because he loves you, and never lets an opportunity slip of talking about you.
M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (ON HIS JOURNEY)
It50is certainly true, I tell you, that he has been acquitted—I was in court when the verdict was announced—and that, too, by all three orders, and by a unanimous vote in each order. "Well, that is entirely their concern," 51 say you. No, by Hercules ! For nothing ever happened so unexpected, or so scandalous in the eyes of everybody. Nay, even I, though I countenanced him with all my might for friendship's sake, and had prepared myself to condole with him, was thunderstruck when it occurred, and thought I must be under some hallucination. What do you suppose, then, was the feeling of others? Why, they attacked the jurors with a storm of disapproving shouts, and made it quite plain that this was more than they could stand. Accordingly, now that he is left to the mercies of the Licinian law, he seems to be in greater danger than ever. 52 Besides this, on the day after the acquittal, Hortensius came into Curio's theatre 53 —I suppose that we might share in his rejoicing ! Whereupon you had “ Tumult sore,
Thunder bellowing in the clouds,
Tempest hissing through the shrouds.
” This was the more noticed from the fact that Hortensius had reached old age without ever having been hissed, but on this occasion 'got it heartily enough to serve anyone for the whole of his life, and to make him sorry he had won his case. Of politics I have nothing to tell you. The active proceedings of Marcellus have died away, not from lack of energy, as it seems to me, but from policy. As to the consular elections, public opinion is quite at a loss. For myself, I have chanced upon one competitor who is noble and one who acts the noble : for M. Octavius, son of Gnaeus, and C. Hirrus are standing with me. I tell you this because I know that it was on account of Hirrus that you were anxiously waiting for news of my election. However, as soon as you learn of my having been returned, I beg you to be taking measures as to the panthers. 54 I recommend Sittius's bond to your attention. I gave the first batch of notes on the events in the city to L. Castrinius Pietus, the second to the bearer of this letter.
M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (ON HIS WAY TO CILICIA)
Is it so? Have I won? And do I send you frequent letters, which, as you were leaving, you said I should never take the trouble to do for you? It is even so, that is to say, if the letters I send reach you. And, indeed, I am all the more energetic about this because, being at leisure, I have nowhere to spend my little holiday with any pleasure. When you were at Rome I had an unfailing and most delightful resource for an idle day—to spend the holiday with you. I miss this exceedingly, so that not only do I feel myself to be all alone, but now you are gone a desert seems to have been created at Rome; and I who in my carelessness omitted paying you a visit on many days, when you were here, am now daily tortured to think that I have not got you to run to. But, above all, my rival 55 Hirrus takes care that I should look for you day and night. You can imagine how vexed that rival of yours for the augurship is, and how he tries to conceal the fact that I am a surer candidate than himself. That you should receive the news about him which you wish at the earliest possible moment, I desire, on my honour, more for your sake than my own. For as to myself, if I am elected, I shall perhaps be so with a colleague richer than myself: 56 but even this is so delightful, that, if it really does happen to me, I can never all my life long lack something to smile at. Is it really worth while? Yes! by Hercules. M. Octavius is unable to do much to soften the hostile feelings—and they are many—which spoil Hirrus's chances. As to the services of your freedman Philotimus and the property of Milo, I have taken care that Philotimus should satisfy Milo in his absence, as well as his family, by the most absolutely straightforward conduct, and that your character should not suffer as far as his good faith and activity are concerned. 57 What I now have to ask of you is that, if (as I hope) you get any leisure, you would compose some treatise dedicated to me, to shew me that you care for me. "How did that come into your head," say you, "a modest man like you?" I desire that out of your numerous writings there should be something extant handing down to posterity also the record of our friendship. "What sort of thing do you want?" I suppose you will ask. You, who are acquainted with every school of thought, will hit upon the suitable thing sooner than I. Only let it be of a kind that has some appropriateness to me, and let it contain practical instruction, that it may be widely used.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ATHENS, 27 JUNE
I ARRIVED at Athens on the 24th of June, and have now waited there three days for Pomptinus and have heard nothing as yet of his arrival. I am, believe me, wholly with you: and though I should have done so without them, yet I am thinking of you all the more vividly from being reminded by the traces of you in this place. In short, I assure you we talk of nothing else but you. But you, perhaps, would prefer to be told something about myself. Here you are then: up to now neither I nor any of my staff have been any expense to any town or individual. We receive nothing under the Julian law, 58 nothing from any public host: my whole staff are impressed with the belief that they must have a regard for reputation. So far, well. This has been noticed with praise on the part of the Greeks and is being much talked of. For the rest, I am taking great pains, as I have perceived that you wished. But on this subject let us reserve our applause till the last act has been reached. Other circumstances are such that I frequently blame my folly for not having found some means of getting out of this business. How entirely unsuited to my character and habits! How true the proverb is, "Let the shoemaker stick to his last !" 59 You will say, "What, already? Why, you are not actually in the business !" I know that very well, and I expect greater trouble remains: even as far as it has gone, though I bear it with cheerful brow, I think, and expression, in my inmost heart I am enduring agonies: so many instances are occurring every day of ill-temper or insolence, of foolish and senseless behaviour of every kind, both by speech and by refusal to speak. I don't give you details of these things, not because I wish to conceal them from you, but because they are difficult to explain. So you shall admire my self-restraint when I return safe and sound: I am bestowing such pains on the practice of this virtue. Well, enough of this. Though I had nothing in my mind that I intended to write about, because I haven't even the smallest idea as to what you are doing, and in what part of the world you are: nor, by Hercules, have I ever been so completely in the dark about my own affairs, as to what has been done about the debt to Caesar or Milo's liabilities; and no one has come, I don't say from my house, but even from Rome, to enlighten me as to what is going on in politics. Wherefore, if there is anything that you know on the subjects which you may suppose that I should wish to know, I shall be very much obliged if you take the trouble to have it transmitted to me. What else is there to say? Why, nothing except this: Athens has pleased me immensely, at any rate as far as the city itself and all that adorns it are concerned, and the affection of the inhabitants towards you, and what I may call a prepossession in favour of myself: but as to its philosophy—that is very topsy-turvey, if Aristus is supposed to represent it, in whose house I am staying. For your and my friend Xeno I preferred giving up to Quintus, and yet, owing to his proximity, we spend whole days together. 60 Pray, as soon as you possibly can, write me word of your plans, and let me know what you are doing, where you are from time to time, especially when you intend being in Rome.
TO GAIUS MEMMIUS (IN EXILE AT MITYLENE)
THOUGH I had not quite made up my mind whether the prospect of seeing you at Athens was painful or pleasant-because your undeserved calamity 61 would have caused me sorrow, yet the philosophic spirit with which you bear it delight—nevertheless, I should have preferred to have seen you. For I do not feel the pain much less when you are out of sight, while such pleasure as is possible would at any rate have been greater had I seen you. Therefore I shall not hesitate to endeavour to see you whenever I shall be conveniently able to do so. Meanwhile, such business as can be put before you by letter, and, as I think, can be brought to a conclusion, I will put before you now at once I will preface my request by asking you not to do anything for my sake against your own inclination; but if the matter is one which is important to me, and in no way of much importance to yourself, still only grant it in case of having first made up your mind to do so cheerfully. I am in thorough sympathy with Patron the Epicurean, except that I differ from him widely in philosophy. But not only at the very beginning in Rome, when he was paying attention to you as well as all your friends, did he also cultivate my acquaintance with special care, but recently also, after having gained all that he wanted in the way of personal profit and reward, he has continued to regard me as almost the first of his supporters and friends. Besides this, he was introduced and recommended to me by Phaedrus, 62 who, when I was a boy and before I knew Philo, was highly valued by me as a philosopher, and afterwards as, at any rate, a good, agreeable, and kindly man. This Patron, therefore, having written to me at Rome, begging me to reconcile you to him, and to ask you to grant him some ruined house or other once belonging to Epicurus, I did not write to you on the subject, because I did not want any plan of building which you might have to be hampered by a recommendation of mine. On my arrival at Athens, however, having been asked by the same person to write to you on the subject, I have granted his request, because all your friends agreed in saying that you had given up that building idea. If this is so, and if it is now of no importance to you, I would ask you, if some little offence has been caused you by the wrong-headedness of certain persons—and I know the class of men—to take a lenient view of the matter, either from your own great natural kindness or, if you like, out of compliment to me. For my part, if you ask me what I think about it myself, I neither see why he is so anxious for it, nor why you make difficulties; I only feel that it is much less natural for you to trouble yourself without reason, than for him to do so. However, I am sure that Patron's line of argument and the merits of his case are known to you. He says that he has to maintain his own honour and duty, the sanctity of a will, the prestige of Epicurus, the solemn injunction of Phaedrus, the home, the dwelling-place, the footprints of famous men. We may ridicule the man's entire life and the system which he follows in philosophy, if we take upon ourselves to find fault with what he is now contending for. But, by Hercules, since I am not very unfriendly to him or to others who find pleasure in such things, I think we must be indulgent to him for being so very keen about it. For even if he is wrong in this, it is a fault of the head, not the heart. But to come to the point—for I must mention this sooner or later—I love Pomponius Atticus as a second brother. Nothing can be dearer or more delightful than he is to me. Atticus, then-not that he is of their sect (for he is cultivated to the highest degree in all liberal learning 63 ), but he is very fond of Patron, and was much attached to Phaedrus—presses this upon me as he has never done anything else, though he is the very reverse of self-seeking, the last person in the world to be troublesome in making requests; and he feels no doubt of my being able to obtain this favour from you on the slightest hint, even if you still had the intention of building. In the present circumstances, however, if he hears that you have laid aside your plan of building and that yet I have not obtained this favour from you, he will think, not, indeed, that you have been ungenerous towards me, but that I have been careless in what concerned himself. Wherefore I beg you to write word to your agents that the decree of the Areopagites, which they call a "minute," 64 may be canceled with your free consent. But I return to what I said at first. Before making up your mind to do this, I would have you be sure that you do it for my sake with a willing heart. At any rate have no doubt of this: if you do what I ask, I shall take it as a very great favour. Farewell.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ATHENS, 6 JULY
HALLO write so often to Rome, and not send a single line to you? Well then, hereafter, rather than consent not to send you a letter, if that can be done safely, I will send one that may never reach you. Whatever step can be taken to provide against the prolongation of my government, in the name of fortune, take, so long as you are in town. I can't describe to you the warmth of my longing for the city, or the difficulty I feel in putting up with the boredom of this business.
Marcellus's action in the case of the man of Comum was disgraceful. Even if he were not a magistrate, he was yet an inhabitant of Gallia Transpadana. 65 So he seems to me to have given no less cause of anger to our friend Pompey than to Caesar. But this is his own look-out. I think, from what you tell me that Varro says, that Pompey certainly means to go to Spain. I entirely disapprove of it, and indeed I easily convinced Theophanes that the best course was for him not to quit Rome to go anywhere. 66 So the Greek will put pressure on him ; and his influence is very powerful with him.
I send this letter on the 6th of July, when on the point of quitting Athens, where I have been exactly ten days. 67 Pomptinus has arrived along with Cn. Volusius ; my quaestor is here ; the only one missing is your friend Tullius. I have some open vessels of Rhodes, some biremes of Mitylene, and a certain amount of despatch boats. 68 I don't hear a word about the Parthians. For the rest, heaven preserve us! As yet our journey through Greece has roused great admiration, nor, by heaven, have I as yet a fault to find with any of my staff. They appear to me to understand my point of view and the conditions on which they accompany me. They entirely devote themselves to my reputation. For the future, if the proverb "like mistress like dog " 69 holds good, they will certainly stick to this line of conduct. For they will not see me doing anything to give them an excuse for malpractices. But if that does not prove sufficient, I shall have to take some stronger measure. For at present I am all smiles and indulgence, and, as I hope, am making considerable progress. But I have only studied the part of "tolerator"—as our friends the Sicilians call it 70 —for a single year. Therefore fight your best, lest if any addition is made to my time, I should turn out a scoundrel.
Now to return to your commands: praefecti are excused jury service: offer the position to whom you choose. I will not be so high and mighty 71 as I was in the case of Appuleius. I am as fond of Xeno as you are, of which I feel sure that he is fully aware. With Patron and the rest of the (Epicurean) dunces 72 I have established your reputation well, and, by Hercules, it is no more than you deserve. For that person told me three times over that you had written to him to say that I had taken measures about his affair in accordance with a letter from Memmius, and this pleased him very much. But Patron having urged me to request your Areopagus to cancel their minute, made in the archonship of Polycharmus, 73 it seemed best to Xeno, and afterwards to Patron himself, that I should write to Memmius, who had started for Mitylene the day before my arrival at Athens, to induce him to write to his agents that it might be done with his free consent. For Xeno felt sure that it would be impossible to get this concession from the Areopagites if Memmius were unwilling. Now Memmius had laid aside his design of building, but he was angry with Patron. So I wrote him a carefully expressed letter, of which I enclose you a copy.
Please comfort Pilia with a message from me. For I will tell you, though don't tell her. I received a packet which contained Pilia's letter. I abstracted, opened, and read it. It was in very sympathetic terms. The letters you got from Brundisium without one from me you must regard as having been sent when I was unwell ; 74 for don't take seriously the excuse I mentioned of expense. 75 Take care to let me know everything, but, above all, take care of your health.
TO M. CAELIUS RUFUS (AT ROME)
ATHENS, 6 JULY
What! Do you suppose that I meant you to send me an account of gladiatorial matches, of postponements of trials, of robberies by Chrestus, and such things as, when I am at Rome, nobody ventures to retail to me? See what a high opinion I have of you—and not, indeed, undeservedly, for I have never yet known anyone with keener political instincts—I don't care for your writing to me even the daily occurrences in the most important affairs of the state, unless there is something specially affecting myself. Other people will write about them ; many will convey news of them: common report itself will bring many of them to my ears. Therefore it is not things past or present that I expect from you, but things to come—for you are a man who sees far in front of you—so that, having got a view of the ground plan of the Republic from your pen, I may satisfy myself as to what the future building is to be. As yet, however, I have no fault to find with you ; for it is impossible for you to see farther than any one of us, and especially myself, who have spent several days with Pompey in conversation exclusively political, which neither can nor ought to be committed to writing. Only take this as certain, that Pompey is an admirable citizen, and prepared in courage and wisdom alike to meet every contingency that needs to be provided against in the political situation. Wherefore devote yourself to him: he will receive you, believe me, with open arms. For he takes the same view, as we ever do, as to who are good and bad citizens. After spending exactly ten days in Athens, and having seen a great deal of our friend Caninius Gallus, 76 I am starting on my journey today, the 6th of July, the day on which I send you this letter. All interests of mine I desire to have the benefit of your greatest attention, but nothing more so than that the time of my provincial government should not be extended. That is all in all to me. When, how, and by whose means this is to be worked, you will settle best for yourself.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
AT SEA (ABOUT Ist JULY)
A sea voyage is a serious business, and in the month of July too. We got to Delos on the sixth day from Athens. On the 6th of July we got from the Piraeus to Zoster, with a troublesome wind, which kept us there on the 7th. On the 8th we got to Ceos with a pleasant voyage. Thence to Gyaros with a violent wind, though it wasn't against us. Hence to Syros, and from that to Delos ; we in both cases accomplished the passage quicker than we could have wished. You have had experience of Rhodian open vessels: they are the worst things in the world for rough water. Accordingly, my intention is not to be at all in a hurry, nor to stir from Delos unless I see "Gyrae¹s headlands" all clear. 77
I wrote to Messalla at once from Gyaros, directly I heard, and also (which was my own idea) to Hortensius, for whom, indeed, I felt much sympathy. 78 But I am very anxious to get your letter about what is said as to that verdict, and, indeed, about the political situation generally—a letter written somewhat more from the politician's point of view, for you are now, with the aid of Thallumetus, studying my books 79 —a letter from which I may learn not what is actually happening (for that very "superior person," your client Helonius, can do that for me), but what is going to happen. By the time you read this our consuls will have been elected. You will be able to make out all about Caesar, Pompey, and the trials themselves. My own affairs, since you are staying on in Rome, pray put straight. As to the point I forgot to mention in my answer to you—as to the brickwork, and as to the water, if anything can be done, pray shew your accustomed kindness. I think the latter of very great importance from my own ideas as well as from what you say about it. So please have it done. Again, if Philippus makes any application, do exactly what you would have done in your own case. 80 I will write at greater length to you when I have come to land ; at present I am well out at sea.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
EPHESUS (AFTER 22 JULY)
WE arrived at Ephesus on the 22nd of July, on the 620th day after the battle of Bovillae. 81 I accomplished the voyage without alarm and without sea-sickness, but somewhat slowly, owing to the crankiness of the Rhodian open ships. About the throng of legations and private suitors, and about the extraordinary crowd of people that met me even at Samos, but to a surprising extent at Ephesus, I presume that you have heard, or—" well, what is all that to me? " 82 The fact is, however, that the tithe-collectors, as though I had come with imperium, the Greeks, as though I were governor in Ephesus, 83 presented themselves to me with eagerness. This will, I am sure, convince you that the professions I have been making these many years past are now being put to the test. But I shall, I hope, stick to the principles which I learnt from you, and give full satisfaction to everyone, and with the less difficulty that the contracts in my province have been settled. 84
I did not neglect your little affairs at Ephesus, and although Thermus 85 before my arrival had been most courteous in his promises to all your agents, yet I introduced Philogenes and Seius to him, and recommended Xeno of Apollonis. In a word, he undertook to do everything. I besides submitted to Philogenes an account of the note of exchange, which I had negotiated with you. So enough of that. I return to affairs in the city. In the name of fortune, since you are remaining at Rome, I beg of you, use every means of supporting and fortifying the position that I am not to be left in office more than a year, without even an intercalation. Next fulfil all my commissions, and especially in regard to that domestic matter get rid of the difficulty with which you are acquainted. 86 Next to that do so in the matter of Caesar: it was on your advice that I set my heart on him, and I do not repent. And, as you well understand how it is my nature to know and care for what is going on in public affairs—going on, do I say? nay, rather what is going to happen—write me everything at full length, and that with the utmost precision, and especially whether there is any breakdown in the trials that have either taken place or are about to do so. As to the water, if you are looking after it, and if Philippus is taking any steps, please attend to what is done.
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
TRALLES, 28 JULY
Until I have settled down somewhere you must not expect a long letter from me, nor always written by my own hand. As soon, however, as I have a moment to spare, you shall have both. I am now journeying along a road which is both hot and dusty. I wrote yesterday from Ephesus: this I am despatching from Tralles. 87 I expect to be in my province 88 on the 1st of August. From that date, if you love me, agitate for my era to begin. 89 Meanwhile, however, the following items of news of a welcome nature have reached me: first, that the Parthians are quiet ; secondly, that the contracts of the publicani have been concluded ; lastly, that a mutiny among the soldiers has been suppressed by Appius, and their pay discharged up to the 13th of July. Asia has given me an extraordinarily good reception. My visit there cost no one a farthing. I trust that my staff are respecting my reputation. I am very nervous about it, however, yet hope for the best. All my staff have now joined except your friend Tullius. My idea is to go straight to the army, to devote the rest of the summer months to military affairs, the winter ones to judicial business. Pray, as you know that I have no less curiosity in politics than yourself, write me word of everything occurring or about to occur. You can do me no greater favour, except, ,indeed, that it will be the greatest favour of all if you fulfil my commissions, especially that "at my own hearth," 90 than which you must know I have nothing more at heart. This letter reeks of hurry and dust. Future ones shall go into greater details.
TO APPIUS CLAUDIUS PULCHER (IN CILICIA)
TRALLES, 28 JULY
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