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to the camp of Sextus Pompeius or perhaps to that of Brutus. It is a tiresome step and quite unsuitable to our time of life, considering the uncertainty of war, and somehow or another I can say to you and you to me:
“My son, the deeds of war are not for you :
Seek rather thou the witching works of”—speech.? But I will leave all this to chance, which in such matters is more powerful than design. For ourselves let us only take care-a thing which is within our power—that we bear whatever happens with courage and philosophy, remember that we are but mortal, and allow literature to console us much, but the Ides of March most of all.
Now join me in the deliberation which is distracting my mind, owing to the many conflicting arguments which occur to me on either side. Shall I start for Greece, as I had determined, with a libera legatio? Thereby I seem to avoid a considerable risk of impending massacre, but to be likely to expose myself to some reproach for having deserted the state at such a grave crisis. If on the other hand I remain, I perceive that I shall be in danger indeed, but I suspect that an opportunity may occur of my being able to benefit the republic. There is also a consideration of a private nature, namely, that I think it of great importance for confirming my son in his good resolutions that I should go to Athens, and I had no other motive for my journey at the time when I contemplated accepting a libera legatio from Cæsar. Therefore pray take under your consideration the whole question, as you always do in anything which you think touches my interests.
Now I return to your letter. You say that there are rumours that I am about to sell my property on the Lake; a while I am going to convey my bijou villa—and that at a fancy price—to my brother Quintus, for him to bring home, as young Quintus has told you, the rich heiress Aquilia. The real truth is that I have no thoughts of selling unless I find something that pleases me better ; while Quintus has no idea of purchasing at this time. He is quite bothered
Homer, Il. v. 428. Cicero has substituted lóyouo, “ of speech," for yápolo, “ of wedlock," at the end of the second line.
? The Lucrine lake.
enough by his obligation to repay the dowry. To marriage, moreover, he has such a distaste that he assures me that nothing can be pleasanter than a bed to oneself. But enough of that. I return to the downcast or rather to the non-existent republic. Marcus Antonius has written to me about the recall of Sextus Clodius—in what a complimentary manner, as far as I am concerned, you may see from his letter, for I am sending you a copy. But you will at the same time have no difficulty in recognizing the unprincipled and improper nature of his proposal, so mischievous in fact that it sometimes makes one wish Cæsar back again. For measures which Cæsar would never have taken or sanctioned are now produced from his forged minutes. However, I made no difficulty about it to Antony: for of course, having once made up his mind that he may do what he chooses, he would have done it all the same if I had refused. So I inclose a copy of my letter also.
DCCXVI (A XIV, 14)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, 27 APRIL
“Oh tell me o'er your tale again. Our nephew Quintus at the Parilia wearing a garland ?: Was he alone? You certainly mention Lamia also, which does utterly astonish me, but I am eager to know who the others were : although I am quite sure that there was no one that wasn't a traitor. Please therefore make this clearer. For myself, it chanced that I had just despatched a fairly long letter to you on the 26th, when about three hours later I received yours, which was also very bulky. So I needn't write to tell you that I
1 Quintus Cicero had recently divorced Pomponia. ? This quotation, expressing horrified incredulity, is from the Iliona of Pacuvius (Ribbeck, 202). Cicero twice elsewhere employs it, Acad. prior. ii. & 88; Tusc. ii. § 44.
3 See DCCXXII. The Parilia were on the 21st of April.
had a hearty laugh over your witty and amusing remarks about Vestorius's “sect" and the Puteolian custom of the Pheriones.
Now about things more "political." You defend the two Brutuses and Cassius as though I were finding fault with them: whereas the fact is I cannot praise them enough. It was the weak points in the situation, not in the individuals, that I reviewed. For though the tyrant has been removed, I see that the tyranny remains. For instance, things which Cæsar never intended to do are being done: as in the case of Clodius—in regard to which I have full assurance not only that Cæsar was not likely to have done it himself, but that he would have actually forbidden it. The next will be Vestorius's old foe Rufio, Victor whose name was never in Cæsar's minutes, and so on with the rest—who shall we not see restored ? We could not endure being his slaves; we are the humble servants of his memorandum books.
As to the senate of the 17th of March :—who was strong enough to refuse to attend ? Suppose that could somehow have been done : when I did attend, could I possibly speak with freedom? Wasn't it on every ground necessary, seeing that I had nothing to protect me, to speak up for the veterans who were there with arms in their hands? You can bear me witness that I never approved of that lingering on the Capitol. Well, was that the fault of the Brutuses? Not at all, but of those other dull brutes, who think themselves cautious and wise, who thought it enough in some cases to rejoice, in others to congratulate, in none to persevere. But let us leave the past: let us bestow all our care and power of protection on our heroes, and, as you
? Cicero (p. 22) had jocosely referred to the banker Vestorius as “no philosopher but good at accounts,” and Atticus. seems to have replied by a punning reference to the aipeous, “ sect," with perhaps an allusion to the meaning “ taking," as the characteristic of a banker. We can never explain the joke as to the local habits of the “Pheriones," because we don't know who they were or what Atticus said about them. May it be a similar pun on pépelv, "to carry off”-“convey the wise it call”? Puteoli was the mart of the corn trade from Egypt, and its merchants and bankers may have had a name for sharp practice.
? Apparently C. Sempronius Rufus, who had a controversy with Vestorius (vol. ii., p. 6).
3 See p. 17.
advise, let us be content with the Ides of March. Yet though they gave our friends—those inspired heroes—an entrance to heaven, they have not given the Roman people liberty. Recall your own words. Don't you remember exclaiming that all was lost if Cæsar had a public funeral ? ? Wisely said ! Accordingly, you see what has been the issue of it.
So you say that on the ist of June Antony means to bring the allotment of provinces before the senate, and to propose taking the Gauls himself. Well, will the senate be free to pass a decree? If it is, then I shall rejoice that liberty has been recovered. If not, what will that change of masters have brought me except the joy with which I feasted my eyes on the just execution of a tyrant? You mention plundering going on at the temple of Ops. I, too, was a witness to that at the time. Yes in truth, we have been freed by heroic champions with the result that we are not free after all! So theirs is the glory, ours the fault. And do you advise me to write history? To record the outrageous crimes of the men by whom we are still held down? Shall I be able to refrain from complimenting those very persons, who have asked you to act as their witness ? 3 And it isn't, by heaven, the petty gain that moves me ; but it is painful to attack with invectives men who have shewn me personal goodwill, whatever their character.
However, as you say, I shall be able to determine my whole line of conduct with greater clearness by the ist of June. I shall attend on that day and shall strive by every means and exertion in my power—with the assistance of your influence and popularity and the essential justice of the cause—to get a decree through the senate about the Buthrotians in the sense of your letter. The plan of which you bid me think I will of course think over, though I had
1 The scene at the reading of Cæsar's will, the funeral oration of Antony, and the burning of the body in the forum – so faithfully dramatized by Shakespeare-is given most fully by Appian (B. C. iii. 143-148). The revulsion of feeling caused by it made Antonyall-powerful for some weeks.
? Cicero elsewhere insinuates that Anto took forcible possession of 700,000 sestertia (about £ 5,600,000) deposited in Cæsar's lifetime in the public treasury at the temple of Ops (2 Phil. & 93). See infra, p. 41.
3 Of wills, in which legacies were left to Cicero. See p. 8.
already in my previous letter commended it to your consideration. But here are you seeking-just as though the constitution were already recovered—to give back their just rights to your neighbours of Marseilles. These rights may possibly be restored to them by arms—though I do not know how far we can rely on them—they cannot be so by anybody's influence.2
P.S. The short letter written by you afterwards was very agreeable to me—that about Brutus's letter to Antony, and also his to you. It seems possible that things may be better than they have been hitherto. But I must take measures as to my present position and as to where to go immediately.
DCCXVII (A XIV, 15)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
CUMÆ, I MAY
My admirable Dolabella ! For now I call him mine. Before this, believe me, I had my secret doubts. It is indeed a notable achievement-execution from the rock, on the cross, removal of the column, the contract given out for paving the whole spot.” In short-positively heroic! He
1 Massilia (as we have seen, vol. ii., p. 394) had held out against Cæsar in B.C. 49, and had been obliged to surrender after a long siege, and had given up its arms and ships. But it does not appear to have lost its position as a libera civitas, or if it did, it soon regained it. A figure of Massilia was carried in Cæsar's triumph (Of. ii. § 28 : see also 2 Phil. $ 94 ; 8 Phil. § 18), and this perhaps implies a loss of libertas for the time. Why Cicero calls the people of Massilia “ neighbours to Atticus is not clear. One suggestion is that their ambassadors were living near him at Rome.
2 În the absence of Antony (2 Phil. 107), who had already punished some of the rioters (see p. 9), Dolabella took stringent measurespulled down the memorial column (1 Phil. § 2), crucified those of the rioters who were slaves, and hurled from the Tarpeian rock some who were free.
This unconstitutional conduct on the part of both consuls was condoned by the Senate and Optimates because exercised against Caesarian sympathisers. Dolabella, after Cæsar's murder, had at first