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CICERO'S LETTERS

DCXCVI (F VI, 15)

TO L. MINUCIUS BASILUS' (? ON THE

CAPITOL)

ROME (15 MARCH, B.C. 44)

I

CONGRATULATE you! For myself I am rejoiced! I

love you : I watch over your interests: I desire to be loved by you and to be informed of how you are, and what is being done.

DCXCVII (F VI, I)

DECIMUS BRUTUS TO M. BRUTUS AND

C. CASSIUS (ON THE CAPITOL)

ROME, 17 MARCH

I WRITE to let you know our position. Yesterday evening Hirtius called on me, and told me about the disposition of Antony. It is of course as bad and untrustworthy as

? One of the assassins, who struck so wildly that he wounded Rubrius (Nic. Dam. C. 24). He was murdered early in the next year by his own slaves in retaliation for a barbarous punishment inflicted on some of them (Appian, B. C. iii. 98). The note is no doubt written immediately after the assassination; though there is no direct evidence of it, nor do we know anything of Cicero's relations with Basilus to explain why he is selected for congratulation out of all the conspirators. He is only once mentioned before (vol. iii., p. 13), where it appears that he had been inclined to befriend Cicero after Pharsalia, but Cicero only com. missions Atticus to send him a formal letter in his name.

possible. For he said that he could not give me my province, and did not think that it was safe for any of us to remain in Rome, considering the extreme irritation of the soldiery and the common people. I think you are aware that both these allegations are false, and that the truth is what Hirtius affirmed, namely, that Antony is afraid that, if we got even a moderate assistance in support of our position, there would be no part left for them to play in the state. Being in these straits I determined to demand a free legation for myself and the rest of us, in order to obtain a decent excuse for leaving the city. He promised that he would procure it, but I don't feel sure that he will do so; for people are so unreasonable and the set against us is so strong. Even if they granted our request, I yet think that before long we should be declared public enemies and forbidden water and fire.

“What, then,” you say, “is your advice?” We must yield to fortune: we must quit Italy I think, and retire to Rhodes ? or some place or other in the world. If any improvement occurs we will return to Rome. If things go only fairly well we will live in exile; if the worst comes to the worst, we will have recourse to extreme measures in our support. Perhaps it will here occur to one of you—why should we wait for the worst, rather than make some attempt at once? Because we have no one to depend upon for safety except Sextus Pompeius and Cæcilius Bassus," who I think are likely to be still more determined when they hear the news about Cæsar. It will be soon enough for us to join them when we know their strength. If you wish me to give any undertaking for Cassius and yourself, I will give it: for Hirtius demands that I should do so. I beg you to answer this letter as promptly as possible—for I have no doubt that Hirtius will inform me on these points' before ten o'clock

1 See p. 26, and vol. i., p. 110, note.

? Rhodes was a libera civitas, and had the right of receiving exiles (ius exilii). 3 That is, take up arms against the government.

ext. Pompeius had a large eet in Sicily and neighbouring ds. Cecilius Bassus was in arms in Syria (see vol. iii., p. 335). Both were at present in a position independent of either party in the state.

• That is, as to the libera legatio and the guard.

—and tell me where we can meet and to what place you wish me to come.

After my last conversation with Hirtius I decided to ask that we should be allowed to remain at Rome under the protection of a state guard. I don't think they will concede that; for we shall be casting a grave slur upon them. However, I thought I must not omit to make any demand which I considered equitable.

DCXCVIII (F VI, 16)

AULUS POMPEIUS BITHYNICUS' TO CICERO

(AT ROME)

Sicily (MARCH)

IF I had not personally many valid causes for friendship with you, I would have referred to the origin of that friendship which began with our fathers. But that is, I think, only to be done by those who have not kept up a paternal friendship by any good offices themselves. I shall be content therefore with our own personal friendship, in reliance on which I beg you to protect me in my absence, with the assurance that no kindness on your part will ever fade from my mind. Good-bye.

? Prætor of Sicily, and a partisan of Cæsar. He seems to think that Cæsar's death may put him in a dangerous position, in which Cicero may be of use to him. See Cicero's answer, Letter DCCVIII., p. 14.

DCXCIX (F XV, 20)

TO GAIUS TREBONIUS (ON HIS WAY TO ASIA)

(ROME OR TUSCULUM (?), APRIL)

My ORATOR-for that is the title I have given it-I have handed to your Sabine servant. His nationality made me think that he was a proper person to whom to give it : unless he too has availed himself of the licence of candidates and has suddenly adopted this surname. However, the modesty of his look and the gravity of his conversation seemed to me to smack somewhat of Cures.' But enough about Sabinus.

Since at your departure, my dear Trebonius, while wishing to aid me to bear with greater patience my warm regret for your absence, you only poured a good deal of oil on the fire of my love for you, pray bombard me with frequent letters on the understanding that I will do the same to you. There are, however, two reasons why you should be more regular in performing that service than myself: First, that in old days those remaining at Rome were accustomed to write on public affairs to their friends in the provinces; whereas you are now bound to write to us: for the Republic is there. Secondly, because I have the opportunity of serving you during your absence in other ways, while I do not see how you can do that for me except by letters. But you must write on other matters to me afterwards; at present the first thing I desire to know is what sort of journey you are having; where you have seen our friend Brutus, how long you have been together. Presently, when you have got farther on your way, you must write to me about military affairs, and the whole business, that I may know how we

? Cicero is referring to the primitive manners and morals of the Sabines -often celebrated by Horace. The reference to the possible assumption of a name after the manner of candidates is believed to refer to Ventidius Bassus having done so in his canvass this year for the prætorship.

stand. I shall not look upon any information as certain except what I get from your letters. Take care of your health, and preserve your old supreme affection for me.

DCC (A XIV, 1)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)

Matius's SUBURBAN VILLA, 7 APRIL

I HAVE come on a visit to the man, of whom I was talking to you this morning.' His view is that "the state of things is perfectly shocking: that there is no way out of the embroglio. For if a man of Cæsar's genius failed, who can hope to succeed?” In short, he says that the ruin is complete. I am not sure that he is wrong; but then he rejoices in it, and declares that within twenty days there will be a rising in Gaul : that he has not had any conversation with anyone except Lepidus since the Ides of March: finally that these things can't pass off like this. What a wise man Oppius is, who regrets Cæsar quite as much, but yet says nothing that can offend any loyalist ! But enough of this. Pray don't be idle about writing me word of any. thing new, for I expect a great deal. Among other things, whether we can rely on Sextus Pompeius; but above all about our friend Brutus, of whom my host says that Cæsar was in the habit of remarking: “It is of great import

? Recent editors-except Tyrrell and Purser--place this letter at the end of B.C. 46 or the beginning of B.C. 45. It is no doubt strange that, writing to one of the assassins, Cicero should not refer to Cæsar's death or the change it had made. But there are reasons against thinking that the journey referred to was that which Trebonius took to Narbo, for that was in B.C. 45, about the time of the battle of Munda (2_ Phil. § 34), and Cicero would hardly have said that he relied entirely on Trebonius for authentic information as to the Spanish campaign ; whereas he went to Asia with a full understanding with the Anti-Cæsarians that he was to organize a force in Asia to aid Brutus and Cassius. The Orator was no doubt now a year and a half old; but Trebonius may have asked for a copy on his journey, for he was in Spain when it first appeared.

? Gaius Matius (Calvena), as shewn in the letters following.

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