Page images
PDF
EPUB

ance what that man wishes; at any rate, whatever he wishes he wishes strongly”: and that he noticed, when he was pleading for Deiotarus at Nicæa,' that he seemed to speak with great spirit and freedom. Also—for I like to jot down things as they occur to me—that when on the request of Sestius I went to Cæsar's house, and was sitting waiting till I was called in, he remarked : “Can I doubt that I am exceedingly disliked, when Marcus Cicero has to sit waiting and cannot see me at his own convenience? And yet if there is a good-natured man in the world it is he; still I feel no doubt that he heartily dislikes me.” This and a good deal of the same sort. But to my purpose. Whatever the news, small as well as great, write and tell me of it. I will on my side let nothing pass.

DCCI (A XIV, 2)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)

TUSCULUM, 8 APRIL

I RECEIVED two letters from you yesterday. The first informed me of the scene in the theatre and at Publilius's mime? a good sign of the unanimous feeling of the people at large. Indeed the applause given to Lucius Cassius appeared to me even a trifle effusive.3

Your second letter was about our friend Bald-pate. He

1 In B.C. 47, when Cæsar was on his way home from the Pontic campaign. Deiotarus had been Pompeian, and was afterwards accused of having attempted to poison Cæsar, but the subject of Brutus' pleading was whether he was to retain his dominions.

* At the representation of a mime of Publilius Sura, during which the people, as usual, had cheered their favourites.

3 L. Cassius (brother of C. Cassius) had been a Cæsarian, but had in some way shewn sympathy with the assassins, and though tribune had been threatened with death by Antony if he came into the senate (3 Phil. $ 35). Cicero thinks applause given to him shews popular feeling for the party of the assassins. Madaro=padapq=

“ Baldhead,”a pun on the cognomen of Cicero's host, C. Matius Calvena. The next sentence is almost desperate. The

has no tendency to savage measures, as you imagine. For he has advanced, though not very far.

I have been detained rather a long time by his talk : but as to what I told you in my last, perhaps I did put it obscurely. It was this. He said Cæsar remarked to him, on the occasion of my calling on him at the request of Sestius and having to sit waiting: “Do you suppose I am such a fool as to think that this man, good-natured as he is, can like me, when he has to sit all this time waiting on my convenience ?" i

Well then, there's your Bald-pate bitterly opposed to the public peace, that is, to Brutus.

I go to Tusculum to-day; to-morrow at Lanuvium; thence I think of staying at Astura. I shall be glad to see Pilia, but I could have wished for Attica also. However, I forgive you. Kind regards to both.

DCCII (A XIV, 3)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)

TUSCULUM (9 APRIL)

Your letter has a peaceful tone. I hope it may last! for Matius declared it impossible. Here are my builders who went to Rome to purchase corn, and returning emptyhanded, bring a loud report that at Rome all corn is being MSS. have palácwma, which means nothing. I think that Atticus from Cicero's last letter gathered that Matius a strong Cæsarian-was for violent measures; that Cicero means here to modify it, and to say that he has moved somewhat in the direction of conciliation, though not far enough, for he is still bitterly opposed to Brutus. I therefore propose for the unintelligible paláxwua a word used by Atticus before (vii. 12), nullus φαλαρισμός.

1 It is very likely that Cicero wrote this letter in his carriage on the way to Tusculum. He explains that he is late, having been detained by the talk of Matius, but he has just time to repeat the story that follows more clearly than in his last letter. It comes in parenthetically in the middle of his observations about Matius, just as a man might jót down things on a journey.

collected into Antony's quarters.' It must certainly be a mere panic rumour; for you would have written to tell me about it. Balbus's man Corumbus has not as yet put in an appearance. I know him by name very well; for he is said to be a skilful architect. The motive of inviting you to witness the sealing of wills is, I think, evident: they want me to think that the disposition of their property is of this kind." I don't know why they should not be sincere as well. But what does it matter to me? However, try and get scent of what Antony's disposition is. Yet I am inclined to think that he is more occupied with his banquets than with any mischievous designs. If you have any news of practical importance, write and tell me: if not, at any rate tell me whom the people cheered in the theatre and the latest bons mots of the mimes. Love to Pilia and Attica.

DCCIII (A XIV, 4)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)

LANUVIUM (10 APRIL)

WHAT news do you suppose I get now at Lanuvium? But I suspect that at Rome you hear something fresh every day. Matters are coming to a crisis : for when Matius talks like that, what do you think the rest will do? My vexation is that—as never happened before in any free state—the constitution has not been recovered along with liberty.

It makes one shudder to hear their talk and their threats. Moreover, I am afraid of a rising in Gaul also, as well as of the line Sextus Pompeius may take. But come one, come all, the Ides of March console me. Moreover, our "heroes," as far as anything decisive could be accomplished by their

1

Antony, who had been voted a body-guard after the assassination of Cæsar, had continually added to its number till he had an army of about 6,000 men in or just outside Rome (App. B. C. iii. 5; 2 Phil. & 108).

? I think this must refer to some definite persons mentioned by Atticus, who had some reason to wish to stand well with Cicero (see p. 29).

unaided efforts, accomplished it in the most glorious and most magnificent manner. The rest requires material resources and troops, neither of which we possess. So far I am giving you information : it is your turn now to send me promptly

anything fresh that occurs—for I expect something every day—and if there is nothing fresh, nevertheless let us keep up our habit of allowing no break in our interchange of notes. I certainly will allow none.

DCCIV (A XIV, 5)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)

ASTURA (11 APRIL)

I HOPE you are now as well as I could wish—for you were fasting owing to a slight indisposition : still, I should like to know how you are.

Among good signs is Calvena's annoyance at being an object of suspicion to Brutus. It will be a bad symptom if the legions come from Gaul with their ensigns. What think you as to those that were already in Spain-won't they make the same demands ? As also those that Annius has taken across thither? I didn't mean Annius, I meant to say C. Asinius. It was a slip of memory. A fine embroglio the Gambler' has brought about! For that conspiracy of Cæsar's freedmen would have been easily put down, if Antony had had his wits about him. How foolishly

1 We have heard once or twice before of some illnesses of Atticus, but Nepos says that he had no occasion for medicine for thirty years of his life. He seems, however, to have had a tendency to stomach disorders which he treated by fasting (Nep. Att. 21, 22).

? That is, C. Asinius Pollio, now governor of Hispania Ulterior.

3 Aleatore. Cicero makes a good deal of Antony's gambling propensities in 2 Phil. S$ 35, 67. But the reading is doubtful. Mueller reads balneatore, in which case it may refer to the pseudo-Marius, the leader in these disorders (see vol. iii., p. 256). They took the form of mass meetings round the column and altar set up by this man to mark the spot where Cæsar's body was buried. Eventually Dolabella pulled it down and executed some of the most violent of the rioters (i Phil. $ 5; 2 Phil. § 107 ; infra, pp. 12, 13).

scrupulous I was not to accept a free legation before the vacation! I didn't wish to appear to shirk this ferment: for if it had been possible for me to remedy it, I should certainly have been bound to stick to my post.

But

you see what sort of magistrates we have—if magistrates they are to be called. You see, after all, the tyrant's hangers-on in enjoyment of imperium, you see his armies, his veterans on our flank! All these are materials easily fanned into a flame. While the men who ought not merely to be hedged round, but to be protected by the watchful care of all the world, you see merely made the objects of commendation and affection, but confined within the walls of their houses. Yet they-whatever their position-are happy. It is the state that is wretched.

But I should like to know something about the arrival of Octavius. Is there a great flocking to visit him, any suspicion of a coup on his part? I don't expect it myself: still I should like to know the truth whatever it is.

I write this to you on the point of starting from Astura, IIth of April.

DCCV (A XIV, 6)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)

FUNDI, 12 APRIL

On the 12th I received your letter at Fundi while at dinner. First-you are better : second-you give better news. For that was a disquieting report about the legions coming. As

* C. Octavius (the future Augustus) was at Apollonia in Epirus when the letter from his mother informed him of his great-uncle's death. The legions in the neighbourhood, that had wintered there to be ready for Caesar's expedition against the Getæ, offered him their support. But he refused it and started for Italy with his friends. Cicero seems to think that he was already in Rome, but he did not go there for some weeks. He went to his mother and stepfather's villa near Cumæ, where he now is and where Cicero a little later met him. Cicero still calls him Octavius-not Octavianus an indication that he was not (as some have

« PreviousContinue »