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DCCCX (F XII, 22)
TO QUINTUS CORNIFICIUS (IN AFRICA)
ROME (20-31 DECEMBER)
HERE at Rome we are waging war with the most abandoned gladiator in the world, our colleague' Antony, but not on equal terms, for it is words against arms. Nay, he even goes so far as to make speeches against you: but he won't do that with impunity, for he will be made to feel what sort of men he has attacked. For myself, I imagine that all public occurrences are detailed to you in the letters of others : what you should learn from me is the future, as to which the conjecture is not difficult. It is a scene of universal depression : the loyalists have no leader, and our tyrannicides are in remote regions. Pansa both entertains excellent sentiments and speaks with courage. Our friend Hirtius is somewhat slow in recovering his health. What will happen I do not kņow at all : my one hope, however, is that the Roman people will at last shew itself worthy of its ancestors. least will stand by the Republic, and whatever happens—as long as I have nothing for which to blame myself—I will bear with a brave heart. This at least I will do to the best of my ability : I will support your reputation and political position. On the 20th of December a very full meeting of the senate supported my motion, which among other matters of great importance confirmed the retention of the provinces by the actual holders, and prohibited their being handed over to any successors, except those nominated by a decree of the senate. This motion was made by me in the interests of the Republic, but also, I assure you, with the primary object of sustaining your position. Therefore I beg you for the sake of our affection, I exhort you in the name of the Republic, not to suffer anyone to exercise any jurisdiction in your province,
? That is, colleague in the college of augurs. “ Gladiator " is the favourite term of abuse of Antony. See 2 Phil. $$ 7, 63; p. 136.
See last letter.
and to act in all respects with an eye to your official position, which is paramount to everything. I will be frank with you, as our friendship demands. If you had obeyed my letter in the case of Sempronius,' you would have received the loudest praise from everybody. But that is past and is not very important: but that you should keep your province in its obedience to the Republic is a matter of great gravity.” I would have written more had not your letter-carriers been in a hurry. So please make my excuses to our friend Chærippus.
DCCCXI (F XVI, 26)
QUINTUS CICERO TO TIRO
(TIME AND PLACE UNCERTAIN)
I HAVE castigated you, at least with the silent reproach of my thoughts, because this is the second packet that has arrived without a letter from you. You cannot escape the penalty for this crime by your own advocacy: you will have to call Marcus to your aid, and don't be too sure that even he, though he should compose a speech after long study and a great expenditure of midnight oil, would be able to establish your innocence. In plain terms, I beg you to do as I remember my mother used to do. It was her custom to put a seal on wine-jars even when empty to prevent any being labelled empty that had been surreptitiously drained. In the same way I beg you, even if you have nothing to write about, to write all the same, lest you be thought to have
? What had happened about Sempronius is not known. Cicero thought that Cornificius had in some way either allowed him to do something illegal, or assume some illegal position in his province. See pp. 186, 193.
» A decree of the senate had transferred the province of Africa to C. Calvisius (3 Phil. § 26), but Cicero regards that as cancelled by the resolution moved at the end of his speech on the 20th of December. The other transactions he holds to have been carried out under compulsion from Antony.
sought a cover for idleness: for I always find the news in your letters trustworthy and welcome. Love me, and goodbye.
DCCCXII (F XVI, 27)
QUINTUS CICERO TO TIRO (AT ROME)
(FROM THE COUNTRY, LATE IN DECEMBER)
Your letter contained a remarkable castigation of my idle
For what my brother had written in more reserved terms—no doubt from modesty and haste-you have written to me without mincing matters and in accordance with the facts. This is specially the case in regard to the consulsdesignate, whom I know thoroughly to be compact of vice and the most womanish weakness. If they do not quit the helm, there is the greatest danger of universal shipwreck. You could scarcely believe what I know of those men having done in the summer camp in face of the Gallic laager. And that ruffian Antony, unless some firm step is taken, will win them over by the infection of his vices. We must make a stand by aid of the tribunes or by an understanding between unofficial persons. For as to those two fellows—they are scarcely fit, the one to have charge of Cæsena, the other of the vaults of Cossutius's wine-shops. You, as I have said, are the apple of my eye. I shall be with you all on the 30th; and as for yourself, if I meet you as I come in the forum itself, I shall cover you with kisses. Love me, and good-bye.
1 “Hirtius would hardly do to command a small frontier town (Cæsena is on the Rubicon), Pansa can scarcely be trusted to look after wine-cellars, as he is given to drink.” Hirtius was the author of the eighth book of the commentaries on the Gallic War, and both he and Pansa were with Cæsar in Gaul, but neither is mentioned in any way. Yet Cæsar must have thought well of them, for he constantly employed and promoted them.
DCCCXIII (F XI, 8)
The last letter from Cicero possessed by us is dated not later than the 27th of July: he was murdered on the 7th of December. For the last
four months of his life therefore we have nothing from B.C. 43, æt: 63. him to tell us of the events leading up to his death. But Coss., C. Vibius Pansa, occis.,
up to the battle of Forum Gallorum (15th of April) we A. Hirtius, have letters from or to Cicero which carry us through the
exciting events of the early months. Antony's investC. Iulius Cæsar ment of Decimus Brutus in Mutina : the negotiations Octavianus, abd. between him and the senate, the march to the relief of C. Carinas,
Mutina of Octavian, and the consuls Hirtius and Pansa Q. Pedius, successively, and the final battles which compelled or mort.,
induced Antony to raise the siege of Mutina and march P. Ventidius.
away to Gallia Narbonensis. But it only lets us see the Triumviri, beginning of the subsequent collapse of the senatorial r. P. C., hopes. How Decimus Brutus failed to retain the supLepidus,
port of Octavian, and in his vain pursuit of AntonyM. Antonius,
after being first joined and then deserted by PlancusC. Iulius Cæsar found his army melt away, till he lost his own life. How Octavianus.
Antony, reinforced by Ventidius Bassus, was joined first by Lentulus and then by Pollio, and finally by Plancus in Narbonensis. How Octavian, having first marched upon Rome and forced an unwilling senate to allow him to be returned consul, then came to terms with Antony and Lepidus, ostensibly to attack whom he had again marched from Rome. How the triumvirate was arranged, nominally as a commission of reform, really to override the constitution itself, and the terrible vengeance the three were to take upon their enemies—and upon the Ciceros among the first. Cicero, though of course he could not foretell the exact course which events were to take, yet well knew that he and his party were in the gravest danger. His one hope was in provincial governors known to be favourable to the constitution and in command of forces—especially Cornificius in Africa, Cassius in Syria, and Marcus Brutus in Macedonia. We find him therefore to the last exhorting them to come to Italy with their troops, that the senate might resist possible attacks from Antony and deal with a free hand with Octavian. But when on Octavian's entry into Rome (August) Cicero made his last despairing effort to collect the senate and organize an opposition, he must have known that all hope was over, and he probably spent the next two months in retirement at Tusculum, till he heard of the triumvirate and the proscription lists. Cicero's literary work was now all over; but the Philippic Speeches (V.-XIV.) belong to the first four months of this year, and represent vividly to us the progressive steps in the quarrel with Antony.
TO DECIMUS BRUTUS (AT MUTINA)
Your wife Paulla' sent a message asking me “whether I had anything to send to you,” at a time when I had nothing particular to say. For everything is in a state of suspense because we are waiting for the return of the ambassadors, of whose success there is as yet no news. However, I thought I ought to write and tell you this much : the senate and people of Rome are very anxious about you, not merely for the sake of their own security, but also for that of your political position. In fact the affection in which your name is held is remarkable, and the love of all the citizens for you is unparalleled. For they rest great hopes in you, and feel confident that as you formerly freed the Republic from a tyrant you will now free it from a tyranny. A levy is being held in Rome and throughout Italy, if it is to be called a levy, when all offer themselves spontaneously. Such is the enthusiasm which has taken possession of men's minds from a yearning for liberty and a loathing for their long-continued slavery. On other matters we ought by this time to be expecting a despatch from you telling us what you and our friend Hirtius are doing, and my dear Cæsar, both of whom I hope will be before long united to you in the fellowship of victory. All that remains for me to say is what I prefer your learning from the letters of your family, as I hope you do—that I am not failing in any particular to support your position, and will never do so.
Paulla Valeria, whom he here calls Polla (cp. Claudius and Clodius). See vol. ii., p. 116: Fam. viii. 7. For her brother Triarius, see vol. iii., p. 221.
? Those sent to Antony while encamped before Mutina. This measure had been proposed on the ist of January, but successfully
resisted by Cicero (fifth Philippic): it was, however, carried on the 6th, and Servius Sulpicius, L. Piso, and L. Philippus were despatched. Servius Sulpicius died in the course of the negotiations, and the other two brought back a very uncompromising answer. See the eighth Philippic.