« PreviousContinue »
-though there is no one who can bear the sight of himmen can yet never hate as much as he deserves. For he is so utterly detestable in my eyes that everything I have to do with him is odious to me. Moreover, my actual disposition and pursuits incline me to desire peace and liberty. Accordingly, I have often bitterly mourned over that first step in the civil war. Since, however, it was impossible for me to be neutral, because I had bitter enemies on both sides, I shunned the camp, in which I knew for certain that I should not be safe from the plots of my personal enemy. Being thus compelled to go to the last place to which I desired to go, that I might not be lost in the crowd, I boldly confronted dangers without any hesitation. To Cæsar, indeed, who regarded me as one of his oldest friends, though he had not known me until he had reached his own splendid position, I was attached with the utmost devotion and fidelity. What I was permitted to do in harmony with my own opinion I did in such a manner as to procure the warmest approbation of all the best men. When I acted under orders, I did so with so much deliberation and in such a spirit as made it evident that I was an unwilling recipient of the commands. But the wholly undeserved odium roused by my conduct sufficed to teach me the charm of liberty and the wretchedness of life under a tyranny. Accordingly, if the object of the present proceedings is to bring everything once more under the power of a single person, whoever he is, I avow myself his enemy : nor is there any danger which I would shun or deprecate on behalf of liberty. But the consuls have neither by senatorial decree nor by despatch given me any instructions as to what I was to do. For I have only received one despatch from Pansa, and that not till the 15th of March, in which he urges me to write a letter to the senate declaring that I and my army will be at its disposal.
But seeing that Lepidus was making speeches and
against whom Cicero had warned Pollio. It may be-as has been suggested --- his fraudulent quæstor Balbus. See Letter DCCCXCIII.
There is no means of deciding what particular person Pollio means. We have heard of his prosecuting Gaius Cato (vol. i., p. 281); and Quintilian mentions a speech against Labienus. But Pollio was a great orator, and may have prosecuted many persons and thus made enemies.
writing to tell everybody that he was at one with Antony, this was the most awkward possible step for me to take. For by what roads was I to lead my legions through his province against his will? Or if I had effected the rest of the journey, could I take wings and fly over the Alps, which are occupied by his force? Add to this the impossibility of a despatch getting through on any terms: for letter-carriers are examined in countless places, and finally are even detained by Lepidus. No one will question the sincerity of my public pronouncement at Corduba, that I would hand over the province to no one who did not arrive with a commission from the senate. For why need I describe the violent controversies I have had about handing over the thirtieth legion ? And if I had handed it over, who does not know how much less effective in serving the state I was likely to be? For I assure you that it is the most gallant and best fighting legion in existence. Wherefore make up your mind that I am, to begin with, a man most strongly in favour of peace—for I am seriously desirous that all citizens should be unmolested -and in the second place one prepared to assert my own and the state's freedom alike. Your admitting my friend into the list of yours is more gratifying to me than you can think : yet I am envious of his walking and jesting with you. You will ask me how much I value that. If ever I am allowed to enjoy leisure you shall find out from experience: for I will never budge a step from your side. One thing does profoundly surprise me—that you have never written to tell me whether I could better serve the Republic by remaining in my province or by leading my army into Italy. For my part, though it is safer and less laborious to remain, yet because I see that at such a crisis there is much more occasion for legions than for provinces (especially such as can be recovered without difficulty) I have resolved, as things are now, to start with my army. For the rest, you will learn everything from my despatch to Pansa, for I am inclosing a copy of it for your perusal.
16 March, Corduba.
DCCCXXII (F XII, 25, SS 1-5)
TO QUINTUS CORNIFICIUS (IN AFRICA)
ROME (ABOUT THE 20TH OF MARCH) On the 17th of March I received your letter, which your son handed to me on the 21st day—as he said—from its despatch. Neither on that nor the following day was there any meeting of the senate. On the Quinquatrus Minervæ (19th of March) before a full house I pleaded your cause-not unfavoured by Minerva herself. For in fact on that very day the senate decreed that my statue of Minerva, which a storm had thrown down, should be restored. Pansa read your despatch. It was followed by strong expression of approval from the senate, to my great joy and the great chagrin of the “Minotaur "-I mean Calvisius and Taurus;? and a decree was passed about you in complimentary terms. A demand was even made that these men should have some stigma inflicted upon them, but Pansa was for milder measures. For myself
, my dear Cornificius, on the day (the 20th of December) on which I first conceived a hope of freedom and, while everybody else shrank from beginning, laid the foundations of a recovered constitution-on that very day, I say, I made careful provision and calculation for the maintenance of your position. For it was for my motion as to the retention of the provinces that the senate voted. Nor indeed did I subsequently cease from discrediting the man, who to your great injury and to the discredit of the Republic
1 Cicero uses the common phrase non invita Minerva, “not without success” (vol. i., p. 363), in order to bring in the double reference to the feast of Minerva (quinquatrus Minerva) and to the statue or bust of Minerva which he had dedicated on the Capitol before he went into exile, as a guardian goddess of the city. See de Leg. ii. $ 42.
? As to Calvisius, appointed to succeed Sulpicius, see p. 139. T. Statilius Taurus had been named his legatus. * The senate now confirmed Sulpicius in the province of Africa.
3 See p. 167-168.
was retaining the province, though he had himself left it. Accordingly, he was unable to stand out against my frequent, or rather daily attacks upon him, and unwillingly returned to Rome: and was driven not from a mere hope, but from what was now a certainty and an actual possession, by my most righteous and dignified invective. That you have employed your eminent courage in successfully retaining your position, and have been complimented by the greatest honours a province can bestow, is a subject of lively satisfaction to me.
As to your defence of yourself in regard to Sempronius, I accept your explanation; for that was a dark period of servitude. I, the supporter of your policy and champion of your position, enraged at the position of affairs and despairing of freedom, was on the point of hurrying off to Greece, when the Etesian winds, like loyal citizens, refused to further me in my desertion of the Republic, and a south wind blowing in my teeth carried me back by his strongest blast to your fellow tribesmen of Rhegium. And so from thence I hurried at full speed-sail and oar together—to my country; and the day after my arrival was the one free man in a nation of slaves. I delivered such an invective against Antony that he could not bear it, and vented all his vinous madness on my devoted head, and endeavoured at one time to entice me to give him an excuse for bloodshed, at another tried to entrap me. But I hunted him belching and vomiting into the toils of Cæsar Octavianus. For that illustrious youth collected for himself a protecting force-at first in favour of our party, and subsequently in that of the supreme state. And if it hadn't been for him, Antony's return from Brundisium would have sealed the fate of Rome. The events which followed I think you know. But to return to the point from which I have strayed. I accept your explanation as to
C. Calvisius made provision for retaining the province of Africa by leaving two of his legates there. See p. 160 ; 3 Phil. § 26.
2 See ante, p. 169.
3 Because he refused Antony's summons to the senate on the ist of September.
The first Philippic on the 2nd of September. 5 In the carefully prepared speech of the 19th of September (p. 136). 6 Where he had been to meet the legions.
Sempronius : for you could have no fixed principle of procedure in the midst of such complete disorganization.
“But time has passed and taught a different way;
And nobler manners asks our nobler day," as Terence says.? Wherefore, my dear Quintus, embark with us, and even approach the helm. All loyalists are now in the same boat, which we are doing our best to keep in the straight course. Pray heaven for a prosperous voyage ! But whatever the winds may be, skill on my part at least shall not be wanting : for to what beyond that can virtue pledge itself? For your part keep a good heart and lofty spirit, and reflect that your whole position must needs stand and fall with the Republic.
DCCCXXIII (F X, 6)
TO L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS (IN GAUL)
ROME, 20 MARCH
What our friend Furnius reported as to your disposition towards the Republic was highly pleasing to the senate and most cordially approved of by the Roman people. But your despatch, which was read in the senate, did not seem at all to harmonize with the verbal report of Furnius. For you are for peace, though that illustrious man your colleague’ is being actually besieged by the most abandoned outlaws, who ought to beg for peace after laying down their arms; or if they demand it with arms in their hands, we must attain that peace by victory, not by making terms. But how your despatch about peace, or that of Lepidus, has been received you will be able to learn from that honourable man your brother, and from Gaius Furnius. However, my affection for you has
1 Terence, Andr. 189. 2 Decimus Brutus with Plancus was consul-designate for B.C. 42.
3 Gnæus Munatius Plancus, who was a prætor this year. Hence Cicero mentions him with the complimentary viro optimo, almost "his excellency."