« PreviousContinue »
occurred in the state within my memory, in which there was not certain to be some form of constitution remaining, whichever of the two sides prevailed. In this war, if we are victorious, I should not find it easy to affirm what kind of constitution we are likely to have; if we are conquered, there will certainly never be any. I therefore proposed severe measures against Antony, and severe ones also against Lepidus, and not so much out of revenge as in order that I might for the present prevent unprincipled men by this terror from attacking their country, and might for the future establish a warning for all who were minded to imitate their infatuation. However, this proposal was not mine more than it was everybody's. The point in it which had the appearance of cruelty was that the penalty extended to the children who did not deserve any. But that is a thing of long standing and characteristic of all states. For instance, the children of Themistocles were in poverty. And if the same penalty attaches to citizens legally condemned in court, how could we be more indulgent to public enemies ? What, moreover, can anyone say against me when he must confess that, had that man conquered, he would have been still more revengeful towards me?
Here you have the principles which dictated my senatorial proposals, at any rate in regard to this class of honours and penalties. For, in regard to other matters, I think you have been told what opinions I have expressed and what votes I have given. But all this is not so very pressing. What is really pressing, Brutus, is that you should come to Italy with your army as soon as possible. There is the greatest anxiety for your arrival. Directly you reach Italy all classes will flock to you. For whether we win the victory—and we had in fact won a most glorious one, only that Lepidus set his heart on ruining everything and perishing himself with all his friends—there will be need of your counsel in establishing some form of constitution. And even if there is still some fighting left to be done, our greatest hope is both in your personal influence and in the material strength of your army. But make haste, in God's name! You know the importance of seizing the right moment, and of rapidity. What pains I am taking in the interests of your sister's children, I hope you know from the letters of your mother
and sister. In undertaking their cause I shew more regard to your affection, which is very precious to me, than, as some think, to my own consistency. But there is nothing in which I more wish to be and to seem consistent than in loving you.
DCCCCX (BRUT. I, 18)
TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (IN MACEDONIA)
ROME, 27 JULY
AFTER I had often urged you by letter to come as soon as possible to the aid of the state, and to bring your army into Italy, and when I thought that your relatives had no doubt on that subject, I was asked by that most prudent and careful lady your mother—whose every thought and care are directed and devoted to you—to call on her on the 24th of July, which, as in duty bound, I at once did. On my arrival, I found Casca, Labeo, and Scaptius? there. Well, she opened the subject and asked me my opinion, whether we should ask you to come to Italy, and whether we thought that to your advantage, or whether it were better that you should put it off and stay where you were. I answered—as was my real opinion—that it was of the highest advantage to your position and reputation to bring help at the first possible moment to the tottering and almost prostrate Republic. For what disaster do you think is wanting in a war, in which the victorious armies refuse to pursue a flying enemy, and in which an officer with imperium in full possession of his rights, enjoying the most splendid honours and the most ample fortune, with wife and children, with you and Cassius related to him by marriage, has yet proclaimed war on the Republic ? How can I use the words “in such
i Servilia and his half-sister Iunia, wife of Lepidus.
Q. Antistius Labeo-one of the assassins-caused a slave to kill him in his tent after the battle at Philippi (App. B. C. iv. 135). For Casca see p. 249. M. Scaptius had carried on a banking business in Cilicia, and was the agent of Brutus there. See vol. ii., pp. 128, 135 sq.
unanimity of senate and people," when such fatal mischief abides within our very walls? But the bitterest sorrow which is affecting me as I write this is that, whereas the Republic accepted me as a surety for that youth, or, I might almost say, that boy, I seem scarcely able to make my promise good. Truly, a guarantee for another's feeling and sentiment, especially in affairs of the greatest importance, is more onerous and difficult than one for money. For money can be paid, and a loss of property is bearable. But how are you to make good what you have guaranteed to the state, unless he for whom you undertook the obligation is willing that it should be fulfilled ? However, I shall retain even him, I hope, in spite of many adverse influences. For he seems to have a character of his own, though he is at the pliable time of life, and there are many prepared to corrupt him, who hope that, by holding out before him the glamour of false honour, the sight of a naturally good intelligence may be blinded. Accordingly, to my other labours has been added the task of applying every engine to the keeping of a hold upon
the young man, that I may not incur a reputation for rashness. However, where is the rashness? I bound the man, for whom I gave the guarantee, more tightly than I did myself; nor can the state regret my having given a guarantee for one who in the actual campaign was rendered more resolute by my promise, as well as from his own disposition. But, unless I am mistaken, the greatest difficulty in the Republic is the want of money. For the loyalists grow daily more callous to the call for property tax. All that was collected by the one per cent. income tax, owing to the shameless returns made by the wealthy, is exhausted by the bounties given to two legions: whereas endless expenses are hanging over us, both for the armies now protecting us, and for yours-for our friend Cassius seems able to come home very well provided. But of this and many other things I desire to talk to you when we meet, and that as soon as possible. About your sister's sons, Brutus, I did not wait for you to write. As a matter of fact, the state of the
1 That is, in the case of a guarantee of conduct, which necessarily depends on the persons for whom the guarantee is given being willing to conform to a certain standard of behaviour. The allusion is to Octavian.
2 The sons of Lepidus and Iunia.
times itself-for the war will be protracted-guarantees that the case will be left for you to decide. But from the very first, though I could not divine the long continuance of the war, I pleaded the cause of the boys in the senate, as I think you can have learnt from your mother's letter. Nor will there ever arise any circumstance in which I shall not, even at the risk of my life, say and do whatever I think is your wish and to your interest.
DCCCCXI (F X, 24)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO CICERO (AT
CAMP NEAR CULARO, 28 JULY I CANNOT refrain from thanking you in view of the course of events and of your services. But, by heaven! I blush to do it. For an intimacy as close as that which you have wished me to have with you seems not to require any formal thanks, nor do I willingly pay the poor recompense of words in return for your supreme kindness, and I would rather, when we meet, prove my gratitude by my respect, my obedience to your wishes, and my constant attentions. But if to live on is my fate, in this same respect, obedience to your wishes, and constant attentions, I will surpass all your beloved friends and even your devoted relatives. For whether your affection for me and your opinion of me are likely to bring me greater reputation in perpetuity or greater daily pleasure, I should find it hard to decide.
You have concerned yourself as to the bounties to the soldiers; whom I wished to be rewarded by the senate, not to enhance my own power-for I am conscious of entertaining no thoughts except for the common benefit-but first of all, because in my opinion they deserved it; next, because I wished them to be still more closely attached to
This and the assertion in the previous letter seem directly contradictory to Letter DCCCCIV, p. 314.
the Republic in view of all eventualities; and lastly, in order that I might guarantee their continuing as completely proof against all attempts to tamper with their loyalty, as they have been up to this time.
As yet we have kept everything here in statu quo. And this policy of ours, though I know how eager men are and with reason for a decisive victory, is yet, I hope, approved of by you. For if any disaster happens to these armies, the Republic has no great forces in reserve to resist any sudden attack or raid of the parricides. The amount of our forces I presume is known to you. In my camp there are three legions of veterans, one of recruits perhaps the finest of all: in the camp of Decimus Brutus there is one veteran legion, a second of two-years'-service men, eight of recruits. Therefore the whole force taken together is very strong in numbers, in stamina inferior. For how much it is safe to trust to raw levies in the field we have had too frequent experience. To the strength of these armies of ours, if there was added either the African army which consists of veterans, or that of Cæsar, we should hazard the safety of the Republic on a battle without any uneasiness. Now, as to Cæsar, we see that he is considerably the nearer of the two. I have therefore never ceased importuning him by letter, and he has uniformly replied that he is coming without delay: while all the time I perceive that he has given up that idea and has taken up some other scheme. Nevertheless, I have sent our friend Furnius? to him with a message and a letter, in case he may be able to do some good. You know, my dear Cicero, that in regard to love for Cæsar you and I are partners, either because, being one of Iulius Cæsar's intimates, I was obliged—while he was alive to look after the boy and shew him affection; or because he was himself, as far as I could make out, of a very orderly and kindly disposition; or because, after such a remarkable friendship as existed between me and Iulius Cæsar, it seems discreditable that I should not regard as a son one who was adopted into that position by his decision and by that of your house alike. Yet after all-and whatever I write
See p. 311.
1 Gaius Furnius. 2 For the adoption of Octavian, see p. 21. By vestro Plancus seems