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the Ides of March do not console me so much as they did : for they involve a serious blunder, unless our young heroes
' By other noble deeds wipe out this shame.” 1 But if you have any brighter hope as being more in the way of hearing news and being cognizant of their plans, pray write me word and at the same time turn over in your mind what I ought to do about taking a "votive legation." The fact is that in these parts many warn me against appearing in the senate on the ist of June. Troops are said to be secretly collecting for that day, and that too against the men who seem to me likely to be safer anywhere than in the senate.
DCCXXVII (A XV, I a)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, 17 MAY
How sad about Alexio !* you would scarcely believe the extent to which it has afflicted me; and, by heaven ! not from the point of view suggested by most people to me“Where will you go for a physician now ?” For what need have I of a physician? Or if I do need one, is there such a dearth of them? It is his affection for me, his culture, his gracious manners that I miss. Then there is this consideration—what is there that we may not fear when a man of such temperate habits, of such eminence as a physician, is carried off by such a sudden illness ? But to all such thoughts the only consolation is that the conditions of our birth forbid us to shrink from anything to which flesh is heir.
1 άλλοις εν εσθλούς τόνδ' απωθούνται ψόγον, a verse said to be from Sophocles, though from what play is unknown. The mistake at which Cicero hints is, as before (p. 46), that Antony was not assassinated with Cæsar.
? See p. 70, and vol. i., p. 110.
3 For Antony's enrolment and gradual increase of 6,000 bodyguards, see p. 90. 4A physician. See p. 53.
As to Antony, I have already told you that I did not meet him. For he came to Misenum while I was at my Pompeian house, and left it before I knew of his arrival. But, as it happened, Hirtius was with me at Puteoli when I was reading your letter. I read it out to him and stated the case. As at first advised he would make no concession. At last, however, he said that I should be judge, not only in this matter but of the whole of his administration as consul. With Antony again I will put the case in such a way as to make him perceive that, if he does what we want in that business, I shall be wholly his in the future. I hope Dolabella is in town. Let us return to our heroes, of whom you shew that you have good hopes owing to the moderate tone of their edicts. Now, when Hirtius left my house at Puteoli on the 16th of May for Naples, to visit Pansa, I had a clear view of his whole mind. For I took him aside and exhorted him earnestly to preserve the peace. He could not of course say that he did not wish for peace: but he indicated that he was no less afraid of our side appealing to arms than of Antony doing so: and that after all both sides had reason to be on their guard, but that he feared the arms of both. I needn't go on : there is nothing sound about him. As to the younger Quintus, I agree with you : at any rate your charming letter to him gave the greatest pleasure to his father. Carellia, indeed, I had no difficulty in convincing. She did not seem to me to be very anxious for it, and if she had been, I certainly should not have done so.” As to the lady whom you say has been troublesome to you, I am quite surprised that you listened to her at all. For because I spoke in complimentary terms of her in the presence of friends and in the hearing of her three sons, and your daughter, does the rest follow ? : What is the point of —
“Why should I pace the streets with features masked ?” Isn't the mask of old age itself ugly enough?
1 As to the confiscation of lands at Buthrotum. Hirtius was consul. designate for B.C. 43. ? See p. 40.
It seems to refer to some attempt at effecting a reconciliation between Cicero and Publilia.
3 That is, “ does it follow that I wish to marry her?" Or if it refers to Publilia's mother, “ does it follow that I wish to take her daughter back?"
You say that Brutus asks me to come to Rome before the Ist. He has written to me to the same effect, and perhaps I will do so. But I don't at all know why he wishes it. For what advice can I offer him, when I am at a loss what plan to adopt myself, and when he has done more for his own undying fame than for our peace? About the Queen the gossip will die out.? As to Flamma,” pray do what you
DCCXXVIII (A Xv, b)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ARPINUM, 18 MAY
I WROTE to you yesterday as I was leaving Puteoli, and I then paid a visit to my villa at Cumæ. There I saw Pilia looking quite well. Nay, more, I saw her afterwards in the town of Cumæ : for she had come to a funeral which I also attended. Our friend Gnæus Lucullus was burying his mother. I stayed therefore that day in the lodge at Sinuessa, and when on the point of starting early the next day for Arpinum I dash off this letter. However, I have nothing new to tell you or to ask you; unless by chance you think the following is to the point. Our friend Brutus has sent me his speech delivered at the public meeting on the Capitol, and has asked me to correct it before publication without any regard to his feelings. It is, I may add, a speech of the utmost finish as far as the sentiments are concerned, and in point of language not to be surpassed. Nevertheless, if I had had to handle that cause, I should have written with more fire. But the theme and the character of the writer being as you see, I was unable to correct it. For, granting the kind of orator that our Brutus aims at being, and the opinion he entertains of the best style of speech, he has secured an unqualified success. Nothing could be more finished. But I have always aimed, rightly or wrongly, at something different. However, read the speech yourself, unless indeed you have read it already, and tell me what you think of it. However, I fear that, misled by your surname, you will be somewhat hyper-Attic in your criticism. But if you will only recall Demosthenes's thunder, you will understand that the most vigorous denunciation is consistent with the purest Attic style. But of this when we meet. For the present my only wish is that Metrodorus should not go to you without a letter, nor with one that had nothing in it.
i See p. 43
2 See p. 32
3 Cicero had lent his villa at Puteoli to Pilia, the wife of Atticus.
See p. 41.
DCCXXIX (A XV, 2)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
VESCIA, 18 MAY
AFTER despatching a letter to you on the 18th of May as I was starting from the lodge at Sinuessa, I stopped at the villa at Vescia. There a letter-carrier delivered me a letter from you in which you say more than enough about Buthrotum; for that business is not a source of more anxiety to you than to me. It is but right that you should care for my business, I for yours. Wherefore I have taken up that matter with the determination to regard it as of the first importance.
I know from your letter and others that Lucius Antonius had delivered a miserably poor speech, but I don't know its purport: for you say nothing in your letter. About Menedemus—that's a good thing !? Yes, Quintus certainly habitually says what you mention in your letter. I am relieved to find that you approve of my resolution of not writing the sort of thing which you once demanded of me,
1 That he has been executed by Trebonius in Asia. The report turned out to be false, or at any rate premature (see p. 57 ; 13 Phil. § 33). Menedemus a Greek claiming to have been enfranchised by Cæsar.
and you will approve all the more when you read the speech of which I have written to you to-day. What you say of the legions is true. But you do not appear to me to have sufficiently convinced yourself of it, when you retain a hope that the business of our friends at Buthrotum can be settled by the senate. In my opinion—for I can see as far as that—I don't think we are likely to prevail. But supposing me to be mistaken in that view, you will not be disappointed about Buthrotum. As to Octavius's speech my opinion agrees with yours: and I don't like his grand set-out for the games, nor Matius and Postumius acting as his agents for them. Saserna is a worthy colleague. But all those fellows, as you perceive, are as much afraid of peace as we are of war. I should like to be the means of relieving Balbus of the popular prejudice against him, but he does not even himself feel any confidence of that being possible. So he is thinking of other measures.
I am rejoiced that you find the first book of my Tusculan Disputations arm you against the fear of death : there is, in fact, no other refuge either better or more available.5 I am not sorry that Flamma uses language that is satisfactory. What the case of the people of Tyndaris is, about which he is anxious, I do not know: yet they are men whom I shall be glad to assist. The circumstances you mention appear to agitate our “last of five,” i especially the withdrawal of pub
1 That of Brutus, discussed in the morning's letter.
? Atticus had mentioned the fact of Antony's summoning the legions from Macedonia, left there by Cæsar. If that were true, Antony evidently meant to carry his views by force of arms, and the senate would have little say in this or any other matter.
3 The games which Iulius Cæsar had intended to be held on the 21st April (the Palilia) in celebration of his victories in Spain had been postponed, and were now about to be given by Octavius (Augustus). They had been intended to accompany the dedication of the completed temple of Venus Victrix begun after Pharsalia (App. B. C. ii. 102; Dio, 43, 2; 45, 6-7). Matius Calvinus and Postumius were two warm friends of the late dictator (see vol. ii., p. 350 ; vol. iii., p. 127 ; Suet. Aug. 10). At these games the comet was seen which some believed to be the soul of the dictator on its way to heaven (Suet. Iul. 88; Pliny, N. H. ii. & 93).
4 We know nothing of Saserna, except that Cicero speaks contemptu. ously of him as one of Antony's set in 13 Phil. § 28.
5 The subject of the first book of the Tusculans is “Is death an evil ?" 6 A city in Sicily.
? Hirtius. See p. 46.