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corn-isn't that a case of “Dion's embassy”?? Is there a more menial office in the public service? Even advice in such a matter is absolutely dangerous to those who give it. However, I might neglect that consideration if I were only doing some good. But why put my foot in, if it is all for nothing? Since he is availing himself of his mother's ? advice, not to say prayers, why should I put my oar in? Nevertheless, I will consider what style of letter to write. For hold my tongue I cannot. Therefore I will send a letter at once to Antium ' or Circeii.
DCCXLI (A XV, 10)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ANTIUM, 8 JUNE
I REACHED Antium on the 8th. Brutus was delighted at my arrival. Thereupon in the presence of a large partyServilia, dear Tertia, and Porcia-he asked me my opinion. Favonius was there too. I had thought over what to say as I was on the road, and now advised him to avail himself of the corn-purchasing office in Asia. I urged that all we could now do was to consult for his safety: that on him depended the defence of the constitution itself. I had just got well into my speech when Cassius came in. I repeated the same remarks. At this point Cassius with a determined
? This cura annone was given them during their prætorship to enable them to absent themselves from Italy with a decent excuse ; it did not affect the question of their provinces for the next year. It was not a dignified office like that of Pompey, who had authority all over the Empire, while they had it only in a narrow district. Cicero calls it a case of “ Dion's legation,” referring to the removal of Dion from Syracuse by the younger Dionysius under the pretence of sending him on an embassy to Peloponnesus. 2 Servilia.
3 Where Brutus and Cassius now were. Servilia, mother of Brutus; Tertia, his half-sister and wife of Cassius; Porcia, his second wife, recently married.
5 For this imitator of Cato, see vol. ii., p. 31 ; cp. vol. i., pp. 35, 188. 2 That is, Antony. See pp. 41, 48. 3 To Achaia, on his way to take possession of his province of Syria.
look in his eyes—you would have said he was breathing war-declared that “he would not go to Sicily. Was he to accept as a favour what was meant as an insult?” “What are you going to do then?” said I. He replied that he would go to Achaia. “And you, Brutus?” said I. “To Rome, if you think it right,” said he. “I don't think so at all,” said I, “for you will not be safe.” “ But if I could be there safely, would you think I ought to go ?” “Yes,” said I, “and that you should not go to a province either now or after your prætorship. But I do not advise your trusting yourself to the city.” Then I stated the reasons, which will doubtless occur to you, why he was not likely to be safe there. Then followed a long conversation in which they complained—and especially Cassiusthat opportunities had been let slip. They were especially hard upon Decimus. I said that they should not harp on the past, but I agreed with them all the same. When, however, I had begun discussing what ought to have been donemy topics were the old ones and such as are in everybody's mouth-without touching upon the question as to whether some one else ought to have been attacked," I said that the senate should have been summoned, the people already burning with excitement should have been still farther roused, that the whole government of the state should have been taken in hand by them. At that point your friend Servilia exclaims : “ That indeed I never heard anyoneHere I stopped her. But I not only think that Cassius will go, for Servilia promised to see that this corn-commissionership should be cut out of the senatorial decree, but Brutus also was quickly induced to give up that foolish talk of being determined to go to Rome. He accordingly settled that the games should be given in his name without his presence. He, however, appeared to me to wish to start for Asia from Antium. In short, I got no satisfaction from my journey except the consciousness of having done my duty. For it was impossible for me to allow him to quit Italy without my having had an interview with him. Barring
? Because he had used his forces in Gallia Cisalpina in wars with the natives instead of attacking Antony.
the discharge of this obligation of duty and affection, I could only ask myself:
“What doth thy journey here avail thee, seer?” In good truth I found a ship with timbers all started, or rather gone to pieces. No plan, no system, no method! Accordingly, though I had no doubt before, I am now more bent than ever to fly away”—and that at the first chance
“Where deeds and fame of the Pelopidæ
May greet my ears no more. But look here! Not to keep you in the dark, Dolabella named me his legatus on the 2nd of June. That announcement reached me yesterday evening. Even you did not approve of my having a "votive legation." And indeed it would have been absurd for me to be discharging the vows made in case of the constitution being maintained, after that constitution had been overthrown. Besides " free legations " have, I think, a fixed limit of time by the Julian law, and an addition is difficult to secure. The sort of legation I want is one that admits of my coming back or going out as I choose : and that is now secured to me.? Very pleasant too is the privilege of exercising this right for five years. Yet why think about five years? If I am not deceived the end is not far off. But absit omen.
1 See vol. iii., p. 100, etc.
2 Cicero was named an ordinary legatus to Dolabella as governor of Syria, though of course it was understood that he was to do no duties. A libera legatio did not attach a man to any particular governor, but on the other hand was limited in point of time. Cicero himself had carried a law in his consulship in regard to them.
3 The period for which Dolabella had the governorship apparently, for he was to carry on the Parthian war (Appian, B. C. iii. $$ 7, 8).
DCCXLII (A XV, 12)
ASTURA, 10 JUNE I AM glad to hear about Buthrotum. But I had sent Tiro, as you bade me, to Dolabella with a letter. What harm can it do? About our friends at Antium I think my last letter was sufficiently full and explicit. It must have convinced you that they intended to take no active step, but to avail themselves of Antony's insulting favour. Cassius would have nothing to do with the corn business. Servilia said that she would get it cut out of the senatorial decree.” Our friend Brutus, however, assumes very tragic airs and says-after agreeing with me that he cannot be safe at Rome —that he will start for Asia as soon as he has handed over the equipment for the games to those who are to hold them, for he prefers to give them, though he won't be present at them. He is collecting vessels. He is full of his voyage. Meanwhile they intend to stay where they are. Brutus indeed says that he will visit Astura. Lucius Antonius on his part writes to me in a courteous tone bidding me have no anxiety. I owe him one favour, perhaps I shall owe him another if he comes to my Tusculan house. What unendurable worries! Yet we do endure them after all. “Which of the Bruti (oh rightly named !) is to blame for this ? ” 4 In
1 The favourable decision of the consuls. See pp. 94-95. 2 The decree promoted by Antony seems to have had two provisions : (a) an indemnity to Brutus and Cassius for being absent from Rome during their prætorship; (6) an appointment to a curatio annonæ in Sicily and Asia. The compromise suggested by Servilia seems to have been that the first should be passed, but not the second, or if it named Sicily and Asia as the places to which they were authorized to go, that the purpose (the curatio annonæ) should not be mentioned.
3 Lucius Antonius was a tribune. He seems to have written to Cicero telling him that he need have no anxiety as to the rumoured intention of attacking his house at Tusculum. See p. 65.
• Cicero seems to be punning on the word brutus, " stupid," and to hesitate as to which of the two Bruti was most to blame for the present Octavianus,' as I have perceived, there is no little ability and spirit; and he seems likely to be as well disposed to our heroes as I could wish. But what confidence one can feel in a man of his age, name, inheritance, and upbringing may well give us pause. His stepfather, whom I have seen at Astura, thinks none at all. However, we must foster him and—if nothing else-keep him apart from Antony. Marcellus ? will be doing admirable service if he gives him good advice. Octavian seemed to me to be devoted to him : but he has no great confidence in Pansa and Hirtius. His disposition is good, if it does but last.
DCCXLIII (A XV, 16 a)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ASTURA, 11 JUNE
At length a letter-carrier from my son! And, by Hercules, a letter elegantly expressed, shewing in itself some progress. Others also give me excellent reports of him. Leonides, however, still sticks to his favourite "at present.' But Herodes speaks in the highest terms of him. In short, I am glad even to be deceived in this matter, and am not sorry to be credulous. Pray let me know if Statius has written to you anything of importance to me.
situation-Marcus for refusing to include Antony in the assassination, or Decimus for not using the troops which he possessed as governor of Cisalpine Gaul against Antony.
1 This is the first time that Cicero gives the young Augustus the name which acknowledges his adoption by Cæsar's will. Though the full formalities were not carried out for another year, he was by that adoption Gaius Iulius Cæsar Octavianus (instead of Octavius).
2 Husband of Octavia, Octavian's sister. Consul B.C. 49. 3 The text is corrupt.
4 See p. 32.