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here. The general result is that the two books are shewn
to be part of one book, the ninth, of a much The genuineness larger collection once existing ; that those in M. Brutum.
Book II. should precede those in Book I.;
and that the evidence is in favour of the genuineness of all the letters except I. 16, 17 (pp. 243-252). Even of these the Dublin editors think that the evidence in their favour is on the whole stronger than that against them. The MS. authority of these two letters is not different from that for the rest of the book, but I believe that there are many points both of style and historical allusion that would strike a reader of the correspondence as suspicious. The letter to Cicero is worse than that to Atticus both in substance and in style, but neither is worthy of the reputation of Brutus. We unfortunately do not know the details of Cicero's dealings with Octavian well enough to pronounce with certainty that he did not write to him in the tone to which Brutus objects. But we do know that the senate -acting under Cicero's influence—in their vote of honours to the army rather studiously ignored Octavian's services, and rejected the mission of Salvidienus when he asked for the consulship for him. If Cicero was at the same time writing in flattering terms to him and proposing an ovation, he was playing a very treacherous and very dangerous game. Therefore if Letters I. 16, 17 are to be put aside as later compositions, we should be glad to think that I. 15 (pp. 318-324) must follow in the same road : and the panegyric on Messalla—so premature, and so likely to be inserted afterwards—makes the spuriousness at any rate of part of the letter highly probable. There seems to be a kind of fashion in criticism. Forty or fifty years ago there was a tendency to throw doubt on the genuineness of ancient writings with a kind of triumphant scepticism; now the pendulum has swung back-for the most part happily so—and the impulse is to defend everything. Neither fashion is wholly in the right.
? App. B. C. iii. 74, 86.
DCXCVI (F VI, 15)
TO L. MINUCIUS BASILUS? (? ON THE
ROME (15 MARCH, B.C. 44)
CONGRATULATE you! For myself I am rejoiced! I
love you : I watch over your interests: I desire to be loved by you and to be informed of how you are, and what is being done.
DCXCVII (F VI. I)
DECIMUS BRUTUS TO M. BRUTUS AND
C. CASSIUS (ON THE CAPITOL)
ROME, 17 MARCH
I WRITE to let you know our position. Yesterday evening Hirtius called on me, and told me about the disposition of Antony. It is of course as bad and untrustworthy as
? One of the assassins, who struck so wildly that he wounded Rubrius (Nic. Dam. C. 24). He was murdered early in the next year by his own slaves in retaliation for a barbarous punishment inflicted on some of them (Appian, B. C. iii. 98). The note is no doubt written immediately after the assassination; though there is no direct evidence of it, nor do we know anything of Cicero's relations with Basilus to explain why he is selected for congratulation out of all the conspirators. He is only once mentioned before (vol. iii., p. 13), where it appears that he had been inclined to befriend Cicero after Pharsalia, but Cicero only com: missions Atticus to send him a formal letter in his name.
possible. For he said that he could not give me my province, and did not think that it was safe for any of us to remain in Rome, considering the extreme irritation of the soldiery and the common people. I think you are aware that both these allegations are false, and that the truth is what Hirtius affirmed, namely, that Antony is afraid that, if we got even a moderate assistance in support of our position, there would be no part left for them to play in the state. Being in these straits I determined to demand a free legation for myself and the rest of us, in order to obtain a decent excuse for leaving the city. He promised that he would procure it, but I don't feel sure that he will do so; for people are so unreasonable and the set against us is so strong. Even if they granted our request, I yet think that before long we should be declared public enemies and forbidden water and fire.
“What, then,” you say, "is your advice?” We must yield to fortune: we must quit Italy I think, and retire to Rhodes? or some place or other in the world. If any improvement occurs we will return to Rome.
If things go only fairly well we will live in exile; if the worst comes to the worst, we will have recourse to extreme measures in our support. Perhaps it will here occur to one of you—why should we wait for the worst, rather than make some attempt at once? Because we have no one to depend upon for safety except Sextus Pompeius and Cæcilius Bassus,* who I think are likely to be still more determined when they hear the news about Cæsar. It will be soon enough for us to join . them when we know their strength. If you wish me to give any undertaking for Cassius and yourself, I will give it: for Hirtius demands that I should do so. I beg you to answer this letter as promptly as possible--for I have no doubt that Hirtius will inform me on these points before ten o'clock
See p. 26, and vol. i., p. 110, note. 2 Rhodes was a libera civitas, and had the right of receiving exiles (ius exilii).
3 That is, take up arms against the government.
• Sext. Pompeius had a large fleet in Sicily and neighbouring islands. Cecilius Bassus was in arms in Syria (see vol. iii., p. 335). Both were at present in a position independent of either party in the state.
i That is, as to the libera legatio and the guard.
-and tell me where we can meet and to what place you wish me to come. After
last conversation with Hirtius I decided to ask that we should be allowed to remain at Rome under the protection of a state guard. I don't think they will concede that; for we shall be casting a grave slur upon them. However, I thought I must not omit to make any demand which I considered equitable.
DCXCVIII (F VI, 16)
AULUS POMPEIUS BITHYNICUS' TO CICERO
IF I had not personally many valid causes for friendship with you, I would have referred to the origin of that friendship which began with our fathers. But that is, I think, only to be done by those who have not kept up a paternal friendship by any good offices themselves. I shall be content therefore with our own personal friendship, in reliance on which I beg you to protect me in my absence, with the assurance that no kindness on your part will ever fade from my mind. Good-bye.
? Prætor of Sicily, and a partisan of Cæsar. He seems to think that Cæsar's death may put him in a dangerous position, in which Cicero may be of use to him. See Cicero's answer, Letter DCCVIII., p. 14.
DCXCIX (F XV, 20)
TO GAIUS TREBONIUS (ON HIS WAY TO ASIA)
(ROME OR TUSCULUM (?), APRIL)
My ORATOR—for that is the title I have given it—I have handed to your Sabine servant. His nationality made me think that he was a proper person to whom to give it : unless he too has availed himself of the licence of candidates : and has suddenly adopted this surname. However, the modesty of his look and the gravity of his conversation seemed to me to smack somewhat of Cures. But enough about Sabinus.
Since at your departure, my dear Trebonius, while wishing to aid me to bear with greater patience my warm regret for your absence, you only poured a good deal of oil on the fire of my love for you, pray bombard me with frequent letters on the understanding that I will do the same to you. There are, however, two reasons why you should be more regular in performing that service than myself: First, that in old days those remaining at Rome were accustomed to write on public affairs to their friends in the provinces; whereas you ate now bound to write to us : for the Republic is there. Secondly, because I have the opportunity of serving you during your absence in other ways, while I do not see how you can do that for me except by letters. But you must write on other matters to me afterwards; at present the first thing I desire to know is what sort of journey you are having; where you have seen our friend Brutus, how long you have been together. Presently, when you have got farther on your way, you must write to me about military affairs, and the whole business, that I may know how we
? Cicero is referring to the primitive manners and morals of the Sabines -often celebrated by Horace. The reference to the possible assumption of a name after the manner of candidates is believed to refer to Ventidius Bassus having done so in his canvass this year for the prætorship.