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[28] Pompey, while lying sick in Italy,1 wrote an artful letter to the Senate, praising Cæsar's exploits and also recounting his own from the beginning, saying that he had been invested with a third consulship, and with provinces and an army afterward, which he had not solicited, but had been called to serve the public weal. He added that the powers which he had accepted unwillingly he would gladly yield to those who wished to take them back, and would not wait the time fixed for their expiration. The artfulness of this communication consisted in showing the fairness of Pompey and in exciting prejudice against Cæsar, as though the latter was not willing to give up his command even at the appointed time. When Pompey came back to the city, he spoke to the senators in the same way and then, also, promised to lay down his command. As a friend and marriage connection of Cæsar he said that the latter would very cheerfully do the same, for his had been a long and laborious contest against very warlike peoples; he had added much to the Roman power and now he would come back to his honors and his sacrificings2 and take his rest. He said these things in order that successors to Cæsar might be sent at once, while he (Pompey) should merely stand on his promise. Curio exposed his artifice, saying that promises were not sufficient, and insisting that Pompey should lay down his command now and that Cæsar should not be disarmed until Pompey himself had returned to private life. On account of private enmity, he said, it would not be advisable either for Cæsar or for the Romans that such great authority should be held by one man. Rather should each of them have power against the other in case one should attempt violence against the commonwealth. Throwing off all disguise, he denounced Pompey unsparingly as one aiming at supreme power, and said that unless he would lay down his command now, when he had the fear of Cæsar before his eyes, he would never lay it down at all. He moved that, unless they both obeyed, both should be voted public enemies and military forces be levied against them. In this way he concealed the fact that he had been bought by Cæsar.

1 Cicero makes mention of this illness of Pompey in the Tusculan Disputations (i. 35).

2 θυσίας, " sacrificings." This refers, says Combes-Dounous, to Cæsar's duties as Pontifex Maximus, a life office, to which he had been chosen in his younger days.

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