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CCCXCIV (A X, 10)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
CUMAE, 3 MAY
How blind of me not to have seen this before! I send you Antony's letter. After I had written again and again to say that I was not entertaining any plans against Caesar, that I remembered my son-in-law, remembered our friendship, that, if I had been otherwise minded, I might have been with Pompey, but that, as I had to my disgust to move about accompanied by lictors, I wished to be away from Italy, but had not made up my mind even to that—see what an admonitory tone 1 he adopts in reply! “Your decision is perfectly right. For the man who wishes to be neutral remains in the country: he who leaves it appears to express a judgment on one side or the other. But it is not my duty to determine whether a particular person has the right to go or not. Caesar has assigned me my rôle, which is that I should not allow anyone at all to quit Italy. Therefore it matters little that I approve your idea in the present instance, since I have, nevertheless, no power to grant you any exemption. My opinion is that you should communicate with Caesar direct and ask his leave. I feel no doubt that you will obtain it, especially as you promise that you will take our friendship into consideration.” There is a Laconic despatch for you! 2 In any case I will wait for the man himself. He is to arrive on the 3rd, that is, today. Tomorrow, therefore, he will perhaps come to see me. I will test him: I will listen to what he has to say: I will declare loudly that I am in no hurry, that I will communicate with Caesar. I will lie perdu somewhere with the smallest number of attendants possible: at any rate, let these men be ever so reluctant to allow it, from this country I will wing my way, and oh that it might be to Curio! 3 Don't mistake what I say. Something worthy of me shall be effected. This is a new and heavy anxiety: I am much distressed by your strangury. Take medical advice, I beseech you, whilst it is in an early stage. I am delighted with your letter about the Massilians. 4 I beg you to let me know if you get any news. I should have liked to have Ocella with me, if I could manage it without any concealment; and I had extracted from Curio a promise that I should. Here I am waiting for Servius Sulpicius, for I am requested to do so by his wife and son, and I think it is necessary to see him. Antony, for his part, is carrying about Cytheris with him with his sedan open, as a second wife. 5 There are, besides, seven sedans in his train, containing friends female or male See in what disgraceful circumstances we are being done to death: and doubt, if you can, that if Caesar returns victorious, he will use the sword. For my part, I will withdraw myself in a cock-boat, if I can't get a ship, from their parricidal proceedings. But I shall know more when I have had my interview with him. Our young nephew I cannot help loving, but I see clearly that he does not love me. I never saw a case of such want of principle, of such aversion to his own relations, and of such brooding over mysterious designs. What an overpowering number of anxieties! But it will be my care, as it is now, to correct him. His natural abilities are admirable: it is his character that wants attention.


1 Antony, as propraetor in charge of Italy, was for the moment able to make things disagreeable for Cicero if he chose.

2 σκυτάλην Λακωνικήν, a staff round which the writing material was rolled, so arranged that it could not be read when unrolled.

3 To Sicily, on his way to Malta.

4 Who had closed their gates to Caesar, and were now being besieged by Caesar's officers, Dec. Brutus and Trebonius.

5 Antony was married to his cousin Antonia, whom he afterwards divorced. He did not marry Fulvia—who was at this time the wife of Curio—for at least four years afterwards. Cytheris was an actress, and is said by Servius (on Virgil, Eclog. x.) to have been the Lycoris of the poet Gallus. For Antony's intrigue with her see 2 Phil. 58, 77, where this description is repeated.

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