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CCCLXXXVII (A X, 7)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
CUMAE (LATE IN APRIL)
YES, I quite approve of your staying in Apulia and Sipontum, and of your avoiding committing yourself; and I do not think your case is on all fours with mine. Not but that in regard to the constitution the right course is the same for us both—but there is now no question of the constitution. It is a contest of rival kings, in which the more moderate king, and the more virtuous and clean-handed of the two, has been defeated, the one, too, whose defeat involves the necessary destruction of the very name of the Roman people: while, if he does conquer, he will use his victory after the manner and precedent of Sulla. 1 Therefore in this quarrel you must not openly profess adherence to either side, and must wait on events. My position, however, is different, because, being under the bond of an obligation, I cannot shew myself ungrateful, and yet do not meditate being at the seat of war, but at Malta or some similar retired place. "Do you do nothing to help the man," you will say, "to whom you do not wish to be ungrateful?" Nay, I think he would perhaps have been glad if I had done less. But as to this we shall see. Let me only get out of the country, and I have a better opportunity of doing so now that Dolabella is on the Adriatic, Curio in the Sicilian straits. However, I have had a certain revival of hope from the fact that Servius Sulpicius wishes an interview with me. I have sent my freedman Philotimus with a letter to him: if he chooses to play the man, we shall have a notable tête-à-tête: otherwise ... I shall be the same as ever. Curio has been staying with me: his idea is that Caesar is in low water from having offended the multitude: and he was nervous about going to Sicily, if Pompey should begin naval operations.

I gave it to young Quintus when he returned! I perceive that it was a piece of avarice on his part, and a hope of a large bounty. This is a serious evil enough, but the crime which I feared I hope he did not commit. 2 However, I think you are convinced that this vice has not arisen from my indulgence, but from his natural disposition: still I will school and control him. As to the Oppii of Velia, please consult with Philotimus, and arrange as you think proper. I shall look on Epirus as at my service, but I seem destined to quite a different voyage.


1 That is, he will put to death the members of the popular party. Cicero has before expressed his horror of the violent language he bears is being used by Pompey's entourage. See, for instance, pp. 326, 334.

2 I. e., denouncing his uncle to Caesar.

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