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B.C. 48. Coss., C. Iulius Caesar II., P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus.
There is a sudden pause in the correspondence after the letter of the 19th of May, B.C. 49, in which we find Cicero abandoning the passing idea of retirement to Malta—still waiting to be assured of Caesar's failure in Spain before taking the plunge and joining Pompey in Greece. The silence is only broken by the one letter to Terentia written on the 7th of June, the day on which he finally set sail. Something then had happened between 19th May and 7th June to finally determine him on taking this step: and it is not unreasonable to suppose that it was the news of Caesar's dangerous position behind the flooded river Segre, which prevented the arrival of his supplies; while his opponents in Spain, Afranius and Petreius, having command of the bridge at Ilerda, could supply themselves with necessaries. Caesar's difficulty did not last many days, but exaggerated reports of it reached Rome, and "Afranius's town house was thronged with visitors offering their congratulations; and many persons started from Italy to join Pompey, some that they might be the first to carry the good news, others to avoid the appearance of having wished to see how things would go and of coming last" (Caes. B.C. 1.53). Then follows another silence of six months. When we next take up the correspondence, in January, B.C. 48, we have a few short letters up to the middle of July from Pompey's quarters. Those from Cicero are almost wholly On private matters, with only very dark hints at the uneasiness and discontent which he felt at the state of things in Pompey's camp. Caelius had begun to regret his adhesion to Caesar, but Dolabella was still urging Cicero to retire from active participation in the war. Cicero appears to have given much umbrage to the Pompeians by his caustic criticisms on the management of the campaign and the conduct of his party generally (Plut. Cic. 38; Phil. 2.57). After the 15th of July there is another pause in the letters of nearly four months, and when it again opens the issue of the war had been settled at Pharsalia, and Cicero is in Brundisium on sufferance, having been invited or permitted by Caesar to return from Patrae—to which he had gone from the fleet at Corcyra—to Italy, not venturing yet to return to Rome. There he has to remain till late in September, B.C. 47, when Caesar's return from the Alexandrine and Asiatic wars at last relieved him from this quasi-exile. He met Caesar near Tarentum, who greeted him with warmth, and invited him to return to Rome and resume his position there (Plut. Cic. 39). It must have been a dreary time, and his letters, as usual, reflect his feelings, but with somewhat less exaggeration than do those of the exile. He was really in greater danger, and owed something to the forbearance of Antony as well as to that of Caesar (Phil. 2.5). He had besides the sorrow of finding that his brother Quintus and his nephew had not only hastened to give in their adhesion to Caesar, but had passionately denounced him to the conqueror.


I have received from you the sealed document conveyed by Anteros. I could gather nothing from it about my domestic affairs. What gives me the most painful anxiety about them is the fact that the man who has acted as my steward is not at Rome, nor do I know where in the wide world he is. My one hope of preserving my credit and property is in your most thoroughly proved kindness; and if ill this unhappy and desperate crisis you still maintain that, I shall have greater courage to endure these dangers which are shared with me by the rest of the party. I adjure and intreat you to do so. I have in Asia in cistophori 1 money amounting to 2,200,000 sesterces (about £17,600). By negotiating a bill of exchange for that sum you will have no difficulty in maintaining my credit. If indeed I had not thought that I was leaving that quite clear—in reliance on the man on whom you have long since known that I ought to have no reliance 2 —I should have stayed in Italy for some little time longer, and should not have left my finances embarrassed: and I have been the longer in writing to you because it was a long time before I understood what the danger to be feared was. I beg you again and again to undertake the protection of my interests in all respects, so that, supposing the men with whom I now am to survive, I may along with them remain solvent, and credit your kindness with my safety.

1 See vol. i., p.92. This was the coinage in circulation throughout Asia Minor. See Head, "Hist. Numm.," pp. 461 ff.

2 His wife's freedman, Philotimus. I have translated Mueller's text minime credere me debere.

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