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CDXXIX (A XI, 16)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
BRUNDISIUM, 3 JUNE
IT is by no fault of mine this time—for I did commit an error formerly—that the letter you forward brings me no consolation. For it is written in a grudging spirit, and gives rise to strong suspicions of not really being from Caesar, suspicions which I think have occurred to yourself. About going to meet him I will do as you advise. The fact is that there is no belief prevalent as to his coming, nor do those who arrive from Asia say that anything has been heard about a peace, the hope of which caused me to fall into this trap. I see no reason for entertaining hopes, especially in the present circumstances, when such disaster has been sustained in Asia, in Illyricum, in the Cassius affair, in Alexandria itself, in the city, in Italy. 1 In my opinion, even if he is going to return (he is said to be still engaged in war) the business will be all settled before his return.

You say that a certain feeling of exultation on the part of the loyalists was roused on hearing of the receipt of this letter: you of course omit nothing in which you think that there is any consolation; but I cannot be induced to believe that any loyalist could think that any salvation has been of such value in my eyes, as to make me ask it of Caesar—much less should I be likely to do so now that I have not a single partner even in this policy. 2 Those in Asia are waiting to see how things turn out. Those in Achaia also keep dangling before Fufius the hope that they will petition for pardon. These men had at first the same reason for fear as I had, and the same policy. The check at Alexandria has improved their position, it has ruined mine. 3 Wherefore I now make the same request to you as in my previous letter, that, if you can see in the midst of this desperate state of things what you think I ought to do, you would tell me of it. Supposing me to be received back by this party, 4 which you see is not the case, yet, as long as there is war, I cannot think what to do or where to stay: still less, if I am rejected by them. Accordingly, I am anxious for a letter from you, and beg you to write to me without hesitation.

You advise me to write to Quintus about this letter of Caesar's: I would have done so, if it had been in any way one agreeable to me; although I have received a letter from a certain person in these words: "Considering the evil state of things, I am pretty comfortable at Patrae: I should be still more so, if your brother spoke of you in terms suited to my feelings." You say that Quintus writes you word that I never answer his letters. I have only had one from him; to that I gave an answer to Cephalio, who, however, was kept back several months by bad weather. I have already told you that the young Quintus has written to me in the most offensive terms.

The last thing I have to say is to beg you, if you think it a right thing to do and what you can undertake, to communicate with Camillus and make a joint representation to Terentia about making a will. The state of the times is a warning to her to take measures for satisfying all just claims upon her. Philotimus tells me that she is acting in an unprincipled way. 5 I can scarcely believe it, but at any rate, if there is anything that can be done, measures should be taken in time. Pray write to me on every sort of subject, and especially what you think about her, in regard to whom I need your advice, even though you fail to hit upon any plan: I shall take that to mean that the case is desperate.

3 June.


1 The various points are here enumerated in which things had gone against Caesar's interests, and therefore in favour of the ultimate triumph of the Pompeian party in Africa. They are: (I) the defeat of Domitius Calvinus by Pharnaces in Asia; (2) the failure of Aulus Gabinius in Illyricum (App. Illyr. § 12); (3) the insurrection in Baetica which had forced Q. Cassius to quit the province (he was drowned on the voyage home); (4) the difficulties Caesar himself had met with at Alexandria; (5) the troubles in the city caused by the contest between the tribunes Trebellius and Dolabella; (6) the mutinous conduct of the legions in Italy. What Cicero did not know was the completeness with which Caesar had overcome his difficulties in Egypt; nor could he foresee the rapidity with which he was to put down the war in Asia, for which he was on the point of starting. The troubles in Italy and Rome disappeared at once on his arrival, and in the next year (B.C. 46) the victory of Thapsus finally crushed the hopes of the Pompeians in Africa. The trouble in Baetica hung on for another year, and indeed lasted long after his death.

2 Decimus Laelius appears to have returned in some way to his old Pompeian friends.

3 Because neither those in Asia nor those in Achaia had as yet taken the final step of reconciling themselves to Caesar, and yet would be able to do so, if necessary, as not having crossed to the Pompeians in Africa; whereas Cicero, by coming to Italy, had definitely separated himself from the Pompeians, and, if Caesar failed, would suffer their vengeance. The others were safe in either event; he in neither, as he could not trust Caesar, and yet was lost if Caesar failed.

4 All the commentators explain this to mean the Caesarians, but I think it more likely that Cicero means the Pompeians, who just now are in high hopes. "Even suppose they would admit me as one of themselves again—which they don't-yet (being resolved against active war) where am I to go? I can't go to Africa, where there will be war, or stay here if they come in arms." He has used the same word (recipere) in the previous letters of the taking back by the Pompeians of those who deserted the fleet and went to Achaia or Asia.

5 Philotimus was the freedman of Terentia, whose transactions in regard to Milo's property Cicero thought so suspicious. That he should now be listening to tales against his wife from this man shews how much the alienation had already grown. Cicero is anxious that she should make proper provision for her children.

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