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DCCXXIV (A XIV, 20)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, II MAY
From Pompeii I came by boat to the hospitable house of my friend Lucullus on the 10th, about nine o'clock in the morning. On disembarking I received your letter which your letter-Carrier is said to have taken to my house at Cumae, dated the 7th of May. Next day, leaving Lucullus, I arrived at my house at Puteoli about the same hour. There I found two letters from you, one dated the 7th, the other the 9th. So now take my answer to all three.

First, thank you for what you have done on my behalf both as to the payment and the business with Albius. Next, as to your Buthrotum. When I was at my Pompeian villa, Antony came to Misenum: but left it for Samnium before I heard of his arrival. You must not build too much hope on him. Accordingly, I shall have to see to Buthrotum at Rome. L. Antonius's 1 speech-shocking! Dolabella's-famous! By all means let him keep his money, so long as he pays on the Ides. I am sorry for dear Tertia's 2 miscarriage: we want as many Cassii produced as Bruti. I wish it may be true about the Queen and that Caesar of hers. 3

I have answered your first letter: I now Come to your second. I will see to the Quinti and Buthrotum when I come, as you say. Thank you for supplying my son. You think me mistaken in my idea that the constitution depends on Brutus. The truth is that it will all go or will be saved by him and his friends. You urge me to send you a written copy of a speech to the people. Well, here, my dear Atticus, you may take it from me as a general maxim applicable to the affairs in which we have had a fairly wide experience—no one ,whether poet or orator, ever yet thought anyone else better than himself This is the case even with bad ones. What can you expect of the brilliant and accomplished Brutus. I had actual experience of him recently in the matter of the edict. 4 I drafted one on your request. I liked mine, he his. Nay, more, when in answer to what I may almost call his en treaties I had dedicated my book "On the best Style of Oratory" to him, he wrote not only to me, but to you also, to say that he did not agree with my choice of style. Wherefore, pray, let each man write for himself: “ Each man has the best of wives:
So have I.
That you have a sweeter love, I deny.

It is not well put, for it is by Atilius, 5 the most wooden of poets. And I only hope he may be allowed to deliver a speech at all! If he can but shew himself in the city with safety, it will be a triumph for us. For if he sets up as a leader in a new civil war, no one will follow him, or only such as can be easily beaten.

Now for your third letter. I am glad that Brutus and Cassius liked my letter. Accordingly, I have written back to them. They want Hirtius made a better citizen by my influence. Well, I am doing my best, and his language is very satisfactory, but he passes his time and almost shares houses with Balbus, who also uses loyalist language. What to believe of that I must leave you to determine. I see that you are much pleased with Dolabella; I am eminently so. I saw a good deal of Pansa at Pompeii. He quite convinced me of the soundness of his views and his desire for peace. I can see plainly that a pretext for war is being sought. I quite approve of the edict of Brutus and Cassius. You wish me to turn over in my mind what course I think they ought to take. We must adapt our plans to circumstances, which you see change every hour. Dolabella seems to me to have done a great deal of good both by that first move of his and by this speech against Antonius. Certainly there is progress. Now, too, we seem likely to have a leader; which is the one thing the country towns and loyal citizens want. Do you allude to Epicurus and venture to quote: "Engage not in politics "? Does not the frown of our Brutus warn you off from such talk? The younger Quintus, as you say, is Antony's right hand. By his means, therefore, we shall get what we want. I am anxious to hear, in case Lucius Antonius has introduced Octavius to a public meeting, as you think he will, what kind of speech he has made. I can add no more, for Cassius's letter-carrier is just about to start. I am going directly to call on Pilia; thence to dinner with Vestorius 6 by boat. Best love to Attica.


1 Brother of Marcus Antonius. He was tribune this year, and had been speaking about a distribution of land.

2 Tertia half-sister of Brutus, and wife of Cassius. She was daughter of Servilia by D. Iunius Silanus. Another sister was married to Lepidus.

3 Some report of harm having happened to Cleopatra. The son called Caesarion (Suet. Aug. 17) was believed to be Caesar's, though Caesar himself is said to have denied it, and his friend C. Oppius published a pamphlet to disprove it. Suetonius (Iul.52) says that Caesar granted Cleopatra permission to call the boy after him as a favour. And Plutarch (Caes. 49) attributes the assertion to thecommon talk of Alexandria. Antony always maintained it however, even in his will (Dio 49, 4; 50, 3).

4 Atticus had suggested Cicero sending a draft of a contio for Brutus to deliver Cicero replies that Brutus would prefer to compose his own, as he did in the case of an edict, of which Cicero had supplied a sketch. See Letter DCCXXXVII, p.64.

5 A translator of tragedies and comedies. See de Fin. 1.2, where Cicero, speaking of his translation of the Electra of Sophocles, calls him a ferreus poeta, "stiff."

6 The banker at Puteoli.

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