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I hope you are now as well as I could wish—for you were fasting owing to a slight indisposition: still, I should like to know how you are. 1 Among good signs is Calvena's annoyance at being an object of suspicion to Brutus. It will be a bad symptom if the legions come from Gaul with their ensigns. What think you as to those that were already in Spain—won't they make the same demands? As also those that Annius has taken across thither? I didn't mean Annius, I meant to say C. Asinius. 2 It was a slip of memory. A fine embroglio the Gambler 3 has brought about! For that conspiracy of Caesar's freedmen would have been easily put down, if Antony had had his wits about him. How foolishly scrupulous I was not to accept a free legation before the vacation! I didn't wish to appear to shirk this ferment: for if it had been possible for me to remedy it, I should certainly have been bound to stick to my post. But you see what sort of magistrates we have—if magistrates they are to be called. You see, after all, the tyrant's hangers—on in enjoyment of imperium, you see his armies, his veterans on our flank! All these are materials easily fanned into a flame. While the men who ought not merely to be hedged round, but to be protected by the watchful care of all the world, you see merely made the objects of commendation and affection, but confined within the walls of their houses. Yet they—whatever their position—are happy. It is the state that is wretched.

But I should like to know something about the arrival of Octavius. 4 Is there a great flocking to visit him, any suspicion of a coup on his part? I don't expect it myself: still I should like to know the truth whatever it is.

I write this to you on the point of starting from Astura, 11th of April.

1 We have heard once or twice before of some illnesses of Atticus, but Nepos says that he had no occasion for medicine for thirty years of his life. He seems, however, to have had a tendency to stomach disorders which he treated by fasting (Nep. Att. 21, 22).

2 That is, C. Asinius Pollio, now governor of Hispania Ulterior.

3 Aleatore. Cicero makes a good deal of Antony's gambling propensities in 2 Phil. §§ 35, 67. But the reading is doubtful. Mueller reads balneatore, in which case it may refer to the pseudo-Marius, the leader in these disorders (see vol. iii., p.256). They took the form of mass meetings round the column and altar set up by this man to mark the spot where Caesar's body was buried. Eventually Dolabella pulled it down and executed some of the most violent of the rioters (Phil. 1.5; Phil. 2.107; infra, pp.12, 13).

4 C. Octavius (the future Augustus) was at Apollonia in Epirus when the letter from his mother informed him of his great-uncle's death. The legions in the neighbourhood, that had wintered there to be ready for Caesar's expedition against the Getae, offered him their support. But he refused it and started for Italy with his friends. Cicero seems to think that he was already in Rome, but he did not go there for some weeks. He went to his mother and stepfather's Villa near Cumae, where he now is and where Cicero a little later met him. Cicero still calls him Octavius—not Octavianus—an indication that he was not (as some have maintained) adopted in his uncle's lifetime. After adoption his name is Gaius lulius Caesar Octavianus.

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