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DCCXL (A XV, 10)

WHAT an affectionate letter from Brutus! How unlucky for you that you are unable to go to see him! Yet, what am I to say? That they should accept the favour of that party? What could be more degrading? That they should attempt some move? They neither have the courage nor—as things are now—the power. Well, suppose they take my advice and do nothing. Who can guarantee their safety? For if any severe measure is taken as to Decimus, what kind of life will our heroes lead, even supposing no one actually attacks them? Again, not to preside at his own games, what could be a greater indignity? 1 To give them the duty of purchasing corn-isn't that a case of "Dion's embassy" ? 2 Is there a more menial office in the public service? Even advice in such a matter is absolutely dangerous to those who give it. However, I might neglect that consideration if I were only doing some good. But why put my foot in, if it is all for nothing? Since he is availing himself of his mother's 3 advice, not to say prayers, why should I put my oar in? Nevertheless, I will consider what style of letter to write. For hold my tongue I cannot. Therefore I will send a letter at once to Antium 4 or Circeii.

1 As praetor urbanus Brutus ought to have presided at the ludi Apollinares (about 12th July). As he did not venture to Rome, they were presided over by another praetor, Gaius Antonius. Cicero declares that the name of Brutus was loudly cheered (Phil. 2.31), but according to Appian (B.C. 3.24), this was not so, and indeed we shall fin in another letter that it was very questionable (Att. 16.4and 5).

2 This cura annonae was given them during their praetorship to enable them to absent themselves from Italy with a decent excuse; it did not affect the question of their provinces for the next year. It was not a dignified office like that of Pompey, who had authority all over the Empire, while they had it only in a narrow district. Cicero calls it a case of " Dion's legation," referring to the removal of Dion from Syracuse by the younger Dionysius under the pretence of sending him on an embassy to Peloponnesus.

3 Servilia.

4 Where Brutus and Cassius now were.

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