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DCCXLI (A XV, 10 (2))

I reached Antium on the 8th. Brutus was delighted at my arrival. Thereupon in the presence of a large party-Servilia, dear Tertia, and Porcia 1 —he asked me my opinion. Favonius 2 was there too. I had thought over what to say as I was on the road, and now advised him to avail himself of the corn-purchasing office in Asia. I urged that all we could now do was to consult for his safety: that on him depended the defence of the constitution itself. I had just got well into my speech when Cassius came in. I repeated the same remarks. At this point Cassius with a determined look in his eyes-you would have said he was breathing war-declared that "he would not go to Sicily. Was he to accept as a favour what was meant as an insult?" "What are you going to do then?" said I. He replied that he would go to Achaia. "And you, Brutus?" said I. "To Rome, if you think it right," said he. "I don't think so at all," said I, "for you will not be safe." "But if I could be there safely, would you think I ought to go?" "Yes," said I, "and that you should not go to a province either now or after your praetorship. But I do not advise your trusting yourself to the city." Then I stated the reasons, which will doubtless occur to you, why he was not likely to be safe there. Then followed a long conversation in which they complained—and especially Cassius—that opportunities had been let slip. They were especially hard upon Decimus. 3 I said that they should not harp on the past, but I agreed with them all the same. When, however, I had begun discussing what ought to have been done—my topics were the old ones and such as are in everybody's mouth-without touching upon the question as to whether some one else ought to have been attacked, 4 I said that the senate should have been summoned, the people already burning with excitement should have been still farther roused, that the whole government of the state should have been taken in hand by them. At that point your friend Servilia exclaims: "That indeed I never heard anyone—" Here I stopped her. But I not only think that Cassius will go, 5 for Servilia promised to see that this corn-commissionership should be cut out of the senatorial decree, but Brutus also was quickly induced to give up that foolish talk of being determined to go to Rome. He accordingly settled that the games should be given in his name without his presence. He, however, appeared to me to wish to start for Asia from Antium. In short, I got no satisfaction from my journey except the consciousness of having done my duty. For it was impossible for me to allow him to quit Italy without my having had an interview with him. Barring the discharge of this obligation of duty and affection, I could only ask myself: “What doth thy journey here avail thee, seer?” In good truth I found a ship with timbers all started, or rather gone to pieces. No plan, no system, no method! Accordingly, though I had no doubt before, I am now more bent than ever "to fly away"—and that at the first chance— “ Where deeds and fame of the Pelopidae
May greet my ears no more.
6 But look here! Not to keep you in the dark, Dolabella named me his legatus on the 2nd of June. That announcement reached me yesterday evening. Even you did not approve of my having a "votive legation." And indeed it would have been absurd for me to be discharging the vows made in case of the constitution being maintained, after that constitution had been overthrown. Besides "free legations" have, I think, a fixed limit of time by the Julian law, and an addition is difficult to secure. The sort of legation I want is one that admits of my coming back or going out as I choose: and that is now secured to me. 7 Very pleasant too is the privilege of exercising this right for five years. 8 Yet why think about five years? If I am not deceived the end is not far off. But absit omen.

1 Servilia, mother of Brutus; Tertia, his half-sister and wife of Cassius; Porcia, his second wife, recently married.

2 For this imitator of Cato, see vol. ii., p.31 ; cp. vol. i., pp.35, 188.

3 Because he had used his forces in Gallia Cisalpina in wars with the natives instead of attacking Antony.

4 That is, Antony. See pp. 41, 48.

5 To Achaia, on his way to take possession of his province of Syria.

6 See vol. iii., p.100, etc.

7 Cicero was named an ordinary legatus to Dolabella as governor of Syria, though of course it was understood that he was to do no duties. A libera legatio did not attach a man to any particular governor, but on the other hand was limited in point of time. Cicero himself had carried a law in his consulship in regard to them.

8 The period for which Dolabella had the governorship apparently, for he was to carry on the Parthian war (Appian, B.C. 3.7, 8).

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