previous next


BRUTUS is anxious for a letter from you. I told him about the Tereus of Accius, 1 though he had heard it before. He thought that it was the Brutus. But, after all, some whisper of a report had reached him that at the opening of the Greek games the attendance had been small, at which for one I was not surprised. For you know my opinion of Greek games. 2 But now listen to what is of more importance than everything else. Young Quintus stayed with me several days, and if I had wished it would have been quite willing to stay longer. But as far as his visit went you could hardly believe how much delighted I was with him in every particular, but especially in the point in which he used most to disappoint me. For he has become such an entirely changed man-partly by certain writings of mine on which I am now engaged, and partly by my constantly talking to him and impressing my maxims upon him—that he is really going to be all that I wish in politics. After having not only declared this to me, but also thoroughly convinced me of it, he implored me at great length to guarantee to you that he would in the future be worthy of you and of us. And he didn't ask you to believe this at once, but that you should only restore your affection to him when you had seen it with your own eyes. Had he not convinced me of this, and had I not made up my mind that what I am saying might be relied upon, I would not have done what I am going to tell you. I took the young man with me to see Brutus. The latter was so convinced of what I am telling you, that he took upon himself to believe in him independently, and would have none of me as guarantee. He praised him and spoke of you in the most friendly tone, and dismissed him with embraces and kisses. Wherefore, though I have more reason to congratulate you than to prefer any request to you, yet I do also request you that if there appeared to be certain irregularities in his conduct heretofore, owing to the weakness of youth, you should believe that he has now rid himself of them, and should trust me when I say that your influence will contribute much, or I should rather say more than anything else, to make his decision permanent. 3

Though I made frequent hints to Brutus about our sailing together, he didn't seem to catch at the suggestion as eagerly as I had expected. I thought him in an uneasy frame of mind, and indeed he was so-especially about the games. But when I had got back to my villa Gnaeus Lucceius, who sees a good deal of Brutus, told me that he was hesitating a great deal as to his departure, not from any change of policy, but because he was waiting to see if any-thing turned up. So I am doubting whether I shall direct my steps to Venusia and there wait to hear about the legions : 4 and if they do not come, as some expect—go on to Hydruntum: 5 but if neither port is safe-come back to where I am. Do you think I am joking? Upon my life you are the only tie that keeps me here. For take a careful view of the situation: but do it before I have cause to blush for my conduct. Ah! Lepidus's notice of his inauguration days is just like him, and just suits with my plan of return. 6 Your letter conveys a strong motive for my starting for Greece. And oh, that I might find you there! But it must be as you think most to your advantage. I am anxious for a letter from Nepos. Can he really want my books, when he thinks the subjects on which I plume myself not worth reading? Yes—as you say: “ in form and face
Ajax the flower of all the Grecian host
Next to the flawless son whom Thetis bore.
7 You are the "flawless" one—he is one of the "immortals." There is no collection of my letters in existence: but Tiro has something like seventy. Moreover, there are some to be got from you. I ought to look through and correct them. They shall not be published till I have done so. 8 Brundisium, at which latter Atticus warned him he might meet the legions of Antony. Neutrum, i.e., neither Brundisium nor Hydruntum.

1 Some exhibition of popular feeling at the acting of Accius's tragedy of Tereus (see p. 105). Cicero afterwards (Phil. 2.31) asserted that the populace had shewn extraordinary enthusiasm for Brutus at these games. But this was evidently not the case; and on the contrary the outbursts against the assassins seem finally to have decided them to leave Italy. See App. B.C. 3.24.

2 See vol. i., p. 259 (Fam. 7.1).

3 This favourable report is conveyed by Quintus himself. Cicero had already warned Atticus not to believe it. See last letter, and infra, p. 108.

4 Which Antony was brining over from Macedonia and Epirus, where they had been stationed by Caesar. Venusia is on the Appian road to Brundisium.

5 The nearest harbour in Calabria for Greece. Cicero had before (p. 8) said that he was going to embark there in preference to

6 M. Aemilius Lepidus (the future triumvir) had taken advantage of the confusion following the murder of Caesar to get himself elected Pontifex Maximus in his place. He had fixed his inauguration festival for the 29th of November (see p. 151), by which time Cicero meant to be back in Rome.

7 Odyssey, 11.469.The aptness of the quotation, of which he only gives two words (μετ᾽ ἀμύμονα), is not very evident. He appears to mean, "Cornelius Nepos is a very eminent and even immortal writer-next of course to you in my eyes." Nepos devoted himself to history, like Atticus, and didn't care for speculative philosophy.

8 This does not militate against the fact of the greater part of Cicero's letters being spontaneous and written with no eye to publication. A certain number of them are careful compositions, and it is a collection of such that he probably contemplated being published. He draws the distinction himself elsewhere (vol. iii., pp.58-59).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: