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DCCXCIV (A XVI, 8)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, 2 NOVEMBER
When I know what day I am coming to town I will let you know. I must expect some hindrances, and there is illness among my household. On the evening of the 1st I got a letter from Octavian. He is entering upon a serious undertaking. He has won over to his views all the veterans at Casilinum and Calatia. And no wonder: he gives a bounty of 500 denarii apiece. Clearly, his view is a war with Antony under his leadership. So I perceive that before many days are over we shall be in arms. But whom are we to follow? Consider his name, consider his age! 1 Again, to begin with, he demands a secret interview with me, at Capua of all places! It is really quite childish if he supposes that it can be kept private. I have written to explain to him that it is neither necessary nor practicable. He sent a certain Caecina of Volaterrae 2 to me, an intimate friend of his own, who brought me the news that Antony was on his way towards the city with the legion Alauda, was imposing a money contribution on the municipal towns, and was marching at the head of the legion with colours flying. He wanted my opinion whether he should start for Rome with his army of 3,000 veterans, or should hold Capua, and so intercept Antony's advance, or should join the three Macedonian legions now sailing by the Mare Superum, which he hopes are devoted to himself. They refused to accept a bounty offered them by Antony, as my informant at least says. They even used grossly insulting language to him, and moved off when he attempted to address them. In short, Octavian offers himself as our military leader, and thinks that our right policy is to stand by him. On my part I advised his making for Rome. For I think that he will have not only the city mob, but, if he can impress them with confidence, the loyalists also on his side. Oh, Brutus, where are you? What an opportunity you are losing I For my part I did not foresee this, but I thought that something of the sort would happen. Now, I desire to have your advice. Shall I come to Rome or stay on here? Or am I to fly to Arpinum? There is a sense of security about that place! My opinion is—Rome, lest my absence should be remarked, if people think that a blow has been struck. Unravel this difficulty. I was never in greater perplexity.


1 Augustus was born in September, B.C. 63, and was therefore now nineteen. In the Monumentum Ancyranum, § I, he begins the record of his achievements thus: "When nineteen years old I collected an army on my own account and at my own expense, by means of which I restored to liberty the Republic, which had been enslaved by the tyranny of a faction." By a "faction" Augustus here means, however, the anti-Caesarian aristocrats. At this time Cicero hoped that this army was to be used in their interests as against Antony's, though, as we see, he had uneasy doubts about it.

2 Of the Caecinae of Volaterrae. See vol. iii., p.123.

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