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CLXXXIV (A V, 2)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
POMPEII, 10 MAY
On the 10th of May, the date of this letter, I am about to start from my Pompeian villa, intending to stay to-night with Pontius 1 in his villa near Trebula. After that I mean to make regular days' journeys without any farther delay. 2 While in my Cuman villa I was much gratified by a visit from our friend Hortensius. 3 When he asked me whether he could do anything for me, I answered in general terms about everything else ; but I begged him in particular to prevent, as far as in him lay, any extension of my provincial government. In this please confirm him, and tell him that I was much gratified by his visit, and by his promise to do this for me, and anything else I wanted besides. I have strongly urged the same on our friend Furnius, who, I see, will be a tribune for next year. 4 I had a kind of miniature Rome in my Cuman villa : there was such a crowd of people in the neighbourhood. 5 In the midst of all this our friend "Rufio," seeing that he was being watched by Vestorius, tricked that gentleman by a ruse de guerre. For he never came near me. "What!" you will say, "when Hortensius came, in spite of being in weak health and living at such a distance and being the great Hortensius, and such a crowd of people besides—do you mean to say that he didn't come? So you didn't see the fellow at all?" How could I help seeing him, when my road lay through the mart of Puteoli? There as he was, I presume, doing some business, I said "How d'ye do?" to him ; and on a later occasion I bade him good-bye when he came out of his own villa and asked me whether he could do anything for me. A man like that is one to reckon ungrateful? Doesn't he rather deserve Commendation for not exerting himself to get a hearing ? 6

But to return to my subject. Do not imagine that anything can console me for this gigantic bore, except the hope that it will not last longer than a year. Many will not believe me in this, because they judge from the habit of others. You, who know the truth, pray use every exertion ; I mean, when the time comes for the question to be mooted. As soon as you return from Epirus, I beg you to write about public affairs and tell me anything you may detect. For satisfactory intelligence has not reached as far as this as to how Caesar took the senatorial resolution being written out ; 7 and there was also a rumour about the Transpadani, that they had been bidden to elect quattuorviri. 8 If that is the case I fear some great disturbances. But I shall learn something from Pompey.


1 L. Pontius Aquila, who afterwards lost his life in the campaign at Mutina (B.C. 43). We shall find Cicero staying there again, as well as Terentia.

2 Cicero was going to Brundisium by the Appia, but both his visit to his Pompeian villa and this other to Pontius in the Trebulanus ager were considerable deviations from it, one to the south, the other to the north.

3 The last time Cicero ever saw his great rival in the law courts, with, as well as against, whom he had so often pleaded. Hortensius died just as Cicero was returning from Cilicia

4 That is, he would enter on his office 10th December of the present year, and so would have a voice in the senate as to the arrangements of the provinces.

5 April and May were the fashionable months, the season, for the Campanian coast.

6 Of this sort of episode, or jesting anecdote, it is difficult to see the point without fuller knowledge of the circumstances. We learn from Letter CCXXIII that C. Sempronius Rufus (whose name Cicero jestingly alters to the servile one of Rufio) had some controversy with Vestorius as to money which he owed him, or property which he held, as Vestorius alleged illegally. He therefore avoided any meeting, and Cicero hints laughingly that it was a kindness to him (Cicero), as it saved him from the necessity of hearing the case as arbitrator.

7 If a decree was passed in the senate but vetoed by a tribune, it was called not a senatus consultum, but an auctoritas ; if the senate determined to put their resolution on record, it was written out (perscripta), otherwise it dropped altogether. In Letter CCXXII there is a specimen of such an auctoritas This referred, like those we shall hear of later, to a resolution of the senate that Caesar should resign his province before standing for the consulship, moved by the consul Marcellus.

8 That is, that the towns north of the Padus should become municipia i.e., have the full Roman civitas, whereas they at present had only the ius Latii. This was the first measure carried by Caesar on his election to the consulship at the end of B.C. 49. Quattuorviri were the regular annual magistrates of a municipium, duoviri of a colonia.

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