CCLV (A VI, 2)
TO ATTICUS (IN EPIRUS)YOUR freedman Philogenes having come to call on me at Laodicea, and telling me that he was on the point of setting sail to join you, I intrust him with this letter, in answer to the one which I received by Brutus's letter-carrier. And first I will answer your last page, which gave me great uneasiness —that is, the account sent you by Cincius of his conversation with Statius, in which what annoyed me most was Statius saying that the plan had my approbation. 1 Approbation, indeed! I need say no more than this: I wish the bonds uniting our close friendship to be as numerous as possible, though none can be so close as those of personal affection. So far am I from wishing that any one tie between us should be relaxed. He, 2 however, I have often found by actual experience, is accustomed to speak with some asperity on the subjects you mention, and I have also often succeeded in pacifying his anger. That I think you know. In the course of our recent progress, or campaign, if I may call it so, I have often seen him fly into a rage, and often calm down again. What he has written to Statius I don't know. Whatever he meant to do in such a matter, he certainly ought not to have written to a freedman. I will take the greatest care to prevent anything occurring contrary to our wishes and to what is proper. And in a case of this kind it is not enough that each should answer for himself: for instance, the most important róle in the kindly work of this reconciliation is that of the boy, or young man, I should say, Quintus: and this I am in the habit of impressing upon him. He seems to me, indeed, to be strongly attached to his mother, as he ought to be, and wonderfully so to you. But the boy's character, though certainly a lofty one, has yet many complications, and gives me enough to do to guide it. Having thus in my first answered your last page, I will now return to your first. That all the Peloponnesian states possessed a seaboard is a fact that I accepted on the authority of the maps of Dicaearchus, 3 a respectable writer, and one who has even received your approbation. In his account of Trophonius—put into the mouth of Chaeron—he criticises the Greeks on many accounts for their persistent clinging to the sea, and he does not except any place in the Peloponnesus. Though I thought well of him as an authority—for he was a most careful inquirer, 4 and had lived in Peloponnesus—I was yet surprised at the statement, and feeling scarcely convinced of its truth, consulted Dionysius. 5 He was at first taken aback; but presently, as he thought no less well of Dicaearchus, than you do of C. Vestorius, and I of M. Cluvius, 6 entertained no doubt that we should believe him. His conclusion was that Arcadia had a seaport called Lepreon; while Tenea, Aliphera, and Tritia he thought were more recent foundations; and that view he backed up by Homer's "Catalogue of the Ships," where there is no mention of them. Accordingly, I translated that passage from Dicaearchus word for word. I know the form usually employed is "Phliasii," and so take care to have it in your copies: that is the form I now have in mine. But at first I was deceived by the analogy of Ὀποῦς Π̓ούντιοι, Σίπους Σιπούντιοι (so Φλιοῦς Φλιούντιοι Phliuntii), but I have at once corrected this. I see that you rejoice at my equitable and disinterested administration: you would have done so still more, if you had been here. Why, in these very sessions which I have been holding at Laodicea from the 13th of February to the Ist of May for all the dioceses except that of Cilicia, I have effected astonishing results. A great number of states have been entirely released from debt, and many very sensibly relieved: all have enjoyed their own laws, and with this attainment of autonomy have quite revived. I have given them the opportunity of freeing themselves from debt, or lightening their burdens, in two ways: first, in the fact that no expense has been imposed upon them during my government—and when I say "no expense" I do not speak hyperbolically, but I mean none, not a farthing. It is almost incredible how this fact has helped them to escape from their difficulties. The other way is this. There was an astonishing amount of peculation in the states committed by the Greeks themselves—I mean their own magistrates. I personally questioned those who had been in office in the course of the last ten years. They openly confessed it: and accordingly, without being punished by any mark of disgrace, repaid the sums of money to the communities out of their own pockets. The consequence is that, whereas the communities had paid the publicani nothing for the present quinquennium, they have now, without any signs of distress, paid them the arrears of the last quinquennium also. So I am the apple of their eye to the publicani—" A grateful set," quoth you. Yes, I have found it so. The rest of my administration of justice has not been without skill, while its lenity has been enhanced by a marvellous courtesy. The ease with which I have admitted men to my presence is a new thing in the provinces. I don't employ a chamberlain. Before daybreak I walk up and down in my house, as I used to do in old times as a candidate. This is very popular and a great convenience, nor have I found it as yet fatiguing to me, being an old campaigner in that respect. On the 15th of May I am thinking of going to Cilicia: having spent the month of June there—-pray heaven, in peace! for a serious war on the part of the Parthians is threatening—I mean to devote July to my return journey. For my year of service is finished on the 3oth of July: and I am in 'great hopes that there will be no extension of my time. I have the city gazette up to the 15 of March, from which I gather that, owing to the persistence of my friend Curio, every kind of business is coming on rather than that of assigning the provinces. 7 Therefore, as I hope, I shall see you before long. I now come to your friend Brutus, or rather our friend, since you will have it so. Indeed, I have on my side done everything that I could accomplish in my province, or attempt in Cappadocia. Thus I have urged the king in every possible way, and continue to do so, that is to say, by letter—for I have only had him with me three or four days, and in the midst of political troubles, from which I relieved him. But, alike in our personal interviews, and afterwards by very frequent letters, I have never ceased begging and beseeching him for my sake, and advising him for his own. I have had considerable effect, but how much I do not, at this distance from him, know for certain. The Salaminians, however—for upon them I could put pressure —I have brought to consent to pay the entire debt to Scaptius, but with interest calculated at one per cent. per month, and not added to the capital each month, but only at the end of each year. The money was actually paid down: Scaptius would not take it. What do you mean, then, by saying that Brutus is willing to lose some-thing? He had forty-eight per cent. in his bond. It could not be paid, nor, if it could, could I have allowed it. I hear, after all, that Scaptius repents his refusal. For as to the decree of the senate which he quoted—" that the money should be recoverable on the bond "—its intention was to cover the case of the Salaminians having borrowed money contrary to the lex Gabinia. For Aulus's law forbade the recovery of money so borrowed. The senate accordingly decreed that it should be recoverable on that particular bond. Now this bond has exactly the same validity as all other bonds, not a bit more. 8 I think Brutus will acknowledge that my conduct has been quite regular and correct. I don't know about you, Cato certainly will. But now I return to yourself. Do you really, Atticus, mean to say— you, the panegyrist of my integrity and punctilious honour—"do you venture out of your own mouth" (to quote Ennius) to ask me to give Scaptius cavalry to help him to exact the money? Would you, if you were with me—and you say in your letter that you are sometimes sore at heart to think that you are not with me—would you have suffered me to do so, even if I had wished it? "Not more than fifty," you say. There were fewer than that with Spartacus at first. 9 What misery would they not have inflicted in so weak an island? "They would not have done it," do you say? Nay, what did they not do before my arrival? They kept the Salaminian senators shut up in their chamber for so many days, that some of them died of hunger. For Scaptius was a praefectus of Appius, and Appius allowed him some squadrons. Well, then, do you ask me— you, whose face, by heaven! is ever before my eyes when I think of duty and honour—do you, I say, ask me to allow Scaptius to be praefectus of mine? To let alone the fact that I had resolved that no man in business should be one, and with Brutus's approval of the rule—is such a fellow as that to have squadrons? Why rather than cohorts of the legions? Oh, Scaptius is spending his money, and is now cutting a great figure! The chief men of Salamis, says he, wish it. I know all about that: for they came to see me even at Ephesus, and with tears in their eyes told me of the abominable conduct of the cavalry and of their own miseries. Accordingly, I at once sent a letter ordering the cavalry to quit Cyprus by a fixed day, and for that, among other reasons, the Salaminians have praised me to the skies in their decrees. But where was the need of cavalry? The Salaminians offer payment—unless, by heaven, we choose to use armed force to compel the payment of forty-eight per cent. interest! And shall I ever dare to read or even to touch those books again which you compliment so highly, 10 if I have committed such an act as that? You have indulged your affection for Brutus too far in this, too far I repeat, my dearest Atticus. Perhaps I have not done so enough: and so I have told Brutus that you have written in this sense to me. Now for the rest. I do all I can here for Appius, yet only so far as my duty allows, though with a right good will. For I don't dislike him, while to Brutus I am warmly attached, and Pompey is surprisingly urgent, of whom, by heaven, I grow fonder and fonder every day. You have heard that C. Caelius is coming here as quaestor. I don't know what it is, but I don't like that business of Pammenes. 11 I hope to be at Athens in September. I should much like to know the dates of your tours. I understood the silly conduct of C. Sempronius Rufus from your letter written in Corcyra. 12 In short, I am jealous of the influence of Vestorius. I wanted to go on chatting, but the day is breaking; the crowd is coming in; Philogenes is in a hurry. So good-bye, and give my love to Pilia, when you write, and to our dear Caecilia, and accept the same from my son.
LAODICEA, MAY (BETWEEN I AND 7)
LAODICEA, MAY (BETWEEN I AND 7)