CCLXXXIII (A VII, I)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)I did, in fact, give L. Saufeius a letter, and to you alone, because, though I had not sufficient time for writing, I was yet unwilling that a man so intimate with you should reach you without a letter from me. But considering the deliberate pace adopted by philosophers, I think the present letter will reach you first. If, however, you have already received the former, you are aware that I arrived at Athens on the 14th of October: that on disembarking at the Piraeus, I received your letter from the hands of Acastus: that I was much disturbed at your having arrived at Rome with a fever on you, but was reassured by Acastus bringing the news I wished for as to your convalescence; that I was, however, horrified at what your letter told me of Caesar's legions; and urged you to take care that the "φιλοτιμία" 1 of him you wot of does us no injury. Lastly, on a subject on which I had long ago written to you, but Turranius had misinformed you at Brundisium—as I learnt from a letter received from that excellent man Xeno—I explained briefly why I had not placed my brother at the head of my province. Such was nearly the substance of that letter. Now for the rest. In the name of fortune, do devote all the affection with which you have blessed me, and all the wisdom you possess—which in my judgment is unrivalled on every subject—to considering my entire position. For I think I foresee such a violent struggle—unless the same god, who relieved me from fear of a Parthian war by a stroke of luck beyond what I had ventured to hope, shall now shew regard for the Republic—such a struggle, I say, as there has never been before. Well! this is a misery which I share with all the world. I don't bid you reflect on that. It is my own, particular "problem" that I would beg you to take up. Don't you see that it was on your advice that I sought the friend-ship of both? Yes, and I could wish that I had listened to your most friendly hints from the beginning: “But in my breast my heart thou couldst not sway.” 2 Yet at length, after all, you did persuade me to embrace the one, because he had done me eminent service, and the other, because he was so powerful. I did so, therefore: and by shewing them every kind of attention contrived that neither of them should regard anyone with more affection than myself. My idea, in fact, was this— if I were allied with Pompey, I should not hereafter be compelled to take any improper step in politics, nor, if I agreed with Caesar, have to fight with Pompey: for their union was so close. Now there is impending, as you shew, and as I see, a mortal combat between them. Each of them, again, regards me as his own, unless by any chance one of them is playing a part. Pompey, of course, has no doubt: for he rightly judges that his present view of politics has my approbation. From each, however, I received a letter, at the same time as yours, of a kind calculated to shew that neither values anyone in the world above myself. But what am I to do? I don't mean in the last resort of all-for, if it shall come to downright war, I see clearly that it is better to be beaten with the one, than to conquer with the other—but as to what will be in actual debate when I arrive: that he be not a candidate without returning to Rome—that he dismiss his army. "Speak, Marcus Tullius I" 3 What am I to say? "Wait, please, till I have an interview with Atticus?" It is no time for shuffling. Against Caesar? What is to become of all our mutual pledges? For the fact is that I helped him to secure this privilege, having been asked by Caesar himself at Ravenna 4 to induce Caelius, the tribune, to bring in the bill. By Caesar himself, do I say? Nay, by our friend Gnaeus also, in that immortal third consulship of his. Shall I change my opinions? "I fear to face" not only Pompey, but also “ Trojan men and women.
ATHENS (16 OCTOBER)
ATHENS (16 OCTOBER)
Polydamas will be the first to blame.
” 5 Who is he? Why, you yourself, the applauder of my acts and writings. So it seems, then, that during the last two consulships of the Marcelli 6 I have avoided this trap, when the subject of Caesar's province was before the senate, only to fall now into the very jaws of the danger. Therefore let some one else be called upon flrst for his vote—I am well pleased to be busying myself on something to secure my triumph, and to have an unimpeachable excuse for remaining outside the city. Nevertheless, they will do their best to elicit my opinion. You will perhaps laugh at what I am now going to say. How I wish I were still lingering in my province! I clearly had better have done so, if this was impending. Though nothing could be less pleasant. For I wish you, by the way, 7 to know this—all those virtues displayed at the beginning of my government, which you, too, in your letters, used to praise to the skies, were only skin deep. 8 How far from an easy thing is virtue! Nay, how difficult a lasting affectation of it! For whereas I thought it equitable and a thing of which to be proud, that out of the sum decreed to me for the year's expenses, I left my quaestor C. Caelius enough to last a year, and paid back into the treasury 1,000,000 sesterces (£8,000), my staff grumbled, thinking that the whole of this money ought to have been divided among them—that I might be found a better friend of the treasuries of the Phrygians and Cilicians than of our own. But they did not move me: for my reputation had supreme weight with me. Nevertheless, there is no mark of honour in my power to bestow on any of them that I have omitted. However, all this, to use the phrase of Thucydides, is a digression, 9 though not without its point. For your part, pray think over my position: in the first place, by what contrivance I may preserve Caesar's good will; in the second, as to my triumph, which, unless the state of the Republic hinders it, I see is feasible. I judge both from my friends' letters and from the supplicatio; for the man who voted against it really voted for more, than if he had voted all the triumphs in the world. 10 Moreover, only one man voted with him who is my intimate friend— Favonius; and another who is annoyed with me—Hirrus. Moreover, Cato was both on the committee for drawing out the decree, and also sent me a very gratifying letter as to his vote. Nevertheless, Caesar, in sending me his congratulations on the supplicatio, exults over Cato's vote, and yet does not mention what he really said in delivering it, but merely remarks that he voted against my supplicatio. To return to Hirrus. You have begun softening his feelings towards me. Complete the process. You have Scrofa and Silius with you; I have already written to them, and to Hirrus himself. 11 For he had mentioned to them in obliging terms that he could have hindered the decree, but was unwilling to do so: nevertheless, he agreed with Cato—my very warm friend—when he delivered his vote in terms highly complimentary to me, but remarked that I had not written to him while writing to everyone else. It was quite true: for he and Crassipes were the only people to whom I had not written. So much for public affairs. To return to domestic business, I wish to dissociate myself from that man, 12 He is a complete juggler—a regular son of Laertes: “But what is past I leave, though grieved at heart.” 13 Let us get what remains on a sound footing. This money, coming from Precius to begin with—which adds anxiety to my regret—whatever it amounts to, I do not wish to be mixed up with the accounts of mine of which that fellow has the handling. I have written to Terentia, and to Philotimus himself; to say that whatever money I should collect for the adornment of my expected triumph I should deposit with you. Thus I think there will be no feeling of resentment; but as they choose! Here is another task for you—to consider how I am to set about this business. You gave some indication on this subject in a letter dated from Epirus or Athens, and I will back you up in the course you proposed.