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CCCXIV (A VII, 17)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 2 FEBRUARY
YOUR letter is both welcome and delightful. I thought of sending the boys to Greece when there seemed an idea of Pompey's flying from Italy: for I should have made for Spain, which would not have been equally suitable for them. For yourself and Sextus, 1 it seems to me that even now you may remain with propriety at Rome. For you are not at all bound to be my Pompey's friends. For no one ever did more to detract from the value of city property ! 2 Do you see that I am absolutely joking? You ought now to know what answer L. Caesar is taking back from Pompey, and what sort of a letter he is conveying from him to Caesar: for they were drawn up and despatched with the express purpose of being exposed for public perusal. 'On this point I blamed Pompey in my own heart for having trusted our friend Sestius with the writing of a despatch so important and certain to come into everybody's hands, though he has a very good style of his own. Accordingly, I never read anything more "Sestian." 3 Nevertheless, it is made quite clear from Pompey's despatch that nothing is denied to Caesar, and that all his demands are conceded to the full: he will be a sheer madman if he declines the very proposals which it required the most consummate impudence ever to have made! Pray, who are you to say, "If he goes to Spain," "if he dismisses the garrisons"? Nevertheless, the concession is being made: with less dignity, indeed, at this time of day— for it is after the Republic has actually been violated by him and its territory invaded-than if he had some time back obtained his demand to be reckoned a candidate; and yet I doubt his being content even with these concessions. For, after giving that message to L. Caesar, he ought, until he received the answer, to have somewhat relaxed his warlike movements, whereas he is said to be at this moment more active than ever. Trebatius, indeed, writes to say that on the 22nd of January he was asked by him to write to me, urging me to remain at the city walls: that I could not oblige him more. This was put at great length. I calculated by reckoning the days that, as soon as Caesar heard of my departure, he began to be anxious lest we should all leave town. Therefore I have no doubt he has written to Piso, and also to Servius. One thing I am surprised at, that he has not written to me himself; nor opened his communication with me through Dolabella or Caelius: not that I disdain a letter from Trebatius, whom I know to be singularly attached to me. I wrote back to Trebatius—for I wouldn't write to Caesar himself; as he had not written to me—pointing out how difficult that course was for me at such a time as this; that I was, however, at my own country seat and had not undertaken any levy or any active part in the affair. 4 By this I shall abide, as long as there is any hope of peace. But if war really begins, I shall not be wanting to my duty or position, after despatching my boys to Greece. For I perceive that all Italy will be blazing with war. Such the mischief that is caused partly by disloyal, partly by jealous citizens! But how far this will go I shall learn within the next few days by his answer to mine. Then I will write to you at greater length, if there is going to be war: but if there is to be peace, or even a truce, I shall, I hope, see you in person. On the 2nd of February, on which I write this, I am expecting the ladies at my Formian house, whither I have returned from Capua. I had written to them on your advice to remain at Rome; but I hear that there is some increase of panic in the city. I mean to be at Capua on the 5th of February, in accordance with orders from the consuls. Whatever news reaches me here from Pompey I will let you know at once, and shall expect a letter from you as to what is going on at Rome.


1 Sext. Peducaeus.

2 Atticus invested much money in city property (Nepos, Att. 14). Cicero means that Pompey's abandonment of Rome has depreciated the value of such properties.

3 Σηστιωδέστερον. In the many allusions to P. Sestius (whom he defended) Cicero does not seem ever to have depreciated him, except that once (vol. i., p. 219) he calls him morosus, "whimsical," "difficile," and talks of his "wrong-headedness in certain particulars" (perversitatem quibusdam in rebus).

4 Cicero had been urged to come to Capua to assist in the levy. Those who wish to maintain his veracity assert that he had done nothing in the matter. But at any rate he had accepted the command of the sea-coast of Campania, though he afterwards resigned even that. It must be admitted, however, that he is sailing near the wind.

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