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CCCXVII (A VII, 20)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
CAPUA, 5 FEBRUARY
I have no choice but to be brief. I have given up all hope of peace, and as to war, our men are not stirring a finger. Don't, pray, suppose that our consuls care for anything less than that: though it was in hopes of hearing something and learning what preparations we were making that I came to meet them in a pelting rain on the 4th, according to orders. They, however, had not arrived, and were expected on the 5th-empty-handed and unprepared. Pompey, again, is said to be at Luceria, and on his way to join some cohorts of the Appian legions, 1 which are far from being in a very satisfactory state. But he, they say, is hurrying along and is expected at Rome every hour, not to fight a battle—for who is there to fight with ?-but to prevent the flight from town. For myself; if it is to be in Italy—"if die I must," etc.! 2 I don't ask your advice about that: but if it is to be outside Italy—what can I do? On the side of remaining there are the winter-season, my lictors, the improvidence and carelessness of our leaders: on the side of flight, my friendship for Pompey, the claims of the loyalist cause, the disgrace of having anything to do with a tyrant; as to whom it is uncertain whether he will copy Phalaris or Pisistratus. Pray unravel these perplexities for me, and help me with your advice, though I expect by this time you are in a warm corner yourself at Rome. However, do the best you can. If I learn anything fresh today, I will let you know. For the consuls will be here directly on the 5th, the date they fixed themselves. I shall look for a letter from you every day. But do answer this as soon as you can. I left the ladies and the two boys at Formiae.


1 The two legions which had been withdrawn from Gaul in B.C. 51. See p. 274.

2 κἀν ἀποθανεῖν (δέῃ με, θάνοιμ᾽ ἑκουσίως), "if die I must, right willingly I'll die." A verse of Diphilus, indicated, as usual, by one or two words.

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