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CCXCVI (A VII, 6)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
(FORMIAE, DECEMBER)
I have absolutely nothing to say to you. You know everything, nor can I expect any fresh news from you. Let me, then, merely maintain my old habit of never letting anyone going to you depart without a letter. At the political situation I am thoroughly alarmed, and up to now I have found hardly anyone not convinced that it would be better to yield to Caesar's demand than to fight. That demand, it is true, shameless as it is, is more serious than we thought. But why begin resisting him now? “For naught more dreadful is upon us now.” 1 than when we voted his additional five years, or when we allowed his being a candidate in his absence: for we did not, I presume, give him arms then, that we might have a well-furnished enemy to fight with now! You will say, "What, then, will be your view?" Not the one I shall express. For my real view will be "anything rather than fight": I shall say exactly what Pompey does. And that I shall do from no abject cowardice: but once more it is a very serious evil to the constitution, and less allowable perhaps in my case than in that of others, that in matters of such importance I should differ from Pompey.


1 Homer, Od. 12.209. Cicero means that they have no more reason to resist Caesar than before, for his claim to keep his province is not more unconstitutional than his former claims. "We can't suppose that our object in yielding the old demands was to arm him against ourselves!" Nisi forte is here practically a negative; it introduces an impossible supposition.

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