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CCCXXVII (A VIII, I)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 16 FEBRUARY
AFTER I had despatched a letter to you, I received one from Pompey. I would have sent you the letter itself; had not my brother's servant been in such a hurry to start. I will send it, therefore, tomorrow. The rest of it contained the operations in Picenum; about what Vibullius had written to him; about the levy held by Domitius—all of which are known to you, but yet were not so flourishing as Philotimus's letter had represented. But at the end of Pompey's letter there was a sentence in his own handwriting: "I am of opinion that you should come to Luceria; you will not be safer anywhere else." The interpretation I put on this is that he considers the towns in this district and the sea-coast as abandoned, nor am I surprised at a man, who has given up the head, having no regard for the other limbs. I wrote back at once and sent the letter by one of my establishment upon whom I could rely, saying that I did not want to know where I should be safest: if he wished me to come to Luceria for his own sake or for that of the Republic, I would come at once; and I urged him to keep a hold upon the seacoast, if he wished to be supplied with corn from the provinces. I see that it is no use my writing this. But as before in regard to keeping the city, so in regard to not abandoning Italy, I put my opinion on record. I perceive, indeed, that the plan is to concentrate all forces at Luceria, and even that not as a permanent centre, but that, if hard pressed, we are to abandon that also. You need not, therefore, be much surprised at my not being very enthusiastic about engaging in a cause, in which no provision has ever been sought for making peace or securing victory, but from the first for a discreditable and calamitous flight. I must go, to encounter any danger that chance may bring with those who are reputed to be loyalists, rather than be thought to disagree with loyalists. Yet I foresee that before long the city will be crammed with the "loyalists," that is, the fine gentlemen and men of property-crammed chock full, indeed, when these municipal towns have been abandoned. And I would be in their number if I had not these confounded lictors. Nor should I be dissatisfied to have as my companions Manius Lepidus, L. Volcatius, and Servius Sulpicius: not one of them is a greater fool than L. Domitius, nor more of a weathercock than Appius Claudius. The one person who makes me hesitate is Pompey, not from his personal importance, but for old sake's sake. For what weight can he have in this controversy? When we were all alarmed at Caesar, he, for his part, was devoted to him: now that he has begun to be alarmed at him, he thinks that everybody ought to be his enemy. However, I shall go to Luceria, and yet perhaps my arrival will not give him any satisfaction. For I shall not be able to conceal my disapproval of what has been done up to this time. If I could sleep I wouldn't have pestered you with such long letters. If you are similarly affected, pray pay me back in kind.


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