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CCCXLIV (A VIII, 12)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 28 FEBRUARY
THE inflammation in my eyes is somewhat more troublesome even than before. However, I preferred dictating this letter to letting Fadius Gallus, who is a very affectionate friend of us both, have no line to deliver to you. Yesterday, indeed, I wrote with my own hand, as best I could, the letter whose prophecy I hope may be falsified. The motive, however, of the present letter is not only to prevent any day passing without writing to you, but the more reasonable one of inducing you to devote a little time to me. It won't take you long, and so I do much wish to have your view explained to me in such a way, that I may thoroughly understand it. I have not yet committed myself in any respect. I have been guilty of no omission which does not admit of a sound, not merely a plausible, excuse. For certainly I did not make a mistake when I refused to accept the charge of Capua without a garrison, in my wish to escape not only the crime of failure, but the suspicion of treachery as well; nor when, after the terms had been brought by L. Caesar and Fabatus, 1 I was careful not to offend a man to whom Pompey was offering a consulship and triumph, though both were in arms. Nor, indeed, can anyone fairly find fault with my last step in not crossing the sea. For on this measure, though it was a thing to be considered, I have not had the opportunity of embarking. For I had no right to suspect what he was going to do, especially as from Pompey's own letter—as I see was your own opinion also—I felt no doubt of his intention to go to the relief of Domitius. In point of fact, I preferred to have a longer time to consider what was the right course and what I ought to do. First of all, then, I wish you would write and tell me more distinctly—though you have already made it pretty clear—what you think of all this; and, secondly, that you would look into the future and give me a sketch of what you think ought to be my rôle, and where you think I could be of most service to the Republic; whether a pacific part is required, or whether everything depends on a man of war. And, indeed, though my standard is always duty, I yet remember the advice you once gave me, which, if I had followed, I should not have endured the sad disaster of that crisis in my life. I remember what you urged me to do on that occasion through Theophanes, through Culleo, and I have often recalled it with a sigh. Therefore let me at last revert to the calculation, which I then rejected, and see how I may follow a course which will not simply aim at glory, but will conduce somewhat more to my safety also. But I make no stipulation with you. I want you to write me your opinion in plain terms. I want you also to investigate with all the diligence you can—and you will have men through whom you can do so—what our friend Lentulus and Domitius are doing or intending to do, what their present bearing is, whether they find fault with anyone, or are angry with anyone. Why do I say "anyone"? I mean, of course, Pompey. Certainly Pompey lays all the blame on Domitius, as may be seen in his letter, of which I send you a copy. These things, then, be so good as to look into, and, as I asked you in a previous letter, send me the book "On Concord," by Demetrius of Magnesia, which he sent you.


1 The praetor L. Roscius Fabatus (Caes. B.C. 1.3).

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