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GNAEUS MAGNUS, proconsul, greets the consuls, C. Marcellus and L. Lentulus. Being of opinion that if we were scattered we could neither be of service to the state, nor protect ourselves, I sent a despatch to L. Domitius that, if possible, he should join me with all his men, and that, if he felt doubtful about himself, he should send me the nineteen cohorts which were on the march to join me from Picenum. 1 What I feared has taken place: Domitius is surrounded, and is not in sufficient force to form a camp, because he has my nineteen and his own twelve cohorts distributed among three towns— for he has stationed some at Alba and some at Sulmo—and he cannot now extricate himself even if he wished. In these circumstances I am, I can assure you, in extreme anxiety. I am eager to relieve men who are so numerous and of such high position 2 from the danger of a siege, and yet I cannot go to their assistance, because I do not think that we can trust these two legions to go there —of whom, after all, I have not been able to keep together more than fourteen cohorts; for I have sent two to Brundisium, and I did not think that Canusium ought to be left in my absence without a garrison. I had told Decimus Laelius to suggest to you, as I hope for an increase to my numbers, that one of you should join me, the other go to Sicily with the force you have collected at Capua and the neighbourhood of Capua, and the soldiers whom Faustus has recruited: that Domitius with his own twelve cohorts should form a junction with the same, and that all other forces of every description should muster at Brundisium, and be shipped thence to Dyrrachium. But as it is, since at this juncture I cannot go, any more than you, to the relief of Domitius, he must extricate himself by crossing the mountains, and I must be careful not to allow the enemy to get near these fourteen cohorts, whose loyalty is doubtful, or to catch me up on the march. Wherefore I have determined—and I find that Marcellus and other senators who are here agree with me—to march the force I have with me to Brundisium. I urge you to collect all the troops that you can collect, and come to me at Brundisium also as promptly as possible. I think you should use the arms, which you were intending to send to me, to arm the soldiers whom you have with you: if you will have all arms that may be to spare carted to Brundisium, you will have done the state excellent service. Please let my men know about this. I have sent word to the praetors P. Lupus and C. Coponius, to join you and take whatever men they have to you.

1 They had halted on the way at Corfinium.

2 Domitius had with him his son, five senators, with many young men of senatorial families, a large number of equites, and magistrates from neighbouring municipia (Caes. B.C. 1.23).

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