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CCCXLVIII (A VIII, 14)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 2 MARCH
I feel sure that my daily packets must bore you, especially as I don't inform you of anything new, nor, in fact, am able to hit upon any novel sentiment to express. But if I went out of my way needlessly to send letter-carriers to you with these empty epistles, I should indeed be foolish: as it is, when people are going to Rome, especially people about the house, I cannot reconcile myself to sending nothing by way of a letter to you; and besides, believe me, I find a relief in a time of such unhappiness in, as it were, talking to you; and much more so when I read letters from you. I certainly feel it to be true that there has been no period since our panic flight that less demanded a continuance of our correspondence, because no news reaches either Rome or this place, which is only two or three days journey from Brundisium: whereas Brundisium is the cardinal point of the whole struggle in this first campaign. I am therefore racked with suspense about it. But we shall know all before the 15th. For I observe that Caesar started from Corfinium on the afternoon of the same day—that is, the 21st of February—as that on the morning of which Pompey left Canusium. But Caesar moves so rapidly, and encourages the speed of his men with such bounties, that I fear he may have approached Brundisium quicker than may be convenient. You will say, "What good, then, do you do by anticipating an annoyance, which you are to ascertain three days hence?" None indeed. But, as I said before, I like above all things talking to you, and at the same time I want to tell you that my plan of procedure, which I thought quite fixed, is somewhat shaken. The precedents, 1 of which you approve, don't altogether satisfy me. For what gallant action on their part in the service of the state has there ever been? Or who expects anything praiseworthy from them? Nor, by heaven, do I see anything commendable in those who have crossed the sea to prepare a war, intolerable as things were here-for I foresee the extent and destructive nature of that war. But there is one man who shakes my resolution, whose companion in flight, whose partner in the recovery of the constitution, I think myself bound to be. "Do you change your opinion as often as that, then?" I speak to you as to myself: and who is there that in a matter of such importance does not; argue with himself in a variety of ways? At the same time I also desire to elicit your opinion: if it is the same, that I may be strengthened in my resolution; if it has changed, that I may conform mine to yours. Certainly, in regard to my present doubt, it concerns me to know what Domitius and our friend Lentulus intend doing. As to Domitius, we hear contradictory rumours: at one time that he is at Tibur not by any means leaping for joy, at another that he, with the Lepidi has come to the walls of the city, which also I find not to be true. For Lepidus says that he has made his way somewhere by secret roads—is it to hide himself or to reach the sea? 2 Lepidus himself does not know. He knows nothing either about the younger Domitius. He adds a very annoying particular; that a considerable sum of money which Domitius had at Corfinium had not been restored to him. 3 Of Lentulus I hear nothing. Please inquire into these matters, and report to me.


1 M. Lepidus and L. Volcatius. See p. 336.

2 L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, after having been let go by Caesar from Corfinium, seems to have set about preparations for taking possession of the province of farther Gaul, to which he had been nominated by the senate. He went first to his estates in Etruria and raised his servants and dependents to man a fleet collected at Cosa; from that place he went to Marseilles—a free city, yet closely connected with the province-where his legal position was at once acknowledged, for the people of Marseilles had received additions of territory by Pompey's means and were determined to stand by him (Caes. B.C. 1.34-36). For the younger Domitius, see p. 317.

3 This turned out to be false. Caesar says that, although he knew it was public money, he yet allowed Domitius to keep it (Caes. B.C. 1.23). It was 6,000 sestertia, or about £48,000.

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