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On the 3rd of March Aegypta 1 delivered me your letters, one, an old one, dated 26th of February, which you say that you intrusted to Pinarius, whom I have not seen. In this you say that you are waiting to learn how Vibullius, who had been sent in advance, is getting on, who did not obtain an interview with Caesar at all (I observe in your second letter that you are aware of this), and how I mean to receive Caesar when he returns. I design to avoid meeting him at all. You mention also your intended retreat from Rome 2 and the change in your way of life, in the necessity of which I agree, and you say that you don't know whether Domitius retains his fasces. When you know, please inform me.

So much for your first letter. There followed two, both dated the 28th of February, which completely dislodged me from my old resolve, 3 which, however, I told you was beginning to totter. I am not shaken by your expression, "incensed with Jove himself," 4 for there is danger in the angry passions of both; and though victory, of course, is uncertain, yet now the worse side seems to me to be the better prepared. Nor am I influenced by the consuls, who are themselves more easily moved than feather or leaf. Consideration of duty tortures me, and has all this while been torturing me, with indecision. To remain is certainly the more cautious policy, to cross the sea is considered the more honourable. Sometimes I prefer that many should think that I have acted incautiously, rather than a few think that I had acted dishonourably. You ask me about Lepidus and Tullus; they, indeed, have made up their minds to meet Caesar at Rome, and to come into the senate.

Your most recent letter is dated on the 1st of March, in which you express a wish that there might be a meeting between them, and say that you do not despair of peace. But at the moment of writing I am of opinion that they will not meet, and that, if they do, Pompey will not yield to any offer of terms. You appear to have no doubt, if the consuls cross, what I ought to do. They are certainly going to cross, or rather, as a matter of fact, have already crossed. But remember that, with the exception of Appius, there is hardly one who has not a legal right to cross. For they either have imperium, as Pompey, Scipio, Sufenas, Fannius, Voconius, Sestius, the consuls themselves—who have by immemorial custom the right to visit all provinces or they are their legates. But I decide on nothing. As to what your opinion is, and pretty well what is the right course, I am clear. I would have written at greater length, if I had been able to do so with my own hand. But I think I shall be able to do so in a couple of days. I am sending you a copy of Cornelius Balbus's letter received on the same day as yours, that you may sympathize with me, when you see me treated with such mockery.

1 A slave, afterwards a freedman, of Cicero's.

2 The text here is quite corrupt. The English is only a guess.

3 To stay quietly in Italy. See last letter, p. 305.

4 Atticus seems to have said in his letter that Pompey would be angry with anyone who stayed in Rome when Caesar came, "even with Jupiter Capitolinus himself" for not leaving his temple. Such an exaggerated way of expressing a strong feeling needs, perhaps, no explanation. But we may remember that the gods were supposed to quit a captured city.

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