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CCCLXVI (A IX, 11)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE 20 MARCH
Do you know that our friend Lentulus is at Puteoli? Having been told this by a passer-by, who said that he had recognized him on the Appia upon his partly drawing the curtain of his sedan, though it was in itself probable, I yet sent some servants to Puteoli to inquire and take him a letter. He was discovered with some difficulty, as he was keeping himself concealed in his villa, and he sent me back an answer containing wonderful expressions of gratitude to Caesar; but as to his own plans he said that he had given C. Caecius a message for me. I am expecting him today, that is, the 20th of March. Matius 1 also came to see me on the Quinquatrus (19th of March), a man, by Hercules, as he seemed to me, of moderate and sensible views. Certainly he has always been regarded as a promoter of peace. How strongly he appealed to me to disapprove what, is going on in Italy! How fearful of that inferno, as you call it! In the course of a long conversation I shewed him Caesar's letter to me, the one of which I have sent you a copy before, and asked him to explain the sentence in it—"he wished to avail himself of my advice, influence, position, and help in all ways." He replied that he had no doubt that he wanted my help and my influence for effecting a pacification. I only wish I could effect and carry through some politic move in the present distressing circumstances of the state! For his part, Matius felt confident that that was Caesar's feeling, and promised that he would promote it. However, on the day previous Crassipes had been with me, who said that he had quitted Brundisium on the 6th of March and had left Pompey there: and the same news was brought also by those who quitted that place on the 8th. They one and all, even Crassipes—who is a sensible enough man to take note of what was going on—tell the same story of threatening speeches, alienation from the Optimates, hostility to the municipal towns, undisguised proscriptions—Sullas pure and simple. What things Lucceius says, and the whole posse of Greeks, and Theophanes at their head! And yet there is no hope of safety except in them: and I am keeping my mind on the watch, and passing sleepless nights, and yearning to be with men exactly the opposite of myself, in order to escape the abominations going on here! For there—what crime do you suppose Scipio, Faustus, Libo will stick at, whose creditors are said to be actually arranging to sell them up? What do you suppose they are likely to do to the citizens, if they turn out the winning side? 2 Moreover, what a poltroon our Gnaeus is! They tell me he is thinking of Egypt, Arabia Felix, and Mesopotamia, and has now quite abandoned Spain. The reports are outrageous, but they may possibly be untrue: yet at best all is lost here, and far from safe there. I am beginning to pine for a letter from you. Since our flight there has never been so long a break in them. I send you a copy of my letter to Caesar, 3 by which I think I shall do some good.


1 C. Matius, of whom we shall hear much more, was a friend of Trebatius, and a strong Caesarian. He survived the Civil War and became a friend of Octavian

2 Q. Caecilius Scipio, Pompey's father-in-law, was deeply in debt, and Caesar declares that to have been his motive for wishing for a civil war (Caes. B.C. 1.4); L. Cornelius Sulla Faustus was the son of the dictator Sulla; and L. Scribonius Libo's daughter was married to Sext. Pompeius. Faustus had been a rich man, but had probably squandered his wealth. We hear of Libo afterwards as owing Cicero money but as likely to pay.

3 The previous letter, p. 337.

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