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CCCLXVIII (A IX, 13)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 23 MARCH
"'Tis no true tale " 1 —as I think—that about the ships. 2 For in that case what would have been the meaning of Dolabella's words in his letter, dated from Brundisium on the 13th of March, when he mentioned it as a success on the part of Caesar that Pompey was in full retreat, and was going to sail with the first favourable wind? This is quite inconsistent with those letters, of which I have already sent you copies. Here, indeed, they talk of nothing but disaster. But we have no more recent authority, and of this particular fact no better one, than Dolabella.

I have received your letter of the 22nd of March, in which you propose to postpone all plans till we know what has happened. Of course that is quite right: and meanwhile it is impossible not merely to settle but even to consider any plan. However, this letter of Dolabella's inclines me to recur to my original ideas. For on the day before the Quinquatrus (18th of March) the weather was splendid, and I suppose he has taken advantage of it. That précis of your advice was not made by me by way of reproach to you, but rather to console myself. For the evils of the time were not causing me so much vexation, as the idea of my having done wrong and acted rashly. I have now got rid of that idea, since my actions and plans coincide with your suggestions. You remark in your letter that it is rather my avowal of Pompey's services, than the actual amount of them, that makes me seem to be under an obligation to him. That is true: I have always magnified them, and the more so that I might prevent his thinking that I remembered his earlier conduct. However much I might remember this, I should yet be bound to follow the example he set at that time. 3 He gave me no aid when he might have done so. True: but afterwards he was my friend, and a very warm one, I don't at all know why. Therefore I too will be his friend. Nay, more, there is this analogy in our two cases, that we have been betrayed by the same people. But oh, that it had been in my power to render him as important a service, as he was able to render me! After all, I am exceedingly grateful for what he did; yet, at the present moment, I neither know how to help him, nor, if I could, should I think I ought to assist him while preparing to engage on such an execrable war. Only I don't wish to hurt his feelings by remaining here. I should neither have the resolution, by Hercules! to watch the events, which you can even now foresee in imagination, nor to take part in those unhappy measures. But I was all the slower to depart, from the difficulty of imagining a voluntary departure when there is no hope of a return. For I see that Caesar is so well equipped with infantry, cavalry, fleets, and Gallic auxiliaries. About these last I suppose Matius was talking big, but he certainly said that 10,000 infantry and 6,ooo cavalry promised their services at their own expense for ten years. But grant this to be gasconnade. He certainly has great forces, and he will not merely have the revenue of Italy, but the property of the citizens. Add to this the man's own self-confidence and the weakness of the loyalists, who, in fact, because they think Pompey deservedly enraged with them, have, as you expressed it, become disgusted with the game. Yes, but I could have wished that you had indicated who these men were. The fact is that Caesar, because he has done much less than he threatened, is regarded with affection ; 4 while in every direction those who loved Pompey now cease to do so. The municipal towns, in fact, and the Romans living in the country fear Pompey, and are still attached to Caesar. Accordingly, the latter is so well prepared that, even if he proves unable to win a victory, I yet cannot see how he can be beaten himself. For myself, I am not so much afraid of Caesar's sorcery, as of his power of compulsion. "For the requests of tyrants," as Plato says,"you know, partake of the nature of commands." 5

I see you don't like a place of residence for me without a port. Neither do I: but the fact is I have there both a means of concealment and a trusty band of followers. If I could have had the same at Brundisium, I should have preferred it. But concealment is impossible there. However, as you say, when we know! I am not very careful to excuse myself to, the loyalists. For what dinners they are giving and attending, according to Sextus's letter to me! How splendid, how early! 6 But let them be as loyalist as they please, they are not more so than we are. I should have cared more for their opinion, if they had shewn more courage.

I was wrong about Phamea's estate at Lanuvium. I was dreaming of one near Troja. 7 I wanted it for Quintus; but it is too dear. I should, however, have liked to buy that one, if I had seen any prospect of enjoying it. What, frightful news we are reading every day you will understand from the small roll inclosed in this packet. Our friend Lentulus is at Puteoli, distracted with doubt, he too, as Caecius tells me, as to what to do. He is in terror of a contretemps like that at Corfinium. 8 He thinks that he had done his duty to Pompey, and is affected by Caesar's magnanimous treatment, but still more, after all, by the outlook in the future.


1 οὐκ ἐστ᾽ ἔτυμος λόγος, the first words of the palinode of Stesichorus on Helen.

2 Perhaps the blocking up of the harbour of Brundisium, which we know from Caesar (B.C. 1.26, 27) was not completed; or the news on p. 321.

3 In supporting Cicero's recall; though he had failed to prevent his exile.

4 Reading sed et iste-amatur. The alteration to sedet iste and its explanation by Boot as referring to Domitius appear to me to be very harsh. Domitius was not being by any means inactive at the time, and there is no special reason for referring to him here. It is true that amatur is not in the MSS., but its introduction (by Graevius) seems to me a simpler and better way of emending the text.

5 Plato, Ep. vii.

6 That is, beginning early in the afternoon, a sign of idleness and luxury (pro Mur. § 13). See p. 311.

7 Apparently the name of some property near Antium.

8 When Domitius and his army had had to surrender to Caesar; P. Lentulus Spinther was among the senators who were included in the surrender and were dismissed unharmed by Caesar (Caes. B.C. 1.23).

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