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CCCLXXI (A IX, 14)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
FORMIAE, 25 MARCH
I had sent you, on the 24th of March, a copy of a letter from Balbus to me and of Ceasar's to him. Lo and behold, on the same day I receive a letter from Q. Pedius, from Capua, telling me that Caesar had written to him on the 14th of March in the following words: "Pompey keeps himself in the town. Our camp is at the gates. We are attempting a difficult operation, and one which will occupy many days, owing to the depth of the sea; but nevertheless it is the best thing for us to do. We are throwing out moles from both headlands at the mouth of the harbour, in order to compel Pompey to take the forces he has at Brundisium across as soon as possible, or to prevent his getting out at all." 1

Where is the peace, as to which Balbus said that he was in a state of anxiety? Could there be anything more vindictive, more ruthless? Moreover, a certain person told me on good authority that Caesar gives out that he is avenging Cn. Carbo, M. Brutus, 2 and all those on whom Sulla, with Pompey's assistance, had wreaked his cruelty; that Curio was doing nothing under his leadership which Pompey had not done under Sulla's; that he was seeking the restoration of those whose exile had not been inflicted upon them by earlier laws, while Pompey had restored men who had been traitors to their country; that he complained of the violence used to secure Milo's exile, but that, nevertheless, he would harm no one unless he appeared in array against him.

This is the story told by a certain Baebius, who left Curio on the 13th, a man who is not without some sense, but yet not capable of inventing this out of his own head. I am quite at a loss what to do. From Brundisium, indeed, I suppose Pompey has already started. Whatever has happened, we shall know in two days. I haven't a line from you, not even by Anteros. No wonder: for what is there for us to write about? Nevertheless, I don't omit a single day.

P.S—After this letter was written, I got a letter from Lepta before daybreak dated from Capua on the 15th of March. Pompey has embarked from Brundisium, but Caesar will be at Capua on the 26th of March.


1 Caesar occupied nine days in this work, which was only half completed then. He did not really expect to be able thoroughly to block the harbour. His object was to frighten Pompey into leaving Italy thus leaving him free to enter Rome himself and secure his position in the West generally (Caes. B.C. 1.25-28).

2 Carbo was put to death by Pompey in B.C. 82 or the beginning of B.C. 81 at Cossyra. There were two men named M. Brutus who owed their death to Pompey, the former a partisan of Carbo, who committed suicide off Lilybaeum rather than fall into Pompey's hands; the other, the father of the tyrannicide, whom Pompey put to death at Regium B.C. 77 during the troubles caused by Lepidus, he having surrendered, it is said, on promise of his life.

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