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CCCLXXVI (A IX, 19)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ARPINUM, 1 APRIL
BEING debarred from Rome, I gave my son his toga virilis at Arpinum in preference to any other place, and my fellow townsmen were gratified at the compliment: though I observed everywhere that both they and others whom I passed in my journey were in low spirits and much dejected. So melancholy and shocking is the contemplation of this tremendous disaster. Levies are being held, the men are being drafted into winter quarters. These are measures which, even when taken by loyal citizens at a time of regular war and with due consideration, are yet in themselves a source of annoyance—how unpopular do you suppose they are in the present instance, when they are being carried out by men of reckless character, in an abominable civil war, and in the most offensive manner? Don't imagine that there is a single scoundrel in Italy who is not to be found among them. I saw them en masse at Formiae. I never, by Hercules! believed them to be human beings, and I knew them all: but I had never seen them collected in one place. Let us go, then, whither we have resolved to go, and leave all that is ours behind us. Let us start to join him, to whom our arrival will give greater satisfaction than if we had been together from the first. For at that time we were in the highest hopes, now I, at any rate, have none; nor has anyone except myself left Italy, unless he regarded Caesar as his personal enemy. Nor, by Hercules! do I do this for the sake of the Republic, which I regard as completely abolished: but to prevent anyone thinking me ungrateful to the man, who relieved me from the miseries which he had himself inflicted upon me: and at the same time because I cannot endure the sight of what is happening, or of what is certain to happen. Why, I believe that by this time some decrees of the senate have been passed, I hope they may be in the sense of Volcatius's proposal. 1 But what does it matter? Everyone's opinion is the same. But Servius will be the most implacable of all, for he has sent his son with Pontius Titinianus 2 to crush, or at any rate to capture, Gnaeus Pompeius. Yet the latter acts from a motive of fear: but the former? But let us cease shewing temper, and let us at last thoroughly realize that we have nothing left, except what I could least have wished-life. As for us, since the Upper Sea is beset, we will sail by the Lower, and if it turns out to be difficult to start from Puteoli, we will make for Croton or Thurii, and like good citizens, devoted to our country, we will play the pirate. I don't see any other way of carrying on this war. We will go to Egypt and ensconce ourselves there. We cannot possibly be his match on land: of peace there is no assurance. But enough of these lamentations. Pray give a letter to Cephalio on everything that has been done, and even about what men say, unless they have become entirely tongue-tied. I have followed your advice, and especially in the fact that, in my interview with him, I both maintained my proper dignity and stuck to my refusal to go to Rome. As to the rest, pray write to me with the most particular care—for by this time the worst has come to the worst—what course you approve, and what your opinion is. There can, of course, be now no hesitation: still, if anything does occur to you, or rather whatever occurs to you, pray write me word.


1 Perhaps in favour of sending commissioners to treat with Pompey. Such a proposal was made in the senate. Caesar tells us that he spoke in favour of it himself, but he does not mention the proposer (Caes. B.C. 1.32, 33).

2 Adopted son of Q. Titinius. Servius is Ser. Sulpicius Rufus. See last letter, p. 354.

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