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DCCCXL (BRUT. I, 2, §§ 3-6)

TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (AT DYRRACHIUM)
ROME, 17 APRIL
I rejoice that you have found the army and cavalry well affected to you. About Dolabella, as you remark, you will inform me' if you hear any news. In regard to this, I am pleased to think that I foresaw how independent your judgment would be as to making war on Dolabella. That, as I saw clearly at the time, was of great importance to the state, and, as I now am of opinion, of great importance to your own position.

You say in your letter that I have not hurried myself 1 at all in making attacks on the Antonies; and you go on to commend me for it. I have no doubt that you think so; but I can in no sense admit the justice of the distinction you draw, when you say that more vigour should be used in preventing civil wars, than in wreaking vengeance upon the vanquished. I strongly differ from you, Brutus, and I do not admit your clemency doctrine. A salutary sternness is superior to the empty show of clemency. But if we choose the rôle of clemency we shall never have any lack of civil wars. However, that is more your concern than mine. For myself I can say, like the father in the Trinummus of Plautus, 2 “My time is all but past: 'tis you this most concerns.”

You will be crushed, believe me, Brutus, unless you take proper precautions. For you won't always have the same people, nor the same senate, nor the same leader of the senate. Regard these words as uttered by the oracle of the Pythian Apollo. Nothing can be truer.

17 April.


1 Me maximo otio egisse. I doubt the soundness of the text, and the meaning of it as it stands. Whatever compliments Cicero may deserve, mildness in regard to the Antonies can scarcely he one of them.

2 Plaut. Trin. ii. 2, 42.

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