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DCCCXLI (BRUT. I, 3, §§ 1-3)

TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (AT DYRRACHIUM)
ROME, 21 APRIL
OUR cause seems in a better position: for I feel sure that you have had letters telling you what has happened. 1 The consuls have shewn themselves to be the sort of men I have often described them in my letters. In the youthful Caesar indeed there is a surprising natural strain of virtue. Pray heaven we may govern him in the flush of honours and popularity as easily as we have held him up to this time I That is certainly a more difficult thing, but nevertheless I have no mistrust. For the young man has been convinced, and chiefly by my arguments, that our safety is his work, and that at least, if he had not diverted Antony from the city, all would have been lost. 2 Three or four days indeed before this glorious news, the city, struck by a sudden panic, 3 was for pouring out with wives and children to seek you. The same city on the 20th of April, with its fears all dispelled, would rather that you came here than go to you. On that day in very truth I reaped the most abundant harvest of my great labours and my many sleepless nights—that is, at least, if there is a harvest in genuine and well-grounded glory. For I was surrounded by a concourse of people as great as our city can contain, by whom I was escorted to the Capitol and placed upon the rostra 4 amidst the loudest cheers and applause. I have no vanity in me—and indeed I ought to have none: yet after all a unanimous feeling of all orders, thanks, and congratulations do move my heart, because it is a thing to be proud of that in the hour of the people's preservation I should be the people's hero. But these things I would rather you heard from others. Pray inform me of your own doings and plans with the greatest exactness; and do be careful that your generosity does not bear the appearance of weakness. 5 This is the sentiment of the senate, and of the people, that no enemies ever more richly deserved condign punishment than those citizens who have taken up arms against their country in this war. Indeed in every speech I make in the senate I call for vengeance upon them and attack them amidst the applause of all loyal citizens. What your view of this is I must leave you to judge for yourself: my opinion is that all three brothers stand on one and the same ground.


1 The victory of Forum Gallorum See p.211 sq.

2 Cicero argues that Octavian's consciousness of having done the loyalists a good service will attach him the more to them. He will be unwilling to forfeit the good opinion he has earned. He little knew Octavian and his secret purposes.

3 This appears to have been caused by the action of the praetor Ventidius Bassus, who enrolled two legions of veterans, and was supposed to be coming to Rome to seize Cicero and the leading opponents of Antony. He, however, marched to Ariminum, and succeeded in joining Antony after the battle by a splendid march across country to Vado (Appian, B.C. 3.66).

4 The rostra of course was not on the Capitol, and this has been put forward as an argument against the genuineness of the letter. I think Cicero may be putting the story shortly. The procession first went to the Capitol to offer thanks to Iupiter, and then came down to the forum to be addressed from the rostra.

5 That is, in sparing Gaius Antonius. See p.215.

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