previous next


ALTHOUGH on public grounds I ought to be extremely rejoiced that you have given the state so much protection and so much aid in what is almost a desperate crisis, yet while I shall embrace you with my whole heart as conqueror if the constitution be restored, still what causes me a great part of my joy is the position you occupy, which I perceive is and will be of the most splendid kind. For do not imagine that any despatch was ever read in the senate which gave greater satisfaction than yours. 1 And that was the result not only of what I may call the brilliancy of your services to the Republic, but also of the loftiness of your language and sentiments. To me, indeed, it was nothing new, for I knew you, remembered the promises contained in your private letter to myself, and had a thorough acquaintance with your views from our friend Furnius. But to the senate your words seemed beyond what they had expected, not because it had ever doubted your good intentions, but because it had not thoroughly realized how much you could do nor how far you were willing to go. Accordingly, when Marcus Varisidius handed me your letter early in the morning of the 7th of April, and I had read it, I felt an amazing thrill of joy; and as a great crowd of the most distinguished men and citizens were escorting me from my house, I at once made them all sharers in my pleasure. Meanwhile our friend Munatius came as usual to see me. Well, I handed him your letter, for as yet he knew nothing about you, Varisidius having come to me before anyone else, saying that such were your orders. A little later Munatius also allowed me to read the letter you had sent him, as well as your public despatch. We decided to transmit the despatch at once to the city praetor Cornutus, who, in the absence of the consuls, was, according to traditional custom, performing the consular functions. A meeting of the senate was at once summoned and there was a large attendance, owing to the rumour and general anticipation in regard to your despatch. After your despatch had been read a religious difficulty was suggested to Cornutus, because the pullarii informed him that he had not taken the auspices with the proper formalities, and that was confirmed by our augural college. Accordingly, business was postponed to the next day. Well, on that day I had a warm debate with Servilius 2 in defence of your position. He had exercised his influence to get his motion put first, but a large majority of senators quitted him and voted directly against it. But when my motion, which was put second, was being largely supported, at the request of Servilius it was vetoed by P. Titius. The business was deferred till the next day. Servilius came prepared "to fight Iupiter himself," 3 in whose temple the debate was to be held. How I crushed him, and with what fiery eloquence I brought the vetoing Titius upon his knees, I would rather you learnt from the letters of others. Take this one fact from mine. The senate could not have been more resolute and firm or better disposed to your glory than it was on this occasion. Not that the senate is a bit more friendly to you than the whole body of citizens. For there is a surprising unanimity of feeling among the entire Roman people, with the united aspiration of all conditions and classes, in favour of recovering the public liberty. Go on, then, as you have begun, to make your name immortal! And as for all those empty shows of glory, founded on the most unsubstantial badges of external splendour, despise them; and regard them as short-lived, counterfeit, and perishable. 4 True glory rests on virtue, which is shewn to the highest advantage by services done to the state. You have the most excellent Opportunity for performing these. Since you have embraced it and still possess it, see that the state owes you as much as you owe the state. You will find in me not only a supporter of your high position, but a promoter of its increase. That much I think I owe both to the Republic, which is dearer to me than life itself, and to our friendship. And in these exertions, which I have consecrated to the support of your position, I have found a great pleasure in the still clearer view I have gained of the wisdom and loyalty of Titus Munatius 5 —though I knew these before—as displayed in his extraordinary devotion and activity in your service.

11 April.

1 This is Letter DCCCXXX. I think, if Cicero had not been blinded by his extreme desire for the loyalty of Plancus, he would have seen in that despatch the coming treason. It protests too much, and yet avoids really committing the writer. But in spite of Cicero's compliments to Plancus, he probably had his misgivings.

2 P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus, Caesar's colleague in the consulship of B.C. 48. Cicero thought him too lukewarm in his condemnation of the party of Antony (9 Phil. §§ 7, 11).

3 For this proverbial expression, see vol. ii., p.307.

4 The vote of thanks seems to have been successfully resisted by the

5 Brother of L. Plancus, the recipient of these letters.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (Frank Frost Abbott, 1909)
load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: