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DCCCLXVI (F X, 18)

L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO CICERO (AT ROME)
GAUL, 18 MAY
WHAT I had in my mind when Laevus and Nerva quitted me you have been able to ascertain by the letter which I forwarded by them and from these men personally, who have taken part in all my actions and consultations- There has happened to me what usually does happen to a man of honour and one who is desirous of doing his duty to the state, in fact to all good men, that I preferred to pursue a dangerous course with an approving conscience, rather than a safe one which might lay me open to some reproach. Accordingly, after the departure of his legates, as Lepidus in two successive letters begged me to join him, and Laterensis still more strongly begged me to do so in terms almost of entreaty-shewing no dread of anything except what causes me also some alarm, the fickleness and untrustworthy temper of his army—I thought I ought not to hesitate about hurrying to his assistance and confronting the common danger. Now the safe course for me was to wait on the Isére till Dec. Brutus got his army across the mountains, and to go to meet the enemy with a colleague in sympathy with my views and an army in full accord and well-affected to the had not opposed Antony's passage, and indeed seems to have joined him (App. B.C. 3.83). Republic, as his soldiers are. Nevertheless I knew that if Lepidus while entertaining loyal ideas came to any harm, it would all be laid to the charge either of my obstinacy or my timidity. I saw plainly that this would' be so, if I either failed to relieve a man closely united with the Republic, though on bad terms with myself, or had myself withdrawn from the struggle in a war of such moment. So I preferred to run the risk, and to see whether my presence might afford Lepidus protection and render his army better-affected, rather than appear over-cautious. At any rate I think there never was anyone more anxious, without any fault of his own, than myself. For the very situation which was causing me no hesitation, supposing Lepidus's army away, in the present state of things brings me great anxiety and involves great risk. For if it had been my fortune to encounter Antony first, he would not, by heaven, have held his ground an hour. So confident do I feel in myself and so completely do I despise his demoralized forces and the division of Ventidius the mule-man. 1 But I cannot but shudder at the idea of some hidden wound, which may cause mischief before it can be known and treated. But certainly unless I had remained on the same ground Lepidus himself and the well-affected part of his army would have incurred great danger. The unscrupulous enemy also would have secured a great accession of force, if they had withdrawn any of his troops from Lepidus. And if my arrival has stopped these things occurring I shall thank my stars and my own firmness, which incited me to make this experiment. Therefore on the 20th of May I broke up my camp on the Isére: I left the bridge standing, however, which I had constructed over that river, with a fort placed at each end of it; and in them I stationed strong garrisons, that there might be a means of crossing without delay ready for Brutus and his army when he came. 2 I shall myself, I hope, in eight days from the despatch of this letter effect a junction with the forces of Lepidus.


1 P. Ventidius Bassus had in earlier life contracted for the supply of mules to Caesar's army. It was in that capacity that he seems to have attracted Caesar's notice and confidence.

2 Decimus Brutus was at Eporedia (Ivree), ready to cross by the Little St. Bernard pass, which would bring him into Provence, and in his march south he would have to cross the Isére.

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