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No zeal which our close connexion could command in support of the complimentary vote 1 to you would have been wanting on my part, had I been able to enter the senate with safety or dignity. But neither can anyone who freely expresses his opinion on politics appear there without danger, when there is absolutely no restraint upon the employment of armed men, 2 nor do I think it consistent with my dignity to speak in a place where these armed men hear me more distinctly and from a shorter distance than senators. Accordingly, in private affairs you shall not have to complain of any lack of service or zeal on my part: nor indeed in public affairs either will I ever fail to appear in support of your dignity, if my presence is ever actually necessary, even at the risk of danger to myself. But in matters which can be equally well carried out, even though I am not there, I must ask you to allow me to consider my own safety and dignity. 3

1 A supplicatio for some operations in Gaul of which we know nothing, perhaps against the Allobroges (Dio, 46, 50).

2 Cicero uses nearly the same expression (impunitas gladiorum) in Phil. 1.27. He refers to the bodyguard which Antony was gradually forming of ex-centurions and other veterans, which eventually amounted to 6,ooo men (Appian, B.C. 3.5).

3 Antony answered Cicero's first Philippic in a carefully prepared and violent speech on the 19th September. The second Philippic (which was never delivered) is written as though delivered in reply on the same day. In it Cicero asserts that the senate is "surrounded by a ring of armed men" (§ 112). This letter may refer to the same date, but if it does it is rather surprising that no allusion is made to the speech of Antony.

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