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CMXI (F X, 24)

L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO CICERO (AT ROME)
CAMP NEAR CULARO, 28 JULY
I cannot refrain from thanking you in view of the course of events and of your services. But, by heaven! I blush to do it. For an intimacy as close as that which you have wished me to have with you seems not to require any formal thanks, nor do I willingly pay the poor recompense of words in return for your supreme kindness, and I would rather, when we meet, prove my gratitude by my respect, my obedience to your wishes, and my constant attentions. But if to live on is my fate, in this same respect, obedience to your wishes, and constant attentions, I will surpass all your beloved friends and even your devoted relatives. For whether your affection for me and your opinion of me are likely to bring me greater reputation in perpetuity or greater daily pleasure, I should find it hard to decide.

You have concerned yourself as to the bounties to the soldiers; whom I wished to be rewarded by the senate, not to enhance my own power—for I am conscious of entertaining no thoughts except for the common benefit—but first of all, because in my opinion they deserved it; next, because I wished them to be still more closely attached to the Republic in view of all eventualities; and lastly, in order that I might guarantee their continuing as completely proof against all attempts to tamper with their loyalty, as they have been up to this time.

As yet we have kept everything here in statu quo. And this policy of ours, though I know how eager men are and with reason for a decisive victory, is yet, I hope, approved of by you. For if any disaster happens to these armies, the Republic has no great forces in reserve to resist any sudden attack or raid of the parricides. The amount of our forces I presume is known to you. In my camp there are three legions of veterans, one of recruits perhaps the finest of all: in the camp of Decimus Brutus there is one veteran legion, a second of two-years'-service men, eight of recruits. Therefore the whole force taken together is very strong in numbers, in stamina inferior. For how much it is safe to trust to raw levies in the field we have had too frequent experience. To the strength of these armies of ours, if there was added either the African army which consists of veterans, or that of Caesar, we should hazard the safety of the Republic on a battle without any uneasiness. Now, as to Caesar, we see that he is considerably the nearer of the two. I have therefore never ceased importuning him by letter, and he has uniformly replied that he is coming without delay: while all the time I perceive that he has given up that idea and has taken up some other scheme. Nevertheless, I have sent our friend Furnius 1 to him with a message and a letter, in case he may be able to do some good. You know, my dear Cicero, that in regard to love for Caesar you and I are partners, either because, being one of Iulius Caesar's intimates, I was obliged-while he was alive—to look after the boy and shew him affection; or because he was himself, as far as I could make out, of a very orderly and kindly disposition; or because, after such a remarkable friendship as existed between me and Iulius Caesar, it seems discreditable that I should not regard as a son one who was adopted into that position by his decision and by that of your house alike. 2 Yet after all—and whatever I write to you I write rather in sorrow than in anger—the fact that Antony is alive today, that Lepidus is with him, that they have far from contemptible armies, that they are hopeful and bold—for all these they may thank Caesar. I will not go back to old matters, but from the moment that he gave out that he was coming to me, if he had chosen to come, the war would at once have either been put an end to, or, to their very great loss, have been thrust back into Spain, which is most hostile in sentiment to them. What idea or whose advice has withdrawn him from such great glory, which was at the same time required by his interests and needful for his safety, and has turned his attention to the thought of a two-months' consulship, entailing a great and general panic, and demanded in a peremptory and offensive manner—I cannot conjecture. It seems to me that in this matter his relations could exercise considerable influence both for his sake and for that of the Republic: most of all, as I think, could you also do so, since he is more obliged to you than anyone else is except myself—for I shall never forget that the obligations I owe you are exceedingly great and numerous. I commissioned Furnius to urge these considerations upon him. But if I prove to have as great an influence with him as I ought to have, I shall have done him a great service himself. Meanwhile we are maintaining the war at a disadvantage, because we do not think an engagement the safest Solution of the difficulty, and yet will not allow the Republic to suffer greater loss by our retirement. But if either Caesar has bethought himself; or the African legions have come promptly, 3 we will relieve you of anxiety on this side. I beg you to continue to honour me with your regard, and to believe that I am peculiarly at your service.

28 July, in camp.


1 Gaius Furnius. See p.311.

2 For the adoption of Octavian, see p.21. By vestro Plancus seems to refer to the senate, which, though the curiate law for the formal adoption had not yet been passed, yet practically acknowledged the adoption of Octavian in his great-uncle's will by the wording of its decrees.

3 The African legions came from Cornificius, but they almost directly joined Octavian, which was the last blow to the hopes of Cicero and the senate (App. B.C. 3.91, 92).

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