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You ought not to think it at all surprising that I have written nothing to you on public affairs since war broke out. For the pass of the Castulonian Mountains, which has always delayed my letter-carriers, though it has now become still more dangerous from the increase of banditti, is yet by no means so grave a hindrance as the parties which, stationed at every available position at both ends, spy out my letter-carriers and detain them. 1 Accordingly, if I didn't get letters by sea, I should be entirely ignorant of what was going on at Rome. Now, however, having got an opportunity, since navigation has begun, 2 I shall write to you with the greatest eagerness and as frequently as I can. There is no danger of my being affected by the conversation of the man, 3 whom —though there is no one who can bear the sight of him-men can yet never hate as much as he deserves. For he is so utterly detestable in my eyes that everything I have to do with him is odious to me. Moreover, my actual disposition and pursuits incline me to desire peace and liberty. Accordingly, I have often bitterly mourned over that first step in the civil war. Since, however, it was impossible for me to be neutral, because I had bitter enemies on both sides, I shunned the camp, in which I knew for certain that I should not be safe from the plots of my personal enemy. 4 Being thus compelled to go to the last place to which I desired to go, that I might not be lost in the crowd, I boldly confronted dangers without any hesitation. To Caesar, indeed, who regarded me as one of his oldest friends, though he had not known me until he had reached his own splendid position, I was attached with the utmost devotion and fidelity. What I was permitted to do in harmony with my own opinion I did in such a manner as to procure the warmest approbation of all the best men. When I acted under orders, I did so with so much deliberation and in such a spirit as made it evident that I was an unwilling recipient of the commands. But the wholly undeserved odium roused by my conduct sufficed to teach me the charm of liberty and the wretchedness of life under a tyranny. Accordingly, if the object of the present proceedings is to bring everything once more under the power of a single person, whoever he is, I avow myself his enemy: nor is there any danger which I would shun or deprecate on behalf of liberty. But the consuls have neither by senatorial decree nor by despatch given me any instructions as to what I was to do. For I have only received one despatch from Pansa, and that not till the 15th of March, in which he urges me to write a letter to the senate declaring that I and my army will be at its disposal.. But seeing that Lepidus was making speeches and writing to tell everybody that he was at one with Antony, this was the most awkward possible step for me to take. For by what road was I to lead my legions through his province against his will? Or if I had effected the rest of the journey, could I take wings and fly over the Alps, which are occupied by his force? Add to this the impossibility of a despatch getting through on any terms: for letter-carriers are examined in countless places, and finally are even detained by Lepidus. No one will question the sincerity of my public pronouncement at Corduba, that I would hand over the province to no one who did not arrive with a commission from the senate. For why need I describe the violent controversies I have had about handing over the thirtieth legion? And if I had handed it oyer, who does not know how much less effective in serving the state I was likely to be? For I assure you that it is the most gallant and best fighting legion in existence. Wherefore make up your mind that I am, to begin with a man most strongly in favour of peace—for I am seriously desirous that all citizens should be unmolested—and in the second place one prepared to assert my own and the state's freedom alike. Your admitting my friend into the list of yours is more gratifying to me than you can think: yet I am envious of his walking and jesting with you. You will ask me how much I value that. If ever I am allowed to enjoy leisure you shall find out from experience: for I will never budge a step from your side. One thing does profoundly surprise me—that you have never written to tell me whether I could better serve the Republic by remaining in my province or by leading my army into Italy. For my part, though it is safer and less laborious to remain, yet because I see that at such a crisis there is much more occasion for legions than for provinces (especially such as can be recovered without difficulty) I have resolved, as things are now, to start with my army. For the restt, you will learn everything from my despatch to Pansa, for I am inclosing a copy of it for your perusal. 16 March, Corduba.

1 It is not clear whom Pollio means. Lepidus was in possession of the northern province of Spain and of Narbonensis, and might intercept letters coming from the south for Italy that way, and letter-carriers starting from Rome might be stopped nearer the city by Antony or some of his followers.

2 Vegetius (Res Mil. 5.9) reckons the close season, during which ordinary navigation was suspended, as from 3rd November to 5th March. But see p. 287.

3 We cannot be sure who is meant. It is evidently some one with Pollio, and not Antony, as has been generally thought, and some one against whom Cicero had warned Pollio. It may be—as has been suggested -his fraudulent quaestor Balbus. See Letter DCCCXCIII.

4 There is no means of deciding what particular person Pollio means. We have heard of his prosecuting Gaius Cato (vol. i., p.281); and Quintilian mentions a speech against Labienus. But Pollio was a great orator, and may have prosecuted many persons and thus made enemies.

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