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MY quaestor Balbus 1 having amassed from the public taxes a large sum of ready money, a great amount of bullion, and a still greater amount of silver, has withdrawn from Gades without even paying the soldiers, and after being detained three days off Calpe by bad weather, on the 1st of June crossed into the kingdom of Bogudes, 2 with a very pretty bit of money in his pocket. With the rumours now going about I don't yet know whether he intends to return to Gades or to go to Rome—for at every fresh piece of news he changes his plans in the most contemptible manner. But besides his peculations and violent robberies and flogging of allies, he has done the following—as he is himself accustomed to boast—in imitation of Caesar. At the games which he gave at Gades, on the last day of the show, he presented the actor Herennius Gallus with a gold ring and formally conducted him to a seat in the fourteen rows 3 —for he had arranged that number of rows for men of equestrian rank. He also caused his office as one of the quattuorviri 4 to be continued beyond the year: he held elections for two years in two following days, that is, he declared whom he chose elected: he recalled exiles, not those of recent times, but of that period in which the senate was massacred or expelled by rebels in the proconsulship of Sextus Varus. 5 The next thing, at any rate, is not covered by a precedent of Caesar's: he put on the stage a "Roman drama" representing his own expedition to solicit the proconsul Lucius Lentulus, and, what is more, whilst it was being acted he burst into tears, affected by the memory of his own adventures. 6 At the gladiatorial Contests, moreover, there was the case of the old Pompeian soldier named Fadius. Because this man, having been pressed into the gladiatorial school, and having fought twice without pay, refused to bind himself as a professional gladiator, and threw himself on the protection of the people, he first of all sent a squadron of Gallic horse to charge the people—for stones were thrown at him as Fadius was being dragged off—and then, having seized him, he half buried him in the school and burnt him alive. While this was being done he walked about after dinner without his boots, 7 with tunic ungirdled, and his hands behind his back, and in answer to the unhappy man crying out " I am a born Roman citizen," he replied: "Off with you then, and appeal to the people " 8 He also exposed Roman citizens to the beasts, among them a certain travelling pedlar—a very well-known character at Hispalis from his misshapen body. This is the kind of monster with whom I have had to deal. But more about him when we meet. For the present the important thing is to make up your minds what you want me to do. I have three strong legions, one of which—the twenty-eighth-Antonius tried to get to join him by promising that on the day it arrived in camp he would give each soldier 500 denarii, 9 and the same bounty in case of victory as to his own legions. And of such bounties who thinks that there will be any limit or end ?-Nevertheless I have managed to retain it though in a most restless state: nor should I have retained it, if I had kept it united and stationary, for certain cohorts have actually mutinied. My other legions also he has not ceased to solicit by letters and unlimited promises. Nor, indeed, has Lepidus been less urgent with me—in letters of his own and from Antony—to send them the thirtieth legion. So the army which I have refused to part with at any price, or to weaken from fear of the dangers portended in case they were victorious, you ought to consider to have been retained and preserved for the Republic, and to believe that I was prepared to obey any future commands of yours, since I have obeyed those which you have given. For I have kept my province in peace and my army under my own control: I have not quitted the borders of my province in any direction: I have not despatched a single soldier anywhere-not only of the legions, but even of the auxiliaries; and such of the cavalry as I have detected in trying to get out of the country I have punished. For these acts I shall think myself sufficiently rewarded if the Republic is safe. But if the Republic and the majority of the senate had known me as well as they ought, they would have got greater advantages out of me. A despatch which I have addressed to Balbus, since he is at this moment in the province, I am sending for your perusal. Also if you will care to read a "Roman drama," 10 ask my friend Cornelius Gallus 11 for it. Corduba, 8 June.

1 Balbus the younger, nephew of Cicero's client. He had been a warm Caesarian. See vol. ii., p.201.

2 Mauretania Tingitana (Tangiers). Bogudes or Bogud was a supporter of the Caesarians.

3 That is, he made him an eques. Fourteen rows in the theatres, even in the provinces, were reserved for equites, in accordance with the lex Roscia. The gold ring had been the special mark of equites since some period before the Punic wars. Once it had been confined to senators going abroad on missions, and under the empire it was used by all ingenui. The reference to the action of Iulius Caesar is to his treatment of Decimus Laberius (see Suet. Iul. 39), who played his own mime: donatusque L sestertiis et anulo aureo in quattuordecim e scaena per orchestram transiit. But Suetonius infers that Laberius was an eques already.

4 The magistrates of Gades, as a municipium, were quattuorviri. The Balbi were natives of Gades, and he no doubt, being in Spain, had as a favour to his town accepted the office, though he was a Roman quaestor. See the case of Cicero's son at Arpinum, vol. iii., p 63.

5 B.C. 56. Sextus Quintilius Varus was praetor in B.C 57.

6 The story is told by Velleius Paterculus (ii. 51) how Balbus," with a daring almost passing belief," made his way into Pompey's camp at Dyrrachium, and tried to persuade Lentulus (consul B.C. 49) to desert to Caesar.

7 The calcei were taken off before dinner in the house and slippers put on-called soleae or gallicae (see Phil. 2.76). So the story of Caesar's emotion at hearing of Octavius's illness. He was at dinner, and springing up went to the house ἀνυπόδητος, i.e., nudis pedibus, with his dinner-slippers on.

8 The brutality is pointed by the wretched man being half-buried and unable to stir.

9 About £20.

10 Praetexta, sc. fabula, as above. A drama on Roman subjects as opposed to the palliata, a play from the Greek. We know from Horace (Od. 2.1) that Pollio, among other literary accomplishments, was a dramatic writer.

11 The poet (B.C. 66-26), the friend of Augustus, first governor of Egypt, who killed himself when he fell into disfavour. His elegiac poems—which Ovid thought the best existing in his time (Tr. 4.10, 5)—have perished.

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