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DCCCV (F X, 4)

L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO CICERO (AT ROME)
GALLIA COMATA
1 (NOVEMBER) I was very much pleased with your letters, 2 which I note as having been written in consequence of what Furnius said to you. The excuse for not having written before which I have to offer is that I was told that you had left the country; nor did I learn of your return 3 much before your own letter told me of it. I say this, because I do not think that I can omit any attention to you, however insignificant, without the very gravest breach of duty. For being careful to pay such attentions I have innumerable reasons, whether I look to the close ties between our fathers, or my reverence for you which began with my childhood, or your mutual affection for me. Wherefore, my dear Cicero; as far as our respective ages permit, Convince yourself that you are the one man whose society has enabled me to maintain the purity of life of which my father gave me an example. Therefore all the counsels you give are, in my eyes, inspired not more by wisdom—though in that they are supreme-than by loyal friendship, which I gauge by person. It was either never renewed, or subsequent letters have been all lost. These are the last words that have come to us of a correspondence between two men among the most remarkable existing for its continuity, as well as for its candour and complete unreserve. The remainder of the correspondence, though it carries us through almost the most momentous and exciting months ever experienced in Rome, has indeed all the agitation and stir of life, but lacks the note of complete confidence and self-revelation of the letters to Atticus. my own heart. Supposing me then to be otherwise minded, your reprimand at any rate would have been sufficient to stop me: or supposing me to be hesitating, your exhortation would have sufficed to force me to follow the course which you thought to be the most honourable. As it is, however, what is there to draw me in a different direction? Whatever advantages I possess, whether bestowed upon me by the kindness of fortune or acquired by my own labour, though your affection induces you to value them with partial kindness, are yet so great in the judgment even of my bitterest opponent, that they lack nothing but the good opinion of the world. Wherefore, if you were ever sure of anything, be sure of this—whatever effort my bodily strength, whatever provision my mental powers, whatever impression my personal influence, are capable of making—all these shall ever be at the service of the Republic. Your sentiments are not unknown to me: and if I had the opportunity—as I wish with all my heart I had—of seeing you face to face, I should never have dissented from your policy; nor even as it is will I allow any act of mine to deserve your just rebuke. I am anxiously awaiting news from every quarter, to learn what goes on in Cisalpine Gaul, or in the city, when January comes. Meanwhile my greatest anxiety and concern here are lest, instigated by the malpractices of others, these tribes should regard our difficulty as their opportunity. But if my success equals my deserts, I shall at any rate satisfy the expectations both of yourself, which is my chief ambition, and of all loyalists. 4


1 Plancus was governor of all Transalpine Gaul, except Narbonensis, which Lepidus held with Hither Spain. This was sometimes called Gallia Comata.

2 See Letters DCCLXXXIV, DCCLXXXV.

3 From the journey to Greece, begun at Leucopetra and abandoned (see pp.119, 131). For Furnius, see p.134.

4 This letter well illustrates the vanity and shiftiness of the "constitutional traitor" Plancus, who was already making his plans to watch events and join the stronger party. He therefore contrives in most elaborate language to say just nothing. The two objects which he had in view were to keep his province, of which Antony's triumph would probably deprive him, but also to have the consulship of B.C. 42, to which Caesar had nominated him. For this latter purpose it might suit him better to join Antony. This double ambition kept him for many months hovering between the two sides.

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