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DCCCL (F XI, 10)

DECIMUS BRUTUS TO CICERO (AT ROME)
DERTONA, 5 MAY
I DO not think that the Republic owes me more than I owe you. You have good assurance of my being capable of greater gratitude to you than those misguided persons shew me: and that if after all my words seem to be dictated by the exigencies of the hour, I prefer your approval to that of all those people on the other side. For your judgment of us proceeds from an independent and sincere feeling: they are debarred from that by malice and jealousy. Let them interpose to prevent my receiving marks of honour, so long as they do not prevent the public service being properly conducted by me. The extreme danger in which that now stands I will explain as briefly as I can. To begin with, you cannot fail to observe what a confusion in city business is caused by the death of the consuls, and how much ambition this vacancy in the office inspires in men. I think I have written as much as can be committed to paper. For I know to whom I am writing. I now return to Antony, who, though when he fled he had only a handful of unarmed infantry, seems, by breaking open slave-barracks and requisitioning every kind of human being, to have made up a very Considerable number. To this has been added the force of Ventidius, which after accomplishing a difficult march across the Apennines has reached Vada and has there affected a junction with Antony. There is a very considerable number of veterans and fully armed soldiers with Ventidius. Antony's plan of campaign must certainly be either to join Lepidus, if Lepidus will have him; or to keep behind the lines of the Apennines and Alps, and to lay waste the district which he has invaded by sending out parties of cavalry, of which he has large numbers; or to draw back into Etruria, since that part of Italy has no army in it. But if Caesar had listened to me and crossed the Apennines, I should have reduced Antony to such straits, that he would have been ruined by failure of provisions rather than by the sword. But neither can anyone control Caesar, nor can Caesar control his own army-both most disastrous facts. These things being so, I won't hinder anybody, as far as I am concerned, from interposing, as I said before. It alarms me to think how these difficulties are to be removed, and, when they are removed by you, of the fresh hindrances that may intervene. I am already unable to feed and pay my men. When I undertook the task of freeing the Republic I had more than 40,000 sestertia 1 in money. So far from any part of my private property remaining unencumbered, I have by this time loaded all my friends with debt. I am now supporting a force amounting to seven legions, you can imagine with what difficulty. Not if I had all the treasures of Varro, 2 could I stand the expense. As soon as I have any certain information about Antony I will let you know. Pray continue to love me with the assurance that I entertain the same feeling for you.

5 May, in camp, Dertona.


1 About £320,000.

2 M. Terentius Varro was not a particularly rich man, or at any rate not sufficiently so to be proverbial. But he wrote a book de divitiis, in which he may have told the story of Crassus saying that no one was rich till he could keep a legion on the interest of his capital (Pliny, N. H. 33, § 134). Another suggestion is that it refers to some character in one of Varro's plays.

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