DCCLXXIX (F XI, 3)
M. BRUTUS AND C. CASSIUS TO M. ANTONIUSNAPLES, 4 AUGUST If you are well, we are glad. We have perused a letter from you very closely corresponding to your edict-insulting, threatening, and not at all such as should have been addressed to us by you. We have not, Antonius, used any words of insult to you, nor did we suppose that you would be surprised if as praetors and men of such rank we had demanded in an edict something of a consul. But if you feel indignation at our having ventured to do so, at least allow us to feel aggrieved that even this much is refused by you to a Brutus and a Cassius. For as to the holding of levies and demanding money contributions, tampering with armies and sending couriers across sea—of which you say that you have not complained—we of course believe that your action has been dictated by the best motives. Nevertheless, we do not acknowledge any one of these allegations, and we feel surprised that, after restraining your tongue on these matters, you have not been able to refrain from taunting us in your anger with the death of Caesar. Rather consider yourself how intolerable it is that praetors are not allowed for the sake of peace and liberty to announce in an edict that they waive their rights, without the consul threatening them with armed violence. By relying on arms you cannot daunt us: for it is neither right nor fitting for us to allow our courage to be overborne by any danger, nor ought Antonius to expect to tyrannize over those by whose action he is a free man. If other considerations impelled us to wish for a civil war, your letter would not have had any effect upon the question: for words of menace have no weight with free men. But you know full well that we cannot be driven in any direction, and perhaps you use menaces in that matter to give what is the result of our deliberate judgment the appearance of fear. Our feeling is that, while we desire you to have a great and honourable position in a free state, and do not challenge you to any quarrel, we yet value our liberty higher than your friendship. Consider again and again what you are taking upon yourself, what you are capable of maintaining, and be careful to consider not how long Caesar lived, but how long he reigned. We pray the gods that your designs may be for the safety of the Republic; if not, we hope that they may damage your-self as little as is consistent with its safety and honour. 4 August.