previous next


B.C. 43, aet. 63. Coss., C. Vibius Pansa, occis., A. Hirtius, occis. C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus, abd. C. Carinas, Q. Pedius, mort., P. Ventidius. Triumviri, r. p. c., M. Aemilius Lepidus, M. Antonius, C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus.
The last letter from Cicero possessed by us is dated not later than the 27th of July: he was murdered on the 7th of December. For the last four months of his life therefore we have nothing from him to tell us of the events leading up to his death. But up to the battle of Forum Gallorum (15th of April) we have letters from or to Cicero which carry us through the exciting events of the early months. Antony's investment of Decimus Brutus in Mutina: the negotiations between him and the senate, the march to the relief of Mutina of Octavian, and the consuls Hirtius and Pansa successively, and the final battles which compelled or induced Antony to raise the siege of Mutina and march away to Gallia Narbonensis. But it only lets us see the beginning of the subsequent collapse of the senatorial hopes. How Decimus Brutus failed to retain the support of Octavian, and in his vain pursuit of Antony—after being first joined and then deserted by Plancus—found his army melt away, till he lost his own life. How Antony, reinforced by Ventidius Bassus, was joined first by Lentulus and then by Pollio, and finally by Plancus in Narbonensis. How Octavian, having first marched upon Rome and forced an unwilling senate to allow him to be returned consul, then came to terms with Antony and Lepidus, ostensibly to attack whom he had again marched from Rome. How the triumvirate was arranged, nominally as a corn mission of reform, really to override the constitution itself, and the terrible vengeance the three were to take upon their enemies—and upon the Ciceros among the first. Cicero, though of course he could not foretell the exact course which events were to take, yet well knew that he and his party were in the gravest danger. His one hope was in provincial governors known to be favourable to the constitution and in command of forces-especially Cornificius in Africa, Cassius in Syria, and Marcus Brutus in Macedonia. We find him therefore to the last exhorting them to come to Italy with their troops, that the senate might resist possible attacks from Antony and deal with a free hand with Octavian. But when on Octavian's entry into Rome (August) Cicero made his last despairing effort to collect the senate and organize an opposition, he must have known that all hope was over, and he probably spent the next two months in retirement at Tusculum, till he heard of the triumvirate and the proscription lists. Cicero's literary work was now all over; but the Philippic Speeches (5-14) belong to the first four months of this year, and represent vividly to us the progressive steps in the quarrel with Antony.

DCCCXIII (F XI, 8)

TO DECIMUS BRUTUS (AT MUTINA)
ROME (JANUARY)
Your wife Paulla 1 sent a message asking me "whether I had anything to send to you," at a time when I had nothing particular to say. For everything is in a state of suspense because we are waiting for the return of the ambassadors, 2 of whose success there is as yet no news. However, I thought I ought to write and tell you this much: the senate and people of Rome are very anxious about you, not merely for the sake of their own security, but also for that of your political position. In fact the affection in which your name is held is remarkable, and the love of all the citizens for you is unparalleled. For they rest great hopes in you, and feel confident that as you formerly freed the Republic from a tyrant you will now free it from a tyranny. A levy is being held in Rome and throughout Italy, if it is to be called a levy, when all offer themselves spontaneously. Such is the enthusiasm which has taken possession of men's minds from a yearning for liberty and a loathing for their long-continued slavery. On other matters we ought by this time to be expecting a despatch from you telling us what you and our friend Hirtius are doing, and my dear Caesar, both of whom I hope will be before long united to you in the fellowship of victory. All that remains for me to say is what I prefer your learning from the letters of your family, as I hope you do—that I am not failing in any particular to support your position, and will never do so.


1 Paulla Valeria, whom he here calls Polla (cp. Claudius and Clodius). See vol. ii., p. 116: Fam. 8.7.For her brother Triarius, see vol. iii., p.221.

2 Those sent to Antony while encamped before Mutina. This measure had been proposed on the 1st ofJanuary, but successfully resisted by Cicero (fifth Philippic): it was, however, carried on the 6th, and Servius Sulpicius, L. Piso, and L. Philippus were despatched. Servius Sulpicius died in the course of the negotiations, and the other two brought back a very uncompromising answer. See the eighth Philippic.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: