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CMV (F XII, 10)

LEPIDUS, your marriage relation, and my friend, was on the 30th of June declared a public enemy by a unanimous vote of the senate, as well as all who with him deserted the Republic. To them, however, a chance of returning to their right minds was given up to the 1st of September. The senate was very resolute, but chiefly in reliance on your aid There is, in fact, a very grave war in progress at the moment of my writing this, owing to the crime and instability of Lepidus. We daily hear satisfactory intelligence about Dolabella, but as yet by mere rumour-without definite source or confirmation. But though that is the case, still the letter which I have received from you dated from camp on the 7th of May has persuaded the whole city to believe that he has already been crushed, and that you are on your way to Italy with an army, so that, if affairs in these parts are settled as we wish, we may rely on your counsel and influence; and if there is any mishap—as will occur in war—we may rely on your army. This army, indeed, I will compliment by all the means in my power. The time for that will be when it has begun to be known what amount of aid it is likely to give to the Republic, or what amount it has already given. For at present we are only told of attempts-excellent indeed and most glorious—but we wait to hear of some decisive action: which for my own part I feel sure has taken place or is near doing so. Nothing can be more glorious than your valour and high spirit. Therefore we long to see you as soon as possible in Italy. We shall think that we have the Republic, if we have you. We had gained a splendid victory, had not Lepidus received Antony when he was without provisions or arms and in flight. 1 Therefore Antony was never such an object of dislike to the state as Lepidus is now. For the former stirred up war when the Republic was in a revolutionary state, the latter when victory had been crowned by peace. Opposed to this war we have the consuls-designate. 2 In them we have indeed high hopes, but owing to the uncertainty of the results of battles, we are in all the anxiety of suspense. Assure yourself; therefore, that everything depends on you and Marcus Brutus, and that you are both anxiously expected, Brutus indeed now momentarily. And if; as I hope, your arrival finds our enemies conquered, yet your authority will enable the Republic to raise its head and once more to stand on some tolerable foundation. For there will be many things demanding reform, even if the Republic shall seem fairly well released from the criminal attempts of its enemies.

1 Cicero's radical mistake was his view of Antony's retirement, as a flight of a helpless and demoralized force. It was, in fact, a masterly retreat, carried out with great skill and vigour, and with little or no loss; and before Antony came across Lepidus he had been strongly reinforced by Ventidius.

2 Plancus and Decimus Brutus.

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