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DCCCX (F XII, 22)

TO QUINTUS CORNIFICIUS (IN AFRICA)
ROME (20-31 DECEMBER)
HERE at Rome we are waging war with the most abandoned, gladiator in the world, our colleague 1 Antony, but not on equal terms, for it is words against arms. Nay, he even goes so far as to make speeches against you: but he won't do that with impunity, for he will be made to feel what sort of men he has attacked. For myself, I imagine that all public occurences are detailed to you in the letters of others: what you should learn from me is the future, as to which the conjecture is not difficult. It is a scene of universal depression: the loyalists have no leader, and our tyrannicides are in remote regions. Pansa both entertains excellent sentiments and speaks with courage. Our friend Hirtius is somewhat slow in recovering his health. What will happen I do not know at all: my one hope, however, is that the Roman people will at last shew itself worthy of its ancestors. I at least will stand by the Republic, and whatever happens—as long as I have nothing for which to blamee myself—I will bear with a brave heart. This at least I will do to the best of my ability: I will support your reputation and political position. On the 20th of December a very full meeting of the senate supported my motion, which among other matters of great importance confirmed the retention of the provinces by the actual holders, and prohibited their being handed over to any successors, except those nominated by a decree of the senate. 2 This motion was made by me in the interests of the Republic, but also, I assure you, with the primary object of sustaining your position. Therefore I beg you for the sake of our affection, I exhort you in the name of the Republic, not to suffer anyone to exercise any jurisdiction in your province, and to act in all respects with an eye to your official position, which is paramount to everything. I will be frank with you, as our friendship demands. If you had obeyed my letter in the case of Sempronius, 3 you would have received the loudest praise from everybody. But that is past and is not very important: but that you should keep your province in its obedience to the Republic is a matter of great gravity. 4 I would have written more had not your letter-carriers been in a hurry. So please make my excuses to our friend Chaerippus.


1 That is, colleague in the college of augurs. "Gladiator" is the favourite term of abuse of Antony. See 2 Phil. §§ 7, 63; p.136.

2 See last letter.

3 What had happened about Senipronius is not known. Cicero thought that Cornificius had in some way either allowed him to do something illegal, or assumesome illegal position in his province. See pp. 186, 193.

4 A decree of the senate had transferred the province of Africa to C. Calvisius (Phil. 3.26), but Cicero regards that as canceled by the resolution moved at the end of his speech on the 20th of December. The other transactions he holds to have been carried out under comulsion from Antony.

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