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CCXL (F XV, 14)

TO C. CASSIUS LONGINUS (PROQUAESTOR IN SYRIA)
CILICIA, JANUARY
M. CICERO, imperator, greets C. Cassius, 1 proquaestor. You introduce M. Fadius to me as a friend, but I make no fresh acquisition in him; for it is now many years since he has been among my cherished possessions, and valued by me for his exceeding kindness and attentions. Nevertheless, the discovery of his attachment to you has made him still dearer to me. So, though your letter did some good, yet a still more powerful recommendation was my clear perception and recognition of his own warm feeling for you. However, I will take every pains to do for Fadius what you ask. It is yourself that I could wish for many reasons had been able to visit me: in the first place, that I might see you after so long a separation—-a man whom I have long valued so highly; in the second place, that I might offer my personal congratulations, as I have already done by letter; thirdly, that we might consult together on whatever matters we wished, you on yours, I on mine; and lastly, that our friendship, which has been kept up by the interchange of signal services on both sides, but has had its continuity interrupted by periods of separation, might be greatly strengthened. Since this was not to be, we will avail ourselves of what letters can do for us, and shall, though separated, attain almost the same objects as we should have done if we had met face to face. One satisfaction, of course, that which arises from the actual sight of you, cannot be obtained by the help of letters: the other, the pleasure, I mean, of congratulating you, though more meagre than it would have been, if I could have seen your face while offering my congratulations, I have nevertheless already experienced and now give myself again: and I do indeed congratulate you both on the splendour of your services, and also for their opportuneness, in that at the moment of your departure from it you have been followed by the loudest praises and the liveliest gratitude of your province. My third point—that we might have consulted each other about our affairs—that let us do equally by letter. On every other account I am strongly of opinion that you ought to hasten your return to Rome. For things there, as I left them, shewed no signs of a storm as far as you are concerned, 2 and owing to your recent very splendid victory I imagine that your arrival will be attended by greatéclat. But if the difficulties under which your relations are labouring 3 are no more than you can combat, hasten home: nothing could be nobler or more popular: but if they are more serious, take care that your return does not fall at a most inopportune moment. You are the sole judge on this point, for you alone know your powers. If you are strong enough to do it, you are sure of praise and popularity: if you are clearly not strong enough, it will be easier for you to support popular remark by staying away. For myself, however, the request I make to you in this letter is the same as that in my previous one—that you should exert yourself to the utter-most to prevent any extension of time being made to my provincial government, which both by decree of the senate and by the law was to be of one year's duration. I press this upon you with warmth, because I consider my entire fortunes to depend upon it. You have Paullus to support you—my friend, and a very warm one: you have Curio and Furnius. I beg you to exert yourself, with the assurance that it is every-thing in the world to me. My last point was the strengthening of our friendship. On that there is no need of more words. You sought my society in your boyhood: I for my part ever thought that you would be a credit to me. You were, moreover, a protection to me in the darkest hour of my fortunes. To these facts I may now add the very close intimacy which has sprung up since you left town between me and your relative Brutus. 4 Therefore, in the talents and high character which distinguish you both, I believe that I have a very great reserve of pleasure and honour in store. t beg you earnestly to ratify this expectation, and also to write to me at once, and as often as possible after your arrival at Rome.


1 C. Cassius Longinus, the future assassin of Caesar, had gone to Syria as quaestor with M. Licinius Crassus in B.C. 54. On the death of Crassus near Carrhae (B.C. 53) he had managed to lead off the main body of the Roman army to Antioch, and had remained in charge of the province as pro quaestore ever since (defeating a weak attack of the Parthians in B.C. 52), till the arrival of Bibulus in September, B.C. 51. Just before the arrival of Bibulus he had again defeated the attack of the Parthians near Antioch and handed over his province in a state of comparative safety. He is now on the point of returning to Italy.

2 He is referring to a danger of prosecution for extortion in Syria.

3 His brother or cousin Quintus Cassius was being attacked for malversation as quaestor in Spain (B.C. 54-52). See Letter CCXXVII.

4 Cassius, who was some twenty years younger than Cicero, had married Tertia, half-sister to Brutus.

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