previous next

B.C. 45. Dictator, r.p.c., C. Iulius Caesar III. Magister Equitum, M. Aemilius Lepidus. Coss., C. Iulius Caesar IV., sine collega. Q. Fabius Maximus, mort., C. Caninius Rebilus, C. Trebonius.
During this year Cicero remained at Rome or some of his country villas, till the death of his daughter Tullia after childbirth. In deep grief he retired to Astura, where he sought consolation partly in prosecuting a design for building a temple in her memory, partly in writing. He produced a Consolatio, and the two treatises, de Finibus and Academica (the latter first in two books, afterwards rearranged in four). He also projected, but did not carry out, a treatise on the reconstruction of the constitution, to be addressed to Caesar. In December of the previous year Caesar had started for Spain to attack the Pompeian army commanded by Gnaeus and Sextus Pompeius. The victory of Munda (17th March) and the subsequent death of Gnaeus seemed to settle the question of Spain—though the opposition under Sextus Pompeius survived many years—and Caesar returned to Rome in October. Much of the correspondence of this year concerns Cicero's grief for his daughter. When he touches on political affairs, however, his discontent with the Caesarian government and general policy is made very evident.

DXXIX (F xv, 18)

1 MY letter would have been longer, had not the messenger come for it when he was just on the point of starting for you. It would have been longer also if it had any persiflage in it, for we cannot be serious with safety. "Can we laugh, then?" you will say. No, by Hercules, not very easily. Yet other means of distraction from our troubles we have none. "Where, then," you will say, "is your philosophy?" Yours indeed is in the kitchen, mine in the schools. 2 For I am ashamed of being a slave. Accordingly, I pose as being busy about other things, to avoid the reproach of Plato. 3 We have no Certain intelligence from Spain as yet—in fact, no news at all. For my sake I am sorry that you are out of town, for your own I am glad. But your letter-carrier is getting clamorous. Good-bye then, and love me as you have done from boyhood.

1 I think this letter must belong to the early part of B.C. 45, not to December, B.C. 46, as Messrs. Tyrrell and Purser and Mueller place it. Caesar only left Rome for Spain on the 2nd of December, and Cicero could hardly have been expecting news so soon. Moreover, Cassius—who declined to accompany Caesar to Spain—seems to have gone on his tour in the early part of B.C. 45, and to be staying at Brundisium.

2 Reading, in palaestra est. Mueller, however, retains the MS. reading, molesta est, "only gives me annoyance," as though it reminded him of what he should, without enabling him to do it—video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor.

3 Who said that men ought to "be free and fear slavery worse than death," Rep. 387B. To be "busy about other things" or "about something else " is a kind of proverbial way of saying that one is not attending to serious business.

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: