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DCXCIX (F XV, 20)

TO GAIUS TREBONIUS (ON HIS WAY TO ASIA)
(ROME OR TUSCULUM (?), APRIL)
My orator—for that is the title I have given it—I have handed to your Sabine servant. His nationality made me think that he was a proper person to whom to give it: unless he too has availed himself of the licence of candidates and has suddenly adopted this surname. However, the modesty of his look and the gravity of his conversation seemed to me to smack somewhat of Cures. 1 But enough about Sabinus.

Since at your departure, my dear Trebonius, while wishing to aid me to bear with greater patience my warm regret for your absence, you only poured a good deal of oil on the fire of my love for you, pray bombard me with frequent letters on the understanding that I will do the same to you. There are, however, two reasons why you should be more regular in performing that service than myself: First, that in old days those remaining at Rome were accustomed to write on public affairs to their friends in the provinces; whereas you are now bound to write to us: for the Republic is there. Secondly, because I have the opportunity of serving you during your absence in other ways, while I do not see how you can do that for me except by letters. But you must write on other matters to me afterwards; at present the first thing I desire to know is what sort of journey you are having; where you have seen our friend Brutus, how long you have been together. Presently, when you have got farther on your way, you must write to me about military affairs, and the whole business, that I may know how we stand. 2 I shall not look upon any information as certain except what I get from your letters. Take care of your health, and preserve your old supreme affection for me.


1 Cicero is referring to the primitive manners and morals of the Sabines—often celebrated by Horace. The reference to the possible assumption of a name after the manner of candidates is believed to refer to Ventidius Bassus having done so in his canvass this year for the praetor. ship.

2 Recent editors—except Tyrrell and Purser—place this letter at the end of B.C. 46 or the beginning of B.C. 45. It is no doubt strange that, writing to one of the assassins, Cicero should not refer to Caesar's death or the change it had made. But there are reasons against thinking that the journey referred to was that which Trebonius took to Narbo, for that was in B.C. 45, about the time of the battle of Munda (Phil. 2.34), and Cicero would hardly have said that he relied entirely on Trebonius for authentic information as to the Spanish campaign; whereas he went to Asia with a full understanding with the Anti-Caesarians that he was to organize a force in Asia to aid Brutus and Cassius. The Orator was no doubt now a year and a half old; but Trebonius may have asked for a copy on his joumey, for he was in Spain when it first appeared.

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