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CCXI (F XV, 3)

Ambassadors sent to me by Antiochus of Commagene having arrived at the camp at Iconium on the 28th of August, and having announced to me that the son of the king of the Parthians, whose wife was the sister of the king of the Armenians, had arrived on the Euphrates with a very large force of Parthians, and a great host of other nations besides, and had actually begun the passage of the Euphrates, and that it was reported that the Armenian king was about to make a raid upon Cappadocia—I thought that, considering our close friendship, I ought to write and tell you this news. I have sent no public despatch for two reasons: first, because the ambassadors said that the Commagenian himself had at once sent messengers and a despatch to the senate; and, secondly, because I believed that M. Bibulus, proconsul of Syria, who started thither by sea from Ephesus about the 13th of August, seeing that he had had the wind in his favour, had by this time arrived in his own province, and I thought that the senate was sure to get more definite information on all points in a despatch from him. For myself, considering the circumstances and the gravity of the war, my chief anxiety is to retain by my own leniency and purity, and the loyalty of our allies, what I can scarcely hope to retain by the amount of my forces and material resources. I would beg you, on your part, to continue your habitual affection for me and the defence of me in my absence. 1

1 The object of this letter addressed to the head of the Optimate party, as far as it had a head, seems to be to induce Cato to propose a reinforcement for Cicero, or to prepare Cato to defend him in case of failure. Cato was not in any office at this time; but as an ex-praetor he would have a fairly early opportunity of delivering a sententia in the senate.

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