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B.C. 49. Coss., C. Claudius, Marcellus, L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus.
In this year the Civil War began in earnest as soon as Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Directly the news arrived Pompey left Rome to gather soldiers stationed in winter quarters and on garrison duty in various parts of Italy, and Italy itself was portioned out into districts for defence under various magistrates and senators. But by the 18th of March Pompey had quitted Italy, never to return, with the two consuls and other magistrates; and before the end of the month Caesar had arrived at Rome, left it in charge of the praetor Lepidus, and Italy in charge of the tribune Antony, specially invested with praetorian powers, and had gone to besiege Marseilles and to fight Pompey's legates in Spain. Cicero, who had had the district of Capua assigned to him, had nothing left but to keep as quiet as he could in his country houses. But his conscience left him no peace until he had joined Pompey in Greece, though he was fully aware of the unsatisfactory nature of the party which had accompanied him there. After long hesitation, he at last made up his mind, early in June, to join Pompey's camp. After his arrival there we have no more letters this year.


CICERO and his son, Terentia, Tullia, Quintus and his son, send warm greetings to Tiro. Though I miss your ever-ready help at every turn yet it is not for my sake so much as for yours that I grieve at your illness. But now that the violence of your disease has abated so far as to become a quartan fever—for so Curius writes me word—I hope that with care you will soon become stronger. Only be sure-as becomes a man of your good sense—to think of nothing for the present except how to get well in the best possible way. I know how your regret at being absent worries you, but all difficulties will disappear, if you get well. I would not have you hurry, for fear of your suffering from sea-sickness in your weak state, and finding a winter voyage dangerous. I arrived at the city walls on the 4th of January. Nothing could be more complimentary than the procession that came out to meet me; but I found things in a blaze of civil discord, or rather civil war. I desired to find a cure for this, and, as I think, could have done so; but I was hindered by the passions of particular persons, for on both sides there are those who desire to fight. The long and short of it is that Caesar himself—once our friend— has sent the senate a menacing and offensive despatch, 1 and is so insolent as to retain his army and province in spite of the senate, and my old friend Curio is backing him up. Farthermore, our friend Antonius and Q. Cassius, having been expelled from the house, though without any violence, left town with Curio to join Caesar, directly the senate had passed the decree ordering " consuls, praetors, tribunes, and us proconsuls to see that the Republic received no damage." 2 Never has the state been in greater danger: never have disloyal citizens had a better prepared leader. On the whole, however, preparations are being pushed on with very great activity on our side also. This is being done by the influence and energy of our friend Pompey, who now, when it is too late, begins to fear Caesar. In spite of these exciting incidents, a full meeting of the senate clamoured for a triumph being granted me: but the consul Lentulus, in order to enhance his service to me, said that as soon as he had taken the measures necessary for the public safety, he would bring forward a motion on the subject. I do nothing in a spirit of selfish ambition, and consequently my influence is all the greater. Italy has been marked out into districts, shewing for what part each of us is to be responsible. I have taken Capua. That is all I wanted to tell you. Again and again I urge you to take care of your health, and to write to me as often as you have anyone to whom to give a letter. Good-bye, good-bye

12 January.

1 Caesar (B.C. 1.5) describes it as containing demands of "the mildest possible kind"lenissima postulata. It was brought by Curio, who, going out of office on the 10th December, had joined Caesar at Ravenna.

2 This senatus consultum ultimum was passed on the 7th of January, the fifth meeting of the senate-two comitial days, 3rd and 4th, preventing a meeting being held (Caesar, B.C. 1.5). Cicero's assertion that no violence was done to Cassius and Antony seems to be confirmed by Caesar's account, who only says that after this decree profugiunt statim ex urbe tr. pl. If any violence had been used, he would certainly have mentioned it as strengthening his case. In the decree the (unusual) mention of proconsuls was in order to include Pompey and Cicero.

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