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B.C. 53. Coss. M. Domitius Calvinus, M. Valerius Messalia.
This was the year in which Crassus was defeated and killed in Parthia, making thus the first break in the triumvirate, when already the ties between Pompey and Caesar were weakened by the death of Iulia in the previous year. Caesar, however, had been in great difficulties in Gaul. At the end of the previous year a fresh rising of the Nervii destroyed a Roman legion and put Q. Cicero in great danger. In the present year Quintus met with his disaster at the hands of the Sigambri. The chief event to Cicero personally was his election into the college of augurs, in place of the younger Crassus. Atticus appears to be in Rome, for there are no letters to him. There was a series of interregna this year owing to partisan conflicts, lasting till July, and when the consuls were at length appointed, they failed to hold the elections for B.C. 52.


Though1 I am sorry that you have suspected me of neglect, yet it was not so annoying to me to have my lack of attention found fault with, as delightful to have it missed by you; especially as in the particular point on which you accuse me I happen to be innocent, while in shewing that you miss a letter from me, you avow an affection for me, of which, indeed, I was fully aware, but which, nevertheless, is very soothing and gratifying to my feelings. The fact is that I have never let anyone go, so long, that is, as I thought him likely to reach you, without giving him a letter. Why, was there ever such an untiring correspondent as I? From you, however, I have received two, or at the most three letters—and those extremely brief. Wherefore, if you are a harsh judge of me, I shall find you guilty on precisely the same charge. But if you don't want me to do that, you will have to be considerate to me. However, enough about writing; for I am not afraid of failing to satiate you with my correspondence, especially if you shew a just appreciation of my zeal in that department. I have been grieved on the one hand at your long absence from us, because I have lost the advantage of a most delightful intimacy; and yet on the other hand I rejoice at it, because while on this foreign service you have gained all your objects with infinite credit to yourself, and because in all you have undertaken fortune has answered to my wishes. There is one injunction, a very short one, which my unspeakable affection for you compels me to give you. Such lofty expectations are entertained of your spirit, shall I say? or of your ability, that I cannot refrain from imploring and beseeching you to return to us with a character so finished, as to be able to support and maintain the expectations which you have excited. And since no loss of memory will ever obliterate my recollection of your services to me, I beg you not to forget that, whatever increase of fortune or position may befall you, you would not have been able to attain it, had you not as a boy obeyed my most faithful and affectionate counsels. 2 Wherefore it will be your duty to shew me such affection, that my age—now on the decline—may find repose in your devotion and youth.

1 The younger Curio was now quaestor to C. Clodius, brother of Publius and Appius, in Asia. He was tribune in B.C. 50, when he suddenly changed sides and joined Caesar, who purchased his adhesion by paying his immense debts.

2 Curio had supported Cicero against Clodius, and had worked for his recall. He seems to have attended at Cicero's house for the study of rhetoric or legal practice, as was the fashion for young men to do. He presently married Fulvia, the widow of Clodius, who after his death in Africa (B.C. 48) married Antony.

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