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CCLVII (F II, 18)

TO Q. MINUCIUS THERMUS (PROPRAETOR OF ASIA)
LAODICEA (MAY)
I am exceedingly glad that such services as I have rendered to Rhodon, and any other kindnesses I have done you and yours, have pleased you, the most grateful of men; and let me assure you that I feel greater interest every day in promoting your position, though, indeed, you have yourself so enhanced it by the purity and lenity of your administration, that it seems scarcely to admit of any increase. But as I think over your plans, I am more and more convinced every day of the soundness of the advice which I originally gave our friend Ariston, when he came to see me, that you would be incurring dangerous enmity, if a young man 1 of powerful connexions and high birth received a slight from you. And, by heaven! it certainly will be a slight: for you have no one with you of higher official rank. The man himself, too, to say nothing of his high birth, has claims superior to those of the excellent and unimpeachable officers, your legates, in this special particular, that he is a quaestor and your quaestor. That no individual can, however provoked, do you any harm I quite see; yet I would not like you to have three brothers, of the highest birth, energetic, and not without eloquence, angry with you at once, especially on any good ground: men too whom I see will be successively tribunes during the next three years. 2 Who knows, again, what sort of times await the Republic? In my opinion, they will be stormy. Why should I wish you to incur the alarms which tribunes can cause, especially when, without exciting remark from anyone, you can give the preference to a quaestor over legates of only quaestorian rank? And if he shews himself worthy of his ancestors, as I hope and trust he may do, the credit will to a certain extent be yours: if, on the other hand, he comes to grief in any way, the discredit will be all his, not yours at all. 3 I thought, as I am on the point of starting for Cilicia, that I ought to write and tell you what occurred to me as being for your interests. Whatever you decide upon doing I pray heaven to prosper. But if you will listen to me, you will avoid enmities, and take measures for your tranquillity in the future.


1 Gaius Antonius (brother of Marcus), now quaestor in Asia, and the question is whether Thermus should leave him in charge of the province. He was praetor in B.C. 44, and being assigned the province of Macedonia for B.C. 43, was taken prisoner by M. Brutus, and after a time put to death, in revenge, it was said, for the murder of Cicero.

2 M. Antonius was tribune in B.C. 50-49, L. Antonius in B.C. 44, but Gaius does not appear to have been tribune. The three brother were all in office together in B.C. 44, as consul, tribune, and praetor.

3 Because Thermus would only have followed the regular course in appointing his quaestor to take charge of his province in the interval between his departure and the arrival of his successor. It is an irony of destiny, somewhat pathetic, that Cicero should be writing in Antony's favour, and should speak of the brothers as non indisertos, considering the charges of ignorance and every vice which he afterwards flung at Marcus Antonius, to whom also he was to owe his own death.

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