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CCCLXXXVI (F IV, I)

TO SERVIUS SULPICIUS RUFUS (AT ROME)
CUMAE, APRIL (TOWARDS THE END)
Mv intimate friend Gaius Trebatius has written to me to say that you have inquired of him where I was, and that you regretted that, owing to the state of your health, you had not seen me after my arrival at the city walls, and that at the present time you wished, if I came nearer, to consult with me on what was the duty of us both. Oh that it had been possible, Servius, for us to converse before the ruin— that is the word!—had been completed. We should surely have contributed some assistance to the falling Republic. For I am fully informed, though absent myself, that, foreseeing these disasters long before, you were the supporter of peace both during and after your consulship. I, however, though approving your policy and holding the same opinion myself, was unable to do any good. For I arrived late in the day; I was isolated; I was regarded as imperfectly acquainted with the facts: I had suddenly plunged into a scene of mad passion for war. Now, since it seems impossible for us to furnish any support to the Republic, if there is any measure within our power to take in our own particular interests—I don't mean to maintain our old position, but to express our grief in the manner most honourable to ourselves-there is no one in the world with whom I should think it proper to confer in preference to yourself. For you do not forget the examples of the most illustrious men—whom we ought to resemble— nor the maxims of the greatest philosophers, whom you have always worshipped. And, in fact, I should myself have written to you before to warn you that your going to the senate—or rather to the convention of senators 1 —would have no result, had I not been afraid of annoying the man who was urging me to imitate you. Him indeed I gave clearly to understand, when he asked me to attend the senate, that I should say precisely what you said about peace, and about the Spains. You see how the matter stands: the whole world is parcelled out among men in military command, and is ablaze with war: the city, without laws, law courts, justice, or credit, has been abandoned to plunder and fire. Accordingly, nothing occurs to me, I don't say to hope, but scarcely even to venture to wish. If, however, you, in your supreme wisdom, think it of any advantage that we should have a discussion, though I am thinking of going still farther from the city, the very name of which I do not now like to hear mentioned, I will yet come nearer; and I have instructed Trebatius not to decline to bring any message you wished to send me: and I should like you to do so, or to send me any of your own friends that you can trust, so that you may not be obliged to leave the city, or I to approach it. I pay you the same high compliment as I perhaps claim for myself, in feeling sure that whatever we mutually agree upon, will have the approbation of all the world. Farewell.


1 See ante, p. 358. Cicero professes to hold that the meeting could not be called a "senate" in the absence of the consuls, many other magistrates, and a considerable number of the ordinary members. But the praetor Lepidus had the legal right of summoning it, and there was no law demanding the presence of other magistrates.

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