previous next


I have received1 two letters from you, dated Corcyra. In one of these you congratulated me because you had heard, as you say, that I was enjoying my former position; in the other you said that you wished what I had done might turn out well and prosperously. Well, certainly, if they entertain honest sentiments on public affairs and to get good men to agree with them constitute a "position," then I do hold my position. But if "position" depends upon the power of giving effect to your opinion, or in fine of supporting it by freedom of speech, then I have not a trace of my old position left: and it is great good fortune if I am able to put sufficient restraint upon myself to endure without excessive distress what is partly upon us already and partly threatens to come. That is the difficulty in a war of this kind: its result shews a prospect of massacre on the one side, and slavery on the other. In this danger it affords me no little consolation to remember that I foresaw all this at the time when I was feeling greatly alarmed even at our successes-not merely at our reverses—and perceived at what immense risk the question of constitutional right was to be decided in arms. And if in that appeal to arms those had conquered, to whom, induced by the hope of peace and not the desire for war, I had given in my adhesion, I nevertheless was well aware how bloody the victory of men swayed by anger, rapacity, and overbearing pride was certain to be: while if they had been conquered, what a clean sweep would be surely made of citizens, some of the highest rank, some too of the highest character, who, when I predicted these things and advised the measures best for their safety, preferred that I should be considered over-timid rather than moderately wise.

For your congratulations on what I have done, I am sure you speak your real wishes: but at such an unhappy time as this I should not have taken any new step, had it not been that at my return I found my domestic affairs in no better order than those of the state. For when, owing to the misconduct of those, to whom, considering my never-to-be-forgotten services, my safety and my fortune ought to have been their dearest object, I saw nothing safe within the walls of my house, nothing that was not the subject of some intrigue, I thought it was time to protect myself by the fidelity of new relations against the treachery of the old. But enough, or rather too much, about my own affairs. 2

As to yours, I would have you feel as you ought to do, namely, that you have no reason to fear any measure directed specially against yourself. For if there is to be some constitution, whatever it may be, I see clearly that you will be free of all danger: for I perceive that the one party is reconciled to you, the other has never been angry with you. However, of my disposition towards you I would have you make up your mind that, whatever steps I understand to be required—though I see my position at this time and the limits of my powers—I will yet be ready with my active exertions and advice, and at least with zeal, to support your property, your good name, and your restoration. Pray be exceedingly careful on your part to let me know both what you are doing and what you think of doing in the future.

1 Mueller places this letter in the early part of B.C. 46, Klotz in October, B.C. 46 (which I accepted in introduction to vol. i., p. xlv). But it is evidently after the news of his divorce of Terentia and re-marriage with Publilia. This must not only have taken place, but long enough to allow a post to and from Corcyra: and if the divorce took place at the end of B.C. 46—as Klotz in his own table dates it—then the letter belongs to the early part of B.C. 45.

2 Cicero in this paragraph is referring to his divorce of Terentia.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: