previous next


CCCLXXXVIII (F IV, 2)

TO SERVIUS SULPICIUS RUFUS (AT ROME)
CUMAE, 28 APRIL
I received your letter on the 28th of April, while at my Cuman villa. As soon as I had read it I perceived that Philotimus, considering that he had, as you say, received verbal instructions from you on every point, had made a great mistake in not having come to me personally, but sending your letter, which I understood to have been the shorter because you had imagined that he would deliver it. However, after I had read your letter, your wife Postumia and our dear Servius called on me. Their opinion was that you should come to Cumae, and they even urged me to write and tell you so. You ask what my advice is: it is of such a nature, that it is easier to adopt it myself than to give it to another. What measure could I venture to urge on a man possessed of your supreme influence and knowledge of affairs? If we ask what is most right, the answer is plain: if what is expedient, it is doubtful. But if we are the men we really ought to be-holding, that is, the faith that nothing is expedient except what is right and virtuous-there can be no doubt as to what we ought to do. You express your opinion that my case is closely connected with yours. Well, at least we both made the same mistake, though with the very best intentions. For both of us continually advised a peaceful solution; and since nothing was more to Caesar's advantage, we thought that we were obliging him by supporting peace. How grossly mistaken we have been, and to what a pass things have come, you now see. Nor do you only perceive what is actually going on and what has gone on, but also what the course of affairs and the ultimate result will be. Therefore you must either approve the measures now being taken, or be a party to them in spite of disapproving them. The one alternative in my eyes is discreditable, the other is dangerous as well. I can only come, therefore, to one conclusion—that I ought to quit the country. All that I have, I think, to consider in so departing is the method to adopt, and the country to which to go. Surely there never were circumstances of greater distress, or even a question more difficult to settle. For no decision is possible that does not fall foul of some great difficulty. For you, my opinion is—if you will agree with me—that, if you have made up your mind as to what you think you ought to do, in a way which separates your plan from mine, you should save yourself the trouble of the journey here but if there is anything you wish to impart to me, I shall expect you. Of course, I should like you to come as soon as you can conveniently to yourself, as I perceived was the wish both of Servius and Postumia. Farewell.


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: