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CCCI (F V, 20)

TO MESCINIUS RUFUS
OUTSIDE ROME (JANUARY)
I1 would have done my very best to meet you, if you had chosen to come to the place arranged. Wherefore, although from regard to my convenience you were unwilling to disturb me, I should wish you to believe that, if you had sent me word, I should have preferred your wish to my own convenience. In reply to your letter, I Should have been able to write to you on the details more conveniently, if my secretary, M. Tullius, had been with me. lie, I feel certain, at any rate in making up the accounts—I cannot speak of other things-did not knowingly do anything adverse to your interest or your reputation. And in the next place I can assure you that, if the old rule and ancient custom as to giving in accounts had been in force, I should never have given them in until I had first checked and made them up with you, as our close official connexion demanded. What I should have done outside Rome, had the old custom remained in force, that I did in the province, because, by the Julian law, it was necessary to leave accounts in the province and to give in a verbatim copy of them at the treasury. I did not do this with a view of forcing you to adopt my calculation; but I put a great confidence in you, and shall never be sorry that I did so. For I handed over my secretary to your entire control—of whom I now see that you entertain suspicions—and you joined your brother M. Mindius with him in the business. The accounts were made up, in my absence, under your eye, to which I did nothing whatever beyond reading them. When I received a copy from my secretary, I regarded it as received from your brother. If that was a compliment, I could not pay you a greater one: if it was an instance of confidence, I have shewn you almost more than I shewed myself: if my duty had been to see that nothing was entered in them that was not for your honour and advantage, there was no one to whom I could have intrusted them in preference to the man to whom I did do so. At any rate, I merely obeyed the law by depositing copies of the accounts made up and audited in two cities, Laodicea and Apamea, which I regarded as the two chief cities (for it had to be the chief cities). So then to this point my first reply is that, though for good and sufficient reasons I have made haste to give in the accounts at the treasury, yet I should have waited for you, had I not considered that depositing the accounts in the province was tantamount to giving them in at the treasury. 2

As to what you say of Volusius, that has nothing to do with the accounts. I have been advised by experts-among them by C Camillus, the best lawyer of the day and a very kind friend of mine— that the debt (the amount was not 3,000 sestertia, as you say, but 1,900) could not be transferred from Valerius to Volusius, and that the sureties of Valerius were liable. For a sum of money had been paid us in the name of Valerius as purchaser: the balance I entered in the accounts. 3 But your proposal robs me of the fruit of my liberality, of my activity, and even (what, after all, I do not much care about) of a moderate amount of good sense: of my liberality, because you prefer to suppose my legate and my prefect, Q. Lepta, to have been relieved from a most serious calamity by the good offices of my secretary rather than of myself, and that though they ought never to have been made liable: of my activity, because you suppose that in regard to so important a duty, I may say so grave a danger, I neither knew anything nor took any thought—that my secretary made any entry he chose without even going through the form of reading it over to me: of my good sense, because you think that an arrangement, which had been thought out by me with no little acuteness, had been practically not thought of at all. The fact of the matter is that the release of Volusius was my own design, and I also formed the plan for relieving the securities of Valerius and Tit. Marius himself from so heavy a loss. And this scheme has not only the approval of everybody, but their warm commendation, and, if you wish to know the real truth, I perceived that my secretary was the one person who did not like it. But it was my view that, so long as the People got its own, a good man should consult for the interests of so large a number-whether of friends or fellow citizens. As regards Lucceius, the arrangement Come to, at the suggestion of Pompey, was that the money should be deposited in a temple. I acknowledged that as having been done on my order. This money Pompey has employed, as Sestius did that deposited by you. But this, I am aware, does not affect you. I should have been sorry to have omitted to record your having deposited the money in the temple on my order, had not that sum been attested by records of the most solemn and precise nature— stating to whom it was paid, by what decree of the senate, and in virtue of what written order from you and from myself it had been handed over to P. Sestius. 4 Seeing that these facts had been put on record in so many ways, that a mistake in regard to them was impossible, I did not make an entry, which after all had no reference to you. However, I wish now I had made the entry, since I see that you regret its not having been done.

I quite agree as to your being obliged, as you Say, to enter this transaction, and your balance will not differ at all from mine by your doing so. You may add also, "on my authority," which, though I did not add it, I have no reason for denying, nor should deny, had there been any such reason, and had you declined to add it. Again, as to the sum of 900,000 sesterces: that, at any rate, was entered in accordance with your own or your brother's wishes. However, if there is any entry (for the posting of the public ledger is not Completed) which I can correct even now in my accounts, I must consider—since I have not taken advantage of the decree of the senate—what grace the laws allow me. 5 Anyhow, you were not bound to make the entry you have made in regard to the amount collected tally with my accounts, 6 unless I am mistaken-for there are others with more technical knowledge than myself. But pray do not doubt my doing everything that I think to be for your interests or in accordance with your wish, if I possibly can.

As to what you say about the list for good-service rewards, you must know that I have returned the names of my military tribunes and prefects, and the members of the staff—at least of my own staff. 7 In this matter, indeed, I made a mistake. I thought that the time allowed me for giving in their names was unlimited: I was afterwards in-formed that it had to be done within thirty days of handing in my accounts. I am very sorry that this list for good-service rewards was not reserved to enhance your credit rather than mine, since I have no promotion to work for. However, in regard to the centurions and the subalterns of the military tribunes, nothing has yet been done, for good-service rewards of that class have no time limit by law.

The last item is the 100,000 sesterces, in regard to which I remember receiving a letter from you from Myrina acknowledging the mistake to be not mine, but yours. The mistake—if mistake it was— appeared to have originated with your brother and Tullius. But since it could not be corrected—for I had already deposited my accounts and quitted my province—I believe I answered you as politely as the warmth of my feelings dictated and my financial outlook at the time allowed. 8 But I did not either then consider that I was bound by the polite tone of my letter, nor do I now think that I was bound to have regarded your letter about the 100 sestertia in the light in which men regard dunning letters received in times like these. At the same time you ought to take this into consideration. The whole sum of money legally coming to me I deposited with the publicani at Ephesus. It amounted to 2,200,000 sesterces (about £17,600). The whole of it has been appropriated by Pompey. Whether I submit to that with patience or the reverse, you at least ought to take the loss of 100 sestertia (about £800) with equanimity, and to reckon that just so much the less has come into your pocket from your own allowances or my liberality. But even if you had debited me with this 100 sestertia, yet your kindness and affection for me is such that you would not wish to distrain 9 on me at such a time as this: for, however much I wished the money paid in cash, I have not the wherewithal. But regard this as a joke, just as I do what you said. However, as soon as Tullius comes back from the country, I will send him to you, if you think that will be any good. I have no reason for wishing this letter not to be torn up. 10


1 Mescinius Rufus had been quaestor in Cilicia during Cicero's government (see p. 167), and was responsible, in part at least, for the accounts.

2 Because the two copies, having been deposited in the provincial towns, could not be altered, and the copy in the treasury was bound to be a verbatim copy of them.

3 Apparently Cicero, having satisfied himself that the proportion of the 1,900 sestertia paid by Valerius was sufficient to save the treasury from loss, entered the balance on the debit side as "remitted" or "returned" on his authority as proconsul. We cannot tell what the debt was, perhaps for some contract, for which Volusius had bid too high, and for which Valerius (a banker) gave securities, and because he be-came thereby the purchaser or contractor (manceps) was liable to the state for the whole.

4 The two points Cicero answers are: (I) Rufus Complained of an item in the accounts, in which Valerius had been entered as a debtor to the state, and also as having discharged the debt, though he had not paid the full sum. This Cicero explains that he did on professional advice, as Valerius, not Volusius, was liable: he had remitted this balance, because the state did not lose anything. (2) Rufus complains that Cicero made no entry of a certain sum, as to which there was a dispute, having been deposited by him in a temple. Cicero says he might have done so, but that, after all, Rufus was protected by a number of formal receipts and other documents. We have heard of disputed money being put in a temple before (p. 131). Pompey and Sestius (Cicero's successor in Cilicia) took this money in virtue of a senatorial decree passed on the 7th of January, giving Pompey a large number of men and complete command of all public money (App. B.C. 2.34; Dio, 41, 3). It was thus that Caesar was justified in regarding what he found in the hands of Pompeian officers as public money (see Caes. B.C. 1.23). The senate having passed this vote, Rufus and Cicero gave their orders or cheque upon the temple to pay the money to Pompey

5 It appears that the senate had granted him an extension of time as to giving in his accounts, but that, having not taken advantage of that, decree, he can only do what the law dictates as to sending in corrections. But the reading and meaning of de logaeo is very uncertain.

6 The reading and meaning are alike uncertain. I suppose it to refer to the sum of money just mentioned, as to the entry of which in Cicero's accounts Rufus found some technical objection. Cicero says, "Well, you and your brother agreed as to the item: and in your office as quaestor you were responsible for the account of the amount actually got in, and were not bound to copy my entry in your own accounts."

7 Not yours also. The contubernales were young men serving with a magistrate as volunteers, for the sake of experience.

8 I. e., considering that I was saving all I Could for my triumph, and that I could ill afford to lose so much (about £800).

9 Aestimationem accipere, i.e., to take property in satisfaction of a debt, on a fixed valuation.

10 Cicero seems to mean that if Rufus thinks the letter against his interest, he is at liberty to destroy it, and so have a freer hand in dealing with his secretary Tullius.

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