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Vatinius1 imperator to his friend Cicero greeting. If you are well, I am glad. I and the army are well. If you keep up your old habit of pleading causes for the defence, Publius Vatinius presents himself as a client and wishes a case pleaded on his behalf. You will not, I presume, repulse a man when in office, whom you accepted when in danger. While for myself, whom should I select or call upon in preference to one whose defence taught me how to win? Should I have any fear that he, who in support of my political existence disregarded the coalition of the most powerful men in the state, will fail to hunt down and crush beneath your feet the slanders and jealousies of a set of malignant nobodies? Wherefore, if you retain your old affection for me, undertake me bodily, and look upon this burden and service to whatever it may amount, as what you are bound to undertake and support on behalf of my political position. You know that my success is such as somehow or other easily to find detractors-not, by heaven! from any fault of my own: but what does that matter, if nevertheless by some fatality it does happen? If it turns out that there is anyone who desires to prevent the compliment being paid me, 2 I beg you to let me count upon your usual good feeling to defend me in my absence. I append for your perusal an exact copy of my despatch to the senate on the result of my operations. I am told that your slave—the runaway reader—is with the Vardaei. 3 You gave me no instructions about him ; 4 I, however, gave orders by anticipation that he should be hunted down by land and sea, and I shall certainly find him for you, unless he has escaped to Dalmatia, 5 and even thence I will extract him sooner or later. Be sure you maintain your affection for me. Good-bye.

11 July, Narona.

1 For Cicero's previous relations with Vatinius, see vol. i., pp. 219, 311, sq.

2 Of a supplicatio for successes in Illyricum.

3 The Vardaei or Ardiaei were a tribe living south of the Naro, on which Narona stands. They had been subdued in B.C. 135 by Fulvius Flaccus, but were probably imperfectly obedient (Livy, Ep. 56).

4 Cicero had asked Vatinius's predecessor, Sulpicius Rufus, to see after Dionysius in the previous year (see Letter DXXVIII, p. 172), but apparently had not written to Vatinius on the subject.

5 That is, apparently, into the interior; for Narona is in Dalmatia in one interpretation of the term.

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