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I write to let you know our position. Yesterday evening Hirtius called on me, and told me about the disposition of Antony. It is of course as bad and untrustworthy as possible. For he said that he could not give me my province, and did not think that it was safe for any of us to remain in Rome, considering the extreme irritation of the soldiery and the common people. I think you are aware that both these allegations are false, and that the truth is what Hirtius affirmed, namely, that Antony is afraid that, if we got even a moderate assistance in support of our position, there would be no part left for them to play in the state. Being in these straits I determined to demand a free legation 1 for myself and the rest of us, in order to obtain a decent excuse for leaving the City. He promised that he would procure it, but I don't feel sure that he will do so; for people are so unreasonable and the set against us is so strong. Even if they granted our request, I yet think that before long we should be declared public enemies and forbidden water and fire.

"What, then," you say, "is your advice?" We must yield to fortune: we must quit Italy I think, and retire to Rhodes 2 or some place or other in the world. If any improvement occurs we will return to Rome. If things go only fairly well we will live in exile; if the worst comes to the worst, we will have recourse to extreme measures in our support. 3 Perhaps it will here occur to one of you—why should we wait for the worst, rather than make some attempt at once? Because we have no one to depend upon for safety except Sextus Pompeius and Caecilius Bassus, 4 who I think are likely to be still more determined when they hear the news about Caesar. It will be soon enough for us to join them when we know their strength. If you wish me to give any undertaking for Cassius and yourself, I will give it: for Hirtius demands that I should do so. I beg you to answer this letter as promptly as possible—for I have no doubt that Hirtius will inform me on these points 5 before ten o'clock —and tell me where we can meet and to what place you wish me to come.

After my last Conversation with Hirtius I decided to ask that we should be allowed to remain at Rome under the protection of a state guard. I don't think they will concede that; for we shall be casting a grave slur upon them. However, I thought I must not omit to make any demand which I considered equitable.

1 See p. 26, and vol. i., p.110, note.

2 Rhodes was a libera civitas, and had the right of receiving exiles (ius exilii).

3 That is, take up arms against the government.

4 Sext. Pompeius had a large fleet in Sicily and neighbouring islands. Caecilius Bassus was in arms in Syria (see vol. iii., p.335). Both were at present in a position independent of either party in the state.

5 That is, as to the libera legatio and the guard.

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