previous next


I congratulate you, my dear Balbus, and with sincerity. Yet I am not so foolish as to wish you to indulge in a passing and groundless exultation, and then to be suddenly depressed and rendered so prostrate, that nothing could afterwards raise your spirits or restore your equanimity. I have pleaded your cause with greater openness than was quite consistent with my present position. For the unfortunate fact itself of my influence having been weakened was overcome by my affection for you and my unbroken love towards you, which has always been most carefully cultivated by yourself. Everything that was promised in regard to your return and restoration has been fulfilled, and is now secure and fully ratified. I have seen it with my own eyes, have had full information, have been personally a witness to it. For very opportunely I have all Caesar's intimate friends so closely knit to me by association and kindly feeling, that next to him they look upon me as first. Pansa, Hirtius, Balbus, Oppius, Matius, all make it clear in this matter that they have a unique regard for me. But if I had had to do it by my own exertions, I should not have regretted having made the attempt in whatever way the exigencies of the situation demanded. But I have not, in fact, made any special concessions to the situation: my old intimacy with all these men comes in here, with whom I have never ceased urging your claims. But Pansa, who is exceedingly zealous on your behalf and anxious to oblige me, I have regarded as my mainstay in this business, as being influential with Caesar no less from his character than from personal predilection. Tillius Cimber, again, has quite satisfied me. Yet, after all, the petitions which have weight with Caesar are not those which proceed from personal considerations, but those which are dictated by duty: and, as that was the case with Cimber, he had more influence than he could have had in anyone else's behalf. The passport has not been issued at once, owing to the amazing rascality of certain persons, who would have been bitterly annoyed at a pardon being granted to you, whom that party call the "bugle of the civil war"—and a good many observations to the same effect are made by them, as though they were not positively glad of that war having occurred. Wherefore it seemed best to carry on the business with Some secrecy, and by no means to let it get abroad that your affair was settled. But it will be so very shortly, and I have no doubt that by the time you read this letter the matter will have been completed. The fact is that Pansa, a man whose character and word can be trusted, not only assured me of it, but also undertook that he would very quickly get the passport. Nevertheless, I resolved that this account should be sent you, because from Eppuleia's report and Ampia's 1 tears I gathered that you were less confident than your letter would suggest Moreover, they thought that in their absence from your side you would be in much more serious anxiety. Wherefore I thought it of very great importance, for the sake of alleviating your pain and sorrow, that you should have stated for certain what was in fact certain.

You know that hitherto it has been my habit to write to you rather in the tone of one consoling a man of courage and wisdom, than as holding out any sure hope of restoration beyond that which, in my opinion, was to be expected from the Republic itself as soon as the present excitement died down. Remember your writings, in which you always shewed me a spirit at once great and firmly prepared to endure whatever might happen. Nor was I surprised at that, since I remembered that you had been engaged in public affairs from your earliest youth, and that your terms of office had coincided with the most dangerous crises in the safety and fortunes of the community, 2 and that you entered on this very war not solely with the idea of being in prosperity if victorious, but also, if it so happened, of bearing it philosophically if beaten. In the next place, since you devote your time to recording the deeds of brave men, 3 you ought to think yourself bound to abstain from doing anything to prevent your shewing yourself exactly like those whom you commend. But this is a style of talk better suited to the position from which you have now escaped: for the present merely prepare yourself to endure with us the state of things here. If I could find any remedy for that, I would impart the same to you.. But our one refuge is philosophy and literature, to which we have always been devoted. In the time of our prosperity these seemed only to be an enjoyment, now they are our salvation also. But, to return to what I said at first, I have no doubt of everything having been accomplished in the matter of your restoration and return.

1 The wife and daughter of T. Ampius.

2 T. Ampius Balbus was a tribune in B.C. 63, and praetor in B.C. 59 the first the Catilinarian year, the second the year of Caesar's consulship, which Cicero regards as fatal to the constitution. He had always been an ardent Pompeian, having proposed special honours to Pompey in B.C. 63 for his Eastern campaign. For his activity at the beginning of the Civil War, see vol. ii., p.271. He was not, it seems, at the battle of Pharsalia, but was in Asia, where he tried to seize the treasures of the temple at Ephesus (Caes. B.C. 3.105).

3 This work is quoted apparently by Suetonius, Iul. 77.

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: