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CLXXXI (F VII, 2)

TO M. MARIUS (IN CAMPANIA)
ROME (DECEMBER)
I will look after your commission carefully. But, sharp man that you are, you have given your commission to the very person above all others whose interest it is that the article should fetch the highest possible price! However, you have been far-sighted in fixing beforehand how far I am to go. But if you had left it to me, I am so much attached to you that I would have made a bargain with the heirs: as it is, since I know your price, I will put up some one to bid rather than let it go for less. But a truce to jesting! I will do your business with all care, as in duty bound. I feel sure you are glad about Bursa, 1 but your congratulations are too half-hearted. For you suppose, as you say in your letter, that, owing to the fellow's meanness, I don't look upon it as a matter of much rejoicing. I would have you believe that I am more pleased with this verdict than with the death of my enemy. For, in the first place, I would rather win by legal process than by the sword; in the second place, by what brings credit to a friend than by what involves his condemnation. 2 And, above all, I was delighted that the support of the loyalists was given to me so decisively against the influence exerted to an incredible degree by a most illustrious and powerful personage. Finally—though, perhaps, you won't think it likely—I bated this man much more than the notorious Clodius himself. For the latter I bad attacked, the former I had defended. The latter, too, though the very existence of the Republic was to be risked in my person, had yet a certain great object in view; nor was it wholly on his own initiative, but with the support of those who could not be safe as long as I was so. But this ape of a fellow, in sheer wantonness, had selected me as an object for his invectives, and had persuaded certain persons 3 who were jealous of me that he would always be a ready instrument for an attack upon me. Wherefore I bid you rejoice with all your heart: a great stroke has been struck. Never were any citizens more courageous than those who ventured to vote for his condemnation, in the teeth of the immense power of the man by whom the jurors had themselves been selected. And this they never would have done had not my grievance been theirs also. Here, in Rome, I am so distracted by the number of trials, the crowded courts, and the new legislation, 4 that I daily offer prayers that there may be no intercalation, 5 so that I may see you as soon as possible.


1 The condemnation of T. Munatius Plancus Bursa, who, being tribune in B.C. 52, had promoted the riots following the death of Clodius, especially in regard to burning his body in the Curia, and had, after his office terminated (10th December), been prosecuted de vi by Cicero successfully. Bursa, with others, had supported Pompey's wish for the dictatorship, as well as his legislation, and accordingly, in attacking him, Cicero had against him the weight of Pompey's influence. He therefore looks upon it as a great triumph.

2 The condemnation of Bursa was a point in favour of Milo, whereas Milo's murder of Clodius only brought his ultimate condemnation and exile. Milo's trial had taken place in April.

3 Pompey and his friends.

4 The new laws introduced by Pompey de vi, de magistratibus, de pecunia ob iudicium.

5 The intercalary month was inserted between the 23rd and 24th of February. Whether it was to be inserted or not depended on the pontifices, who kept their secret jealously. If it is inserted, Cicero will be kept all the longer in town with senatorial and legal business, and so be prevented from seeing Marius, who lived near his Pompeian villa.

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