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B.C. 44, aet. 62. Dictat. r. p. ger. C. Iulius Caesar IV. Mag. Eq. M. Aemilius Lepidus II. Coss., C. Octavius, Cn. Domitius (non inierunt.) C. Iulius Caesar V. occis. M. Antonius. P. Cornelius Dolabella.
This momentous year opened apparently without any special signs of danger. Cicero was employed in finishing his Tusculan Disputations, and we have practically only one letter from him before the Ides of March (the others being mere letters of introduction of the usual formal kind). But in the one addressed to Curius, he takes occasion to shew his discontent at the regime. He seems to have been specially annoyed at the disparagement of the consular dignity involved in Caesar appointing Rebilus to that office for one day, the last of the year, in order to reward him by the rank of a consular. This calm was suddenly interrupted by the murder of Caesar, and Cicero immediately threw himself into politics again with the idea that the republic was restored. He soon found however that the regnum had not ended with the death of the rex, and that Antony had no intention of sinking into the position of a mere constitutional magistrate, to say nothing of the claims of the young Octavius—whom Cicero at first hoped to play off against Antony. From about June to the end of August therefore Cicero again avoided politics by visiting his villas and devoting himself to literature, intending also to visit his son at Athens. The de Natura Deorum, de Divinatione, de Fato, de Senectute, de Amicitia, de Gloria, de Officiis, and Topica, were all finished in this year, and probably in the first half of it. After the beginning of September he was engaged heart and soul in the leadership of the senatorial patty against Antony. The first four speeches against Antony (Phil. 1-4) were written and three of them delivered before the end of the year. The last letter to Atticus is written in December of this year.


No, I now neither urge nor ask you to return home. Nay, I am longing myself to fly away and to arrive somewhere, where "I may hear neither the name nor the deeds of the Pelopidae." 1 You could scarcely believe how disgraceful my conduct appears to me in countenancing the present state of things. Truly, I think you foresaw long ago what was impending, at the time when you fled from Rome. Though these things are painful even to hear of; yet after all hearing is more bearable than seeing. At any rate you were not on the Campus Martius when, the comitia for the quaestors being opened at 7 o'clock in the morning, the curule chair of Q. Maximus—whom that party affirmed to be consul 2 —was set in its place, and then on his death being announced was removed: whereupon Caesar, who had taken the auspices as for a comitia tributa, held a comitia centuriata, 3 and between 12 and 1 o'clock announced the election of a consul to hold office till the 1st of January, which was the next day. Thus I may inform you that no one breakfasted in the consulship of Caninius. 4 However, no mischief was done while he was consul, for he was of such astonishing vigilance that throughout his consulship he never had a wink of sleep. You think this a joke, for you are not here. If you had been you would not have refrained from tears. There is a great deal else that I might tell you; for there are countless transactions of the same kind. I in fact could not have endured them had I not taken refuge in the harbour of Philosophy, and had I not had my friend Atticus as a companion in my studies. You say you are his by right of ownership and legal bond, but mine in regard to enjoyment and profit: well, I am content with that, for a man's property may be defined as that which he enjoys and of which he has the profit. 5 But of this another time at greater length.

Acilius, 6 who has been despatched to Greece with the legions, is under a great obligation to me—for he has been twice successfully defended by me on a capital charge. He is not a man either of an ungrateful disposition, and pays me very constant attention. I have written to him in very strong terms about you, and am attaching the letter to this packet. Please let me know how he has taken it, and what promises he has made you.

1 For this quotation, see p.100.

2 Q. Fabius Maximus had been named consul when Caesar resigned the consulship after his return from Spain.

3 It does not appear that any difference in the manner of taking the auspices was observed between the two assemblies, which after all were the same, though the manner of taking the votes was different. The quaestors were elected by the tributa, consuls by the centuriata.

4 Because his consulship ended at midnight, as the Roman civil day —like ours—did. C. Caninius Rebilus—who had been Caesar's legate in Gaul (vol. ii., p.219) and elsewhere-was only consul for about eleven hours. The object, according to Tacitus, Hist. 3, 37, was to reward him for his services by this sort of brevet rank.

5 See p.344.

6 Manius Acilius Glabrio, who was going out to govern Achaia as Caesar's legatus. The legions were no doubt to be in readiness to cross to Syria if needed.

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