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I have been much disturbed by the despatches of C. Cassius and Deiotarus For Cassius has written to say that the forces of the Parthians are across the Euphrates: Deiotarus that they started for our province by way of Commagene. For my part, my chief alarm has been on your account, knowing as I do what your state of preparation in the way of an army is, lest this inroad should in any way endanger your prestige. For I should have had some fear for your life, even if you had had a more adequate army: as it is, the slenderness of your forces made me forbode a retreat, not a battle, on your part. What view people would take of that, and how far what you were compelled to do would be likely to be considered satisfactory—about this I am still feeling anxious, and shall not cease to be alarmed till I hear of your having reached Italy. But the news of the passage of the Parthians has given rise to various suggestions. One man is for sending Pompey, another against Pompey's removal from the city, another for sending Caesar with his own army, another the consuls; no one, however, is for sending any who are in Rome without office by a senatorial decree. 1 The consuls, moreover, for fear of this decree being passed for their leaving Rome in military uniform, or of the business being transferred to some one else, which would involve a slight upon themselves as having been passed over, are so unwilling to have any meeting of the senate at all, that they are getting a reputation for a want of energy in public business. But whether it is carelessness, or slackness, or the fear which I have suggested, behind this pretence of moderation there is concealed a disinclination to a province. No despatch has arrived from you, and had not that of Deiotarus followed his, it was beginning to be believed that Cassius, in order to represent devastation caused by himself as the work of the Parthians, invented 'the war, sent some Arabs into the province, and told the senate that they were Parthians. Wherefore I advise you to describe minutely and cautiously the state of things in your part of the world, whatever it is, that you may not be said either to have been filling some particular person's sails, or to have kept back what it was important to know. We have now come to the last period of the year: for I write this letter on the 15th of November. I see plainly that nothing can be done before the 1st of January. You know how slow and ineffective Marcellus is, and how dilatory Servius. What sort of men do you suppose they are, or how can they possibly do what is against their inclination, when things which they so wish they yet carry on so languidly as to give the impression of not wishing them? Again, when the new magistrates come into office, if there is a Parthian war, this question will take up their first months. But if; on the other hand, there turns out to be no war, or only one such as you or Your successors can manage with a small reinforcement, I Perceive that Curio will bestir himself with two objects: first, to take something away from Caesar; and, secondly, to bestow something on Pompey, however insignificant and valueless the contribution may be. Moreover, Paullus talks about the province with irrational violence. His intemperance will be resisted by our friend Furnius: about several others I cannot form an opinion. This is all I know: other possible events I cannot yet decipher. I know that time brings many developments and upsets many arrangements: but whatever is going to happen will be confined within these limits. I have this addition to make to the proceedings of Curio—his proposal as to the Campanian land: as to which they say that Caesar is indifferent, but that Pompey is much opposed, lest it should be unoccupied and at Caesar's disposal when he returns. As to your leaving your province, I cannot promise to take treasures to get a successor appointed: but I will at least pledge myself that your time is not prolonged. It is for you to consider whether, if the state of affairs, if the senate urge you to stay, if a refusal on our part cannot decently be made, you choose to persevere in your determination. My only business is to remember with what solemnity at your departure you laid the injunction on me not to allow of its happening.

1 Which was regarded as unconstitutional, and only to be justified by extreme circumstances. See Caesar, B.C. 1.6.5.

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