CCLXVI (F VIII, 11)
M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (IN CILICIA)Your "thanksgiving" has given us some sharp twinges, though they have not lasted long: for we came to a serious deadlock. The fact is, Curio, who is very fond of you, finding that every device was being employed to deprive him of comitial days, declared that nothing would induce him to allow the thanksgiving to pass the senate, lest he should appear to have thrown away by his own blundering the advantage he had obtained by the infatuation of Paullus, and should be regarded as having sold the cause of the Republic. Accordingly, we have had to adopt a compromise, and the consuls have pledged themselves not to hold the thanksgiving this year. Plainly you have reason to thank both consuls: Paullus certainly the rather of the two. For Marcellus answered him that he did not build much on those thanksgivings ; 1 Paullus said that in any case he would not hold them this year. I was told that Hirrus meant to talk out the decree. I got hold of him: he not only did not do so, but when the vote for the victims was brought forward, 2 and he could have put a spoke in our wheel, if he had called for a count, he held his tongue. He merely signified his agreement with Cato, who, while speaking of you in complimentary terms, voted against the thanksgiving. Favonius made a third with them. Wherefore you must thank everybody according to his peculiar idiosyncrasy and principles: these three, because they only shewed their wishes instead of making speeches, and because when they might have hindered they shewed no fight; and Curio, because he deviated from his own line of obstructive policy for your sake. For Furnius and Lentulus, as in duty bound, just as though they were personally affected, went round with me and took trouble in the matter. I can also speak in high terms of the exertions and earnestness of Cornelius Balbus. For he both spoke in strong terms to Curio, saying that, if he acted otherwise, he would be inflicting an injury on Caesar, and also managed to create a feeling of mistrust as to Curio's sincerity. Some voted for the decree who really wished for a decision un-favourable to you—such as the Domitii, the Scipios; and when they interposed in this matter with the design of provoking his veto, Curio made a very neat reply. "He was all the more happy," he said, "not to veto the decree, because he saw that certain persons who voted for it did not wish it carried." As for politics, every controversy centres on one point—the provinces. In this matter Pompey as yet seems to have thrown all his weight on the side of the senate's wish that Caesar should leave his province on the 13th of November. when it was held, or whether it was held at all, and he would be influenced by the convenience of public business. Curio is resolved to submit to anything rather than allow this: he has given up all his other proposals. Our people, whom you know so well, do not venture to push matters to extremes. The situation turns entirely on this: Pompey, professing not to be attacking Caesar, but to be making an arrangement which he considers fair to him, says that Curio is deliberately seeking pretexts for strife. However, he is strongly against, and evidently alarmed at, the idea of Caesar becoming consul-designate before handing over his army and province. He is being attacked with some violence, and his whole second consulship is being roughly criticised by Curio. 3 Mark my words—if they push their suppression of Curio to extremes, Caesar will interpose in favour of the vetoing tribune; if, as it seems they will do, they shrink from this, Caesar will stay in his province as long as he chooses. The vote given by each is in the memorandum of city events 4 from which pick out what is worth reading: skip much, especially the hissing at the games and accounts of funerals and other unimportant gossip. It has a good deal worth knowing. The fact is, I prefer erring on the side of telling what you don't want, to passing over anything necessary. I am glad that you have interested yourself in the business of Sittius. But since you suspect the men I sent to you of being of doubtful fidelity, please act as my agent yourself.