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CCCLXXXII (F VIII, 16)

M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (AT FORMIAE)
ON THE ROAD TO SPAIN,
1 (16) APRIL Being mortally alarmed by your letter, in which you shewed that your mind was filled with gloomy ideas, without saying outright what they were, and yet betraying the kind of action which you were contemplating, I write this letter to you on the spot. In the name of your fortunes and your children, my dear Cicero, I beg and beseech you not rashly to imperil your safety and security. I protest in the name of gods and men, and of our friendship, that I told you beforehand, and that my warning was not given inconsiderately, but that after meeting Caesar, and ascertaining what his view would be, if he gained the victory, I informed you of it. If you think that Caesar will maintain the same policy in letting his adversaries go and offering terms, you are mistaken. His thoughts, and even his words, forebode nothing but severity and cruelty. He left town incensed with the senate: he was thoroughly roused by the recent tribunician intercessions: 2 there will be no place, by heaven, for mediation. Wherefore, if you love yourself, if you love your only son, if your family and your remaining hopes are dear to you: if I, or that excellent man your son-in-law, have any influence with you—and you surely ought not to wish to ruin us, in order to force us to choose between loathing and abandoning the cause, on the triumph of which our safety depends, or harbouring an unnatural wish against your safety. Finally consider this: whatever offence your hesitation has caused Pompey you have already incurred; it would be a piece of most consummate folly to act against Caesar now that he is victorious, when you refused to attack him while his fortunes were doubtful—to join the men after they have been driven into flight, whom you refused to follow when they were holding their ground. Take care lest, while feeling ashamed of not being a good enough Optimate, you fail to select the best course for yourself. But if I can't persuade you to take my advice in toto, at least wait till it is known how we get on in the Spanish provinces, which I have to tell you will be ours as soon as Caesar arrives. What hope your people have when the Spains are lost I don't know. Of what, then, you can be thinking to join men in so desperate a position, on my honour, I cannot imagine. What you told me, though not in so many words, Caesar had already heard, and he had scarcely said "good morning!" to me when he mentioned what he had heard about you. I said I did not know anything about it, but yet begged him to write you a letter as the best method of inducing you to stay in the country. He is taking me into Spain with him. For if he were not doing so, before going to Rome, I should have hastened to visit you, wherever you were, and should have pressed this upon you personally, and tried with might and main to keep you from going. Pray, my dear Cicero, reflect again and again, and do not utterly ruin yourself and all your family, nor knowingly, and with your eyes open, put yourself into a situation from which you can see no possible retreat. But if, on the one hand, you are shaken by the remarks of the Optimates, or, on the other, are unable to endure the intemperance and offensive behaviour of certain persons, I think you should select some town not affected by the war, while this controversy is being fought out, which will be settled almost directly. If you do this, you will, in my opinion have acted wisely, and will not offend Caesar.


1 Probably near Marseilles, where Caesar stopped on his way to Spain for some weeks to organize its siege.

2 The intercessions of Metelius. See previous letter, p. 364

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