previous next


CDVI (F VIII, 17)

M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (IN EPIRUS)
ROME (FEBRUARY OR MARCH)
To think that I was in Spain rather than at Formiae when you started to join Pompey I Oh that Appius Claudius had been on our side, or Gaius Curio on yours ! 1 It was my friendship for the latter that gradually edged me on to this infernal party—for I feel that my good sense was destroyed between anger and affection. You too-when, being on the point of starting for Ariminum, 2 I came at night to visit you—in the midst of your giving me messages for Caesar about peace, and playing your rôle of fine citizen, you quite forgot your duty as a friend and took no thought of my interests. And I am not saying this because I have lost confidence in this cause, but, believe me, I'd rather die than see these fellows here. 3 Why, if people were not afraid of your men being bloodthirsty, we should long ago have been driven out of Rome. For here, with the exception of a few moneylenders, there is not a man or a class that is not Pompeian. Personally, I have brought it about that the masses above all, and—what was formerly ours—the main body of citizens should be now on your side. 4 "Why did I do so?" quoth you. Nay, wait for what is to come: I'll make you conquer in spite of yourselves. You shall see me play the part of a second Cato. 5 You are asleep, and do not appear to me as yet to understand where we are open to attack, and what our weak point is. And I shall act thus from no hope of reward, but, what is ever the strongest motive with me, from indignation and a feeling of having been wronged. What are you doing over there? Are you Waiting for a battle? That's Caesar's strongest point. I don't know about your forces; ours have become thoroughly accustomed to fighting battles and making light of cold and hunger. 6


1 For Caelius's quarrel with Appius, see vol. ii., pp.194, 195. He thinks that if Appius had been a Caesarian that would have made him turn Pompeian. But the reading is doubtful.

2 Reading Ariminum with Mueller. The MSS. have Arimino; Tyrrell and Purser read Arpino. But Caelius evidently refers to his going to join Caesar, and though we do not know otherwise of his having done so at Ariminum, this best accounts for his having been early employed by Caesar, as we know he was, vol. ii., p.298. His visit to Cicero would then be in the first week of January, and he would probably start for Ariminum before the news had come of the crossing of the Rubicon.

3 Trebonius and other Caesarians.

4 Caelius contrasts plebs and populus. Of course these terms no longer have the old political meaning; but plebs had come to be used as we use the "masses" for the lower orders generally; whereas populus was the whole body of the citizens as possessed of political power; and when contrasted with plebs may be taken to mean the whole body politic which formed the majority at the comitia—the mass of voters. Caelius tried to gain the latter by opposing the exaction of debts under arbitration, as arranged by Caesar, and by proposing a suspension of house rents.

5 The reading is very doubtful. The reference, perhaps, is to Gaius Cato, the turbulent tribune of B.C. 56.

6 Caelius seems to insinuate that Pompey's wisest course would be to avoid an engagement and to make again for Italy, where the Caesarians were weak. This is the last appearance of Caelius in the correspondence. The discontent with his position here indicated-founded on the fact that though he had been appointed praetor by Caesar's influence, Trebonius was praetor urbanus and in a superior position to himself-presently led him to take up a position of violent opposition, especially regard to Caesar's financial arrangements, the result of which was that he was forcibly suspended from his functions by the consul Servilius Isauricus. Finally, under pretence of going to Caesar at Alexandria, he attempted to join Milo in Apulia, who was trying to secure by force his own restoration, which had not been included in the revocation of other exiles. Milo, however, had already fallen; and when Caelius proceeded to raise forces on his own account, before he could do anything material, he was killed near Thurii by some foreign auxiliary soldiers, whom he attempted to win over. (Caes. B.C. 3.20-22; Dio Cass. 42.21.)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: