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CCV (F VIII, 4)

M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (IN CILICIA)
ROME, 1 AUGUST
I envy you: such a budget of startling news is conveyed every day to you over there! First, the acquittal of Messalla, then his condemnation: the election of C. Marcellus to the consulship: M. Calidius, after losing his election, impeached by the two Gallii: P. Dolabella made one of the quindecimviri. There is only one thing I don't envy you for—that you have lost a most interesting spectacle, and did not see the expression on the face of Lentulus Crus when he lost. But what a come down for him! He had been so confident, had made so sure of it! Dolabella himself had been so doubtful! And, by Hercules, if our friends the equites had not been too sharp-eyed, he would have won almost by the retirement of his opponent. The next item I don't think will surprise you, that Servaeus, after becoming tribune-designate, has been condemned. C. Curio is candidate for the vacancy thus made by him. 1 It is remarkable how much alarm he inspires in many people, who don't know him and his easy-going character ; but, as I hope and desire, and to judge from his present attitude, he will prefer to side with the loyalist party and the senate. In his present frame of mind he is bubbling over with this intention. The root and origin of this feeling is that Caesar, who generally spares no expense in attaching to himself the friendship of the lowest characters, has treated him with very marked neglect. And in this there does seem to me to be a touch of humour—which has been noticed also to a great extent by the rest—that Curio, who never acts on any fixed plan, should be thought to be following a deliberate policy and a deep design in evading the counsels of those who had exerted themselves to oppose his election to the tribuneship —I mean the Laelii and Antonii and powerful men of that stamp.

There has been a somewhat longer interval than usual between this and my last letter, because the successive postponements of the elections kept me more than usually busy, and forced me to wait day after day for their result, that I might give you the information when all was over. I have waited to the 1st of August. There have been some hitches in the praetorian elections. Moreover, what will be the result of my own election I do not know: that of the plebeian Aediles' election indeed has, as far as Hirrus is concerned, amounted to a strong expression of opinion in my favour. For that foolish proposition of his (which we laughed at of old), and the promulgation of a law for the appointment of a dictator, brought M. Caelius Vinicianus suddenly to the ground, and caused him to be loudly hooted when down. This was followed by a general demand that, after that, Hirrus should not be elected curule aedile. 2 I hope that you will speedily hear about me the news you have hoped for, and about him what you have scarcely ventured to hope.

As to politics, I had by this time ceased to hope for any new development ; but at a meeting of the senate in the temple of Apollo on the 22nd of July, upon a motion being brought before it in reference to the pay of Pompey's soldiers, mention was made of the legion with which Pompey had furnished C. Caesar—in what division was it reckoned, for what purpose was it required? Pompey having answered that "it was in Gaul," he was compelled to say that "he would withdraw the legion." He didn't say this at once, but only on the subject being brought forward and under a fire of invective from his detractors. 3 He was then asked about the appointment of a successor to C. Caesar; 4 and on this point a resolution was passed that "Cn. Pompeius should return to the city as soon as possible, in order that the question of the succession to the provinces might be debated while he was in the house." For Pompey was on the point of starting for Ariminum to join the army ; and in fact did go at once. I think that business will come on on the 13th of August. Some conclusion will be come to for certain, or a scandalous exercise of the veto will hinder it. For in the course of the debate Pompey let fall the expression, "Everybody ought to be obedient to the senate." For my part, however, there is nothing I look forward to so much as to hearing Paullus delivering his vote first as consul-elect. 5

I remind you often about Sittius's bond, 6 for I am anxious that you should understand that it is of great importance to me: so also about the panthers, that you should send for some natives of Cibyra, 7 and see that they are shipped to me. Besides this, we have been told, and it is now regarded as certain, that the king of Egypt is dead. Take care to write to me what policy you recommend to me, what the condition of that kingdom is, and who has charge of it. 8

1 August.


1 Messalla, convicted (after his acquittal for ambitus) under the Licinian law de sodalitiis (see Letter CXCV). M. Calidius, praetor B.C. 57, accused now of ambitus had himself formerly accused Q. Gallius on the same charge. P. Cornelius Dolabella, afterwards son-in-law of Cicero, but a partisan of Caesar in the Civil War, is now elected as one of the quindecimviri sacris faciendis. L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus consul in B.C. 49, had been praetor B.C. 58, a strong Optimate. Of Servaeus nothing is known ; he is prosecuted for ambitus between his election and the day of entering office, and being condemned, is ipso facto incapable of taking it up. C. Curio, of whom we have heard so often, the pupil and friend of Cicero, of whom he hoped such high things, had ruined himself by his extravagant funeral games, and during his year of office was won over to Caesar's side by being relieved by him from his enormous debts.

2 For Hirrus, too, had proposed that Pompey should he made dictator. The old dictatorship was forgotten ; what people remembered was Sulla's unconstitutional dictatorship and the proscriptions.

3 Pompey, though proconsul of Spain, was retained on the plea of the public service outside the city (ad urbem), as proconsul with imperium. As such he commanded all troops in Italy (for the consuls, while in the city, had no military command). He also, by the special terms of his appointment as praefectus annonae, had the right for five years from B.C. to enlist soldiers in any province. In B.C. 55 he had enlisted a legion in Cisalpine Gaul ; but in B.C. 53, in view of a threatened rebellion throughout Transalpine Gaul, Caesar had asked' him to order this legion to join him, and Pompey had done so. We shall see that its withdrawal at the end of this year, under pretext of a Parthian war, was one of Caesar's alleged grievances (Caes. B.C. 6.1; B.C. i. 4, 11). Of the troops Pompey retained in Italy the main part were at Ariminum, the frontier town of Italy proper and Gaul. Hence, when Caesar crossed the Rubicon in B.C. 49, he found most of the towns on the eastern coast garrisoned by cohorts under Pompey's officers.

4 As to whether Caesar was to stay in Gaul over the elections of B.C. 49, or come home before the full term of his governorship granted him by the law had expired.

5 L. Aemilius Paullus, who had now been or would be elected before the next meeting of the senate, was a strong Optimate. The consuls-designate were always called on first for their sententia in the senate.

6 Letter CXCV.

7 The district of Pisidia included in the province of Cilicia.

8 Ptolemy, father of Cleopatra, of whose restoration (B.C. 55) we have heard so much, left a young son who, as king, ordered Pompey's murder in B.C. 48, and himself perished in the course of the Alexandrine war of B.C. 48.47.

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