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CCXLI (F VIII, 6)

M. CAELIUS RUFUS TO CICERO (IN CILICIA)
ROME, FEBRUARY
I RAVE no doubt the news has reached you of Appius being impeached by Dolabella. But there is by no means the feeling against him which I had expected. For the truth is, Appius acted with a good deal of sense. No sooner did Dolabella appear at the tribunal, than he entered the city and gave up his demand for a triumph. By thus acting he at once took the edge off popular talk, and shewed himself also to be better prepared than his accuser had expected. His chief hope is now in you. I know you don't dislike him. It is now in your power to attach him to you as strongly as you choose. If you had never had a quarrel with him, you would now have had a freer hand in the whole business: as it is, if you push legality to the proverbial extreme, 1 you must be on your guard against being thought not to have been quite candid and sincere in renouncing your hostility. In this respect you will certainly be on safe ground in doing him a favour, if so minded; for no one will say that you have been debarred from doing a duty by the influence of intimacy and friendship. 2 It occurs to my mind that, between the application to the praetor and the formal notice of impeachment, Dolabella's wife has divorced him. 'I remember the commission you gave me as you were leaving: 3 I think you have not forgotten what I wrote to you. It is not as yet the time for entering into farther details. I can only give you this hint: if you like the suggestion, do not, nevertheless, at the present moment betray your sentiments, but wait to see how he comes out of this case. Take care that it does not bring discredit on you if it leaks out: assuredly, if any expression of your feeling were to crop up now, it would gain a greater notoriety than is either decent or expedient. Nor will he be able to hold his tongue on a circumstance which chimed in so pat with his hopes, and which will reflect so much additional lustre upon him in conducting the prosecution: especially as he is the sort of man to be scarcely able to refrain, even though he knew it was ruinous to himself to mention the fact. Pompey is said to be very anxious on Appius's behalf, so much so that it is even thought that he means to send one or other of his sons to you. 4 Here we are all for his acquittal, and, by Hercules, every disclosure that could reflect disgrace or dishonour on him has been carefully barred. Our consuls are indeed energetic: they haven't been able to get a single decree through the senate, except the one for the Latin festival! Our friend Curio's tribuneship is deadly dull—as cold as ice. In short, I can hardly express to you the flatness of everything at Rome. If it had not been for a good fight I am having with the shopkeepers and water companies, 5 a lethargy would have settled upon the state. If the Parthians don't make it warm for you, we here are stiff with cold. However, Bibulus has done his best: without the help of the Parthians he has managed to lose a poor cohort or two in Amanus. So it is reported here.

I said just now that Curio was much in the cold: well, he is now getting warm I for he is being pulled to pieces with a hot fire of criticism. 6 For, just because he did not get his way about intercalation, 7 he has with the most outrageous levity ratted to the popular party, and begun speaking up for Caesar, and has made a great parade of a road law, 8 not much unlike Rullus's agrarian law, and another about the sale of provisions, which enacts that the aediles should measure goods. He had not done this when I wrote the first part of my letter. Pray, if you render any assistance to Appius, let me have some of the credit. I advise you not to commit yourself in regard to Dolabella: that is the course most conducive at once to the proposal to which I am referring, to your own position, and to your reputation for fairness-It will be a disgrace to you if I have no Greek panthers.


1 Illam. Referring to the proverb, summum ius summa iniuria (de Off. 1.33).

2 The point is this: in old times Cicero was at enmity with Appius (as supporting his brother Clodius). If that had never been the case he might have taken the purely legal view of the matter; but if he does so now, people will say his reconciliation with Appius was all pretence, whereas, if he supports him, nobody can say that he does so from any special feeling of friendship. Cicero is said to have the power of helping Appius because, being governor of the province, in connexion with which Appius's conduct is impugned, he would doubtless facilitate or make difficult the sending of witnesses against him.

3 To think of a suitable husband for Tullia

4 Gnaeus or Sextus Pompeius.

5 As aedile, in which office he had the superintendence of the water supply, state of the streets, fire preventives, etc. The point was that the shopkeepers had been drawing off public water by private pipes. A speech of Caelius de Aquis was once extant on the subject (Frontinus, de Aquaeuct. 75, 76).

6 The metaphor is mixed, but so is Caelius's.

7 The intercalation of a month of twenty-one or twenty-three days (between the 23rd and 24th of February every other year). The decision as to the proper time for doing this was in the hands of the College of pontifices, of which Curio was a member. He apparently tried to induce the pontifices to intercalate this year, which was not the rght year. His object was presumed to be to further postpone the decision as to Caesar's province, which was to come on in the senate on the 1st of March (Dio, 40, 61).

8 For a wholesale repair of the great roads, which would require commissioners with a lengthened term of office, of which he would be one.

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