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CXIX (Q FR II, 7)

TO HIS BROTHER QUINTUS (IN THE COUNTRY)
ROME (FEBRUARY)
I thought you would like my book: 1 that you like it as much as you say I am greatly delighted. As to your hint about my Urania and your advice to remember the speech of lupiter, 2 which comes at the end of that book, I do indeed remember it, and that whole passage was aimed at myself rather than at the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the day after you started I went long before daybreak with Vibullius to call on Pompey; and upon addressing him on the subject of the works and inscriptions in your honour, 3 he answered me very kindly, gave me great hopes, said he would like to talk to Crassus about it, and advised me to do so too. I joined in escorting Crassus to his house on his assuming the consulate: he undertook the affair, and said that Clodius would at this juncture have something that wanted to get by means of himself and Pompey: he thought that, if I did not baulk Clodius's views, I might get what I wanted without any opposition. I left the matter entirely in his hands and told him that I would do exactly as he wished. Publius Crassus the younger was present at this conversation, who, as you know, is very warmly attached to me. What Clodius wants is an honorary mission (if not by decree of the senate, then by popular vote) to Byzantium or to Brogitarus, or to both. 4 There is a good deal of money in it. It is a thing I don't trouble myself about much, even if I don't get what I am trying to get. Pompey, however, has spoken to Crassus. They seem to have taken the business in hand. If they carry it through, well and good: if not, let us return to my "Iupiter." On the 11th of February a decree passed the senate as to bribery on the motion of Afranius, against which I had spoken when you were in the house. To the loudly expressed disapprobation of the senate the consuls did not go on with the proposals of those who, while agreeing with Afranius's motion, added a rider that after their election the praetors were to remain private citizens for sixty days. 5 On that day they unmistakably threw over Cato. In short, they manage everything their own way, and wish all the world to understand it to be so.


1 His poem "On his own Times."

2 In his poem de Consulatu suo, the second book of which (Urania) ends with a speech of Iupiter, who recommends his leaving politics for literature.

3 A statue in the temple of Tellus.

4 Brogitarus was a Galatian and connexion of Deiotarus. Clodius, as tribune, had done some services to Byzantium, and had also got Brogitarus the office of high priest of Cybele. He wants now to go and get his money for these favours.

5 The praetorian elections, like the consular, had been put off till February. Those elected would therefore enter on their office at once, and so escape prosecution, to which they would have been liable if, as in ordinary years, they had been "praetors designate" from July to January. Afranius's motion seems to have been for suspending the bribery laws pro hoc vice. Cato had been beaten: if there had been an opportunity of impeaching his rivals he might have got in.

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