Cicero's causes of discontent.But there were other sources of unhappiness, such as the continued disloyalty of his nephew, his own resolution to divorce Terentia, and a continual uneasiness as to his own position. The Pompeians were still strong in Africa when he returned to Rome, and might conceivably be successful against Caesar. In that case he looked forward to acts of retaliation on the part of the victors, in which he would certainly have his share of suffering. Nothing could be more miserable, he thought, than the state of suspense; and he was astonished at the gaiety with which men who had so much at stake could crowd the games at Praeneste.1 Even after the news reached Rome of Caesar's victory at Thapsus, he imagines that the clemency which had hitherto characterized the Caesarians would in their hour of victory give place to a vindictive cruelty, which had been only concealed while the result was doubtful.2 The constitution he thinks had totally collapsed: things were going from bad to worse: his very house at Tusculum may before long be torn from him for the benefit of some veteran of Caesar's.3 He himself has no place in politics, is ashamed of surviving the Republic, and can find no consolation for the general débâcle in the personal kindness of Caesar to himself.4 Victory in a civil war, he reflects, forces the victors to be ruthless and cruel in spite of themselves. The conqueror does not do what he wishes, but what he must: for he has to gratify those by whose aid he has won the victory. In fact the disorganization and confusion are so great and universal, that every man thinks that the worst possible position is that in which he happens to be.5 These are the views of the political situation which Cicero communicates to his friends—mostly leading Pompeians now living in exile. Yet he is constrained to confess that it is possible for a member of his party to live at Rome unmolested: "You may not perhaps be able to say what you think: you may certainly hold your tongue.
Caesar's moderation great, but the constitution in abeyance.