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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.
For authority of every kind has been committed to one man. He consults nobody but himself not even his friends. There would not have been much difference if he whom we followed had been master of the Republic."6 Nor could he deny that Caesar himself acted with magnanimity and moderation, even increasingly so.7 Still, nothing could make up to him for the loss of dignitas implied by power being in the hands of one man, and the senate being no longer the real governing body. Though after the battle of Thapsus, and still more after Munda, one source of anxiety was removed—that of his own precarious position should Caesar be defeated—the other grievance, that of the constitution being in abeyance, grew more and more offensive to him. "I am ashamed of being a slave," he writes in January, B.C. 45. "What," he says in March, "have I to do with a forum, when there are no law courts, no senate-house, and when men are always obtruding on my sight whom I cannot see with any patience?"8 Again and again he asserts that there is no form of constitution existing.9 A number of lesser annoyances served gradually to complete his indignant discontent. We have no allusion to Caesar's triumph after Munda, or to the scene at the Lupercalia so graphically described in the second Philippic (§ 85), when Antony offered him the crown. But we are told of disgust at his nephew being made a member of the college of Luperci, revived and re-endowed by Caesar; of his own annoyance at being kept waiting in Caesar's antechamber;10 of his disapproval of Caesar's plans for enlarging the city; and, worst of all, of his statue being placed in the temple of Quirinus, and carried among the figures of the gods in the opening procession in the circus.11 Finally, in January, B.C. 44, he tells Manius Curius: "You could scarcely believe how disgraceful my conduct appears to me in countenancing the present state of things."12 And, indeed, Cicero had not only countenanced it by his presence, he had written more than once to Caesar in an almost more friendly and cordial strain. Once indeed he composed letter which even Caesar's agents Balbus and Oppius thought too strong. They advised him not to send it; and though Cicero was annoyed at the advice, and explained to Atticus that of course it was mere κολακεία, yet he followed suggestion.13


1 Pp.65, 70, 72-74.

2 Pp.74, 75.

3 See pp.81, 100, 101.

4 Pp.104, 106, 109, 110.

5 See pp. 118, 134, 316.

6 P. 117

7 Pp.101, 123, 129, 137, 256.

8 Pp.173, 214.

9 Pp.232, 234, etc.

10 Pp.88, 141.

11 Pp.300, 307, 310

12 P.357.

13 Pp.197, 228, 260, 332, 334.

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