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Pansa and Hirtius.

Another cause of anxiety which Cicero had in this first half of the year was the uncertainty of the line likely to be taken by Pansa and Hirtius, who were consuls-designate and would come into office on the 1st of January, B.C. 43. Of Hirtius especially, who had been Caesar's intimate friend and trusted officer, he was more than doubtful. It was true that he had been on good social terms with Cicero, had taken lessons in rhetoric from him, and in return had initiated him in the art of dining. But at the end of a visit of Hirtius at his villa at Puteoli, Cicero writes to Atticus (17th May): “When Hirtius was leaving my house at Puteoll on the 16th of May, I had a clear view of his whole mind. Fo I took him aside and exhorted him earnestly to preserve the peace. He could not of course say that he did not wish for peace: but he indicated that he was no less afraid of our side appealing to arms than of Antony doing so: and that, after all, both sides had reason to be on their guard, but that he feared the arms of both. I needn't go on: there is nothing sound about him.1

This mistrust of Hirtius was not much relieved by a letter which he wrote to Cicero a few days later, begging him to warn Brutus and Cassius to keep quiet.2 Pansa, though using more satisfactory language, did not appear to Cicero to be much more trustworthy.3 A severe illness put Hirtius aside for some time from active intervention in politics, but the future tenure of the consulship by these two men did not in the first half of the year inspire Cicero with much hope. Still, it was not likely to be as bad as the policy of Antony; and when the meeting of the senate of the 1st of June, so far from producing a compromise which would satisfy Brutus and Cassius, actually irritated them farther by offering them for the rest of the year the inferior office of curatores annonae, and changing their praetorian provinces for the next year, Cicero could only look forward to the 1st of January as the time when it might be proper for him once more to attend the senate and take part in politics. Meanwhile he was meditating a tour to Athens, both for the sake of withdrawing himself from possible collisions with Antony, and in order to visit his son, whose first year as a student there had given Cicero much anxiety, but who was now shewing signs of iniprovement, and might be confirmed in better ways by the personal influence of an indulgent father.

1 Pp.47-48.

2 P.62.

3 P.83.

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