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The first Philippic, 2nd Sept., B.C. 44.

On the 2nd of September therefore Cicero attended and made a statement of his position and views, which has come down to us as the first Philippic. It is a dignified and comparatively gentle statement of his case against Antony. But it puts clearly his belief as to the abuse by him of the confirmation of Caesar's acta, passed by the senate on the 17th of March. It recalls Antony's own measures of which Cicero approved—especially the abolition of the dictatorship and the suppression of the riots round the memorial column—and appeals to him to keep within the lines of the constitution, and to trust to the affection rather than the fears of his fellow citizens. There is an absence of personal invective and insult, which shews that Cicero was not yet prepared to throw away the scabbard in his contest with Antony, though he had long seen that his existence made the murder of Caesar vain and useless. The tyrant was dead, not the tyranny; the assassins had acted with the courage of heroes, but the folly of children, and left the heir to the tyranny alive.1 Yet he remained on tolerably courteous terms with Antony, and even requested a legatio from him.2 But that was to be over for ever.

Antony's reply to the first Philippic, delivered after much preparation on the 19th of September, and containing every kind of invective against Cicero's life, policy, and public conduct, drew from Cicero the terrible second Philippic,

The second Philippic, 19th Sept.
which, though never delivered, was handed about among all kinds of people who cared to read it. It made all reconciliation, however formal or official, for ever impossible. From that time forward the letters shew us Cicero in determined and unhesitating opposition to Antony. For some weeks still he is doubtful as to what practical steps he is to take, but he has no more hesitation as to what his political object is to be: it is to crush Antony by any and every means within his power. The letters henceforth are more and more exclusively political. Though references to private affairs and to literary questions, connected with the de Officiis, still occur in the letters to Atticus, even they are almost monopolized by the one absorbing subject. He still expresses gratitude to philosophy, "which not only diverts me from anxious thoughts, but also arms me against all assaults of fortune"3—but literature and philosophy in the old sense are over for him: and when for a nioment he touches on lighter subjects to Paetus,4 he hastens to excuse himself: "Don't suppose because I write jestingly I have cast off all care for the state. Be assured, my dear Paetus, that I work for nothing, care for nothing all day and night except the safety and freedom of my fellow citizens."

1 Pp.45-46, 54.

2 P.65

3 P.140.

4 P.178.

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