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B.C. 44, aet. 62. Dictat. r. p. ger. C. Iulius Caesar IV. Mag. Eq. M. Aemilius Lepidus II. Coss., C. Octavius, Cn. Domitius (non inierunt.) C. Iulius Caesar V. occis. M. Antonius. P. Cornelius Dolabella.

B.C. 44, aet. 62. Dictat. r. p. ger. C. Iulius Caesar IV. Mag. Eq. M. Aemilius Lepidus II. Coss., C. Octavius, Cn. Domitius (non inierunt.) C. Iulius Caesar V. occis. M. Antonius. P. Cornelius Dolabella.
This momentous year opened apparently without any special signs of danger. Cicero was employed in finishing his Tusculan Disputations, and we have practically only one letter from him before the Ides of March (the others being mere letters of introduction of the usual formal kind). But in the one addressed to Curius, he takes occasion to shew his discontent at the regime. He seems to have been specially annoyed at the disparagement of the consular dignity involved in Caesar appointing Rebilus to that office for one day, the last of the year, in order to reward him by the rank of a consular. This calm was suddenly interrupted by the murder of Caesar, and Cicero immediately threw himself into politics again with the idea that the republic was restored. He soon found however that the regnum had not ended with the death of the rex, and that Antony had no intention of sinking into the position of a mere constitutional magistrate, to say nothing of the claims of the young Octavius—whom Cicero at first hoped to play off against Antony. From about June to the end of August therefore Cicero again avoided politics by visiting his villas and devoting himself to literature, intending also to visit his son at Athens. The de Natura Deorum, de Divinatione, de Fato, de Senectute, de Amicitia, de Gloria, de Officiis, and Topica, were all finished in this year, and probably in the first half of it. After the beginning of September he was engaged heart and soul in the leadership of the senatorial patty against Antony. The first four speeches against Antony (Phil. 1-4) were written and three of them delivered before the end of the year. The last letter to Atticus is written in December of this year.


No, I now neither urge nor ask you to return home. Nay, I am longing myself to fly away and to arrive somewhere, where "I may hear neither the name nor the deeds of the Pelopidae." 1 You could scarcely believe how disgraceful my conduct appears to me in countenancing the present state of things. Truly, I think you foresaw long ago what was impending, at the time when you fled from Rome. Though these things are painful even to hear of; yet after all hearing is more bearable than seeing. At any rate you were not on the Campus Martius when, the comitia for the quaestors being opened at 7 o'clock in the morning, the curule chair of Q. Maximus—whom that party affirmed to be consul 2 —was set in its place, and then on his death being announced was removed: whereupon Caesar, who had taken the auspices as for a comitia tributa, held a comitia centuriata, 3 and between 12 and 1 o'clock announced the election of a consul to hold office till the 1st of January, which was the next day. Thus I may inform you that no one breakfasted in the consulship of Caninius. 4 However, no mischief was done while he was consul, for he was of such astonishing vigilance that throughout his consulship he never had a wink of sleep. You think this a joke, for you are not here. If you had been you would not have refrained from tears. There is a great deal else that I might tell you; for there are countless transactions of the same kind. I in fact could not have endured them had I not taken refuge in the harbour of Philosophy, and had I not had my friend Atticus as a companion in my studies. You say you are his by right of ownership and legal bond, but mine in regard to enjoyment and profit: well, I am content with that, for a man's property may be defined as that which he enjoys and of which he has the profit. 5 But of this another time at greater length.

Acilius, 6 who has been despatched to Greece with the legions, is under a great obligation to me—for he has been twice successfully defended by me on a capital charge. He is not a man either of an ungrateful disposition, and pays me very constant attention. I have written to him in very strong terms about you, and am attaching the letter to this packet. Please let me know how he has taken it, and what promises he has made you.


I am presuming upon your regard for me, which you made me clearly perceive all the time we were at Brundisium, to write to you in a familiar style and as though I had a claim to do so, if there is any matter as to which I am specially anxious. Manius Curius, who is a banker at Patrae is an intimate friend of mine. No union could be closer than ours. He has done me many kindnesses, and I have done him many also. Above all, there is the strongest mutual affection between us. That being the case, if you have anything to hope from my friendship, if you wish to make the good offices and kindnesses which you bestowed on me at Brundisium still more a subject of gratitude to me (though I am already exceedingly grateful), if you perceive that I am beloved by all your family, pray extend and enlarge your favours to me so far as to keep Manius Curius safe and sound 7 —as the phrase goes—unharmed and free from every sort of annoyance, loss, and molestation. I pledge you my word, and all your friends will be my guarantees for it, that you will reap very great advantage and very high satisfaction from my friendship and from your own kindness.


If you are well I am glad; I am also well. I have not yet fished out anything about your Dionysius; 8 and the less so, because the Dalmatian cold, which forced me out of that country, has again frozen me here. However, I will not give up till I have sooner or later got hold of him. Yet after all you are always setting me some hard task. You wrote something or other to me about Catilius 9 —earnestly pleading for his pardon. Don't talk about our friend Sextus Servilius, for by heaven I am as fond of him as you are. But are these the sort of clients, and these the sort of causes which you undertake? Catilius—the cruellest fellow in the world, who has murdered, abducted, ruined so many free-born men, matrons, citizens of Rome! Who has laid waste so many countries! The fellow—half-ape and not worth twopence—took up arms against me, and I have taken him prisoner in war. But after all, my dear Cicero, what can I do? I swear to you that I desire to do anything you ask. My sentence upon him and this punishment which I was going to inflict on him as my prisoner, I freely remit in deference to your request. But what am I to say to those who demand his punishment for the plunder of their property, the capture of their ships, the murder of their brothers, sons, and parents? Even if I had, by Jove, the impudence of Appius, into whose place in the college I was elected, I could not face that out. What is to be done then? I will do my best to carry out anything that I know you wish. He is being defended by Q. Volusius, a pupil of your own, if that fact may chance to rout his enemies. That is his best hope.

Pray defend me at Rome if there is any occasion for it. Caesar is still treating me unfairly. He still doesn't bring any motion before the senate about the supplication in my honour, or about my Dalmatian campaign: as though my operations in Dalmatia did not in truth most thoroughly deserve a triumph! For if I have to wait until I finish the whole war, there are thirty ancient cities in Dalmatia; those which the Dalmatians have themselves annexed are more than sixty. If no supplication is to be decreed in my honour unless I storm all these, then I am on a very different footing from all other commanders. 10


I had no difficulty in gathering from your letter, what I have always been anxious for, that I am very highly valued by you, and that you are fully aware how dear you are to me. As, then, we are both convinced of that, it remains for us to enter upon a rivalry of good offices. In that contest I shall be equally content to surpass you or to be surpassed by you. I am not displeased to find that there was no need for my letter being handed to Acilius. I gather from your letter that you had no great occasion for the services of Sulpicius, because your affairs had been so much reduced in magnitude, that they had "neither head nor feet." I could wish that they had "feet," that you might come back to Rome some day. For you see that the old fountain of humour has run dry, so that by this time our poet Pomponius might say with good reason: “ We only guard—a dwindling band—
The ancient fame of Attic land.
” So he is your successor, I his. Come, therefore, I beg, lest the seed for the harvest of wit perish along with the republic.


MY friend Gaius Anicius, a man possessed of every sort of accomplishment, has on urgent private affairs received a free legation 11 to go to Africa. I should be glad if you would render him every kind of assistance and would take pains to enable him to settle his business as satisfactorily as possible. Especially—what is most valuable in his eyes—I request you to have an eye to his dignity. And I ask that of you, because I myself when in a province was accustomed without being asked to be careful to assign lictors to all senators. That is a compliment which I had myself received, and I knew that it was habitually done by the most distinguished men. Therefore, my dear Cornificius, pray do this, and in all other respects, if you love me, consult for his dignity and his property. You will exceedingly oblige me by doing so. Take pains to keep well.

1 For this quotation, see p.100.

2 Q. Fabius Maximus had been named consul when Caesar resigned the consulship after his return from Spain.

3 It does not appear that any difference in the manner of taking the auspices was observed between the two assemblies, which after all were the same, though the manner of taking the votes was different. The quaestors were elected by the tributa, consuls by the centuriata.

4 Because his consulship ended at midnight, as the Roman civil day —like ours—did. C. Caninius Rebilus—who had been Caesar's legate in Gaul (vol. ii., p.219) and elsewhere-was only consul for about eleven hours. The object, according to Tacitus, Hist. 3, 37, was to reward him for his services by this sort of brevet rank.

5 See p.344.

6 Manius Acilius Glabrio, who was going out to govern Achaia as Caesar's legatus. The legions were no doubt to be in readiness to cross to Syria if needed.

7 Sartum tectum, lit. repaired and roofed. A common phrase for keeping a house in good repair. See p.62.

8 See pp. 303, 344.

9 Some man who had been acting as a pirate on the coasts of Illyricum, perhaps an old Pompeian officer.

10 Vatinius, after being consul for a few days in B.C. 47, was sent to Illyricum at the end of that year, and was still there in B.C. 44, when he handed over his troops to M. Brutus, whether voluntarily or under compulsion is not certain. Anyhow he got his triumph at the end of B.C. 43.

11 See vol. i., p.110, note (4).

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