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The African war followed: there were unfavourable reports spread about you, which also roused that frantic Caecilius. What on that occasion was the disposition evinced towards you by the king? He sold property by auction, and preferred stripping himself to not supplying you with money. “But,” says the prosecutor, “at that very time he was sending men to Nicaea, and to Ephesus, to catch every report that came from Africa, and to bring it to him with all speed.” Therefore, when news came that Domitius had perished by shipwreck, and that you were blockaded in some fortress, he quoted a Greek verse with reference to Domitius, having the same meaning as that of our poet: “ So can we well afford to lose our friends,
If our foes perish in the same destruction:
1 an expression which he would never have uttered had he been ever so much an enemy to you. For he himself is a man of a humane disposition; and that verse is a savage one. Besides, how could a man be a friend to Domitius, who was an enemy to you? Moreover, why should he be an enemy to you, by whom he might even have been put to death according to the laws of war, and by whom he recollected that he and his son had been appointed kings?

1 The Greek proverb is given by Plutarch as “ἐρρέτω φίλος σὸν ἔχθρῳ”. If the Latin iambic quoted by Cicero comes from any Latin poet, it is not known who he was.

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