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Letter XLV: ad Atticum 8.3

Cales, Feb.18, 49 B.C. Cicero had received a letter from Pompey (Att. 8.11 A) directing him to proceed to Luceria at once and join the other Pompeians. He accordingly left Formiae on Feb. 17 (cf. Att. 8.11D. 1 ) and advanced to Cales, from which place this letter was written, apparently in the night of Feb. 18. Finding his way blocked by Caesar's troops, he turned back (cf. 7) and was in Formiae again Feb. 21.


erga salutem meam: sc. in helping to secure his recall from exile.

unius: i.e. Caesaris.

provisum: in 56 B.C. Cicero had placated Caesar by withdrawing his opposition to certain of Caesar's agrarian laws (Q. fr. 2.6 [8]. 2), by speaking in favor of a grant of money to Caesar's troops (de Prov. Cons. 28), by extolling Caesar's success in Gaul, and by opposing the withdrawal of a province from him (de Prov. Cons. 17-35), and in 54 B.C. by defending some of Caesar's friends.

summis honoribus imperusque: i.e. as praetor and consul. The connection precludes any reference to the military imperium which he had just held as proconsul.

sacerdotio: cf. Ep. XXXIV.13n. The most plausible conjecture for the emendation of this passage is to insert sit qui fuerit with Lehmann. The meaning then is: whether it is proper for a brave man and a good citizen to remain in a city in which, after enjoying the most exalted positions of honor and power, he will not be the man he was, and must undergo the risk of bringing some shame upon himself, etc. See Crit. Append.

fore: in apposition to and explanatory of periculum. Ne with the subj. would be a more natural construction, but cf. cum subest ille timor, ea (utilitate) neglecta ne dignitatem quidem posse retineri, de Or. 2.334. The statement of one side of the question, which began with 2, comes to an end with this sentence.


istum: i.e. Caesarem.

ille: i.e. Pompeius.

legibus ... ferendis: i.e. the laws whose passage Caesar effected in his consulship in 59 B.C. For Pompey's attitude toward these laws, cf. Att. 2.16.2. When Caesar's agrarian law, assigning lands to Pompey's veterans, came before the people, Bibulus and Cato, the leaders of the opposition, were treated with great roughness; cf. Plut. Cat. Min. 32; Suet. Iul. 20.

contra auspicia: to the many attempts which the Optimates made to postpone the comitia on religious grounds (cf. Dio Cass. 38.6) Caesar paid little heed.

Galliae adiunctor: Caesar's third province (cf. Intr. 13) was voluntarily added by the senate, probably through the influence of Pompey.

gener: sc. by his marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia.

ille augur: Pompey was present at the meeting of the comitia curiata when Clodius was adopted, and, as augur, could have prevented the adoption. Cf. Att. 2.12.1.

restituendi mei, etc.: the reference is to Cicero's exile. Although Pompey exerted himself personally to secure Cicero's recall, he had not interfered to prevent his banishment; cf. Att. 10.4.3 qui se nihil contra huius (i.e. Caesaris) voluntatem aiebat facere posse.

ille ... propagator : through the lex Pompeia Licinia (cf. Intr. 26), passed in Pompey's consulship, and perhaps proposed by him. Upon substantives in -tor, cf. Intr. 75. See also auctor, adiunctor, adiutor, and defensor in this passage.

ut ... haberetur: i.e. that Caesar might be accepted as a candidate without coming to Rome. Cf. Ep. XLII. introd. note, and Intr. 26.

Marco Marcello: one of the consuls in 51 B.C.

finienti : by a bill looking to the displacement of Caesar Mar. 1, 50 B.C. ; cf. Fam. 8.8.9.

provincias: cf. Galliae adiunctor, above.

condiciones: apparently the last proposals for peace were those submitted to the Pompeians at Teanum Sidicinum, Jan.25, to the effect that Caesar should disband his army, hand over the provinces to his successors, and sue for the consulship in the regular way, while Pompey was to depart for Spain, and Italy to disarm; cf. Fam. 16.12.3; Caes. B. C. 1.8-11.

hoc, etc.: the desertion of Rome, the flight of Pompey, and the prospective abandonment of Italy.


pecunia omnis: cf. Caes. B. C. 1.14 quibus rebus Romam nuntiatis tantus repente terror invasit ut, cum Lentulus consul ad aperiendum aerarium venisset ad pecuniam Pompeio ex senatus consulto proferendam, protinus aperto sanctiore aerario ex urbe profugeret.

nulla causa: Cicero recognized now the fact that the plans of Pompey were as selfish as those of Caesar; cf. Att. 8.11.2 dominatio quaesita ab utroque est, non id actum, beata et honesta civitas at esset ... Sed neutri σκοπὸς est ille at nos beati simus; aterque regnare vult.

defensam sc. esse): cf. Cic. Cat. 2.27 monitos etiam atqae etiam volo. The perfect infinitive passive, usually as here without esse, after verbs of wishing (especially after volo) is commoner in Cicero, in whose writings it occurs at least 26 times (cf. Ziemer, Junggrammat. Streifzüge, pp.76 ff.), than in any other author. It indicates the impatience with which the realization of a wish is awaited.

Apulia: Pompey's headquarters were at Luceria; cf. Ep. XLIV. and Intr. 29.

cepi, sensi, dixi, habui, and vidi are preterites. Cicero had already resigned his position at Capua. Cf. Intr. 29.

dolor, sympathy.

multitudo et infimus quisque: cf. Mommsen, Rom. Hist. IV. 453: “In fact Caesar's antecedents were anything but reassuring, and still less reassuring was the aspect of the retinue that now surrounded him. Individuals of the most broken reputation, notorious personages like Quintus Hortensius, Gaius Curio, Marcus Antonius -- the latter the stepson of the Catilinarian Lentulus, who was executed by the orders of Cicero--were the most prominent actors in it; the highest posts of trust were bestowed on men who had long ceased even to reckon up their debts.” Cf. also Att. 9.19.1 19.1.

ipsi: i.e. Pompeio.


nihil ... fugam: cf. Att. 7.23.3 quod quaeris hic quid agatur, tota Capua et omnis hic dilectus iacet, desperata res est, in fuga omnes sunt.

essem profectus: see introd. note.

hieme maxima, in mid-winter; cf. multa nocte.

age iam : age with or without the adverbs iam, ergo, igitur, etc., or duplicated (age, age), is common in colloquial Latin to give force to a question, concession, or command; cf. age, age ut lubet, Ter. And. 310; age, da veniam filio, Ter. Ad. 937.

cum fratre: Quintus had been Caesar's legate, and his espousal of Pompey's cause would seem an act of ingratitude, and bring down the wrath of Caesar upon both Quintus and his brother.

illius: i.e. Caesaris.

populare: Cicero, although respected by the Italian peasantry, was thoroughly unpopular with the democracy of Rome. Cf. Att. 8.11D. 7 ut mea persona semper ad improborum civium impetus aliquid videretur habere populare.

fasces ... laureatos : in hopes of a triumph for his military successes in Cilicia, he still retained the insignia of an imperator, although the retention of them exposed him to ridicule. Cf. Att. 7.10.1 subito consilium cepi, at ante quam luceret exirem, ne qui conspectus fieret aut sermo, lictoribus praesertim laureatis. This picture of Cicero lends a touch of comedy to the tragedy of the Civil War.

ut ... utamur: a hortatory clause with a concessive force.

illum : i.e. Pompeiam.

qua: sc. via.


in hac parte: i.e. in Italy. Cicero's reference to a retreat from Italy on the part of the Pompeians is in the nature of a prophecy. In so far as official information had been given out, a stand was to be made at Luceria. Strangely enough, however, only the day before this letter was written Pompey had ordered his forces to collect at Brundisium with a view to crossing to Dyrrachium (cf. Att. 8.12 A. 3), but Cicero did not know this.

in Cinnae dominatione: when Marius and Cinna in 87 B.C. approached Rome, many of the Optimates fled, as the same class of men did on the approach of Caesar, but Philippus, Flaccus, and Mucius remained in the city, and Mucius (Q. Mucius Scaevola) was murdered a few years later.

quoquo modo, etc., however that decision turned out in his case.

malle: sc. perire.

Thrasybulus (sc. fecit): he left Athens when the Thirty Tyrants came into power, but returned to drive them out; cf. Xen. Hell. 2.3.42; 2.4.

sit (enim) : sc. Caesar.

non accipere, (I am afraid) that not to accept (a triumph) may be a perilous thing (as far as Caesar is concerned), that to accept it may be shameful in the eyes of good citizens. Something like vereor is understood before ne, as in de Fin. 5.8 sed ne, dum huic obsequor, vobis molestus sim. Cf. also Tac. Hist. 3.46.

res ... haec: i.e. the advisability of staying in Italy.

Caieta: Cicero had an estate here.


ecce: cf. Ep. XXXV. 23 fl.

Corfinium: see introd. to Ep. XLIV.

ut ... relinquat: Pompey's refusal to relieve Corfinium, which Ep. XLIV. contains, was not yet known to Cicero. Cf. in hac parte, 6 n.

Scipionem: cf. Ep. 1.3 n.

Fausto : Faustus, the son of L. Cornelius Sulla, was the son-in-law of Pompey. The dat. Fausto for a Fausto comes under the principle stated by Madvig on de Fin. 1.11 'that the dative, when thus used, contains some idea of advantage, so that the thing is thought of as having been done not only by some one butfor some one, as with the verb qaaero.'

Afranium : cf. Auli filiam, Ep. V.12n.

in Pyrenaeo: the hopes of the Pompeians were fixed upon relief from Spain; cf. dilectus enim magnos habebamus putabamusqae illum metuere, si ad urbem ire coepisset, ne Gallias amitteret, quas ambas habet inimicissimas praeter Transpadanos, ex Hispaniaque sex legiones et magna auxilia Afranio et Petreio ducibus habet a tergo, Fam. 16.12.4.

Trebonio: C. Trebonius was rewarded for the services which he rendered to Caesar during his tribunate by being appointed as Caesar's legate in Gaul, where he was still in command. Later he became praetor urbanas, and through Caesar's influence propraetor of Spain. He, however, joined the conspirators against Caesar's life in 44 B.C. He was murdered in Syria in the same year by Dolabella, being thus the first one of the liberatores to suffer for his connection with that plot.

Fabium: another of Caesar's legates in Gaul. The reports that he had deserted, and that Trebonius had been defeated, were without foundation; cf. Caes. B.C. 1.40.

transisse, has come over to oar side. The desertion of Labienus, the most trusted and skilful of Caesar's lieutenants, gave the Pompeians great hopes of further defections from Caesar's forces, and the air was full of rumors of such desertions.

magnis copiis: Afranius, Petreius, and Varro had seven legions and a large number of auxiliary troops in Spain; cf. Caes. B. C. 1.38.

Leptam: see Ep. XXXV.22n.

litteras: the letter has not been preserved.

ne quo inciderem: cf. cognovi, etc., 5.


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hide References (27 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (27):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.12.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.12.4
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.8.9
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 10.4.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.12.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.16.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.10.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.23.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 8.11
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 8.11.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 8.12
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.19.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 2.6
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 2.3
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 2.27
    • Cicero, On the Consular Provinces, 17
    • Cicero, On the Consular Provinces, 28
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.14
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.38
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.40
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.8
    • Terence, The Brothers, 5.8
    • Terence, Andria, 2.1
    • Cicero, On Oratory, 2.334
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 20
    • Cicero, de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, 1.11
    • Cicero, de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, 5.8
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