While this was going on, Cicero was at his own country-seat in Tusculum, having his brother with him; but when they learned of the proscriptions they determined to remove to Astura, a place of Cicero's on the sea-coast, and from there to sail to Brutus in Macedonia; for already a report was current that he was in force there. So they were carried along in litters, being worn out with grief; and on the way they would halt, and with their litters placed side by side would lament to one another.
But Quintus was the more dejected and began to reflect upon his destitute condition; for he said that he had taken nothing from home, nay, Cicero too had scanty provision for the journey; it was better, then, he said, that Cicero should press on in his flight, but that he himself should get what he wanted from home and then hasten after him. This they decided to do, and after embracing one another and weeping aloud, they parted.
So then Quintus, not many days afterwards, was betrayed by his servants to those who were in search of him, and put to death, together with his son. But Cicero was brought to Astura, and finding a vessel there he embarked at once and coasted along as far as Circaeum, with the wind in his favour. From there his pilots wished to set sail at once, but Cicero, whether it was that he feared the sea, or had not yet altogether given up his trust in Caesar, went ashore and travelled along on foot a hundred furlongs in the direction of Rome.
But again losing resolution and changing his mind, he went down to the sea at Astura. And there he spent the night in dreadful and desperate calculations; he actually made up his mind to enter Caesar's house by stealth, to slay himself upon the hearth, and so to fasten upon Caesar an avenging daemon. But a fear of tortures drove him from this course also; then, revolving in his mind many confused and contradictory purposes, he put himself in the hands of his servants to be taken by sea to Caieta, where he had lands and an agreeable retreat in summer time, when the breath of the Etesian winds is most pleasant.
The place has also a temple of Apollo, a little above the sea. From thence a flock of crows flew with loud clamour towards the vessel of Cicero as it was rowed towards land; and alighting on either end of the sail-yard, some cawed, and others pecked at the ends of the ropes, and everybody thought that the omen was bad. Nevertheless Cicero landed, and going to his villa lay down to rest.
Then most of the crows perched themselves about the window, cawing tumultuously, but one of them flew down upon the couch where Cicero lay with muffled head, and with its beak, little by little, tried to remove the garment from his face. The servants, on seeing this, rebuked themselves for waiting to be spectators of their master's murder, while wild beasts came to his help and cared for him in his undeserved misfortune, but they themselves did nothing in his defence. So partly by entreaty, and partly by force, they took him and carried him in his litter towards the sea.