Letters of Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Part 1 out of 2

Prepared by David Reed haradda@aol.com or davidr@inconnect.com

Letters of Cicero

by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Translated by E. S. Shuckburgh

THE letters of Cicero are of a very varied character. They range
from the most informal communications with members of his
family to serious and elaborate compositions which are practically
treatises in epistolary form. A very large proportion of them were
obviously written out of the mood of the moment, with no thought
of the possibility of publication; and in these the style is
comparatively relaxed and colloquial. Others, addressed to public
characters, are practically of the same nature as his speeches,
discussions of political questions intended to influence public
opinion, and performing a function in the Roman life of the time
closely analogous to that fulfilled at the present day by articles is
the great reviews, or editorials in prominent journals.

In the case of both of these two main groups the interest is
twofold: personal and historical, though it is naturally in the
private letters that we find most light thrown on the character of
the writer. In spite of the spontaneity of these epistles there exists a
great difference of opinion among scholars as to the personality
revealed by them, and both in the extent of the divergence of view
and in the heat of the controversy we are reminded of modern
discussions of the characters of men such as Gladstone or
Roosevelt. It has been fairly said that there is on the whole more
chance of justice to Cicero from the man of the world who
understands how the stress and change of politics lead a statesman
into apparently inconsistent utterances than from the professional
scholar who subjects these utterances to the severest logica1
scrutiny, without the illumination of practical experience.

Many sides of Cicero's life other than the political are reflected in
the letters. From them we can gather a picture of how an ambitious
Roman gentleman of some inherited wealth took to the legal
profession as the regular means of becoming a public figure; of
how his fortune might be increased by fees, by legacies from
friends, clients, and even complete strangers who thus sought to
confer distinction on themselves; of how the governor of o
province could become rich in. a year; of how the sons of Roman
men of wealth gave trouble to their tutors, were sent to Athens, as
to a university in our day, and found an allowance of over $4,000 a
year insufficient for their extravagances. Again, we see the greatest
orator of Rome divorce his wife after thirty years, apparently
because she had been indiscreet or unscrupulous in money matters,
and marry at the age of sixty-three his own ward, a young girl
whose fortune he admitted was the main attraction. The coldness
of temper suggested by these transactions is contradicted in turn by
Cicero's romantic affection for his daughter Tullia, whom he is
never tired of praising for her cleverness and charm, and whose
death almost broke his heart.

Most of Cicero's letters were written in ink on paper or parchment
with a reed pen; a few on tablets of wood or ivory covered with
wax, the marks being cut with a stylus. The earlier letters he wrote
with his own hand, the later were, except in rare cases, dictated to
a secretary. There was, of course, no postal service, so the epistles
were carried by private messengers or by the couriers who were
constantly traveling between the provincial officials and the

Apart from the letters to Atticus, the collection, arrangement, and
publication of Cicero's correspondence seems to have been due to
Tiro, the learned freedman who served him as secretary, and to
whom some of the letters are addressed. Titus Pormponius Atticus,
who edited the large collection of the letters written to himself,
was a cultivated Roman who lived more than twenty years in
Athens for purposes of study. His zeal for cultivation was
combined with the successful pursuit of wealth; and though Cicero
relied on him for aid and advice in public as well as private
matters, their friendship did not prevent Atticus from being on
good terms with men of the opposite party.

Generous, amiable, and cultured, Atticus was not remarkable for
the intensity of his devotion either to principles or persons. "That
he was the lifelong friend of Cicero," says Professor Tyrrell, "is the
best title which Atticus has to remembrance. As a man he was
kindly, careful, and shrewd, but nothing more: there was never
anything grand or noble in his character. He was the quintessence
of prudent mediocrity."

The period covered by the letters of Cicero is one of the most
interesting and momentous in the history of the world, and these
letters afford a picture of the chief personages and most important
events of that age from the pen of a man who was not only himself
in the midst of the conflict, but who was a consummate literary






THE state of things in regard to my candidature, in which I know
that you are supremely interested, is this, as far as can be as yet
conjectured. The only person actually canvassing is P. Sulpicius
Galba. He meets with a good old-fashioned refusal without reserve
or disguise. In the general opinion this premature canvass of his is
not unfavourable to my interests; for the voters generally give as a
reason for their refusal that they are under obligations to me. So I
hope my prospects are to a certain degree improved by the report
getting about that my friends are found to be numerous. My
intention was to begin my own canvass just at the very time that
Cincius tells me that your servant starts with this letter, namely, in
the campus at the time of the tribunician elections on the 17th of
July. My fellow candidates, to mention only those who seem
certain, are Galba and Antonius and Q. Cornificius. At this I
imagine you smiling or sighing. Well, to make you positively smite
your forehead, there are people who actually think that Caesonius
will stand. I don't think Aquilius will, for he openly disclaims it
and has alleged as an excuse his health and his leading position at
the bar. Catiline will certainly be a candidate, if you can imagine a
jury finding that the sun does not shine at noon. As for Aufidius
and Palicanus, I don't think you will expect to hear from me about
them. Of the candidates for this year's election Caesar is
considered certain. Thermus is looked upon as the rival of Silanus.
These latter are so weak both in friends and reputation that it
seems pas impossible to bring in Curius over their heads. But no
one else thinks so. What seems most to my interests is that
Thermus should get in with Caesar. For there is none of those at
present canvassing who, if left over to my year, seems likely to be
a stronger candidate, from the fact that he is commissioner of the
via Flaininia, and when that has been finished, I shall be greatly
relieved to have seen him elected consul this election. Such in
outline is the position of affairs in regard to candidates up to date.
For myself I shall take the greatest pains to carry out all the duties
of a candidate, and perhaps, as Gaul seems to have a considerable
voting power, as soon as business at Rome has come to a standstill
I shall obtain a libera legatio and make an excursion in the course
of September to visit Piso, but so as not to be back later than
January. When I have ascertained the feelings of the nobility I will
write you word. Everything else I hope will go smoothly, at any
rate while my competitors are such as are now in town. You must
undertake to secure for me the entourage of our friend Pompey,
since you are nearer than I. Tell him I shall not be annoyed if he
doesn't come to my election. So much for that business. But there
is a matter for which I am very anxious that you should forgive me.
Your uncle Caecilius having been defrauded of a large sum of
money by P. Varius, began an action against his cousin A.
Caninius Satyrus for the property which (as he alleged) the latter
had received from Varius by a collusive sale. He was joined in this
action by the other creditors, among whom were Lucullus and P.
Scipio, and the man whom they thought would be official receiver
if the property was put up for sale, Lucius Pontius; though it is
ridiculous to be talking about a receiver at this stage in the
proceedings. Caecilius asked me to appear for him against Satyrus.
Now, scarcely a day passes that Satyrus does not call at my house.
The chief object of his attentions is L. Domitius, but I am next in
his regard. He has been of great service both to myself and to my
brother Quintus in our elections. I was very much embarrassed by
my intimacy with Satyrus as well as that with Domitius, on whom
the success of my election depends more than on anyone else. I
pointed out these facts to Caecilius; at the same time I assured him
that if the case had been one exclusively between himself and
Satyrus, I would have done what he wished. As the matter actually
stood, all the creditors being concerned--and that two men of the
highest rank, who, without the aid of anyone specially retained by
Caecilius, would have no difficulty in maintaining their common
cause--it was only fair that he should have consideration both for
my private friendship and my present situation. He seemed to take
this somewhat less courteously than I could have wished, or than is
usual among gentlemen; and from that time forth he has entirely
withdrawn from the intimacy with me which was only of a few
days standing. Pray forgive me, and believe that I was prevented
by nothing but natural kindness from assailing the reputation of a
friend in so vital a point at a time of such very great distress,
considering that he had shewn me every sort of kindness and
attention, But if you incline to the harsher view of my conduct,
take it that the interests of my canvass prevented me. Yet, even
granting that to be so, I think you should pardon me, "since not for
sacred beast or oxhide shield." You see in fact the position I am in,
and how necessary I regard it, not only to retain but even to
acquire all possible sources of popularity. I hope I have justified
myself in your eyes, I am at any rate anxious to have done so. The
Hermathena you sent I am delighted with: it has been placed with
such charming effect that the whole gymnasium seems arranged
specially for it. I am exceedingly obliged to you.




I HAVE to inform you that on the day of the election of L. lulius
Caesar and C. Marcius Figulus to the consulship, I had an addition
to my family in the shape of a baby boy. Terentia doing well.

Why such a time without a letter from you? I have already written
to you fully about my circumstances. At this present time I am
considering whether to undertake the defence of my fellow
candidate, Catiline. We have a jury to our minds with full consent
of the prosecutor. I hope that if he is acquitted he will be more
closely united with me in the conduct of our canvass; but if the
result he otherwise I shall bear it with resignation. Your early
return is of great importance to me, for there is a very strong idea
prevailing that some intimate friends of yours, persons of high
rank, will be opposed to my election. To win me their favour I see
that I shall want you very much. Wherefore be sure to be in Rome
in January, as you have agreed to be.




M. Tullius Cicero, son of Marcus, greets Ca. Pompeius, son of
Cneius, Imperator.

IF you and the army are well I shall be glad. From your official
despatch I have, in common with everyone else, received the
liveliest satisfaction; for you have given us that strong hope of
peace, of which, in sole reliance on you, I was assuring everyone.
But I must inform you that your old enemies--now posing as your
friends--have received a stunning blow by this despatch, and, being
disappointed in the high hopes they were entertaining, are
thoroughly depressed. Though your private letter to me contained a
somewhat slight expression of your affection, yet I can assure you
it gave me pleasure: for there is nothing in which I habitually find
greater satisfaction than in the consciousness of serving my friend;
and if on any occasion I do not meet with an adequate return, I am
not at all sorry to have the balance of kindness in my favour. Of
this I feel no doubt--even if my extraordinary zeal in your behalf
has failed to unite you to me--that the interests of the state will
certainly effect a mutual attachment and coalition between us. To
let you know, however, what I missed in your letter I will write
with the candour which my own disposition and our common
friendship demand. I did expect some congratulation in your letter
on my achievements, for the sake at once of the ties between us
and of the Republic. This I presume to have been omitted by you
from a fear of hurting anyone's feelings. But let me tell you that
what I did for the salvation of the country is approved by the
judgment and testimony of the whole world. You are a much
greater man that Africanus, but I am not much inferior to Laelius
either; and when you come home you will recognize that I have
acted with such prudence and spirit, that you will not now be
ashamed of being coupled with me in politics as well as in private

IV (A I, 17)



Your letter, in which you inclose copies of his letters, has made me
realize that my brother Quintus's feelings have undergone many
alternations, and that his opinions and judgments have varied
widely from time to time. This has not only caused me all the pain
which my extreme affection for both of you was bound to bring,
but it has also made me wonder what can have happened to cause
my brother Quintus such deep offence, or such an extraordinary
change of feeling. And yet I was already aware, as I saw that you
also, when you took leave of me, were beginning to suspect, that
there was some lurking dissatisfaction, that his feelings were
wounded, and that certain unfriendly suspicions had sunk deep
into his heart. On trying on several previous occasions, but more
eagerly than ever after the allotment of his province, to assuage
these feelings, I failed to discover on the one hand that the extent
of his offence was so great as your letter indicates; but on the other
I did not make as much progress in allaying it as I wished.
However, I consoled myself with thinking that there would be no
doubt of his seeing you at Dyrrachium, or somewhere in your part
of the country: and, if that happened, I felt sure and fully
persuaded that everything would be made smooth between you,
not only by conversation and mutual explanation, but by the very
sight of each other in such an interview. For I need not say in
writing to you, who knows it quite well, how kind and
sweet-tempered my brother is, as ready to forgive as he is sensitive
in taking offence. But it most unfortunately happened that you did
not see him anywhere. For the impression he had received from the
artifices of others had more weight with him than duty or
relationship, or the old affection so long existing between you,
which ought to have been the strongest influence of all. And yet, as
to where the blame for this misunderstanding resides, I can more
easily conceive than write: since I am afraid that, while defending
my own relations, I should not spare yours. For I perceive that,
though no actual wound was inflicted by members of the family,
they yet could at least have cured it. But the root of the mischief in
this case, which perhaps extends farther than appears, I shall more
conveniently explain to you when we meet. As to the letter he sent
to you from Thessalonica, and about the language which you
suppose him to have used both at Rome among your friends and on
his journey, I don't know how far the matter went, but my whole
hope of removing this unpleasantness rests on your kindness. For if
you will only make up your mind to believe that the best men are
often those whose feelings are most easily irritated and appeased,
and that this quickness, so to speak, and sensitiveness of
disposition are generally signs of a good heart; and lastly--and this
is the main thing--that we must mutually put up with each other's
gaucheries (shall I call them?), or faults, or injurious acts, then
these misunderstandings will, I hope, be easily smoothed away. I
beg you to take this view, for it is the dearest wish of my heart
(which is yours as no one else's can be) that there should not be
one of my family or friends who does not love you and is not loved
by you.

That part of your letter was entirely superfluous, in which you
mention what opportunities of doing good business in the
provinces or the city you let pass at other times as well as in the
year of my consulship: for I am thoroughly persuaded of your
unselfishness and magnanimity, nor did I ever think that there was
any difference between you and me except in our choice of a
career. Ambition led me to seek official advancement, while
another and perfectly laudable resolution led you to seek an
honourable privacy. In the true glory, which is founded on honesty,
industry, and piety, I place neither myself nor anyone else above
you. In affection towards myself, next to my brother and
immediate family, I put you first. For indeed, indeed I have seen
and thoroughly appreciated how your anxiety and joy have
corresponded with the variations of my fortunes. Often has your
congratulation added a charm to praise, and your consolation a
welcome antidote to alarm. Nay, at this moment of your absence, it
is not only your advice--in which you excel--but the interchange of
speech--in which no one gives me so much delight as you do--that
I miss most, shall I say in politics, in which circumspection is
always incumbent on me, or in my forensic labour, which I
formerly sustained with a view to official promotion, and
nowadays to maintain my position by securing popularity, or in the
mere business of my family? In all these I missed you and our
conversations before my brother left Rome, and still more do I
miss them since. Finally, neither my work nor rest, neither my
business nor leisure, neither my affairs in the forum or at home,
public or private, can any longer do without your most consolatory
and affectionate counsel and conversation. The modest reserve
which characterizes both of us has often prevented my mentioning
these facts; but on this occasion it was rendered necessary by that
part of your letter in which you expressed a wish to have yourself
and your character "put straight" and "cleared" in my eyes. Yet, in
the midst of all this unfortunate alienation and anger on his part,
there is yet one fortunate circumstance--that your determination of
not going to a province was known to me and your other friends,
and had been at various times asserted by yourself; so that your not
being with him may be attributed to your personal tastes and
judgment, not to the quarrel and rupture between you. So those ties
which have been broken will be restored, and ours which have
been so religiously preserved will retain all their old inviolability.
At Rome I find politics in a shaky condition; everything is
unsatisfactory and foreboding change. For I have no doubt you
have been told that our friends, the equites, are all but alienated
from the senate. Their first grievance was the promulgation of a
bill on the authority of the senate for the trial of such as had taken
bribes for giving a verdict. I happened not to be in the house when
that decree was passed, but when I found that the equestrian order
was indignant at it, and yet refrained from openly saying so, I
remonstrated with the senate, as I thought, in very impressive
language, and was very weighty and eloquent considering the
unsatisfactory nature of my cause. But here is another piece of
almost intolerable coolness on the part of the equites, which I have
not only submitted to, but have even put in as good a light as
possible! The Companies which had contracted with the censors
for Asia complained that in the heat of the competition they had
taken the contract at an excessive price; they demanded that the
contract should be annulled. I led in their support, or rather, I was
second, for it was Crassus who induced them to venture on this
demand. The case is scandalous, the demand a disgraceful one,
and a confession of rash speculation. Yet there was a very great
risk that, if they got no concession, they would be completely
alienated from the senate. Here again I came to the i escue more
than anyone else, and secured them a full and very friendly house,
in which I, on the 1st and 2nd of December, delivered long
speeches on the dignity and harmony of the two orders. The
business is not yet settled, hut the favourable feeling of the senate
has been made manifest: for no one had spoken against it except
the consul-designate, Metellus; while our hero Cato had still to
speak, the shortness of the day having prevented his turn being
reached. Thus I, in the maintenance of my steady policy, preserve
to the best of my ability that harmony of the orders which was
originally my joiner's work; but since it all now seems in such a
crazy condition, I am constructing what I may call a road towards
the maintenance of our power, a safe one I hope, which I cannot
fully describe to you in a letter, but of which I will nevertheless
give you a hint. I cultivate close intimacy with Pompey. I foresee
what you will say. I will use all necessary precautions, and I will
write another time at greater length about my schemes for
managing the Republic. You must know that Lucceius has it in his
mind to stand for the consulship at once; for there are said to be
only two candidates in prospect. Caesar is thinking of coming to
terms with him by the agency of Arrius, and Bibulus also thinks he
may effect a coalition with him by means of C. Piso. You smile?
This is no laughing matter, believe me. What else shall I write to
you? What? I have plenty to say, but must put it off to another
time. If you mean to wait till you hear, let me know. For the
moment I am satisfied with a modest request, though it is what I
desire above everything-- that you should come to Rome as soon as

5 December.




YES, I do write to you less often than I might, because, though I
am always wretched, yet when I write to you or read a letter from
you, I am in such floods of tears that I cannot endure it. Oh, that I
had clung less to life! I should at least never have known real
sorrow, or not much of it, in my life. Yet if fortune has reserved
for me any hope of recovering at any time any position again, I
was not utterly wrong to do so: if these miseries are to be
permanent, I only wish, my dear, to see you as soon as possible
and to die in your arms, since neither gods, whom you have
worshipped with such pure devotion, nor men, whom I have ever
served, have made us any return. I have been thirteen days at
Brundisium in the house of M. Laenius Flaccus, a very excellent
man, who has despised the risk to his fortunes and civil existence
in comparison to keeping me safe, nor has been induced by the
penalty of a most iniquitous law to refuse me the rights and good
offices of hospitality and friendship. May I sometime have the
opportunity of repaying him! Feel gratitude I always shall. I set out
from Brundisium on the 29th of April, and intend going through
Macedonia to Cyzicus. What a fall! What a disaster! What can I
say? Should I ask you to come--a woman of weak health and
broken spirit? Should I refrain from asking you? Am I to be
without you, then? I think the best course is this: if there is any
hope of my restoration, stay to promote it and push the thing on:
but if, as I fear, it proves hopeless, pray come to me by any means
in your power. Be sure of this, that if I have you I shall not think
myself wholly lost. But what is to become of my darling Tullia?
You must see to that now: I can think of nothing. But certainly,
however things turn out, we must do everything to promote that
poor little girl's married happiness and reputation. Again, what is
my boy Cicero to do? Let him, at any rate, be ever in my bosom
and in my arms. I can't write more. A fit of weeping hinders me. I
don't know how you have got on; whether you are left in
possession of anything, or have been, as I fear, entirely plundered.
Piso, as you say, I hope will always be our friend. As to the
manumission of the slaves you need not be uneasy. To begin with,
the promise made to yours was that you would treat them
according as each severally deserved. So far Orpheus has behaved
well, besides him no one very markedly so. With the rest of the
slaves the arrangement is that, if my property is forfeited, they
should become my freedmen, supposing them to be able to
maintain at law that status. But if my property remained in my
ownership, they were to continue slaves, with the exception of a
very few. But these are trifles. To return to your advice, that I
should keep up my courage and not give up hope of recovering my
position, I only wish that there were any good grounds for
entertaining such a hope. As it is, when, alas! shall I get a letter
from you? Who will bring it me? I would have waited for it at
Brundisium, but the sailors would not allow it, being unwilling to
lose a favourable wind. For the rest, put as dignified a face on the
matter as you can, my dear Terentia. Our life is over: we have had
our day: it is not any fault of ours that has ruined us, but our virtue.
I have made no false step, except in not losing my life when I lost
my honours. But since our children preferred my living, let us bear
everything else, however intolerable. And yet I, who encourage
you, cannot encourage myself. I have sent that faithful fellow
Clodius Philhetaerus home, because he was hampered with
weakness of the eyes. Sallustius seems likely to outdo everybody
in his attentions. Pescennius is exceedingly kind to me; and I have
hopes that he will always be attentive to you. Sicca had said that
he would accompany me; but he has left Brundisium. Take the
greatest care of your health, and believe me that I am more
affected by your distress than my own. My dear Terentia, most
faithful and best of wives, and my darling little daughter, and that
last hope of my race, Cicero, good-bye!

29 April, from Brundisium.




BROTHER! Brother! Brother! did you really fear that I had been
induced by some angry feeling to send slaves to you without a
letter? Or even that I did not wish to see you? I to be angry with
you! Is it possible for me to be angry with you? Why, one would
think that it was you that brought me low! Your enemies, your
unpopularity, that miserably ruined me, and not I that unhappily
ruined you! The fact is, the much-praised consulate of mine has
deprived me of you, of children, country, fortune; from you I
should hope it will have taken nothing but myself. Certainly on
your side I have experienced nothing but what was honourable and
gratifying: on mine you have grief for my fall and fear for your
own, regret, mourning, desertion. I not wish to see you? The truth
is rather that I was unwilling to be seen by you. For you would not
have seen your brother--not the brother you had left, not the
brother you knew, not him to whom you had with mutual tears
bidden farewell as be followed you on your departure for your
province: not a trace even or faint image of him, but rather what I
may call the likeness of a living corpse. And oh that you had
sooner seen me or heard of me as a corpse! Oh that I could have
left you to survive, not my life merely, but my undiminished rank!
But I call all the gods to witness that the one argument which
recalled me from death was, that all declared that to some extent
your life depended upon mine. In which matter I made an error and
acted culpably. For if I had died, that death itself would have given
clear evidence of my fidelity and love to you. As it is, I have
allowed you to be deprived of my aid, though I am alive, and with
me still living to need the help of others; and my voice, of all
others, to fail when dangers threatened my family, which had so
often been successfully used in the defence of the merest strangers.
For as to the slaves coming to you without a letter, the real reason
(for you see that it was not anger) was a deadness of my faculties,
and a seemingly endless deluge of tears and sorrows. How many
tears do you suppose these very words have cost me? As many as I
know they will cost you to read them! Can I ever refrain from
thinking of you or ever think of you without tears? For when I miss
you, is it only a brother that I miss? Rather it is a brother of almost
my own age in the charm of his companionship, a son in his
consideration for my wishes, a father in the wisdom of his advice!
What pleasure did I ever have without you, or you without me?
And what must my case be when at the same time I miss a
daughter: How affectionate! how modest! how clever! The express
image of my face, of my speech, of my very soul! Or again a son,
the prettiest boy, the very joy of my heart? Cruel inhuman monster
that I am, I dismissed him from my arms better schooled in the
world than I could have wished: for the poor child began to
understand what was going on. So, too, your own son, your own
image, whom my little Cicero loved as a brother, and was now
beginning to respect as an elder brother! Need I mention also how
I refused to allow my unhappy wife--the truest of helpmates--to
accompany me, that there might be some one to protect the wrecks
of the calamity which had fallen on us both, and guard our
common children? Nevertheless, to the best of my ability, I did
write a letter to you, and gave it to your freedman Philogonus,
which, I believe, was delivered to you later on; and in this I repeat
the advice and entreaty, which had been already transmitted to you
as a message from me by my slaves, that you should go on with
your journey and hasten to Rome. For, in the first place, I desired
your protection, in case there were any of my enemies whose
cruelty was not yet satisfied by my fall. In the next place, I dreaded
the renewed lamentation which our meeting would cause: while I
could not have borne your departure, and was afraid of the very
thing you mention in your letter--that you would be unable to tear
yourself away. For these reasons the supreme pain of not seeing
you--and nothing more painful or more wretched could, I think,
have happened to the most affectionate and united of
brothers--was a less misery than would have been such a meeting
followed by such a parting. Now, if you can, though I, whom you
always regarded as a brave man, cannot do so, rouse yourself and
collect your energies in view of any contest you may have to
confront. I hope, if my hope has anything to go upon, that your
own spotless character and the love of your fellow citizens, and
even remorse for my treatment, may prove a certain protection to
you. But if it turns out that you are free from personal danger, you
will doubtless do whatever you think can be done for me. In that
matter, indeed, many write to me at great length and declare they
have hopes; but I personally cannot see what hope there is, since
my enemies have the greatest influence, while my friends have in
some cases deserted, in others even betrayed me, fearing perhaps
in my restoration a censure on their own treacherous conduct. But
how matters stand with you I would have you ascertain and report
to me. In any case I shall continue to live as long as you shall need
me, in view of any danger you may have to undergo: longer than
that I cannot go in this kind of life. For there is neither wisdom nor
philosophy with sufficient strength to sustain such a weight of
grief. I know that there has been a time for dying, more honourable
and more advantageous; and this is not the only one of my many
omissions; which, if I should choose to bewail, I should merely be
increasing your sorrow and emphasizing my own stupidity. But
one thing I am not bound to do, and it is in fact impossible--remain
in a life so wretched and so dishonoured any longer than your
necessities, or some well-grounded hope, shall demand. For I, who
was lately supremely blessed in brother, children, wife, wealth,
and in the very nature of that wealth, while in position, influence,
reputation, and popularity, I was inferior to none, however,
distinguished--I cannot, I repeat. go on longer lamenting over
myself and those dear to me in a life of such humiliation as this,
and in a state of such utter ruin. Wherefore, what do you mean by
writing to me about negotiating a bill of exchange? As though I
were not now wholly dependent on your means! And that is just
the very thing in which 1 see and feel, to my misery, of what a
culpable act I have been guilty in squandering to no purpose the
money which I received from the treasury in your name, while you
have to satisfy your creditors out of the very vitals of yourself and
your son. However, the sum mentioned in your letter has been paid
to M. Antonius, and the same amount to Caepio. For me the sum at
present in my hands is sufficient for what I contemplate doing. For
in either case--whether I am restored or given up in despair--I shall
not want any more money. For yourself, if you are molested, I
think you should apply to Crassus and Calidius. I don't know how
far Hortensius is to be trusted. Myself, with the most elaborate
presence of affection and the closest daily intimacy, he treated
with the most utter want of principle and thc most consummate
treachery, and Q. Arrius helped him in it: acting under whose
advice, promises, and injunctions, I was left helpless to fall into
this disaster. But this you will keep dark for fear they might injure
you. Take care also--and it is on this account that I think you
should cultivate Hortensius himself by means of Pomponius--that
the epigram on the irs Aurelia attributed to you when candidate for
the aedileship is not proved by false testimony to be yours. For
there is nothing that I am so afraid of as that, when people
understand how much pity for me your prayers and your acquittal
will rouse, they may attack you with all the greater violence.
Messahla I reckon as really attached to you: Pompey I regard as
still pretending only. But may you never have to put these things to
the test! And that prayer I would have offered to the gods had they
not ceased to listen to prayers of mine. However, I do pray that
they may be content with these endless miseries of ours; among
which, after all, there is no discredit for any wrong thing
done--sorrow is the beginning and end, sorrow that punishment is
most severe when our conduct has been most unexceptionable. As
to my daughter and yours and my young Cicero, why should I
recommend them to you, my dear brother? Rather I grieve that
their orphan state will cause you no less sorrow than it does me.
Yet as long as you are uncondemned they will not be fatherless.
The rest, by my hopes of restoration and the privilege of dying in
my fatherland, my tears will not allow me to write! Terentia also I
would ask you to protect, and to write me word on every subject.
Be as brave as the nature of the case admits.

Thessalonica, 13 June.




DIRECTLY I arrived at Rome, and there was anyone to whom I
could safely intrust a letter for you, I thought the very first thing I
ought to do was to congratulate you in your absence on my return.
For I knew, to speak candidly, that though in giving me advice you
had not been more courageous or far-seeing than myself, nor--
considering my devotion to you in the past--too careful in
protecting me from disaster, yet that you--though sharing in the
first instance in my mistake, or rather madness, and in my
groundless terror--had nevertheless been deeply grieved at our
separation, and had bestowed immense pains, zeal, care, and
labour in securing my return. Accordingly, I can truly assure you of
this, that in the midst of supreme joy and the most gratifying
congratulations, the one thing wanting to fill my cup of happiness
to the brim is the sight of you, or rather your embrace; and if I ever
forfeit that again, when I have once got possession of it, and if,
too, I do not exact the full delights of your charming society that
have fallen into arrear in the past, I shall certainly consider myself
unworthy of this renewal of my good fortune.

In regard to my political position, I have resumed what I thought
there would be the utmost difficulty in recovering--my brilliant
standing at the bar, my influence in the senate, and a popularity
with the loyalists even greater than I desired. In regard, however,
to my private property--as to which you are well aware to what an
extent it has been crippled, scattered, and plundered--I am in great
difficulties, and stand in need, not so much of your means (which I
look upon as my own), as of your advice for collecting and
restoring to a sound state the fragments that remain. For the
present, though I believe everything finds its way to you in the
letters of your friends, or even by messengers and rumour, yet I
will write briefly what I think you would like to learn from niy
letters above all others. On the 4th of August I started froui
Dyrrarhium, the very day on which the law about me was carried. I
arrived at Brundisium on the 5th of August. There my dear
Tulhiola met me on what was her own birthday, which happened
also to be the name-day of the colony of Brundisium and of the
temple of Safety, near your house. This coincidence was noticed
and celebrated with warm congratulations by the citizens of
Brundisium. On the 8th of August, while still at Brundisium, I
learnt by a letter from Quintus that the law had been passed at the
comitia centuriata with a surprising enthusiasm on the part of all
ages and ranks, and with an incredible influx of voters from Italy. I
then commenced my journey, amidst the compliments of the men
of highest consideration at Brundisium, and was met at every point
by legates bearing congratulations. My arrival in the
neighbourhood of the city was the signal for every soul of every
order known to my nomenclator coming out to meet me, except
those enemies who could not either dissemble or deny the fact of
their being such. On my arrival at the Porta Capena, the steps of
the temples were already thronged from top to bottom by the
populace; and while their congratulations were displayed by the
loudest possible applause, a similar throng and similar applause
accompanied me right up to the Capitol, and in the forum and on
the Capitol itself there was again a wonderful crowd. Next day, in
the senate, that is, the 5th of September, I spoke my thanks to the
senators. Two days after that--there having been a very heavy rise
in the price of corn, and great crowds having flocked first to the
theatre and then to the senate-house, shouting out, at the
instigation of Clodius, that the scarcity of corn was my
doing--meetings of the senate being held on those days to discuss
the corn question, and Pompey being called upon to undertake the
management of its supply in the common talk not only of the
plebs, but of the aristocrats also, and being himself desirous of the
commission, when the people at large called upon me by name to
support a decree to that effect, I did so, and gave my vote in a
carefully-worded speech. The other consulars, except Messalla and
Afranius, having absented themselves on the ground that they
could not vote with safety to themselves, a decree of the senate
was passed in the sense of my motion, namely, that Pompey should
be appealed to to undertake the business, and that a law should be
proposed to that effect. This decree of the senate having been
publicly read, and the people having, after the senseless and
new-fangled custom that now prevails, applauded the mention of
my name, I delivered a speech. All the magistrates present, except
one praetor and two tribunes, called on me to speak. Next day a
full senate, including all the consulars, granted everything that
Pompey asked for. Having demanded fifteen legates, he named me
first in the list, and said that he should regard me in all things as a
second self. The consuls drew up a law by which complete control
over the corn-supply for five years throughout the whole world
was given to Pompey. A second law is drawn up by Messius,
granting him power over all money, and adding a fleet and army,
and an imperium in the provinces superior to that of their
governors. After that our consular law seems moderate indeed: that
of Messius is quite intolerable. Pompey professes to prefer the
former; his friends the latter. The consulars led by Favonius
murmur: I hold my tongue, the more so that the pontifices have as
yet given no answer in regard to my house. If they annul the
consecration I shall have a splendid site. The consuls, in
accordance with a decree of the senate, will value the cost of the
building that stood upon it; but if the pontifices decide otherwise,
they will pull down the Clodian building, give out a contract in
their own name (for a temple), and value to me the cost of a site
and house. So our affairs are

"For happy though but ill, for ill not worst."

In regard to money matters I am, as you know, much embarrassed.
Besides, there are certain domestic troubles, which I do not intrust
to writing. My brother Quintus I love as he deserves for his
eminent qualities of loyalty, virtue, and good faith. I am longing to
see you, and beg you to hasten your return, resolved not to allow
me to be without the benefit of your advice. I am on the threshold,
as it were, of a second life. Already certain persons who defended
me in my absence begin to nurse a secret grudge at me now that I
am here, and to make no secret of their jealousy. I want you very




I HAVE already told you the earlier proceedings; now let me
describe what was done afterwards. The legations were postponed
from the 1st of February to the 13th. On the former day our
business was not brought to a settlement. On the 2nd of February
Milo appeared for trial. Pompey came to support him. Marcellus
spoke on being called upon by me. We came off with flying
colours. The case was adjourned to the 7th. Meanwhile (in the
senate), the legations having been postponed to the 13th, the
business of allotting the quaestors and furnishing the outfit of the
praetors was brought before the house. But nothing was done,
because many speeches were interposed denouncing the state of
the Republic. Gaius Cato published his bill for the recall of
Lentulus, whose son thereon put on mourning. On the 7th Milo
appeared. Pompey spoke, or rather wished to speak. For as soon as
he got up Clodius's ruffians raised a shout, and throughout his
whole speech he was interrupted, not only by hostile cries, but by
personal abuse and insulting remarks. However, when lie had
finished his speech--for he shewed great courage in these
circumstances, he was not cowed, he said all he had to say, and at
times had by his commanding presence even secured silence for
his words--well, when he had finished, up got Clodius. Our party
received him with such a shout--for they had determined to pay
him out--that he lost all presence of mind, power of speech, or
control over his countenance. This went on up to two o
clock--Pompey having finished his speech at noon--and every kind
of abuse, and finally epigrams of the most outspoken indecency
were uttered against Clodius and Clodia. Mad and livid with rage
Clodius, in the very midst of the shouting, kept putting questions
to his claque: "Who was it who was starving the commons to
death?" His ruffians answered, "Pompey." "Who wanted to be sent
to Alexandria ?" They answered, "Pompey." "Who did they wish to
go ?" They answered, "Crassus." The latter was present at the time
with no friendly feelings to Milo. About three o clock, as though at
a given signal, the Clodians began spitting at our men. There was
an outburst of rage. They began a movement for forcing us from
our ground. Our men charged: his ruffians turned tail. Clodius was
pushed off the rostra: and then we too made our escape for fear of
mischief in the riot. The senate was summoned into the Curia:
Pompey went home. However, I did not myself enter the
senate-house, lest I should be obliged either to refrain from
speaking on matters of such gravity, or in defending Pompey (for
he was being attacked by Bibulus, Curio, Favonius, and Servilius
the younger) should give offence to the loyalists. The business was
adjourned to the next day. Clodius fixed the Quirinalia (17th of
February) for his prosecution. On the 8th the senate met in the
temple of Apollo, that Pompey might attend. Pompey made an
impressive speech. That day nothing was concluded. On the 9th in
the temple of Apollo a degree passed the senate "that what had
taken place on the 7th of February was treasonable." On this day
Cato warmly inveighed against Pompey, and throughout his speech
arraigned him as though he were at the bar. He said a great deal
about me, to my disgust, though it was in very laudatory terms.
When he attacked Pompey's perfidy to me, he was listened to in
profound silence on the part of my enemies. Pompey answered
him boldly with a palpable allusion to Crassus, and said outright
that "he would take better precautions to protect his life than
Africanus had done, whom C. Carbo had assassinated."
Accordingly, important events appear to me to be in the wind. For
Pompey understands what is going on, and imparts to me that plots
are being formed against his life, that Gaius Cato is being
supported by Crassus, that money is being supplied to Clodius, that
both are backed by Crassus and Curio, as well as by Bibulus and
his other detractors: that he must take extraordinary precautions to
prevent being overpowered by that demagogue--with a people all
but wholly alienated, a nobility hostile, a senate ill-affected, and
the younger men corrupt. So he is making his preparations and
summoning men from the country. On his part, Clodius is rallying
his gangs: a body of men is being got together for the Quirinalia.
For that occasion we are considerably in a majority, owing to the
forces brought up by Pompey himself: and a large contingent is
expected from Picenum and Gallia, to enable us to throw out
Cato's bills also about Milo and Lentulus.

On the 10th of February an indictment was lodged against Sestius
for bribery by the informer Cn. Nerius, of the Pupinian tribe, arid
on the same day by a certain M. Tullius for riot. He was ill. I went
at once, as I was bound to do. to his house, and put myself wholly
at his service: and that was more than people expected, who
thought that I had good cause for being angry with him. The result
is that my extreme kindness and grateful disposition are made
manifest both to Sestius himself and to all the world, and I shall be
as good as my word. But this same informer Nerius also named
Cn. Lentulus Vatia and C. Cornelius to the commissioners. On the
same day a decree passed the senate "that political clubs and
associations should be broken up, and that a law in regard to them
should be brought in, enacting that those who did not break off
from them should be liable to the same penalty as those convicted
of riot."

On the 10th of February I spoke in defence of Bestia on a charge of
bribery before the praetor Cn. Domitius, in the middle of the
forum and in a very crowded court; and in the course of my speech
I came to the incident of Sestius, after receiving many wounds in
the temple of Castor, having been preserved by the aid of Bestia.
Here I took occasion to pave the way beforehand for a refutation of
the charges which are being got up against Sestius, and I passed a
well-deserved encomium upon him with the cordial approval of
everybody. He was himself very much delighted with it. I tell you
this because you have often advised me in your letters to retain the
friendship of Sestius. I am writing this on the 12th of February
before daybreak; the day on which I am to dine with Pomponius on
the occasion of his wedding.

Our position in other respects is such as you used to cheer my
despondency by telling me it would be--one of great dignity and
popularity: this is a return to old times for you and me effected, my
brother, by your patience, high character, loyalty, and, I may also
add, your conciliatory manners. The house of Licinius, near the
grove of Piso, has been taken for you. But, as I hope, in a few
months time, after the 1st of July, you will move into your own.
Some excellent tenants, the Lamiae, have taken your house in
Carinie. I have received no letter from you since the one dated
Olbia. I am anxious to hear how you are and what you find to
amuse you, but above all to see you yourself as soon as possible.
Take care of your health, my dear brother, and though it is winter
time, yet reflect that after all it is Sardinia that you are in.

13 February.




IT will be delightful if you come to see us here. You will find that
Tyrannio has made a wonderfully good arrangement of my books,
the remains of which are better than I had expected. Still, I wish
you would send me a couple of your library slaves for Tyrannio to
employ as gluers, and in other subordinate work, and tell them to
get some fine parchment to make title-pieces, which you Greeks, I
think, call "sillybi." But all this is only if not inconvenient to you.
In any case, be sure you come yourself, if you can halt for a while
in such a place, and can persuade Pilia to accompany you. For that
is only fair, and Tulia is anxious that she should come. My word!
You have purchased a fine troop! Your gladiators, I am told, fight
superbly. If you had chosen to let them out you would have cleared
your expenses by the last two spectacles. But we will talk about
this later on. Be sure to come, and, as you love me, see about the
library slaves.




I HAVE often tried to say to you personally what I am about to
write, but was prevented by a kind of almost clownish bashfulness.
Now that I am not in your presence I shall speak out more boldly: a
letter does not blush. I am inflamed with an inconceivably ardent
desire, and one, as I think, of which I have no reason to be
ashamed, that in a history written by you my name should be
conspicuous and frequently mentioned with praise. And though
you have often shewn me that you meant to do so, yet I hope you
will pardon my impatience. For the style of your composition,
though I had always entertained the highest expectations of it, has
yet surpassed my hopes, and has taken such a hold upon me, or
rather has so fired my imagination, that I was eager to have my
achievements as quickly as possible put on record in your history.
For it is not only the thought of being spoken of by future ages that
makes me snatch at what seems a hope of immortality, but it is
also the desre of fully enjoying in my lifetime an authoritative
expression of your judgment, or a token of your kindness for me,
or the charm of your genius. Not, however, that while thus writing
I am unaware under what heavy burdens you are labouring in the
portion of history you have undertaken, and by this time have
begun to write. But because I saw that your history of the Italian
and Civil Wars was now all but finished, and because also you told
me that you were already embarking upon the remaining portions
of your work, I determined not to lose my chance for the want of
suggesting to you to consider whether you preferred to weave your
account of me into the main context of your history, or whether, as
many Greek writers have done--Callisthenes, the Phocian War;
Timeus, the war of Pyrrhus; Polybius, that of Numantia; all of
whom separated the wars I have named from their main
narratives--you would, like them, separate the civil conspiracy
from public and external wars. For my part, I do not see that it
matters much to my reputation, but it does somewhat concern my
impatience, that you should not wait till you come to the proper
place, but should at once anticipate the discussion of that question
as a whole and the history of that epoch. And at the same time, if
your whole thoughts are engaged on one incident and one person, I
can see in imagination how much fuller your material will be, and
how much more elaborately worked out. I am quite aware,
however, what little modesty I display, first, in imposing on you so
heavy a burden (for your engagements may well prevent your
compliance with my request), and in the second place, in asking
you to shew me off to advantage. What if those transactions are
not in your judgment so very deserving of commendation? Yet,
after all, a man who has once passed the border-line of modesty
had better put a bold face on it and be frankly impudent. And so I
again and again ask you outright, both to praise those actions of
mine in warmer terms than you perhaps feel, and in that respect to
neglect the laws of history. I ask you, too, in regard to the personal
predilection, on which you wrote in a certain introductory chapter
in the most gratifying and explicit terms--and by which you shew
that you were as incapable of being diverted as Xenophon's
Hercules by Pleasure--not to go against it, but to yield to your
affection for me a little more than truth shall justify. But if I can
induce you to undertake this, you will have, I am persuaded, matter
worthy of your genius and your wealth of language. For from the
beginning of the conspiracy to my return from exile it appears to
me that a moderate-sized monograph might be composed, in which
you will, on the one hand, be able to utilize your special
knowledge of civil disturbances, either in unravelling the causes of
the revolution or in proposing remedies for evils, blaming
meanwhile what you think deserves denunciation, and establishing
the righteousness of what you approve by explaining the principles
on which they rest: and on the other hand, if you think it right to be
more outspoken (as you generally do), you will bring out the
perfidy, intrigues, and treachery of many people towards me. For
my vicissitudes will supply you in your composition with much
variety, which has in itself a kind of charm, capable of taking a
strong hold on the imagination of readers, when you are the writer.
For nothing is better fitted to interest a reader than variety of
circumstance and vicissitudes of fortune, which, though the
reverse of welcome to us in actual experience, will make very
pleasant reading: for the untroubled recollection of a past sorrow
has a charm of its own. To the rest of the world, indeed, who have
had no trouble themselves, and who look upon the misfortunes of
others without any suffering of their own, the feeling of pity is
itself a source of pleasure. For what man of us is not delighted,
though feeling a certain compassion too, with the death-scene of
Epaminondas at Mantinea? He, you know, did not allow the dart to
be drawn from his body until he had been told, in answer to his
question, that his shield was safe, so that in spite of the agony of
his wound he died calmly and with glory. Whose interest is not
roused and sustained by the banishment and return of
Themistocles? Truly the mere chronological record of the annals
has very little charm for us--little more than the entries in the fasti:
but the doubtful and varied fortunes of a man, frequently of
eminent character, involve feelings of wonder, suspense, joy,
sorrow, hope, fear: if these fortunes are crowned with a glorious
death, the imagination is satisfied with the most fascinating delight
which reading can give. Therefore it will be more in accordance
with my wishes if you come to the resolution to separate from the
main body of your narrative, in which you embrace a continuance
history of events, what I may call the drama of my actions and
fortunes: for it includes varied acts, and shifting scenes both of
policy and circumstance. Nor am I afraid of appearing to lay snares
for your favour by flattering suggestions, when I declare that I
desire to be complimented and mentioned with praise by you
above all other writers. For you are not the man to be ignorant of
your own powers, or not to be sure that those who withhold their
admiration of you are more to be accounted jealous, than those
who praise you flatterers. Nor, again, am I so senseless as to wish
to be consecrated to an eternity of fame by one who, in so
consecrating me, does not also gain for himself the glory which
rightfully belongs to genius. For the famous Alexander himself did
not wish to be painted by Apelles, and to have his statue made by
Lysippus above all others, merely from personal favour to them,
but because he thought that their art would be a glory at once to
them and to himself. And, indeed, those artists used to make
images of the person known to strangers: but if such had never
existed, illustrious men would yet be no less illustrious. The
Spartan Agesilaus, who would not allow a portrait of himself to be
painted or a statue made, deserves to be quoted as an example
quite as much as those who have taken trouble about such
representations: for a single pamphlet of Xenophon's in praise of
that king has proved much more effective than all the portraits and
statues of them all, And, moreover, it will more redound to my
present exultation and the honour of my memory to have found my
way into your history, than if I had done so into that of others, in
this, that I shall profit not only by the genius of the writer--as
Timoleon did by that of Timaeus, Themistocles by that of
Herodotus--but also by the authority of a man of a most illustrious
and well-established character, and one well known and of the first
repute for his conduct in the most important and weighty matters
of state; so that I shall seem to have gained not only the fame
which Alexander on his visit to Sigeum said had been bestowed on
Achilles by Homer, but also the weighty testimony of a great and
illustrious man. For I like that saying of Hector in Naevius, who
not only rejoices that he is "praised," but adds, "and by one who
has himself been praised." But if I fail to obtain my request from
you, which is equivalent to saying, if you are by some means
prevented--for I hold it to be out of the question that you would
refuse a request of mine--I shall perhaps be forced to do what
certain persons have often found fault with, write my own
panegyric, a thing, after all, which has a precedent of many
illustrious men. But it will not escape your notice that there are the
following drawbacks in a composition of that sort: men are bound,
when writing of themselves, both to speak with greater reserve of
what is praiseworthy, and to omit what calls for blame. Added to
which such writing carries less conviction, less weight; many
people, in fine, carp at it, and say that the heralds at the public
games are more modest, far after having placed garlands on the
other recipients and proclaimed their names in a loud voice, when
their own turn comes to be presented with a garland before the
games break up, they call in the services of another herald, that
they may not declare themselves victors with their own voice. I
wish to avoid all this, and, if you undertake my cause, I shall avoid
it: and, accordingly, I ask you this favour. But why, you may well
ask, when you have already often assured me that yOu intended to
record in your book with the utmost minuteness the policy and
events of my consulship, do I now make this request to you with
such earnestness and in so many words? The reason is to be found
in that burning desire, of which I spoke at the beginning of my
letter, for something prompt: because I am in a flutter of
impatience, both that men should learn what I am from your book,
while I am still alive, and that I may myself in my lifetime have
the full enjoyment of my little bit of glory. What you intend doing
on this subject I should like you to write me word, if not
troublesome to you. For if you do undertake the subject, I will put
together sonic notes of all occurrences: but if you put me off to
some future time, I will talk the matter over with you. Meanwhile,
do not relax your efforts, and thoroughly polish what you have
already on the stocks, and--continue to love me.




I HAD only just arrived from Arpinum when your letter was
delivered to me; and from the same bearer I received a letter from
Avianius, in which there was this most liberal offer, that when he
came to Rome he would enter my debt to him on whatever day I
chose. Pray put yourself in my place: is it consistent with your
modesty or mine, first to prefer a request as to the day, and then to
ask more than a year's credit? But, my dear Gallus, everything
would have been easy, if you had bought the things I wanted, and
only up to the price that I wished. However, the purchases which,
according to your letter, you have made shall not only be ratified
by me, but with gratitude besides: for I fully understand that you
have displayed zeal and affection in purchasing (because you
thought them worthy of me) things which pleased yourself--a man,
as I have ever thought, of the most fastidious judgment in all
matters of taste. Still, I should like Damasippus to abide by his
decision: for there is absolutely none of those purchases that I care
to have. But you, being unacquainted with my habits, have bought
four or five of your selection at a price at which I do not value any
statues in the world. You compare your Bacchae with Metellus's
Muses. Where is the likeness? To begin with, I should never have
considered the Muses worth all that money, and I think all the
Muses would have approved my judgment: still, it would have
been appropriate to a library, and in harmony with my pursuits But
Bacchae! What place is there in my house for them? But, you will
say, they are pretty. I know them very well and have often seem
them. I would have commissioned you definitely in the case of
statues known to me, if I had decided on them. The sort of statues
that I am accustomed to buy are such as may adorn a place in a
pala stra after the fashion of gymnasia. What, again, have I, the
promoter of peace, to do with a statue of Mars? I am glad there
was not a statue of Saturn also: for I should have thought these two
statues had brought mc debt! I should have preferred some
representation of Mercury: I might then, I suppose, have made a
more favourable bargain with Arrianus. You say you meant the
table-stand for yourself; well, if you like it, keep it. But if you have
changed your mind I will, of course, have it. For the money you
have laid out, indeed, I would rather have purchased a place of call
at Tarracina, to prevent my being always a burden on my host.
Altogether I perceive that the fault is with my freedman, whom I
had distinctly commissioned to purchase certain definite things,
and also with lunius, whom I think you know, an intimate friend of
Avianius. I have constructed some new sitting-rooms in a
miniature colonnade on my Tusculan property. I want to ornament
them with pictures: for if I take pleasure in anything of that sort it
is in painting. However, if I am to have what you have bought, I
should like you to inform me where they are, when they are to be
fetched, and by what kind of conveyance. For if Damasippus
doesn't abide by his decision, I shall look for some would-be
Damasippus, even at a loss.

As to what you say about the house, as I was going out of town I
intrusted the matter to my daughter Tullia: for it 'vas at the very
hour of my departure that I got your letter. I also discussed the
matter with your friend Nicias, because he is, as you know,
intimate with Cassius. On my return, however, before I got your
last letter, I asked Tullia what she had done. She said that she had
approached Licinia (though I think Cassius is not very intimate
with his sister), and that she at once said that she could venture, in
the absence of her husband (Dexius is gone to Spain), to change
houses without his being there and knowing about it.. I am much
gratified that you should value association with me and my
domestic life so highly, as, in the first place, to take a house which
would enable you to live not only near me, but absolutely with me,
and, in the second place, to be in such a hurry to make this change
of residence. But, upon my life, I do not yield to you in eagerness
for that arrangement. So I will try every means in my power. For I
see the advantage to myself, and, indeed, the advantages to us
both. If I succeed in doing anything, I will let you know. Mind you
also write me word back on everything, and let me know, if you
please, when I am to expect you..




IF some bodily pain or weakness of health has prevented your
coming to the games, I put it down to fortune rather than your own
wisdom: but if you have made up your mind that these things
which the rest of the world admires are only worthy of contempt,
and, though your health would have allowed of it, you yet were
unwilling to come, then I rejoice at both facts--that you were free
from bodily pain, and that you had the sound sense to disdain what
others causelessly admire. Only I hope that some fruit of your
leisure may be forthcoming, a leisure, indeed, which you had a
splendid opportunity of enjoying to the full, seeing that you were
left almost alone in your lovely country. For I doubt not that in that
study of yours, from which you have opened a window into the
Stabian waters of the bay, and obtained a view of Misenum, you
have spent the morning hours of those days in light reading, while
those who left you there were watching the ordinary farces half
asleep. The remaining parts of the day, too, you spent in the
pleasures which you had yourself arranged to suit your own taste,
while we had to endure whatever had met with the approval of
Spurius Maecius. On the whole, if you care to know, the games
were most splendid, but not to your taste. I judge from my own.
For, to begin with, as a special honour to the occasion, those actors
had come back to the stage who, I thought, had left it for their
own. Indeed, your favourite, my friend Aesop, was in such a state
that no one could say a word against his retiring from the
profession. On beginning to recite the oath his voice failed him at
the words "If I knowingly deceive." Why should I go on with the
story? You know all about the rest of the games, which hadn't
even that amount of charm which games on a moderate scale
generally have: for the spectacle was so elaborate as to leave no
room for cheerful enjoyment, and I think you need feel no regret at
having missed it. For what is the pleasure of a train of six hundred
mules in the "Clytemnestra," or three thousand bowls in the
"Trojan Horse," or gay-colored armour of infantry and cavalry in
some battle? These things roused the admiration of the vulgar; to
you they would have brought no delight. But if during those days
you listened to your reader Protogenes, so long at least as he read
anything rather than my speeches, surely you had far greater
pleasure than any one of us. For I don't suppose you wanted to see
Greek or Oscan plays, especially as you can see Oscan farces in
your senate-house over there, while you are so far from liking
Greeks, that you generally won't even go along the Greek road to
your villa Why, again, should I suppose you to care about missing
the athletes, since you disdained the gladiators? in which even
Pompey himself confesses that he lost his trouble and his pains.
There remain the two wild-beast hunts, lasting five days,
magnificent--nobody denies it--and yet, what pleasure can it be to
a man of refinement, when either a weak man is torn by an
extremely powerful animal, or a splendid animal is transfixed by a
hunting spear? Things which, after all, if worth seeing, you have
often seen before; nor did I, who was present at the games, see
anything the least new. The last day was that of the elephants, on
which there was a great deal of astonishment on the part of the
vulgar crowd, but no pleasure whatever. Nay, there was even a
certain feeling of compassion aroused by it, and a kitid of belief
created that that animal has soniethirig in common with mankind.
However, for my part, during this day, while the theatrical
exhibitions were on, lest by chance you should think me too
blessed, I almost split my lungs in defending your friend Caninius
Gallus. But if the people were as indulgent to me as they were to
Aesop, I would, by heaven, have been glad to abandon my
profession and live with you and others like us. The fact is I was
tired of it before, even when both age and ambition stirred me on,
and when I could also decline any defence that I didn't like; but
now, with things in the state that they are, there is no life worth
having. For, on the one hand, I expect no profit of my labor; and,
on the other, I am sometimes forced to defend men who have been
no friends to me, at the request of those to whom I am under
obligations. Accordingly, I am on the look-out for every excuse for
at last managing my life according to my own taste, and I loudly
applaud and vehemently approve both you and your retired plan of
life: and as to your infrequent appearances among us, I am the
more resigned to that because, were you in Rome, I should be
prevented from enjoying the charm of your society, and so would
you of mine, if I have any, by the overpowering nature of my
engagements; from which, if I get any relief--for entire release I
don't expect--I will give even you, who have been studying
nothing else for many years, some hints as to what it is to live a
life of cultivated enjoyment. Only be careful to nurse your weak
health and to continue your present care of it, so that you may be
able to visit my country houses and make excursions with me in
my litter. I have written you a longer letter than usual, from
superabundance, not of leisure, but of affection, because, if you
remember, you asked me in one of your letters to write you
something to prevent you feeling sorry at having missed the
games. And if I have succeeded in that, I am glad: if not, I yet
console myself with this reflexion, that in future you will both
come to the games and come to see me, and will not leave your
hope of enjoyment dependent on my letters.




YOUR note by its strong language has drawn out this letter. For as
to what actually occurred on the day of your start, it supplied me
with absoutely no subject for writing. But as when we are together
we are never at a loss for something to say, so ought our letters at
times to digress into loose chat. Well then, to begin, the liberty of
the Tenedians has received short shrift, no one speaking for them
except myself, Bibulus, Calidius, and Favonius. A complimentary
reference to you was made by the legates from Magnesia and
Sipylum, they saying that you were the man who alone had resisted
the demand of L. Sestius Pansa. On the remaining days of this
business in the senate, if anything occurs which you ought to
know, or even if there is nothing, I will write you something every
day. On the 12th I will not fail you or Pomponius. The poems of
Lucretius are as you say-- with many flashes of genius, yet very
technical. But when you return, . . . if you succeed in reading the
Empedoclea of Sallustius, I shall regard you as a hero, yet scarcely




AFTER extraordinary hot weather--I never remember greater
heat--I have refreshed myself at Arpinum, and enjoyed the extreme
loveliness of the river during the days of the games, having left my
tribesmen under the charge of Philotimus. I was at Arcanum on the
ioth of September. There I found Mescidius and Philoxenus, and
saw the water, for which they were making a course not far from
your villa, running quite nicely, especially considering the extreme
drought, and they said they were going to collect it in much greater
abundance. Everything is right with Herus. In your Manilian
property I came across Diphilus outdoing himself in dilatoriness.
Still, he had nothing left to construct, except baths, and a
promenade, and an aviary. I liked that villa very much, because its
paved colonnade gives it an air of very great dignity. I never
appreciated this till now that the colonnade itself has been all laid
open, and the columns have been polished. It all depends--and this
I will look to--upon the stuccoing being prettily done. The
pavements seemed to be being well laid. Certain of the ceilings I
did not like, and ordered them to be changed. As to the place in
which they say that you write word that a small entrance hall is to
be built--namely, in the colonnade--I liked it better as it is. For 1
did not think there was space sufficient for an entrance hall; nor is
it usual to have one, except in those buildings which have a larger
court; nor could it have bedrooms and apartments of that kind
attached to it. As it is, from the very beauty of its arched roof, it
will serve as an admirable summer room. However, if you think
differently, write back word as soon as possible. In the bath I have
moved the hot chamber to the other corner of the dressing-room,
because it was so placed that its steampipe was immediately under
the bedrooms. A fair-sized bed-room and a lofty winter one I
admired very much, for they were both spacious and
well-situated--on the side of the promenade nearest to the bath.
Diphilus had placed the columns out of the perpendicular, and not
opposite each other. These, of course, he shall take down; he will
learn some day to use the plumb-line and measure. On the whole, I
hope Diphilus's work will be completed in a few months: for
Qesius, who was with me at the time, keeps a very sharp look-out
upon him.

Thence I started straight along the via Vitularia to your
Fufidianum, the estate which we bought for you a few weeks ago
at Arpinum for 100,000 sesterces (about 8oo pounds). I never saw
a shadier spot in summer--water springs in many parts of it, and
abundant into the bargain. In short, Caesius thought that you would
easily irrigate fifty iugera of the meadow land. For my part, I can
assure you of this, which is more in my line, that you will have a
villa marvellously pleasant, with the addition of a fish-pond,
spouting fountains, a pakestra, and a shrubbery. I am told that you
wish to keep this Bovillae estate. You will determine as you think
good. Calvus said that, even if the control of the water were taken
from you, and the right of drawing it off were established by the
vendor, and thus an easement were imposed on that property, we
could yet maintain the price in case we wish to sell. He said that he
had agreed with you to do the work at three sesterces a foot, and
that he had stepped it, and made it three miles. It seemed to me
more. But I will guarantee that the money could nowhere be better
laid out. I had sent for Cillo from Venafrum, but on that very day
four of his fellow servants and apprentices bad been crushed by the
falling in of a tunnel at Venafrum. On the 23th of September I was
at Laterium. I examined the road, which appeared to me to be so
good as to Seem almost like a high road, except a hundred and
fifty paces--for I measured it myself from the little bridge at the
temple of Furina, in the direction of Satricum. There they had put
down dust, not gravel (this shall he changed), and that part of the
road is a very steep incline. But I understood that it could not be
taken in any other direction, particularly as you did not wish it to
go through the property of Locusta or Varro. The latter alone had
made the road very well where it skirted his own property. Locusta
hadn't touched it; but I will call on him at Rome, and think I shall
be able to stir him up, and at the same tune I think I shall ask M.
Tarus, who is now at Rome, and whom I am told promised to
allow you to do so, about making a watercourse through his
property. I much approved of your steward Nicephorius and I
asked him what orders you had given about that small building at
Laterium, about which you spoke to me. He told me in answer that
he had himself contracted to do the work for sixteen sestertia
(about 128 pounds), but that you had afterwards made many
additions to the work, but nothing to the price, and that he had
therefore given it up. I quite approve by Hercules, of your making
the additions you had determined upon; although the villa as it
stands seems to have the air of a philosopher, meant to rebuke the
extravagance of other villas. Yet, after all, that addition will be
pleasing. I praised your landscape gardener: he has so covered
everything with ivy, both the foundation-wall of the villa and the
spaces between the columns of the walk, that, upon my word,
those Greek statues seemed to be engaged in fancy gardening, and
to be shewing off the ivy. Finally, nothing can be cooler or more
mossy than the dressing-room of the bath. That is about all I have
to say about country matters. The gardener, indeed, as well as
Philotimus and Cincius are pressing on the ornamentation of your
town house; but I also often look in upon it myself, as I can do
without difficulty. Wherefore don't be at all anxious about that.

As to your always asking me about your son, of course I "excuse
you"; but I must ask you to "excuse" me also, for I don't allow that
you love him more than I do. And oh that he had been with me
these last few days at Arpinum, as he had himself set his heart on
being, and as I had no less done! As to Pomponia, please write and
say that, when I go out of town anywhere, she is to come with me
and bring the boy. I'll do wonders with him, if I get him to myself
when I am at leisure: for at Rome there is no time to breathe. You
know I formerly promised to do so for nothing. What do you
expect with such a reward as you promise me? I now come to your
letters which I received in several packets when I was at Arpinum.
For I received three from you in one day, and, indeed, as it seemed,
despatched by you at the same time--one of considerable length, in
which your first point was that my letter to you was dated earlier
than that to Caesar. Oppius at times cannot help this: the reason is
that, having settled to send letter-carriers, and having received a
letter from me, he is hindered by something turning up, and
obliged to despatch them later than he had intended; and I don't
take the trouble to have the day altered on a letter which I have
once handed to him. You write about Caesar's extreme affection
for us. This affection you must on your part keep warm, and I for
mine will endeavour to increase it by every means in my power.
About Pompey, I am carefully acting, and shall continue to act, as
you advise. That my permission to you to stay longer is a welcome
one, though I grieve at your absence and miss you exceedingly, 1
am yet partly glad. What you can be thinking of in sending for
such people as Hippodamus and some others, I do not understand.
There is not one of those fellows that won't expect a present from
you equal to a suburban estate. However, there is no reason for
your classing my friend Trebatius with them. I sent him to Caesar,
and Caesar has done all I expected. If he has not done quite what
he expected himself, I am not bound to make it up to him, and I in
like manner free and absolve you from all claims on his part. Your
remark, that you are a greater favourite with Caesar every day, is a
source of undying satisfaction to me. As to Balbus, who, as you
say, promotes that state of things, he is the apple of my eye. I am
indeed glad that you and my friend Trebonius like each other. As
to what you say about the military tribuneship, I, indeed, asked for
it definitely for Curtius, and Caeesar wrote back definitely to say
that there was one at Curtius's service, and chided me for my
modesty in making the request. If I have asked one for anyone
else--as I told Oppius to write and tell Caesar--I shall not be at all
annoyed by a refusal, since those who pester me for letters are
annoyed at a refusal from me. I like Curtius, as I have told him, not
only because you asked me to do so, but from the character you
gave of him; for from your letter I have gathered the zeal he
shewed for my restoration. As for the British expedition, I
conclude from your letter that we have no occasion either for fear
or exultation. As to public affairs, about which you wish Tiro to
write to you, I have written to you hitherto somewhat more
carelessly than usual, because I knew that all events, small or
great, were reported to Caesar. I have now answered your longest

Now hear what I have to say to your small one. The first point is
about Clodius's letter to Caesar. In that matter I approve of
Caesar's policy, in not having given way to your request so far as
to write a single word to that Fury. The next thing is about the
speech of Calventius "Marius." I am surprised at your saying that
you think I ought to answer it, particularly as, while no one is
likely to read that speech, unless I write an answer to it, every
schoolboy learns mine against him as an exercise. My books, all of
which you are expecting, I have begun, but I cannot finish them for
some days yet. The speeches for Scaurus and Plancius which you
clamour for I have finished. The poem to Caesar, which I had
begun, I have cut short. I will write what you ask me for, since
your poetic springs are running dry, as soon as I have time.

Now for the third letter. It is very pleasant and welcome news to
hear from you that Balbus is soon coming to Rome, and so well
accompanied! and will stay with me continuously till the 15th of
May. As to your exhorting me in the same letter, as in many
previous ones, to ambition and labour, I shall, of course, do as you
say: but when am I to enjoy any real life?

Your fourth letter reached me on the 13th of September, dated on
the ioth of August from Britain. In it there was nothing new except
about your Erigona, and if I get that from Oppius I will write and
tell you what I think of it. I have no doubt I shall like it. Oh yes! I
had almost forgotten to remark as to the man who, you say in your
letter, had written to Qesar about the applause given to Milo-- I am
not unwilling that Caesar should think that it was as warm as
possible. And in point of fact it was so, and yet that applause,
which is given to him, seems in a certain sense to be given to me.

I have also received a very old letter, but which was late in coming
into my hands, in which you remind me about the temple of Tellus
and the colonnade of Catulus. Both of these matters are being
actively carried out. At the temple of Tellus I have even got your
statue placed. So, again, as to your reminder about a suburban villa
and gardens, I was never very keen for one, and now my town
house has all the charm of such a pleasure-ground. On my arrival
in Rome on the 18th of September I found the roof on your house
finished: the part over the sitting-rooms, which you did not wish to
have many gables, now slopes gracefully towards the roof of the
lower colonnade. Our boy, in my absence, did not cease working
with his rhetoric master. You have no reason for being anxious
about his education, for you know his ability, and I see his
application. Everything else I take it upon myself to guarantee,
with full consciousness that I am bound to make it good.

As yet there are three parties prosecuting Gabinius: first, L.
Lentulus, son of the flainen, who has entered a prosecution for lŠse
majest‚; secondly, Tib. Nero with good names at the back of his
indictment; thirdly, C. Memmius the tribune in conjunction with L.
Capito. He came to the walls of the city on the 19th of September,
undignified and neglected to the last degree. But in the present
state of the law courts I do not venture to be confident of anything.
As Cato is unwell, he has not yet been formally indicted for
extortion. Pompey is trying hard to persuade me to be reconciled
to him, but as yet he has not yet succeeded at all, nor, if I retain a
shred of liberty, will he succeed. I am very anxious for a letter
from you. You say that you have been told that I was a party to the
coalition of the consular candidates--it is a lie. The compacts male
in that coalition afterwards made public by Memmius, were of
such a nature that no loyal man ought to have been a party to them;
nor at the same time was it possible for me to be a party to a
coalition from which Messalla was excluded, who is thoroughly
satisfied with my conduct in every particular, as also, I think, is
Memmius. To Domitius himself I have rendered many services
which he desired and asked of me. I have put Scaurus under a
heavy obligation by my defence of him. It is as yet very uncertain
both when the elections will be and who will be consuls.

Just as I was folding up this epistle letter-carriers arrived from you
and Caesar (20th September) after a journey of twenty days. How
anxious I was! How painfully I was affected by Caesar's most kind
letter! But the kinder it was, the more sorrow did his loss occasion
me. But to turn to your letter. To begin with, I reiterate my
approval of your staying on, especially as, according to your
account, you have consulted Caesar on the subject. I wonder that
Oppius has anything to do with Publius for I advised against it.
Farther on in your letter you say that I am going to be made legatus
to Pompey on the 13th of September: I have heard nothing about it,
and I wrote to Caesar to tell him that neither Vibullius nor Oppius
had delivered his message to Pompey about my remaining at
home. Why, I know not. However, it was I who restrained Oppius
from doing so, because it was Vibullius who should take the
leading part in that matter: for with him Caesar had communicated
personally, with Oppius only by letter. I indeed can have no
"second thoughts" in matters connected with Caesar. He comes
next after you and our children in my regard, and not much after. I
think I act in this with deliberate judgment, for I have by this time
good cause for it, yet warm personal feeling no doubt does
influence me also.

Just as I had written these last words--which are by my own
hand--your boy came in to dine with me, as Pomponia was dining
out. He gave me your letter to read, which he had received shortly
before--a truly Aristophanic mixture of jest and earnest, with
which I was greatly charmed. He gave me also your second letter,
in which you bid him cling to my side as a mentor. How delighted
he was with those letters! And so was I. Nothing could be more
attractive than that boy, nothing more affectionate to me !--This, to
explain its being in another handwriting, I dictated to Tiro while at

Your letter gratified Annalis very much, as shewing that you took
an active interest in his concerns, and yet assisted him with
exceedingly candid advice. Publius Servilius the elder, from a
letter which he said he had received from Caesar, declares himself
highly obliged to you for having spoken with the greatest kindness
and earnestness of his devotion to Caesar. After my return to Rome
from Arpinum I was told that Hippodamus had started to join you.
I cannot say that I was surprised at his having acted so
discourteously as to start to join you without a letter from me: I
only say that, that I was annoyed. For I had long resolved, from an
expression in your letter, that if I had anything I wished conveyed
to you with more than usual care, I should give it to him: for, in
truth, into a letter like this, which I send you in an ordinary way, I
usually put nothing that, if it fell into certain hands, might be a
source of annoyance. I reserve myself for Minucius and Salvius
and Labeo. Labeo will either be starting late or will stay here
altogether. Hippodamus did not even ask me whether he could do
anything for me. T. Penarius sends me a kind letter about you: says
that he is exceedingly charmed with your literary pursuits,
conversation, and above all by your dinners. He was always a
favourite of mine, and I see a good deal of his brother. Wherefore
continue, as you have begun, to admit the young man to your

From the fact of this letter having been in hand during many days,
owing to the delay of the letter-carriers, I have jotted down in it
many various things at odd times, as, for instance, the following:
Titus Anicius has mentioned to me more than once that he would
not hesitate to buy a suburban property for you, if he found one. In
these remarks of his I find two things surprising: first, that when
you write to him about buying a suburban property, you not only
don't write to me to that effect, but write even in a contrary sense;
and, secondly, that in writing to him you totally forget his letters
which you shewed me at Tusculum, and as totally the rule of
Epicharmus, "Notice how he has treated another": in fact, that you
have quite forgotten, as I think, the lesson conveyed by the
expression of his face, his conversation, and his spirit. But this is
your concern. As to a suburban property, be sure to let me know
your wishes, and at the same time take care that that fellow doesn't
get you into trouble. What else have I to say? Anything? Yes, there
is this: Gabinius entered the city by night on the 27th of
September, and today, at two o clock, when he ought to have
appeared on his trial for lŠse niajest‚, in accordance with the edict
of C. Alflus, he was all but crushed to the earth by a great and
unanimous demonstration of the popular hatred. Nothing could
exceed his humiliating position. However, Piso comes next to him.
So I think of introducing a marvellous episode into my second
book--Apollo declaring in the council of the gods what sort of
return that of the two commanders was to be, one of whom had
lost, and the other sold his army. From Britain I have a letter of
Qesar's dated the 1st of September, which reached me on the 27th,
satisfactory enough as far as the British expedition is concerned, in
which, to prevent my wondering at not getting one from you, he
tells me that you were not with him when he reached the coast. To
that letter I made no reply, not even a formal congratulation, on
account of his mourning. Many, many wishes, dear brother, for
your health.




M. CICERO desires his warmest regards to P. Lentulus, imperator.
Your letter was very gratifying to me, from which I gathered that
you fully appreciated my devotion to you: for why use the word
kindness, when even the word "devotion" itself, with all its solemn
and holy associations, seems too weak to express my obligations to
you? As for your saying that my services to you are gratefully
accepted, it is you who in your overflowing affection make things,
which cannot be omitted without criminal negligence, appear
deserving of even gratitude. However, my feelings towards you
would have been much more fully known and conspicuous, if,
during all this time that we have been separated, we had been
together, and together at Rome. For precisely in what you declare
your intention of doing--what no one is more capable of doing, and
what I confidently look forward to from you--that is to say, in
speaking in the senate, and in every department of public life and
political activity, we should together have been in a very strong
position (what my feelings and position are in regard to politics
I will explain shortly, and will answer the questions you ask), and
at any rate I should have found in you a supporter, at once most
warmly attached and endowed with supreme wisdom, while in me
you would have found an adviser, perhaps not the most unskilful in
the world, and at least both faithful and devoted to your interests.
However, for your own sake, of course, I rejoice, as I am bound to
do, that you have been greeted with the title of imperator, and are
holding your province and victorious army after a successful
campaign. But certainly, if you had been here, you would have
enjoyed to a fuller extent and more directly the benefit of the
services 1which I am bound to render you. Moreover, in taking
vengeance on those whom you know in some cases to be your
enemies, because you championed the cause of my recall, in others
to be jealous of the splendid position and renown which that
measure brought you, I should have done you yeoman's service as
your associate. However, that perpetual enemy of his own friends,
who, in spite of having been honoured with the highest
compliments on your part, has selected you of all people for the
object of his impotent and enfeebled violence, has saved me the
trouble by punishing himself. For he has made attempts, the
disclosure of which has left him without a shred, not only of
political position, but every of freedom of action. And though I
should have preferred that you should have gained your experience
in my case alone, rather than in your own also, yet in the midst of
my regret I am glad that you have learnt what the fidelity of
mankind is worth, at no great cost to yourself, which I learnt at the
price of excessive pain. And I think that I have now an opportunity
presented me, while answering the questions you have addressed
to me, of also explaining my entire position and view. You say in
your letter that you have been informed that I have become
reconciled to Cmesar and Appius, and you add that you have no
fault to find with that. But you express a wish to know what
induced me to defend and compliment Vatinius. In order to make
my explanation plainer I must go a little farther back in the
statement of my policy and its grounds.

Well, Lentulus! At first--after the success of your efforts for my
recall--I looked upon myself as having been restored not alone to
my friends, but to the Republic also; and seeing that I owed you an
affection almost surpassing belief, and every kind of service,
however great and rare, that could be bestowed on your person, I
thought that to the Republic, which had much assisted you in
restoring me, I at least was bound to entertain the feeling which I
had in old times shewed merely from the duty incumbent on all
citizens alike, and not as an obligation incurred by some special
kindness to myself. That these were my sentiments I declared to
the senate when you were consul, and you had yourself a full view
of them in our conversations and discussions. Yet from the very
first my feelings were hurt by many circumstances, when, on your
mooting the question of the full restoration of my position, I
detected the covert hatred of some and the equivocal attachment of
others. For you received no support from either in regard to my
vexatious to me: but much more so was the fact that they used,
before my very eyes, so to embrace, fondle, make much of, and
kiss my enemy mine do I say? rather the enemy of the laws, of the
law courts, of peace, of his country, of all loyal men ! that they did
not indeed rouse my bile, for I have utterly lost all that, but
imagined they did. In these circumstances, having, as far as is
possible for human prudeuce, thoroughly examined my whole
position, and having balanced the items of the account, I arrived at
a final result of all my reflexions, which, as well as I can, I will
now briefly put before you.

If I had seen the Republic in the hands of bad or profligate
citizens, as we know happened during the supremacy of Cinna, and
on some other occasions, I should not under the pressure, I don t
say of rewards, which are the last things to influence me, but even
of danger, by which, after all, the bravest men are moved, have
attached myself to their party, not even if their services to me had
been of the very highest kind. As it is, seeing that the leading
statesman in the Republic was Pompey, a man who had gained this
power and renown by the most eminent services to the state and
the most glorious achievements, and one of whose postion I had
been a supporter from my youth up, and in my praetorship and
consulship an active promoter also, and seeing that this same
statesman had assisted me, in his own person by the weight of his
influence and the expression of his opinion, and, in conjunction
with you, by his counsels and zeal, and that he regarded my enemy
as his own supreme enemy in the state I did not think that I need
fear the reproach of inconsistency, if in some of my senatorial
votes I somewhat changed my standpoint, and contributed my zeal
to the promotion of the dignity of a most distiii guished man, and
one to whom I am under the highest obligations. In this sentiment I
had necessarily to include Caesar, as you see, for their policy and
position were inseparably united. Here I was greatly influenced by
two things the old friendship which you know that I and my
brother Quintus have had with Caesar, and his own kindness and
liberality, of which we have recently had clear and mistakable
evidence both by his letters and his personal attentions. I was also
strongly affected by the Republic itself, which appeared to me to
demand, especially considering Caesar's brilliant successes, that
there should be no quarrel maintained with these men, and indeed
to forbid it in the strongest manner possible. Moreover, while
entertaining these feelings, I was above all shaken by the pledge
which Pompey had given for me to Caesar, and my brother to
Pompey. Besides, I was forced to take into consideration the state
maxim so divinely expressed by our master Plato--" Such as are
the chief men in a republic, such are ever wont to be the other
citizens." I called to mind that in my consulship, from the very 1st
of January, such a foundation was laid of encouragement for the
senate, that no one ought to have been surprised that on the 5th of
December there was so much spirit and such commanding
influence in that house. I also remember that when I became a
private citizen up to the consulship of Caesar and Bibulus, when
the opinions expressed by me had great weight in the senate, the
feeling among all the loyalists was invariable. Afterwards, while
you were holding the province of hither Spain with imperiuni and
the Republic had no genuine consuls, but mere hucksters of
provinces, mere slaves and agents of sedition, an accident threw
my head as an apple of discord into the midst of contending
factions and civil broils. And in that hour of danger, though a
unanimity was displayed on the part of the senate that was
surprising, on the part of all Italy surpassing belief, and of all the
loyalists unparalleled, in standing forth in my defence, I will not
say what happened--for the blame attaches to many, and is of
various shades of turpitude--I will only say briefly that it was not
the rank and file, but the leaders, that played me false. And in this
matter, though some blame does attach to those who failed to
defend me, no less attaches to those who abandoned me: and if
those who were frightened deserve reproach, if there are such, still
more are those to be blamed who pretended to be frightened. At
any rate, my policy is justly to be praised for refusing to allow my
fellow citizens (preserved by me and ardently desiring to preserve
me) to be exposed while bereft of leaders to armed slaves, and for
preferring that it should be made manifest how much force there
might be in the unanimity of the loyalists, if they had been
permitted to champion my cause before I had fallen, when after
that fall they had proved strong enough to raise me up again. And
the real feelings of these men you not only had the penetration to
see, when bringing forward my case, but the power to encourage
and keep alive. In promoting which measure--I will not merely not
deny, but shall always remember also and gladly proclaim it--you
found certain men of the highest rank more courageous in securing
my restoration than they had been in preserving me from my fall:
and, if they had chosen to maintain that frame of mind, they would
have recovered their own commanding position along with my
salvation. For when the spirit of the loyalists had been renewed by
your consulship, and they had been roused from their dismay by
the extreme firmness and rectitude of your official conduct; when,
above all, Pompey's support had been secured; and when Caesar,
too, with all the prestige of his brilliant achievements, after being
honoured with unique and unprecedented marks of distinction and
compliments by the senate, was now supporting the dignity of the
house, there could have been no opportunity for a disloyal citizen
of outraging the Republic.

But now notice, I beg, what actually ensued. First of all, that
intruder upon the women's rites, who had shewn no more respect
for the Bona Dea than for his three sisters, secured immunity by
the votes of those men who, when a tribune wished by a legal
action to exact penalties from a seditious citizen by the agency of
the loyalists, deprived the Republic of what would have been
hereafter a most splendid precedent for the punishment of sedition.
And these same persons, in the case of the monument, which was
not mine, indeed--for it was not erected from the proceeds of
spoils won by me, and I had nothing to do with it beyond giving
out the contract for its construction--well, they allowed this
monument of the senate's to have branded upon it the name of a
public enemy, and an inscription written in blood. That those men
wished my safety rouses my liveliest gratitude, but I could have
wished that they had not chosen to take my bare safety into
consideration, like doctors, but, like trainers, my strength and
complexion also! As it is, just as Apelles perfected the head and
bust of his Venus with the most elaborate art, but left the rest of
her body in the rough, so certain persons only took pains with my
head, and left the rest of my body unfinished and unworked. Yet in
this matter I have falsified the expectation, not only of the jealous,
but also of the downright hostile, who formerly conceived a wrong
opinion from the case of Quintus Metellus, son of Lucius--the most
energetic and gallant man in the world, and in my opinion of
surpassing courage and firmness--who, people say, was much cast
down and dispirited after his return from exile. Now, in the first
place, we are asked to believe that a man who accepted exile with
entire willingness and remarkable cheerfulness, and never took any
pains at all to get recalled, was crushed in spirit about an affair in
which he had shewn more firmness and constancy than anyone
else, even than the preeminent M. Scaurus himself! But, again, the
account they had received, or rather the conjectures they were
indulging in about him, they now transferred to me, imagining that
I should be more than usually broken in spirit: whereas, in fact, the
Republic was inspiring me with even greater courage than I had
ever had before, by making it plain that I was the one citizen it
could not do without; and by the fact that while a bill proposed by
only one tribune had recalled Metellus, the whole state had joined
as one man in recalling me--the senate leading the way, the whole
of Italy following after, eight of the tribunes publishing the bill, a
consul putting the question at the centuriate assembly, all orders
and individuals pressing it on, in fact, with all the forces at its
command. Nor is it the case that I afterwards made any pretension,
or am making any at this day, which can justly offend anyone,
even the most malevolent: my only effort is that I may not fail
either my friends or those more remotely connected with me in
either active service, or counsel, or personal exertion. This course
of life perhaps offends those who fix their eyes on the glitter and
show of my professional position, but are unable to appreciate its
anxieties and laboriousness.

Again, they make no concealment of their dissatisfaction on the
ground that in the speeches which I make in the senate in praise of
Caesar I am departing from my old policy. But while giving
explanations on the points which I put before you a short time ago,
I will not keep till the last the following, which I have already
touched upon. You will not find, my dear Lentulus, the sentiments
of the loyalists the same as you left them--strengthened by my
consulship, suffering relapse at intervals afterwards, crushed down
before your consulship, revived by you: they have now been
abandoned by those whose duty it was to have maintained them:
and this fact they, who in the old state of things as it existed in our
day used to be called Optiinates, not only declare by look and
expression of countenance, by which a false pretence is easiest
supported, but have proved again and again by their actual
sympathies and votes. Accordingly, the entire view and aim of
wise citizens, such as I wish both to be and to be reckoned, must
needs have undergone a change. For that is the maxim of that same
great Plato, whom I emphatically regard as my master: "Maintain a
political controversy only so far as you can convince your fellow
citizens of its justice: never offer violence to parent or fatherland."
He, it is true, alleges this as his motive for having abstained from
politics, because, having found the Athenian people all but in its
dotage, and seeing that it could not be ruled by persuasion, or by
anything short of compulsion, while he doubted the possibility of
persuasion, he looked upon compulsion as criminal. My position
was different in this: as the people was not in its dotage, nor the
question of engaging in politics still an open one for me, I was
bound hand and foot. Yet I rejoiced that I was permitted in one and
the same cause to support a policy at once advantageous to myself
and acceptable to every loyalist. An additional motive was Caesar's
memorable and almost superhuman kindness to myself and my
brother, who thus would have deserved my support whatever he
undertook; while as it is, considering his great success and his
brilliant victories, he would seem, even if he had not behaved to
me as he has, to claim a panegyric from me. For I would have you
believe that, putting you aside, who were the authors of my recall,
there is no one by whose good offices I would not only confess,
but would even rejoice, to have been so much bound.

Having explained this matter to you, the questions you ask about
Vatinius and Crassus are easy to answer. For, since you remark
about Appius, as about Caesar, "that you have no fault to find," I
can only say that I am glad you approve my policy. But as to
Vatinius, in the first place there had been in the interval a
reconciliation effected through Pompey, immediately after his
election to the praetorship, though I had, it is true, impugned his
candidature in some very strong speeches in the senate, and yet not
so much for the sake of attacking him as of defending and
complimenting Cato. Again, later on, there followed a very
pressing request from Caesar that I should undertake his defence.
But my reason for testifying to his character I beg you will not ask,
either in the case of this defendant or of others, lest I retaliate by
asking you the same question when you come home: though I can
do so even before you return: for remember for whom you sent a
certificate of character from the ends of the earth. However, don't
be afraid, for those same persons are praised by myself, and will
continue to be so. Yet, after all, there was also the motive spurring
me on to undertake his defence, of which, during the trial, when I
appeared for him, I remarked that I was doing just what the
parasite in the Eunuchus advised the captain to do:

"As oft as she names Phxdria, you retort
With Pamphila. If ever she suggest,
'Do let us have in Phudria to our revel:'
Quoth you, 'And let us call on Pamphila
To sing a song.' If she shall praise his looks,
Do you praise hers to match them: and, in fine,
Give tit for tat, that you may sting her soul."

So I asked the jurors, since certain men of high rank, who, had also
done me very great favours, were much enamoured of my enemy,
and often under my very eyes in the senate now took him aside in
grave consultation, now embraced him familiarly and
cheerfully--since these men had their Publius, to grant me another
Publius, in whose person I might repay a slight attack by a
moderate retort. And, indeed, I am often as good as my word, with
the applause of gods and men. So much for Vatinius. Now about
Crassus. I thought I had done much to secure his gratitude in
having, for the sake of the general harmony, wiped out by a kind of
voluntary act of oblivion all his very serious injuries, when he
suddenly undertook the defence of Gabinius, whom only a few
days before he had attacked with the greatest bitterness.
Nevertheless, I should have borne that, if he had done so without
casting any offensive reflexions on me. But on his attacking tile,
though I was only arg-tling and not inveighing against him, I fired
up not only, I think, with the passion of the moment--for that
perhaps would not have been so hot--but the smothered wrath at
his many wrongs to me, of which I thought I had wholly got rid,
having, unconsciously to myself, lingered in my soul, it suddenly
shewed itself in full force, And it was at this precise time that
certain persons (the same whom I frequently indicate by a sign or
hint), while declaring that they had much enjoyed my outspoken
style, and had never before fully realized that I was restored to the
Republic in all my old character, and when my conduct of that
controversy had gained me much credit outside the house also,
began saying that they were glad both that he was now my enemy,
and that those who were involved with him would never be my
friends. So when their ill-natured remarks were reported to me by
men of most respectable character, and when Pompey pressed me
as he had never done before to be reconciled to Crassus, and
Caesar wrote to say that he was exceedingly grieved at that
quarrel, I took into consideration not only my circumstances, but
my natural inclination: and Crassus, that our reconciliation might,
as it were, be attested to the Roman people, started for his
province, it might almost be said, from my hearth. For he himself
named a day and dined with me in the suburban villa of my
son-in-law Crassipes. On this account, as you say that you have
been told, I supported his cause in the senate, which I had
undertaken on Pompey's strong recommendation, as I was bound
in honour to do.

I have now told you with what motives I have supported each
measure and cause, and what my position is in politics as far as I
take any part in them: and I would wish you to make sure of
this--that I should have entertamed the same sentiments, if I had
been still perfectly uncommitted and free to choose. For I should
not have thought it right to fight against such overwhelming
power, nor to destroy the supremacy of the most distinguished
citizens, even if it had been possible; nor, again, should I have
thought myself bound to abide by the same view, when
circumstances were changed and the feelings of the loyalists
altered, but rather to bow to circumstances. For the persistence in
the same view has never been regarded as a merit in men eminent
for their guidance of the helm of state; but as in steering a ship one
secret of the art is to run before the storm, even if you cannot make
the harbour; yet, when you can do so by tacking about, it is folly to
keep to the course you have begun rather than by changing it to
arrive all the same at the destination you desire: so while we all
ought in the administration of the state to keep always in view the
object I have very frequently mentioned, peace combined with
dignity, we are not bound always to use the same language, but to
fix our eyes on the same object. Wherefore, as I laid down a little
while ago, if I had had as free a hand as possible in everything, I
should yet have been no other than I now am in politics. When,
moreover, I am at once induced to adopt these sentiments by the
kindness of certain persons, and driven to do so by the injuries of
others, I am quite content to think and speak about public affairs as
I conceive best conduces to the interests both of myself and of the
Republic. Moreover, I make this declaration the more openly and
frequently, both because my brother Quintus is Caesar's legate, and
because no word of mine, however trivial, to say nothing of any
act, in support of Caesar has ever transpired, which lie has not
received with such marked gratitude, as to make me look upon
myself as closely bound to him. Accordingly, I have the advantage
of his popularity, which you know to be very great, and his
material resources, which you know to be immense, as though they
were my own. Nor do I think that I could in any other way have
frustrated the plots of unprincipled persons against me, unless I
had now combined with those protections, which I have always
possessed, the goodwill also of the men in power. I should, to the
best of my belief, have followed this same line of policy even if I
had had you here. For I well know the reasonableness and
soberness of your judgment: I know your mind, while warmly
attached to me, to be without a tinge of malevolence to others, but
on the contrary as open and candid as it is great and lofty. I have
seen certain persons conduct themselves towards you as you might
have seen the same persons conduct themselves towards me. The
same things that have annoyed me would certainly have annoyed
you. But whenever I shall have the enjoyment of your presence,
you will be the wise critic of all my plans: you who took thought
for my safety will also do so for my dignity. Me, indeed, you will
have as the partner and associate in all your actions, sentiments,
wishes--in fact, in everything; nor shall I ever in all my life have
any purpose so steadfastly before me, as that you should rejoice
more and more warmly every day that you did me such eminent

As to your request that I would send you any books I have written
since your departure, there are sonic speeches, which I will give
Menocritus, not so very many, so don't be afraid! I have also
written- for I am now rather withdrawing from oratory and
returning to the gentler Muses, which now give me greater delight
than any others, as they have done since my earliest youth--well,
then, I have written in the Aristotelian style, at least that was my
aim, three books in the form of a discussion in dialogue "On the
Orator," which, I think, well be of some service to your Lentulus.
For they differ a good deal from the current maxims, and embrace
a discussion on the whole oratorical theory of the ancients, both
that of Aristotle and Isocrates. I have also written in verse three
books "On my own Times," which I should have sent you some
time ago, if I had thought they ought to be published--for they are
witnesses, and will he eternal witnesses, of your services to me
arid of my affection--hut I refrained because I was afraid, not of
those who might think themselves attacked, for I have been very
sparing and gentle in that respect, but of my benefactors, of whom
it were an endless task to mention the whole list. Nevertheless, the
books, such as they are, if I find anyone to whom I can safely
commit them, I will take care to have conveyed to you: and as far
as that part of my life and conduct is concerned, I submit it entirely
to your judgment. All that I shall succeed in accomplishing in
literature or in learning--my old favourite relaxations--I shall with
the utmost cheerfulness place before the bar of your criticism, for
you have always had a fondness for such things. As to what you
say in your letter about your domestic affairs, and all you charge
me to do, I am so attentive to them that I don't like being
reminded, can scarcely bear, indeed, to be asked without a very
painful feeling. As to your saying, in regard to Quintus's business,
that you could not do anything last summer, because you were
prevented by illness from crossing to Cilicia, but that you will now
do everything in your power to settle it, I may tell you that the fact
of the matter is that, if he can annex this property, my brother
thinks that he will owe to you the consolidation of this ancestral
estate. I should like you to write about all your affairs, and about
the studies and training of your son Lentulus (whom I regard as
mine also) as confidentially and as frequently as possible, and to
believe that there never has been anyone either dearer or more
congenial to another than you are to me, and that I will not only


Back to Full Books