Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Cicero's Life and letters : The life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton, Cicero's letters to his friends, translated by Wm. Melmoth [and] Cicero's letters to Atticus, translated by Dr. Heberden online

. (page 229 of 230)
Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroCicero's Life and letters : The life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton, Cicero's letters to his friends, translated by Wm. Melmoth [and] Cicero's letters to Atticus, translated by Dr. Heberden → online text (page 229 of 230)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

as long as good sense and kindness are mingled
with reproof. Accordingly I shall readily adopt
your corrections, and put " the same right as Ru-
brius's," instead of " as Scipio's ;'' and in the
matter of Dolabella's praises I will lessen their
heap. Yet I think there is in that place a fine
irony, when I represent him to have been in three
engagements against Roman citizens. I like better
too that expression, " it is most unfit that this
man should live," than, " what is more unfit .'" I
am glad you like Varro's Peplographia. I have
not yet got from him that Heraclidean work. In
exhorting me to write, you show your friendship ;
but let me assure you that I do nothing else. I am
sorry for your cold, and beg you to apply to it
your usual attention. I rejoice to think that " O
Titus™" has been of use to you. The Anagnians "
are, Mustella the captain of the gladiators, and
Laco, who is a great drinker. I will polish up,
and send you the book you desire. What follows is
in reply to the latter of the two letters. The treatise
on Duties, as far as Pansetius has gone, I have
comprised in two books. There are three of his.
But having in the beginning divided the considera-
tion of duties into three kinds ; one, when we
deliberate whether anything is honourable or base ;
the second, whether it is useful or prejudicial ; the
third, how we are to judge when these clash toge-
ther (as in the case of Regulus °, it was honourable
to return, and useful to remain) ; he has treated
admirably of the two first ; respecting the third he
promises hereafter, but has written nothing. The
subject has been prosecuted by Posidonius, whose
book I have sent for ; and have written to Atheno-
dorus Calvus to give me the heads of it, which I
am expecting. I wish you would urge him, and
request him to do it as quickly as he can. In this

> This is apparently copied from some letter of Atticus
But what three people or what time is meant is imcer-
tain. A. Gellius mentions that Nffivius, a writer of plays,
had animadverted so freely upon some leading persons, as
to have been cast into prison by certain triumvirs ; but I
know not if this can be the circumstance intended. — Aul.
Cell. iii. 3.

J Read his second Philippic to Sextus Peduceus.

k Friends to Antonius, It was before seen that by Col-
vena was meant Matius. See book xiv. letter 5.

' Satirical poems.

•n Cicero's incomparable treatise on Old Age, beginning
with these words.

n Mentioned in the second Philippic, where one is called
" the prince of gladiators," the other " the prince of

o Who having been taken prisoner by the Carthaginians,
was sent to Rome to negotiate for his liberation on disad-
vantageous terms. But he, exhorting the Romans to reject
the terms of the Carthaginians, returned to Carthage,
where he knew that the severest pimishment would b»
inflicted on him.



is treated of duties under particular circumstances.
With regard to the title, 1 have no douJ)tof KaBrtKou
bein? duty, unless you have anything to say to the
contrary. I5ut " of duties," is a fuller title. And I
address my son Cicero, which seemed not unsuit-
able. Nothing can be more clear than your ac-
count of Myrtilus ''. How poignant are your ob-
servations oil these people'' ! Is it thus against D.
lirutus ? The gods confound them ! 1 have not
busied myself in Pompeianum, as I projjosed ;
tirst, on account of the weather, than which no-
thing can be worse ; then, I have every day a
letter from Octavianus, begging me to undertake
the conduct of affairs, to come to Ca])ua a second
time to save the republic, at all events to go im-
mediately to Rome. " They were ashamed to
refuse, and afraid to venture '." He has however
acted and still acts strenuously : and will bring a
strong force with him to Rome ; but he is a mere
boy. He thinks the senate may be assembled im-
mediately. But who will attend ? Or, if he does,
■who in this uncertain state of affairs will choose to
offend Antonius ? On the 1 st of January he may
perhaps afford protection ; or things may come to
a crisis before. The free towns are wonderfully
inclined towards the boy. For on his way to Sani-
nium he came to Cales, and slept at Theanus's.
The greeting and exhortation was surprising.
Would you have thought it .' On this account I
shall go to Rome sooner than I had intended. As
soon as I have fixed the time, I will write. Though
I hare not read the conditions (for Eros has not
arrived), yet I shall be glad if you will conclude
the business = on the twelfth. I shall be better able to
write to Catina ', Tauromenium and Syracuse, if
Valerius the interpreter sends me the names of
those in power ; for they change at different times,
and my own acquaintance are mostly dead. I have
written a public letter, if Valerius will make use of
it ; else he must send me the names. Balbus has
written to me about the holidays set forth by Le-
pidus ". I shall wait till the 29th, and hope to
hear from you. And by that time I expect to
know the event of Torquatus's business ". I send
you a letter from Quintus ", that you may see how
much he loves him ^, whom he is sorry you should
love so little. Give Attica a kiss for me on ac-
count of her cheerfulness, which is the best sign in
children. Farewell.

I SEND you the copy of a letter I have received
from Oppius, because it shows his kindness. Re-
specting Ocella^, while you hesitate and send me

P See book xv. letter 13, where Cicero inquires into
the nature of INIyrtilus's offence ; to this it is to be sup-
posed that Atticus replied, and that Cicero here acknow-
ledges it. q Caesar's and Antonius's adherents.

"■ The original is taken from Homer, and was before
quoted. [See book vi. letter 1.] In this place it is ob-
viously meant to apply to himself. See letter 14of this book.

s This relates, no doubt, to his money transactions.

' These are all places on the eastern coast of Sicily,
where Valerius seems to have been canvassing for some
appointment. The same person was mentioned, book i.
letter 12. i See letter 2 of this book.

» It is not kno'wn to what this alludes.

■•" The father. » Quintus the son.

y The name occurs before. [See book x. letters 13 and
17.] He appears \d have been one of Pompeius's party.

no answer, I have adopted a counsel of my own,
and think of going to Rome on the 12th. I con -
sidered that it was better for me to be there to no
purpose, at a time when it was not necessary,
than, if I should be wanted, to be absent. Besides,
I have some fear of being intercepted ; for he '
may arrive presently ; though there are various
reports, and some that I should like to have veri-
fied. But there is nothing certain. Yet whatever
happens, I would rather be with you than remain-
at a distance, in anxiety both about you and about
myself. But wnat can I say to you .' Be of good
courage *. Tliis is a lively sally '' on the subject of
Varro's Heraclideum. Nothing ever amused me
so much. But of this and other greater matters
when we meet.


What a strange chance ! On the 8th having-
left Sinuessanurn before it was light, and got by the
dawn of day as far as the Tirene bridge at Min-
turnse, where the road turns to Arpinas, I met the
messenger just as I was " entering upon my long
course''." I immediately cried out, " If you have
anything from Atticus, give it me." But I was
not yet able to read ; for I had sent away the
torches, and the light was insufficient. But as
soon as I could see, I first began to read the
former of your two letters. It is elegant beyond
everything. As I hope to be saved, I say nothing
different from what I feel. I never read anything
more -kind. I will come then whither you call me,
provided you assist me. But at first I thought
nothing could be so irrelative to that letter, in
which I had asked for your advice, as this answer;
till I found another, in which you direct me, in the
words of Homer, " to pass by the stormy Minas'^
to the island of Psyria ", keeping the Appian ' road
on the left." That day then I slept at Aquinum,
rather a long journey, and a bad road : I deliver
this as I am setting out from thence the next
morning sr.


{Part of Letter xiii. in GrcBviuss Edition.)
Eros' s letter has obliged me to send up much
against my will. Tiro will explain the business to
you. You will consider what is to be done. I
wish you besides to write frequently, and to inform
me whether I may advance nearer ; for I should
like better to be at Tusculanum, or somewhere in
the suburb ; or whether you think I must go yet
further off. There wi ll every day be somebody to

z Antonius.

a This probably refers to some expressions in Atticus's
letter, to which this is a reply.

b Again referring to Atticus's letter.

c The original is from Homer.

d Cleaning the Apennines.

e Meaning Ai'pinas, situated at the conflux of thcFibre-
nus and Liris, and at the extremity intersected and sur^
rounded by water, so as to be elsewhere called an island.
See book xii. letter 12.

f The word " Appian" was inserted by Atticus to eluci-
date the application of his Greek quotation.

S What follows is so evidently a distinct letter, bearing
a different date, that I have not scrupled to separate it.
This was written November 9, from Aquinum • the othe?
November 11, from Arpinas.



take a letter. Tt is difficult, at this distance, to
answer your inquiry, what I think you ought to do.
However, if they'' are upon an equality with each
sther, it will be best to remain quiet. But if', — the
mischief will spread, first to usJ, then generally.
1 eagerly expect your advice. I am afraid of being
absent when I ought to be there, and yet I dare
not go up. Of Antonius's movements I now hear
something different from what I mentioned. I
■wish you therefore to explain everything, and let
me know the truth. For the rest, what can I say
to you ? 1 am inflamed with the love of history ■'.
For your encouragement stimulates me beyond be-
lief. But it can neither be entered upon nor effected
without your assistance. We will therefore con-
sider of it together when we meet. At present I
wish you would send me word, under what censors
C. Fannius, the son of Marcus, was tribune of the
people. For 1 seem to have heard that it was
uuder P. Africanus and L. Mummius, and want
to know if it is so. Send me a true and clear
account of every change that happens. From
Arpinas, the 11th '.

(Grav. xiv.)
1 HAVE positively nothing to tell you. While
I remained at Puteoli there was every day some-
thing new about Octavianus, and many false reports
of Antonius. But in answer to what you mention,
(for I received three letters from you on the 1 1th,)
I perfectly agree with you. If Octavianus acquires
influence, the acts of the tyrant will be established
much more firmly than in the temple of Tellus™,
which will be unfavourable for Brutus. But if he
is beaten, you see how insupportable Antonius will
be. So that it is difficult to choose between them.

this sad fellow, Sestius's messenger ! He pro-
mised to be at Rome the day after he left Puteoli.
When you admonish me to proceed gently, I assent,
though I think differently from you. Neither
Philippus nor Marcellus " have any weight with
me ; for theirs is a different case ; or if it is not, at
least it appears to be so ". But this young man,
though he does not want spirit, wants authority.
However, if I can prudently be at Tusculanum,
consider whether that or this ^ would be better
when Antonius arrives. I shall be there with more
satisfaction, because I shall know all that takes
place. But, to pass from one subject to another,

1 have no doubt that what the Greeks call KaOriKov,
we call " duty." Why should you doubt about
its being rightly applied to the state .' Do we not say
" the duty of the consuls .'" " the duty of the
senate ?" It suits admirably ; or give me a better

t Antonius and Octavius.

> That is, if Antonius should have the superiority.

." To Cicero end the other prominent supporters of the

^ It must be supposed that Attious had pressed him to
undertake some history, probably the history of his own
'Jraee. ' November.

'" Where the senate was induced to ratify Caesar's acts.

° It is to be presumed that Atticus had proposed to
Cioero the examples of Thillppus and Marcellus.

" Philippus had married Octavianus's mother, and Mar-
cellus Octavianus's sister.

I' Whether he might go to Tusculanum, or Bhould re-
mais at Arpinas.

word. This is sad intelligence about Nepos' son.
In truth I am much concerned, and sorry for it.
I did not know that there had been such a boy. I
have lost Caninius, a man, as far as regards me,
always very kind. There is no occasion for your
speaking to Athenodorus'', for he has sent me a
very handsome abstract. Pray take every precau-
tion about your cold. Quintus, the great-grandson
of your grandfather, has written to my father's
grandson "■, that after the 5th of that month on
which I distinguished myself, he will lay open the
state of the temple of Ops ', and that before the
l)eople. You will see, therefore, and write me
word. I am an.\ious to know Sextus's opinion ".


(GrcBV. XV.)
Do not suppose it is from indolence that I
decline writing with my own hand ; yet in truth it
is from indolence, for I have nothing else to allege.
However, in your letters likewise I think I caa
trace Alexis ". But to come to my purpose : if
Dolabella had not used me shamefully, I might
perhaps have doubted whether I ought to relax or
to contend for my utmost right. But now I am
even glad that an opportunity is offered to me, by
which he and everybody else may know that I
ha^e withdrawn my affection from him ; and I may
publicly declare, that, both on my own account,
and that of the republic, I hold him in aversion.
For after having at my instance undertaken the
defence of the republic, he has not only been bribed
with money to desert it, but, as far as was in his
power, he has contributed to ruin it. In answer
to your question, how I mean to proceed when the
day"' arrives : in the first place I should like it to
be so, that there may be no impropriety in my
being at Rome ; about which, as about everything
else, I will do as you think right. But upon the
whole, I am disposed to act vigorously and sternly.
And though it may seem to be in some measure
discreditable to call upon the sureties, yet I would
have you take this under your consideration ; for I
may introduce agents for this purpose ; and the
sureties will not resist the claim. Upon this I am
confident the sureties will be released. But I think
it will be disgraceful in him ==, especially as he has
pledged himself in the debt, not to redeem his
agents ; and it becomes my own character to pro-
secute my right without exposing him to extreme
ignominy. I should be glad if you would inform
me what is your opinion about this ; and doubt
not but you will be able to settle the whole in some
gentler manner. I come now to the republic. I
have on many occasions experienced your pru-

1 See letter 11 of this book.

r That is, Quintus the younger has written to young
Cicero. This humorous circumlocution, of which instances
liave before occurred in this correspondence, may probably
have had a reference to something no longer understood.

s The 5th of December, on which day Cicero in his con-
sulship exposed and defeated the conspiiaey of Catiline.

' Where was the public treasure, which Antonius had

" Sextus Peduceus's opinion of Cicero's second Philipite.
See letter 11 of this book.

» Alexis was an amanuensis of Atticus.

w The day appointed for Dolabella to pay Cicero.

» Dolai>ella.



dence in political matters ; but nothing was ever
more prudent tlian the observation eontained in
your last letter. " For tliough at present tliis boy
nobly resists Antonius, yet we must wait for the
issue hereafter >'." Yet what an harangue? For
it has been sent to me. He swears " by the liope
of attaining his father's honours'- ;" and at the
same time extends his hand towards the statue \
But let ine not owe my safety to one like him ''.
As you say, however, the surest test will be tiie
tribunate of our friend Casca "^ ; about wliieb I told
Oppius, when he was exiiorting me to sujijinrt the
young man, and his whole cause, and band of
veteran soldiers, that I could by no means do it,
till I should be satisfied that he w'ould not only
not be an enemy to the tyrannicides, but would
even be a friend to them. Upon his assurance that
he wauld be so, why, said I, should we be in a
hurry .' For I can be of no use to him before the
1st of January •* ; and ^-e shall see his intentions
before the middle of December in the case of
Casca. He readily assented. So much, then, for
this. I have only to add, that you shall have
messengers every day ; and I imagine you will
every day also have something to tell me. I send
you a copy of Lepta's letter, by which that Stra-
tyllax "^ appears to me crest-fallen. But you will
read it, and judge for yourself.

After I had sealed my letter, I received yours
and Sextus's '. Nothing could be more agreeable
or more friendly than Sextus's letter. For yours
was very short, having written so fully before. It
is indeed with prudence and kindness that you
advise me to remain in this neighbourhood, till I
hear the event of the present commotions. But,
my Atticus, the republic does not at this time affect
me. Not that anything is or ought to be dearer
to me ; but even Hippocrates forbids giving medi-
cine when all hope is past. Therefore I lay aside
such considerations. It is for my private affairs
that I am now concerned. Say I so ? Yes, for
my reputation. For though there is so great a
balance, yet I have not actually received enough to
pay Terentia e. Terentia do I say ? You know
that some time ago I engaged to pay twenty-five
sestertia (200/.) on the part of Montanus >>. Cicero

y The word postea in the original, if it is not an error,
seems to have been misplaced.

^ Caesar, his adopted father.

» The statue of Caesar.

•> Like Caesar, who had erected to himself a tyranny
upon the ruins of the republic.

= Casca was the first of the conspirators who struck
Caesar. He was now a candidate for the tribunate.

d When the new consuls would come into office.

e Various conjectures have been formed upon the mean-
ing of this word. It seems to be most probable that it
may have been the name of some character in a play, as
we see it in the " Truculentus" of Plautus. Antonius is
on all hands supposed to be the person intended by it.

f Sextus Peduceus.

e See letter (i of this book. b See book xii. letter 63.

had very modestly requested this on his own faitb.
I promised with all readiness, which you also
approved, and desired Eros to set apart a sum for
that purpose. He has not only not done it, but
Aurelius ' has been under the necessity of borrow-
ing at a most exorbitant interest. Respecting the
(iel)t to Terentia, Tiro wrote me word that you said
the money would accrue from Dolabella. 1 sup-
pose he understood wrong, if anybody understands
wrong ; rather, he did not understand at all. For
you sent me Cocceius's^ answer, as Eros did,
almost in the same words. I must therefore come
uj) into the very flame of civil commotion. For it
is better to fail publicly than privately. To the
other subjects, ujjon which you so sweetly write to
me, in my present disturbed state of mind I am
unable to reply as I used to do. Let me first
extricate myself from this care which presses me.
Some means of doing this occur to me ; but I can
come to no certain determination till I liave seen
you. But why cannot I be in Rome with as much
propriety as Marcellus .' This, however, is not the
question, nor do I much care about it. You see
what it is that I care about ; and I shall accord-
ingly go up.


{Grcbv. xvi.)
I HAVE read your very agreeable letter ; and send
you a copy of what I have written to Plancus. I
shall know from Tiro what passed between them.
You will be able to give more attention to your
sister when you cease to be occupied with this
ati'air '■.

Presently after the conclusion ofihe above correspondence
Cicero ivent tip to Rome, where he used every exertion to
rouse the people, the senate, the provincial governors,
to support the cause of the republic. Oclavius at first
joined the republican armies against Antonius; but
afterwards uniting with Antonius and Lepidns, formed
that triumvirate, which e.vtinguished the dying liberties
of Rome. Having secured the military by promises, they
jyroceededto act ivithout control, and to proscribe all who
were offensive to them. Among these was Cicero, who
vias at that time at Tusculanum ; but thereupon he fled
to Astura, and embarking there ivent along the coast to
Furmianum. Thence he was going again towards the
shore to re-embark, when he was overtaken and killed,
having ordered his servants to make no resistance. Thi4
happened twelve months after he had gone up to Rome,
when he had nearly completed his 64(A year.

> Some agent on the part of Montanus.

J An agent of Dolabella.

l* The affair of the Buthrotians. There is reason to
believe this short letter is misplaced in point of time ; and
that it, with those which are thrown together in tho
Appendix, belongs to the same period as the otliers con-
tained in book xv. and beginning of book xvi. relative to.


M. Cicero to L. Plancus, Preetor elect.

I KNOW the great regard you bear to my frietul
Atticus, und to me your zeal is such, tliat in truth
I consider myself to have few equally attentive and
affectionate. For to the great, and long, and just
friendship between our families, a great accession
has been made by your disposition towards me,
and mine towards you, equal and mutual. The
case of Buthrotuni is not unknown to you ; for I
have often conversed with you about it, and detailed
the whole affair to you. It happened in this
manner : — As soon as we found that the Buthro-
tian land was proscriJied, Atticus became alarmed,
and drew up a statenieat, wliich he gave me to pre-
sent to Ccesar ; for I \^as to dine with him that
day. I gave Caesar the otatemeut ; and he ap-
proved the cause, and wrote back to Atticus, that
■what he asked was very joist; but at the same
time reminded him, that the Buthrotians must pay
the remainder of the money at the time appointed.
Atticus, who was anxious to save the city, paid the
money out of his own property. Upon this we
went to Caesar, and spoke in behalf of the Buthro-
tians, and brought back a most liberal decree,
signed by persons of the first distinction. After
this had been done, I confess I was surprised that
Caesar should permit the assembling of those who
wished for the Buthrotian land ; and should not
only permit it, but should appoint you to super-
intend that business. Accordingly 1 spoke to him,
and that repeatedly, so that he even accused me of
■want of confidence in his word. He likewise bid
M. Messala, and Atticus himself, lay aside all
apprehensions ; and openly declared, that he was
unwilling to oflend the minds of the claimants,
■while they remained in Italy; (for, as you know, he
affected popularity;) but that, when they had crossed
the sea, he would take care they should be settled
in some other place. This passed during his life :
but after the deatli of Caesar, as soon as the consuls
by a decree of the senate began to hear causes,
this, which I have above written, was laid before
♦hem. They approved the cause without any
Hesitation, and said they would write to you. But I,
my Plancus, though I do not doubt but the decree
of the senate, and the law, and the decree of the
ccnsuls, and their letter, will have abundant autho-
rity with you, and am conscious that for Atlicus's
own sake you would wish it ; yet in consideration of
our acquaintance and mutual regard, I have taken
■upon me to request that of you, which your distin-
guished kindness and gentle disposition would of
themselves induce you to grant, that what I am
confident you would do of your own accord, you

will for my iionour's sake do readily, liberally, aiid
quickly. There is nobody more friendly, or moro
agreeable, or dearer to me, than Atticus. Before,
his property only was concerned, though that was

Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroCicero's Life and letters : The life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton, Cicero's letters to his friends, translated by Wm. Melmoth [and] Cicero's letters to Atticus, translated by Dr. Heberden → online text (page 229 of 230)