Selected Letters on Politics and Society


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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.


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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 and 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, of December, delivered long speeches on the dignity and harmony of the two orders. The business is not yet settled, but 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.


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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. You smile? This is no laughing matter, believe me. What else shall I write to you?

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 possible. 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 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.

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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 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.

Selected Letters on Politics and Society

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. 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 inlmy 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 funds its way to you in the letters of your friends, or even by 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.

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So our affairs are. In regard to money matters I am, as you know, much embarrassed.

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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 much. 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.

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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 b 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.

Selected Letters on Politics and Society Selected Letters on Politics and Society
Selected Letters on Politics and Society Selected Letters on Politics and Society
Selected Letters on Politics and Society Selected Letters on Politics and Society
Selected Letters on Politics and Society Selected Letters on Politics and Society
Selected Letters on Politics and Society Selected Letters on Politics and Society

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