Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic
A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...
We have a primary source for the start of the Roman Civil War in addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative in his Commentaries on the Civl War—a narrative that is also a clever and sophisticated lawyer's brief. Our one other primary source: Marcus Tullius Cicero's letters to his BFF Titus Pomponius Atticus.
Caesar, in his The Civil War, makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero, in his Letters to Atticus is a contrast. He lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: he makes himself out to be erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic.
Nine selected paragraphs immediately below:
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Formiae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 27 Dec -50 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.9: ‘Please consider... and at the same time "solve this strictly political problem."... Consider, I say, which of these evils, some one of which we must confront, you think the least. You will no doubt say "to persuade him [Caesar] to hand over his army, and so become consul."... For us, however, as certain persons think, nothing is more to be dreaded than his becoming consul. "But I would prefer his being consul on these terms to his being so with an army," you will say. Certainly. But even on "these terms," I tell you, there is one who thinks it a grave evil.... Imagine him consul a second time after our experience of his former consulship! "Why, comparatively weak as he was then," you say, "he was more powerful than the whole state." What, then, do you think will be the case now?... Pray make any suggestion that occurs to you: for my part, I am on the rack day and night....
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 08 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.21: ‘I arrived at Capua for the 5th of February, in accordance with the order of the consuls.... What I ascertained while at Capua was that the consuls are no good: that no levy is being held anywhere.... As to our leader Gnaeus [Pompeius]—what an inconceivably miserable spectacle! What a complete breakdown! No courage, no plan, no forces, no energy! I will pass over his most discreditable flight from the city, his abject speeches in the towns, his ignorance not only of his opponent's, but even of his own resources.... Caesar himself urges me to promote peace. But his letter is dated before he began his violent proceedings. Dolabella and Caelius both say that he is well satisfied with my conduct. I am on the rack of perplexity. Assist me by your advice if you can, but all the same look after your own interests to the utmost of your power. In such a total upset I have nothing to say to you. I am looking for a letter from you....
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 10 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.23: ‘On the 9th of February, in the evening, I received a letter from Philotimus saying that "Domitius has a strong force; cohorts from Picenum, under Lentulus and Thermus, have effected a junction with Domitius's army; Caesar's advance can be stopped: he is himself afraid of that; the courage of the loyalists at Rome is raised; the disloyal are in dismay".... I fear that these are dreams. However, Manius Lepidus, L. Torquatus, Gaius Cassius, who are staying with me at Formiae, are quite restored to life by Philotimus's letter....
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 23 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.7: 'There is only one thing left to complete our friend's [Pompey's] disgrace-failure to relieve Domitius. "But nobody doubts that he intends going to his relief." I don't think he will. "Will he, then, abandon such an illustrious citizen, and those whom you know to be with him, and that when he himself has thirty cohorts?" Yes, he will, unless I am entirely mistaken. He has become alarmed beyond belief. He looks to nothing except flight; in which you think—for I see what your opinion is—that I ought to be his companion. I, however, know from whom to fly, but not whom to follow. As to my remark, which you praise and declare to be memorable, that I preferred defeat with Pompey to victory with those others, it is quite true: I do prefer it—but it is with the Pompey as he was then, or as I thought him...
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 01 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.13: 'We are hanging entirely on news from Brundisium.... Do you see upon what sort of man [Caesar] the Republic has fallen? How clear-sighted, how alert, how well prepared! By heaven, if he puts no one to death, nor despoils anyone of anything, he will be most adored by those who had feared him most. The burgesses of the country towns, and the country people also, talk a great deal to me. They don't care a farthing for anything but their lands, their poor villas, their paltry pence. And now observe the reaction: the man in whom they once trusted [Pompey] they now dread: the man they dreaded [Caesar] they worship. What grave mistakes and vices on our side are accountable for this I cannot think of without sorrow....
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 18 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.10: 'The one thing that torments me is that I did not follow Pompey, like any private in the ranks, when, in every part of his policy, he was losing his footing, or rather rushing headlong to ruin. On the 17th of January I could see that he was thoroughly frightened.... From that moment he forfeited my confidence, and never ceased committing one blunder after another. Meanwhile, never a line to me... It was the nature of the war, beyond measure sanguinary and widespread... that I shrank from with horror.... How often did I hear [Pompey say] "Sulla could do it, why not I?" For myself I was haunted with the reflexions: it was unrighteous of Tarquinius to stir up Porsena and Octavius Mamilius against his country; impious in Coriolanus to seek aid from the Volsci... Hippias, son of Pisistratus, who fell in the battle of Marathon bearing arms against his country, was Criminal.... However dangerous the experiment of attempting to fly hence, that experiment shall at least be made. I ought, perhaps, to have done so before. But the considerations I have mentioned held me back...
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 26 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.16: 'I received a letter from him [Caesar] on the 26th, in which he now talks of looking forward to my "resources," not my "aid".... I had written to compliment him on the moderation of his conduct at Corfinium, and he answered me as follows: "CAESAR IMPERATOR TO CICERO IMPERATOR: You judge me quite accurately—for my character is well known to you—when you say that nothing is more remote from my disposition than cruelty. For myself, as I take great delight in this policy for its own sake, so your approval of my action gives me a triumphant feeling of gladness. Nor am I shaken by the fact that those, who were allowed to go free by me [after they had surrendered], are said to have departed with the intention of renewing the war against me: for there is nothing I like better than that I should be what I am, they what they are. I should be much obliged if you would meet me at the city, that I may, as ever, avail myself in all matters of your counsels and resources. Let me assure you that nothing gives me more pleasure than the presence of your son-in-law Dolabella...".
Cicero: at Arpinum, to Atticus at Rome; 28 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.18: 'I FOLLOWED your advice in both particulars: for I spoke [to Caesar] in such a manner as rather to gain his respect than his thanks, and I stuck to the resolution of not going to Rome. I found myself mistaken in one respect—in thinking that he would be easily satisfied. I never saw anything less so.... "My motion [in the Senate] will be this," said I, "that the senate disapproves of any[one] going to Spain [to fight] or taking armies across to Greece, and," I added, "I shall make many regretful remarks as to Gnaeus [Pompeius]." Thereupon he said, "Of course, I don't wish such things said [on the Senate floor]." "So I supposed," said I, "but I must decline being present there, because I must either speak in this sense, and say many things which I could not possibly pass over, if present, or I must not come at all." The upshot was that, by way of ending the discussion, he requested that I would think it over. I couldn't say no to that. So we parted. I feel certain, therefore, that he has no love for me. But I felt warm satisfaction with myself, which hasn't been the case for some time past. For the rest, good heavens! What a crew! What an inferno! to use your word. What a gang of bankrupts and desperadoes!...
Cicero: at Arpinum, to Atticus at Rome; 01 Apr -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.19: 'BEING debarred from Rome, I gave my son his toga virilis at Arpinum in preference to any other place, and my fellow townsmen were gratified at the compliment: though I observed everywhere that both they and others whom I passed in my journey were in low spirits and much dejected. So melancholy and shocking is the contemplation of this tremendous disaster.... Don't imagine that there is a single scoundrel in Italy who is not to be found among them. I saw them en masse at Formiae. I never, by Hercules! believed them to be human beings, and I knew them all: but I had never seen them collected in one place. Let us go, then, whither we have resolved to go, and leave all that is ours behind us. Let us start to join him [Pompey], to whom our arrival will give greater satisfaction than if we had been together from the first. For at that time we were in the highest hopes, now I, at any rate, have none; nor has anyone except myself left Italy, unless he regarded Caesar as his personal enemy. Nor, by Hercules! do I do this for the sake of the Republic, which I regard as completely abolished: but to prevent anyone thinking me ungrateful to the man [Pompey], who relieved me from the miseries which he had himself inflicted upon me: and at the same time because I cannot endure the sight of what is happening, or of what is certain to happen...
Cicero's full letter texts to Atticus From 27 Dec -50 to 01 Apr -49::
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Formiae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 27 Dec -50 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.9: ‘"AM I to receive," quoth you, "a letter from you every single day?" Yes! if I find anyone to give it to, every day. "But you are all but here in person." Well, when I have arrived, I will stop writing...
...I see that one of your letters has not reached me. While my friend L. Quintius was conveying it, he was wounded and robbed near the tomb of Basilus. Please consider, therefore, whether there was anything in it which I ought to know, and at the same time "solve this strictly political problem."
Seeing that it is necessary:
- EITHER that Caesar should be allowed to stand for the consulship while he still holds his army (whether by the favour of senate or tribunes);
- OR that Caesar should be persuaded to hand over his province and army, and so become consul;
- OR, if he cannot be persuaded to do so, that the election should be held without admitting his name as candidate;
- OR, if he employs tribunes to prevent that, and yet makes no warlike move, that there must be an interregnum;
- OR, if on the ground of his legal candidateship having been ignored he moves up his army,
that we must fight him with arms,
- while he must begin hostilities either at once before we are prepared,
- or as soon as his friends have their demand for having him recognized as a candidate at the election refused:
- but that he will either have the one excuse for an appeal to arms (that his candidature is ignored),
- or will have an additional one, if it chances that some tribune, when vetoing the senate or stirring up the people, is censured, or hampered by a senatorial decree, or forcibly removed, or driven out of the city, or flies to him, alleging that he has been so driven out:
SEEING finally, that, if war is once begun,
- we must either defend the city,
- or abandon it and try to cut him off from supplies and other resources:
consider, I say, which of these evils, some one of which we must confront, you think the least.
You will no doubt say "to persuade him to hand over his army, and so become consul."
Well, certainly against this proposal, supposing him to submit so far, nothing can be said: and, since he doesn't succeed in getting his candidature acknowledged while he still retains his army, I wonder he does not do so.
For us, however, as certain persons think, nothing is more to be dreaded than his becoming consul.
"But I would prefer his being consul on these terms to his being so with an army," you will say. Certainly. But even on "these terms," I tell you, there is one who thinks it a grave evil. Nor is there any remedy against it: we must submit if he insists upon it.
Imagine him consul a second time after our experience of his former consulship! "Why, comparatively weak as he was then," you say, "he was more powerful than the whole state." What, then, do you think will be the case now?
Moreover, if he is consul, Pompey is resolved to be in Spain.
What a sad state of things, when the very worst alternative is just the one which cannot be rejected, and the one which, if he adopts it, would at once secure him the highest favour with all the loyalists!
Let us, then, put this out of the question. They say that he cannot be induced to accept it.
Which is the worst of the other alternatives? Why, to concede to him what, according to the same authority, is his most impudent demand. For could anything be more impudent? You have held a province for ten years, a time not granted you by the senate, but assumed by yourself with the help of violence and sedition: this period—not assigned by the law, but by your own caprice—has passed.
Let us, however, grant that it was by the law: a decree is made for naming your successor: you cry halt and say,
- "Take my candidature into consideration." Rather, do you take us into consideration. Are you to have an army longer than the vote of the people gave it you?
- "You must fight unless you grant it." Certainly—to quote Pompey again—and with a fair prospect either of conquering or of dying free men.
- Moreover, if fight we must, the time depends on chance, the plan on circumstances.
Therefore I do not worry you on that point. In regard to what I have said, pray make any suggestion that occurs to you: for my part, I am on the rack day and night.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: outside the walls of Rome, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 17 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.10: ‘I have suddenly resolved to leave town before daybreak, to avoid all gazing and gossip, especially with my bay-decked lictors. For the rest, I don't know, by heaven, what to do now or in the future: such is the agitation into which I am thrown by the infatuation of our party's most insane decision...
...But what counsel should I offer you, you whose advice I am myself anxious to receive? What plan our Gnaeus [Pompeius] has adopted, or is adopting, I don't know: as yet he is cooped up in the towns and in a state of lethargy. If he makes a stand in Italy, we shall all be together: if he abandons it, I shall have to reconsider the matter. Up to now, unless I am out of my senses, his proceedings are all fatuous and rash.
Yes, pray write to me frequently just anything that comes into your head.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: in Campania, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.11: ‘WHAT in the world does it mean? What is going on? I am quite in the dark...
..."We are in occupation of Cingulum," says some one; "we have lost Ancona." "Labienus has abandoned Caesar." Are we talking of an imperator of the Roman people, or of a Hannibal? Madman! Miserable wretch, that has never seen even a shadow of virtue! And he says that he is doing all this "to support his honour"!
How can there be any "honour" where there is no moral right? Can it be morally right to have an army without commission from the state? To seize cities inhabited by one's fellow citizens, as a means of attacking one's own country? To be contriving abolition of debts, restoration of exiles, hundreds of other crimes "For royalty, the first of things divine?".
Let him keep his fortune, and welcome! By heaven, I would rather have one hour of basking in your free sun than all the royalties of that kind in the world, or rather I would die a thousand times sooner than once take an idea of that sort into my mind: "What if you should take the fancy?" say you. Well, everyone's wishes are free: but I regard the mere wish as a greater misfortune than the cross.
There is one greater misfortune still—to attain such a wish.
But enough of this. It is a kind of relief to philosophize thus much in the midst of such troubles. To return to our friend. In the name of fortune, what do you think of Pompey's plan? I mean in abandoning the city? For I am at a loss to explain it. Nothing, again, could be more irrational. Do you mean to abandon the city? Then you would have done the same if the Gauls were upon us.
"The Republic," says he, "does not depend on brick and mortar." No, but it does depend on altars and hearths. "Themistocles did the same." Yes, for one city was incapable of resisting the flood of the whole East. But Pericles did not so act, about fifty years afterwards, for he abandoned everything except the walls. Our own countrymen in the old times held the citadel, though the rest of the city was taken: Such deeds of fame—so poets told—"Our fathers wrought in days of old."
On the other hand, I gather from the indignation aroused in the municipia, and the conversation of those whom I meet, that this plan is likely to prove successful in a way. There is an extraordinary outcry—I don't know what people are saying with you, but pray let me know—at the city being without magistrates or senate. In fact, there is a wonderfully strong feeling at Pompey's being in flight. Indeed, the point of view is quite changed: people are now for making no concessions to Caesar.
Expound to me what all this means. My department is a very quiet one. For Pompey wishes me to be a kind of "president" of the whole of this Campanian seacoast, to superintend the levy, and hold the chief command. Accordingly, I meditate being continually on the move.
I think you must see by this time what Caesar's aim, what the disposition of the people, and the general position of affairs are. Pray write and tell me about them, and that, too, as often as possible, since they are continually shifting. For I find relief both in writing to you and in reading your letters.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Formiae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 22 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.12: ‘As yet I have received only one letter from you dated the 19th, and in it you indicated that you had written another, which I have not received. But I beg you to write as often as possible, not only whatever you know or have been told, but also what you suspect, and above all what you think I ought to do or not to do. You ask me to be sure to let you know what Pompey is doing: I don't think he knows himself, certainly none of us do...
...I saw the consul Lentulus at Formiae on the 21st; I have seen Libo. Nothing but terror and uncertainty everywhere! Pompey is on the road to Larinum; for there are some cohorts there, as also at Luceria and Teanum, and in the rest of Apulia. After that nobody knows whether he means to make a stand anywhere, or to cross the sea.
If he stays in Italy, I am afraid he cannot have a dependable army: but if he goes away, where I am to go or stay, or what I am to do, I don't know. For the man, whose "Phalarism" you dread, will, I think, spare no form of brutality: nor will the suspension of business, nor the departure of senate and magistrates, nor the Closing of the treasury Cause him to pause.
But all this, as you say, we shall know before long.
Meanwhile, forgive my writing to you at such length and so often. For I find some relief in it, and at the same time want to draw a letter from you, and above all some advice as to what I am to do and how to conduct myself.
Shall I commit myself wholly to this side? I am not deterred by the danger, but I am bursting with vexation. Such a want of all plan! so utterly opposed in every respect to my advice! Am I to procrastinate and trim, and then join the winning side, the party in power? "I dread to face the Trojans," and I am held back from that course by the duty not only of a citizen, but also of a friend, though my resolution is often weakened by pity for my children.
Do, therefore, though equally anxious yourself; write something to a man in this state of utter uncertainty, and especially what you think I ought to do in case of Pompey's quitting Italy. Manius Lepidus, for his part—for we have been together-draws the line at that, and so does L. Torquatus.
I am hampered, among many other things, by my lictors: I have never seen such a hopeless entanglement.
Accordingly, I don't expect anything positive from you, but merely your present impression. In fact, I want to know what the precise difficulty in your mind is. It is all but certain that Labienus has abandoned him. If it could only have been possible that on coming to Rome Labienus had found magistrates and a senate there, he would have been of eminent service to our cause. For it would have been Clear that loyalty to the Republic had caused him to hold one who was his friend guilty of treason.
This is clear even now, but of less practical advantage: for there is no one to be of advantage to, and I expect him to feel some dissatisfaction—unless perchance it is not true, after all, that he has abandoned Caesar. For myself; I am convinced that it is true.
Pray, though you say you confine yourself to the limits of your own house, do give me a sketch of the City. Is Pompey missed? Is there any appearance of a feeling against Caesar? What, too, is your opinion as to Terentia and Tullia? Should they stay at Rome, or join me, or seek some place of safety? On this, and indeed on any other point, pray write to me, or rather keep on writing.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Minturnae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 23 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.13: ‘As to the business of Vennonius, I agree with you. Labienus I regard as a "demigod." There has been no political stroke this long time past more brilliant. If he has done no other good, he has at least given him pain...
...But as a matter of fact, I do think that some good has been done to the cause. I am charmed also with Piso, whose judgment on his son-in-law I think will have weight.
But you perceive the nature of the war. It is only a civil war in the sense that it has originated from the unscrupulous boldness of one unprincipled citizen, not as arising from a division of sentiment between the citizens generally. But that man is strong in the possession of an army, he commands the allegiance of many by the prospects he holds out and the promises he makes: nothing that anyone possesses is beyond the scope of his desires. To such a man as this the city has been abandoned, without any garrison to protect it, crammed with every kind of wealth.
What would you not have to fear from the man who regards those temples and roofs, not as constituting his fatherland? but as objects for plunder? What his proceedings are going to be, and how they are to be put into any shape, without senate and without magistrates, I cannot tell. He will not be able to keep up even pretence of constitutional action.
For us, however-where shall we be able to raise our heads or when? How utterly incapable our general is you yourself observe, in having had no intelligence of the state of affairs even in Picenum: and how devoid of any plan of campaign, the facts are witness. For, to say nothing of other mistakes committed during the last ten years, could any terms be worse than such a flight? Nor, indeed, have I any idea what he is contemplating at this moment, though I never cease asking again and again by letter.
Everyone agrees that he is in a state of abject alarm and agitation. Accordingly, as far as I can see, there is no garrison—to organize which he was kept at the city walls-nor any place where a garrison could be posted. His whole hope rests on the two legions somewhat treacherously retained, and almost to be regarded as belonging to another. For as yet, indeed, those whom he is enlisting are men reluctant to serve and averse from fighting. While the time for making terms has been let slip.
I do not see what is going to happen. At any rate we, or our leader, have allowed things to come to this pass, that, having left harbour without a rudder, we must let ourselves drift before the storm. So I hesitate as to what to do with my son and nephew: sometimes I think I had better despatch them to Greece. For Tullia and Terentia, again—when I see a vision of barbarians arriving in the city—I am filled with all kinds of alarm; but when I think of Dolabella, I breathe again somewhat.
But pray consider what you think ought to be done: in the first place, with an eye to their safety—for I must regard their security as requiring to be considered in a different light from my own-secondly, with a view to popular opinion, that I may not be blamed for deciding that they should remain at Rome, when the loyalists generally are flying from it. Nay, even you and Peducaeus—for he has written to me—must take care what you do. You are men of such shining characters, that the same line of conduct is expected from you as from the noblest citizens.
But I can safely leave this to you, since it is to you that I look for advice for myself and my family. All I have to add is to ask you to find out, as far as you can, what is going on, and to write me word of it, and—what I expect from you even more—tell me what you are yourself able to conjecture. "The best prophet [is the good guesser]," you know.
Pardon my running on like this: it is a relief to me when writing to you, and draws a letter from you.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Minturnae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 24 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.13A: ‘I didn't guess your riddle: it is more obscure than Plato's [nuptial] number [of his Republic]. However, I have made it out now: you meant the Oppii of Velia by your succones (blood-suckers). I wavered about it a long time; but when I hit on the solution, the rest became clear and quite agreed with Terentia's total...
...I saw L. Caesar at Minturnae early on the 23rd of January with his utterly absurd message—he is not a human being, but a broom with the binding off. I think Caesar himself must have acted with the purpose of throwing ridicule on the affair, in trusting a message on matters so important to such a man as this—unless, perchance, he never did intrust it, and the fellow has, without warrant, made use of some conversation which he picked up as a message.
Labienus, a man of noble character in my opinion, arrived at Teanum on the 22nd. There he met Pompey and the consuls. What their conversation was, and what arrangement was come to, I will write and tell you when I know for certain.
Pompey set off from Teanum in the direction of Larinum on the 23rd. He stopped that day at Venafrum. Labienus seems to have brought no little courage to our side. But I haven't yet anything to tell you from these parts: I expect rather to hear news from you—what intelligence from Caesar reaches Rome, how he takes Labienus's desertion, what Domitius is doing among the Marsi, Thermus at Iguvium, P. Attius at Cingulum; what the feeling of the city folk is, what your own conjecture as to the future: on all these points pray write frequently, and tell me what your opinion is about my ladies, and what you intend doing yourself.
If I had been writing with my own hand, this letter would have been longer, but I dictated it owing to my eyes being inflamed.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Cales, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 25 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.14: ‘I WRITE this letter, though suffering from slight inflammation of the eyes, when on the point of quitting Cales for Capua. L. Caesar brought Caesar's message to Pompey on the 23rd, while the latter was at Teanum with the consuls. His proposal was accepted, but on condition of his withdrawing his garrisons from the towns which he had occupied outside his province. If he did this, they said in their answer that we would return to Rome and conclude the negotiation in the senate...
...I hope for the present we have peace: for he is not quite easy about his mad enterprise, nor our general as to the amount of his forces. Pompey has directed me to come to Capua and assist the levy, to which the Campanian settlers do not make a very eager response.
Caesar's gladiators at Capua, about whom I gave you some incorrect information on the authority of a letter from A. Torquatus, Pompey has very adroitly distributed among the heads of families, two to each. There were 5,000 shields in the school: they were said to be contemplating breaking out. Pompey's measure was a very wise precaution for the safety of the state.
As to our ladies, in whom I include your sister, pray consider whether they can stay at Rome with propriety, when other ladies of the same rank have left town. I have said this to them and to yourself in a previous letter. I would like you to urge upon them to leave the city, especially as I have properties on the sea-coast—now under my presidency—on which they might reside in tolerable comfort, considering all things. For if I get into any difficulty about my son-in-law, though I am not bound to be responsible for him, yet it is made worse by my women folk having remained in Rome longer than others.
Please let me know what you and Sextus are thinking of doing as to leaving town, and what your opinion is on the whole situation.
For my part, I never cease urging peace, which, however unfair, is better than the justest war in the world. But this is in the hands of fortune.
Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Capua to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 26 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.15: ‘EVER since I left Rome I have not let a single day pass without sending you something by way of letter; not because I had anything particularly to write about, but in order that I might chat with you in my absence, than which—since I cannot do so face to face-nothing gives me greater pleasure...
...On arriving at Capua on the 25th—the day before I write this—I met the consuls and many members of the senate. All were anxious that Caesar should stand by his offer, with the addition of withdrawing his garrisons. Favonius alone disapproved of any conditions being imposed on us by him; but he was not listened to in the discussion. For even Cato himself now prefers slavery to fighting.
However, he says that he wishes to be in the senate when the terms are debated, if Caesar can be induced to withdraw his garrisons. So he is not eager about going to Sicily—the very thing most wanted: but he does wish to be in the senate, where I fear he will only do mischief.
Postumius, moreover, who was definitely named in the senatorial decree to go to Sicily at once and succeed Furfanius, says that he will not go without Cato, and thinks very highly of his own personal service and influence in the senate. Accordingly, this duty has fallen to Fannius. He is being sent in advance to Sicily with imperium.
In our discussions a great variety of opinion is expressed. Most declare that Caesar will not abide by his offer, and say that these demands were only thrown in by him to prevent our making the necessary preparations for war. I, however, am of opinion that he will carry out the withdrawal of the garrisons. For he will have gained his point if he is elected consul, and gained it with less crime than that of his first step.
But we must put up with the blow: for we are scandalously unprepared both in regard to soldiers and money. All the latter, indeed-not only private money in the city, but the public money in the treasury also—we have left for him. Pompey has started to join the Appian legions. He has Labienus with him.
I am anxious to hear what you think of these events. I am thinking of returning to Formiae at once.
Cicero: at Cales, to Atticus at Rome; 28 Jan -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.16: ‘I think all your letters have reached me, but the first batch was out of their proper order, the rest in the order in which they were sent by Terentia...
...About Caesar's message and the arrival of Labienus, and about the consuls' and Pompey's answer, I told you in the letter of the 26th of January from Capua, and I put a good deal more information into the same packet. At present we are in suspense on two points: first, what Caesar will do when he has received the answer intrusted to L. Caesar to take to him; and, secondly, what Pompey is doing now. The latter, indeed, writes me word that in a few days he will have a strong army, and leads me to hope that, if he makes his way into Picenum, we shall return to Rome. He has got Labienus with him, who has no doubt about the weakness of Caesar's forces; and Pompey is in much better spirits since his arrival.
I have been ordered to Capua by the consuls on the 5th of February. I left Capua for Formiae on the 28th of January. On that day having received your letter at Cales about three o'clock in the afternoon, I am writing this on the spot. About Terentia and Tullia I agree with you, and I have written to tell them to apply to you. If they have not yet started, there is no occasion for their disturbing themselves until we see how affairs stand.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 02 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.17: ‘YOUR letter is both welcome and delightful. I thought of sending the boys to Greece when there seemed an idea of Pompey's flying from Italy: for I should have made for Spain, which would not have been equally suitable for them. For yourself and Sextus, it seems to me that even now you may remain with propriety at Rome. For you are not at all bound to be my Pompey's friends. For no one ever did more to detract from the value of city property! Do you see that I am absolutely joking?...
...You ought now to know what answer L. Caesar is taking back from Pompey, and what sort of a letter he is conveying from him to Caesar: for they were drawn up and despatched with the express purpose of being exposed for public perusal. On this point I blamed Pompey in my own heart for having trusted our friend Sestius with the writing of a despatch so important and certain to come into everybody's hands, though he has a very good style of his own. Accordingly, I never read anything more "Sestian."
Nevertheless, it is made quite clear from Pompey's despatch that nothing is denied to Caesar, and that all his demands are conceded to the full: he will be a sheer madman if he declines the very proposals which it required the most consummate impudence ever to have made!
Pray, who are you to say, "If he goes to Spain," "if he dismisses the garrisons"? Nevertheless, the concession is being made: with less dignity, indeed, at this time of day—for it is after the Republic has actually been violated by him and its territory invaded-than if he had some time back obtained his demand to be reckoned a candidate; and yet I doubt his being content even with these concessions. For, after giving that message to L. Caesar, he ought, until he received the answer, to have somewhat relaxed his warlike movements, whereas he is said to be at this moment more active than ever.
Trebatius, indeed, writes to say that on the 22nd of January he was asked by him to write to me, urging me to remain at the city walls: that I could not oblige him more. This was put at great length. I calculated by reckoning the days that, as soon as Caesar heard of my departure, he began to be anxious lest we should all leave town. Therefore I have no doubt he has written to Piso, and also to Servius. One thing I am surprised at, that he has not written to me himself; nor opened his communication with me through Dolabella or Caelius: not that I disdain a letter from Trebatius, whom I know to be singularly attached to me.
I wrote back to Trebatius—for I wouldn't write to Caesar himself; as he had not written to me—pointing out how difficult that course was for me at such a time as this; that I was, however, at my own country seat and had not undertaken any levy or any active part in the affair. By this I shall abide, as long as there is any hope of peace.
But if war really begins, I shall not be wanting to my duty or position, after despatching my boys to Greece. For I perceive that all Italy will be blazing with war. Such the mischief that is caused partly by disloyal, partly by jealous citizens! But how far this will go I shall learn within the next few days by his answer to mine. Then I will write to you at greater length, if there is going to be war: but if there is to be peace, or even a truce, I shall, I hope, see you in person.
On the 2nd of February, on which I write this, I am expecting the ladies at my Formian house, whither I have returned from Capua. I had written to them on your advice to remain at Rome; but I hear that there is some increase of panic in the city. I mean to be at Capua on the 5th of February, in accordance with orders from the consuls.
Whatever news reaches me here from Pompey I will let you know at once, and shall expect a letter from you as to what is going on at Rome.
Cicero: at Formiae to Atticus at Rome; 03 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.18: ‘On the 2nd of February our ladies came to Formiae and reported to me your services to them replete with the most affectionate kindness. I wished them, till we knew whether we were to have a dishonourable peace or an unhappy war, to remain in my Formian villa, and our two boys with them. I myself, with my brother, am starting for Capua on the 3rd of February, on which I despatch this letter, to join the consuls, having been ordered to be there on the 5th...
...Pompey's answer is said to be popular and to have received the approbation of a public meeting. I thought that would be the ease. If Caesar refuses to accept that he will be entirely discredited: if he accepts it!
"Which, then, do you prefer?" you will say. I would have answered the question if I knew what our state of preparation was. It is reported here that Cassius has been driven from Ancona, and that city occupied by our men. If there is to be war, that will be an advantage. As for Caesar himself; say that, though he sent L. Caesar with a message as to making peace, he continues holding levies with the greatest activity, occupying posts, securing them with garrisons. What an unprincipled bandit! What a disgrace to the Republic, hardly to be outweighed by any relief from war!
But let us cease anger, bow to circumstances, and accompany Pompey to Spain. It is the best of a bad job, since we failed to avert that man's second consulship from the state, even when we had the opportunity. But enough of this.
I forgot to write to you about Dionysius before; but I have come to the conclusion to wait till Caesar's answer is known, so that, if I return to the city, he should await me there, but, if there is any delay, I should summon him to join me. Of course I know what his duty will be in case I have to fly, and what will be the conduct becoming a man of learning and a friend: but I don't expect too much in this way from Greeks. However, if; as I hope will not be the case, I have to send for him, pray see that I am not troubling an unwilling man.
Quintus is anxious to pay you his debt by drawing on Egnatius, and Egnatius is neither unwilling nor short of cash; but when the state of things is such that Quintus Titinius—of whom we are seeing a good deal-declares that he has no money for personal expenses, and has yet announced to his debtors that they may go on with the same interest, and when L Ligur is said to have done the same, and when Quintus at this crisis has no cash in hand, and is neither able to get any from Egnatius nor to raise a new loan, he is surprised that you do not take into consideration this general tightness of the money market. For my part, though I obey the pseudo-Hesiodic maxim, "Judge not," etc., especially in the case of yourself; whom I have never seen to act unreasonably, yet I am affected by his tale of woe. Whatever this amounts to, I thought you ought to know it.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 03 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.19: ‘I have nothing to tell you. Why, I didn't even send you a letter which I composed last night. For it was full of hopeful expressions, because I had just been told of the spirit shewn at the public meeting, and was still in the belief that he would abide by the terms, especially as they were of his own proposing. But here, this 3rd of February, I have received in the morning a letter from you, one from Philotimus, another from Furnius, with one from Curio to Furnius, in which Curio ridicules the mission of L. Caesar. I think we are completely trapped, nor do I know what plan to adopt. But it isn't about myself that I am anxious: what to do about the boys is what puzzles me. However, as I write this I am on the point of starting for Capua, that I may have a better opportunity of ascertaining Pompey's position.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 05 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.20: ‘I have no choice but to be brief. I have given up all hope of peace, and as to war, our men are not stirring a finger....
...Don't, pray, suppose that our consuls care for anything less than that: though it was in hopes of hearing something and learning what preparations we were making that I came to meet them in a pelting rain on the 4th, according to orders. They, however, had not arrived, and were expected on the 5th-empty-handed and unprepared.
Pompey, again, is said to be at Luceria, and on his way to join some cohorts of the Appian legions, which are far from being in a very satisfactory state. But he, they say, is hurrying along and is expected at Rome every hour, not to fight a battle—for who is there to fight with ?-but to prevent the flight from town. For myself; if it is to be in Italy—"if die I must," etc.! I don't ask your advice about that: but if it is to be outside Italy—what can I do?
On the side of remaining there are the winter-season, my lictors, the improvidence and carelessness of our leaders: on the side of flight, my friendship for Pompey, the claims of the loyalist cause, the disgrace of having anything to do with a tyrant; as to whom it is uncertain whether he will copy Phalaris or Pisistratus.
Pray unravel these perplexities for me, and help me with your advice, though I expect by this time you are in a warm corner yourself at Rome. However, do the best you can. If I learn anything fresh today, I will let you know. For the consuls will be here directly on the 5th, the date they fixed themselves.
I shall look for a letter from you every day. But do answer this as soon as you can.
I left the ladies and the two boys at Formiae.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 08 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.21: ‘ABOUT our misfortunes you hear sooner than I: for they flow from Rome. As for anything good, there is none to be expected from this quarter...
...I arrived at Capua for the 5th of February, in accordance with the order of the consuls. Late on that day Lentulus arrived; the other consul had absolutely not come on the 7th. For I left Capua on that day and stayed at Cales. From that town I am sending this letter, before daybreak, on the 8th.
What I ascertained while at Capua was that the consuls are no good: that no levy is being held anywhere. For the recruiting officers do not venture to shew their faces, with Caesar close at hand, and our leader, on the contrary, nowhere and doing nothing; nor do recruits give in their names. It is not goodwill to the cause, but hope that is wanting.
As to our leader Gnaeus—what an inconceivably miserable spectacle! What a complete breakdown! No courage, no plan, no forces, no energy! I will pass over his most discreditable flight from the city, his abject speeches in the towns, his ignorance not only of his opponent's, but even of his own resources—but what do you think of this? On the 7th of February the tribune C. Cassius came with an order from him to the consuls that they should go to Rome, remove the money from the reserve treasury, and immediately quit the town. After leaving the City they are to return! Under what guard? They are to Come out of the City! Who is to give them leave to do so?
The Consul (Lentulus) wrote back to say that Pompey must himself first make his way into Picenum. But the fact is, that district has already been entirely lost. No one knows that except myself, who have learnt it from a letter of Dolabella's.
I have no manner of doubt but that Caesar is all but actually in Apulia, and our friend Gnaeus already on board ship. What I am to do is a great "problem," though it would have been no problem to me, had not everything been most disgracefully mismanaged, and without consulting me in any way; problem, however, it is, as to what it is my duty to do.
Caesar himself urges me to promote peace. But his letter is dated before he began his violent proceedings. Dolabella and Caelius both say that he is well satisfied with my conduct.
I am on the rack of perplexity. Assist me by your advice if you can, but all the same look after your own interests to the utmost of your power.
In such a total upset I have nothing to say to you. I am looking for a letter from you.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 09 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.22: ‘I CAN see that there is not a foot of ground in Italy which is not in his power. About Pompey I know nothing, and I think he will be caught, unless he has already embarked. What incredible rapidity! Whereas our general's—but I cannot find fault with him without sorrow, for whom I am in an agony of anxiety...
...You have good reason for fearing a massacre: not that anything could be less in Caesar's interest, with a view to the permanency of his victory and supremacy, but I can see at whose bidding he is likely to act. To be safe, my opinion is that we must go.
As to those Oppii of yours, I don't know what to advise. Do what seems to you to be best. You should speak to Philotimus, and besides, you will have Terentia on the 13th.
But what am I to do? On what land or sea am I to follow a man, when I don't even know where he is? After all, how can I do so by land? And by sea—whither?
Shall I surrender myself to Caesar then? Suppose I could do so with safety—and many advise it—could I with honour also? Assuredly not.
Am I, again, to ask advice of you, as my custom is? There is no way out of the tangle.
Still, if anything occurs to your mind, please write, and tell me also what you mean to do yourself.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 10 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.23: ‘On the 9th of February, in the evening, I received a letter from Philotimus saying that "Domitius has a strong force; cohorts from Picenum, under Lentulus and Thermus, have effected a junction with Domitius's army; Caesar's advance can be stopped: he is himself afraid of that; the courage of the loyalists at Rome is raised; the disloyal are in dismay"...
...For my part, I fear that these are dreams. However, Manius Lepidus, L. Torquatus, Gaius Cassius, who are staying with me at Formiae, are quite restored to life by Philotimus's letter. I, however, am afraid that the truer account is this: that we are all now practically captives; that Pompey is on the point of abandoning Italy, of whom, indeed ("what a bitter pill to swallow".),
Caesar is said to be actually in pursuit. Caesar pursue Pompey? What, to kill him? Merciful heavens! and don't we rush as one man to throw our bodies in the way? You, too, must sigh at that! But what are we to do? We are utterly beaten, trapped and taken.
However, after reading Philotimus's letter, I changed my plan as to the ladies, whom, as I wrote you word, I intended sending back to Rome. It has occurred to my mind that it would give rise to much talk to the effect that I already shewed my opinion about the fortunes of the party, and that, regarding it as desperate, I had in this return of my ladies made a kind of first step towards my own return.
As for myself, however, I agree with you that I should not commit myself to an indefinite and dangerous flight, by which I should do no good to the Republic or to Pompey, for whom I can die with as much cheerfulness as loyalty. I will remain, therefore. But to go on living——!
You ask what is going on here. The whole business of Capua, and the levy in this neighbourhood, are at a standstill. There is complete despair. Everybody is preparing to fly, unless some such incident occurs as Pompey effecting a junction of his forces with those of Domitius. But I think we shall know all about it in two or three days.
I send you a copy of Caesar's letter to me; for you asked for it. Many have written to tell me that he is much pleased with me. I don't mind that, so long as I abstain—as I have as yet-from doing anything discreditable.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 11 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.24: ‘PHILOTIMUS's letter did not give me over much pleasure, but it did very much so to the people about here. Behold, the next day a letter to Cassius from Capua, sent by his friend Lucretius, announcing that Nigidius had arrived at Capua from Domitius, bringing the intelligence that Vibullius, with a small body of soldiers, was hastening from Picenum to join Pompey, that Caesar was marching rapidly at his heels, that Domitius had not three thousand men. I feel no doubt of Pompey being in full retreat—I only hope he may escape. I have given up the idea of flying, in accordance with your opinion.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 11 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.25: ‘AFTER I had sent you a gloomy and, I fear, true letter about Lucretius's letter to Cassius, forwarded here from Capua, Cephalio arrived from you with one more cheerful in tone, but yet not very confident, as is usual with you. I can believe anything more easily than that Pompey—as you assert-has an army. [Note] Nobody brings such a report here, but rather everything opposite to my wishes. What a wretched anomaly! When he was in the wrong, he always got his way; now that he is eminently in the right, he fails entirely. How can I explain it, except by saying that he knew how to do the former—for it was not difficult—but not the latter. For to rule a free state in the right way was a difficult art! But I hourly expect full information, and then I will at once write you word.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 13 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.26: 'No, my experience does not tally with yours, as you express it in the sentence beginning "As often as I begin to feel elated." The fact is that I am at this moment somewhat elated, and especially by letters from Rome respecting Domitius and the Picentine cohorts. Everything has become more cheerful in the course of the last two days...
...Accordingly, the flight for which I was preparing has been stopped. Caesar's threats, if with tomorrow's light I find you here, are flouted. The report about Domitius is good, about Atranius splendid. Thank you for your most friendly advice to keep myself uncommitted as long as possible. You add that I should not give the impression of being too much inclined to the evil side: certainly I may possibly seem to be doing so. I refused to take a leading part in a Civil war, as long as negotiations for peace were going on, not because it was not a just one, but because former conduct of mine, which was much more fully justified, had done me harm.
I was, of course, quite unwilling to have as my enemy a man to whom our own leader had offered a second consulship and a triumph—and in what high-flown terms! "In consideration of the extraordinary brilliancy of your achievements." I am well aware both of whom to be afraid and on what grounds. But if there is to be war, as I see there will be, I shall not fail to play my part.
As to the twenty sestertia, Terentia has answered you. I did not wish to trouble Dionysius as long as I thought that I should be on the move. However, I made no answer to your frequent remarks about his duty to me, because I expected day after day to be able to settle what was to be done.
At present, as far as I can see, the boys are certain to pass the winter in my Formian villa. And I? I can't tell. For if there is war, I am resolved to be with Pompey. Whatever I learn for certain I will take care you know. I think there will be a most horrible war, unless, as you suggest, some Parthian incident comes to the front.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 16 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.1: ‘AFTER I had despatched a letter to you, I received one from Pompey. I would have sent you the letter itself; had not my brother's servant been in such a hurry to start. I will send it, therefore, tomorrow...
...The rest of it contained the operations in Picenum; about what Vibullius had written to him; about the levy held by Domitius—all of which are known to you, but yet were not so flourishing as Philotimus's letter had represented. But at the end of Pompey's letter there was a sentence in his own handwriting:
I am of opinion that you should come to Luceria; you will not be safer anywhere else.
The interpretation I put on this is that he considers the towns in this district and the sea-coast as abandoned, nor am I surprised at a man, who has given up the head, having no regard for the other limbs.
I wrote back at once and sent the letter by one of my establishment upon whom I could rely, saying that I did not want to know where I should be safest: if he wished me to come to Luceria for his own sake or for that of the Republic, I would come at once; and I urged him to keep a hold upon the seacoast, if he wished to be supplied with corn from the provinces.
I see that it is no use my writing this.
But as before in regard to keeping the city, so in regard to not abandoning Italy, I put my opinion on record. I perceive, indeed, that the plan is to concentrate all forces at Luceria, and even that not as a permanent centre, but that, if hard pressed, we are to abandon that also. You need not, therefore, be much surprised at my not being very enthusiastic about engaging in a cause, in which no provision has ever been sought for making peace or securing victory, but from the first for a discreditable and calamitous flight.
I must go, to encounter any danger that chance may bring with those who are reputed to be loyalists, rather than be thought to disagree with loyalists. Yet I foresee that before long the city will be crammed with the "loyalists," that is, the fine gentlemen and men of property-crammed chock full, indeed, when these municipal towns have been abandoned. And I would be in their number if I had not these confounded lictors. Nor should I be dissatisfied to have as my companions Manius Lepidus, L. Volcatius, and Servius Sulpicius: not one of them is a greater fool than L. Domitius, nor more of a weathercock than Appius Claudius.
The one person who makes me hesitate is Pompey, not from his personal importance, but for old sake's sake. For what weight can he have in this controversy? When we were all alarmed at Caesar, he, for his part, was devoted to him: now that he has begun to be alarmed at him, he thinks that everybody ought to be his enemy.
However, I shall go to Luceria, and yet perhaps my arrival will not give him any satisfaction. For I shall not be able to conceal my disapproval of what has been done up to this time.
If I could sleep I wouldn't have pestered you with such long letters. If you are similarly affected, pray pay me back in kind.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 17 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.2: 'THANK you all round-both for writing to tell me the remarks you had heard, and for not believing what reflected upon my energy, and, lastly, for letting me know your opinion...
...I wrote only one letter to Caesar from Capua in answer to the remonstrance he addressed to me on the subject of his gladiators. My letter was short but expressed in friendly terms. So far from containing any attack upon Pompey, it mentioned him in the most complimentary terms. This exactly corresponded with my sentiment in favour of his making terms with Pompey. If he has sent that letter anywhere, let him placard it for everyone to read with all my heart.
I am writing a second letter to him on the same day as I write this to you. I cannot do otherwise than write, since he has written to me both by his own hand and by that of Balbus. I am sending you a copy of it. I don't think there is anything for you to find fault with. If there is, suggest how I am to escape criticism.
"Don't write at all," you will say; "how better elude those who want to make up a story?" Well, I will follow your advice as long as it is possible. You exhort me to remember my deeds, words, and even my writings: it is truly friendly on your part, and I thank you warmly for it; but you appear to me to take a different view from mine as to what is right and suitable to my character in this controversy. For in my opinion nothing more discreditable was ever done in any nation by anyone professing to be a statesman and leader, than the course taken by our friend.
I am sorry for him. He abandoned the city, that is, his country, for which, and in which, it would have been a glorious thing to die. You don't seem to me to appreciate the magnitude of this disaster: for you are at this moment in your own town house. Yes, but you cannot remain there any longer except by the consent of the vilest of men. Can anything be more humiliating, more shameful than that?
We are wandering about in distress with wives and children. All our hopes are dependent on the life of one man, who has a dangerous illness every year. We are not expelled, but summoned from our country, which we have left not to be safeguarded till our return, but to be plundered and fired. There are not so very many with me, nor in suburban houses, nor suburban parks, nor in the city itself—and if they are there now, they soon will not be.
I meanwhile shall not stay even at Capua, but at Luceria, and shall, of course, abandon the care of the sea-coast at once. I shall wait to see what Afranius and Petreius do: for Labienus lacks distinction. Here you will hint that that is just what you find lacking in me.
I say nothing about myself. I will leave that to others. In these circumstances, indeed, where is it to be found? All you loyalists are sticking to your houses, and will do so. In the old times didn't every loyalist come forward to support me? Who does so now in this war, for so it must now be called?
As yet Vibullius has covered himself with glory. You will learn all about that from Pompey's letter: in which please notice the passage at which you will find a mark of attention. You will see what Vibullius himself thinks about our friend Gnaeus.
What, then, is the point of all this talk? Why, I am capable of dying cheerfully for Pompey: I value him more than anyone in the world. But, for all that, I do not think that all hope for the Republic is centred in him.
You express an opinion also considerably different from your usual one, that I must even quit Italy if he does so: a step which, in my judgment, is of advantage neither to the Republic nor to my children, and, what is more, neither right nor morally justifiable. But why do you say, "Will you be able to endure the sight of a tyrant?" As though it mattered whether I heard of him or saw him; or as though I needed to look for any better precedent than that of Socrates, who at the time of the Thirty never set foot out of the city gate. I have personally also a special motive for remaining, concerning which I wish to heaven I might some time have a talk with you.
After writing this on the 17th, by the same lamp as that in which I burnt your letter, I am leaving Formiae to join Pompey, with some prospect of being of use if there is any question of peace, but if it is to be war—what good shall I be?
Cicero: at Cales, to Atticus at Rome; 18-19 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.3: 'A PREY to the gravest and most depressing anxieties, though I am precluded from discussing the question with you personally, I have, nevertheless, resolved to seek your advice. The whole question in debate is this: if Pompey quits Italy, which I suspect that he is about to do, what do you think I ought to do?...
...To assist you in giving me advice, I will state briefly what occurs to my mind on either side.
Pompey's very great services in securing my restoration and the intimacy existing between us, as well as the interests of the Republic themselves, lead me to the conclusion that my policy or, if you choose, my fortune must be united with his.
Then there is this: if I stay here and desert that company of most loyal and illustrious citizens, I must come under the power of one man: and although he shews by many instances that he is well disposed to me—and you yourself know what precautions I took in that direction, because I suspected the storm that was hanging over our heads-yet I must look at the matter in two lights: first, how far I can trust him; and, secondly, however certain I may be that he will be my friend, whether it is the action of a brave man and a good citizen to remain in a city, in which, after having enjoyed the highest offices and commands, after having performed the most important services, and been invested with the most august priesthood, he is to become a mere name, and to incur danger, not perchance unaccompanied by some disgrace, if Pompey ever restores the constitution.
So much for that side. Now for the other.
Our friend Pompey has shewn neither wisdom nor courage in anything that he has done: I may add that he has acted in every case against my counsel and advice. I put out of the question the old scores: how he fostered Caesar against the Republic, promoted, armed him; assisted him in the passing of laws by violence and against the auspices; supported the addition of farther Gaul to his provinces; married his daughter; acted as augur at the adoption of Publius Clodius; shewed greater zeal in effecting my recall than in preventing my exile; supported the extension of Caesar's provincial government; championed his cause at every point in his absence; actually in his third consulship, when he started being a defender of the constitution, yet urged the ten tribunes to propose the bill allowing Caesar's candidature in his absence; confirmed the same privilege in a certain law of his own, and resisted the consul Marcus Marcellus when he proposed to fix the end of Caesar's government on the 1st of March.
Well, to pass over all this, what could be more discreditable, more ill-considered, than this departure from the city, or I should rather call it this most shameful, most unprincipled flight? What terms could there be that were not preferable to the abandonment of one's country? The terms offered were bad. I confess it: but could anything be worse than this?
But (you say) he will recover the Republic. When? What preparation has been made for realizing that hope? Is not Picenum lost? Is not the road to the city laid open? Is not all money public and private, handed over to his opponent?
In fact, there is no cause to support, no forces to support it, no rallying point for those who wish the constitution maintained. Apulia has been selected, the most sparsely peopled district of Italy, and the most widely removed from the point of attack in this war: it is evident that, from sheer desperation, the object in view is flight and the facilities of a sea-coast.
I undertook Capua with reluctance, not because I desired to shirk that duty, but because it was in a cause in which there was no openly expressed grievance on the part of the orders in the state or of private individuals, though there was some-far from keen, as usual—on the part of the Optimates; and because, as I saw for myself, the multitude and the lowest of the people were inclined to the other side, while many were eager simply for change. I told Pompey himself that I would undertake no duty without a guard and money. Accordingly, I had practically nothing to do at all, because, from the first, I saw that his sole object was flight.
If I am to follow that flight now, whither am I to go? Not with him; for when I started to join him, I learnt that Caesar was in such a position that I could not reach Luceria safely. I should have to sail by the Mare Inferum, without definite direction and in the worst possible weather.
Again, am I to take my brother, or only my son without him, or how? Either alternative involves very great difficulty, and the keenest distress of mind. Again, what kind of attack will he employ against us and our property in our absence? Something more violent than in the case of others, for he will perhaps think that he has a chance of winning popularity by damaging us.
Consider, again, these fetters—I mean my laurelled fasces—what a nuisance to carry them out of Italy! Moreover, what place, even suppose I enjoy a calm passage, will be safe for me till I reach Pompey? By what route, again, or whither to go, I have no idea.
If, on the other hand, I keep my ground and find some footing on this side, I shall have done what L. Philippus did during the tyranny of Cinna, as well as L. Flaccus and Q. Mucius. Though it turned out unhappily in the case of the latter, he used, nevertheless, to say that he foresaw the result (a result which did actually happen), but preferred it to approaching the walls of his native city in arms. Thrasybulus acted differently and perhaps better. But yet there are good grounds for Mucius's line of policy and opinion, as well as for that of the other, namely, to temporize, when necessary, and not to let slip an opportunity when it is given.
But even if I adopt this course, those same fasces involve a difficulty. For suppose he is my friend, which is uncertain, but suppose he is, he will offer me the triumph. Not to accept I fear will get me into trouble with him, to accept I fear will appear scandalous to the loyalists. "What a difficult and insoluble problem!" you say. And yet I must solve it. For what can possibly be done else?
Don't think me more inclined to remain, because I have used more words on that side. It may very well be, as happens in many investigations, that one side has the superiority in words, the other in truth. Wherefore please give me your advice, on the understanding that I am considering a most important matter with impartiality.
There is a vessel at Caieta ready for me, and another at Brundisium. But here come couriers, as I am in the act of writing these words at Cales before daybreak: here comes a letter stating that Caesar has reached Corfinium, that Domitius is inside Corfinium with a strong force eager to fight. I can't believe that our friend Gnaeus will go so far as to abandon Domitius, though he has sent Scipio in advance to Brundisium with two cohorts, and has written to the consuls saying that he wishes the legion enrolled by Faustus to be taken to Sicily by a consul. But it will be shameful if Domitius is abandoned when imploring to be relieved.
There is a certain hope, no great one in my mind, but warmly entertained in these parts, that Afranius has fought a battle with Trebonius in the Pyrenees; that Trebonius has been repulsed; that your friend Fadius also has come over with his cohorts.
The chief hope, however, is that Afranius is on his way hither with large forces. If that is the case, we shall perhaps stay in Italy. However, since Caesar's line of march was uncertain, as he was thought to be intending to go either in the direction of Capua or Luceria, I am sending Lepta with a letter to Pompey, and am returning myself to Formiae to avoid falling in with anyone.
I wished you to know this, and I am writing in a somewhat quieter frame of mind than I mentioned just Now: my object being not to put forward a judgment of my own, but to ask yours.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 22 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.4: 'DIONYSIUS, whom I look upon as your man rather than mine-for though I knew very well what his character was, I yet stood by your judgment rather than my own-without any respect even for your recommendation several times repeated in my hearing, has given himself airs in view of what he thinks will be the state of my fortune...
...The course of that fortune, however, as far as it can be affected by human wisdom, I shall pilot with a certain amount of skill. What honour, what consideration, what recommendation even to others (the contemptible fellow!) has he not had at my hands? Why, I even preferred to have my judgment attacked by my brother Quintus, and by the world in general, rather than not praise him to the skies: and that my young Ciceros should have some supplementary lessons from myself, rather than look out for another master for them.
Good heavens! what a letter I wrote to him! what respect, what affection did it express! You would have said that it was an invitation addressed to a Dicaearchus or an Aristoxenus, not to the greatest windbag and worst teacher in the world. "But he has a good memory." He shall find I have a better!
He answered my letter in a tone which I never used to anyone whose case I declined. I always used to say, "If I can," "If I am not prevented by a previous engagement": I never had a defendant so low, so mean, so clearly guilty, so utterly a stranger to myself, that I refused him with the abruptness which he has used without disguise or reserve to me. I never saw such gross ingratitude, a vice which embraces every other.
But enough and to spare about him. I have a vessel ready: yet I wait for a letter from you, to know what answer it will contain to the case I put to you for advice. You are aware that at Sulmo Gaius Attius, the Paelignian, has opened the gates to Antony; though there were five cohorts there, and that Q. Lucretius has escaped from the town; that Gnaeus is on his way to Brundisium; that Domitius has been abandoned. It's all over.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 22 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.5: 'HAVING written you a letter before daybreak of the 22nd about Dionysius, on the evening of the same day Dionysius himself arrived, induced by your influence, I suspect. For what else am I to think? However, it is his way to repent when he has done anything intemperate: and he never was more insane than in this business. For—a circumstance I did not mention to you before—I heard afterwards that at the third milestone from the city he took fright, after Venting his horns' vain fury on the air, I mean, after uttering a number of curses, which, as the saying is, I hope may come home to roost! But see what a good-natured man I am! I put into the packet along with the letter to you one addressed to him, written with great warmth: this I should like returned to me, and for that sole reason I have sent my body-servant Pollix to Rome. I am therefore writing to you that, if it has by any chance been delivered to you, you would take care to have it sent back to me, lest it should come into his hands. If there had been any news I would have written it. I am in anxious suspense as to the affair at Corfinium, which will decide the fate of the Republic. Pray see that the packet addressed to Manius Curius is conveyed to him, and recommend Tiro to Curius, and ask him to supply him with any money he requires.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 23 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.6: 'When I had already sealed the letter to you which I intended to despatch over night, as I did—for it was written in the evening-C. Sosius, the praetor, came to Formiae on a visit to my neighbour Manius Lepidus, whose quaestor he once was. He brought me a copy of Pompey's letter to the consuls. I have received a despatch from L. Domitius on the 17th of February. I append a copy...
...Now, without my saying a word, I know you understand of your own accord how important it is to the Republic that all troops should be concentrated in one place at the earliest possible time. Pray, if you think it right, make an effort to join me as early as possible, and leave a garrison for Capua of such strength as you may determine to be sufficient.
Then he added a copy of Domitius's letter, which I sent yesterday. Good heavens! how I trembled with excitement! How anxious I am as to what is going to happen. Yet I do hope that Magnus will justify his name in the terror he inspires when he arrives. I have even some hope that, as carelessness and negligence have been our only stumbling block at present, operations will now be conducted with courage and due attention.
One thing, by Hercules, has given me pleasure. I have recently heard that the quartan fever has left you. Upon my life, I could not have been more glad if it had happened to me. Tell Pilia that it is not fair for her to have her fever any longer; it is a reflexion on your perfect sympathy! I hear that Tiro has got rid of his second attack. But I see that he has raised money for his expenses from others; whereas I had asked Curius to supply him with what was necessary. I prefer to think Tiro's modesty in fault rather than the illiberality of Curius.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 23 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.7: 'There is only one thing left to complete our friend's disgrace-failure to relieve Domitius. "But nobody doubts that he intends going to his relief." I don't think he will. "Will he, then, abandon such an illustrious citizen, and those whom you know to be with him, and that when he himself has thirty cohorts?" Yes, he will, unless I am entirely mistaken. He has become alarmed beyond belief. He looks to nothing except flight; in which you think—for I see what your opinion is—that I ought to be his companion. I, however, know from whom to fly, but not whom to follow. As to my remark, which you praise and declare to be memorable, that I preferred defeat with Pompey to victory with those others, it is quite true: I do prefer it—but it is with the Pompey as he was then, or as I thought him. But with a Pompey who flies before he knows from whom he is flying, or whither, who has betrayed our party, who has abandoned his country, and is about to abandon Italy—if I did prefer it, I have got my wish: I am defeated. For the rest, I cannot stand the sight of what I never had any fear of seeing, nor of the man on whose account I have to give up not only my friends, but my own past. I have written to Philotimus about furnishing me with money for the journey, either from the Mint—for no one pays ready money now—or from your comrades the Oppii.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 24 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.8: 'What a disgraceful and, for that reason, what a miserable thing! For, in my opinion, that which is disgraceful is ultimately, or rather is alone, miserable. He had fostered Caesar, and then, all on a sudden, had begun to be afraid of him: he had declined any terms of peace: he had made no preparation for war: he had abandoned the city: he had lost Picenum by his own fault: he had blocked himself up in Apulia: he was preparing to go to Greece: he was going to leave us without a word, entirely uninformed of a move on his part so important and so unprecedented. Lo and behold, there is suddenly sprung on us a letter from Domitius to him, and one from him to the consuls. I thought honour had flashed before his eyes, and that he—the real man he ought to be—had exclaimed: So let them try each sleight they may against me, "And every craft their cunning can devise: The right is on my side." But our hero, bidding a long good-bye to honour, takes himself to Brundisium, while Domitius, they say, and those with him, on hearing of this, surrendered. What a lamentable thing! Distress prevents my writing any more to you. I wait for a letter from you.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 25 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.9: 'YOU say my letter has been widely published: well, I don't care. Nay, I myself allowed several people to take a copy of it. For such is the nature of events that have already happened and are about to happen, that I wished my sentiments as to keeping the peace to be put on record...
...Now, while exhorting Caesar of all people to keep it, I could see no better way of influencing him than by saying that it was suitable to his wisdom. If I called that wisdom "admirable," seeing that I was urging him to the preservation of our country, I am not afraid of being thought guilty of flattery, when for such an object I would gladly have thrown myself at his feet. Where, again, my expression is "bestow some of your time"—that does not refer to peace, but it is a request to him to reflect in some degree on my own case and on my obligations.
As to my protesting that I have taken no part in the war, though that has been proved by facts, yet I mentioned it that my persuasions might have the greater weight, and my expressing approval of his claim has the same object. But what is the use of discussing this now? I only wish it had done any good!
Nay, I should not object to have the letter read in public meeting, since Pompey himself, when also writing to Caesar, put up for public perusal the despatch in which are the words "Considering the extraordinary brilliancy of your achievements." What! more brilliant than his own, or those of Africanus?
"Circumstances made it necessary to say so." Well, since two men of your character are going to meet him at the fifth milestone, pray, to what does he pledge himself, what is he doing or going to do? With what greater confidence will he rely upon the merits of his case, when he sees you, and men like you, not only in crowds, but with smiles on your faces, and congratulations on your lips?
"Are we, then, doing wrong?" Not at all, as far as you are concerned. Yet, nevertheless, there is an end of all distinguishing between the signs of genuine and pretended feeling. What decrees of the senate do I foresee !-But I have spoken more openly than I intended.
I mean to be at Arpinum on the 28th, then to go the round of my country houses, which I have no hope of ever seeing again.
Your "frank" policy—which is yet not without a spice of caution to suit the times-has my warm approbation. Lepidus, for his part—for we spend almost every day together, much to his gratification-never liked the idea of leaving Italy, Tullus much less. For letters from him frequently pass from others to me. But it is not so much their opinions that move me: for they have given much fewer pledges to the Republic than I have: it is your influence, by Hercules, that has the greatest weight with me; for it suggests a means of retrieving the past and of securing the present.
But I appeal to you: what could be more wretched than that the one gains applause in the worst possible cause, the other nothing but anger in the best? That the one is esteemed the preserver of his enemies, the other the betrayer of his friends? And, by heaven, however much I love our Gnaeus, as I do and am bound to do, yet I cannot commend him for failing to relieve such men. For if it was fear, what could be more cowardly? If, as some think, it was because he thought that his own position would be improved by their massacre, what could be more unfair?
But a truce to these reflexions: I only increase my grief by recalling them.
On the evening of the 24th Balbus the younger called on me, hastening on a secret mission to the consul Lentulus from Caesar, with a letter, a message, and a promise of a province, to induce him to return to Rome. I don't think he will be persuaded except by a personal interview. Balbus also told me that Caesar wished, above all things, to catch up Pompey (I believe that much), and to be reconciled to him. This latter I do not believe, and I much fear that all this clemency is only an elaborate preparation for a Cinna-like massacre.
The elder Balbus, indeed, writes me word that Caesar would wish nothing better than to live in safety, with Pompey as chief citizen. You believe that, I suppose!
But while I am writing these words (25th February), Pompey may have reached Brundisium; for he started in light marching order in advance of his legions on the 19th, from Luceria. But this portent is a man of frightful vigilance, rapidity, and energy. I haven't an idea what will happen.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 26 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.10: 'When Dionysius, much to my surprise, arrived at my house, I spoke to him with the utmost candour. I put before him my circumstances; asked him what he had in his mind to do: said that I would not press him for anything against his will. He answered that he did not know where such money as he possessed was to be found. Some could not pay, from others it was not yet due. He gave me certain other reasons, connected with his poor slaves, for his being unable to stay with me. I gave in to him. I discharged him from farther attendance, with regret as a master for the boys, but with satisfaction as an ungrateful fellow. I wished you to know the facts, and what my opinion of his conduct was.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 27 Feb -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.11: 'You think me thoroughly upset by a violent mental struggle. I am so, indeed, but not by one so violent as you perhaps imagine. For all my anxiety is lightened as soon as I have either made up my mind, or found on reflexion that a solution is impossible...
...However, one may express regret. Well, I do so, after all, from one day's end to another. But considering the uselessness of this, I dread being an absolute discredit to my philosophy and my writings: I therefore spend all my time in considering what the virtue of that ideal character is, which, according to you, I have delineated in my books with considerable care.
Do you remember, then, that ideal "director of the commonwealth" to whom we would refer all questions? In the fifth book, I think it is, Scipio thus speaks: "For as the object of a pilot is a successful voyage, of a physician bodily health, of a commander victory, so the object of such a director of the commonwealth is the happiness of the citizens, that it should be secure in means of defence, opulent in material resources, splendid in reputation, untarnished in its virtue. For my idea of him is that he should carry to perfection the work which is the greatest and best among men."
Such a conception never occurred to our friend Gnaeus in former times, and least of all in this controversy. Supremacy has been the object of both; there has been no idea of securing the happiness and virtue of the citizens. Nor, indeed, did he abandon the city because he was unable to protect it, nor Italy because he was driven from it; but his idea from the first was to stir up every land and sea, to rouse foreign princes, to bring barbarous tribes in arms into Italy, to collect the most formidable armies possible. For some time past a kind of royalty like Sulla's has been the object in view, and this is the eager desire of many who are with him.
Do you suppose that some understanding between the two, some bargain has been impossible? Today it is still possible. But the object of neither is our happiness: both want to be kings.
This brief exposition of the situation I have made in response to your invitation: for you wished me to explain to you my sentiments as to these unhappy circumstances. I speak "prophetically," then, my dear Atticus, not in vague denunciation like hers, whom no one believed, but foreseeing in imagination: "E'en now upon the mighty deep, etc." What I can prophesy, I repeat, is much the same: such an Iliad of miseries is there hanging over our heads.
Besides, my position is worse than that of those who have crossed the sea with Pompey in this, that they fear one or the other; I fear both.
"Why have I stayed, then?" you will say. From obedience to you, if you like, or from failing to meet him in person, or because it was a juster course. You will see, I tell you, our poor Italy trodden under foot next summer, or in the hands of the slaves of both leaders gathered from the four corners of the earth.
It is not a proscription (which is said to have been frequently threatened in the talk at Luceria) that is so much to be feared, as a general destruction: so vast are the forces which I see will take part in the conflict on both sides. That is my conjecture of what is to happen.
But you perhaps looked for something consoling from me. I can find nothing of the sort. Nothing can exceed the misery, ruin, and disgrace. You ask me what Caesar said in his letter to me. The usual thing: he was much obliged by my having remained neutral, and begged me to continue to do so. The younger Balbus brought me a message to the same effect. The latter was on his way to visit the consul Lentulus with a letter from Caesar, and promises of rewards if he would return to Rome.
But, when I calculate the days, I think he will have crossed over before he could be met by Balbus.
I wished you to appreciate the slovenly style of Pompey's two letters sent to me, and my great care in writing my answer. I am sending you copies of them.
I am anxious to see what this dash of Caesar's upon Brundisium through Apulia accomplishes. Oh that it might turn out something like the Parthian affair!
As soon as I hear anything I will let you know: on your part, pray let me know what the loyalists are saying; I hear there are crowds of them at Rome. I know, of course, that you don't go abroad; still you must hear a great deal. I remember a book being brought you by Demetrius of Magnesia, dedicated to you, "On Concord." Please send it to me. You see in what direction my thoughts are turning.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 01 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.13: 'Take the handwriting of my secretary as a sign of my eyes being inflamed, and let the same fact excuse my brevity, though at this particular time I have nothing to write. We are hanging entirely on news from Brundisium. If Caesar has caught our friend Gnaeus, there is a dubious hope of peace; but if the latter has got across beforehand, there is a fear of a fatal war. But do you see upon what sort of man the Republic has fallen? How clear-sighted, how alert, how well prepared! By heaven, if he puts no one to death, nor despoils anyone of anything, he will be most adored by those who had feared him most. The burgesses of the country towns, and the country people also, talk a great deal to me. They don't care a farthing for anything but their lands, their poor villas, their paltry pence. And now observe the reaction: the man in whom they once trusted they now dread: the man they dreaded they worship. What grave mistakes and vices on our side are accountable for this I cannot think of without sorrow. However, I have already written to tell you what I thought was threatening; and I am now waiting for a letter from you.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 02 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.14: 'I feel sure that my daily packets must bore you, especially as I don't inform you of anything new, nor, in fact, am able to hit upon any novel sentiment to express. But if I went out of my way needlessly to send letter-carriers to you with these empty epistles, I should indeed be foolish: as it is, when people are going to Rome, especially people about the house, I cannot reconcile myself to sending nothing by way of a letter to you; and besides, believe me, I find a relief in a time of such unhappiness in, as it were, talking to you; and much more so when I read letters from you...
...I certainly feel it to be true that there has been no period since our panic flight that less demanded a continuance of our correspondence, because no news reaches either Rome or this place, which is only two or three days journey from Brundisium: whereas Brundisium is the cardinal point of the whole struggle in this first campaign. I am therefore racked with suspense about it. But we shall know all before the 15th. For I observe that Caesar started from Corfinium on the afternoon of the same day—that is, the 21st of February—as that on the morning of which Pompey left Canusium. But Caesar moves so rapidly, and encourages the speed of his men with such bounties, that I fear he may have approached Brundisium quicker than may be convenient.
You will say, "What good, then, do you do by anticipating an annoyance, which you are to ascertain three days hence?" None indeed. But, as I said before, I like above all things talking to you, and at the same time I want to tell you that my plan of procedure, which I thought quite fixed, is somewhat shaken.
The precedents, of which you approve, don't altogether satisfy me. For what gallant action on their part in the service of the state has there ever been? Or who expects anything praiseworthy from them? Nor, by heaven, do I see anything commendable in those who have crossed the sea to prepare a war, intolerable as things were here-for I foresee the extent and destructive nature of that war.
But there is one man who shakes my resolution, whose companion in flight, whose partner in the recovery of the constitution, I think myself bound to be. "Do you change your opinion as often as that, then?" I speak to you as to myself: and who is there that in a matter of such importance does not; argue with himself in a variety of ways? At the same time I also desire to elicit your opinion: if it is the same, that I may be strengthened in my resolution; if it has changed, that I may conform mine to yours. Certainly, in regard to my present doubt, it concerns me to know what Domitius and our friend Lentulus intend doing.
As to Domitius, we hear contradictory rumours: at one time that he is at Tibur not by any means leaping for joy, at another that he, with the Lepidi has come to the walls of the city, which also I find not to be true. For Lepidus says that he has made his way somewhere by secret roads—is it to hide himself or to reach the sea? Lepidus himself does not know. He knows nothing either about the younger Domitius. He adds a very annoying particular; that a considerable sum of money which Domitius had at Corfinium had not been restored to him. Of Lentulus I hear nothing.
Please inquire into these matters, and report to me.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 03 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.15: 'On the 3rd of March Aegypta delivered me your letters, one, an old one, dated 26th of February, which you say that you intrusted to Pinarius, whom I have not seen. In this you say that you are waiting to learn how Vibullius, who had been sent in advance, is getting on, who did not obtain an interview with Caesar at all (I observe in your second letter that you are aware of this), and how I mean to receive Caesar when he returns. I design to avoid meeting him at all...
...You mention also your intended retreat from Rome and the change in your way of life, in the necessity of which I agree, and you say that you don't know whether Domitius retains his fasces. When you know, please inform me.
So much for your first letter. There followed two, both dated the 28th of February, which completely dislodged me from my old resolve, which, however, I told you was beginning to totter. I am not shaken by your expression, "incensed with Jove himself," for there is danger in the angry passions of both; and though victory, of course, is uncertain, yet now the worse side seems to me to be the better prepared. Nor am I influenced by the consuls, who are themselves more easily moved than feather or leaf.
Consideration of duty tortures me, and has all this while been torturing me, with indecision. To remain is certainly the more cautious policy, to cross the sea is considered the more honourable. Sometimes I prefer that many should think that I have acted incautiously, rather than a few think that I had acted dishonourably.
You ask me about Lepidus and Tullus; they, indeed, have made up their minds to meet Caesar at Rome, and to come into the senate.
Your most recent letter is dated on the 1st of March, in which you express a wish that there might be a meeting between them, and say that you do not despair of peace. But at the moment of writing I am of opinion that they will not meet, and that, if they do, Pompey will not yield to any offer of terms. You appear to have no doubt, if the consuls cross, what I ought to do. They are certainly going to cross, or rather, as a matter of fact, have already crossed.
But remember that, with the exception of Appius, there is hardly one who has not a legal right to cross. For they either have imperium, as Pompey, Scipio, Sufenas, Fannius, Voconius, Sestius, the consuls themselves—who have by immemorial custom the right to visit all provinces or they are their legates. But I decide on nothing. As to what your opinion is, and pretty well what is the right course, I am clear.
I would have written at greater length, if I had been able to do so with my own hand. But I think I shall be able to do so in a couple of days. I am sending you a copy of Cornelius Balbus's letter received on the same day as yours, that you may sympathize with me, when you see me treated with such mockery.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 03 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%208.16: 'I have provided for everything except a secret and safe journey to the Upper Sea. For I cannot venture upon this (Lower) Sea at this season of the year. But by what route am I to get to the place, on which my thoughts are set, and to which the circumstances of the case call me?...
...I must not delay my departure, lest anything should hinder it and tie me here. It is not, in truth, that man who attracts me, as is thought to be the case: I long ago knew him to be the most incapable of politicians, I now know him also to be the least capable of generals.
It is not he, therefore, that attracts me, but it is the common talk reported to me by Philotimus. He says I am being torn to pieces by the Optimates. Ye Gods! Optimates indeed! See how they are rushing to meet Caesar, and parading their loyalty to him! Why, the country towns are offering him prayers as though he were a god, and not sham ones, as those offered on behalf of the other when he was ill.
But the simple fact is that whatever mischief this Pisistratus abstains from doing is as much a subject for gratitude, as if he had prevented some one else from doing it. They hope the one will be lenient, they believe the other to be enraged. What complimentary processions from the towns! What honours voted!
Pure fright, you will say. Yes, I daresay; but they are still more afraid of the other. The artful clemency of the one delights, the angry temper of the other alarms, them. Those on the roll of the 360 jurors, who used to be particularly fond of our friend Gnaeus, and one or other of whom I see every day, are horrified at some of his Lucerian doings.
So I want to know what sort of Optimates these are to force me abroad, while they remain at home themselves. However, be they who they may, "I fear the Trojans." Yet I see clearly with what a prospect I am starting; and I am joining myself with a man better prepared to devastate Italy than to win a victory, and have only a master to expect.
And, indeed, at the moment of writing this (4th March) I am in momentary expectation of some news from Brundisium. But why do I say some news? It is news of his shameful flight thence that I expect, and of the route which the victor is taking on his return and of his destination. When I have got that news, if Caesar come by the Appia, I think of retiring to Arpinum.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 06 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.1: 'Although by the time you read this I think I shall know what has happened at Brundisium—for Gnaeus left Canusium on the 21st of February, and I write on the 6th of March, the fourteenth day after his removing from Canusium—yet I am kept in painful suspense as to what each hour may bring, and am wondering that nothing even by way of rumour has reached me. There is a surprising silence...
...But perhaps all this is mere idle curiosity about what, after all, must soon be known. One thing worries me, that I cannot at present make out where our friend P. Lentulus and Domitius are. Now I want to know, in order the easier to find out their intentions, whether they are going to Pompey, and if so, by what route and when.
The city, indeed, I am told, is now crammed full of Optimates. I hear that Sosius and Lupus are sitting in court, whom our friend Gnaeus thought would arrive at Brundisium before himself. From these parts there is a general exodus. Even Manius Lepidus, with whom I am used to spend the day, is thinking of starting tomorrow.
For myself, I am stopping on at Formiae in order to get quicker intelligence. Then I am for Arpinum. Thence, by whatever road there is least chance of meetings, to the Upper Sea, leaving behind or altogether giving up my lictors. For I am told that by some loyalists, who are now and have often been before a protection to the commonwealth, my staying in Italy is disapproved, and that at their entertainments (beginning pretty early in the day too) many severe reflexions are being made upon me!
Evidently, then, the thing to do is to leave the country, to wage war on Italy by land and sea, to rouse the hatred of the disloyal against us once more, which had become extinct, and to follow the advice of a Lucceius and Theophanes! For others have some reason for going: Scipio, for instance, starts for Syria, the province allotted to him, or is accompanying his son-in-law, in either case with an honourable pretext, or, if you like, is avoiding the wrath of Caesar. The Marcelli, for their part, had they not feared the sword of Caesar, would have remained: Appius has the same reason for fear, and that, too, in connexion with a recent quarrel.
Except him and Q. Cassius, the rest are legates, Faustus is a proquaestor: I am the only one who might take either one course or the other. Added to this, there is my brother, whom it is not fair to involve in this adventure, considering that Caesar would be still more angry with him. But I cannot induce him to stay behind.
This concession I shall make to Pompey, as in duty bound: for as far as I am concerned no one else influences me—nor the talk of the loyalists, who do not really exist, nor the cause which has been Conducted with timidity and will be conducted with crime. To one man, one alone, I make this concession, and that, too, without any request from him, and though—as he says—he is not defending his own cause, but that of the state.
I should like much to know what you are thinking of doing as to crossing into Epirus.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 07 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.2: 'THOUGH on the 7th of March (the day, I think, for your fever fit) I am expecting a longer letter from you, yet I think I ought to answer even the short one which you wrote on the 4th, just before your attack. You say that you are glad that I have stayed in Italy, and that you are of the same opinion as before. But in a former letter you seemed to me to have no doubt about my going, always provided that Gnaeus embarked with an adequate following, and that the consuls crossed also. Have you forgotten this, or did I misunderstand you, or have you changed your opinion? But I shall either ascertain your opinion from the letter I am now expecting, or I shall draw another letter from you. No news as yet from Brundisium.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 08 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.2A: 'WHAT a difficult, what a hopeless thing! You pass over no point in giving your advice, and yet how completely you fail to reveal what your real opinion is! You are glad that I am not with Pompey, and yet you suggest how discreditable it would be for me to be in the House when any attack is made on him; yet shocking to approve his conduct...
...Certainly. To speak against him, then? "God forbid!" say you.
What, then, is to be done, if the one course is criminal, the other exposed to punishment?
"You will obtain permission," say you, "from Caesar to absent yourself and live in retirement." Am I to implore this permission, then? How humiliating! What if I fail to get it?
Again, you say, "The question of your triumph will be unprejudiced." What if this very thing is used to put pressure upon me? Should I accept it? What a disgrace! Should I decline it? Caesar will think that I am repudiating his whole policy, as formerly in the case of the land commission.
Why, in excusing himself, he always throws the whole blame for what then happened on me, saying that I was so bitterly opposed to him, that I would not accept even an honour at his hands. With how much greater irritation will he take a similar proceeding from me now? It will, of course, be greater in proportion as this honour is greater than the former, and he is himself in a stronger position.
But you say that you have no doubt I am in very bad odour with Pompey by this time: I don't see why that should be the case, particularly at this time. Shall a man who never told me anything about his plan, till after he had lost Corfinium, complain of my not having come to Brundisium, when Caesar lay between me and Brundisium?
In the next place, complaint on his side he must know to be barred. He considers that I was clearer sighted than he about the weakness of the municipal towns, the levies, the maintenance of peace, the city, money, and the need of occupying Picenum.
If, on the other hand, I don't go when it is in my power, he will have some right to be angry with me: and I shrink from that, not for fear of his hurting me—-for what could he do? And Who is a slave who does not fear to die? [Note] But because I have a horror of ingratitude. I feel confident, therefore, that my arrival in his camp, whenever it takes place, will, as you say, be welcome enough. For as to what you say, "If Caesar acts with more moderation you will reconsider your advice to me "- how can he help behaving ruthlessly? Character, previous career, the very nature of his present undertaking, his associates, the strength of the loyalists, or even their firmness, all forbid it.
I had scarcely read your letter, when Curtius Postumus called on me as he was hurrying to join Caesar, talking of nothing but fleets and armies—"Caesar was going to seize the Spains, occupy Asia, Sicily, Africa, Sardinia, and was promptly pursuing Pompey into Greece." I must start, therefore, with the view of sharing not so much in a war as in a stampede. For I shall never be able to stand the gossip of your folk at Rome, whatever they are, for loyalists they are not, in spite of their name.
Nevertheless, it is precisely that which I want to know— what they say; and I earnestly entreat you to make inquiries and inform me. As yet I am entirely ignorant of what has happened at Brundisium: when I know, I shall shape my plans in the light of facts and circumstances, but I shall consult you.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 09 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.3: 'THE son of Domitius passed through Formiae on the 8th of March, hurrying to his mother at Naples, and on my slave Dionysius putting some earnest questions to him about his father, he bade him tell me that he was outside the city. I, however, had been told that he had gone either to join Pompey or into Spain...
...What the truth of the matter is I should like very much to know: for it affects the question on which I am now deliberating, that, if Domitius, at any rate, has failed to find an exit from Italy, Gnaeus should understand that my own departure from Italy is not easy, occupied as it now is throughout with arms and garrisons, especially in the winter season. For if it had been a more convenient season of the year, I might have sailed even on the Lower Sea. As it is, a passage is impossible except by the Upper Sea, to which my road is closed. Be good enough to inquire, therefore, about both Domitius and Lentulus.
No rumour has come as yet from Brundisium, and today is the 9th, on which (or on the day before) I imagine that Caesar has reached Brundisium. For he halted at Arpi on the 1st. But if you choose to believe Postumus, he was intending to pursue Gnaeus. For by a calculation of the state of the weather and days he concluded that the latter had already crossed. I said I didn't think Caesar would have crews: Postumus felt confident on that point, and all the more, because Caesar's liberality had been heard of by shipowners. But it cannot now be long before I learn the entire state of affairs at Brundisium.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 10 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.5: 'ON your birthday you wrote me a letter full of advice, and not only shewing the greatest kindness to me, but also the most admirable wisdom. Philotimus delivered it to me the day after receiving it from you...
...The points you put are indeed of extreme difficulty—the journey to the Upper Sea, a voyage by the Lower, a departure to Arpinum, lest I should seem to have avoided Caesar, a continuance at Formiae, lest I should seem to have put myself forward to congratulate him—but nothing is more distressing than the sight of those things, which, I tell you, must before long be seen.
Curtius Postumus has been with me: I told you how oppressive he was. Q. Fufius also has been to see me. What a triumphant look! What assurance! Post haste for Brundisium: denouncing the crime of Pompey, the recklessness and folly of the senate. If I can't stand such things in my own villa, shall I be able to put up with Curtius in the senate-house? But suppose me to endure this with good temper, what will be the sequel of the usual "Speak, Marcus Tullius"?
To say nothing of the Republican cause, which I look upon as lost, both from the wounds inflicted on it and the cures prepared for them, what am I to do about Pompey? With whom—for why should I deny it ?-I am downright angry. For I am always more affected by the causes of events than by the events themselves. Therefore, turning over these disastrous events in my mind—and what could be more disastrous!-or rather, coming to the conclusion that they are his doing and his fault, I feel more hostile to him than to Caesar himself: just as our ancestors decided that the day of the battle of the Allia was more fatal than that of the capture of the city, because the latter evil was the result of the former; and accordingly the one day is even now regarded as accursed, while the other is generally unknown—so I, remembering the errors of ten years, among which was also that year which ruined me, without his defending me (not to put it more strongly), and being fully aware of the rashness, incompetence, and carelessness of the present management, felt my anger growing.
But that is all forgotten now. It is of his kindness that I think, and also of my own position. I understand-later, indeed, than I could have wished, thanks to the letters and conversations of Balbus—I see plainly, I repeat, that the one object now, nay, the one object from the beginning, was the death of Pompey.
As for me, therefore, since Homer's hero, when his goddess mother said to him, "For next to Hector's death thy doom is fixed," answered his mother: Death, then! since fate allowed me not to save "The friend I loved."
What should I do for one who was not merely a "friend," but a "benefactor" also? One, too, of such a great character, and engaged in such a great cause? Why, in truth, I regard such duties as worth the loss of life. In your Optimates, however, I have no sort of confidence, and henceforth do not devote myself either to their service. I see how they are surrendering themselves to Caesar, and will continue to do so in the future. Do you suppose that those decrees of the municipalities as to Pompey's illness are to be compared with these congratulations now offered to Caesar on his victory? "All terror," you will say. Yes, but they themselves assert that they were alarmed on the former occasion.
However, let us wait to see what has happened at Brundisium. Perhaps from that may come a change of plan and in the tone of my letters.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 11 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.6: 'NOTHING as yet from Brundisium. Balbus has written from Rome that he thinks that the consul Lentulus has by this time crossed, and that the younger Balbus did not succeed in getting an interview with him; because the young man heard this news at Canusium, and had written to him from that town...
...He says, too, that the six cohorts which were at Alba had joined Curius by the Minucian road: that Caesar had written to tell him that, and he would himself be shortly at the city. Therefore I shall follow your advice, and shall not go into hiding at Arpinum at the present time, although, as I wished to give my son his toga virilis at Arpinum, I contemplated leaving this excuse for Caesar. But perhaps that very thing would offend him—"Why not at Rome rather?" And after all, if meet him I must, I would rather it were here than anywhere.
Then I shall consider the rest, that is, whither and by what road and when I am to go. Domitius, I hear, is at Cosa, ready, too, I am told, to set sail: if to Spain I don't approve, if to join Gnaeus I commend him: he had better go anywhere than have to see Curtius, of whom, though his patron, I cannot stand the sight.
What, then, am I to say of the rest? But, I suppose, we had better keep quiet, lest we prove our own error, who, while loving the city, that is, our country, and while thinking that the matter would be patched up, have so managed matters as to be completely intercepted and made prisoners.
I had written thus far when a letter arrived from Capua, as follows: Pompey has crossed the sea with all the men he had with him. The total is 30,000; besides the consuls, two tribunes of the plebs, and the senators who were with him, all with wives and children. He is said to have embarked on the 4th of March. Since that day the north wind has prevailed. They say that he disabled or burnt all such ships as he did not use.
On this subject a letter has been received at Capua by L. Metellus, the tribune, from his mother-in-law Clodia, who has herself crossed. I was anxious and full of pain before, as, of course, the bare facts of the case compelled, when I found myself unable to unravel the mystery by any consideration; but now, when Pompey and the consuls have left Italy, I am not merely pained, I am burning with indignation: "Reason deserts her throne, And I am torn with grief."
Believe me, I really am beside myself to think of the dishonour I have brought upon myself. That I, in the first place, should not be with Pompey, whatever plan he has followed, nor, in the second place, with the loyalists, however imprudently managed their cause! Especially, too, when those very persons, for whose sake I was somewhat timid in trusting myself to fortune-wife, daughter, son, and nephew-prefered that I should follow that design, and thought that my present plan was discreditable and unworthy of me. For, as to my brother Quintus, whatever I determined upon he said that he considered right, and he accepted it with the most absolute acquiescence.
I am reading over your letters from the beginning of the business. They somewhat relieve me. The earliest ones warn and entreat me not to be precipitate. The next indicate that you are glad that I stayed. Whilst reading them I feel less base, but only while I read them.
Presently grief and the "vision of shame" rises again. Wherefore, my dear Titus, pray pluck out this sorrow from my mind, or at least mitigate it by consoling words or advice, or by anything you can. But what could you or any human being do? It is now almost beyond the power of God.
For my part, my object now, as you advise and think possible, is to obtain leave from Caesar to absent myself when any motion is being made against Pompey in the senate. But I fear I may not obtain the concession. Furnius has arrived from Caesar. To shew you the sort of men we are following, he tells me that the son of Q. Titinius is with Caesar, but that the latter thanks me even more than I could wish. What, however, it is that he asks of me, expressed indeed, for his part, in few words, but still en grand seigneur, you may learn from his own letter.
How distressed I am at your ill-health: if we had only been together, you would at least not have wanted advice. For "two heads," you know. But don't let us cry over spilt milk: let us do better for the future.
Up to this time I have been mistaken in two particulars: at the beginning I hoped for peace, and, if that were once gained, was prepared to be content with the life of a private citizen, and an old age freed from anxiety: and later, I found that a bloody and destructive war was being undertaken by Pompey. Upon my honour, I thought it shewed a better man and a better citizen to suffer any punishment whatever rather than, I don't say to lead, but even to take part in such bloody work. I think it would have been better even to die than to be with such men. I shall bear any result with greater courage than such a pain.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 12 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.4: 'Although any feeling of repose is for me confined to the time I spend in writing to you or reading a letter from you, yet I am myself at a loss for a subject for my letters, and I feel certain that the same is the case with you. For the topics usually filling familiar letters, written with an easy mind, are excluded by the critical nature of these times; while those connected with the crisis we have already worn threadbare...
...Nevertheless, not to surrender myself wholly to sorrowful reflexions, I have selected certain theses, so to speak, which have at once a general bearing on a citizen's duty, and a particular relation to the present crisis:
Ought one to remain in one's country when under a tyrant? If one's country is under a tyrant ought one to labour at all hazards for the abolition of the tyranny, even at the risk of the total destruction of the city? Or ought we to be on our guard against the man attempting the abolition, lest he should rise too high himself?
Ought one to assist one's country when under a tyrant by seizing opportunities and by argument rather than by war?
Is it acting like a good citizen to quit one's country when under a tyrant for any other land, and there to remain quiet, or ought one to face any and every danger for liberty's sake?
Ought one to wage war upon and besiege one's native town, if it is under a tyrant?
Even if one does not approve an abolition of a tyranny by war, ought one still to enroll oneself in the ranks of the loyalists?
Ought one in politics to share the dangers of one's benefactors and friends, even though one does not think their general policy to be wise?
Should a man who has done conspicuous services to his country, and on that very account has been shamefully treated and exposed to envy, voluntarily place himself in danger for his country, or may he be permitted at length to take thought for himself and those nearest and dearest to him, giving up all political struggles against the stronger party?
By keeping myself at work on questions such as these, and discussing both sides both in Greek and Latin, I at once distract my mind for a time from its anxieties, and at the same time attempt the solution of a problem now very much to the point.
But I fear you may find me unseasonable; for if the bearer of this keeps up the proper pace, it will reach you exactly on your ague day.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 13 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.7: 'I wrote you a letter on the 12th of March, but the messenger to whom I intended to give it did not start on that day. But there did arrive that very day that "swiftfoot" mentioned by Salvius. He brought me your full and very interesting letter, which did, so to speak, put just a drop of life into me: for wholly restored I can't say that I am...
...But you have clearly done the main thing. Yes, believe me, a prosperous issue for me is not now my aim at all: for I see plainly that we can never have our constitution, either while these two men are both alive, or with this one remaining. Accordingly, I no longer entertain any hope of repose for myself, nor refuse to contemplate any amount of sorrow.
The one thing I do positively dread is doing, or, I should say, having done anything dishonourable. So be assured that your letter was wholesome for me, and I don't only mean this longer one-the most explicit and complete possible—but also the shorter one, in which what gave me the most intense pleasure was the statement that my policy and action had the approval of Sextus. I am exceedingly obliged to you, of whose affection to myself and keen sense of what is right I am well aware.
Your longer letter, indeed, relieved not only myself, but all my party from painful feelings. So I will follow your advice and remain at Formiae: I shall thus avoid the scandal of a meeting with him outside the city, or, if I see him neither here nor there, giving him the impression of his having been intentionally avoided by me.
As to your advice to ask him to allow me to shew the same consideration for Pompey, as I have shewn to himself—that you will see from the letters of Balbus and Oppius, of which I sent you copies, I have been doing all the time. I send you also Caesar's letter to them, written in quite a sane frame of mind, considering the insanity of the whole business.
If, on the other hand, Caesar will not make this concession to me, I see your opinion is that my role should be that of the peacemaker. In this it is not the danger that I fear—for with so many hanging over my head, why not settle the matter by choosing the most honourable?-but what I do fear is embarrassing Pompey; and that he should turn upon me "The monster Gorgon's petrifying glare." For our friend Pompey has set his heart to a surprising degree on imitating Sulla's reign.
I am not speaking without book, I assure you. He never made less of a secret of anything.
"With such a man," you will say, "do you wish to be associated?" I follow personal obligation, not the cause: as I did in the case of Milo, and in—but there is no need to go into that.
"Is not the cause, then, a good one?" Nay, the best: but it will be conducted, remember, in the most criminal way. The first plan is to choke off the city and Italy by starving them; the next, to devastate the country with sword and fire, and not to keep their hands off the money of the wealthy. But seeing that I fear the same from Caesar's side, without any good to be got on Pompey's, I think my better course is to stay at home, and there await whatever comes.
Yet I hold myself to be under so great an obligation to him, that I do not venture to incur the charge of ingratitude. However, you have yourself fully stated what is to he said in defence of that course.
As to the triumph, I quite agree with you: it will not cost me a moment's hesitation or a pang to throw it utterly aside. I much like your idea that, while I am moving about the country, "the moment for sailing" may suddenly present itself.
"If only," say you, "Pompey shews a resolute front enough." He is even more resolute than I thought. You may pin your faith on him. I promise you that, if he wins, he will not leave a tile on any roof in Italy!
"You his ally, then?" Yes, by Hercules, against my own judgment, and against the warnings of all history; and—not so much to help his side, as to avoid seeing what is going on here—I am anxious to quit the country. For pray don't imagine that the mad proceedings of the party in Italy will be endurable or all of one kind. I need hardly, however, point out to you, that when laws, jurors, law courts, and senate are abolished, neither the fortunes of individuals nor the revenues of the state will suffice for the licentious desires, the shameless demands, the extravagances, and the necessities of so many men in the lowest depths of poverty.
Let me depart, therefore, never mind by what kind of voyage-that, indeed, shall be as you please—but anyhow let me depart. For I, at least, shall be able to satisfy your curiosity on one point, as to what has been done at Brundisium.
I am very glad-if one can be glad of anything now—to hear that my conduct up to this has the approval of the loyalists, and that they are aware of my not having started. As to Lentulus, I will make more careful inquiry: I have given orders about it to Philotimus, a man of courage and even too strong an Optimate.
The last thing I have to say is this: supposing you are now at a loss for something to write about—for any other subject is out of the question, and what more can be found to say on this?-yet, as there is no lack of ability (I mean it, by Heaven!) or affection on your part, which latter also adds a spur to my own intellect, pray maintain your practice of writing all you possibly can.
I am a little vexed at your not inviting me to Epirus; I shouldn't give much trouble as a guest! But good-bye; for as you must have your walk and anointing, so I must have some sleep. In fact, your letter has made sleep possible for me.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 14 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.8: 'As we were at dinner on the 14th, and after nightfall indeed, Statius arrived with a short letter from you. You ask about L. Torquatus: not only Lucius, but Aulus also, has left the country, the latter a good many days ago. You mention the sale of prisoners at Reate: I am sorry that the seeds of a proscription should be sown in the Sabine district. I too had been informed that there were numerous senators at Rome. Can you give any reason why they ever left town? In these parts there is a notion-founded on conjecture rather than on message or despatch—that Caesar will be at Formiae on the 22nd of March. I could wish I had Homer's Minerva here disguised as Mentor, to say to her: "How shall I go then, O Mentor, and how shall I bear me before him?" I never had a harder problem to solve. Still I am trying to solve it, and I shall not be unprepared as far as is possible in a bad business. But look after your health, for I reckon that yesterday was your ague day.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 17 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.9: 'I RECEIVED three letters from you on the 16th of March. They were dated on the 12th, 13th, and 14th. So I will answer each in its order of time...
...I quite agree with you in thinking Formiae the best of all places for me to stay. I also agree with you about the Upper Sea, and I am very desirous, as I told you in a previous letter, to discover how I may without annoying Caesar avoid taking any part whatever in the conduct of public affairs.
You praise me for saying that I put away the memory of my friend's past and his shortcomings. I really do so: nay, I even forget those very injuries inflicted by him upon myself which you mention. So much more influence do I choose gratitude for kindness to have with me, than resentment for injury. Let me act, then, according to your opinion, and summon up all my energies. The fact is, I am philosophizing all the time I am riding about the country, and in the course of my expeditions I never cease meditating on my theses. But some of them are very difficult of solution.
As to the Optimates, be it as you will: but you know the proverb, "Dionysius at Corinth." The son of Titinius is with Caesar. You seem to have a kind of fear that I do not like your counsels: the fact, however, is that nothing else gives me any pleasure except your advice and your letters. Pray, therefore, keep to your word: do not cease writing to me whatever occurs to you: you can do me no greater favour.
I now come to your second. You are quite right to be incredulous about the number of Pompey's men. Clodia just doubled them in her letter. It was all a lie also about disabling the ships. You praise the consuls: so do I as far as their spirit is concerned, but I blame their policy. For by their departure the negotiation for peace was rendered impossible, which I for one was meditating.
Accordingly, after this I sent you back Demetrius's book "On Concord," and gave it to Philotimus. Nor have I any doubt left of a murderous war impending, which will begin with a famine. And yet I am vexed that I am not taking part in such a war! A war in which wickedness is certain to attain such dimensions, that, whereas it is a crime not to support one's parents, our leaders will think themselves entitled to starve to death the supreme and holiest of parents-their country! And this fear is not with me a matter of conjecture: I have heard their actual words. The whole object of collecting this fleet from Alexandria, Colchis, Tyre, Sidon, Aradus, Cyprus, Pamphylia, Lycia, Rhodes, Chios, Byzantium, Lesbos, Zmyrna, Miletus, Cos, is to intercept the supplies of Italy and blockade the Corn—growing provinces.
Then, again, in what a state of anger will Pompey come! and especially with the very men most anxious for his safety, as though he had been abandoned by those whom he, in fact, abandoned himself. Accordingly, in my state of doubt as to what it is right for me to do, my feeling of obligation to Pompey becomes a very weighty motive: if that feeling were away, it were better in my eyes to perish in my country, than to ruin it in the attempt to save it.
About the north wind it is clearly as you say: I am afraid Epirus may be harassed. But what part of Greece do you suppose will not be plundered? For Pompey gives out openly, and demonstrates to his soldiers, that he will outdo Caesar even in his liberality.
It is an excellent suggestion of yours that, when I do see Caesar, I should not speak with too much tolerance, but rather with a grave severity. I clearly ought to do so. I am thinking of Arpinum, but not till I have had my meeting with him; thus avoiding being absent when he arrives, or having to hurry backwards and forwards along a detestably bad road.
I am told, as you say in your letter, that Bibulus has arrived and started back again on the 14th. You were expecting Philotimus, you say in your third letter. But he only left me on the 15th. That was why you got my letter in reply to yours rather late, though I wrote the answer at once.
I agree with what you say about Domitius—he is at Cosa, and no one knows what his design is. Yes, that basest, meanest fellow in the world, who says that a consular election can be held by a praetor, is the same as he always was in constitutional matters.
So of course that was what Caesar meant by saying in the letter, of which I sent you a copy, "that he wished to avail himself of my advice, (well, well! that is a mere generality), "of my popularity" (that's empty flattery—but I suppose he adopts that tone with a view to my influencing certain senatorial votes), "of my position" (perhaps he means my vote as a consular). He finishes up by saying "of my help in every particular." I had already begun to suspect from your letter that this was the real meaning of it, or something very like it. For it is of great importance to him that there should not be an interregnum: and that he secures, if the consuls are "created" by the praetor.
However, it is on record in our augural books that, so far from consuls being legally capable of being created by a praetor, the praetors themselves cannot be so created, and that there is no precedent for it: that it is illegal in case of the consuls, because it is not legal for the greater imperium to be proposed to the people by the less; in case of the praetors, because their names are submitted to the people as colleagues of the consuls, to whom belongs the greater imperium.
Before long he will be demanding that my vote in the college should be given, and he won't be content with Galba, Scaevola, Cassius, and Antonius: "Then let the wide earth gape and swallow me". But you see what a storm is impending. Which of the senators have crossed the sea I will tell you when I know for certain.
About the corn-supply you are quite right, it cannot possibly be managed without a revenue: and you have good reason for fearing the clamorous demands of Pompey's entourage, and an unnatural war. I should much like to see my friend Trebatius, though, as you say, he is in despair about everything. Pray urge him to make haste and come: for it will be a great convenience to see him before Caesar's arrival.
As to the property at Lanuvium, as soon as I heard of Phamea's death, I conceived the wish-provided the constitution was to survive—that some one of my friends should buy it, yet I never thought of you, the greatest of my friends. For I knew that you usually wanted to know how many years' purchase it was worth, and what was the value of the fixtures, and I had seen your digamma not only at Rome, but also at Delos. After all, however, I value it, pretty as it is, at less price than it was valued in the consulship of Marcellinus, when I thought-owing to the house I possessed at that time at Antium—that those little pleasure-grounds would suit me better, and be less expensive, than repairing my Tusculan house.
I was then willing to give 500 sestertia (about £4,000) for them. I made an offer through a third person, which he refused, when he was putting it up for sale at Antium. But in these days I presume all such properties are gone down in value, owing to the dearness of money. It will suit me exactly, or rather us, if you buy it. But don't be put off by the late owner's follies: it is really a lovely place. However, all such properties appear to me to be now doomed to desolation.
I have answered your three letters, but am expecting others. For up to this time it is letters from you that have kept me going.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 18 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.10: 'I have nothing to write about: for I have heard no news and I answered all your letters yesterday. But as uneasiness of mind not only deprives me of sleep, but prevents my even keeping awake without extreme pain, I have begun this letter to you—I can't tell what about, and I have no subject to hand—that I may in a manner have a talk with you, the one thing which gives me any repose...
...I think I have been a fool from the beginning, and the one thing that torments me is that I did not follow Pompey, like any private in the ranks, when, in every part of his policy, he was losing his footing, or rather rushing headlong to ruin.
On the 17th of January I could see that he was thoroughly frightened. On that very day I detected his design. From that moment he forfeited my confidence, and never ceased committing one blunder after another. Meanwhile, never a line to me; no thought of anything but flight. Need I say more?
As in love affairs men lose all fancy for women who are dirty, stupid, and indelicate, even so, the indecency of his flight and mismanagement put me off from my love for him. For in no respect was he acting in a way to make it proper for me to join his flight.
Now love again rises: now my regret for him is more than I can bear: now I can get no good out of books, literature, or philosophy. So earnestly as I gaze across the sea, do I long, like Plato's bird, to fly away. I am being punished, indeed I am, for my rashness. Yet what did that rashness amount to? What have I done without the most anxious consideration?
If his only object had been flight, I could have fled with the utmost pleasure, but it was the nature of the war, beyond measure sanguinary and widespread, the future of which men do not yet realize, that I shrank from with horror. What threats to the towns, to individual loyalists personally, to everybody, in fact, who stayed in Rome! How often did I hear "Sulla could do it, why not I?" For myself I was haunted with the reflexions: it was unrighteous of Tarquinius to stir up Porsena and Octavius Mamilius against his country; impious in Coriolanus to seek aid from the Volsci; righteous in Themistocles to prefer death; Hippias, son of Pisistratus, who fell in the battle of Marathon bearing arms against his country, was Criminal.
But it may be said that Sulla, Marius, and Cinna had right on their side: rather I should perhaps admit that they had a technical justification; yet what could be more cruel and bloody than their use of victory? It was the nature of the war that I shrank from, and the more so because I saw that even bloodier work was being imagined and prepared. I—whom some called the preserver of this city, some its parent—I to bring against it armies of the Getae, Armenians, and Colchians! I to inflict famine on my fellow citizens, devastation upon Italy!
Caesar, to begin with, I reflected was mortal, and in the next place might also come to an end in many ways: but the City and our people I thought ought to be preserved, as far as in us lay, for ever: and, after all, I pleased myself by hoping that some accommodation would be reached rather than the one of these men commit such a crime, or the other such an abomination.
The matter is now wholly changed, and so are my feelings. The sun, as you said in one of your letters, seems to me to have disappeared from the universe. As in the case of a sick man one says, "While there is life there is hope," so, as long as Pompey was in Italy, I did not cease to hope. It is the present situation, the present, I say, that has baffled my calculations. And to confess the truth, my age, now after my long day's labour sloping towards an evening of repose, has relaxed my energies by suggesting the charms of family life.
But now, however dangerous the experiment of attempting to fly hence, that experiment shall at least be made. I ought, perhaps, to have done so before. But the considerations I have mentioned held me back, and above all things your influence. For when I got to this point in my letter, I unrolled the volume of your letters, which I keep under seal and preserve with the greatest care. Now there were in the letter dated by you the 21st of January the following expression: "But let us first see what Gnaeus is about, and in what direction his plans are drifting. Now, if he does abandon Italy, he will be acting certainly improperly, and, in my opinion, unwisely too. But it will be time enough, when he does that, to make a change in our policy." This you write on the fourth day after our quitting the city.
Next on the 23rd of January: "May our friend Gnaeus only not abandon Italy, as he has unwisely done Rome!" On the same day you write a second letter, in which you answer my application for advice in the plainest terms. This is what you say: "To come to the point on which you ask my opinion If Gnaeus quits Italy, I think you should return to the city: for what limit can there be to such a trip abroad as that?" This is what I could not get over: and I now see that attached to a most humiliating flight, which you euphemistically call a "trip abroad," is an unlimited war.
Then follows your prophecy of the 25th of January: "If Pompey remains in Italy, and no terms are come to, I think there will be an unusually long war: but if he abandons Italy, I think that there awaits us in the future a really 'truceless' war." It is in such a war, then, that I am forced to be an abettor-one that is both truceless and with fellow citizens.
Again, on the 7th of February, when you had heard more particulars of Pompey's designs, you end a certain letter thus; "For my part, if Pompey quits Italy, I should not advise your doing the same. For you will be running a very great risk and be doing no good to the Republic, to which you may be of some service hereafter if you remain." What patriot or statesman would not such advice, backed by the weight of wisdom and friendship, have moved?
Next, on the 11th of February, you again answer my request for advice thus: "You ask me whether I advise flight, or defend delay, and consider it the better course: for the present, indeed, my opinion is that a sudden departure and hurried start would be, both for yourself and Gnaeus useless and dangerous, and I think it better that you should be separate and each on his own watchtower. But, on my honour, I think it disgraceful for us to be thinking of flight!" This "disgraceful" measure our friend Gnaeus had contemplated two years ago: for so long a time past has his mind been set on playing the Sulla and indulging in proscriptions.
Then, as I think, after you had written to me again in somewhat more general terms, and I had taken certain expressions of yours as advising me to leave Italy, you warmly disavow any such meaning on the 19th of February. "I certainly have not indicated in any letter of mine that, if Gnaeus quits Italy, you should do so with him: or, if I did so express myself, I was, I don't say inconsistent, but mad." In another passage of the same letter you say: "Nothing is left for him but flight, in which I do not think, and never have thought, that you, should share."
This whole question again you discuss in greater detail in a letter of the 22nd of February: "If M. Lepidus and L. Volcatius stay, I think you should stay also: with the understanding, however, that, if Pompey survives and makes a stand anywhere, you should leave this inferno, and be more content to be beaten in the contest along with him, than reign with Caesar in the sink of iniquity which will evidently prevail here." You adduce many arguments to support this opinion. Then at the end you say: "What if Lepidus and Volcatius depart? In that case I doubt. So I think you must acquiesce in whatever happens and whatever you have done." If you had felt doubt before, you have now, at any rate, no hesitation, since those two are still in Italy.
Again, when the flight had become an accomplished fact, on the 25th of February: "Meanwhile, I feel no doubt you had better remain at Formiae. That will be the most suitable place for waiting to see what turns up."
On the 1st of March, when Pompey had been four days at Brundisium: "We shall be able to deliberate then no longer, it is true, with quite free hands, but certainly less fatally committed than if you had taken the great plunge in his company."
Then on the 4th of March, though writing briefly, because it was the eve of your attack of ague, you yet use this expression: "I will write at greater length tomorrow; however, speaking generally, I will say this—that I do not repent my advice as to your staying, and though with great anxiety, yet, because I think it involves less evil than your starting would do, I abide by my opinion and rejoice that you have stayed."
Moreover, when I was now in great pain, and was fearing that I had been guilty of a base act, on the 5th of March you say: "After all, I am not sorry that you are not with Pompey. Hereafter, if it turns out to be necessary, there will be no difficulty: and at whatever time it takes place, it will be welcome to him. But I speak on the understanding that, if Caesar goes on as he has begun, and acts with sincerity, moderation, and wisdom, I shall have thoroughly to reconsider the position, and to look with greater care into what is for our advantage to do."
On the 9th of March you say that our friend Peducaeus also approves of my having kept quiet; and his opinion has great weight with me.
From these expressions in your letters I console myself with the belief that as yet I have done no wrong. Only pray justify your advice. There is no need to do so as far as I am concerned, but I want others to be in the same boat as myself. If I have done nothing wrong in the past, I will maintain the same blamelessness in the future. Only pray continue your exhortation that direction, and assist me by communicating your thoughts.
Nothing has as yet been heard here about Caesar's return.
For myself, I have got thus much good by writing this letter: I have read through all yours, and have found repose in that.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 20 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.11: 'Do you know that our friend Lentulus is at Puteoli? Having been told this by a passer-by, who said that he had recognized him on the Appia upon his partly drawing the curtain of his sedan, though it was in itself probable, I yet sent some servants to Puteoli to inquire and take him a letter...
...He was discovered with some difficulty, as he was keeping himself concealed in his villa, and he sent me back an answer containing wonderful expressions of gratitude to Caesar; but as to his own plans he said that he had given C. Caecius a message for me. I am expecting him today, that is, the 20th of March. Matius also came to see me on the Quinquatrus (19th of March), a man, by Hercules, as he seemed to me, of moderate and sensible views. Certainly he has always been regarded as a promoter of peace. How strongly he appealed to me to disapprove what, is going on in Italy! How fearful of that inferno, as you call it!
In the course of a long conversation I shewed him Caesar's letter to me, the one of which I have sent you a copy before, and asked him to explain the sentence in it—"he wished to avail himself of my advice, influence, position, and help in all ways." He replied that he had no doubt that he wanted my help and my influence for effecting a pacification. I only wish I could effect and carry through some politic move in the present distressing circumstances of the state! For his part, Matius felt confident that that was Caesar's feeling, and promised that he would promote it.
However, on the day previous Crassipes had been with me, who said that he had quitted Brundisium on the 6th of March and had left Pompey there: and the same news was brought also by those who quitted that place on the 8th. They one and all, even Crassipes—who is a sensible enough man to take note of what was going on—tell the same story of threatening speeches, alienation from the Optimates, hostility to the municipal towns, undisguised proscriptions—Sullas pure and simple. What things Lucceius says, and the whole posse of Greeks, and Theophanes at their head!
And yet there is no hope of safety except in them: and I am keeping my mind on the watch, and passing sleepless nights, and yearning to be with men exactly the opposite of myself, in order to escape the abominations going on here! For there—what crime do you suppose Scipio, Faustus, Libo will stick at, whose creditors are said to be actually arranging to sell them up? What do you suppose they are likely to do to the citizens, if they turn out the winning side?
Moreover, what a poltroon our Gnaeus is! They tell me he is thinking of Egypt, Arabia Felix, and Mesopotamia, and has now quite abandoned Spain. The reports are outrageous, but they may possibly be untrue: yet at best all is lost here, and far from safe there.
I am beginning to pine for a letter from you. Since our flight there has never been so long a break in them.
I send you a copy of my letter to Caesar, by which I think I shall do some good.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 20 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.12: 'I HAD just read your letter on the 20th, when a packet was brought me from Lepta saying that Pompey had been completely invested, that even the channels of the harbour were blocked up with vessels. Upon my honour, tears prevent my thinking of or writing the rest. I send you a copy...
...What wretches we have been! Why did we not follow his fortunes to the end? Oh, here's the same news from Matius and Trebatius, who have been met by Caesar's letter-bearers at Minturnae. I feel so wracked with misery that I long for an end like that of Mucius. Yet how honourable, how clear is your advice, how thoroughly thought out, in regard to my journey by land as well as by sea, and my meeting and conversation with Caesar! There is honour and caution alike in every word.
Your invitation to Epirus, too, how kindly, how courteous, how brotherly it is! I am surprised at Dionysius, who has been treated with greater honour in my family than Panaetius was in Scipio's: yet my unfortunate position has been regarded by him with the foulest contempt. I detest the fellow, and always shall. I only wish I could be even with him! But his own character will be his punishment.
Yes, pray, now of all times turn over in your mind what I ought to do. An army of the Roman people is actually surrounding Gnaeus Pompeius: it has inclosed him with foss and palisade; it is preventing his escape. Are we alive? Is our city still intact? Are the praetors presiding in the courts, the aediles making preparations for their games, the Optimates entering their investments, I myself sitting quietly looking on? Am I to make an effort to reach Pompey like a madman? Am I to appeal to the loyalty of the municipal towns? The loyalists won't follow me, the careless will laugh me to scorn, the revolutionists-especially now that they are successful and fully armed-will use main force to me.
What is your opinion, then? Have you any advice to give as to how to put an end to this most wretched state of existence? It is now that I feel the pang, the torture—now that some one is found to think me either wise or lucky for not having gone. My feeling is the reverse. For while I was never willing to be the partner of his victory, I should have preferred having been associated with his disaster.
Why, then, should I now appeal to your letter, to your wisdom, or your kindness? It is all over. Nothing can help me now: for I have now nothing even to wish for, except to be set free by some merciful stroke of the enemy.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 20 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.13: '"Tis no true tale"—as I think—that about the ships. For in that case what would have been the meaning of Dolabella's words in his letter, dated from Brundisium on the 13th of March, when he mentioned it as a success on the part of Caesar that Pompey was in full retreat, and was going to sail with the first favourable wind?...
...This is quite inconsistent with those letters, of which I have already sent you copies. Here, indeed, they talk of nothing but disaster. But we have no more recent authority, and of this particular fact no better one, than Dolabella.
I have received your letter of the 22nd of March, in which you propose to postpone all plans till we know what has happened. Of course that is quite right: and meanwhile it is impossible not merely to settle but even to consider any plan. However, this letter of Dolabella's inclines me to recur to my original ideas. For on the day before the Quinquatrus (18th of March) the weather was splendid, and I suppose he has taken advantage of it.
That precis of your advice was not made by me by way of reproach to you, but rather to console myself. For the evils of the time were not causing me so much vexation, as the idea of my having done wrong and acted rashly. I have now got rid of that idea, since my actions and plans coincide with your suggestions.
You remark in your letter that it is rather my avowal of Pompey's services, than the actual amount of them, that makes me seem to be under an obligation to him. That is true: I have always magnified them, and the more so that I might prevent his thinking that I remembered his earlier conduct. However much I might remember this, I should yet be bound to follow the example he set at that time.
He gave me no aid when he might have done so. True: but afterwards he was my friend, and a very warm one, I don't at all know why. Therefore I too will be his friend. Nay, more, there is this analogy in our two cases, that we have been betrayed by the same people. But oh, that it had been in my power to render him as important a service, as he was able to render me! After all, I am exceedingly grateful for what he did; yet, at the present moment, I neither know how to help him, nor, if I could, should I think I ought to assist him while preparing to engage on such an execrable war. Only I don't wish to hurt his feelings by remaining here. I should neither have the resolution, by Hercules! to watch the events, which you can even now foresee in imagination, nor to take part in those unhappy measures.
But I was all the slower to depart, from the difficulty of imagining a voluntary departure when there is no hope of a return. For I see that Caesar is so well equipped with infantry, cavalry, fleets, and Gallic auxiliaries. About these last I suppose Matius was talking big, but he certainly said that 10,000 infantry and 6,ooo cavalry promised their services at their own expense for ten years. But grant this to be gasconnade. He certainly has great forces, and he will not merely have the revenue of Italy, but the property of the citizens.
Add to this the man's own self-confidence and the weakness of the loyalists, who, in fact, because they think Pompey deservedly enraged with them, have, as you expressed it, become disgusted with the game. Yes, but I could have wished that you had indicated who these men were. The fact is that Caesar, because he has done much less than he threatened, is regarded with affection; while in every direction those who loved Pompey now cease to do so. The municipal towns, in fact, and the Romans living in the country fear Pompey, and are still attached to Caesar.
Accordingly, the latter is so well prepared that, even if he proves unable to win a victory, I yet cannot see how he can be beaten himself. For myself, I am not so much afraid of Caesar's sorcery, as of his power of compulsion. "For the requests of tyrants," as Plato says,"you know, partake of the nature of commands."
I see you don't like a place of residence for me without a port. Neither do I: but the fact is I have there both a means of concealment and a trusty band of followers. If I could have had the same at Brundisium, I should have preferred it. But concealment is impossible there. However, as you say, when we know! I am not very careful to excuse myself to the loyalists. For what dinners they are giving and attending, according to Sextus's letter to me! How splendid, how early! But let them be as loyalist as they please, they are not more so than we are. I should have cared more for their opinion, if they had shewn more courage.
I was wrong about Phamea's estate at Lanuvium. I was dreaming of one near Troja. I wanted it for Quintus; but it is too dear. I should, however, have liked to buy that one, if I had seen any prospect of enjoying it.
What, frightful news we are reading every day you will understand from the small roll inclosed in this packet. Our friend Lentulus is at Puteoli, distracted with doubt, he too, as Caecius tells me, as to what to do. He is in terror of a contretemps like that at Corfinium. He thinks that he had done his duty to Pompey, and is affected by Caesar's magnanimous treatment, but still more, after all, by the outlook in the future.
Can you endure this? It is a lamentable business altogether, but nothing can be more lamentable than this: Pompey has sent N. Magius to negotiate a peace, and yet is being besieged. I could not have believed it, but I have a letter from Balbus, of which I inclose a copy. Read it, I beg of you, and especially the last clause of the excellent Balbus himself, to whom our Gnaeus presented a site for a suburban villa, and whom he often preferred, did he not? to everyone of us!
Accordingly, the poor man is in a state of painful anxiety. But to save you the trouble of reading the same thing twice, I refer you to the letter itself. Hope of peace, however, I have none. Dolabella in his letter dated the 15th of March breathes nothing but war. Let us stick, then, to the same resolution, formed in sorrow and despair, since nothing can be more lamentable than this.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 25 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.14: 'I had sent you, on the 24th of March, a copy of a letter from Balbus to me and of Ceasar's to him. Lo and behold, on the same day I receive a letter from Q. Pedius, from Capua, telling me that Caesar had written to him on the 14th of March in the following words...
..."Pompey keeps himself in the town. Our camp is at the gates. We are attempting a difficult operation, and one which will occupy many days, owing to the depth of the sea; but nevertheless it is the best thing for us to do. We are throwing out moles from both headlands at the mouth of the harbour, in order to compel Pompey to take the forces he has at Brundisium across as soon as possible, or to prevent his getting out at all."
Where is the peace, as to which Balbus said that he was in a state of anxiety? Could there be anything more vindictive, more ruthless? Moreover, a certain person told me on good authority that Caesar gives out that he is avenging Cn. Carbo, M. Brutus, and all those on whom Sulla, with Pompey's assistance, had wreaked his cruelty; that Curio was doing nothing under his leadership which Pompey had not done under Sulla's; that he was seeking the restoration of those whose exile had not been inflicted upon them by earlier laws, while Pompey had restored men who had been traitors to their country; that he complained of the violence used to secure Milo's exile, but that, nevertheless, he would harm no one unless he appeared in array against him.
This is the story told by a certain Baebius, who left Curio on the 13th, a man who is not without some sense, but yet not capable of inventing this out of his own head.
I am quite at a loss what to do. From Brundisium, indeed, I suppose Pompey has already started. Whatever has happened, we shall know in two days. I haven't a line from you, not even by Anteros. No wonder: for what is there for us to write about? Nevertheless, I don't omit a single day.
P.S.—After this letter was written, I got a letter from Lepta before daybreak dated from Capua on the 15th of March. Pompey has embarked from Brundisium, but Caesar will be at Capua on the 26th of March.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 25 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.15: 'AFTER I had despatched the letter informing you that Caesar would be at Capua on the 26th, I received one from Capua saying that he would be in Curio's Alban villa on the 28th When I have seen him I shall go to Arpinum. If he grants me the indulgence I ask for, [Note] I shall avail myself of his terms: if not, I shall take my own line without consulting anyone but myself....
...Caesar, as he has informed me, has stationed a legion at Brundisium, Tarentum, and Sipontum respectively. He appears to me to be closing up exits by sea, and yet himself to have his eyes on Greece rather than on Spain. But these considerations are still remote. For the present I am at once excited by the idea of meeting him (and that is now close at hand), and alarmed as to his first political steps. For he will, I presume, want a decree of the senate, and also a decree of the augurs: we shall be hurried off to Rome or molested, if we hold aloof, with a view of either the praetor holding an election of consuls or naming a dictator, neither of which is constitutional. Although, if Sulla was able to secure being named dictator by an interrex, why should he not be able to do so?
I see no way out of it, except either meeting the fate of Q. Mucius from the one, or of L. Scipio [Note] from the other. By the time you read this, I shall perhaps have had my interview with him. "Endure! still worse a fate"—no, not even my own old misfortune! In that case there was a hope of a speedy return, there was universal remonstrance. In the present instance I am eager to quit the country, with what hope of return I cannot ever conceive. Again, not only is there no remonstrance on the part of townsmen and countryfolk, but, on the contrary, they are actually afraid of Pompey as bloodthirsty and enraged.
Nevertheless, nothing makes me more wretched than to have stayed here, and there is nothing that I more earnestly desire than to fly away, not so much to share in a war as in a flight. But you were for putting off all plans until such time as we knew what had happened at Brundisium. Well, we now know: but we are as undecided as ever. For I can scarcely hope that he will grant me this indulgence; although I have many fair pleas for obtaining it.
However, I will at once send you a verbatim report of everything he says to me and I to him. Pray strive with all the affection you have for me to assist me by your caution and wisdom. Caesar is travelling hither at such a pace, that I am unable to have an interview even with Titus Rebilus, apparently, that he will go to Pompey, but he doesn't want to say so clearly, as I had settled upon doing. I have to conduct the whole business without preparation. Yet, as the hero in the Odyssey says: "Some my own heart, and some will God suggest." Whatever I do you shall know promptly.
The demands of Caesar sent to Pompey and the consuls, for which you ask, I do not possess: nor did Lucius Caesar bring them in writing. I sent you at the time an account from which you might gather what the demands were. Philippus is at Naples, Lentulus at Puteoli. As to Domitius, continue your inquiries as to where he is, and what he contemplates doing.
You say that I have written more bitterly about Dionysius than suits my character. See what an old-fashioned man I am! I thought, upon my honour, that you would be annoyed at this affair more than I was myself. For, besides the fact that I think you ought to be moved by an injury done me by anyone, this man has also in a certain sense outraged yourself in having behaved badly to me. But what account you should take of this it is for you to judge. However, in this matter I don't wish to lay any burden upon you. For my part, I always thought him half cracked, now I think him a scoundrel and a good-for-nothing besides: and yet, after all, not a worse enemy to me than to himself.
What you said to Philargyrus was quite right: you certainly have a clear and good case in proving that I had been abandoned rather than had abandoned. When I had already despatched my letter on the 25th, the servants whom I had sent with Matius and Trebatius brought me a letter, of which this is a copy:
MATIUS AND TREBATIUS TO CICERO IMPERATOR.
After leaving Capua we heard, while on the road, that Pompey, with all the forces he had, started from Brundisium on the 15th of March: that Caesar next day entered the town, made a speech, hurried thence for Rome, intending to be at the city before the 1st of April and to remain there a few days, and then to start for Spain. We thought it the proper thing to do, since we were assured of Caesar's approach, to send your servants back to you, that you might be informed of it as early as possible. We do not forget your charges, and we will carry them out as circumstances shall demand. Trebatius is making great exertions to reach you before Caesar. After this letter had been written we received tidings that Caesar would stop at Beneventum on the 25th of March, at Capua on the 26th, at Sinuessa on the 27th. We think you may depend on this.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 26 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.16: 'Though I have nothing to write to you about, yet I send you this that I may not omit a single day...
...On the 27th it is announced that Caesar will stop at Sinuessa. I received a letter from him on the 26th, in which he now talks of looking forward to my "resources," not my "aid," [Note] as in his former letter. I had written to compliment him on the moderation of his conduct at Corfinium, and he answered me as follows:
CAESAR IMPERATOR TO CICERO IMPERATOR.
You judge me quite accurately—for my character is well known to you—when you say that nothing is more remote from my disposition than cruelty. For myself, as I take great delight in this policy for its own sake, so your approval of my action gives me a triumphant feeling of gladness. Nor am I shaken by the fact that those, who were allowed to go free by me, are said to have departed with the intention of renewing the war against me: for there is nothing I like better than that I should be what I am, they what they are.
I should be much obliged if you would meet me at the city, that I may, as ever, avail myself in all matters of your counsels and resources. Let me assure you that nothing gives me more pleasure than the presence of your son-in-law Dolabella. This additional favour I shall owe to him: for it will be impossible for him to act otherwise, considering his great kindness, his feeling, and his cordial goodwill towards myself.
Cicero: at Formiae, to Atticus at Rome; 27 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.17: 'I am expecting Trebatius on the 27th, the day I write this letter. From his report and the letter from Matius I shall consider what line to take in my conversation with Caesar. What an unfortunate crisis! I feel no doubt that he will urge me to come to the city. For he ordered a notice to be put up at Formiae, among other places, that he desired a full meeting of the senate on the 1st. Well, then, ought I to refuse him? But why anticipate? I will write you word at once of all that occurs. I will judge from what he says whether I am to go to Arpinum or elsewhere. I want to give my son his toga virilis. I think of doing it there. Pray consider what should be my next step, for troubles have made me stupid. I should like to know from Curius whether you have received any news of Tiro. For to me Tiro has himself written in such a tone as to alarm me about his health. Those, too, who come from those parts report that he is in a critical condition. This anxiety, in the midst of my other great ones, gives me much uneasiness: for in my present position his services, as well as his fidelity, would have been of great advantage.
Cicero: at Arpinum, to Atticus at Rome; 28 Mar -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.18: 'I FOLLOWED your advice in both particulars: for I spoke in such a manner as rather to gain his respect than his thanks, and I stuck to the resolution of not going to Rome. I found myself mistaken in one respect—in thinking that he would be easily satisfied. I never saw anything less so...
...He kept remarking that he was condemned by my decision, that the rest would be the slower to come, if I did not do so. I remarked that their case was unlike mine. After much discussion he said, "Come, then, and discuss the question of peace." "At my own discretion?" said I. "Am I to prescribe to you?" said he. "My motion will be this," said I, "that the senate disapproves of any going to Spain or taking armies across to Greece, and," I added, "I shall make many regretful marks as to Gnaeus." Thereupon he said, "Of course, I don't wish such things said." "So I supposed," said I, "but I must decline being present there, because I must either speak in this sense, and say many things which I could not possibly pass over, if present, or I must not come at all."
The upshot was that, by way of ending the discussion, he requested that I would think it over. I couldn't say no to that. So we parted. I feel certain, therefore, that he has no love for me. But I felt warm satisfaction with myself, which hasn't been the case for some time past. For the rest, good heavens! What a crew! What an inferno! to use your word. What a gang of bankrupts and desperadoes!
What is one to say of a son of Servius, a son of Tullus having been in the camp by which Pompey was besieged? Six legions! He is extra-ordinarily vigilant, extraordinarily bold: I see no limit to the mischief.
Now, at any rate, it is time for you to bring out your counsels. This is where you drew the line. Yet his closing remark in our interview, which I had almost forgotten to mention, was very offensive, that "if he was not allowed to avail himself of my counsels, he would avail himself of such as he could, and would scruple at nothing." \>"So you have seen with your own eyes," say you, "that the man is such as you described him to be. Did it cost you a sigh?" Yes, indeed.
"Tell me the rest." Well, he went straight off to his villa at Pedum, I to Arpinum. Next I await the "twittering swallow"—to which you refer.
"Come," you will say, "don't cry over spilt milk: even the leader himself, whom we are following, has made many mistakes."
But I wait for a letter from you. For you can't say, as in former ones, "Let us see how this turns out." The final test was to be our meeting, and in that I feel certain I have offended him. All the more prompt must be my next step. Pray send me a packet, and full of politics! I am very anxious for a letter from you.
Cicero: at Arpinum, to Atticus at Rome; 01 Apr -49 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%209.19: 'BEING debarred from Rome, I gave my son his toga virilis at Arpinum in preference to any other place, and my fellow townsmen were gratified at the compliment: though I observed everywhere that both they and others whom I passed in my journey were in low spirits and much dejected...
...So melancholy and shocking is the contemplation of this tremendous disaster. Levies are being held, the men are being drafted into winter quarters. These are measures which, even when taken by loyal citizens at a time of regular war and with due consideration, are yet in themselves a source of annoyance—how unpopular do you suppose they are in the present instance, when they are being carried out by men of reckless character, in an abominable civil war, and in the most offensive manner?
Don't imagine that there is a single scoundrel in Italy who is not to be found among them. I saw them en masse at Formiae. I never, by Hercules! believed them to be human beings, and I knew them all: but I had never seen them collected in one place. Let us go, then, whither we have resolved to go, and leave all that is ours behind us. Let us start to join him, to whom our arrival will give greater satisfaction than if we had been together from the first. For at that time we were in the highest hopes, now I, at any rate, have none; nor has anyone except myself left Italy, unless he regarded Caesar as his personal enemy. Nor, by Hercules! do I do this for the sake of the Republic, which I regard as completely abolished: but to prevent anyone thinking me ungrateful to the man, who relieved me from the miseries which he had himself inflicted upon me: and at the same time because I cannot endure the sight of what is happening, or of what is certain to happen.
Why, I believe that by this time some decrees of the senate have been passed, I hope they may be in the sense of Volcatius's proposal. But what does it matter? Everyone's opinion is the same. But Servius will be the most implacable of all, for he has sent his son with Pontius Titinianus to crush, or at any rate to capture, Gnaeus Pompeius. Yet the latter acts from a motive of fear: but the former?
But let us cease shewing temper, and let us at last thoroughly realize that we have nothing left, except what I could least have wished-life. As for us, since the Upper Sea is beset, we will sail by the Lower, and if it turns out to be difficult to start from Puteoli, we will make for Croton or Thurii, and like good citizens, devoted to our country, we will play the pirate. I don't see any other way of carrying on this war. We will go to Egypt and ensconce ourselves there. We cannot possibly be his match on land: of peace there is no assurance. But enough of these lamentations.
Pray give a letter to Cephalio on everything that has been done, and even about what men say, unless they have become entirely tongue-tied. I have followed your advice, and especially in the fact that, in my interview with him, I both maintained my proper dignity and stuck to my refusal to go to Rome. As to the rest, pray write to me with the most particular care—for by this time the worst has come to the worst—what course you approve, and what your opinion is. There can, of course, be now no hesitation: still, if anything does occur to you, or rather whatever occurs to you, pray write me a word.
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Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/foreshadowing-from-gaius-sallustius-crispus-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus...
Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/burns-pompeys-strategy-and-domitius-standnoted.html: In his The Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar presented "just the facts" in a way that made Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus look like a cowardly and incompetent idiot. The attractive interpretation is that Ahenobarbus was just trying to do the job of defeating Caesar, but had failed to recognize that Pompey was not his ally. Pompey, rather, was somebody whose first goal was to gain the submission of Ahenobarbus and the other Optimates, and only after that submission was gained would he even think about fighting Caesar. Still an idiot, but not an incompetent or a cowardly one: Alfred Burns https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-burns-pompey.pdf: ‘In early 49, the alliance confronting Caesar consisted of the old republican senate families who under the leadership of [Lucius] Domitius [Ahenonbarbus] tried to maintain the traditional institutions and of Pompey who clung to his own extra-legal position of semi-dictatorial power. Both parties to the alliance were as mutually distrustful as they were dependent on each other…
Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says) https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-offers-a-compromise-solution-or-so-caesar-says-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Beginning of Caesar's Commentaries on the Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution to the political crisis.... 'The dispatch from Gaius Caesar was delivered to the consuls; but it was only after strong representations from the tribunes that they gave their grudging permission for it to be read in the Senate. Even then, they would not consent to a debate on its contents, but initiated instead a general debate on ‘matters of State'.... Scipio spoke... Pompey, he said, intended to stand by his duty to the State, if the Senate would support him; but if they hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want his help later, they would ask for it in vain…
The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-rejects-caesars-compromise-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely, and driven reluctantly to vote for Scipio's motion to rob Caesar of his protections against arrest and trial…
The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-arms-for-war-illegally-usurps-provincial-imperium-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse. In the first seven days of the year of the consulate of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior, the Optimate faction goes beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety. They illegaly seize power, as they grant themselves proconsular and propraetorial imperium over the provinces, without the constitutionally-required popular confirmation of imperium. They impiously violate the separation of church and state by seizing temple funds for their own use. They thus incur the wrath of the gods. And they incur the enmity of all who believe in constitutional balance, as opposed to armed plutocratic dictatorship…
Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsucccessfully with Pompey https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-presents-his-case-to-the-13th-legion-negotiates-unsucccessfully-with-pompey-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-rep.html: Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position. He holds imperium over Spain and commanding the ten Spanish garrison legions, while also residing in the suburbs of Rome and thus dominating the discussions of the Senate. Pompey refuses to commit to setting a date for his departure for Spain…
The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-panics-and-abandons-rome-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: The Optimate faction panics at a rumor of Caesar's approach, and flees from Rome with the looted Treasury reserve. The towns of Italy support Caesar. Even the town of Cingulum rallied to Caesar, even though its founder Titus Labienus, Caesar's second-in-command in the Gallic War, had deserted Caesar for his earlier allegiance to Pompey. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well...
Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-besieges-domitius-in-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus began raising troops, and by the start of February -49 had 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum. On 09 Feb -49 Domitius decided to stand at Corfinum rather than retreat to the south of Italy. So he wrote to Pompey... urged that the Optimate faction join its military forces together at Corfinum to outnumber and fight Caesar. Pompey disagreed. Why did he decide that he, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances"?…
Caesar Captures Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-captures-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee, Lentulus Spinther begs for his life, Caesar grants clemency to all, and adds the three Optimate and Pompeian legions to his army. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum (with the arrival of Legio VIII plus new recruits) Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three. It is now 21 Feb -49: Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Domitius’s looks, however, belied his words; indeed, his whole demeanour was much more anxious and fearful than usual. When to this was added the fact that, contrary to his usual custom, he spent a lot of time talking to his friends in private, making plans, while avoiding a meeting of the officers or an assembly of the troops, then the truth could not be concealed or misrepresented for long…
Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/pompey-refuses-to-negotiate-flees-to-greece-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees to Greece. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain. It is now 18 Mar -49...
Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/cementing-caesarian-control-of-the-center-of-the-empire-late-march-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar, now that the Pompeians and the High Optimates have fled, offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate but, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold on the center of the empire and heads for Spain…