The Life of Cicero, by Anthony Trollope

Chapter xi.

The Triumvirate.

B.C. 60, ætat. 47.

I know of no great fact in history so impalpable, so shadowy, so unreal, as the First Triumvirate. Every school-boy, almost every school-girl, knows that there was a First Triumvirate, and that it was a political combination made by three great Romans of the day, Julius Cæsar, Pompey the Great, and Crassus the Rich, for managing Rome among them. Beyond this they know little, because there is little to know. That it was a conspiracy against the ordained government of the day, as much so as that of Catiline, or Guy Faux, or Napoleon III., they do not know generally, because Cæsar, who, though the youngest of the three, was the mainspring of it, rose by means of it to such a galaxy of glory that all the steps by which he rose to it have been supposed to be magnificent and heroic. But of the method in which this Triumvirate was constructed, who has an idea? How was it first suggested, where, and by whom? What was it that the conspirators combined to do? There was no purpose of wholesale murder like that of Catiline for destroying the Senate, and of Guy Faux for blowing up the House of Lords. There was no plot arranged for silencing a body of legislators like that of Napoleon. In these scrambles that are going on every year for place and power, for provinces and plunder, let us help each other. If we can manage to stick fast by each other, we can get all the power and nearly all the plunder. That, said with a wink by one of the Triumvirate — Cæsar, let us say — and assented to with a nod by Pompey and Crassus, was sufficient for the construction of such a conspiracy as that which I presume to have been hatched when the First Triumvirate was formed.1 Mommsen, who never speaks of a Triumvirate under that name, except in his index,2 where he has permitted the word to appear for the guidance of persons less well instructed than himself, connects the transaction which we call the First Triumvirate with a former coalition, which he describes as having been made in (B.C. 71) the year before the Consulship of Pompey and Crassus. With that we need not concern ourselves as we are dealing with the life of Cicero rather than with Roman history, except to say that Cæsar, who was the motive power of the second coalition, could have had no personal hand in that of 71. Though he had spent his early years in “harassing the aristocracy,” as Dean Merivale tells us, he had not been of sufficient standing in men’s minds to be put on a par with Pompey and Crassus. When this First Triumvirate was formed, as the modern world generally calls it, or the second coalition between the democracy and the great military leaders, as Mommsen with greater, but not with perfect, accuracy describes it, Cæsar no doubt had at his fingers’ ends the history of past years. “The idea naturally occurred,” says Mommsen, “whether * * * an alliance firmly based on mutual advantage might not be established between the democrats, with their ally, Crassus, on the one side, and Pompeius and the great capitalists on the other. For Pompeius such a coalition was certainly a political suicide.”3 The democracy here means Cæsar. Cæsar during his whole life had been learning that no good could come to any one from an effete Senate, or from republican forms which had lost all their salt. Democracy was in vogue with him; not, as I think, from any philanthropic desire for equality; not from any far-seeing view of fraternal citizenship under one great paternal lord — the study of politics had never then reached to that height — but because it was necessary that some one, or perhaps some two or three, should prevail in the coming struggle, and because he felt himself to be more worthy than others. He had no conscience in the matter. Money was to him nothing. Another man’s money was the same as his own — or better, if he could get hold of it. That doctrine taught by Cicero that men are “ad justitiam natos” must have been to him simply absurd. Blood was to him nothing. A friend was better than a foe, and a live man than a dead. Blood-thirstiness was a passion unknown to him; but that tenderness which with us creates a horror of blood was equally unknown. Pleasure was sweet to him; but he was man enough to feel that a life of pleasure was contemptible. To pillage a city, to pilfer his all from a rich man, to debauch a friend’s wife, to give over a multitude of women and children to slaughter, was as easy to him as to forgive an enemy. But nothing rankled with him, and he could forgive an enemy. Of courage he had that better sort which can appreciate and calculate danger, and then act as though there were none. Nothing was wrong to him but what was injudicious. He could flatter, cajole, lie, deceive, and rob; nay, would think it folly not to do so if to do so were expedient.4 In this coalition he appears as supporting and supported by the people. Therefore Mommsen speaks of him as “the democrat.” Crassus is called the ally of the democrats. It will be enough for us here to know that Crassus had achieved his position in the Senate by his enormous wealth, and that it was because of his wealth, which was essential to Cæsar, that he was admitted into the league. By means of his wealth he had risen to power and had conquered and killed Spartacus, of the honor and glory of which Pompey robbed him. Then he had been made Consul. When Cæsar had gone as Proprætor to Spain, Crassus had found the money. Now Cæsar had come back, and was hand and glove with Crassus. When the division of the spoil came, some years afterward — the spoil won by the Triumvirate — when Cæsar had half perfected his grand achievements in Gaul, and Crassus had as yet been only a second time Consul, he got himself to be sent into Syria, that by conquering the Parthians he might make himself equal to Cæsar. We know how he and his son perished there, each of them probably avoiding the last extremity of misery to a Roman — that of falling into the hands of a barbarian enemy — by destroying himself. Than the life of Crassus nothing could be more contemptible; than the death nothing more pitiable. “For Pompeius,” says Mommsen, “such a coalition was certainly a political suicide.” As events turned out it became so, because Cæsar was the stronger man of the two; but it is intelligible that at that time Pompey should have felt that he could not lord it over the Senate, as he wished to do, without aid from the democratic party. He had no well-defined views, but he wished to be the first man in Rome. He regarded himself as still greatly superior to Cæsar, who as yet had been no more than Prætor, and at this time was being balked of his triumph because he could not at one and the same moment be in the city, as candidate for the Consulship, and out of the city waiting for his triumph. Pompey had triumphed three times, had been Consul at an unnaturally early age with abnormal honors, had been victorious east and west, and was called “Magnus.” He did not as yet fear to be overshadowed by Cæsar.5 Cicero was his bugbear.

Mommsen I believe to be right in eschewing the word “Triumvirate.” I know no mention of it by any Roman writer as applied to this conspiracy, though Tacitus, Suetonius, and Florus call by that name the later coalition of Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus. The Langhornes, in translating Plutarch’s life of Crassus, speak of the Triumvirate; but Plutarch himself says that Cæsar combined “an impregnable stronghold” by joining the three men.6 Paterculus and Suetonius7 explain very clearly the nature of the compact, but do not use the term. There was nothing in the conspiracy entitling it to any official appellation, though, as there were three leading conspirators, that which has been used has been so far appropriate.

B.C. 60, ætat. 47.

Cicero was the bugbear to them all. That he might have been one of them, if ready to share the plunder and the power, no reader of the history of the time can doubt. Had he so chosen he might again have been a “real power in the State;” but to become so in the way proposed to him it was necessary that he should join others in a conspiracy against the Republic.

I do not wish it to be supposed that Cicero received the overtures made to him with horror. Conspiracies were too common for horror; and these conspirators were all our Cicero’s friends in one sense, though in another they might be his opponents. We may imagine that at first Crassus had nothing to do with the matter, and that Pompey would fain have stood aloof in his jealousy. But Cæsar knew that it was well to have Cicero, if Cicero was to be had. It was not only his eloquence which was marvellously powerful, or his energy which had been shown to be indomitable: there was his character, surpassed by that of no Roman living; if only, in giving them the use of his character, he could be got to disregard the honor and the justice and the patriotism on which his character had been founded. How valuable may character be made, if it can be employed under such conditions! To be believed because of your truth, and yet to lie; to be trusted for your honesty, and yet to cheat; to have credit for patriotism, and yet to sell your country! The temptations to do this are rarely put before a man plainly, in all their naked ugliness. They certainly were not so presented to Cicero by Cæsar and his associates. The bait was held out to him, as it is daily to others, in a form not repellent, with words fitted to deceive and powerful almost to persuade. Give us the advantage of your character, and then by your means we shall be able to save our country. Though our line of action may not be strictly constitutional, if you will look into it you will see that it is expedient. What other course is there? How else shall any wreck of the Republic be preserved? Would you be another Cato, useless and impractical? Join us, and save Rome to some purpose. We can understand that in such way was the lure held out to Cicero, as it has been to many a politician since. But when the politician takes the office offered to him — and the pay, though it be but that of a Lord of the Treasury — he must vote with his party.

That Cicero doubted much whether he would or would not at this time throw in his lot with Cæsar and Pompey is certain. To be of real use — not to be impractical, as was Cato — to save his country and rise honestly in power and glory — not to be too straitlaced, not over-scrupulous — giving and taking a little, so that he might work to good purpose with others in harness — that was his idea of duty as a Roman. To serve in accord with Pompey was the first dream of his political life, and now Pompey was in accord with Cæsar. It was natural that he should doubt — natural that he should express his doubts. Who should receive them but Atticus, that “alter ego?” Cicero doubted whether he should cling to Pompey — as he did in every phase of his political life, till Pompey had perished at the mouth of the Nile. But at last he saw his way clear to honesty, as I think he always did. He tells his friend that Cæsar had sent his confidential messenger, Balbus, to sound him. The present question is whether he shall resist a certain agrarian law of which he does not approve, but which is supported by both Pompey and Cæsar, or retire from the contest and enjoy himself at his country villas, or boldly stay at Rome and oppose the law. Cæsar assures him that if he will come over to them, Cæsar will be always true to him and Pompey, and will do his best to bring Crassus into the same frame of mind. Then he reckons up all the good things which would accrue to him: “Closest friendship with Pompey — with Cæsar also, should he wish it; the making up of all quarrels with his enemies; popularity with the people; ease for his old age, which was coming on him. But that conclusion moves me to which I came in my third book.”8 Then he repeats the lines given in the note below, which he had written, probably this very year, in a poem composed in honor of his own Consulship. The lines are not in themselves grand, but the spirit of them is magnificent: “Stick to the good cause which in your early youth you chose for yourself, and be true to the party you have made your own.” “Should I doubt when the muse herself has so written,” he says, alluding to the name of Calliope, given to this third book of his. Then he adds a line of Homer, very excellent for the occasion:9 “No augury for the future can be better for you than that which bids you serve your country.” “But,” he says, “we will talk of all that when you come to me for the holidays. Your bath shall be ready for you: your sister and mother shall be of the party.” And so the doubts are settled.

Now came on the question of the Tribuneship of Clodius, in reference to which I will quote a passage out of Middleton, because the phrase which he uses exactly explains the purposes of Cæsar and Pompey.

B.C. 60, ætat. 47.

“Clodius, who had been contriving all this while how to revenge himself on Cicero, began now to give an opening to the scheme which he had formed for that purpose. His project was to get himself chosen Tribune, and in that office to drive him out of the city, by the publication of a law which, by some stratagem or other, he hoped to obtrude on the people. But as all Patricians were incapable of the Tribunate, by its original institution so his first step was to make himself a Plebeian by the pretence of an adoption into a Plebeian house, which could not yet be done without the suffrage of the people. This case was wholly new, and contrary to all the forms — wanting every condition, and serving none of the ends which were required in regular adoptions — so that, on the first proposal, it seemed too extravagant to be treated seriously, and would soon have been hissed off with scorn, had it not been concerted and privately supported by persons of much more weight than Clodius. Cæsar was at the bottom of it, and Pompey secretly favored it — not that they intended to ruin Cicero, but to keep him only under the lash — and if they could not draw him into their measures, to make him at least sit quiet, and let Clodius loose upon him.”10

This, no doubt, was the intention of the political leaders in Rome at this conjunction of affairs. It had been found impossible to draw Cicero gently into the net, so that he should become one of them. If he would live quietly at his Antian or Tusculan villa, amid his books and writings, he should be treated with all respect; he should be borne with, even though he talked so much of his own Consulate. But if he would interfere with the politics of the day, and would not come into the net, then he must be dealt with. Cæsar seems to have respected Cicero always, and even to have liked him; but he was not minded to put up with a “friend” in Rome who from day to day abused all his projects. In defending Antony, the Macedonian Proconsul who was condemned, Cicero made some unpleasant remarks on the then condition of things. Cæsar, we are told, when he heard of this, on the very spur of the moment, caused Clodius to be accepted as a Plebeian.

In all this we are reminded of the absolute truth of Mommsen’s verdict on Rome, which I have already quoted more than once: “On the Roman oligarchy of this period no judgment can be passed, save one of inexorable and remorseless condemnation.” How had it come to pass that Cæsar had the power of suddenly causing an edict to become law, whether for good or for evil? Cicero’s description of what took place is as follows:11 “About the sixth hour of the day, when I was defending my colleague Antony in court, I took occasion to complain of certain things which were being done in the Republic, and which I thought to be injurious to my poor client. Some dishonest persons carried my words to men in power”— meaning Cæsar and Pompey —“not, indeed, my own words, but words very different from mine. At the ninth hour on that very same day, you, Clodius, were accepted as a Plebeian.” Cæsar, having been given to understand that Cicero had been making himself disagreeable, was determined not to put up with it. Suetonius tells the same story with admirable simplicity. Of Suetonius it must be said that, if he had no sympathy for a patriot such as Cicero, neither had he any desire to represent in rosy colors the despotism of a Cæsar. He tells his stories simply as he has heard them. “Cicero,” says Suetonius,12 “having at some trial complained of the state of the times, Cæsar, on the very same day, at the ninth hour, passed Clodius over from the Patrician to the Plebeian rank, in accordance with his own desire.” How did it come to pass that Cæsar, who, though Consul at the time, had no recognized power of that nature, was efficacious for any such work as this? Because the Republic had come to the condition which the German historian has described. The conspiracy between Cæsar and his subordinates had not been made for nothing.

The reader will require to know why Clodius should have desired degradation, and how it came to pass that this degradation should have been fatal to Cicero. The story has been partly told in the passage from Middleton. A Patrician, in accordance with the constitution, could not be a Tribune of the people. From the commencement of the Tribunate, that office had been reserved for the Plebeians. But a Tribune had a power of introducing laws which exceeded that of any Senator or any other official. “They had acquired the right,” we are told in Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, “of proposing to the comitia tributa, or to the Senate, measures on nearly all the important affairs of the State;” and as matters stood at this time, no one Tribune could “veto” or put an arbitrary stop to a proposition from another. When such proposition was made, it was simply for the people to decide by their votes whether it should or should not be law. The present object was to have a proposition made and carried suddenly, in reference to Cicero, which should have, at any rate, the effect of stopping his mouth. This could be best done by a Tribune of the people. No other adequate Tribune could be found — no Plebeian so incensed against Cicero as to be willing to do this, possessing at the same time power enough to be elected. Therefore it was that Clodius was so anxious to be degraded.

No Patrician could become a Tribune of the people; but a Patrician might be adopted by a Plebeian, and the adopted child would take the rank of his father — would, in fact, for all legal purposes, be the same as a son. For doing this in any case a law had to be passed — or, in other words, the assent of the people must be obtained and registered. But many conditions were necessary. The father intending to adopt must have no living son of his own, and must be past the time of life at which he might naturally hope to have one; and the adopted son must be of a fitting age to personate a son — at any rate, must be younger than the father; nothing must be done injurious to either family; there must be no trick in it, no looking after other result than that plainly intended. All these conditions were broken. The pretended father, Fonteius, had a family of his own, and was younger than Clodius. The great Claudian family was desecrated, and there was no one so ignorant as not to know that the purpose intended was that of entering the Tribunate by a fraud. It was required by the general law that the Sacred College should report as to the proper observances of the prescribed regulations, but no priest was ever consulted. Yet Clodius was adopted, made a Plebeian, and in the course of the year elected as Tribune.

In reading all this, the reader is mainly struck by the wonderful admixture of lawlessness and law-abiding steadfastness. If Cæsar, who was already becoming a tyrant in his Consulship, chose to make use of this means of silencing Cicero, why not force Clodius into the Tribunate without so false and degrading a ceremony? But if, as was no doubt the case, he was not yet strong enough to ignore the old popular feelings on the subject, how was it that he was able to laugh in his sleeve at the laws, and to come forth at a moment’s notice and cause the people to vote, legally or illegally, just as he pleased? It requires no conjurer to tell us the reason. The outside hulls and husks remain when the rich fruit has gone. It was in seeing this, and yet not quite believing that it must be so, that the agony of Cicero’s life consisted. There could have been no hope for freedom, no hope for the Republic, when Rome had been governed as it was during the Consulship of Cæsar; but Cicero could still hope, though faintly, and still buoy himself up with remembrances of his own year of office.

In carrying on the story of the newly-adopted child to his election as Tribune, I have gone beyond the time of my narration, so that the reader may understand the cause and nature and effect of the anger which Clodius entertained for Cicero. This originated in the bitter words spoken as to the profanation of the Bona Dea, and led to the means for achieving Cicero’s exile and other untoward passages of his life. In the year 60 B.C., when Metellus Celer and Afranius were Consuls, Clodius was tried for insulting the Bona Dea, and the since so-called Triumvirate was instituted. It has already been shown that Cicero, not without many doubts, rejected the first offers which were made to him to join the forces that were so united. He seems to have passed the greater portion of this year in Rome. One letter only was written from the country, to Atticus, from his Tusculan villa, and that is of no special moment. He spent his time in the city, still engaged in the politics of the day; as to which, though he dreaded the coming together of Cæsar and Pompey and Crassus — those “graves principum amicitias” which were to become so detrimental to all who were concerned in them — he foresaw as yet but little of the evil which was to fall upon his own head. He was by no means idle as to literature, though we have but little of what he wrote, and do not regret what we have lost. He composed a memoir of his Consulate in Greek, which he sent to Atticus with an allusion to his own use of the foreign language intended to show that he is quite at ease in that matter. Atticus had sent him a memoir, also written in Greek, on the same subject, and the two packets had crossed each other on the road. He candidly tells Atticus that his attempt seems to be “horridula atque incompta,” rough and unpolished; whereas Posidonius, the great Greek critic of Rhodes who had been invited by him, Cicero, to read the memoir, and then himself to treat the same subject, had replied that he was altogether debarred from such an attempt by the excellence of his correspondent’s performance.13 He also wrote three books of a poem on his Consulate, and sent them to Atticus; of which we have a fragment of seventy-five lines quoted by himself,14 and four or five other lines including that unfortunate verse handed down by Quintilian, “O fortunatum natam me consule Romam”— unless, indeed, it be spurious, as is suggested by that excellent critic and whole-hearted friend of the orator’s, M. Guéroult. Previous to these he had produced in hexameters, also, a translation of the Prognostics of Aratus. This is the second part of a poem on the heavenly bodies, the first part, the Phænomena, having been turned into Latin verse by him when he was eighteen. Of the Prognostics we have only a few lines preserved by Priscian, and a passage repeated by the author, also in his De Divinatione. I think that Cicero was capable of producing a poem quite worthy of preservation; but in the work of this year the subjects chosen were not alluring.

B.C. 60, ætat. 47.

Among his epistles of the year there is one which might of itself have sufficed to bring down his name to posterity. This is a long letter, full of advice, to his brother Quintus, who had gone out in the previous year to govern the province of Asia as Proprætor. We may say that good advice could never have been more wanted, and that better advice could not have been given. It has been suggested that it was written as a companion to that treatise on the duties of a candidate which Quintus composed for his brother’s service when standing for his Consulship. But I cannot admit the analogy. The composition attributed to Quintus contained lessons of advice equally suitable to any candidate, sprung from the people, striving to rise to high honors in the State. This letter is adapted not only to the special position of Quintus, but to the peculiarities of his character, and its strength lies in this: that while the one brother praises the other, justly praises him, as I believe, for many virtues, so as to make the receipt of it acceptable, it points out faults — faults which will become fatal, if not amended — in language which is not only strong but unanswerable.

The style of this letter is undoubtedly very different from that of Cicero’s letters generally — so as to suggest to the reader that it must have been composed expressly for publication whereas the daily correspondence is written “currente calamo,” with no other than the immediate idea of amusing, instructing, or perhaps comforting the correspondent. Hence has come the comparison between this and the treatise De Petitione Consulatus. I think that the gravity of the occasion, rather than any regard for posterity, produced the change of style. Cicero found it to be essential to induce his brother to remain at his post, not to throw up his government in disgust, and so to bear himself that he should not make himself absolutely odious to his own staff and to other Romans around him; for Quintus Cicero, though he had been proud and arrogant and ill tempered, had not made himself notorious by the ordinary Roman propensity to plunder his province “What is it that is required of you as a governor?”15 asks Cicero. “That men should not be frightened by your journeys hither and thither — that they should not be eaten up by your extravagance — that they should not be disturbed by your coming among them — that there should be joy at your approach; when each city should think that its guardian angel, not a cruel master, had come upon it — when each house should feel that it entertained not a robber but a friend. Practice has made you perfect in this. But it is not enough that you should exercise those good offices yourself, but that you should take care that every one of those who come with you should seem to do his best for the inhabitants of the province, for the citizen of Rome, and for the Republic.” I wish that I could give the letter entire — both in English, that all readers might know how grand are the precepts taught, and in Latin, that they who understand the language might appreciate the beauty of the words — but I do not dare to fill my pages at such length. A little farther on he gives his idea of the duty of all those who have power over others — even over the dumb animals.16 “To me it seems that the duty of those in authority over others consists in making those who are under them as happy as the nature of things will allow. Every one knows that you have acted on this principle since you first went to Asia.” This, I fear, must be taken as flattery, intended to gild the pill which comes afterward “This is not only his duty who has under him allies and citizens, but is also that of the man who has slaves under his control, and even dumb cattle, that he should study the welfare of all over whom he stands in the position of master!” Let the reader look into this, and ask himself what precepts of Christianity have ever surpassed it.

Then he points out that which he describes as the one great difficulty in the career of a Roman Provincial Governor.17 The collectors of taxes, or “publicani,” were of the equestrian order. This business of farming the taxes had been their rich privilege for at any rate more than a century, and as Cicero says, farther on in his letter, it was impossible not to know with what hardship the Greek allies would be treated by them when so many stories were current of their cruelty even in Italy. Were Quintus to take a part against these tax-gatherers, he would make them hostile not only to the Republic but to himself also, and also to his brother Marcus; for they were of the equestrian order, and specially connected with these “publicani” by family ties. He implies, as he goes on, that it will be easier to teach the Greeks to be submissive than the tax-gatherers to be moderate. After all, where would the Greeks of Asia be if they had no Roman master to afford them protection? He leaves the matter in the hands of his brother, with advice that he should do the best he can on one side and on the other. If possible, let the greed of the “publicani” be restrained; but let the ally be taught to understand that there may be usage in the world worse even than Roman taxation. It would be hardly worth our while to allude to this part of Cicero’s advice, did it not give an insight into the mode in which Rome taxed her subject people.

After this he commences that portion of the letter for the sake of which we cannot but believe that the whole was written. “There is one thing,” he says, “which I will never cease to din into your ears, because I could not endure to think that, amid the praises which are lavished on you, there should be any matter in which you should be found wanting. All who come to us here”— all who come to Rome from Asia, that is —“when they tell us of your honesty and goodness of heart, tell us also that you fail in temper. It is a vice which, in the daily affairs of private life, betokens a weak and unmanly spirit; but there can be nothing so poor as the exhibition of the littleness of nature in those who have risen to the dignity of command.” He will not, he goes on to say, trouble his brother with repeating all that the wise men have said on the subject of anger; he is sure that Quintus is well acquainted with all that. But is it not a pity, when all men say that nothing could be pleasanter than Quintus Cicero when in a good-humor, the same Quintus should allow himself to be so provoked that his want of kindly manners should be regretted by all around him? “I cannot assert,” he goes on to say, “that when nature has produced a certain condition of mind, and that years as they run on have strengthened it, a man can change all that and pluck out from his very self the habits that have grown within him; yet I must tell you that if you cannot eschew this evil altogether — if you cannot protect yourself against the feeling of anger, yet you should prepare yourself to be ready for it when it comes, so that, when your very soul within you is hot with it, your tongue, at any rate, may be restrained.” Then toward the end of the letter there is a fraternal exhortation which is surely very fine: “Since chance has thrown into my way the duties of official life in Rome, and into yours that of administrating provincial government, if I, in the performance of my work, have been second to none, do you see that you in yours may be equally efficient.” How grand, from an elder brother to a younger! “And remember this, that you and I have not to strive after some excellence still unattained, but have to be on our watch to guard that which has been already won. If I should find myself in anything divided from you, I should desire no further advance in life. Unless your deeds and your words go on all-fours with mine, I should feel that I had achieved nothing by all the work and all the dangers which you and I have encountered together.” The brother at last was found to be a poor, envious, ill-conditioned creature — intellectually gifted, and capable of borrowing something from his brother’s nobler nature; but when struggles came, and political feuds, and the need of looking about to see on which side safety lay, ready to sacrifice his brother for the sake of safety. But up to this time Marcus was prepared to believe all good of Quintus; and having made for himself and for the family a great name, was desirous of sharing it with his brother, and, as we shall afterward see, with his brother’s son, and with his own. In this he failed. He lived to know that he had failed as regarded his brother and his nephew. It was not, however, added to his misery to live to learn how little his son was to do to maintain the honor of his family.

I find a note scribbled by myself some years ago in a volume in which I had read this epistle, “Probably the most beautiful letter ever written.” Reading it again subsequently, I added another note, “The language altogether different from that of his ordinary letters.” I do not dissent now either from the enthusiastic praise or the more careful criticism. The letter was from the man’s heart — true, affectionate, and full of anxious, brotherly duty — but written in studied language, befitting, as Cicero thought, the need and the dignity of the occasion.

B.C. 59, ætat. 48.

The year following was that of Cæsar’s first Consulship, which he held in conjunction with Bibulus, a man who was altogether opposed to him in thought, in character, and in action. So hostile were these two great officers to each other that the one attempted to undo whatever the other did. Bibulus was elected by bribery, on behalf of the Senate, in order that he might be a counterpoise to Cæsar. But Cæsar now was not only Cæsar: he was Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus united, with all their dependents, all their clients, all their greedy hangers-on. To give this compact something of the strength of family union, Pompey, who was now nearly fifty years of age, took in marriage Cæsar’s daughter Julia, who was a quarter of a century his junior. But Pompey was a man who could endear himself to women, and the opinion seems to be general that had not Julia died in childbirth the friendship between the men would have been more lasting. But for Cæsar’s purposes the duration of this year and the next was enough. Bibulus was a laughing-stock, the mere shadow of a Consul, when opposed to such an enemy. He tried to use all the old forms of the Republic with the object of stopping Cæsar in his career; but Cæsar only ridiculed him; and Pompey, though we can imagine that he did not laugh much, did as Cæsar would have him. Bibulus was an augur, and observed the heavens when political man[oe]uvres were going on which he wished to stop. This was the old Roman system for using religion as a drag upon progressive movements. No work of state could be carried on if the heavens were declared to be unpropitious; and an augur could always say that the heavens were unpropitious if he pleased. This was the recognized constitutional mode of obstruction, and was quite in accord with the feelings of the people. Pompey alone, or Crassus with him, would certainly have submitted to an augur; but Cæsar was above augurs. Whatever he chose to have carried he carried, with what approach he could to constitutional usage, but with whatever departure from constitutional usage he found to be necessary.

What was the condition of the people of Rome at the time it is difficult to learn from the conflicting statements of historians. That Cicero had till lately been popular we know. We are told that Bibulus was popular when he opposed Cæsar. Of personal popularity up to this time I doubt whether Cæsar had achieved much. Yet we learn that, when Bibulus with Cato and Lucullus endeavored to carry out their constitutional threats, they were dragged and knocked about, and one of them nearly killed. Of the illegality of Cæsar’s proceedings there can be no doubt. “The tribunitian veto was interposed; Cæsar contented himself with disregarding it.”18 This is quoted from the German historian, who intends to leave an impression that Cæsar was great and wise in all that he did; and who tells us also of the “obstinate, weak creature Bibulus,” and of “the dogmatical fool Cato.” I doubt whether there was anything of true popular ferment, or that there was any commotion except that which was made by the “roughs” who had attached themselves for pay to Cæsar or to Pompey, or to Crassus, or, as it might be, to Bibulus and the other leaders. The violence did not amount to more than “nearly” killing this man or the other. Some Roman street fights were no doubt more bloody — as for instance that in which, seven years afterward, Clodius was slaughtered by Milo — but the blood was made to flow, not by the people, but by hired bravoes. The Roman citizens of the day were, I think, very quiescent. Neither pride nor misery stirred them much. Cæsar, perceiving this, was aware that he might disregard Bibulus and his auguries so long as he had a band of ruffians around him sufficient for the purposes of the hour. It was in order that he might thus prevail that the coalition had been made with Pompey and Crassus. His colleague Bibulus, seeing how matters were going, retired to his own house, and there went through a farce of consular enactments. Cæsar carried all his purposes, and the people were content to laugh, dividing him into two personages, and talking of Julius and Cæsar as the two Consuls of the year. It was in this way that he procured to be allotted to him by the people his irregular command in Gaul. He was to be Proconsul, not for one year, with perhaps a prolongation for two or three, but for an established period of five. He was to have the great province of Cisalpine Gaul — that is to say, the whole of what we now call Italy, from the foot of the Alps down to a line running from sea to sea just north of Florence. To this Transalpine Gaul was afterward added. The province so named, possessed at the time by the Romans, was called “Narbonensis,” a country comparatively insignificant, running from the Alps to the Pyrenees along the Mediterranean. The Gaul or Gallia of which Cæsar speaks when, in the opening words of his Commentary, he tells us that it was divided into three parts, was altogether beyond the Roman province which was assigned to him. Cæsar, when he undertook his government, can hardly have dreamed of subjecting to Roman rule the vast territories which were then known as Gallia, beyond the frontiers of the Empire, and which we now call France.

But he caused himself to be supported by an enormous army. There were stationed three legions on the Italian side of the Alps, and one on the other. These were all to be under his command for five years certain, and amounted to a force of not less than thirty thousand men. “As no troops could constitutionally be stationed in Italy proper, the commander of the legions of Northern Italy and Gaul,” says Mommsen, “dominated at the same time Italy and Rome for the next five years; and he who was master for five years was master for life.”19

B.C. 59, ætat. 48.

Such was the condition of Rome during the second year of the Triumvirate, in which Cæsar was Consul and prepared the way for the powers which he afterward exercised. Cicero would not come to his call; and therefore, as we are told, Clodius was let loose upon him. As he would not come to Cæsar’s call, it was necessary that he should be suppressed, and Clodius, notwithstanding all constitutional difficulties — nay, impossibilities — was made Tribune of the people. Things had now so far advanced with a Cæsar that a Cicero who would not come to his call must be disposed of after some fashion.

Till we have thought much of it, often of it, till we have looked thoroughly into it, we find ourselves tempted to marvel at Cicero’s blindness. Surely a man so gifted must have known enough of the state of Rome to have been aware that there was no room left for one honest, patriotic, constitutional politician. Was it not plain to him that if, “natus ad justitiam,” he could not bring himself to serve with those who were intent on discarding the Republic, he had better retire among his books, his busts, and his literary luxuries, and leave the government of the country to those who understood its people? And we are the more prone to say and to think all this because the man himself continually said it, and continually thought it. In one of the letters written early in the year20 to Atticus from his villa at Antium he declares very plainly how it is with him; and this, too, in a letter written in good-humor, not in a despondent frame of mind, in which he is able pleasantly to ridicule his enemy Clodius, who it seems had expressed a wish to go on an embassy to Tigranes, King of Armenia. “Do not think,” he says, “that I am complaining of all this because I myself am desirous of being engaged in public affairs. Even while it was mine to sit at the helm I was tired of the work; but now, when I am in truth driven out of the ship, when the rudder has not been thrown down but seized out of my hands, how should I take a pleasure in looking from the shore at the wrecks which these other pilots have made?” But the study of human nature tells us, and all experience, that men are unable to fathom their own desires, and fail to govern themselves by the wisdom which is at their fingers’ ends. The retiring Prime-minister cannot but hanker after the seals and the ribbons and the titles of office, even though his soul be able to rise above considerations of emolument, and there will creep into a man’s mind an idea that, though reform of abuses from other sources may be impossible, if he were there once more the evil could at least be mitigated, might possibly be cured. So it was during this period of his life with Cicero. He did believe that political justice exercised by himself, with such assistance as his eloquence would obtain for it, might be efficacious for preserving the Republic, in spite of Cæsar, and of Pompey, and of Crassus. He did not yet believe that these men would consent to such an outrage as his banishment. It must have been incredible to him that Pompey should assent to it. When the blow came, it crushed him for the time. But he retricked his beams and struggled on to the end, as we shall see if we follow his life to the close.

Such was the intended purpose of the degradation of Clodius. This, however, was not at once declared. It was said that Clodius as Tribune intended rather to oppose Cæsar than to assist him. He at any rate chose that Cicero should so believe and sent Curio, a young man to whom Cicero was attached, to visit the orator at his villa at Antium and to declare these friendly purposes. According to the story told by Cicero,21 Clodius was prepared to oppose the Triumvirate; and the other young men of Rome, the jeunesse dorée, of which both Curio and Clodius were members, were said to be equally hostile to Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus, whose doings in opposition to the constitution were already evident enough; so that it suited Cicero to believe that the rising aristocracy of Rome would oppose them. But the aristocracy of Rome, whether old or young, cared for nothing but its fish-ponds and its amusements.

Cicero spent the earlier part of the year out of Rome, among his various villas — at Tusculanum, at Antium, and at Formiæ. The purport of all his letters at this period is the same — to complain of the condition of the Republic, and especially of the treachery of his friend Pompey. Though there be much of despondency in his tone, there is enough also of high spirit to make us feel that his literary aspirations are not out of place, though mingled with his political wailing. The time will soon come when his trust even in literature will fail him for a while.

Early in the year he declares that he would like to accept a mission to Egypt, offered to him by Cæsar and Pompey, partly in order that he might for a while be quit of Rome, and partly that Romans might feel how ill they could do without him. He then uses for the first time, as far as I am aware, a line from the Iliad,22 which is repeated by him again and again, in part or in whole, to signify the restraint which is placed on him by his own high character among his fellow-citizens. “I would go to Egypt on this pleasant excursion, but that I fear what the men of Troy, and the Trojan women, with their wide-sweeping robes, would say of me.” And what, he asks, would the men of our party, “the optimates,” say? and what would Cato say, whose opinion is more to me than that of them all? And how would history tell the story in future ages? But he would like to go to Egypt, and he will wait and see. Then, after various questions to Atticus, comes that great one as to the augurship, of which so much has been made by Cicero’s enemies, “quo quidem uno ego ab istis capi possim.” A few lines above he had been speaking of another lure, that of the mission to Egypt. He discusses that with his friend, and then goes on in his half-joking phrase, “but this would have been the real thing to catch me.” Nothing caught him. He was steadfast all through, accepting no offer of place from the conspirators by which his integrity or his honor could be soiled. That it was so was well known to history in the time of Quintilian, whose testimony as to the “repudiatus vigintiviratus”— his refusal of a place among the twenty commissioners — has been already quoted.23 And yet biographers have written of him as of one willing to sell his honor, his opinions, and the commonwealth, for a “pitiful bribe;” not that he did do so, not that he attempted to do it, but because in a half-joking letter to the friend of his bosom he tells his friend which way his tastes lay!24

He had been thinking of writing a book on geography, and consulted Atticus on the subject; but in one of his letters he tells his friend that he had abandoned the idea. The subject was too dull; and if he took one side in a dispute that was existing, he would be sure to fall under the lash of the critics on the other. He is enjoying his leisure at Antium, and thinks it a much better place than Rome. If the weather will not let him catch fish, at any rate he can count the waves. In all these letters Cicero asks questions about his money and his private affairs; about the mending of a wall, perhaps, and adds something about his wife or daughter or son. He is going from Antium to Formiæ, but must return to Antium by a certain date because Tullia wants to see the games.

Then again he alludes to Clodius. Pompey had made a compact with Clodius — so at least Cicero had heard — that he, Clodius, if elected for the Tribunate, would do nothing to injure Cicero. The assurance of such a compact had no doubt been spread about for the quieting of Cicero; but no such compact had been intended to be kept, unless Cicero would be amenable, would take some of the good things offered to him, or at any rate hold his peace. But Cicero affects to hope that no such agreement may be kept. He is always nicknaming Pompey, who during his Eastern campaign had taken Jerusalem, and who now parodies the Africanus, the Asiaticus, and the Macedonicus of the Scipios and Metelluses. “If that Hierosolymarian candidate for popularity does not keep his word with me, I shall be delighted. If that be his return for my speeches on his behalf”— the Anteponatur omnibus Pompeius, for instance —“I will play him such a turn of another kind that he shall remember it.”25

He begins to know what the “Triumvirate” is doing with the Republic, but has not yet brought himself to suspect the blow that is to fall on himself. “They are going along very gayly,” he says, “and do not make as much noise as one would have expected.”26 If Cato had been more on the alert, things would not have gone so quickly; but the dishonesty of others, who have allowed all the laws to be ignored, has been worse than Cato. If we used to feel that the Senate took too much on itself, what shall we say when that power has been transferred, not to the people, but to three utterly unscrupulous men? “They can make whom they will Consuls, whom they will Tribunes — so that they may hide the very goitre of Vatinius under a priest’s robe.” For himself, Cicero says, he will be contented to remain with his books, if only Clodius will allow him; if not, he will defend himself.27 As for his country, he has done more for his country than has even been desired of him; and he thinks it to be better to leave the helm in the hands of pilots, however incompetent, than himself to steer when passengers are so thankless. Then we find that he robs poor Tullia of her promised pleasure at the games, because it will be beneath his dignity to appear at them. He is always very anxious for his friend’s letters, depending on them for news and for amusement. “My messenger will return at once,” he says, in one; “therefore, though you are coming yourself very soon, send me a heavy letter, full not only of news but of your own ideas.”28 In another: “Cicero the Little sends greeting,” he says, in Greek, “to Titus the Athenian”— that is, to Titus Pomponius Atticus. The Greek letters were probably traced by the child at his father’s knee as Cicero held the pen or the stylus. In another letter he declares that there, at Formiæ, Pompey’s name of Magnus is no more esteemed than that of Dives belonging to Crassus. In the next he calls Pompey Sampsiceramus. We learn from Josephus that there was a lady afterward in the East in the time of Vitellius, who was daughter of Sampsigeramus, King of the Emesi. It might probably be a royal family name.29 In choosing the absurd title, he is again laughing at his party leader. Pompey had probably boasted of his doings with the Sampsiceramus of the day and the priests of Jerusalem. “When this Sampsiceramus of ours finds how ill he is spoken of, he will rush headlong into revolution.” He complains that he can do nothing at Formiæ because of the visitors. No English poet was ever so interviewed by American admirers. They came at all hours, in numbers sufficient to fill a temple, let alone a gentleman’s house. How can he write anything requiring leisure in such a condition as this? Nevertheless he will attempt something. He goes on criticising all that is done in Rome, especially what is done by Pompey, who no doubt was vacillating sadly between Cæsar, to whom he was bound, and Bibulus, the other Consul, to whom he ought to have been bound, as being naturally on the aristocratic side. He cannot for a moment keep his pen from public matters; nor, on the other hand, can he refrain from declaring that he will apply himself wholly, undividedly, to his literature. “Therefore, oh my Titus, let me settle down to these glorious occupations, and return to that which, if I had been wise, I never should have left.”30 A day or two afterward, writing from the same place, he asks what Arabarches is saying of him. Arabarches is another name for Pompey — this Arabian chieftain.

In the early summer of this year Cicero returned to Rome, probably in time to see Atticus, who was then about to leave the city for his estates in Epirus. We have a letter written by him to his friend on the journey, telling us that Cæsar had made him two distinct offers, evidently with the view of getting rid of him, but in such a manner as would be gratifying to Cicero himself.31 Cæsar asks him to go with him to Gaul as his lieutenant, or, if that will not suit him, to accept a “free legation for the sake of paying a vow.” This latter was a kind of job by which Roman Senators got themselves sent forth on their private travels with all the appanages of a Senator travelling on public business. We have his argument as to both. Elsewhere he objects to a “libera legatio” as being a job.32 Here he only points out that, though it enforce his absence from Rome at a time disagreeable to him — just when his brother Quintus would return — it would not give him the protection which he needs. Though he were travelling about the world as a Senator on some pretended embassy, he would still be open to the attacks of Clodius. He would necessarily be absent, or he would not be in enjoyment of his privilege, but by his very absence he would find his position weakened; whereas, as Cæsar’s appointed lieutenant, he need not leave the city at once, and in that position he would be quite safe against all that Clodius or other enemies could do to him.33 No indictment could be made against a Roman while he was in the employment of the State. It must be remembered, too, on judging of these overtures, that both the one and the other — and indeed all the offers then made to him — were deemed to be highly honorable, as Rome then existed. “The free legation”— the “libera legatio voti causa”— had no reference to parties. It was a job, no doubt, and, in the hands of the ordinary Roman aristocrat, likely to be very onerous to the provincials among whom the privileged Senator might travel; but it entailed no party adhesion. In this case it was intended only to guarantee the absence of a man who might be troublesome in Rome. The other was the offer of genuine work in which politics were not at all concerned. Such a position was accepted by Quintus, our Cicero’s brother, and in performance of the duties which fell to him he incurred terrible danger, having been nearly destroyed by the Gauls in his winter quarters among the Nervii. Labienus, who was Cæsar’s right-hand man in Gaul, was of the same politics as Cicero — so much so that when Cæsar rebelled against the Republic, Labienus, true to the Republic, would no longer fight on Cæsar’s side. It was open to Cicero, without disloyalty, to accept the offer made to him; but with an insight into what was coming, of which he himself was hardly conscious, he could not bring himself to accept offers which in themselves were alluring, but which would seem in future times to have implied on his part an assent to the breaking up of the Republic. [Greek: Aideomai Trôas kai Trôadas elkesipeplous.] What will be said of me in history by my citizens if I now do simply that which may best suit my own happiness? Had he done so, Pliny and the others would not have spoken of him as they have spoken, and it would not have been worth the while of modern lovers of Cæsarism to write books against the one patriot of his age.

During the remainder of this year, B.C. 59, Cicero was at Rome, and seems gradually to have become aware that a personal attack was to be made upon him. At the close of a long and remarkable letter written to his brother Quintus in November, he explains the state of his own mind, showing us, who have now before us the future which was hidden from him, how greatly mistaken he was as to the results which were to be expected. He had been telling his brother how nearly Cato had been murdered for calling Pompey, in public, a Dictator. Then he goes on to describe his own condition.34 “You may see from this what is the state of the Republic. As far as I am concerned, it seems that friends will not be wanting to defend me. They offer themselves in a wonderful way, and promise assistance. I feel great hope and still greater spirit — hope, which tells me that we shall be victors in the struggle; spirit, which bids me fear no casualty in the present state of public affairs.”35 But the matter stands in this way: “If he”— that is, Clodius —“should indict me in court, all Italy would come to my defence, so that I should be acquitted with honor. Should he attack me with open violence, I should have, I think, not only my own party but the world at large to stand by me. All men promise me their friends, their clients, their freedmen, their slaves, and even their money. Our old body of aristocrats”— Cato, Bibulus, and the makers of fish-ponds generally —“are wonderfully warm in my cause. If any of these have heretofore been remiss, now they join our party from sheer hatred of these kings”— the Triumvirs. “Pompey promises everything, and so does Cæsar, whom I only trust so far as I can see them.” Even the Triumvirs promise him that he will be safe; but his belief in Pompey’s honesty is all but gone. “The coming Tribunes are my friends. The Consuls of next year promise well.” He was wofully mistaken. “We have excellent Prætors, citizens alive to their duty. Domitius, Nigidius, Memmius, and Lentulus are specially trustworthy. The others are good men. You may therefore pluck up your courage and be confident.” From this we perceive that he had already formed the idea that he might perhaps be required to fight for his position as a Roman citizen; and it seems also that he understood the cause of the coming conflict. The intention was that he should be driven out of Rome by personal enmity. Nothing is said in any of these letters of the excuse to be used, though he knew well what that excuse was to be. He was to be charged by the Patrician Tribune with having put Roman citizens to death in opposition to the law. But there arises at this time no question whether he had or had not been justified in what he, as Consul, had done to Lentulus and the others. Would Clodius be able to rouse a mob against him? and, if so, would Cæsar assist Clodius? or would Pompey who still loomed to his eyes as the larger of the two men? He had ever been the friend of Pompey, and Pompey had promised him all manner of assistance; but he knew already that Pompey would turn upon him. That Rome should turn upon him — Rome which he had preserved from the torches of Catiline’s conspirators — that he could not bring himself to believe!

We must not pass over this long letter to Quintus without observing that through it all the evil condition of the younger brother’s mind becomes apparent. The severity of his administration had given offence. His punishments had been cruel. His letters had been rash, and his language violent. In short, we gather from the brother’s testimony that Quintus Cicero was very ill-fitted to be the civil governor of a province.

The only work which we have from Cicero belonging to this year, except his letters, is the speech, or part of the speech, he made for Lucius Valerius Flaccus. Flaccus had been Prætor when Cicero was Consul, and had done good service, in the eyes of his superior officers, in the matter of the Catiline conspiracy. He had then gone to Asia as governor, and, after the Roman manner, had fleeced the province. That this was so there is no doubt. After his return he was accused, was defended by Cicero, and was acquitted. Macrobius tells us that Cicero, by the happiness of a bon-mot, brought the accused off safely, though he was manifestly guilty. He adds also that Cicero took care not to allow the joke to appear in the published edition of his speech.36 There are parts of the speech which have been preserved, and are sufficiently amusing even to us. He is very hard upon the Greeks of Asia, the class from which the witnesses against Flaccus were taken. We know here in England that a spaniel, a wife, and a walnut-tree may be beaten with advantage. Cicero says that in Asia there is a proverb that a Phrygian may be improved in the same way. “Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.” It is declared through Asia that you should take a Carian for your experiment. The “last of the Mysians” is the well-known Asiatic term for the lowest type of humanity. Look through all the comedies, you will find the leading slave is a Lydian. Then he turns to these poor Asiatics, and asks them whether any one can be expected to think well of them, when such is their own testimony of themselves! He attacks the Jew, and speaks of the Jewish religion as a superstition worthy in itself of no consideration. Pompey had spared the gold in the Temple of Jerusalem, because he thought it wise to respect the religious prejudices of the people; but the gods themselves had shown, by subjecting the Jews to the Romans, how little the gods had regarded these idolatrous worshippers! Such were the arguments used; and they prevailed with the judges — or jury, we should rather call them — to whom they were addressed.

1 We have not Pollio’s poem on the conspiracy, but we have Horace’s record of Pollio’s poem:

Motum ex Metello consule civicum,

Bellique causas et vitia, et modos,

Ludumque Fortunæ, gravesque

Principum amicitias, et arma

Nondum expiatis uncta cruoribus,

Periculosæ plenum opus aleæ,

Tractas, et incedis per ignes

Suppositos cineri doloso. — Odes, lib. ii., 1.

2 The German index appeared — very much after the original work — as late as 1875.

3 Mommsen, lib. v., chap. vi. I cannot admit that Mommsen is strictly accurate, as Cæsar had no real idea of democracy. He desired to be the Head of the Oligarchs, and, as such, to ingratiate himself with the people.

4 For the character of Cæsar generally I would refer readers to Suetonius, whose life of the great man is, to my thinking, more graphic than any that has been written since. For his anecdotes there is little or no evidence. His facts are not all historical. His knowledge was very much less accurate than that of modern writers who have had the benefit of research and comparison. But there was enough of history, of biography, and of tradition to enable him to form a true idea of the man. He himself as a narrator was neither specially friendly nor specially hostile. He has told what was believed at the time, and he has drawn a character that agrees perfectly with all that we have learned since.

5 By no one has the character and object of the Triumvirate been so well described as by Lucan, who, bombastic as he is, still manages to bring home to the reader the ideas as to persons and events which he wishes to convey. I have ventured to give in an Appendix, E, the passages referred to, with such a translation in prose as I have been able to produce. It will be found at the end of this volume.

6 Plutarch — Crassus: [Greek: kai synestêsen ek tôn triôn ischyn amachon.]

7 Velleius Paterculus, lib. ii., 44: “Hoc igitur consule, inter eum et Cn. Pompeium et M. Crassum inita potentiæ societas, quæ urbi orbique terrarum, nec minus diverso quoque tempore ipsis exitiabilis fuit.” Suetonius, Julius Cæsar, xix., “Societatem cum utroque iniit.” Officers called Triumviri were quite common, as were Quinqueviri and Decemviri. Livy speaks of a “Triumviratus”— or rather two such offices exercised by one man — ix., 46. We remember, too, that wretch whom Horace gibbeted, Epod. iv.: “Sectus flagellis hic triumviralibus.” But the word, though in common use, was not applied to this conspiracy.

8 Ad Att., lib. ii., 3: “Is affirmabat, illum omnibus in rebus meo et Pompeii consilio usurum, daturumque operam, ut cum Pompeio Crassum conjungeret. Hic sunt hæc. Conjunctio mihi summa cum Pompeio; si placet etiam cum Cæsare; reditus in gratiam cum inimicis, pax cum multitudine; senectulis otium. Sed me [Greek: katakleis] mea illa commovet, quæ est in libro iii.

“Interea cursus, quos prima a parte juventæ

Quosque adeo consul virtute, animoque petisti,

Hos retine, atque, auge famam laudesque bonorum.”

9 Homer, Iliad, lib. xii., 243: [Greek: Eis oiônos aristos amynesthai peri patrês.]

10 Middleton’s Life of Cicero, vol. i., p. 291.

11 Pro Domo Sua, xvi. This was an oration, as the reader will soon learn more at length, in which the orator pleaded for the restoration of his town mansion after his return from exile. It has, however, been doubted whether the speech as we have it was ever made by Cicero.

12 Suetonius, Julius Cæsar, xx.

13 Ad Att., lib. ii., 1: “Quid quæris?” says Cicero. “Conturbavi Græcam nationem”—“I have put all Greece into a flutter.”

14 De Divinatione, lib. i.

15 Ad Quin. Fratrem, lib. i., 1: “Non itineribus tuis perterreri homines? non sumptu exhauriri? non adventu commoveri? Esse, quocumque veneris, et publice et privatim maximam lætitiam; quum urbs custodem non tyrannum; domus hospitem non expilatorem, recipisse videatur? His autem in rebus jam te usus ipse profecto erudivit nequaquam satis esse, ipsum hasce habere virtutis, sed esse circumspiciendum diligentur, ut in hac custodia provinciæ non te unum, sed omnes ministros imperii tui, sociis, et civibus, et reipublicæ præstare videare.”

16 Ad Quin. Fratrem, lib. i., 1: “Ac mihi quidem videntur huc omnia esse referenda iis qui præsunt aliis; ut ii, qui erunt eorum in imperio sint quam beatissimi, quod tibi et esse antiquissimum et ab initio fuisse, ut primum Asiam attigisti, constante fama atque omnium sermone celebratum est. Est autem non modo ejus, qui sociis et civibus, sed etiam ejus qui servis, qui mutis pecudibus præsit, eorum quibus præsit commodis utilitatique servire.”

17 “Hæc est una in toto imperio tuo difficultas.”

18 Mommsen, book v., ca. 6.

19 Mommsen, vol. v., ca. vi.

20 Ad Att., lib. ii., 7: “Atque hæc, sin velim existimes, non me abs te [Greek: kata to praktikon] quærere, quod gestiat animus aliquid agere in republica. Jam pridem gubernare me tædebat, etiam quum licebat.”

21 Ad Att., lib. ii., 8: “Scito Curionem adolescentem venisse ad me salutatum. Valde ejus sermo de Publio cum tuis litteris congruebat, ipse vero mirandum in modum Reges odisse superbos. Peræque narrabat incensam esse juventutem, neque ferre hæc posse.” The “reges superbos” were Cæsar and Pompey.

22 Ad Att., lib. ii., 5: [Greek: Aideomai Trôas kai Trôadas helkesipeplous]. — Il., vi., 442. “I fear what Mrs. Grundy would say of me,” is Mr. Tyrrell’s homely version. Cicero’s mind soared, I think, higher when he brought the words of Hector to his service than does the ordinary reference to our old familiar critic.

23 Quint., xii., 1.

24 Enc. Britannica on Cicero.

25 Ad Att., lib. ii., 9.

26 Ibid.: “Festive, mihi crede, et minore sonitu, quam putaram, orbis hic in republica est conversus.” “Orbis hic,” this round body of three is the Triumvirate.

27 We cannot but think of the threat Horace made, Sat., lib. ii., 1:

“At ille

Qui me commorit, melius non tangere! clamo,

Flebit, et insignis tota cantabitur urbe.”

28 Ad Att., lib. ii., 11: “Da ponderosam aliquam epistolam.”

29 Josephus, lib. xviii., ca. 5.

30 Ad Att., lib. ii., 16.

31 Ad Att., lib. ii., 18: “A Cæsare valde liberaliter invitor in legationem illam, sibi ut sim legatus; atque etiam libera legatio voti causa datur.”

32 De Legibus, lib. iii., ca. viii.: “Jam illud apertum prefecto est nihil esse turpius, quam quenquam legari nisi republica causa.”

33 It may be seen from this how anxious Cæsar was to secure his silence, and yet how determined not to screen him unless he could secure his silence.

34 Ad Quintum, lib. i., 2.

35 Of this last sentence I have taken a translation given by Mr. Tyrrell, who has introduced a special reading of the original which the sense seems to justify.

36 Macrobius, Saturnalia, lib. ii., ca. i.: We are told that Cicero had been called the consular buffoon. “And I,” says Macrobius, “if it would not be too long, could relate how by his jokes he has brought off the most guilty criminals.” Then he tells the story of Lucius Flaccus.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01