22 May 44 BCE: To Atticus (at Rome) from Cicero (at Arpinum)
Cicero 'shall have a lot to say, and a lot to write, but in another way, and at another time'
On the 22nd, I received two of your letters at Arpinum, replying to two of mine: on dated to the 18th, and the other to the 21st. So I will reply to the earlier one first. Do rush over to Tusculum, as you write; I think I will arrive there on the 27th. You write that we must obey the victors. I certainly won’t—I find there are many other more preferable options. You recall the speech I gave in the temple of Apollo, when Lentulus and Marcellus were consuls; but both the facts of the matter and the circumstances are different, particularly since you write that Marcellus and others are leaving.So we shall have to sniff out what is happening when we meet in person, and decide whether we can be safe in Rome. The inhabitants of the new district do worry me, for we are in dire straits, although I care very little about all that, when I disregard more important matters. I know about Calva’s will—what a shameful and vulgar man. Thank you for taking care of Demonicus’ auction. I wrote very exactly to Dolabella about Manlius a while ago, if my letter was delivered. I both wish to and ought to work on his behalf.
I come to your more recent letter. I know what I wanted to about Alexio. Hirtius is yours. I want things to be worse for Antony than they are already. About the younger Quintus, as you write: enough! We shall discuss his father in person. I wish to help Brutus in every way possible. I feel that you think the same as I do about his little speech. But I don’t really understand what you want me to write in a speech as if it were delivered by Brutus, when he has published his. How is that supposed to work? Or would you have me write about a tyrant, rightfully slaughtered? I shall have a lot to say, and a lot to write, but in another way, and at another time. The tribunes did well regarding Caesar’s chair, and what the fourteen rows did was splendid as well.I am delighted that Brutus has been staying at my place; I hope he enjoyed himself and stayed as long as he wanted.
Read Ad Atticum 15.3 in Latin here | Check the glossary here
Lentulus and Marcellus were consuls in 49 BCE. Cicero’s speech must have been given some time between the consuls taking office on January 1st, and the civil war starting on January 10th. Shackleton-Bailey states that the speech was ‘a public plea for moderation.’
Mark Antony had recently settled veterans at Casilinum.
One of the honours the Senate had granted Caesar (while he was still alive) was a golden chair, to be carried into the theatre alongside the chairs for the gods. It is unclear what the tribunes did regarding the chair, although in April an aedile would not let Octavius set it up. The fourteen rows of seats in the theatre were reserved for the equites. It is equally unclear what they did.