Letters to friends/1.5b

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Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To P. Lentulus Spinther in Cilicia[edit]

Rome, February 56 BC[edit]

What is being done and has been done here I imagine you know from letters of numerous correspondents and from messengers: but what are still matters for conjecture, and seem likely to take place, I think I ought to write and tell you. After Pompey had been roughly treated with shouts and insulting remarks, while speaking before the people on the 6th of February in defence of Milo, and had been accused in the senate by Cato in exceedingly harsh and bitter terms amidst profound silence, he appeared to me to be very much upset in his mind. Accordingly, he seems to me to have quite given up any idea of the Alexandrine business—which, as far as we are concerned, remains exactly where it was, for the senate has taken nothing from you except what, owing to the same religious difficulty, cannot be granted to anyone else. My hope and my earnest endeavour now is that the king, when he understands that he cannot obtain what he had in his mind—restoration by Pompey—and that, unless restored by you, he will be abandoned, and neglected, should pay you a visit.[1] This he will do without any hesitation, if Pompey gives the least hint of his approval. But you know that man's deliberate ways and obstinate reserve. However, I will omit nothing that may contribute to that result. The other injurious proceedings instituted by Cato I shall, I hope, have no difficulty in resisting. I perceive that none of the consulars are friendly to you except Hortensius and Lucullus; the rest are either hostile, without openly shewing it, or undisguisedly incensed. Keep a brave and high spirit, and feel confident that the result will be to utterly repulse the attack of a most contemptible fellow, and to retain your high position and fame.


  1. Ptolemy was at Ephesus.