Letters to friends/8.5

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Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

From M. Caelius Rufus in Rome[edit]

To Cicero in Cilicia, August 51 BC[edit]

How far you are anxious about the peaceful state of your province and the neighbouring regions I don't know: for myself, I am in great suspense. For if we could only arrange matters in such a fashion, that the war should just be of a magnitude to correspond with your forces, and that we should gain just enough success for a triumph, without encountering the serious contest awaiting you, then nothing could be so much to be wished. As it is, if the Parthian stirs at all, I know that the struggle will not be a slight one. Moreover, your army is scarcely large enough to hold a single pass. No one, however, takes that into account; but everything is expected from a man at the head of a public department, as though he had been refused nothing which was required to put him in the most absolute state of preparation. Added to this, I don't see any chance of a successor being named for you, owing to the controversy about the Gauls. Although on this point I think you have settled in your own mind what to do, nevertheless, to enable you to settle it the earlier, I thought, as I now foresee that contingency, that I ought to keep you informed. For you know the way things commonly go: a settlement of the Gauls will be passed; some one will be found to veto it; then up will get some one else to veto the other provinces, unless the senate is allowed to pass a vote about them all without interference. This is the sort of game that will be kept up briskly and long, and so long that more than two years will be wasted in these intrigues. If I had any news in politics to tell you, I would have followed my usual habit of carefully retailing in my letter not only what had happened, but also what I expected to be the result of it. In point of fact, everything seems to have stuck, so to speak, in the ditch. Marcellus is trying to push that same motion about the provinces, but has not as yet succeeded in getting a quorum.[1] If, after this year is over, Curio as tribune, and the same motion about the provinces come upon the stage, you cannot fail to see how easy it will be to stop all business, and how much Caesar, and those who care nothing for the Republic when their own interests are involved, hope that it may be so.


  1. See Letter CCV. The motion of Marcellus about the provinces was to come on the 13th of August. According to Willem's Le Sénat (ii. pp. 167, 589) the lex Pompeia de provinciis enacted a minimum number senators for the passing of a decree as to the provinces.