Letters to his brother Quintus/2.2

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Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To Q. Tullius Cicero in Sardinia[edit]

Rome, 18 January 56 BC[edit]

It was not from the multiplicity of business, though I am very much engaged, but from a slight inflammation of the eyes that I was induced to dictate this letter, and not, as is my usual habit, write it with my own hand. And, to begin with, I wish to excuse myself to you on the very point on which I accuse you. For no one up to now has asked me "whether I have any commands for Sardinia"—I think you often have people who say, "Have you any commands for Rome?" As to what you have said in your letters to me about the debt of Lentulus and Sestius, I have spoken with Cincius.[1] However the matter stands, it is not the easiest in the world. But surely Sardinia must have some special property for recalling one's memory of the past. For just as the famous Gracchus—as augur—after arriving in that province remembered something that had happened to him, when holding the elections in the Campus Martius, in violation of the auspices, so you appear to me to have recalled at your ease in Sardinia the design of Numisius and the debts due to Pomponius. As yet I have made no purchase. Culleo's auction has taken place: there was no purchaser for his Tusculan property. If very favourable terms were to be offered, I should perhaps not let it slip About your building I do not fail to press Cyrus.[2] I hope he will do his duty But everything goes on somewhat slowly owing to the prospect of that madman's aedileship.[3] For it seems that the legislative assembly will take place without delay it has been fixed for the 20th of January. However I would not have you uneasy. Every precaution shall be taken by me In regard to the Alexandrine king, a decree of the senate was passed declaring it dangerous to the Republic that he should be restored "with a host." The point remaining to be decided in the senate being whether Lentulus or Pompey should restore him, Lentulus seemed on the point of carrying the day. In that matter I did justice to my obligations to Lentulus marvellously well, while at the same time splendidly gratifying Pompey's wishes: but the detractors of Lentulus Contrived to talk the matter out by obstructive speeches. Then followed the comitial days, on which a meeting of the senate was impossible. What the villainy of the tribunes is going to accomplish I cannot guess; I suspect, however, that Caninius will carry his bill by violence.[4] In this business I cannot make Out what Pompey really wishes. What his entourage desire everybody sees. Those who are financing the king are openly advancing sums of money against Lentulus. There seems no doubt that the commission has been taken out of Lentulus's hands, to my very great regret, although he has done many things for which I might, if it were not for superior considerations, be justly angry with him. I hope, if it is consistent with your interests, that you will embark as soon as possible, when the weather is fair and settled, and come to me. For there are countless things, in regard to which I miss you daily in every possible way. Your family and my own are well.

18 January.


  1. Agent or steward of Atticus.
  2. The architect. See Letter XXVIII.
  3. Clodius, who was aedile this year.
  4. For commissioning Pompey with two lictors to restore Ptolemy.