Cicero Prepares for A Vacation

Cicero to Atticus 8.16 [4 March 49]

“Everything is prepared except for a secret and safe journey to the upper sea [Adriatic]. We are not able to travel by sea in this season. But in what way may I go where my spirit and the situation call? We must depart quickly so that I am not delayed or tied down by some matter.

Nor in fact does he [Pompey] who seems to pull me actually call me—a man I already knew before as the most unpolitical of all and now truly the least strategic general. It is not he then who draws me but the words of people which have been sent to me by Philotimus. For he says that I am being torn apart by the optimates.

Good gods, what kind of optimates? Those ones now who are running out and selling themselves to Caesar! The towns pretend he is a god and they were doing this when they were praying for sick Pompey. But whatever evil this Pisistratus has not done is as valuable to him as if he stopped someone from doing it. They hope to find a gracious power in him, but they think that Pompey is angry.”

Omnia mihi provisa sunt praeter occultum et tutum iter ad mare superum; hoc enim mari uti non possumus hoc tempore anni. illuc autem quo spectat animus et quo res vocat qua veniam? cedendum enim est celeriter, ne forte qua re impediar atque adliger. nec vero ille me ducit qui videtur; quem ego hominem ἀπολιτκώτατον omnium iam ante cognoram, nunc vero etiam ἀστρατηγητότατον. non me igitur is ducit sed sermo hominum qui ad me <a> Philotimo scribitur; is enim me ab optimatibus ait conscindi. quibus optimatibus, di boni? qui nunc quo modo occurrunt, quo modo etiam se venditant Caesari! municipia vero deum, nec simulant, ut cum de illo aegroto vota faciebant. sed plane quicquid mali hic Pisistratus non fec[er]it tam gratum est quam si alium facere prohibuerit. <hunc> propitium sperant, illum iratum putant.


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A Letter to Brutus from the Bodleian Library