Caesar: A Biography

By Gérard Walter; Emma Craufurd et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter IV
POMPEY'S RETREAT

Having found no one in Rome to whom they could give a report of their mission, L. Caesar and L. Roscius continued their journey. They finally succeeded in joining the consuls at Teanum, a small town some eight miles north of Capua. The next day at Capua there was a meeting of the senators who had left Rome. Pompey communicated Caesar's propositions to them. Cicero considered them as "ridiculous," but nearly all his colleagues were in a conciliatory mood and anxious to reach an agreement. The general opinion was that they might come to an understanding on the basis of the conditions proposed by Caesar, but only if he evacuated Ariminum and led his troops back to the other side of the Italian frontier. Even Cato seems to have abandoned his uncompromising attitude and Cicero did not fail to record that this fierce Republican "preferred servitude to civil war," while declaring in the same breath that he was grieved to see that "they refused Caesar nothing." And he concluded with deep bitterness: "they yield today with less honour to an avowed rebel, who has already used violence against the Republic, than if they had from the first allowed him to stand for the consulship without coming to Rome."

Nevertheless, everyone was pessimistic. The same Cicero, whose testimony is so valuable here, admits that most of the senators believed "Caesar would not abide by his own conditions and had only formulated them in order to stop their preparations for war." Two days later, echoing a rumour which was circulating, Cicero wrote to Atticus: "They assure

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