Cicero of Arpinum: A Political and Literary Biography Being a Contribution to the History of Ancient Civilization and a Guide to the Study of Cicero's Writings

By E. G. Sihler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
LOWERING CLOUDS AND THE FIRST STAGE OF THE CIVIL WAR somewhat later

As the proconsul of Cilicia set his face westward to return to Italy by easy stages, the problem of the two dynasts and the tension between them was spreading ominously above the political horizon. Caelius the Campanian, bon-vivant and happygo-lucky politician, was, with all this, endowed with a measure of hard political sense. His reports to his older and patronizing friend are quite blunt and very much to the point. The orator had first stopped at Rhodes, dear to him from academic remembrances. Here he heard of the death of Hortensius, which he had expected for some time, for his one-time rival had long lingered on the brink of the grave. A death long expected, and still1 the orator felt it profoundly and was deeply stirred. It seemed to him that the outlook for the free voice was but gloomy. From Rhodes Cicero went to Ephesus, where he deposited his proconsular income, some $96,000, with Roman bankers. From the capital of Asia, with many head-winds, he sailed across the Aegean, landing at the Piraeus on October 4th.2 To be in Athens once more was for him a renewed contact with the genetic point of all those concerns which engaged his stiller hours, and which furnished him with most of his ideals.3 He admired and was admired. But these matters were pushed into the background by the burning question of the hour.4 There is not, then, in Rome any hope that peace will last as long as one year.5 Caelius writes (Fam. 8, 14): "This is the issue, about which the men who have control of the government are going to fight, viz. because Pompey has resolved not to suffer it that Caesar shall become consul in any other way but that of surrendering army and provinces. But

____________________
Brut. 1, 4, 328, 329.
Att. 6, 9, 1; 7, 1, 1. Fam. 14, 5, 1.
3
Plut. Cic. 36 'AΘńναιç ἐνδιέτρ∘ψε ἄσμενοç πóΘῳ τὠ+̑ν π+1F71λαι διατριβὠ+̑ν. He called the Acropolis his headquarters. Att. 6, 9, 5.
Summa res publica. Fam. 8, 14, 2.
5
Me annum pacem non videre. I would suggest me annuampacem non videre.

-296-

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