Cicero Letters Translation

Nunc ea cognosce, quae maxime exoptas: rem publicam funditus amisimus, adeo ut C. Cato, adolescens nullius consilli, sed tamen civis Romanus et Cato, vix vivus effugerit, quod, cum Gabinium de ambitu vellet postulare neque praetores diebus aliquot adiri possent vel potestatem sui facerent, in concionem escendit et Pompeium privatum dictatorem appellavit: propius nihil est factum, quam ut occideretur. 2 Ex hoc, qui sit status totius rei publicae, videre potes. 3 16. Nostrae tamen causae non videntur homines defuturi: mirandum in modum profitentur, offerunt se, pollicentur. 5 Equidem cum spe sum maxima, tum maiore etiam animo, spe, superiores fore nos, animo, ut in hac re publica ne casum quidem ullum pertimescam. 6 Sed tamen se res sic habet: si diem nobis Clodius dixerit, tota Italia concurret, ut multiplicata gloria discedamus; sin autem vi agere conabitur, spero fore studiis non solum amicorum, sed etiam alienorum ut vi resistamus. 7 Omnes et se et suos amicos clientes, libertos servos, pecunias denique suas pollicentur. Nostra antiqua manus bonorum ardet studio nostri atque amore; si qui antea aut alienores fuerant aut languidiores, nunc horum regum odio se cum bonis coniungunt. 9 Pompeius omnia pollicetur et Caesar, quibus ego ita credo, ut nihil de mea comparatione deminuam. 10 Tribuni pl. 11 designati sunt nobis amici; consules se optimos ostendunt; praetores habemus amicissimos et acerrimos cives Domitium, Nigidium, Memmium, Lentulum; bonos etiam alios, sed hos singulares: quare magnum fac animum habeas et spem bonam; de singulis tamen rebus, quae quotidie gerantur, faciam te crebro certiorem.
Now for the news that you chiefly desire. We have so completely lost the constitution that Cato,[11] a young man of no sense, but yet a Roman citizen and a Cato, scarcely got off with his life because, having determined to prosecute Gabinius for bribery, when the praetors could not be approached for several days, and refused to admit anyone to their presence, he mounted the rostra in public meeting and called Pompey an “unofficial dictator. ” No one ever had a narrower escape of being killed. From this you may see the state of the whole Republic. People, however, show no inclination to desert my cause.
They make wonderful professions, offers of service, and promises: and, indeed, I have the highest hopes and even greater spirit–so that I hope to get the better in the struggle, and feel confident in my mind that, in the present state of the Republic, I need not fear even an accident. However, the matter stands thus: if Clodius gives notice of an action against me, the whole of Italy will rush to my support, so that I shall come off with many times greater glory than before; but if he attempts the use of violence, I hope, by the zeal not only of friends but also of opponents, to be able to meet force with force.

All promise me the aid of themselves, their friends, clients, freedmen, slaves, and, finally, of their money. Our old regiment of loyalists is warm in its zeal and attachment to me. If there were any who had formerly been comparatively hostile or lukewarm, they are now uniting themselves with the loyalists from hatred to these despots. Pompey makes every sort of promise, and so does Caesar: but my confidence in them is not enough to induce me to drop any of my preparations.
The tribunes-designate are friendly to us. The consuls-designate make excellent professions. Some of the new praetors are very friendly and very brave citizens-Domitius, Nigidius, Memmius, Lentulus[12]–the others are loyalists also, but these are eminently so. Wherefore keep a good heart and high hopes. However, I will keep you constantly informed on particular events as they occur from day to day.

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