Epistula ad Octavianum
cicero octaviano salutem
1Si per tuas legiones mihi licitum fuisset, quae nomini meo populique Romani sunt inimicissimae, venire in senatum coramque de re publica disputare, fecissem, neque tam libenter quam necessario; nulla enim remedia quae vulneribus adhibentur tam faciunt dolorem, quam quae sunt salutaria. sed quoniam cohortibus circumsaeptus senatus nihil aliud libere1 potest [decernere]2 nisi timere— in Capitolio signa sunt, in urbe milites vagantur, in Campo castra ponuntur, Italia tota legionibus ad libertatem nostram conscriptis ad servitutem adductis equitatuque exterarum nationum distinetur—cedam tibi in praesentia foro et3 curia et sanctissimis deorum immortalium templis, in quibus reviviscente iam libertate rursus oppressa senatus nihil consulitur, timet multa, assentatur4 omnia.
2Post etiam paulo temporibus ita postulantibus cedam urbe, quam per me conservatam ut esset libera in servitute
Letter to Octavian
From Cicero to Octavian greetings.
Had not your legions, bitterly hostile as they are to me personally and to the Roman People, debarred me from coming to the Senate and debating on public affairs face to face, I should have done so, not so much of will as of necessity—no treatments applied to wounds are so painful as those that heal.1 But the Senate surrounded by armed cohorts, can do nothing freely except tremble. There are standards on the Capitol, soldiers roaming the streets, a camp in Mars’ Field, all Italy in her different parts2 is held down by legions enrolled to free us but brought along to enslave us and by horsemen of foreign nations.3 So for the present I shall leave you in possession of the Forum and the Senate House and the most hallowed temples of the immortal gods,4 in which with renascent freedom crushed anew the Senate is consulted about nothing, fears many things, and assents to everything.
A little later on I shall leave Rome as well if conditions call for it; saved by me5 to be free, I shall not have the heart
- 1I.e. debating with you would have been unpleasant, as effective treatments of a wound usually are, but I would have done it all the same
- 2Distinetur combines the ideas of parcelling out and holding down.
- 3Antony had Gaulish and Moorish cavalry.
- 4The Senate House (curia Hostilia) adjoined the Forum, but the Senate often met in a temple.
- 5From Catiline in 63.