Scr. in Gallia Cisalpina c. prid. Id. Ian. an. 62
Q. METELLUS Q. F. CELER PRO COS. S. D. M. TULLIO CICERONI1
Si vales, bene est.1
Existimaram pro mutuo inter nos animo et pro reconciliata gratia nec absente<m umquam me abs te>2 ludibrio laesum iri nec Metellum fratrem ob dictum capite ac fortunis per te oppugnatum iri. quem si parum pudor ipsius defendebat, debebat vel familiae nostrae dignitas vel meum studium erga vos remque publicam satis sublevare. nunc video illum circumventum, me desertum a quibus minime conveniebat.2
Itaque in luctu et squalore sum, qui provinciae, qui exercitui praesum, qui bellum gero. quae quoniam nec ratione nec maiorum nostrum clementia administrastis, non erit mirandum si vos paenitebit. te tam mobili in me
Cisalpine Gaul, ca. 12 January 62
Q. Metellus Celer, son of Quintus, Proconsul, to M. Tullius Cicero greetings.
I hope you are well!
In view of our reciprocal sentiments and the restoration of our friendly relations I had not expected that I should ever be held up by you to offensive ridicule in my absence, or that my brother Metellus1 would be attacked at your instance in person or estate because of a phrase.2 If his own honourable character did not suffice for his protection, the dignity of our family and my zeal on behalf of you and your friends and the commonwealth should have been support enough. Now it seems that he has been beset, and I deserted, by those whom it least behoved.
So I wear the black of mourning3—I, in command of a province and an army conducting a war!4 Well, you and your friends have managed it so, without reason or forbearance. It was not like this in our forbears’ time, and it will not be surprising if you all come to be sorry.5 I did not
- 1Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos. Since entering office as Tribune on 10 December 63 he had demonstrated hostility to Cicero and his handling of the Catilinarian crisis. See next letter.
- 2Probably the one reported in para. 8 of Cicero’s reply (‘that one who had punished others’ etc.).
- 3Customary when, for example, a close relative faced prosecution on a capital charge. Many Romans put on mourning for Cicero when threatened by Clodius in 58. Metellus Nepos had been suspended from office by the Senate.
- 4Against Catiline.
- 5Perhaps a hint of what might happen when Pompey returned from the East.