From May in this year Cicero was absent from Italy till November, 50 BC, as proconsul of Cilicia—which, to his chagrin, he was obliged to undertake owing to the regulation in Pompey's law (de provinciis) of the previous year enforcing a five years' interval between consulship or praetorship and a province, and providing for the interim by drawing on the ex-consuls and ex-praetors of previous years who had not had provinces. He is informed by letters of what is going on in Rome, where the burning question was, should Caesar stay in Gaul till consul-designate for 48 BC, or come home to stand for the consulship as a private citizen? From the necessity of making his professio in person Caesar had been by name exempted in Pompey's law, but the senate nevertheless (or a party in it) hoped to make him do so by its authority, and Pompey played fast and loose with the question, though gradually coming round to the side of the senate. Caesar believed that he could not safely come home as a privatus, as his enemies would ruin him by a prosecution. There are no speeches or writings during this year.

Letters edit