Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To M. Licinius Crassus on his way to Syria, from Rome, January 54 BC

I have no doubt all your friends have written to tell you what zeal I displayed on the ----[1] in the defence, or you might call it the promotion, of your official position. For it was neither half-hearted nor inconspicuous, nor of a sort that could be passed over in silence. In fact, I maintained a controversy against both the consuls and many consulars with a vehemence such as I have never shown in any cause before, and I took upon myself the standing defence of all your honours, and paid the duty I owed to our friendship—long in arrears, but interrupted by the great complexity of events—to the very utmost. Not, believe me, that the will to shew you attention and honour was ever wanting to me; but certain pestilent persons—vexed at another's fame—did at times alienate you from me, and sometimes changed my feelings towards you. But I have got the opportunity, for which I had rather wished than hoped, of showing you in the very height of your prosperity that I remember our mutual kindness and am faithful to our friendship. For I have secured not only that your whole family, but that the entire city should know that you have no warmer friend than myself. Accordingly, that most noble of women, your wife, as well as your two most affectionate, virtuous, and popular sons, place full confidence in my counsel, advice, zeal, and public actions; and the senate and Roman people understand that in your absence there is nothing upon which you can so absolutely count and depend as upon my exertions, care, attention, and influence in all matters which affect your interests. What has been done and is being done in the senate I imagine that you are informed in the letters from members of your family. For myself, I am very anxious that you should think and believe that I did not stumble upon the task of supporting your dignity from some sudden whim or by chance, but that from the first moment of my entering on public life I have always looked out to see how I might be most closely united to you. And, indeed, from that hour I never remember either my respect for you, or your very great kindness and liberality to me, to have failed. If certain interruptions of friendship have occurred, based rather on suspicion than fact, let them, as groundless and imaginary, be uprooted from our entire memory and life. For such is your character, and such I desire mine to be, that, fate having brought us face to face with the same condition of public affairs, I would fain hope that our union and friendship will turn out to be for the credit of us both. Wherefore how much consideration should in your judgment be shewn to me, you will yourself decide, and that decision, I hope, will be in accordance with my position in the state. I, for my part, promise and guarantee a special and unequaled zeal in every service which may tend to your honour and reputation. And even if in this I shall have many rivals, I shall yet easily surpass them all in the judgment of the rest of the world as well as that of your sons, for both of whom I have a particular affection; but while equally well-disposed to Marcus, I am more entirely devoted to Publius for this reason, that, though he always did so from boyhood, he is at this particular time treating me with the respect and affection of a second father.

I would have you believe that this letter will have the force of a treaty, not of a mere epistle; and that I will most sacredly observe and most carefully perform what I hereby promise and undertake. The defence of your political position which I have taken up in your absence I will abide by, not only for the sake of our friendship, but also for the sake of my own character for consistency. Therefore I thought it sufficient at this time to tell you this that if there was anything which I understood to be your wish or for your advantage or for your honour, I should do it without waiting to be asked; but that if I received a hint from yourself or your family on any point, I should take care to convince you that no letter of your own or any request from any of your family has been in vain. Wherefore I would wish you to write to me on all matters, great, small, or indifferent, as to a most cordial friend; and to bid your family so to make use of my activity, advice, authority, and influence in all business matters—public or private, forensic or domestic, whether your own or those of your friends, guests, or clients—that, as far as such a thing is possible, the loss of your presence may be lessened by my labour.


  1. The date has been lost.