|Orations for a forsaken Man
Author: SSLE PM
When Brutus returns to Rome, Cicero decides that he will not do the same. Disappointed and bitter, he aims for a quiet life in Greece. But what happens when he meets one of his oldest enemies?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Chapters: 4 - Words: 8,359 - Reviews: 11 - Updated: 04-06-12 - Published: 04-02-12 - id: 7982748
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
When Brutus returns to Rome, Cicero decides that he will not do the same. Disappointed and bitter, he aims for a quiet life in Greece. What happens when he meets one of his oldest enemies?
You keep watching from your picket fence
You keep talking but it makes no sense
You say we're not responsible
But we are, we are
You wash your hands and come out clean
Fail to recognise the enemies within
You say we're not responsible
But we are, we are, we are, we are
We are - Ana Johnsson
Epidamnus, Greece. 49 BC
Cicero stood feet naked on the sand just staring at the serene Adriatic Sea, completely unperturbed by the distress around him. When he was a boy he used to go to the beach with his brother and Tiro. He was the oldest, he remembered, and always felt somehow responsible for the two of them. Even for Tiro, back then when life was worry free and he wasn't in exile, away from Rome the place he loved above everything in the world.
Gone too were those times when he travelled with Tiro to Greece to learn Rhetoric and Grammar. When he was so sure that the future would smile on him, that he would conquer the world merely with his words. Not with armies like Pompey or Caesar but words.
Once, many years ago, Catilina, his mortal enemy had in a rare private conversation compared him to Jupiter: Like the King of Gods he too was able to throw lightening bolts from his fingers. Only it wasn't to kill or to harm but to entice. His words were his shafts of lightening. That was how he was able to conquer, to convince. Anyone: be it the Senate or a crowd, there was no one who would be able to resist the power of his words.
And for great part of his life he was foolish enough to believe that words would suffice. But it didn't. And Rome…the destruction of the Republic was the price he was paying for his foolishness. The sun set in front of his eyes as he recalled his earlier conversation with Brutus. He was an idiot for having invited Brutus to go with him to his farm. It sounded as if he had invited him to some sort of lover's nest. He now cringed at the memory.
Above every disgrace in his life it seemed that his eloquence was abandoning him as well!
In all reality the farm wasn't really that close. It was in Neapolis, in the Golf of Laconia. Close to the sea as he used to love. Only a few leagues from the island of Cythère. He had bought that farm out of a whim when he had money to spare. He had felt he should have some place to live in Greece a remote place where he could study philosophy but close enough to the civilization. Indeed, Neapolis was only a day and half away from Athens by ship.
Despite all this, the farm had turned out to be quite profitable, providing a nice income. Not in the last couple years though because he wasn't able to afford it and so he sort of abandoned it. Perhaps if he were to return he could work to restore the place to its former glory. To return or rather to stay…
To stay in Greece. To not return to Rome. To home.
What if he didn't return to Rome?
The idea flourished in his mind as the situation in Epidamnus became more and more desperate. He took his final decision in a rather sudden and unexpected manner when Brutus approached him one night, in his tent. Cicero was almost falling asleep when Brutus shook him. Sleepy and slightly alarmed, he straightened "What are you doing here?"
Brutus hesitated but decided to go on with it anyway knowing it was too late now "I am returning to Rome. I'm about to crawl for Caesar's forgiveness and beg for his mercy and I thought you would like to come with me"
Cicero stared at him. He then lowered his eyes again, million thoughts running through his head. "No" He suddenly said. There are moments in life when you just know. You just know what you should do, instinctively, as if the Gods had opened a clear path for you, telling you what you should do. The Greeks call it an epiphaneia, an epiphany.
"You're staying with Pompey then?"
"No." Cicero's voice was secure and certain as Brutus had never heard it. "I'm not returning to Rome"
"I need you to send this letter to Caesar" He handed it to Brutus. It was almost dawn now as they had been speaking for the whole night. He had just finished another missive and prepared to seal it "And please, when you reach Rome…if Caesar forgives you…"
"I highly doubt that" Brutus commented bitterly
"Please, make sure this letter finds my brother Quintus"
"Marcus," Brutus started calling him for his given name. "What is this trick?"
"There is no trick"
Brutus smirked "There has to be. You are Marcus Tullius Cicero, there is always a trick. You are a Senator…you were a consul…Pater Patriae! The father of the Land, remember? How can you leave…Rome? How can you leave Rome? You can't. You love that city…"
"I love Rome." Cicero replied firmly "And what she is, what she represents. But…my dear Brutus, Rome is no longer. It exists no longer. Can't you see what men like Gaius Julius Caesar, like Pompey…like Mark Anthony, yes even that idiot, can't you see that they have destroyed Rome? And honestly? I cannot stand…"
His voice now became bargained with emotion but he made an effort to regain his wits "I cannot see it. I cannot be there…to see it and not be able to change it" His voice came out huskily, with a quiet despair "I can't."
Brutus's eyes were slightly widened. Could it be true? The most Republican of all Romans, the great defender of the Roman ideal...
"My daughter" Cicero began again quietly but clearly "She died you know? Only a couple of months ago. Days before I came here…days before I flee like a coward. My daughter died, Brutus. And with her died a part of me. I feel empty and hallow ever since I arrived to this place. And I thought that it would be so because of Rome because of Caesar because of this blasted war. But it wasn't. It's because…the person I most love in the world has disappeared."
"I know that, Cicero and I am very sorry" He sounded sincere "But can't you see your statement stands for itself? You are mad with grief. It's not about Rome, it's about your daughter"
"No, Brutus. The realization of my pain has made me understand that I cannot stand to witness the death of my other great love. Something I fought to preserve my whole life: The Republic." He sighed. "You may call me a coward but I'm not capable"
The other man rubbed his eyes, red due to lack of sleep. They were in silence for a long moment. Brutus was surprised, though still not totally convinced that Cicero would take this plan ahead. It seemed so improbable. So unlikely. It was Cicero damn it! He of all men shouldn't give up "And what are you going to do?"
"Well, right now I'm travelling to my farm in Neapolis. I'm hoping my family, my wife and my son come to meet me there. And Quintus, my brother, though he would probably want to stay in Rome. But I need him here at least for now."
"Alright then, I will make sure this letter gets to your brother"
Cicero smiled and thanked him.
"Are you going to tell Pompey?" Brutus asked when he was about to leave still hoping to get some sleep before he departed.
"Yes, soon. As soon as you leave."
"And the letter to Caesar…"
"I explain him the situation. I tell him that I will in a close future resign from the Senate and that I will stay in Greece for a…undetermined period of time. I also tell him that I hope he forgives me and leaves me and my family in peace"
"Resign from the Senate? Isn't that a little drastic?"
Cicero faced him, his blue eyes vivid as ever. "I have no intention of returning, Brutus."
TBC. I know I'm not going to get much reviews for this but I really just wanted to write it. I'm so very interested in Cicero that I needed to write something with him. I hope you tell me your thoughts, though. This has elements not just from Rome but also from Steven Saylor's books and especially Robert Harris's books.
Changes to History:
Apart from the obvious change that Cicero doesn't return to Italy, his daughter Tullia dies in 49 BC, before Cicero flees from Rome. She dies when her first son with Dolabella is born in May, 49.
Also in the series and historically, Cicero and Brutus (who is made prisoner in the battle) leave Pompey and are forgiven by Ceasar after the battle of Pharsalus. Here Brutus decides to leave Pompey before that battle and Cicero departs also before that battle which takes place in 48 B