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Cicero and Caesar

On the eighteenth and nineteenth of December of 45 BCE, Caesar was in Campania and visited Cicero's estate near Puteoli. His affable nature even caught Cicero off guard and the gloomy Republican unexpectantly found himself having an enjoyable time. He writes to his friend Anticus about the experience and what follows is a rare insight into Caesar's hectic life as dictator just a few short months before his death.

Strange that so onerous a guest should leave a memory not disagreeable! It was really very pleasant. But when he arrived at Philippus' place on the evening of December 18, the house was so thronged by the soldiers that there was hardly a spare room for Caesar himself to dine in. Two thousand men, no less! I was a good deal perturbed about what would happen next day, but Cassius Barba came to the rescue and posted sentries. Camp was pitched in the open and a guard placed on the house. On the 19th Caesar stayed with Philippus until 1 o'clock admitting nobody - at accounts, I believe with Balbus. Then he took a walk on the shore. Towards two he went to his bath. That was then he heard about Mamurra; his face did not change. After annointing he took his place at dinner. He was following a course of emetics, and so both ate and drank with an uninhibited enjoyment. It was really a fine, well-appointed meal, and not only that but cooked and garnished well, good talking too - in fact a pleasant meal.

His entourage moreover were lavishly entertained in three other dining rooms. The humbler freedmen and slaves had all they wanted - the smarter ones I entertained in style. In a word, I showed I knew how to live. But my guest was not the kind of person to whom one says, "Do come again when you are next in the neighborhood." Once is enough. We talked of nothing serious, but a good deal on literary matters. All in all, he was pleased and enjoyed himself. He said he would spend a day at Puteoli and another at Baiae.

There you are - a visit, or should I call it a billeting, which as I said was troublesome to me but not disagreeable.....

(Letters to Anticus, 13.52)