Marcus Claudius Marcellus was descended from the most illustrious families in Rome, and had been consul with Servius Sulpicius Rufus; in which office he had given great offence to Caesar by making a motion in the Senate to deprive him of his command; and in the civil war he espoused the side of Pompeius, and had been present at the battle of Pharsalia, after which he retired to Lesbos. But after some time the whole Senate interceded with Caesar to pardon him, and to allow him to return to his country. And when he yielded to their entreaties, Cicero made the following speech, thanking Caesar for his magnanimity; though he had, as he says himself (Ep. Fam. iv. 4), determined to say nothing; but he was afraid that if he continued silent Caesar would interpret it as a proof that he despaired of the republic.
Caesar, though he saw the Senate unanimous in their petition for Marcellus, yet had the motion for his pardon put to the vote, and called for the opinion of every individual senator on it. Cicero appears at this time to have believed that Caesar intended to restore the republic, as he mentions in his letters (Ep. Fam. xiii. 68).
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