previous next

Letter LXXXVI: ad familiares 11.1

Rome, Mar. 17, 44 B.C. The 17th and 18th of March were taken up with meetings of the senate (cf. Phil. 2.89). Mar. 19 was a holiday (Quinquatrus), on which a burial could not take place, so that the burning of Caesar's body and Antony's address in the Forum cannot have taken place before Mar. 20. On the other hand, seven days seem to have been the extreme interval allowed between death and burial amongst the Romans (cf. Herodian, 4.2.4, with note by Marquardt, Handbuch, VII. 348). The burial must have taken place, therefore, on or before Mar. 22, i.e. Mar. 20-22 (Ruete, 16). As for the date of this letter, there is no mention in it of Caesar's burial, so that it was probably written before Mar. 21-22. In fact, the remarks in 6 make it highly probable that it was written on the morning of Mar. 17. Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus had served under Caesar with distinction in the campaigns against the Veneti in 56 B.C. (cf. B. G. 3.11.5), and against Vercingetorix in 52 (cf. B. G. 7.9.1). He followed Caesar in the Civil War (cf. Caes. B. C. 1.56-58 et passim), and later served twice as governor of Gallia Vlterior. In spite of these favors from Caesar, he was one of the three most active and prominent leaders of the conspiracy (cf. Suet. Jul. 80; Vell. Paterc. 2.56), and induced Caesar to go to the curia on the Ides of March. Caesar had designated him as one of his second heirs and as governor of Gallia Cisalpina (cf. Intr. 40). M. Junius Brutus, who is addressed (cf. Bruto suo), had espoused the cause of Pompey in the Civil War (cf. Att. 11.4.2), but was subsequently pardoned by Caesar and made governor of Gallia Cisalina (cf. Ep. LXV.10n.). At the time of Caesar's assassination he was praetor. C. Cassius Longinus (cf. Cassio), as proquaestor of Syria, while Cicero was governor of Cilicia, carried on a brilliant campaign against the Parthians (cf. quo ... recesstsse, Ep. XXXIV.7n.). He supported Pompey in 49 B.C. , but was subsequently pardoned by Caesar and made one of his legates (cf. Ep. LXV. To n.). At the time of Caesar's death he was praetor.

Hirtius: consul with Pansa in 43 B.C. Cf. Ep. LXI. 7.

infidelissima: this unusual superlative Cicero himself uses in Ep. LX. 2.

provinciam: i.e. Gallia Cisalpina.

aiebat : sc. Antonius.

mediocre auxilium dignitatis : with especial reference to se ... provinciam dare posse, above. Caesar's assignment of Gallia Cisalpina to D. Brutus was, however, ratified by the senate Mar. 18.

his: i.e. Antony and his followers.

placitum est: cf. licitum est, Ep. LXXV.3n. A confusion between the active and passive forms is noticeable in early Latin and in colloquial Latin of all periods; see, e.g., Guericke, de Linguae Vulgaris Reliquiis apud Petronium, etc., 49, and Rönsch, It. u. Vulg. 297 ff. See also the statement with reference to the conservative element in colloquial Latin, Intr. 70. In general, colloquial Latin is distinguished from formal Latin by a less degree of fixity in the matter of form and construction.

legationem liberam: cf. legati, Ep. 1.2 B.

pollicitus est: sc. Hirtius.

insectatio: apparently the first extant instance of the use of the word. Cf. Intr. 75.

dederint: cf. dimisero, Ep. XV.2n.

aqua interdicatur: the technical phrase for banishment.

aliquo terrarum: cf. quo terrarum, Liv. 39.54; ubi terrarum, Cic. Att. 5.10.4. The limiting genitive is unusual with aliquo; cf. Cic. in Cat. 1.17.

ad novissima auxilia: i.e. to armed resistance, as indicated by the reference to Sex. Pompeius and Bassus Caecilius below.

novissima: i.e. extrema, a colloquial usage noticed by Varro (de Ling. Lat. 6.59), and employed by Cicero in one of his earlier orations (pro Rosc. Com. 30), but otherwise avoided by him (cf. Gel. 10.21.1 f.); cf. novissime = denique in a letter from D. Brutus (Fam. 11.20.1) and in one from C. Cassius (Fam. 12.13.3). This usage is not found in Caesar.

succurret: for occurret; a usage not found in Cicero outside the Letters, and only three times in them; Ep. XC. 6; Att. 14.1.2.

Sex. Pompeium: the son of Pompeius Magnus, who escaped after the battle of Munda (Caes. fr. p.160, ed. Dinter), and gathered about him in Spain irreconcilables, freebooters, and malcontents.

Bassum Caecilum: a Pompeian who, though pardoned by Caesar after the battle of Pharsalus, secured a small army, entrenched himself in Syria, and defied the power of Caesar. On the order Bassum Caecilium, cf. Galli Canini, Ep. XIX.4n. Brutus adopts the same order in Fam. 11.9.1; 11.20.1.

de Caesare: euphemistic for de morte Caesaris.

pro Cassio et te: the letter is addressed more particularly to M. Brutus.

post ... sermonem, etc.: apparently written after the conference with Hirtius referred to above, and immediately before the meeting of the senate on Mar.17.

novissimum: for proximum; cf. note above.

illos: Antony and his followers.

invidiam us faciemus: cf. Att. 3.16 spem facere alicui; Fam. 10.18.2 timorem facere alicui; Att. 11.8. 2 dolorem facere alicui. It is probable that all these phrases are colloquial. Cf. Intr. 89.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
56 BC (1)
49 BC (1)
44 BC (1)
43 BC (1)
hide References (17 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (17):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 10.18.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 11.20.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 11.9.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 12.13.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 11.8
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 14.1.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 3.16
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.10.4
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 3.11
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.9
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 1.17
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.89
    • Cicero, For Quintus Roscius the Actor, 30
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.56
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 80
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 54
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 10.21.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: