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Letter XCII: ad familiares 11.28

Rome, Aug. 23-30, 44 B.C. In the correspondence of Cicero perhaps there is no letter written more strongly, more skilfully constructed, and better calculated to accomplish its purpose than Cicero's letter to Matius. It is a work of art—but in that very fact lies its defect, and in that respect it is in contrast to the reply of Matius. The latter reveals that “fides in amicitia,” which the name of Matius always suggests, while the sincerity of his statements and the simplicity of his style make this one of the most admirable of the non-Ciceronian letters. Upon Matius and this letter, cf. Schmalz in Commentationes Wölffiinianae (Lips. 1891), 269 ff.

speraram atque optaram: cf. Intr. 82.

quia aestimabam: quia for quod after laborabam is probably colloquial; cf. Ep. LXXVII. 2n.

par ... bonitate: par, like aequus, governs the abl. occasionally, especially in early Latin. Cf. Plaut. Pers. 834et me haud par est”. Böckel. 2.

nota ... sunt quae contulerint: for the reference, cf. Ep. XCI. 7 ea tu si, etc.

patriam ... praeponendam esse: cf. Ep. XCI. 8.

proinde ac: cf. perinde at, Ep. LXVII.1n.

vicerint: sc. dicendo; cf. 4, below. For the same use of vincere, cf. Plaut. Most. 95profecto esse ... vera vincam”; Hor. Sat. 2.3.225 vincet enim stultos ratio insanire nepotes.

Caesarem: sc. the statesman or general.

summe: as an intensive adverb summe is found in Cicero's earlier writings (e.g. Div. in Caecil. 57), in the de Fin., and in his correspondence (e.g. Fam. 4.7.2).

in victoria: in with the abl. is used colloquially for a conditional or temporal clause. Here in victoria, etc., is equivalent to cum vicisset homo necessarius.

lege Caesaris: the lex Iulia de modo credendi et possidendi intra Italiam, limiting the extent to which land could be mortgaged, etc. Cf. Lange, Röm. Alterth. 3(2). 435.

remanserunt : their debts would otherwise have prevented them from doing this.

idem homines: M. Brutus and C. Cassius were among the former Pompeians, whose pardon and advancement by Caesar had probably excited the envy (invidiae) of those who had followed Caesar throughout the Civil War, and these two men joined the conspiracy to kill him (exitio).

illi: i.e. Caesari.

impunite: found only once elsewhere (Cic. de Finibus, 2.59) in classical prose.

timerent: we should expect some verb like sperarent or cuperent before timerent.

libertatis auctores: Cicero repeatedly calls the conspirators liberatores, e.g. Att. 14.12.2; Phil. 1.6.

pro civili parte, as a citizen.

reliqua mea spes, my hope for the future; corresponding to ante acta vita.

postulo, expect, as frequently in comedy. Cf. Lorenz on Plaut. Pseud. 829. Postulo with the simple infin. is very rare in Cicero; cf. Draeg. Hist. Syn. 112.321 f.

maiorem in modum, the more earnestly.

si ... fieri, if you think it well for the right to prevail.

aetate praecipitata: this would seem to indicate that Matius was at least fifty years old when this letter was written. See also Ep. XCI.2nn.

me ipse retexam, shall I undo the work of my life? (Watson).

quod displiceat: sc. cuiquam.

ludos: cf. de curatione ludorum, Ep. XCI.7n

Caesar adulescens: sc. Octavianus.

quae ... adrogantia: explained by its appositive, the exclamatory infin. clause, eos ... conari.

quod ... interpellavit: a relative clause explained by quin ... uterer. The entire expression quod ... uterer is parenthetical, and sets Caesar's conduct in contrast to that of the libertatis auctores.

sui similis: for they had killed their friend Caesar.

bene vale : cf. Intr. 62. Bene vale is not used by Cicero. Cf., however, Plaut. As. 606; Curius, Fam. 7.29.

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hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (11):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 4.7.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 7.29
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 14.12.2
    • Cicero, Philippics, 1.6
    • Cicero, Divinatio against Q. Caecilius, 57
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, 1.2
    • Plautus, Persa, 5.2
    • Plautus, Pseudolus, 3.2
    • Horace, Satires, 2.3.225
    • Plautus, Asinaria, 3.3
    • Cicero, de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, 2.59
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