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Letter XXXVI: ad familiares 2.11

Cilicia, Apr. 4, 50 B.C. Since Ep. XXXIII. was written Caelius has been elected curule aedile (cf. aedili curuli), and has entered on the duties of the office.


ut mihi, etc.: cf. Fam. 4.4.1 quem (i.e. me) tu divitias orationis habere dicis, me non esse verborum admodum inopem agnosco.

ista vestra oratoria, of you orators there in Rome. Caelius's strength as a lawyer lay in his skill in prosecution; cf. Quint. 6.3.69 idem (Cicero) per allegoriam M. Caelium, melius obicientem crimina quam defendentem, bonam dextram, malam sinistram habere dicebat.

levia nostratia: used of the discussion of familiar topics in familiar language, and especially of the sermo cotidianus. Thus Cicero, while recognizing the value of Greek culture, adds, ego autemexistimes licet quidlibetmirifice capior facetiis, maxime nostratibus, Ep. LXVII. 2; in Tusc. Disp. 5.90, speaking of Roman philosophers as opposed to Greek, he calls the former nostrates philosophi. The passage is important, as indicating that Cicero recognized the existence of a colloquial Latin by the side of a more formal language. Cf. also Intr. 7 I.

decernatur: Cicero fears that his term of office may be prolonged.

desiderium urbis: cf. si potes, etc., Ep. XVII.2n.

fortuna: i.e. a change of fortune.

belli: sc. with the Parthians.


pantheris, etc.: Cicero's reply to the urgent and repeated requests of Caelius, gravely couched in official language, as if the capture of these panthers had been the most serious object of his provincial administration. Cf. also Octavio, Ep. XXXV.21n.

agitur mandatu meo: such a phrase as an official nught use in a report to his government, while ex ... decedere suggests the dignified retirement of those who felt aggrieved.

irisidiarum: with reference on the one hand to traps for panthers, and on the other to the lying in ambush of highwaymen, or the snares laid for the provincials by the money-lenders, whose iniquitous proceedings Cicero claimed to have suppressed.

sedulo: cf. Ep. XII.1n.

Patisco: an official engaged in securing panthers; cf. Fam. 8.9.3.

nesciebamus: epistolary imperf.; cf. Intr. 84c.

ipsis Megalensibus: the Megalensian games, lasting from Apr. 4 to 10, were managed by the curule aediles.


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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 4.4.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.9.3
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 5.90
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