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Letter LI: ad familiares 2.16

Cumae, May 4, 49 B.C. This is Cicero's reply to Ep. L. A month after he wrote this letter, in which he disclaims any intention of joining the Pompeians, he set out for the East. This seems to be a frank statement, however, of Cicero's intentions at the time.


meis superioribus litteris : cf. tuis litteris, Ep. L.1n.

sollicitum habent: the analytical method of forming the perfect tenses, as illustrated by habeo dictum for dixi, which came into vogue in late Latin and in the Romance languages, developed out of such combinations as this; cf. Thielmann in Arch. f. Lat. Lex. 2.372 ff. See also Intr. 84d.

nam non eam, etc., for I have appreciated your penetration too well to suppose that you do not see what I see. Cicero's high appreciation of the political judgment and foresight of Caelius was shown by his selection of him as his special correspondent in 51-50 B.C.

hominis : i.e. Caesaris.


triste consilium : with reference probably to te ... ostendisti, Ep. L. I, and to tuum consilium, etc., L. 3.

solitudines : Dolabella, a few weeks later, in Ep. LII. 31 suggests a similar plan.

quondam: Caelius had formerly belonged to the senatorial party.

hominum insolentium: cf. insolentiam, Ep. L. 5.

nostra laurus: cf. fasces laureatos, Ep. XLV.5n.

voculas: the diminutive expresses contempt. The same word, as used in Ep. IX.1 (recreandae voculae causa), has its natural diminutive force, my weak voice.

praediola: used for modesty's sake, while specula (5) implies not that the hope is a faint one, but that the personal gain to Dolabella is a small advantage in comparison with the loss which the state suffers.

maritimis: sc. praediolis. Cicero was at Cumae.

facillime: cf. Intr. 85.

ad otium: depending loosely upon navigare, as does ad bellum below.

qui (convenit): the archaic ablative; cf. Intr. 51.

contra eum: i.e. Caesarem.

ab eo, on his side; sc. the side of Pompey.


obviam venisti: sc. when Cicero returned from Cilicia.

T. Ampi Balbi) one of Cicero's predecessors as governor of Cilicia (cf. Fam 1.3 2) and during the Civil War an extreme Pompeian (cf. Vell. Paterc. 2.40; Cic Fam. 6.12.3

ab urbe relinquenda: for Cicero's first impressions of the wisdom of the Pompeians in abandoning Rome, cf. Att. 7.10. See also Ep. XLV. 3.

exiturum : after potius quam in indirect discourse the infin. is the regular construction; cf. Krebs, Antibarbarus, 11.310 .

me nihil maluisse, etc.: upon Cicero's sincere desire for peace, cf. cum primum potui, Ep. XLIX.2n.

Q. Hortensium: the orator, who had died in 50 B.C.


quae ... proponuntur: with reference to certain statements in Caelius's letter, e.g. si existimas, etc., Ep. L.1.

incommodis vel istis ipsis: i.e. those very misfortunes which you mention in your letter, e.g. Ep. L. 5 etiam atque etiam, Cicero, cogita ne te tuosque omnis funditus evertas.


memoria: Hofmann quotes de Domo 146: liberis nostris satis amplum patrimonium paterni nominis ac memoriae nostrae relinquemus, and de Off. 1.121: optima hereditas a patribus traditur liberis omnique patrimonio praestantior gloria virtutis rerumque gestarum.

an dubitas: when an answer to a difficulty is thrown into the form of a question, it is commonly introduced by an; cf. Tusc. Disp. 1.14 quasi non necesse sit, quicquid isto modo pronunties, id aut esse aut non esse. An tu dialecticis ne imbutus quidem es. See also Philipp. 2.38.

liberum: Dolabella, when he was in power at Rome a few years later, actually proposed novae tabulae; cf. Att. 11.23.3.

quos ille dies, etc.: sc. when pressed by his creditors for payment.


Hispaniensem casum: cf. de Hispaniis, Ep. L.3n.

astute cogito : for astutum cogito; cf. prolixe, Ep. XXI.1n.

fortasse vaticinor, perhaps I am a false prophet. fortasse appears to be cynical. Its use is quite in harmony with the markedly calm tone which Cicero affects throughout in replying to the impulsive letter of Caelius.

sed tamen: such an aposiopesis is especially common in the Letters when the suppressed possibility is an unpleasant one. Böckel quotes Att. 7.23.2 manebo igitur, etsi vivere; Fam. 14.3.5 si perficitis quod agitis, me ad vos venire oportet; sin autem--.


Oppio: upon Oppius, see Ep. XXX. 2. Cicero humorously expresses in togam praetextam texi the hope which Oppius cherished of securing public office through the influence of his friend Caesar.

Curtius : M. Curtius Postumus, like Oppius, one of Caesar's enthusiastic admirers and followers; cf. Att. 9.2A. 3 .

dibaphum cogitat, has his eye on the purple robe. The death of Hortensius (cf. 3) had caused a vacancy in the college of augurs, and Curtius hoped to secure the position. The official robe of the augur is spoken of as dibaphum, either because it was of two colors, or because in obtaining one of its colors, purple, two processes were necessary. Cf. Att. 2.9.2.

infector, the dyer, i.e. Caesar.

de re ... scripsi : i.e. in 5.


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  • Commentary references from this page (10):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 14.3.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.12.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 11.23.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.9.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.10
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.23.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.2
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.38
    • Cicero, On his House, 146
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 1.121
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