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Letter III: ad familiares 5.7

Rome, Apr., 62 B.C. In Dec., 63 B.C. Cicero had sent to Pompey, who was in the East, a somewhat lengthy letter (now lost), in which he had given a resume of the achievements of his consulship. This letter, written probably in that egotistical vein which characterizes many of Cicero's utterances in regard to his consulship, apparently offended Pompey, who replied in a brief, unsympathetic letter. At the same time, Pompey sent a letter to the senate containing no word of commendation for Cicero. The letter before us was written upon the receipt of these two epistles. For the formula of greeting, see Intr. 62.

S. t. e. q. v. b. e.: for si tu exercitusque valetis, bene est; a stereotyped form of salutation which Cicero uses only in official or formal letters, or in replying to some one who has employed it in writing to him. Intr. 62.

publice, officially, to the magistrates and senate. Cf. Fam. 35.3.

tantam ... spem oti: along with the carrying out of other projects, Pompey had in 64 B.C. reduced Syria and Cilicia into provinces, so that his work of subjugation in the East was practically ended.

pollicebar: in particular in the oration for the Manilian law.

veteres hostis, novos amicos : the democrats, probably, to whose support Pompey owed his present position. Probably the friendly tone of Pompey's letter to the senate made them fear an alliance between Pompey and that body.

iacere, are overwhelmed.

mea ... studia: Cicero's efforts in behalf of the Manilian law, his advocacy of a senatus consultum decreeing a thanksgiving of 30 days in honor of Pompey's victories in the East (cf. Prov. Cons. 27), as well as various complimentary public utterances, e.g. Cat. 4.23.

in tuis litteris: the clause ne ... offenderes shows that Cicero is referring to Pompey's letter to the senate (Böckel).

ne ... offenderes: those who sympathized with the Catilinarian conspirators, those who on constitutional grounds opposed their execution, the democrats in general, and Cicero's enemies in particular, would have all taken umbrage if Pompey had approved Cicero's course in 63 B.C

orbis terrae: the entire world, while orbis terrarum indicates the Roman world. The phrase employed here is used, therefore, to exaggerate Cicero's fame.

Africanus ... Laelium: Böckel quotes, in explanation of Cicero's meaning, de Re Pub. 1.18 fuit enim hoc in amicitia quasi quoddam ius inter illos, ut militiae propter eximiam belli gloriam Africanum ut deum coleret Laelius, domi vicissim Laelium, quod aetate antecedebat, observaret in parentis loco Scipio.

Laelium: attracted into acc. by me.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 4.23
    • Cicero, On the Consular Provinces, 27
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