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Letter LX: ad familiares 9.1

Rome, close of 47 B.C. or early part of 46. M. Terentius Varro is a fine type of the old Roman character, and one of the most picturesque figures in the later years of the republic. While better known to us for his literary work, he was by no means without ability in politics and the art of war. He espoused the cause of the senate in the Civil War, and was sent to Spain as Pompey's legate. After the defeat of Afranius and Petreius he was compelled to leave Spain, but Caesar pardoned him, and chose him to take charge of the library which he intended to found. Having incurred the enmity of Antony, he was put on the list of the proscribed, but rescued by a friend. He died in 27 B.C. , in his 90th year. He was a most fruitful writer of both prose and poetry, leaving behind him 74 works, containing some 620 books, dealing with almost all the departments of human knowledge,--with literature, history, jurisprudence, grammar, philosophy, geography, and agriculture. Cf. Quint. 10.1.95. Of his works we possess only books 5-10 de Lingua Latina, and 3 books Rerum Rusticarum, with fragments of his Saturae Menippeae.


legit: cf. aliis legi, Ep. V.8n.


in urbem: probably in Oct., 47, on his return from Brundisium; cf. Ep. LIX. introd. note.

libris nostris : one of the products of his literary work was the Brutus, which Cicero began in the autumn of 47 B.C. and completed the following spring.

eorum usum dimiseram: for a period of six years, 52-47 B.C. , Cicero wrote nothing and apparently did little literary work of any sort.

suppudebat: for the force of sub, cf. Intr. 77.

praeceptis illorum : i.e. especially the precepts of the philosophers. Cicero's favorite philosopher Theophrastus advised an absolute abstention from politics (cf. Att. 2.16.3

ad te placebit: ad = apud; sc. nos simul esse.


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    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.16.3
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