Letter I: ad Atticum 1.1Rome, July, 65 B.C. The tenth letter of the extant correspondence; the earlier letters being Att. 1.5, 6, 7 (68 B.C.); 9, 8, 10, 11 (67 B.C.); 3, 4 (66 B.C.). The letter is interesting for the light which it throws in general upon methods of electioneering at Rome, and in particular upon Cicero's political plans and prospects a year before the elections at which he intended to be a candidate for the consulship. On the elections, cf. also Herzog, 1. pp. 654-661. Cicero Attico sal.: cf. Intr. 62. This form of greeting, which precedes all the extant letters to Atticus, is probably not authentic.
petitionis: technical expression for a political canvass. Its position indicates that it is the subject of the letter. summae curae: cf. minori curae, Ep. XXV.2n. prensat, etc.: i.e. Galba alone is making an open canvass; probably with reference to the practice of personally seeking votes or winning friends by shaking hands with, and talking with, voters in the Forum and other public places. unus: Antonius and Cornificius have not yet begun an active canvass, although their intentions are known. On P. Sulpicius Galba, cf. Verr. 1.30. fuco ac fallaciis: see Intr. 93; cf. below, more maiorum, praepropera prensatio, frontem ferias. more maiorum: to be joined closely with negatur; cf. similar expressions, Fam. 7.18.3 ego te Balbo ... more Romano commendabo, and Fam. 7.5.3. praepropera: Galba is canvassing in July, 65 B.C. , although the election will not take place before July, 64 B.C. cogitaramus and dicebat: epistolary tenses, representing respectively the perfect and present; cf. Intr. 84c. The statement is put in the form in which the facts would present themselves to Atticus when the letter should be received. puerum, servant; referring to the tabellarius (see Intr. 64). Cincius: one of the agents (procuratores) of Atticus. a.d. xvi Kalend. Sextiles : this was not the formal announcement (professio) on Cicero's part of his intention of standing for the consulship, as the latter would be made on the day on which notice of the election was given, i.e. three nundinae, or 17 days, before the day of the election. Cf. Herzog, 1. p.656, 1092, n. 2. Antonius: Cicero's colleague in 63 B.C. Q. Cornificius: the father of the orator and politician Q. Cornificius, to whom Fam. 12.17-30 are addressed. risisse aut ingemuisse: on hearing that such nobodies aspire to the consulship. The situation, while humorous, is also one to excite the indignation of a patriot. frontem ferias: cf. Brut. 278 nulla perturbatio animi, nulla corporis, frons non percussa, non femur. Cicero speaks of Caesonius in a very different way in Verr. 1.29 homo in rebus iudicandis spectatus et cognitus. Aquilium: sc. competitorem fore. C. Aquilius Gallus was praetor with Cicero in 66 B.C. iuravit morbum: the simple acc. after iurare is rare. The phrase is probably a legal one; cf. Fam. 8.8.3 cum calumniam iurasset. “Iurare morbum” means to take an oath that one is ill as an excuse for the non-performance of some duty. regnum iudiciale: Aquilius was a well-known jurist (pro Caec. 77), too much occupied with legal business to engage in politics. Cf. regno forensi, Ep. LXII.1. iudicatum erit: in the approaching trial of Catiline for misappropriation of public funds. The accuser was Cicero's subsequent enemy Clodius. Aufidio: a former praetor in Asia (cf. pro Flacco, 45). Palicano: a tribune in 71 B.C. Cicero's actual opponents at the polls were Galba and Catiline, patricians; C. Antonius, Q. Cornificius, L. Cassius Longinus, and C. Licinius Sacerdos, plebeians (cf. Ascon. argum. to Or. in toga cand.).
qui nunc petunt, who are candidates this year. Caesar: L. Julius Caesar, uncle of Antony the triumvir, and, by the second marriage of his sister Julia, brother-in-law of Lentulus, the Catilinarian conspirator. He tried unsuccessfully to mediate in 43 B.C. between the senate and Antony (Phil. 8.1). He was placed by Antony upon the list of the proscribed in return for the consent of Octavius to the murder of Cicero, and escaped death only through the devotion of his sister Julia. certus: here' sure to win.' This expectation was realized. Thermus cum Silano: the consuls for 64 B.C. (cf. Ep. II.) were L. Julius Caesar and C. Marcius Figulus, so that either another candidate than the three mentioned here came to the front and was elected, or else Thermus became Figulus by adoption and held the office under that name. It was D. Junius Silanus who, as consul designatus, and therefore first speaker in the senate, proposed that Lentulus and his fellow-conspirators should be put to death (Cat. 4.7). Thermus ... existimatur: i.e. it is expected that there will be a hard fight between Thermus and Silanus. ab amicis : ab is not infrequently used to introduce a limitation with adjectives which signify power, equipment, or their opposites, e.g. ab equitatu firmus, Ep. XCVIII. 2; ab omni re sumus paratiores, Fam. 10.8.6, and elsewhere. Curium obducere: i.e. to run Curius in opposition. Curius, evidently a man held in light esteem, may have been the Quintus Curius who informed Cicero of Catiline's plans. Thermum fieri: sc. consulem. si in nostrum annum reciderit, if he goes over to my year, i.e. to the election for 63 B.C. viae Flaminiae: the great northern thoroughfare from Rome to the Adriatic. The completion (absoluta) of this road would, as Cicero thinks, give Thermus political prestige and influence, and therefore make him a dangerous opponent a year later, although at the time of writing he has few followers (inopes ab amicis). "The great Roman roads, such as the via Appia, Flaminia, etc., were called viae praetoriae or consulares, and were under the charge of curatores." Tyrrell from Momm. St. R. II 3. p.454. accuderim : the conjecture of Boot (see Crit. App.); a Plautine word. informata cogitatio, general impression. Gallia (Cispadana): it possessed the right of suffrage; cf. Phil. 2.76 municipia coloniasque Galliae a qua nos ... petere consulatum solebamus. cum ... refrixerit, when the heat of business in the courts at Rome shall have cooled down. On refrixerit, cf. Intr. 99. mense Septembri: the ludi Magni or Romani began Sept. 4 and lasted 15 days, and later in the year came the ludi Plebeii, the Saturnalia, etc., so that little legal business could be done between Sept. 1 and Jan. 1. legati: the reference is to a legatio libera, an unofficial embassy. Senators favored with such a privilege could travel for their own pleasure or profit with the title and the rights of a legatus, and receive supplies from government agents without performing any official duties. The provinces found this senatorial junketing such a burden that Cicero in his consulship placed certain limitations upon it. Pisonem: proconsul in Gallia Narbonensis. He was afterwards defended by Cicero against a charge of maladministration (repetundae) while governor of this province. voluntates nobilium: the aristocracy were probably at this moment little inclined to support Cicero's candidacy, and voted for him the next year only because he was the candidate most likely to defeat Catiline and the democrats. his ... competitoribus, provided that civilians are my only rivals; for if some one returns from a successful military campaign to stand for the consulship, the result will be more uncertain. manum: the support of Pompey. By the provisions of the Manilian law, Pompey had the year before been given charge of the war against Mithridates. Cicero's advocacy of that bill would naturally secure for him Pompey's support in the consular election. Atticus, who was at this time in Athens, and therefore nearer than Cicero to Pompey, was asked to make sure of Pompey's assistance; or, perhaps, as Tyrrell thinks, “manum” refers to the followers of Pompey, some of whom might return to Rome in time for the election.
pervelim: cf. Intr. 77. Caecilius: for the relations existing between Caecilius and Atticus and the desire of Atticus to continue on good terms with his uncle, cf. Nepos, Att. 5 habebat avunculum Q. Caecilium, equitem Romanum, familiarem L. Luculli, divitem, difficillima natura. Cuius sic asperitatem veritus est, ut, quem nemo ferre posset, huius sine offensione ad summam senectutem retinuerit benevolentiam. Quo facto tulit pietatis fructum. Caecilius enim moriens testamento adoptavit eum heredemque fecit ex dodrante; ex qua hereditate accepit circiter centiens sestertium. Cf. also Intr. 58. Cicero's dilemma is therefore a serious one. If he accedes to the request of Caecilius, and appears against Satyrus, he will antagonize Satyrus and the latter's friend Domitius, who are at present very friendly to him and would be of great service to him politically. If he declines to accommodate Caecilius, he will offend the crabbed old gentleman and Atticus in some degree, and perhaps jeopardize the chances of Atticus for his uncle's property. Caecilius died five years later (Att. 3.20.3). agere ... cum, has begun a suit against. fratre, cousin; cf. Att. 1.5. I. dolo malo: the formulae de dolo malo, first drawn up by the jurisconsult Aquilius Gallus (§ 1), were used in actions for damages on the ground of fraud. Cum ex eo (Aquilio) quaereretur quid esset dolus malus, respondebat, cum esset aliud simulatum, aliud actum (Cic. de Off. 3.60). In this case Varius would seem to have transferred his property to Satyrus, to save it from seizure by the creditors. mancipio accepisse, to have purchased. mancipio (manus + capio) refers to the practice on the part of the purchaser of laying his hand upon the article purchased in the presence of five witnesses, as the binding act in his acquisition of the article. diceret: 'by a carelessness of expression, the verb of saying or thinking is sometimes put in the subjunctive instead of the thing said' (Tyrrell). L. Lucullus: Pompey's predecessor in command of the army acting against Mithridates. P. Scipio: best known as commander of the Pofilpeian forces at the battle of Thapsus in 46 B.C. Cf. Bell. Afr. 79-86. magistrum (sc. auctionis): the bids at auctions were received and called out by the praeco, but the general management of such a sale was in the hands of a magister auctionis, who kept a record of the articles sold and in general was the legal representative of the owner. L. Pontius (Aquila): in later years an active opponent of Caesar and one of the conspirators against him. He was killed near Mutina, in the battle against Antony, in which Hirtius fell (Fam. 30.33.4). adessem: in the legal sense of appearing as an advocatus. L. Domitium (Ahenobarbum) : best known as the commandant of the fortress of Corfinium in 49 B.C. The loss of this town through the irresolution and cowardice of Domitius removed the main obstacle in the way of Caesar's march to Rome. The intense interest felt by the Pompeians at that time in his fate is plainly indicated by Att. 8.12c; 8.7; 8.8. He was killed while fleeing from Pharsalus. in nostris petitionibus: Marcus Cicero had been quaestor, aedile, and praetor; Quintus had probably held the quaestorship and aedileship.
ambitio nostra, my political hopes. illo: i.e. Satyro. officio ... tempori, in my duty (to Satyrus) and (the exigency of) my position (as a candidate). homines belli, gentlemen. abs te: archaic, and more frequent in Cicero's earlier writings (cf. § 3). In later years he inclines to a te. ne ... venirem: a conviction for dolus malus would have been followed by infamia (Tyrrell). ἐπεὶ οὐχ ἱερήϊον: Il. XXII. 359. The meaning is since it is no small prize I fight for.
Hermathena: a double-faced statue or bust, similar to those found in excavations today. One face was that of Hermes, the other that of Athena. ut totum gymnasium ... videatur: this is the MS. reading, but is scarcely intelligible; perhaps it means, so that the whole gymnasium seems to be an offering to it, (Watson). multum te amamus: a colloquial expression of gratitude.
Letter II: ad Atticum 1.2Rome, the latter part of 65 B.C. The historical value of this letter springs from the fact that it fixes the date of the birth of Cicero's son (65 B.C.), that it contains the main point in the evidence with reference to Cicero's defense of Catiline against the charge of misappropriation of public money, and accounts for the absence of letters between Cicero and Atticus from 64-62 B.C. inclusive (cf. last sentence).
L. Iulio Caesare C. Marcio Figulo consulibus: the natural meaning would be, in the consulship of, etc., and would make 64 B.C. the date of this letter, but the reference to the approaching trial of Catiline proves that it must have been written in 65 B.C., after the election of the new consuls, as the trial was begun and finished in that year. The brevity and apparent lack of feeling in Cicero's announcement to his most intimate friend of the birth of his son has called forth severe criticisms from his enemies, and apologies from his friends (cf. Abeken, pp.33, 34) — quite without reason. Both parties have failed to see the gay humor of the passage which couples this important event in his family life with the most important event in the political world. For an account of the new consuls, cf. Ep. l. filiolo: for an account of him, see Intr. 54. scito, let me inform you; a favorite expression borrowed from colloquial Latin, for introducing a bit of news. Cf. the use of habeto and sic habeto, Ep. XXVI.1n. Terentia: cf. Intr. 52. abs te ... ego, not a word from you in so long a time, while I, etc. For abs te, cf. Ep. I.4 n. hoc tempore ... cogitamus: it will never be certainly known whether Cicero did defend Catiline in 65 B.C. or not, but this passage certainly indicates such an intention on his part, and there is no satisfactory reason for believing that he did not carry out his purpose. The fact that Cicero believed in Catiline's guilt (cf. Ep. l. 3) would not, perhaps, have deterred him, as he in later years undertook the defense of Vatinius, Gabinius, and C. Antonius, equally notorious men, under still more questionable circumstances, when political considerations, as in this case, made it seem advisable. For the arguments in support of the opposite view, cf. Tyrrell, I. pp. 8-9. summa accusatoris voluntate: the charge was brought by P. Clodius. The accuser had the right of challenging peremptorily a certain number of jurors, and the phrase quoted above would indicate that Clodius had availed himself of this privilege in rejecting jurors who were likely to vote for a conviction. If this view be correct, Clodius was really acting in the interest of Catiline in bringing the charge, since if Catiline were acquitted, he could not be put on trial again. This method of protecting criminals, called praevaricatio, became commoner in later years (cf. Plin. Epist. 3.9. 33-35). The method to be employed in securing an acquittal for Catiline casts more of a shadow upon Cicero's honor than the fact that he intended to undertake or did undertake the defense.
tuos familiares: probably ironical, although it is true that Atticus was intimate with many of the prominent men in Rome (cf. Nep. Atticus, 35, 36, 38).