Letter LXXXVIII: ad Atticum 15.11Antium, June 8, 44 B.C. At a meeting of the senate held June 5, M. Brutus and Cassius were released from their obligation to reside in Rome as praetors and commissioned to supply Rome with grain. They retired to Antium to discuss with Cicero the best course to take in view of the senate's action.
Servilia : sister of Cato Vticensis and the mother of M. Brutus, a woman of great strength of character, political influence, and judgment, whom Cicero calls prudentissima et diligentissima femina, Ep. ad Brut. 1.18.1. After the death of her first husband, M. Junius Brutus (father of the conspirator M. Brutus), she married D. Junius Silanus. One of the children of this second marriage, Tertia or Tertulla, married C. Cassius. Porcia: the daughter of Cato Vticensis and the second wife of M. Brutus. This little group of brilliant women, ardent republicans and closely bound by marriage and blood relationship to M. Brutus, C. Cassius, and Cato, seems to have played an important part in the politics of this period. Cf. for instance Servilia pollicebatur, etc., 2, also Att. 13.16.2. quaerere : sc. Brutus; hist. infin. Favonius: cf. Ep. XV. 7 a. suadere: hist. inf.; cf. quaerere, above. Asiatica ... frumenti: cf. introd. note. Martem spirare: cf. Q. fr. 3.4.6 Ἄρη πνέων. Cf. also Lucr. 5.392 “tantum spirantes aequo certamine bellum”; Hor. Od. 4.13.19 “quae spirabat amores”. in Siciliam: no province had been assigned to Cassius or Brutus by Caesar before his death (cf. Schelle, Beiträge zur Geschichte des Todeskampfes der römischen Republik), but the rumor was current that the senate on June 5 had allotted Sicily to Cassius, an appointment much below his expectations. Cf. Cicero's remarks (Att. 15.9.1) on June 2 in anticipation of this action: iv Non. vesperi a Balbo redditae mihi litterae fore Nonis senatum, ut Brutus in Asia, Cassius in Sicilia frumentum emendum et ad urbem mittendum curarent. O rem miseram! primum ullam ab istis, dein, si aliquam, hanc legatoriam (mercatoriam H.) provinciam. egone, etc.: the question expresses his indignation at the proposed appointment; cf. Plaut. Amph. 818 “tun mecum fueris?” Cic. Q. fr. 1.3.1 ego tibi irascerer? ut beneficium, as a favor. si tibi videtur: cf. Ep. LXXV.4n. tuto eris: cf. Intr. 85a. atque, yes, indeed, and; frequently used in conversation in affirmative answers; cf.
ut ... neque ... neque: for ne ... aut. Hofmann compares Fam. 9.2.3 ut ea quae agebantur hic quaeque dicebantur nec viderem nec audirem; Att. 15.13.1 adsentior tibi ut nec duces simus nec agmen cogamus. ex praetura: i.e. at the close of the year. auctor ut ... committas : for another construction, see Ep. XLV. 3.
Decimum : Decimus Brutus had shown himself without plans and without energy in the critical days following Caesar's assassination. Cf. especially Ep. LXXXVI.3. The other conspirators were, however, equally helpless. In his province D. Brutus had likewise been inactive. oportuisset : fieri is omitted, as often with oportet, potest, solet, etc.; cf. Brix on Plaut. Trin. 705; Lorenz on M. G. 252. quemquam ... tangi: a covert reference to the mistake in not killing Antony. Cf. Fam. 12.4.1 vellem Idibus Martils me ad cenam (i.e. to the murder of Caesar) invitasses: reliquiarum nihil fuisset. Nunc me reliquiae vestrae exercent. See also Fam. 10.28.1. tangi is euphemistic for occidi. tua familiaris : i.e. Servilia. neminem: sc. dicentem. ego repressi: sc. me, or perhaps with Böckel quae disturus eram. With such a phrase the reference would be to quemquam ... tangi. iturus: i.e. into the province which it was thought the senate had assigned to him. illa frumenti curatio: Servilia hoped that she could induce the senate to reconsider its assignment of the grain commission to Cassius. noster: sc. Brutus. illo inani sermone: referring to Romam, si tibi videtur, 1. ludi: it was the duty of M. Brutus as praetor urbanus to take charge of the ludi Apollinares.
ne multa: sc. dicam. hoc dempto ... offici, apart from this service which love and duty too required of me. sequebatur: subject is ut mecum (sc. cogitarem). ἡ δεῦρ᾽ ὁδός, etc.: Cicero uses the same quotation from an unknown comic poet, of an unsatisfactory journey to Greece inAtt. 16.6.2. navigium: the state here, as often, is compared to a ship. Cf. contraxi vela, Ep. V.2n. nihil consilio, etc.: sc. fit. Cf. Decimum, 2 n. ubi ... audiam: from an unknown poet (cf. Ribbeck, Trag. Rom. Frag. p.252). Cicero uses the phrase in four other places. The full verse was probably Vbi nec Pelopidarum nomen nec facta aut famam audiam. The Pelopidae and their dreadful deeds typify, as in Fam. 7.30.1, the Caesarians and their course of action.
heus tu: cf. Ep. XXXV.25n. Dolabella ... legavit: sc. for his province Syria. votiva: sc. legatio. The legatio votiva was a legatio libera (cf. legati, Ep. I.2n.) undertaken on the pretext of performing a vow. quae ... vovissem, those vows which I had made for the preservation of the commonwealth. dissolvere : for solvere. lege Iulia: a law proposed. by Cicero in his consulship and passed limited a legatio libera to one year. Caesar's lex Julia was probably to the same effect; cf. Momm. St. R. 2.691. introire exire liceat : as legate of Dolabella, Cicero's term of office would continue through Dolabella's proconsulship, i.e. five years, and Cicero would be at liberty to remain in Rome or away from the city as he pleased. On the asyndeton, cf. Intr. 94. exire: sc. ex urbe as in Ep. L.1. The ellipsis is colloquial. βλασφημία, ill-omened words.