Letter XVII: ad Atticum 4.4bAntium, June, 56 B.C.
perbelle: upon per in compounds, cf. Intr. 77. Bellefacis, bene facis, etc., are colloquial phrases to express gratitude. Cf. “bene benigneque arbitror te facere,” Plaut. Most. 816; “bene hercle factum et habeo vobis gratiam,” Plaut. Rud. 835. Tyrannionis: a grammarian and teacher who was brought to Rome as a prisoner by L. Lucullus. He was at one time tutor of the young Cicero. His services in arranging Cicero's books are mentioned inAtt. 4.8A; Q. fr. 3.4.5, and Ep. XXIII. 6 also. The place in which this letter was written is determined by comparing it with Att. 4.8 A. tuis librariolis: cf. Intr. 58. Some of Cicero's works were probably published by Atticus; cf. Att. 2.1.2 tu, si tibi placuerit liber, curabis ut et Athenis sit et in ceteris oppidis Graeciae. duos aliquos: an indefinite small number; cf. Cic. de Fin. 2.62 tres aliqui aut quattuor. glutinatoribus: strips of papyrus from 8 to 14 inches long and 3 to 12 inches wide were pasted together glutinare) at the sides in the proper order after they had been written upon. A stick was fastened to the last sheet, and on this the book was rolled into a volumen. The ends of the stick were furnished with knobs (cornua); to the upper one was attached a strip of parchment containing the title (index). Cf. Birt, Das antike Buchwesen, 242. glutinatoribus ... administris: for the asyndeton, cf. Intr. 94, and Draeg. Hist. Syn. II. '93 f.
si potes, etc.: for the quiet and isolation of Antium, cf. Att. 2.6 sic enim sum complexus otium, ut ab eo divelli non queam. Itaque aut libris me delecto, quorum habeo Anti festivam copiam, aut fluctus numero, nam ad lacertas captandas tempestates non sunt idoneae; ... mihi quaevis satis iusta causa cessandi est, qui etiam dubitem an hic Anti considam et hoc tempus omne consumam, ubi quidem ego mallem duum virum quam Romae me fuisse. Esse [to think that there is] locum tam prope Romam ubi multi sint qui Vatinium numquam viderint! ubi nemo sit praeter me qui quemquam ex vigintiviris vivum et salvum velit. Cf., however, Intr. 50. Piliam: cf. in eius nuptus, Ep. XVI.7n. medius fidius: for ita me deus fidius adiuvet. ne: the emphatic particle. tu emisti ludum praeclarum, you have bought a splendid band (of gladiators). Atticus would seem to have bought a troop of gladiators, whom he was at present having trained, that he might let them out (locare) to the aediles for the public games. pugnare: of practice Contests. duobus his muneribus liberasses: if we accept this reading, the meaning perhaps is: from the results of the two spectacles this year you might have set (them) free. For distinguished bravery and skill gladiators at the request of the people were sometimes presented with a rudis, or wooden sword, and allowed to retire from service. Cicero writes to Atticus a few days later: tu scribas ad me velim de gladiatoribus, sed ita, bene si rem gerunt; non quaero, male si se gesserunt, Att. 4.8 A.2. Boot believes that the gladiators have turned out badly, and that the passage is ironical: if you had been willing to let them out, you might have set them free (from slavery, for they would have been killed by their opponents). diligenter: sc. cura or facias.