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Letter XXXV: ad Atticum 6.1

Laodicea, Feb. 20, 50 B.C. (The first 16 sections of this letter, dealing with provincial affairs, are omitted.)

de statua Africani Metelli: in his de Re Pub. Cicero had made Laelius lament the fact that no statue had been erected to the memory of Scipio Nasica Serapion (cf. Macr. Comment. 1.4). Q. Caecilius Metellus Scipio, a descendant of Nasica, called the attention of Atticus to what he considered Cicero's error, as he himself had set up a gilded equestrian statue in honor of his ancestor (cf. quas ... posuit), to say nothing of the ancient statue of Serapion already standing near the temple of Ops. But the statue standing near the temple of Ops has CENSOR inscribed upon it, and cannot therefore represent Serapion, who never held that office. Furthermore, the two ancient statues, standing ad Opis and ad Πολυκλέους Herculem, represent the same person, as a comparison of the two shows. Now the statue ad ... Herculem is a likeness of Africanus. Therefore the other ancient statue (ad Opis) must represent the same person, and consequently the reproduction which Metellus has had made, and upon whose base he has put the name of Serapion, is in reality a reproduction of an ancient likeness of Africanus.

πραγμάτων ἀσυγκλώστων, confusion worse confounded; a reference to the lack of arrangement in the letter of Atticus; cf. 11 sed οἰκονομία mea (i.e. my arrangement) si perturbatior est, tibi assignato; te enim sequor σχεδιάζοντα (i.e. who wrote whatever came into your head).

ain tu, is it possible? ain tu, ain tandem, and ain vero are frequently used in colloquial Latin to express surprise; cf. Ter. And. 875; Plaut. Trin. 987; Cic. Fam. 9.21.1.

ad Opis: sc. templum; cf. a Vestae, Ep. XIII.2n.

per te: Atticus was an enthusiastic student of Roman history, of antiquities, and of genealogy, and his interest in these subjects led him to erect the statue. Cf. Nep. Att. 18.1.

turma, etc.: among the statues on the Capitol were those of the kings, of Brutus, Tiberius Gracchus, and Fabius Maximus; cf. Pliny, N. H. 34.23; 33.10; Cic. in Cat. 3.19. At the time of Augustus the number had grown so great that many were removed to the Campus Martius, and Caligula forbade any one to erect a statue to a living man without his permission; cf. Suet. Calig. 34. The rostra was similarly adorned with statues; cf. Cic. Phil. 9.16.

illud de Flavio et fastis: in the de Re Pub. Atticus thought (cf. 8) that Cicero meant to put Cn. Flavius, who published the calendar for the benefit of the people (cf. Livy, 9.46.5; Cic. pro Mur. 25), before the time of the decemvirs.

tu belle ἠπόρησας, you made a good point.

ut multa (errata) apud Graecos: Cicero wishes to show that his countrymen are no more inaccurate with reference to their history than the Greeks are in their history. Cicero prided himself also upon his knowledge of nice points in Greek history and literature, which the discussion gives him an opportunity to air.

Εὔπολιν, τὸν τῆς ἀρχαίας (κομωδίας); Eupolis, of the fifth century B.C., was a writer of the old comedy. The story ran that Alcibiades put him to death for ridiculing him in a comedy.

redarguit Eratosthenes : sc. in his book περὶ κομῳδίας.

Zaleucum: as we learn from de Leg. 2.15, Theophrastus mentions Zaleucus as the law-giver of the Locrians, while Timaeus maintained that no such man ever lived.

num ... Theophrastus, is Theophrastus then not read? Theophrastus was a disciple of Plato, and afterwards of Aristotle.

Timaeo: cf. Ep. XVIII.7n.

nemo Cornelius: Cicero commonly uses nemo in preference to nullus with nouns indicating persons.

de Philotimo: inAtt. 6.4.3; 6.5.2, and 6.7.1. Cicero gives Atticus to understand in an indirect manner that Philotimus, Terentia's freedman, has appropriated some of the money coming from the sale of Milo's effects; cf. also Fam. 8.3.2. In the management of his own property Cicero, upon returning from exile, questioned the honesty of the same man.

HS. xx DC: 20,600 sesterces; cf. Ep. V.13n.

Camillus: a friend of Cicero skilled in real-estate law and interested in the Milo affair.

haec: sc. conferemas.

mi Attice: cf. mi Pomponi, Ep. X n.

τί λοιπόν: cf. novi tibi quidnam scribam? quid? etiam, etc., Att. 1.13.6; aliud quid? etiam; quando, etc., Att. 2.6.2.

quae fiant: sc. by members of Cicero's retinue.

etsi, and yet; by way of correction, as often in Cicero; cf., e.g., Att. 14.14.1; Phil. 2.75.

πολλοῦ, etc., far from it; a phrase used frequently by Demosthenes.

admonitio: cf. Intr. 75.

de M. Octavio: Caelius, who was running for the aedileship, had urged Cicero, e.g. Fam. 8.9.3, to send him some panthers to exhibit in the games. Octavius, a candidate for the same office (cf. Fam. 8.2.2), hearing of this, inquired of Atticus if Cicero could not be prevailed upon to do the same thing for him. Atticus feared it would be impossible (Att. 5.21.5).

litteras ... a civitatibus: Caelius probably wrote with reference to the panthers, and sent also by his freedmen certain letters, which purported to come from the states in Cicero's province, offering to contribute money to defray the expense of the games which he wished to give. These letters he desired to have the proper officials in the various states sign. Such a compulsory free-will offermg would be no more remarkable than the embassy which was forced to go to Rome to thank the senate for sending them Appius as their governor (cf. Fam. 3.8.2).

alterum ... alterum, the second matter ... the first; the first alterum refers to the levying of taxes for such a purpose; the second to the proposition concerning the panthers.

nec ... licere: Cicero had approved of the course of his brother Quintus, who, as propraetor of Asia, had issued an edict directing that money should not be raised in the provinces to pay for games which the aediles gave in Rome; cf. Q. fr. 1.1.26. The levying of taxes or contributions in the provinces was probably governed by general or special laws, perhaps by the lex Cornelia of 85 B. C. ; cf. Fam. 3.10.6; Tac. Ann. 3.62.

cum alios accusasset: referring to Caelius's prosecution of C. Antonius for misgovemment in Macedonia.

Lepta: Cicero's praefectus fabrum; cf. Fam. 3.7.4.

illa: i.e. filiola.

quod mihi: sc. salutem adscripsit.

pr. Kal. Ianuar.: in apposition with dies.

iuris iurandi: on laying down the consulship, Cicero swore that he had saved the republic: cam ille (i.e. Metellus Nepos. the tribune) mihi nihil nisi at iurarem permitteret, magna voce iuravi verissimum pulcherrimamqae ius iurandam qaod populus idem magna voce me vere iurasse iuravit, Fam. 5.2.7. Cf. Intr. 8.

Magnus praetextatus, a Pompey in praetexta. For a similar comparison of his peaceful achievements with the military successes of Pompey and others, cf. Ep. III. 3; in Cat. 4.21 f.

χρύσεα χαλκείων and paria paribus (respondere) are proverbial expressions; cf. e.g. Il. 6.236; Plato, Symp. 2.9; Ter. Phorm. 212. For the alliteration, cf. Intr. 93. The Latin expression occurs in a fuller form in Plaut. Pers. 223par pari respondes dicto”. This substantival use of a neuter adj. in the dat. is very unusual in Latin. The nearest parallel in Cicero is parva magnis conferuntur, Orat. 14. Cf. also a quotation from a letter written by Atticus (Att. 16.7.6) unde par pari respondeatar.

ecce: used in colloquial language to introduce a new subject, and oftentimes one which causes surprise, e.g. “ecce Apollo mi ex oraclo imperat,Plaut. Men. 841; ecce postridie Cassio litterae Capua a Lucretio, Att. 7.24. It is therefore often accompanied by subito, repente, de improviso, and the ethical dative; cf. Intr. 83c. This use of ecce is in harmony with its use in comedy to announce an unexpected appearance, e.g. ecce autem video rure redeantem senem, Ter. Eun. 967. For the phrases used to indicate a transition where no surprise is expressed, cf. Intr. 91.

ἀναντιφώνητον, without an answer. There are more than 70 Greek words in the Letters containing a privative. Their frequency in colloquial language is due to the fact that they enabled a writer to avoid a long Latin expression; cf. Intr 95

proposuit: has offered for sale.

Lucceius: not the historian This Lucceius was so heavily in debt (Att. 5.21.13) that he proposed to sell his Tusculan villa

nisi forte: etc., see Crit. Append

tibicine: roof-tree (lit. pillar supporting t oof) cf Festus, 1.558 ed. de Ponor; Juv 3.193.

Lentulum: his indebtedness is mentioned by Caesar B. C. 1.4. He was consul in 49 B.C. , accompanied Pompey to Greece, and after the battle of Pharsalus was put to death by King Ptolemy in Egypt; cf. Caes. B. C. 3.104.3.

cupio etiam Sestium : sc. expeditum videre.

Sestium: see Ep. XVI. 5 f.

sis: for si vis, as frequently in Latin comedy and satire. Cf. sultis for si vultis.

αἴδεσθεν, etc.: from Il. 7.93. As the leaders of the Greeks were afraid to accept and ashamed to decline the challenge of Hector, so the leading Optimates were afraid to accept but loath to decline Caesar's offers of financial aid. In the one case they would be under obligation to Caesar; in the other they would miss a chance of paying long outstanding debts. Lentulus was one of the men whom in the following year Caesar sought to win over by the means indicated; cf. Att. 8.11.5.

Memmio: cf. Ep. XXXII. introd. note.

Curio: i.e. C. Scribonius Curio; cf. Ep. VII.3n.

nomine: Egnatius apparently owed money to Cicero.

Pinarium: a financial agent.

minori: ie. epistulae.

sunt collata, have been set down for. February was the usual month for the consideration of foreign affairs. Cf. Q. fr. 2.13.3; Fam. 1.4.1.

heus: confined to conversational Latin, and commonly followed or preceded by a pronoun or the name of the person addressed, with a question or a command.

Herodem: an Athenian friend of Atticus and Cicero, and afterwards in a certain sense the guardian of young Cicero while the latter was studying at Athens; cf. Att. 14.16.3; 14.18.4.

suos nummos: Pompey, for some unknown reason, thought that this money should have come to him rather than to Atticus.

Nemore: the grove of Diana, not far from Alicia, near which Caesar was building a villa (cf. Suet. Iul. 46). Why Caesar was expected to be more active in building after losing part of his capital it is difficult to understand. As for Pompey's feeling in the matter, perhaps Caesar owed him money, and the expenditure of a large sum upon the villa near Aricia would lessen the chances of payment. He would in that case look with disfavor upon Caesar's building plans. Possibly, however, we should read with Boot nec Caesarem ... diligentiorem (economical).

P. Vedio: Vedius Pollio is said to have caused slaves who had offended him to be thrown to the lampreys in his fish-pond. His name became, like that of Lucullus, a synonym for extravagance; cf. Tac. Ann. 1.10.

nebulone: a word of contempt for a worthless fellow. In general in colloquial Latin personal nouns in o carry with them a contemptuous force, and indicate one who is proficient in a questionable accomplishment; thus erro (a tramp), Hor. Sat. 2.7.113; popino (a glutton), Sat. 2.7.39, etc.; and in the Letters, combibo (a crony), Fam. 9.25.2; salaco (a braggart), Ep. LXXXI. 2; verbero (a rascal), Att. 14.6.1; baro (a blockhead), 5.11.6. Cf. also R. Fisch, in Arch. f. lat. Lex. V. 56-89, and W. Meyer, ibid. 223-234.

cum duobus essedis: the use of the essedum by people in private life was a mark of extreme affectation. Even in the case of an official it was very repugnant to Roman taste. Cf. Cicero's account of Antony's official progress: vehebatur in essedo tribunus plebis; lictores laureati antecedebant, etc., Phil. 2.58.

raeda: a light four-wheeled travelling wagon,such as Horace used during one stage of his journey to Brundisium; cf. Sat. 1.5.86.

legem: reference is made to some sumptuary law, the provisions of which we do not know, imposing a tax either upon familiae or the equipages of travellers. The cynocephalus and onagri had no other value than that they were rare and therefore expensive.

ad Magnum Pompeium: the cognomen, which is the distinguishing part of this name, when compared with Pompeium Vindullum, is put first for the sake of emphasis. Vindullus had died intestate and without an heir, so that his property seemed likely to come to his patron Pompey.

in his, etc.: as Vedius was a noted rake, the incident occasioned much gossip, but, strange to say, Brutus kept up his friendly relations with Vedius (qui hoc utatur), and Lepidus treated the affair with indifference.

sumus belle curiosi, we are both awfully fond of gossip. The statement is emphasized by the position of sumus. On belle, cf. Ep. XXIV.2n. 26.

πρόπυλον: an inscription found at Eleusis in 1860, and quoted by Boot, throws light upon this passage: AP: CLAVDIVS: AP: F: PVLCHER: PROPYLVM: CERERI: ET: PROSERPINAE: COS: VOVIT: IMPERATOR : COEPIT : PVLCHER : CLAVDIVS : ET : REX : MARCIVS : FECERVNT (C.L.L.. 1.1 619).

num, etc.: Cicero asks Atticus the same question inAtt. 6.6.2.

Academiae: sc. πρόπυλον.

Athenas: cf. valde me Athenae delectarunt, Att. 5.10.5.

monumentum: i.e. something to commemorate himself in connection with Athens, although he cannot endure the thought of having his name attached to some one of the famous statues of other men in Athens, a practice which some Romans had followed.

mysteria : the festival of the Bona Dea, which occurred in May. The mention of Bona dea brings up to Cicero's mind the celebrated sacrilege of Clodius (cf. Ep. V.), with its long train of disasters for him, and leads him to date his letter from the day of Clodius's murder by Milo. To this event Cicero jestingly gives the name of pugna Leuctrica, for, as Greece had been freed from the tyranny of the Spartans by the battle of Leuctra, so Rome was relieved of the domination of its tyrant Clodius by the street-fight in which he fell. Cf. Att. 5.13.1 Ephesum venimus a. d. XI Kal. Sext. sexagesimo et quingentesimo post pugnam Bovillanam (Clodius was killed at Bovillae). Clodius was murdered Jan. 18, 52 B.C. , so that the date of this letter would be Feb. 20, 50 B.C. (cf. Schmidt, Briefw. p.76).

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hide References (45 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (45):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 1.4.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.10.6
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.7.4
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.8.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 5.2.7
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.2.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.3.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.9.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 9.21.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 9.25.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 14.14.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 14.16.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 14.6.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 16.7.6
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 1.13.6
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.6.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.10.5
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.13.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.21.13
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.21.5
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.4.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.6.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.24
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 8.11.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 1.1.26
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 2.13.3
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 3.19
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 4.21
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.58
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.75
    • Cicero, Philippics, 9.16
    • Cicero, For Lucius Murena, 25
    • Plautus, Persa, 2.2
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 4.2
    • Horace, Satires, 2.7.113
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.4
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.10
    • Tacitus, Annales, 3.62
    • Terence, Phormio, 1.4
    • Plautus, Menaechmi, 5.2
    • Terence, Andria, 5.3
    • Terence, The Eunuch, 5.4
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 46
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, 18.1
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