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Letter XCI: ad familiares 11.27

Tusculum, Aug. 23-30, 44 B.C. C. Matius Calvena, to whom this is written, was probably a little younger than Cicero; cf. 2 n.; Ep. XCII.5n. In recognition of his accomplishments Cicero calls him doctissimus (Ep. XXVIII. 2 and this letter, 8). Later in life Matius wrote a book upon gastronomy (Columella, 12.4.2). He belonged to that group of men who attached themselves closely to the fortunes of Caesar, but not, like many of his comrades, with the hope of personal gain. He followed Caesar out of pure friendship and admiration. When Caesar was killed, therefore, he found no common point of sympathy either with those who rejoiced in the death of a tyrant, as did Cicero, or with those who used Caesar's name to conjure with, as did Antony. His grief at Caesar's death and his superintendence of the public games in his name called forth unfriendly criticism from Cicero. The sorrow of Matius upon hearing this fact was disclosed to Cicero by their common friend Trebatius (cf. Ep. XXI. introd. note), who had made the acquaintance of Matius nine years before in Gaul (cf. Ep. XXVIII. 2), and led to the writing of this letter.


nihil sibi longius fuisse : i.e. nothing was more desired by him. This is the meaning of the phrase when followed by quam ut or quam dum, but when followed by quam with the infin. it means “nothing is more tiresome.” Cf. Antibarbarus s. v. longus.

querelam tuam: cf. introd. note.


vetustas: Cicero had apparently known Matius for twenty years or more; cf. next note.

tuus deinde discessus: on deinde cf. Intr. 85b. The reference is to the absence of Matius from Rome at some time prior to Cicero's candidacy for the consulship; cf. ambitio nostra.

vitae dissimilitudo: Matius apparently never entered public life.

conglutinari: the metaphorical use of the word is frequent in Cicero.


Brundisium versus: cf. ad Alpis versus, Ep. XLVIII.2n.

venisti ... in Formianum: sc. Mar.19, 49 B.C. ; cf. Att. 9.11.2. Caesar himself entered Brundisium Mar. 18.

consili: Matius earnestly desired peace and without doubt encouraged Cicero in his efforts at mediation; cf. Att. 9. II. 2.

Trebulano: in Campania; but Cicero's memory is very likely at fault, as he probably has in mind the messages which he received from Matius from Minturnae on Mar.20; cf. Att. 9.12.1.


pudor meus ... sive officium : cf. Intr. 30 (end) and Ep. LXV. 6.

praesentis meos: his family in Rome.

veni Brundisium: after the battle of Pharsalus. Cf. Intr. 32. The friendly offices of the Caesarian Matius in this moment of helplessness and loneliness would be especially prized.

adsessio, etc.: the rapidity of movement which substantives in -io lend to a narrative is nowhere better illustrated than in this passage (cf. Intr. 75). This rapidity of movement is further hightened by the asyndetical arrangement of many of the sentences and by the use of paratactical forms of expression; for, as Andresen remarks, in three different instances in 4 and 5 temporal clauses stand as independent sentences. These three cases are: secutum illud tempus est; veni Brundisium, and tandem coepimus.

communium miseriarum: sc. which would result from the overthrow of the state.


tandem aliquando: in Sept. 47 B.C. ; cf. Intr. 33.

φιλοσοφούμενα: probably the Academica, the de Finibus, and the Tusculanae Disputationes, although there is no reference to Matius in any one of these works.

post Caesaris reditum: in Sept., 45 B.C. , after the battle of Munda. Cf. Intr. 35.

maiori curae : cf. minori curae, Ep. XXV. 2 B.

quod effeceras : sc. before Caesar's return.


illa lege : probably the lex de permutatione provinciarum, whose passage Antony secured apparently in the summer of 44 B.C. (cf. Ruete, Die Correspondenz Ciceros, 29-30; Schmidt, Kämpfe, 7 i8). See Intr. 40.

malevolentia: sc. facit.

ea ... audis : with reference to nonnulla.

liquido: a word used by Cicero only in his early orations and in his letters. See also Spengel to Ter. And. 729.

defendam: for defendendi causa dicam; cf. haec iocatus sum, Ep. LXXXVII.4n.

de curatione ludorum : games which Caesar had vowed at Pharsalus, and which were given in his name in July, 44 B.C. Cf. Ep. XCII. 6.


libertatem ... anteponendam: this was probably Cicero's real view. Cf. Att. 15.2.3 ludorum apparatus et Matius ac Postumius mihi procuratores non placent. Cf. also introd. note.

te ... auctorem fuisse: cf. consili, 3 n.


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  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 15.2.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.11.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.12.1
    • Terence, Andria, 4.3
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