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Letter XIII: ad familiares 14.2

Thessalonica, Oct. 5,58 B.C. suis in the superscription is plural because it belongs to both the children. For variations of this salutation, cf. Fam. '4. I, 3' and 6. The possessive pronoun indicates familiarity, and Cicero uses it in addressing the members of his family only. It is used in all the 24 letters to his wife, in Bk. 14, ad Fam., with one exception: in the fifteenth letter, Ep. LVIII., which is cold and formal, he writes, Tullius s.d. Terentiae. Upon the significance of the possessive in this use, cf. Fam. 16.18.1. In a previous letter to his freedman Cicero had written, Tullius Tironi sat, omitting Tiro's praenomen. The latter evidently remarked upon the salutation as too familiar for a letter from patron to freedman. Upon which Cicero put at the head of his next letter the same salutation, and added in the body of the letter, Quid igitur? non sic oportet? equidem censeo sic; addendum etiam SVO.

nisi si: apparently a favorite pleonasm for nisi in the language of everyday life; see Intr. 101, and Cf. Reisig-Schmalz, Lat. Syn. note 612 d; Schmalz, Jahresb. Mannheim, r88i, p.44. Schmalz says that it has crowded the classical nisi out of use in the Latin of the Christian fathers.

nec ... scribam: note the difference in meaning between non habeo quod scribam, non habeo quid scribam, and non habeo scribere. Cf. Ep. VIII.6n.

Tulliolam: see Intr. 53. On the diminutive, cf. pulchellus, Ep. V. Ion.

tam timidi: Lucullus had advised (Plut. Cic. 3') the use of force in opposing Clodius. Atticus and others had apparently counselled moderation. Cf. Fam. ~.9.13; Att. 3. '5.7. The change to the plural is probably made to include these two friends and others who had advised a moderate course.

Pisonem nostrum: cf. Intr. 53. He worked devotedly to prevent Cicero's exile, and afterwards to secure his recall; cf. Fam. 14.1.4; 14.3. 3.-in novis tr. p1.: the new tribunes would come into office Dec.10, and had all promised to help Cicero. One of the number was Milo, leader of the 'physical force' section of the senatonal party.

voluntas erit: sc. firma.

Crassum: cf. Ep. VIII.5n.

P. Valerius: mentioned several times in the Letters, but little is known of him.

a (sc. templo) Vestae: cf. the English expression 'from St. Paul's.' This ellipsis of templum or aedes between the preposition and the genitive of the name of a divinity, according to C. F. W. Müller, appears first in Ter. Ad. 582. ' It belongs, therefore, to the colloquial language of the Scipionic circle, and must be considered rather familiar than vulgar or archaic.' Cf. ad Opis, Att. 14.14.5; ad Apollinis, Ep. XVI. 3; ad Vestae, Hor. Sat. 1.9.35. Somewhat similar is ad L. Tondei (domum) vorsu, C. L. L. 1.1143. See also Intr. 95 and Arch. f. lat. Lex. 11.368. Terentia's half-sister Fabia was a Vestal virgin, and Terentia had probably taken refuge with her.

ad tabulam Valeriam: Pliny, N. H. 35.22, quoted by Hofmann, tells us that there was a painting upon the side wall of the Curia Hostilia, executed by the order of M.' Valerius Maximus to celebrate his victories. Near this painting (the Tabula Valeria) there was probably a banker's stall, to which Terentia was forced to come to make an affidavit with reference to her property, or possibly to secure a loan.

hem: a colloquial word, to be distinguished from the demonstrative particle em. It expresses joy, astonishment, or, as here, grief. It is frequent in comedy; cf. Ter. And. 383, 420, 462. and see Intr. 92.

mea lux, meum desiderium: cf. Fam. 14.5. 1 Si tu et Tullia, lux nostra, valetis; Ep. XI. 6 mea Terentia, fidissima atque optima uxor; Fam. 14.5.2 vos, mea suavissima et optatissima Terentia. Cf. Intr. 49, 52.

unde ... solebant: as they hoped to win Cicero's legal or political support through her intercession.

iacere, etc.: cf. Ep. XII. 3 eodem in loco iaceo, etc. The infinitives vexari, etc., are exclamatory.

qui ceteros, etc.: the execution of Lentulus and his fellow-conspirators, by which Cicero had saved Roman citizens from murder and arson, was the pretext for his banishment.

de domo: cf. Intr. 16.

illud doleo, etc.: a common Latin idiom; cf. Alt. 2.24.1 quas Numestio litteras dedi, sic te us evocabam.

negotium: i.e. Cicero's recall. Negotium with the force of res is colloquial, and frequent in all periods. Cf. the slang expression, 'Tell me the whole business.'

mea vita: cf. note upon mea lux above.

sine alios ... sustinere: Terentia proposed to sell her own property in order to raise money for the expenses attendant upon her husband's recall. Cicero opposes this plan still more urgently in Fam. 14.1.5 quod ad me, mea Terentia, scribis te vicum vendituram, quid, obsecro te,--me miserum! quid futurum est? et, si nos premet eadem fortuna, quid puero misero fiet? Cf. also Ep. XI. 3.

si me amas: this expression and amabo te, sis (si vis) and sodes (si audes) are set phrases in colloquial Latin which are joined to words of command for the sake of politeness and emphasis, e.g. “da mihi hoc, mel meum, si me amas, si audes,Plaut. Trin. 244; amabo te, si quid quod opus fuerit Appio facies, ponito me in gratia, Fam. 8.6.5. Cf. also Intr. 100, and Arch. f. lat. Lex. IX. 485-491.

mihi ante oculos dies noctesque versaris: a colloquial pleonasm which occurs also in Fam. 14.3.2, and would not perhaps have been employed, had the writer been in a calmer frame of mind. See note to nisi Si, I. Cf., however, mihi soli versatur ante oculos, Lael. 102.

mea desideria: the plural includes wife, daughter, and son.

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hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (11):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 14.1.4
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 14.1.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 14.3.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 14.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.18.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.6.5
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 14.14.5
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 2.1
    • Horace, Satires, 1.9.35
    • Terence, The Brothers, 4.2
    • Terence, Andria, 2.3
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