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Letter XXXIII: ad familiares 2.8

Athens, July 6, 51 B.C. This is Cicero's reply to the chronicle of events at Rome, which the agent of Caelius had prepared with such care (Ep. XXXI. I).


gladiatorum compositiones: as we might say 'circus posters.' Public announcement was made upon the walls of the number of combatants, the date of the contests, etc. Such an announcement found upon the walls of Pompeii runs as follows: [C]N ALLEI:NIGIDI:MAI:QVINQ[VENNALIS]:GLLADIATORVM]:PAR[IAI]:XXX:ET:E0R[VM]:SVPP[OSITICII]:PVGN[ABVNT]:POMPEIIS:VIII:VII:VI:K.:DEC ... VEN[ATI0]:ERIT (C.L.L. IV.1179).

Chresti compilationem, the pilfering of Chrestus, i.e. the 'hotch potch' which Chrestus, the agent of Caelius, has taken indiscriminately from the journals of the senate, the records of the courts, and the placards of the games. Perhaps, however, Chrestus was a thief whose exploits formed one of the items in the diary. Cicero really desires to know, cum formam rei publicae viderit, quale aedificium futurum sit.

narrare nemo audeat: for Cicero's distaste for gladiatorial contests, cf. Ep. XIX. introd. note.

πολιτικώτερον ... cognovi: cf. Ep. XXXI. introd. note.

abs te: cf. Ep. 1.4 n.


cum Pompeio: cf. Ep. XXXI.3n.

tantum habeto: cf. Ep. XXVI.1n

quare crede: these words form a hexameter verse, which may be accidental, as Böckel thinks, but it has the appearance of being a quotation, and is ascribed by L. Muller (p.160) to Lucilius. For similar expressions, cf. Att. 7.12.3; da te hodie mihi, Ter. Ad. 838.

mihi crede: cf. Ep. XXVII.1n.

fili: i.e. Pompeio.


ipsos, exactly; as often with numerals. Cf. Att. 3.21; 6.8.4.

fuissem, proficiscebar, dedi: all the events mentioned here would belong to the past when the letter reached Caelius; cf. Intr. 84c.

Gallus Caninius: cf. Ep. XIX.4n.

hoc litterarum, this apology for a letter. Reference is apparently made not so much to the brevity of the letter as to its trivial character. Cf. ipsum volumen, Ep. XXXI.1.


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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 3.21
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.12.3
    • Terence, The Brothers, 5.3
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