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Letter LXV: ad familiares 6.6

Rome, Sept. or Oct., 46 B.C. A. Caecina, descended from an old Etruscan family, was a man of considerable ability, both as a writer and as an orator. Cf. Sen. Nat. Quaest. 2.56.1 hoc apud Caecinam invenia, facundum virum et qui habuisset aliquando in eloquentia nomen, nisi illum Ciceronis umbra pressisset. In fact it was his course as a political pamphleteer, rather than as a soldier, which led Caesar to banish him (cf. Suet. Iul. 75). He was at this time in Sicily. It was in his father's behalf that Cicero delivered the oration pro Caecina in 69 B.C. Cicero wrote two other letters to the younger Caecina (viz. Fam. 6.5 and 8), one in his behalf (Fam. 13.66), and received one from him (Fam. 6.7).


studiorum parium: Caecina was an authority upon the Etruscan method of interpreting omens, and had written a book, de Etrusca Disciplina, while Cicero, after his elevation to the augurate, had interested himself in the same class of subjects, and had written a treatise called de Auguriis. Cf. also Fam. 6.9.1.

litterarum: used as a plural; cf. litteris, Ep. XCIX.1n.

melius:cf. prolixe Ep. XXI.1n.


ii qui ... putarent: Cicero probably has Caesar and Pompey in mind as well as Clodius.

in qua tu eras: engaged in business transactions probably; cf. Fam. 6.8.2.


Etruscae disciplinae: cf. studiorum parium, 1.

quam ... consecuti sumus: Cicero's forecast of the future rests upon : (1) the teachings of wise men (monumentis atque praeceptis) and his own study of philosophy (doctrinae studio); (2) his long and varied experience in public affairs.

plurimo: the attributive use of the singular plurimus is rare in classical prose, and is scarcely found outside the formula plurimam salutem dicere (Böckel).


quod ea ... fefellit: cf. Cicero's own words inAtt. 3.15.5 hic mihi primum meum consilium non solum defuit, sed etiam obfuit. Caeci, caeci, inquam, fuimus in vestitu mutando (in putting on mourning), etc.

ne ... seiungeret: cf. mederi, Ep. XLII.2n., and Philipp. 2.24 mea illa vox est nota multis: 'Vtinam, Pompei, cum Caesare societatem ant nun: quam coisses ant nun: quam diremisses.'

Pompeium ... plurimi: cf. Att. 8.2.4 (written in 49 B.C. ) ego pro Pompeio libenter emori possum; facio pluris omnium hominum neminem.


hunc: i.e. Caesar.

ille : i.e. Pompey.

eundum in Hispaniam censui: the province of Spain, which Pompey had received at the close of his second consulship, in 55 B.C. , for a period of five years, was granted to him for five years longer at the close of his third consulship, in 52 B.C. While retaining the province, Pompey stayed, however, in Italy,--a course of action the illegality of which laid him open to the attacks of the Caesarians; and Cicero, in advising that Pompey should go to Spain, would have been acting in the interests of harmony. Cicero probably gave the advice indicated during the meeting of Pompeians at Capua, on Jan.25, 49 B.C. ; cf. Fam. 16.12.3 with Att. 7.15.2; cf. also Att. 7.14.1.

rationem absentis: the right of suing for the consulship while absent from the city. See Ep. XLII. introd. note; also ut absentis ratio haberetur, Ep. XLV.3n., and Intr. 21.

ipso consule pugnante: sc. Pompey.


rebus, etc.: both Cicero and Caesar believed that many Pompeians urged on the Civil War in the hope of relieving themselves from their heavy indebtedness. Cf. Att. 2.6.2; Fam. 7.3.2; and Caes. B. C. 3.32 erat plena lictorum et imperiorum provincia, differta praefectis atque exactoribus, qui praeter imperatas pecunias suo etiam privato compendio serviebant; dictitabant enim se domo patriaque expulsos omnibus necessariis egere rebus, ut honesta praescriptione rem turpissisnam tegerent.

pudor meus : cf. Fam. 7.3.1 pudori tamen malui famaeque cedere quam salutis meae rationem ducere; Att. 9.19.2 pergamus igitur, ... nec mehercule hoc facio rei publicae causa, quam funditus deletam puto, sed ne quis me putet ingratum in eum qui me levavit iis incommodis quibus idem affecerat.

aliquando: Pompey, who had allowed Cicero to be exiled without protest, exerted himself at last to secure his recall.

ut in fabulis Amphiaraus: Amphiaraus, the seer, foresaw that he should be ruined in the struggle of the Seven against Thebes (cf. Ribbeck, Röm Trag. 487). Cicero probably has in mind some tragedy, perhaps the Eriphyle of Accius (cf. Ribbeck, Röm Trag. 487-497), founded upon his fate.

prudens et sciens: cf. Ep. L.5n. The phrase prudens positam probably forms part of two iambic verses quoted from some tragic poet. Cf. Ribbeck, Trag. Röm. Frag. p. 256.


non ... involatu nec oscinis: birds were divided into two classes, alites (or praepetes) and oscines; the latter gave omens by singing, the former by their flight and the motion of their wings; cf. Serv. on Verg. Aen. 3.361. In taking the auspices, the augur faced south, and the east, from which favorable omens came, would be to his left (sinistra).

involatu: cf. invitatu, Ep. XXI.2n.

in nostra disciplina: Cicero became an augur in 53 B.C.

nec soniviis: if the sacred chickens ate the pulse so rapidly that a part of it fell to the ground, the auspices were favorable.


Querelarum: Caecina's Liber Querelarum was evidently a book complimentary to Caesar, which Caecina wrote while in exile. Billerbeck surmises that it was similar to Ovid's Tristia. On Caesar's clemency, cf. Suet. Jul. 75 and Caesar's own words to Cicero (Att. 9.16.2): recte auguraris de me -- bene enim tibi cognitus sum -- nihil a me abesse longius crudelitate.

consentiens Etruria: Etruria, as Caecina's native province, would favor his recall.


leviter adspersus: in Caecina's first political pamphlet. Cf. introd. note. To encourage Caecina, Cicero minimizes the virulence of his attack on Caesar. Suetonius (Iul. 75), however, characterizes his pamphlet as a criminosissimus liber.

beneficium: a tardy forgiveness would do little Credit to Caesar's generosity.


nos: i.e. the Pompeians.

in eius persona: with this use of in Böckel Compares Cic. Philipp. 14.9 (animus) disere reformidat quae L. Antonius in Parmensium liberis et coniugibus effecerit; and on persona he Cites appositely Seyffert-Müller on Lael. p. 21: “persona, a term taken from the masks used upon the stage, does not mean the "person" in the sense of the "individual" (homo), but refers always to the role which one takes, or to the external relations which position, rank, and office suggest, to that which one is, represents, or wishes to represent.” So here the reference is to Pompey as the political leader.

Cassium: in the Civil War C. Cassius had commanded a part of the Pompeian fleet (cf. Caes. B.C. 3.101), but submitted to Caesar soon after the battle of Pharsalus.

Brutum: Caesar entrusted M. Brutus with the province of Cisalpine Gaul in 47 B.C.

Sulpicium: cf. Ep. LXXV. introd. note. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, like Cicero, maintained a neutral attitude, and after the battle of Pharsalus withdrew even from the scene of the struggle. At this time he was governor of Achaia, on Caesar's appointment.

Marcellum: M. Claudius Marcellus, consul in 51 B.C. , had been a bold and consistent champion of the senatorial party, had served under Pompey in the Civil War until the battle of Pharsalus was fought, and had then gone into voluntary banishment to Mytilene. He was pardoned by Caesar; cf. Fam. 4.7 and 4.9.


tot ... condemnati : cf. Caes. B.C. 3.1 nonnullos ambitus Pompeia lege (of 52 B.C. ) damnatos illis temporibus, quibus in urbe praesidia legionum Pompeius habuerat ... in integrum restituit. Cf. also Cic. Att. 10.4.8; Fam. 15.19.3; Suet. Jul.41.


illa: explained by the following oratio obliqua.

te, si explorata victoria, etc., if you had taken up arms, when you thought victory assured.

adversam ... posse: opposed in thought to the clause with paratum fuisse. Both paratum fuisse and posse depend on debere.

quantae delectationi: cf. Fam. 6.12.5 sed est unum perfugium doctrina ac litterae ... quae secundis rebus delectationem modo habere videbantur, nunc vero etiam salutem.

ducum vel comitum tuorum: cf. Ep. LXII.2nn.

multos claros viros: not multos et claros viros, because claros viros constitutes a single idea. Cicero may be thinking, for instance, of Alcibiades and Themistocles, who died in banishment.


quanta ... viveremus: Cicero suggests the same consolatory thought to another exile, Torquatus : nos qui Romae sumus miserrimos esse duco, Fam. 6.4.3.

hoc genere: sc. consolationis.

me ... Caesar amplectitur: cf. Ep. LXI. 2.

familiares eius : i.e., Hirtius, Balbus, Dolabella, Matius, etc.; cf. Fam. 6.12.2. With Cicero's utterances in 4-6, Fam. 4.1.1; 6.21.1, and 4.14.2 may be profitably compared.


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hide References (27 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (27):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 13.66
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 15.19.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.12.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 4.1.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 4.7
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.12.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.12.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.4.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.7
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.8.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.9.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 7.3.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 7.3.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 10.4.8
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.6.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 3.15.5
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.14.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.15.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 8.2.4
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.16.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.19.2
    • Cicero, Philippics, 14.9
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 3.361
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.1
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.32
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 75
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