Letter IV: ad familiares 7.23Rome, 62 B.C. M. Fadius Gallus was a personal friend of Cicero, to whom he wrote Fam. 7.23-27. Cf. Fam. 33.59 M. Fadium unice diligo summaque mihi cum eo consuetudo et familiaritas est pervetus. He was a man of artistic and literary tastes. Like Cicero, he wrote a eulogy of Cato. Cf. Ep. LXXXI. 2.
tantum quod: equivalent to commodum; cf. Att. 35.33.7. This usage, perhaps a colloquial one, became comparatively frequent in post-Augustan prose, e.g. navis Alexandrina, quae tantum quod appulerat, Suet. Aug.98. Arpinati: Cicero inherited his villa at Arpinum from his father (de Leg. Agr. 3.8). He had fitted it up in imitation of the villa of Atticus at Buthrotum. Aviani: as the sequel shows, Gallus had made certain purchases of Avianius for Cicero, and Avianius generously offered to delay recording them until it should suit Cicero's convenience to pay. Nomina facere is a commercial expression, meaning to set down items of debt in an account book. rogare de die (sc. solutionis): to ask for credit (Tyrrell). annua: sc. die. mi Galle: cf. mi Pomponi, Ep. X n..
Damasippus had apparently promised to take the statues if they did not please Cicero. genus omnino signorum omnium. all the statues in the world. Musis Metelli: statues in the possession of Metellus. tanti putassem: sc. as you paid for your Bacchae. Musis omnibus approbantibus: the Muses themselves would not have been offended at being rated at a lower price than you paid for the Bacchae. erat, would have been. Martis ... pacis auctori: the Bacchae in Cicero's study would be absurd enough, but the statue of Mars would be still more ridiculous for a man who prided himself upon being a dux togatus. Cf. Cat. 3.23 togati me uno togato duce et imperatore vicistis. aes alienum: the quaint comment of Manutius is: Martis enim et Saturni signa nihil prosperum promittere, astrologi confirmant: stulte, qui divinationem rerum futurarum, quae soli Deo notae sunt, ad suam scientiam revocent. Mercuri: the god of good luck, especially in money matters; cf. Hor. Sat. 2.3.68 reiecta praeda, quam praesens Mercurius fert; Pers. 6.62 sum tibi Mercurius; venio deus huc ego ut ille pingitur; and Plautus Amph. 1-14.. felicius ... transigere possemus: i.e. with the help of Mercury, the god of bargains.
trapezophorum: strictly a 'table bearer,' but here, as in a few other passages, it seems to indicate the table itself, perhaps because the support or legs were often made of marble or ivory (Juv. 11.122ff.) cut into fantastic shapes, e.g. of griffins or dolphins, and thus formed the most conspicuous and ornamental part of the table. Cf. also Tyrrell, II. p.239. ne ego: cf. ne, Ep. XVII.2n. deversorium: the meagre hotel accommodations in Italy (cf. Hor. Sat. 1. 5, especially vv. 71-76) made it desirable for wealthy people to own houses at which they could stop for a night while journeying from one place to another. Cicero had such lodges apparently at Sinuessa, Cales, and Anagnia. exhedria: these were rooms in private houses set apart for lectures and discussions. Cf. also Tyrrell,II. p. 241. Pseudodamasippum: some imitator of Damasippus. Damasippus (perhaps only a type) was notorious 20 years later. in Horace's time, for his crazy enthusiasm in collecting bric-a-brac and statues . Cf. Hor. Sat. 2.3.18 ff.
Cassio: Gallus had probably rented or bought a house from Cassius (Tyrrell conjectures Crasso, as the latter had a sister named Licinia). Licinia, the sister of Cassius, is at present occupying the house, and does not wish to make a change during the absence of her husband in Spain. ne vivam: Cicero's favorite asseverations in the letters are “moriar; Si” (Att. 5.20.6); “ne vivam, Si” (Att. 4.17.5); and “ne sim salvus, Si” (Att. 16.13 A. i). His less elegant correspondent Caelius writes “peream, Si” (Ep. XLVIII. 2). Horace uses the latter expression in Sat. 2.1.6 “peream male, Si”; cf. also “dispeream, ni,” 1.9.47.