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Letter LII: ad familiares 9.9

Caesar's camp near Dyrrachium, June, 48 B.C. For Dolabella, see Intr. 56. For Cicero's movements after writing Ep. LI., cf. Intr. 31. Dolabella was in Caesar's camp, and Cicero was probably in Pompey's.

S. v. g. v.: for si vales, gaudeo. Valeo. Literary Latin failed to perpetuate gaudeo in its archaic sense, which crops out here and there in colloquial Latin. In Plautus it is regularly used in welcoming a friend on his return from foreign parts; cf., e.g., Trin. 1097et salve et salvom te advenisse gaudeo”. It is quite natural that Dolabella in his free and easy style should write s. v. g. instead of the common formula s. v. b. e. Cf. also Intr. 62.

recte : regularly used in inquiries and answers concerning one's health. Cf., e.g., “satine recte (valetis)?Ter. And. 804; “nempe recte valet?Plaut. Bacch. 188; “DEM. quid agitur? SY. recte (agitur),Ter. Adel. 884.

minus belle (sc. se) habuit: on belle, see bellus, Ep. XXIV.2n. The omission of se in this phrase and in similar ones is colloquial; cf. Ter. Adel. 365 omnem rem modo seni quo pacto haberet enarramus ordine; Phorm. 429 bene habent tibi principia. While in Cicero the pronoun is ordinarily expressed in this phrase (cf., eg., ea res sic se habet, Fam. 3.5.3), in one or two passages it is omitted. Cf. Fam. 16.15.1 is etsi mihi nuntiavit te plane febri carere et belle habere; pro Mur. 14 bene habet. A similar ellipsis occurs in colloquial Latin with facere, agere, capessere, probare, recipere, etc.

certum scio: that certum in the common phrases certum scio and certum nescio is an adverb is evident from Cic. pro Scauro, 34 qui sive patricius sive plebeius esset, nondum enim certum constituerat; Hon Sat. 2.6. 27 postmodo, quod mi obsit, dare certumque locuto; 2.5. 100 certum vigilans (Hofmann).

rectissime sunt : cf. Intr. 85.

suadere: in apposition to suspicionem; cf. accedere, Ep. L.3n.

inclinata victoria, since victory has already turned (from the Pompeians).

mi Cicero: cf. mi Pomboni, Ep. X. n.

ab animo: most editors strike out ab, but the style of Dolabella is very colloquial, and the Latin of everyday life was fond not only of personification in general, but of the representation of the individual by this word animus; cf. anime mi (e.g. Plaut. Curc. 165; Men. 182) as a term of endearment; cf. also Ep. LX XVII. 1 praesertim vel animo defatigato tuo qui nunc requiem quaerat ex magnis occupationibus; Ep. LXI. 8 volo enim videre animum qui mihi audeat ista ... apponere.

ostentare crebro solebat: cf. Intr. 79.

Italia: for ex Italia. Cicero never omits ex with names of countries, and, with the exception of one passage in Caesar (B. C. 3.58), perhaps the construction does not occur in prose again until we reach Silver Latin.

circumvallato: a dative. Pompey was surrounded by Caesar's forces; cf. Caes. B. C. 3.42 ff.

animum adverte : for animadverte, a Plautine usage.

illud te peto : cf. quod ... hortatur, Ep. XXXVII. 1n. and Intr. 83a.

reliquum est, etc.: the omission of ut is archaic.

mi iucundissime Cicero : adjectives as well as pronouns are sometimes joined with proper names in colloquial Latin. Such adjectives usually express affection, admiration, or sympathy, and are used both with the names of persons addressed or with those of persons spoken of. This usage is very rare in formal Latin, and is employed only under certain well-defined circumstances; cf. Naegelsbach, Stilistik,7 251 ff.

his quoque locis: the use of his shows that Dolabella was in the immediate vicinity of Pompey's headquarters, i.e. that he was in Caesar's camp before Dyrrachium, and not at Rome. Had he been writing from Rome, he would have said illis or istis. Cf. also circumvallato, above.

rusus: an archaic form for rursus; cf. Intr. 81.

tu : the pleonastic use of pronouns is characteristic of the more informal letters. In this letter, for instance, tu is used five times, and in three of these cases quite unnecessarily. Cf. tibi tu, Ep. L. 2.

civitatem: a colloquial substitute for urbs or oppidum. This is its first appearance in this sense in prose. In late Latin and in general in the Romance languages it completely usurped the functions of the two words mentioned above. The history of this word offers another illustration of the connection existing between colloquial Latin and the Romance languages; cf. testificor, Ep. L., 1n.

advolem: cf. advoles, Ep. XXV.4n.

non minimum: non mediocre, non pessimum, and other similar expressions are common in the Letters.

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48 BC (1)
hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (11):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.15.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.5.3
    • Cicero, For Lucius Murena, 14
    • Cicero, For Aemilius Scaurus, 34
    • Plautus, Curculio, 1.3
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 4.4
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.42
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 2.2
    • Plautus, Menaechmi, 1.3
    • Terence, The Brothers, 5.4
    • Terence, Andria, 4.5
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