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Letter XXII: ad Quintum fratrem 2.15

Rome, August, 54 B.C.


sic habeto : cf. sic habeto, Ep. XXVI.1n.

anni tempore: August, the weather being hot even for that month; cf. Q. fr. 3.1.1.

vestrae: sc. of you and Caesar.

ex hoc labore: Cicero is probably referring to his support of the Triumvirate. During the year 54 B.C. , he delivered orations in behalf of Gabinius (cf. pro Rabirio Post. 32), Vatinius, and Messius (cf. Att. 4.15.9), all of whom were tools of the triumvirs, and the first two had been former enemies of Cicero. Cf. note to Vatinium below.

ab iis ipsis qui dolent : the oration which Cicero delivered in the same year in defense of M. Aemilius Scaurus (cf. Att. 4. I 5.9), son of the Scaurus who so earnestly championed the cause of the aristocracy, would naturally please the Optimates.

aequis, fair-minded, i.e. toward Caesar.

propensis, etc. : Caesar's supporters.


de ambitu: cf. Q. fr. 3.2.3 (written two months later) de ambitu postulati sunt omnes qui consulatum petunt: a Memmio Domitius, a Q. Acutio, bono et erudito adulescente, Memmius, a Q. Pompeio Messalla, a Triano Scaurus. Cf. also Att. 4.17.2.


Drusus: probably Livius Drusus Claudianus, grandfather of the emperor Tiberius.

absolutus, etc.: each of the three decuriae, composed respectively of senators, knights, and tribuni aerarii. voted separately (cf. Madvig, Verf. u. Verw. 2.328). In this case a majority of the senators and a majority of the knights voted for conviction, a majority of the tribuni aerarii for acquittal. The guilt or innocence of the accused party was, however, decided by a majority of all the iudices, and in this instance there was a majority of four for acquittal. The number of jurors sitting in a trial was determined by the statute under which the charge was brought; the lowest number mentioned is 32, the highest 75 (cf. Madvig, Verf U. Verw. 2.308).

Vatinium: P. Vatinius had made himself notorious during his tribuneship as Caesar's agent, but escaped punishment for his misdeeds. In 57 B.C. he failed as a candidate for the aedileship. In 56 B.C. he appeared as a witness against Sestius, whom Cicero was defending, and Cicero attacked him mercilessly. (cf. e.g. pro Sest. 132 ff.; in Vat. Interr.; Fam. 1.9.7; Q. fr. 2.4.1.) The trial here referred to was on an accusation de sodalidis in 54 B.C. Cicero undertook the defense at Caesar's request. For Cicero's explanation of his conduct, cf. Fam. 1.9.19. It is a significant fact that in his letters to Atticus he nowhere mentions the matter. Fam. 5.9, 10A and 10B are letters written to Cicero in 45-44 B.C. by Vatinius.

comitia ... reiecta sunt: the bribery scandals and the disturbances in Rome actually causdd the postponement of the consular elections until July, 53. Cf. Dio Cassius, 40.17.

Scauri iudicium: the charge of misgovernment in Sardinia had been brought against Scaurus in July, but the trial had been postponed for 30 days.

Συνδείπνους Σοφοκλέους: perhaps a translation of the Σύνδειπνοι of Sophocles; cf. Ribbeck, Röm. Tragödie, 620. During the summer and autumn of 54 B.C. Quintus devoted some time to the translation and adaptation of various Greek plays, especially those of Sophocles; cf. Q. fr. 3.1.13 and Ep. XXIII. 7.4.


O iucundas ... litteras: Cicero had written in July (Att. 4.15.10): ex Q. fratris litteris suspicor iam eum esse in Britannia: suspenso animo exspecto quid agat. Caesar was at this time making his second expedition to Britain. Quintus had transferred his services from Pompey to Caesar at the beginning of the year.

versus rogas: Quintus is evidently writing a poem on Caesar's achievements in Britain, and requests some verses from his brother. The poem is not extant.

Athenas noctuam: the proverb, 'coals to Newcastle,' as we say, appears in its Greek form, γλαῦχ᾽ εἰς Ἀθήνας, Fam. 9.3.2; 6.3.4.


heus tu: cf. Ep. XXXV. 25n.

celari, to be kept in the dark.

de nostris versibus: Cicero's poem, de Temporibus Meis. Cf. also Fam. 1.9.23; Q. fr. 3.1.24.

ῥᾳθυμότερα: a trifle careless.

hoc ... verbo: the word ῥαθυμότερα had not been used by Caesar, but Cicero believes that it expresses Caesar's opinion of the latter part of the poem.

ne pilo quidem minus, not a whit the less. Cf. the similar proverbial expressions, nec . . flocci facio, Att. 13.50.3; “non nauci facio,Plaut. Bacch. 1102.


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hide References (15 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (15):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 1.9.19
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 1.9.23
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 1.9.7
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 5.9
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 13.50.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.15.10
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.15.9
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.17.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 2.4.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 3.1.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 3.1.13
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 3.1.24
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 3.2.3
    • Cicero, For Sestius, 132
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 5.1
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