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Cicero's Family and Friends.

Terentia and Publilia.

52. A fair knowledge of the relations existing between Cicero and his wife Terentia may be gained from the letters of Bk. 14, ad Fam. all of which are addressed to her. In the early letters of this correspondence written in 58 B.C., after twenty years of married life, Cicero expresses himself in most affectionate terms. After this date, with the exception of one letter in 50 B.C., which is mainly upon business matters, there are no letters to Terentia up to 49 B.C., although this interval includes the period of his proconsulship, when he wrote so many letters to his personal and political friends. Even the letters of the year 49, when Cicero was in so much anxiety, are very infrequent. The rest of the letters of Bk. 14, belonging to the next two years, are brief and formal. It appears that an estrangement gradually grew up between them which culminated in their divorce in the early part of 46 B.C. In December of the same year he married his rich ward Publilia1; but Publilia could not conceal her chagrin at finding herself second to Tullia in his affection, and when she evinced joy a few months later at Tullia's death, Cicero sent her to her mother and could not be induced to receive her back into his favor.2


53. Tullia, Cicero's only daughter, was probably born in 79 or 78 B.C. In 66 B.C. she was betrothed to C. Calpurnius Piso Frugi,3 and married him sometime within the next three years. He died during the year of Cicero's exile.4 In 56 B.C. Tullia married Furius Crassipes.5 The match was regarded as a good one, but for reasons unknown to us Crassipes and Tullia were soon divorced. Her next matrimonial venture was with P. Cornelius Dolabella,6 the Caesarian politician. Their married life proved to be a most unhappy one, and they were probably divorced towards the close of the year 46 B.C.7 Tullia herself died in Feb., 45 B.C.,8 and her father was plunged in the deepest grief, in which his friends Caesar, Lucceius, Sulpicius, and others sought to comfort him by letters of condolence.9

Marcus Tullius Cicero filius.

54. Cicero's only son Marcus was born in 65 B.C. The father gave his personal attention for some time to the young man's education, and sent him later to Athens to pursue his studies, in the hope that he would take up the legal profession; but the young man's tastes were averse to study, and the appearance of Brutus at Athens, in 44 B.C., was enough to cause his enlistment in the army of the liberatores, in which he served with distinction.10 He espoused the cause of Octavius against Antony, was made consul by the former in 30 B.C.,11 and is last heard of as proconsul of Asia.

Quintus Tullius Cicero.

55. Quintus Cicero was a man of considerable ability; and, although he never reached the consulship, he was aedile in 65 and praetor in 62 B.C. At first he was inclined to attach himself to Pompey, and in 57 B.C. served as the latter's legatus in Sardinia,12 but three years later he joined Caesar in Gaul and took part in the invasion of Britain. In the civil war, after some hesitation, he espoused the cause of Pompey, but after the battle of Pharsalus he sought and obtained pardon from Caesar. In 43 B.C. he was proscribed with Marcus and put to death. Four of his letters are extant,13 as well as a long document addressed to Marcus when the latter was a candidate for the consulship.

Publius Cornelius Dolabella.

56. Cicero was somewhat disturbed14 upon hearing, whfle in Cilicia, that his daughter Tullia was betrothed to Dolabella, for the young man's career was notorious, and Cicero himself had twice defended him against serious charges. These fears were well grounded, for Dolabella neglected Tullia, and in 46 B.C. they were divorced. Probably in the hope that Caesar's programme included cancellation of debts,15 Dolabella joined his party in the civil war and was designated as Caesar's successor in the consulship for 44 B.C., during the projected Parthian wan In this office he at first showed some sympathy for the party of Brutus and Cassius, but later the promise of the province of Syria induced him to side with Antony. He met his death16 while attempting to take this province from one of the conspirators (§ 43).

Marcus Tullius Tiro

57. Tiro, the slave and freedman, deserves a place among the members of Cicero's family because of the intimate terms upon which he lived with all the members of it. He was his master's secretary and accompanied him wherever he went. Cicero's affection for him is evident from the letters of Bk. 16, ad Fam., most of which are letters written to Tiro by Cicero. He was a man of cultivation, and his criticism was of great service to Cicero, who writes to him: tu, qui κανὼν esse meorum scriptorum soles.17 He did some independent literary work in writing a life of his patron,18 in making a collection of his witticisms,19 and in editing a collection of stenographical abbreviations. He apparently wrote some tragedies also.20

Titus Pomponius Atticus.

58. Atticus was born in 109 B.C.,21 and spent his early life at Rome; but the dreadful events which attended the war between Marius and Sulla led him to withdraw from Rome in 86 B.C. and take up his residence at Athens,22 where Cicero made his acquaintance about 79 B.C. His father left him 2,000,000 sesterces, and his uncle Q. Caecilius 10,000,000.23 more. This property he found means of increasing by judicious investments, as he managed the business affairs of Cato, Hortensius, Cicero, and others,24 made loans to individuals and towns,25 carried on the business of a publisher,26 and even kept trained bands of gladiators.27 He abstained carefully from all participation in politics, and yet was on intimate terms with members of all political parties. His philosophical views were in harmony with his political attitude, as he was an Epicurean. His sister Pomponia married Q. Cicero.

The intimate friendship which existed between Atticus and Cicero had a practical as well as a sentimental basis. Atticus found it profitable to act as Cicero's financial agent, and he found the letters of recommendation, which his friend wrote for him to the governors of provinces, of great service, while Cicero derived great profit from the advice and help which Atticus rendered him in domestic, political, literary, and financial matters. Atticus died in 32 B.C.28

1 Plut. Cic. 41; Cic. Fam. 4.14.1 and 3. Cf. also Schmidt, Briefw. p. 268.

2 Att. 12.32.1.

3 Att. 1.3.3.

4 pro Sest. 68.

5 Q. fr. 2.4.2.

6 Att. 6.6.1; Fam. 8.6.1.

7 Fam. 6.18.5.

8 Schmidt, Briefw. p.271.

9 Att. 13.20.1; Fam. 4.5; 5.13; 5.14; Att. 12.13.1.

10 ad Brut. 2.3.

11 Plut. Cic. 49.

12 Q. fr. 2.2.1.

13 Fam. 16.8; 26; 26; 27.

14 Fam. 2.15.2; Att. 6.6.1.

15 Fam. 2.16.5.

16 Vell. Paterc. 2.69.

17 Fam. 16.17.1.

18 Plut. Cic. 49.

19 Quint. 6.3.5.

20 Fam. 16.18.3.

21 Nep. Att. 21, 22.

22 Nep. Att. 2.

23 Nep. Att. 5.

24 Nep. Att. 15.

25 Nep. Att. 8; Cic. All. 1.13.1; 16.16a.4, 5.

26 Att. 2.1.2; 12.40.1; 12.45.3.

27 Att. 4.4b.2; 4.8a.2.

28 Nep. Att. 22.

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hide References (25 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (25):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.17.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.18.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 2.15.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 2.16.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 4.14.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 4.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.18.5
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.6.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 12.13.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 12.32.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 13.20.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 1.3.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.1.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.4
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.6.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 2.2.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 2.4.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Brutus, 2.3
    • Cicero, For Sestius, 68
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, att..15
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, att..2
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, att..21
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, att..22
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, att..5
    • Cornelius Nepos, Atticus, att..8
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