Cicero Letters to his Friends VII.24
Commentary by Michael Gray, revised by J. Bailly
Scr. in Tusculano (ineunte m. Oct.?) a.u.c. 709.
M. CICERO S. D. M. FADIO GALLO.
Amoris quidem tui, quoquo me verti, vestigia, vel proxime de
Tigellio; sensi enim ex litteris tuis valde te laborasse: amo igitur
voluntatem. Sed pauca de re. Cipius, opinor, olim? "non omnibus
dormio:" sic ego non omnibus, mi Galle, servio; etsi quae est haec
servitus? olim, cum regnare existimabamur, non tam ab ullis, quam hoc
tempore observor a familiarissimis Caesaris omnibus praeter istum: id
ego in lucris pono, non ferre hominem pestilentiorem patria sua; eumque
addictum iam tum puto esse Calvi Licinii Hipponacteo praeconio. At
vide, quid suscenseat: Phameae causam receperam, ipsius quidem causa;
erat enim mihi sane familiaris: is ad me venit dixitque iudicem sibi
operam dare constituisse eo ipso die, quo de P. Sestio in consilium iri
necesse erat; respondi nullo modo me facere posse; quem vellet alium
diem si sumpsisset, me ei non defuturum; ille autem, qui sciret se
nepotem bellum tibicinem habere et sat bonum unctorem, discessit a me,
ut mihi videbatur, iratior. Habes "Sardos venales, alium alio
nequiorem;" cognosti meam causam et istius salaconis iniquitatem.
Catonem tuum mihi mitte; cupio enim legere: me adhuc non legisse turpe
utrique nostrum est.
In this letter, Cicero
difficulties with an influential friend of Caesar's named Tigellius. On
the same day Cicero wrote this letter he also wrote a letter to Atticus
Scr. = scriptum
in Tusculano: Cicero owned a Tusculan villa.
ineunte m. Oct.: ablative absolute; = ineunte mense Octobri.
a.u.c. 709: "ab urbe condita 709"; 709 years from the founding of Rome,
i.e. 45 BCE.
M. Cicero: Marcus Cicero
S.D.: salutem dicit.
M. Fabio Gallo: Marco Fabio Gallo.
vestigia: a nominative: understand a verb (sunt?).
vel: "for instance."
de Tigellio: this is shorthand for a
longer thought, just as in English, we might say "Concerning Mr.
Smith," and mean (between the lines) "concerning
that unfortunate business with Mr. Smith" or "about the wonderful news
of Mr. Smith."
Tigellio: M. Tigellius
a friend of Caesar's. He was a Sardinian musician and a descendant of
Phamea (mentioned later in this letter). Horace Sat.
i.3 describes him.
laborasse: shortened, or
"syncopated," form of laboravisse.
sensi: verbs of thinking take acc.
amo: this verb means "to love," but
here, you should massage its meaning into something more idiomatic.
Perhaps "I am thankful for ..." or "I appreciate ...."
voluntatem: whose "good will" must this refer to, given the context?
de re: the res referred to is the same referred to in de Tigellio.
Cipius olim: this is shorthand for
Cipius olim dixit. The story can be found in Lucilius. Cipius feigned
sleep to avoid having to acknowledge certain actions of his wife. When
a slave stole wine while Cipius was "sleeping," Cipius said 'non
omnibus dormio.' Plutarch Amat. 16 says the story is told of Augustus'
mi Galle: vocative case.
cum regnare existimabamur: cum temporal clause. Cicero is referring to
the time he "lorded it over" or
"played the king" in Rome because of his famous actions in quashing the
non tam . . . quam: "not so much . .
. as." In the tam clause, you need to understand observabar or
hoc tempore: ablative of time, "at
istum: i.e. Tigellius.
lucris pono: this phrase is used metaphorically to describe what Cicero
thinks of id.
non ferre hominem pestilentiorem
patria sua: this whole phrase is an infinitive phrase in apposition to
id. patria sua is ablative of comparison. Tigellius' homeland,
Sardinia, was considered an unhealthy country.
eumque addictum . . . puto esse:
indirect statement; accusative subject eum and infinitive
addictum esse (perfect passive infinitive).
Calvi Licini Hipponacteo praeconio:
Calvus Licinius was a distinguished orator and poet who composed a
lampoon of Tigellius: 'Sardi Tigelli putidum caput venit' 'for sale
Tigellius, the Sardinian oaf." (Tyrell's translation). More literally,
"The stinking head of Tigellius the Sardinian is for sale." Hipponax of
Ephesus was a famous Greek satiricist, so "Hipponacteus" is synonymous
suscenseat: indirect question.
Phameae: Phamea was the uncle or
grandfather of Tigellius. Cicero took on his case as a favor out of
ipsius: refers to Tigellius.
dixitque iudicem . . . constituisse:
a verb of saying with indirect statement. The infinitive of that
indirect statement, constituisse, itself takes a complementary
infinitive phrase operam dare eo ipso die.
quo: what is its antecedent?
in consilium iri necesse erat:
iri is the rare passive infinitive of eo, ire, ivi, iturus. Translate
"that one go." Necesse est takes either a complementary infinitive (as
it does here) or a nominal ut clause.
P. Sestio: Sestius was charged in 52
with bribery and corruption and defended by Cicero. Possibly similar
charges were renewed in 56.
nullo modo: "in no way."
me facere posse: indirect statement
with me as accusative subject and posse as infinitive (present active).
Understand something like in consilium eo die ire as the action to
quem vellet: subordinate clauses in indirect speech take the
subjunctive normally. Remember that 'after si,
nisi, numl, and ne, all the ali's drop away' (i.e. quem is aliquem).
si sumpsisset, me ei non defuturum:
mixed conditional with pluperfect active subjunctive in protasis and
future active infinitive in apodosis. The whole conditional is in
indirect statement dependent on respondi.
qui sciret . . . habere: relative
clause of characteristic describing ille. Sciret takes indirect
nepotem: i.e. Tigellius.
unctorem: according to Horace
Tigellius had a talent for singing, so some read cantorem instead of
ut here: means "as" and introduces a parenthetical remark with an
mi: alternate form of dative mihi.
iratior: what nominative does this modify?
Sardos venalis, alium alio
an ancient proverb (clearly the Sardinians had a bad reputation): alio
is abl. of comparison.
Catonem: according to Bailey, the "Cato" was the title of a panegyric,
which is surprising coming from the
hand of Gallus, an Epicurean. After Cato's death in 46 there were many
pamphlets for and against his character and record. Cicero himself
me . . . non legisse turpe . . .
the infinitive is the subject of est, and turpe is the predicate
nominative, neuter because infinitives are neuter nouns.
nostrum: nostrum is gen. of nos, used as a partitive genitive.
addico, -dicere, -dixi, -dictum, to put up for sale
adhuc, up to now, to this point
bellus, -a, -um, pretty, handsome
cantor, oris, m., singer
causa, ae, f., legal case
causa, prep. + gen. for the sake of (the gen. precedes causa)
congnosco, cognoscere, cognovi, cognotus, recognize; know (in perfect
consto, constare, constiti, constatum, decide
desum, deesse, defui, defuturus (+dat), to fail, to disappoint
discedo, -cedere, -cessi, -cessum, to go asunder, part, separate
existimo, -are, to consider, regard, deem
familiaris, -e, friend
fero, ferre, tuli, latus, endure
hipponacteus, -a, -um, adj., biting, satirical
iniquitas, -tatis, f., unfairness, injustice
iratus, -a, -um, angry
lucrum, i, n., profit, gain: ponere in lucris, to regard as a gain
nequam, indeclinable adj., compar. nequior, superl. nequissimus,
nepos, -otis, m., a grandson or nephew
nequam (indecl.) good for nothing, bad; comparative nequior
observo, -are, pay attention to, pay respect to
operam dare, to pay attention to, to hear a case
pestilens, -entis, adj., pestilential, unhealthy
praeconium, -i, an advertisement
praeter, prep. +acc. except for
proxime, superl. of prope, a short time ago, just now
quidem, postpositive adv., indeed, certainly, at least
quoquo or quo quo, withersoever, to whatever place
recipio, -cipere, -cepi, - ceptum, undertake
salacon, -onis, m., boaster, braggart
sane, (in concessions) admittedly, to be sure
satis or sat, adv., fairly , quite
servitus, -utis, f., the condition of a slave, slavery, servitude
sumo, sumere, sumpsi, sumptum, to take
suscenseo/succenseo, -ere, ui, to be angry, bear a grudge
tibicen, inis, m., a flute player
turpis, -e, adj., disgraceful, shameful
unctor, - oris, m., annointer, rubdown man
uterque, utraque, utrumque, both (of two), either (of two), each (of
valde, adv., intensely, very much, greatly
vel, for instance
venalis, -e, on sale, to be sold
verto (vorto), vertere, verti, versum, to turn, turn round; often with
a reflex.: se vertere, to turn oneself
vestigium,i, n. - a foot-step, track, foot-mark; a trace, mark
voluntas, -atis, f., good will
The text of the letter is from from www.thelatinlibrary.com, which took
it from The Society of Ancient Languages with the kind permission of
its webmaster, Brian M. Kleeman. The text is D. Albert Wesenberg's
Teubner edition of 1885.