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theilian

Cicero's letters

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Cicero vs. Antony <1> (2 September 44 BC) - Excerpts from 1st Philippic: "If I say insulting remark against his private life, I shall not object to him treating me as a bitterest enemy"

 

Due to lack of interest, I think I'll make just a few more batches of Cicero letters. I am wondering if I should finish off with the last period or earlier letters that I did't cover yet. Any request or feeback?

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Due to lack of interest, I think I'll make just a few more batches of Cicero letters. I am wondering if I should finish off with the last period or earlier letters that I did't cover yet. Any request or feeback?

 

No lack of interest here! I just hate to interrupt the flow of excellent posts with commentary. Or did you mean a lack of interest on your own part? I hope not, but if so, why not finish off with the last period. Also, I posted on your web site with some suggestions for other letters relating to the topics in question (e.g., Caesar's consulship).

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No lack of interest here! I just hate to interrupt the flow of excellent posts with commentary. Or did you mean a lack of interest on your own part? I hope not, but if so, why not finish off with the last period. Also, I posted on your web site with some suggestions for other letters relating to the topics in question (e.g., Caesar's consulship).

 

Please don't hesitate to post on account of the flow of the post. I update the first post with master list each time I add something new. To be perfectly frank, I did not begin this thread with purely altruistic reason. I was hoping to talk with others about what I was reading and at first mentioned some of things that one could discuss, but I guess there's not much to talk about.

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Cicero vs Antony <2> (September - November 44 BC) - "Consider his name, consider his age!"

 

After delivering the 1st Philippic, Cicero is courted by Octavian and after some hesitation, decides to return to Rome and engage in the final struggle against Antony.

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Cicero vs Antony <2> (September - November 44 BC) - "Consider his name, consider his age!"

 

Note the similarities between the letter to Cassius and the Second Philippic. I wonder how the relationship between that drunken, vomiting "gladiator" Antony and the more cerebral Cassius evolved to the point that Cicero felt so free to share his revulsion with Cassius. For that matter, is this letter the first from Cicero to Cassius?

 

What is Cassius doing in Puteoli anyway? Puteoli was just in Campania. Are we to assume that Cassius is monitoring the grain emporium there? With the largest fleet in the ancient world in nearby Misenum, why wouldn't Cassius commandeer the fleet and hold the grain supply of Rome hostage to his designs? I can only imagine that Cassius at this point has totally given up any hope of future political life.

 

(FWIW, Sulla died in Puteoli; Sophia Loren grew up there.)

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I've always thought the letter from Matius to Cicero best summarized the sentiments of the (few) honest Caesarians:

I confess that I have not attained to that height of philosophy. For in the political controversy it was not Caesar that I followed, but it was a friend whom--though disapproving of what was being done--I yet refused to desert. Nor did I ever approve of a civil war, nor of the motive of the quarrel, which in fact I strove my utmost to have nipped in the bud. Accordingly, when my friend was victorious I was not fascinated by the charm either of promotion or of money-rewards upon which others, though less influential with him than I was, seized with such intemperate avidity. In fact, even my own personal property was curtailed by the law of Caesar, [1] thanks to which most of those who now exult in Caesar's death maintained their position in the state. I was as anxious that our defeated fellow-countrymen should be spared as though for my own life.

Wishing therefore the preservation of all, could I fail to be indignant that the man by whose means that preservation had been secured had perished? Especially when the very persons [2] who brought him unpopularity were responsible for his destruction?

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Note the similarities between the letter to Cassius and the Second Philippic. I wonder how the relationship between that drunken, vomiting "gladiator" Antony and the more cerebral Cassius evolved to the point that Cicero felt so free to share his revulsion with Cassius. For that matter, is this letter the first from Cicero to Cassius?

The earliest one I came across is one in 51 BC when Cicero was in Cilicia (in which he askes Cassius to prevent extension of his term like he does in almost every letter he wrote :furious: ). There he says that as a boy Cassius drew towards him and helped him in his darkest days. (I suppose exile) But I think his letters become more numerous and intimate later in 46. In fact, he becomes very close to Brutus, Cassius, Trebonius, etc, that one might think he was in it if we didn't know better.

 

What is Cassius doing in Puteoli anyway? Puteoli was just in Campania. Are we to assume that Cassius is monitoring the grain emporium there? With the largest fleet in the ancient world in nearby Misenum, why wouldn't Cassius commandeer the fleet and hold the grain supply of Rome hostage to his designs? I can only imagine that Cassius at this point has totally given up any hope of future political life.

This was before Cassius went to Syria. As Cicero complained that it was done with courage of men but planning of children, Cassius and Co. didn't seem to have planned to seize power in any manner, which makes me doubt that Cassius killed Caesar because of jealousy or perceived slight. Are we really to believe that Cassius was so angry with Caesar that he promoted his brother-in-law Brutus that he plotted his death with the said Brutus?!

 

As for Matius' letter, I totally agree.

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Cicero vs. Antony <3> (Dec. 44 BC - March 43 BC) - "I beg you to throw yourself into the cause of the Republic."

 

Cicero writes to various generals to rally to the cause of the Senate.

The last letter is from Antony to Hirtius and Octavian.

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Cicero vs. Antony <4> (April - May 43 BC) - "If we want to be merciful, we shall never be without a civil war."

 

Brutus letters at last. In these letters, Brutus comes off as the noblest Roman after all. But was he right in seeking due process and compromise with Antony? Was Cicero too fanatical against Antony?

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Perseus site is down, going through some kind of repair into next week, which means no update for Cicer letters until then.

 

So in the meantime, I'm planning to begin to work on the website. I plan to put everything on one page so that it's eaiser to search though so far I only put 3 series together.

Especially since it's still in early stage, I'd greatly appreciate your input.

 

Do you like my groupings so far? Or should I arrange them differently? I included a few excerpts from speeches here, but I think I'll just link them on the website. I also welcome suggestions for letter entries that were not included in the covered period (I'll come to earlier letters later) I've been using Evelyn Schukburgh's translation, but recently for few part that's unclear or archaic, I used Shackleton's translation (to the extent not violating copyright, I hope). I wonder if it's too jarring or bad idea otherwise. I also plan to change all dates to Shackleton's dating. And of course, the letters are currently full of spelling erros and other problems, but I'll be also correcting them later.

Also as I originally began this project for those in HBO board, I skipped a lot of letters and I'm still unsure about the kind of readership I'm aiming for. Any suggestions about this? Since the complete letters are available online (through Perseus and another WONDERFUL SITE I found recently), I think selectiveness and arrangement is important, but I'd appreciate advice on this and all other issues.

 

Lastly, after I'm done with letters, I think I'll expand the website to include other aspects of Cicero. That will be for later, but all suggestons are welcome.

Edited by theilian

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Can't help with the other stuff, but nice work.

Edited by Gaius Octavius

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One of the nice things about the internet is that it's possible to use hyperlinks to arrange the same material in multiple ways. If you're so inclined, you might choose to take a long look at Caesar through Cicero's eyes.

 

Caesar's Early Career

Cicero Against Cat. 1.15, 4.7-10; Pro Mur. 81; Pro Sulla 11-12, 67-68, 81

Caesar's Consulship (59)

Cicero, Letters to Atticus 1.16-19, 2.1, 3-24 (S-B nos. 16-19, 21, 23-44)

Letters to His Brother Quintus 1.2 (S-B no. 2, in Letters to His Friends)

In Vatiniam 24-25

Caesar's Proconsulship (58-57)

Cicero, Att. 3.15, 18 (S-B

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