Cicero's letters are of such wide range and varied interest that it is an
exceptionally difficult task to edit a limited number which shall be fairly
representative of the whole, and it is hoped that those readers who fail to
find some of their favorite letters in this volume will bear this difficulty in
mind. The editor has chosen in particular the letters which Cicero wrote to
the members of his own family and to his intimate friends upon personal
subjects, in the hope of throwing as much light as possible upon Cicero's
private character, his tastes, his daily life, and his relations with his
personal and literary friends. At the same time it is hoped that letters
bearing upon political matters have been included in sufficient number to
present a good outline of Cicero's public life and of his times. The letters
are arranged chronologically.
The text of the Epistulae ad familiares is that of Mendelssohn, with
slight changes in a few passages generally recognized as corrupt and not
readable. C. F. W. Muller's edition is the basis for the text of the
Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem, and Wesenberg's for that of
the Epistulae ad Atticum, Bks. I.-XI. and XIV.-XVI., but in very many cases
the reading of the Medicean MS., which Wesenberg rejects, has been restored,
and in certain other cases the more probable conjectures of Lehmann and others
have been substituted for the emendations accepted by Wesenberg. The text of
Bks. XII. and XIII. of the Epistulae ad Atticum is that of O. E. Schmidt. For further
particulars the reader may Consult the Introduction and the statement in the
The orthography has been, in general, conformed to the standards established by
Brambach and by Georges in his Lexikon der lateinischen Wortformen.
In the Introduction and the Commentary attention has been directed in
particular to the characteristics of epistolary and colloquial Latin. A full
discussion of these peculiarities would have far transcended the limits of this
book. The editor has therefore contented himself with a statement in the
Introduction of the most important divergencies which the Letters show in
lexicography, syntax, and style from the standard in those matters in formal
Latin, and has supplemented this general statement by more detailed notes at
the proper points in the Commentary.
The works which the editor has found of most service in the preparation of the
Introduction and Commentary are mentioned in the list given on a subsequent
page, and although his indebtedness is usually noted specifically in the
Commentary, he feels under special obligation to the editions of Tyrrell,
Watson, Spfle-Bckel, and Hofmann-Andresen, and to the writings of
O. E. Schmidt and Landgraf.
But, above all, the editor would gratefully acknowledge the deep obligation
which he is under to Professors C. L. Smith and Tracy Peck, the
editors-in-chief of this Series, for the careful criticism which they have
given to this work while it has been passing through the press.
F. F. A.
August 2, 1897.
Omnes autem Ciceronis epistulas legendas censeo, mea sententia vel magis quam
omnes eius orationes. Epistulis Ciceronis nihil est perfectius.
Fronto ad Antoninum, 2.5