Letter XXIV: ad familiares 7.16
Rome, Nov., 54 B. C.
Equo Troiano: cf. Ep. XIX. 2n.
sero sapiunt: Cicero quotes here, as he did in Ep. XIX. 2 (si sciens fallo), the first words of a familiar passage, which had passed into a proverb. The expression is thus explained by Festus, 1.510, de Pon.: 'sero sapiunt Phryges' proverbium est natum a Troianis qui decimo denique anno velle coeperunt Helenam quaeque cum ea erant rapta reddere. Cf. also Ribbeck, Rm. Trag. 49.
non sero: Trebatius had gone to Caesar with such rose-colored ideas of a soldier's life and of the immediate wealth and distinction to be won in it, that the inevitable hardships and monotony made him discontented and homesick, so that Cicero had written him reprovingly: primorum mensum littteris tuis vehementer commovebar, quod mihi interdum pace tua dixerim levis in urbis urbanitatisque desiderio, interdum piger, interdum timidus in labore militari, saepe autem etiam, quod a te alienissimum est, subimpudens videbare; tam quam enim syngrapham ad imperatorem, non epistulam attulisses, etc., Fam. 7.17.1. This letter evidently had the effect intended, for Cicero's words, non sero, as well as mi vetule, indicate that Trebatius had repented of his discontent.
primas illas: Sc. tuas epistulas.
rabiosulas, a trifle crazy. Cf. pulchellus, Ep. V.10n. The phrase, rabiosulas sat fatuas, is probably quoted from some comic poet. Cf., however, Ribbeck, Com. Rom. Frag. p. xliv.
τῶν Βρεττανῶν minus φιλοθέωρον, not very fond of seeing the sights in Britain. In the summer of 55 B.C.
Caesar made his first expedition to Britain, in which Trebatius did not care to join.
in hibernis iniectus: Cicero is writing toward the end of November.
te commovere, to stir; as of one crawling out from under a blanket in cold weather.
usquequaque, etc.: probably the words of Ulysses in the same play from which the quotation sero sapiunt was taken. Cf. Ribbeck, Rm. Trag. p.49, and Trag. Rom. Frag. p. 246.
sapere: perhaps with a double meaning, to be wise and to be learned in the law. Cf. Ep. XXV.1n.
id erit telum acerrimum: Mezger quotes Falstaff's words, 'Discretion is the better part of valor.'