83a. The accusative is used a little more freely in the
Letters than in formal literature. It occurs after verbs of thought and the
expression of thought, and after verbs signifying to strive, to laugh, to
hope, etc.; e.g. hoc a te praesens contendissem (Cael.,
Fam. 8.16.4); Catulum mihi narras (Fam. 9.15.3);
iurare Iovem Lapidem (Fam. 7.12.2); quam primum haec risum veni (Cael., Fam. 8.14.4). Two accusatives occur in a few instances after verbs signifying
to seek, to warn, etc.; e.g. illud autem te peto (Dolabella, Fam.
9.9.2); quod et respublica me et nostra amicitia hortatur (Cato,
Fam. 15.5. 1); and an adverbial accusative made up of partem and
the adjective magnam or maiorem or minimam is found
several times; e.g.
curare soles libenter, ut ego maiorem partem nihil curare (Cael., Fam. 8.9.3). Cf. note to illud te peto, Epist. LII. 2.
83b. With the exception of a few Grecisms, e.g. cogitatio tuae virtutis
(Balbus, Att. 8.15 a. 1), the only
thing noteworthy with respect to the genitive consists in the rather
free use of the genitive of quality and the partitive genitive. Cf.
aliquo terrarum, Epist. LXXXVI. 3 n.
83c. The dative of reference and the ethical dative are great
favorites in the Letters, the latter especially with at, ecce, and
hic. Perhaps in their use of the ethical dative Cicero and his
correspondents have been surpassed only by the writers of comedy. Cf. ecce tibi et Bruti et tuae litterae (Att. 14.19.1);
at ille tibi . . . pergit Brundisium (Att. 8.8.2). Cf. also notes to minori curae, Epist. XXV. 2, and to ecce, Epist. XXXV. 23.
83d. Certain public events, recurring at regular or irregular intervals, were of
such importance in the eyes of the people that they were used in marking the
date of an event.
This practice gives rise to such colloquial ablatives of time as
novis magistratibus (Cael., Fam. 8.16.3), gladiatoribus (Pollio,
Fam. 10.32.3), summis Circensibus (Cael., Fam. 8.12.3).
The preposition in with the ablative is several times used instead of a
conditional or temporal phrase. Cf.
in victoria hominis necessarii = cum vicisset homo necessarius (Matius, Fam. 11.28.2).
84a. Passing over certain isolated cases which remind one of the
Plautine usage, where the indicative occurs instead of the classical
subjunctive, the use of the indicative in subordinate clauses in the
indirect discourse and in questions of deliberation deserves special
notice. Cf. scito Balbum tum fuisse Aquini, cum tibi est dictum (Fam.
nolito commoveri, si audieris me regredi, si forte Caesar ad me veniet
(Pompeius, Att. 8.12c. 2);
quid mi auctor es? advolone an maneo? (Att. 13.40.2); cf. also notes to quam sollicitus sum, Epist.
XLVI II. 1, and quam conversa res est, Epist. XLVI. 2.
84b. The present subjunctive of the definite second person singular in
positive commands is of rather frequent occurrence, especially in closing
formulae, e.g. ei dicas plurimam salutem et suavissimae Atticae (Att. 16.7.8);
cautus sis, mi Tiro (Fam. 16.9.4). The future indicative and
vis (second person singular of volo) with the infinitive are
often used as polite substitutes for the imperative, e.g.
tu interea non cessabis et ea quae habes instituta perpolies nosque diliges (Fam. 5.12.10);
visne tu te, Servi, cohibere? (Sulpicius, Fam. 4.5.4).
The fact has been recently demonstrated281
that, 'in the whole field of
classical prose from the beginning of the Ciceronian period to the end of the
Augustan period, there
is but a single example of ne with the indefinite second
person present subjunctive in a prohibition'282 , and that,
furthermore, prohibitions expressed by ne with the present or the
perfect subjunctive, lack the dignity of the noli-construction, and are
consequently confined to informal Latin.283
Quite naturally, therefore, many of
these prohibitions expressed by ne with the present subjunctive, and the
majority of those expressed by ne with the perfect subjunctive, to be
found in classical prose, are in the correspondence of Cicero,284
and twelve of the fourteen cases of the last-mentioned construction, which is the more
colloquial of the two, occur in letters to Cicero's most familiar
correspondents, e.g. 'tu, malum,' inquies, 'actum ne agas' (Att.
9.18.3); iocum autem illius de sua egestate ne sis aspernatus (Q.
fr. 2.10 (12). 5).
84c. The so-called epistolary use of the tenses is the commonest
peculiarity in the use of tenses to be found in the Letters. The writer of the
letter imagines himself in the place of the recipient, and therefore uses a
tense of past time in speaking of an event which was exactly or approximately
contemporaneous with the writing of the letter. This usage is most frequent
with verbs indicating the writing of a letter, or the sending of a letter or messenger,285
as ego tibi aliquid de meis scriptis mittam: nihil erat absoluti
(Att. 1.16.18); quae mihi veniebant in mentem, quae ad te
pertinere arbitrabar, quod in Ciliciam proficiscebar, existimavi me ad te
oportere scribere (Fam. 2.18.3). Cf. also note to
profecti sumus, Epist. XI. 3.
84d. Many interesting instances occur of the use of habere with the
perfect participle passive, but if a few cases
be excepted, as, perhaps, si . . . quae Lepido digna sunt, perspecta habes
(Lepidus, Fam. 10.34.4), this combination is not strictly synonymous
with the perfect. Cf. note to sollicitum habent, Epist. LI.1. For the
use of the future perfect instead of the future, cf. note to dimisero,
85a. One of the most noticeable characteristics in the syntax of the Letters
consists in the use of the adverb with esse. This usage is frequent in
colloquial Latin of all periods. It is commonly found with adverbs of place
(prope, praesto, procul, etc.), and the general and particular adverbs
of manner (ita, contra, aliter, bene, recte, tuto, etc.); e.g.,
sit modo recte in Hispaniis (Att. 10.12a.2);
sed quidvis est melius quam sic esse ut sumus (Fam. 16.12.4). In this construction esse is
something more than a simple copula.
85b. More rarely, but in a few clear cases, the adverb is used in place of an
attributive adjective; e.g. meae ullae privatim iniuriae (Lentulus,
Fam. 12.14.3). Cf. also note to circumcirca, Epist. LXXV. 4, and
to sic, Epist. V.3.
86. The Letters, in common with other literary compositions which affect the
sermo cotidianus, admit the paratactical arrangement more freely than
formal Latin does. This fact is evident (1) in the use of coordination rather
than subordination; e.g. hanc ergo plagam effugi per duos superiores
Marcellorum consulatus, cum est actum de provincia Caesaris, nunc incido in
discrimen ipsum (Att. 7.1.5), for cum effugissem, etc.; (2) in the
paratactical use of the subjunctive in certain common formulae, e.g.
fac diligas (Att. 3.13.2); (3) in the parenthetical use of certain verbs of
thinking, e.g. sed, opinor, quiescamus (Att. 9.6. 2);
cuiusmodi velim, puto, quaeris (Cael., Fam. 8.3.3). Cf. also notes to
ut facta est, Epist. V.3, and opinor, Epist. XXXI. 4.