Letter XXXIV: ad familiares 15.4
Cilicia, close of 51 B.C.
or early part of 50 B.C.
Cicero, having Completed a successful Campaign against the independent mountaineers of his province, wrote this letter to secure Cato's support to his request for a supplicatio. Understanding the blunt and frank nature of his correspondent, he affects a similar style, and presents the facts without comment, but with much skill in bringing his best achievements into the foreground, and in making it appear that the retreat of the Parthians was due to their dread of his prowess. The letter presents a side of Cicero's life which is brought out nowhere else. It has also many points of resemblance to Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War. The first part of it is essentially a military report without embellishment, addressed, it is true, to Cato, but to all intents and purposes an 'open letter.' So Caesar's Commentaries are a soldier's diary, intended for the eye of the Roman people. In these two documents, therefore, a comparison may fairiy be made between the styles of the two men. Cicero's campaign is also described at some length inAtt. 5.20; Fam. 2.10; and in two letters to the senate, Fam. 15.1 and 2. For Cato's reply to this letter, cf. Ep. XXXVII.
Laodiceae: for Cicero's itinerary to Athens, cf. Epp. XXX, XXXII., introd. notes. He set out from the Piraeus July 6, reached Ceos July 8, Gyarus July 9, Syrus July 10, Delos July 11, Ephesus July 22, and, after a halt of 4 days in that city, Tralles July 27, and Laodicea July 31. Cf. Att. 5.12.1; 5.13.1; Fam. 3.5.1; Att. 5.15.1.
acerbissimis tributis : Cicero's letters from Cilicia show the nature of these demands; e.g. the towns in Cilicia, already hopelessly in debt, were required at great expense to send envoys to Rome to thank the senate for the beneficent government of the monster Appius (Fam. 3.8.2 f). Caelius had the hardihood to ask Cicero to levy a tax upon the provincials to pay for the games which he was to give at Rome as a candidate for the aedileship (Ep. XXXV. 21).
gravissimis usuris : cf. Intr. 23.
falso aere alieno, from a debt fraudulently charged against them. Cicero relates inAtt. 5.21.12 a flagrant instance of the kind, where a money-lender, Scaptius by name, a financial agent of M. Brutus (Att. 5.21.10), tried to extort 200 talents from the people of Salamis in Cyprus, who owed him only 106.
M. Anneio legato: cf. 8 n.
apud Iconium: apud with the acc. for the locative or in with the abl. is archaic; cf. e.g. apud aedem Duelonai in the senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus. The expression is here used as a set form of speech for a military report; cf. apud Issum, Fam. 2.10.3. It is also preserved with certain words in colloquial Latin. In this case, as in many others, colloquial Latin and official Latin preserved forms of expression after they had disappeared elsewhere, as colloquial and official (especially legal) English preserve certain otherwise obsolete phrases. Silver Latin, straining after novelties, brought this, as well as many other archaisms, into use again; cf. Nipperdey on Tac. Ann. 1.5; Rnsch, Itala u. Vulgata, 391. See also ut ne Ep. XXX.1n.