Letter XXXV: ad Atticum 6.1
Laodicea, Feb. 20, 50 B.C.
(The first 16 sections of this letter, dealing with provincial affairs, are omitted.)
de statua Africani Metelli: in his de Re Pub. Cicero had made Laelius lament the fact that no statue had been erected to the memory of Scipio Nasica Serapion (cf. Macr. Comment. 1.4). Q. Caecilius Metellus Scipio, a descendant of Nasica, called the attention of Atticus to what he considered Cicero's error, as he himself had set up a gilded equestrian statue in honor of his ancestor (cf. quas [gap in text] posuit), to say nothing of the ancient statue of Serapion already standing near the temple of Ops. But the statue standing near the temple of Ops has CENSOR inscribed upon it, and cannot therefore represent Serapion, who never held that office. Furthermore, the two ancient statues, standing ad Opis and ad Πολυκλέους Herculem, represent the same person, as a comparison of the two shows. Now the statue ad [gap in text] Herculem is a likeness of Africanus. Therefore the other ancient statue (ad Opis) must represent the same person, and consequently the reproduction which Metellus has had made, and upon whose base he has put the name of Serapion, is in reality a reproduction of an ancient likeness of Africanus.
ὢ πραγμάτων ἀσυγκλώστων, confusion worse confounded; a reference to the lack of arrangement in the letter of Atticus; cf. 11 sed οἰκονομία mea (i.e. my arrangement) si perturbatior est, tibi assignato; te enim sequor σχεδιάζοντα (i.e. who wrote whatever came into your head).
ain tu, is it possible? ain tu, ain tandem, and ain vero are frequently used in colloquial Latin to express surprise; cf. Ter. And. 875; Plaut. Trin. 987; Cic. Fam. 9.21.1.
ad Opis: sc. templum; cf. a Vestae, Ep. XIII.2n.
per te: Atticus was an enthusiastic student of Roman history, of antiquities, and of genealogy, and his interest in these subjects led him to erect the statue. Cf. Nep. Att. 18.1.
turma, etc.: among the statues on the Capitol were those of the kings, of Brutus, Tiberius Gracchus, and Fabius Maximus; cf. Pliny, N. H. 34.23; 33.10; Cic. in Cat. 3.19. At the time of Augustus the number had grown so great that many were removed to the Campus Martius, and Caligula forbade any one to erect a statue to a living man without his permission; cf. Suet. Calig. 34. The rostra was similarly adorned with statues; cf. Cic. Phil. 9.16.