Letter LXXXVIII: ad Atticum 15.11
Antium, June 8, 44 B.C.
At a meeting of the senate held June 5, M. Brutus and Cassius were released from their obligation to reside in Rome as praetors and commissioned to supply Rome with grain. They retired to Antium to discuss with Cicero the best course to take in view of the senate's action.
Servilia : sister of Cato Vticensis and the mother of M. Brutus, a woman of great strength of character, political influence, and judgment, whom Cicero calls prudentissima et diligentissima femina, Ep. ad Brut. 1.18.1. After the death of her first husband, M. Junius Brutus (father of the conspirator M. Brutus), she married D. Junius Silanus. One of the children of this second marriage, Tertia or Tertulla, married C. Cassius.
Porcia: the daughter of Cato Vticensis and the second wife of M. Brutus. This little group of brilliant women, ardent republicans and closely bound by marriage and blood relationship to M. Brutus, C. Cassius, and Cato, seems to have played an important part in the politics of this period. Cf. for instance Servilia pollicebatur, etc., 2, also Att. 13.16.2.
quaerere : sc. Brutus; hist. infin.
Favonius: cf. Ep. XV. 7 a.
suadere: hist. inf.; cf. quaerere, above.
Asiatica [gap in text] frumenti: cf. introd. note.
Martem spirare: cf. Q. fr. 3.4.6 Ἄρη πνέων. Cf. also Lucr. 5.392 tantum spirantes aequo certamine bellum; Hor. Od. 4.13.19 quae spirabat amores.
in Siciliam: no province had been assigned to Cassius or Brutus by Caesar before his death (cf. Schelle, Beitrge zur Geschichte des Todeskampfes der rmischen Republik), but the rumor was current that the senate on June 5 had allotted Sicily to Cassius, an appointment much below his expectations. Cf. Cicero's remarks (Att. 15.9.1) on June 2 in anticipation of this action: iv Non. vesperi a Balbo redditae mihi litterae fore Nonis senatum, ut Brutus in Asia, Cassius in Sicilia frumentum emendum et ad urbem mittendum curarent. O rem miseram! primum ullam ab istis, dein, si aliquam, hanc legatoriam (mercatoriam H.) provinciam.
egone, etc.: the question expresses his indignation at the proposed appointment; cf. Plaut. Amph. 818 tun mecum fueris? Cic. Q. fr. 1.3.1 ego tibi irascerer?
ut beneficium, as a favor. si tibi videtur: cf. Ep. LXXV.4n.
tuto eris: cf. Intr. 85a.
atque, yes, indeed, and; frequently used in conversation in affirmative answers; cf. Plaut. M. G. 337
Nempe tu istic ais esse erilem concubinam?
Atque arguo eam me vidisse osculantem hic intus cum alieno viro; Plaut. M. G. 368
Tun me vidisti?
Atque his quidem hercle oculis.
ut [gap in text] neque [gap in text] neque: for ne [gap in text] aut. Hofmann compares Fam. 9.2.3 ut ea quae agebantur hic quaeque dicebantur nec viderem nec audirem; Att. 15.13.1 adsentior tibi ut nec duces simus nec agmen cogamus.
ex praetura: i.e. at the close of the year.
auctor ut [gap in text] committas : for another construction, see Ep. XLV. 3.