Letter XIII: ad familiares 14.2
Thessalonica, Oct. 5,58 B.C.
suis in the superscription is plural because it belongs to both the children. For variations of this salutation, cf. Fam. '4. I, 3' and 6. The possessive pronoun indicates familiarity, and Cicero uses it in addressing the members of his family only. It is used in all the 24 letters to his wife, in Bk. 14, ad Fam., with one exception: in the fifteenth letter, Ep. LVIII., which is cold and formal, he writes, Tullius s.d. Terentiae. Upon the significance of the possessive in this use, cf. Fam. 16.18.1. In a previous letter to his freedman Cicero had written, Tullius Tironi sat, omitting Tiro's praenomen. The latter evidently remarked upon the salutation as too familiar for a letter from patron to freedman. Upon which Cicero put at the head of his next letter the same salutation, and added in the body of the letter, Quid igitur? non sic oportet? equidem censeo sic; addendum etiam SVO.
nisi si: apparently a favorite pleonasm for nisi in the language of everyday life; see Intr. 101, and Cf. Reisig-Schmalz, Lat. Syn. note 612 d; Schmalz, Jahresb. Mannheim, r88i, p.44. Schmalz says that it has crowded the classical nisi out of use in the Latin of the Christian fathers.
nec [gap in text] scribam: note the difference in meaning between non habeo quod scribam, non habeo quid scribam, and non habeo scribere. Cf. Ep. VIII.6n.
Tulliolam: see Intr. 53. On the diminutive, cf. pulchellus, Ep. V. Ion.
tam timidi: Lucullus had advised (Plut. Cic. 3') the use of force in opposing Clodius. Atticus and others had apparently counselled moderation. Cf. Fam. ~.9.13; Att. 3. '5.7. The change to the plural is probably made to include these two friends and others who had advised a moderate course.