Letter VII: ad Atticum 2.19
Rome, July, 59 B.C.
In accordance with the Compact made in 60 B.C.
between Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus, who formed what is commonly called the First Triumvirate, Caesar had been elected consul for 59 B.C.
, and the radical measures whose passage he had secured or was securing with the help of Pompey (cf. Att. 2.16.2) opened Cicero's eyes to the character of Pompey, and to the danger which threatened the state. The letter presents a lively picture of the political turmoil in Rome, throws light upon the attitude of the populace toward Caesar and Pompey, as viewed from an aristocratic standpoint, and discloses Cicero's realization for a moment of the danger with which the designs of Clodius threaten him.
sescenta: cf. miliens, Ep. V.4n.
Statium manu missum (esse): Quintus Cicero had lately set his slave Statius free, and this action had given color to the rumor that Statius exerted too great an influence over Quintus. Cf. Q. fr. 1.2.3 quod autem me maxisne movere solebat, cum audiebam illum plus apud te posse quam gravitas istius aetatis imperiprudentiae postularet, etc.
nec meum imperium, etc.: from Ter. Phorm. 232.
mitto, I waive.
revereri: an exclamatory infinitive expressing indignation.
ego autem, etc.: perhaps a general statement, or Cicero may refer to his brother alone, as on grounds of politeness or discretion he often employs the plural when thinking of a single person.
cetera, etc.: pointing back to multa me sollicitant; 'my other troubles concern important matters.'
dignitatis ἅλις, tamquam δρυός, quite enough of dignityy, as men said of the oak. The proverbial expression, ἅλις δρυός, refers to the time when men gave up a diet of acorns for one of bread. In general language, 'times are changed, and what suited the past is ill adapted to the present.' Jeans aptly cites the same proverb from Voltaire: 'Le siecle du gland est pass, vous donnerez du pain aux hommes.' Cf. also Intr. 102.
τυφλώττω and τῷ καλῷ προσπέπονθα (I am passionately attacked) are very likely naturalized Greek phrases. Cf. Intr. 97.