Letter LXIX: ad Atticum 12.1
Near Arpinum, second intercalary month after Nov., 46 B.C.
(old calendar); Nov.24 (Julian calendar).
a te: Atticus was probably in Rome.
hoc litterularum, these few lines; a still stronger expression than hoc litterarum, which Cicero uses elsewhere. Cf. also ne patiamur intermitti litterulas, Att. 14.4.2; nescio quid ab eo litterularum, Att. 15.4.1.
exaravi: for scripsi. Exarare is properly used of writing with a stilus upon wax tablets. It is almost certain, however, that Cicero's letters were written with pen and ink upon papyrus (cf. Intr. 59), and that exarare was loosely applied to the new method of writing, just as we carelessly speak of sealing a letter. Exarare was also used of something written in haste; cf. ante lucem cum scriberem contra Epicureos, de eodem oleo et opera exaravi nescio quid ad te et ante lucem dedi, Att. 13.38.1; certior a Pilia factus mitti ad te Idibus tabellarios, statim hoc nescio quid exaravi, Att. 14.22.1; plura (sc. scribam) otiosus; haec, cum essem in senatu, exaravi, Fam. 12.20. Cf. the English expression to scratch off a few lines. In the following passage, however, the reference would certainly seem to be to wax tablets: accubueram hora nona, cum ad te harum exemplum in codicillis exaravi, Fam. 9.26.1; and it is possible that the letter before us, being brief, and being sent only from Arpinum to Rome, was written on wax tablets.
e villa: i.e., from his villa at Arpinum.
in Anagnino: sc. esse Cf. Ep. LX 2 (end).
ad constitutum: i.e. in locum (or loco) ubi tecum constitui (Boot)
Atticae: Attica the daughter of Atticus, must have been at this time less than eight years old Cf also in eius nuptiis Ep XVI 7 n
quod ipsum: referring loosely to osculum.
scribes [gap in text] nuntiabis: Cicero is uncertain whether Pilia and Attica are in the country or with Atticus in Rome.
scribes: cf. Intr. 84b.