Letter LXXV: ad familiares 4.5
Athens, March, 45 B.C.
Servius Sulpicius Rufus, who was of about the same age as Cicero, was for a time his rival in oratory, but, soon recognizing his friend's matchless oratorical powers, he turned his attention to the study of jurisprudence, and was for many generations a leading authority in that subject. His opinions are frequently quoted in the Digest. In politics he was, like Cicero, a conservative and a lover of peace, and, as such, strove during his consulship in 51 B.C.
to avert the impending struggle between Caesar and Pompey. When the other Pompeians left Rome at the outbreak of the Civil War, Sulpicius was prevented by illness from accompanying them, and, like Cicero, he hesitated long whether to maintain a neutral position or to join them. A lively correspondence upon this point passed between the two in 49 B.C.
(cf. Fam. 4.1, 2). In 46 he was made governor of Achaia by Caesar (cf. Ep. LXV. 10). After the death of Caesar, in the struggle between Antony and D. Brutus, his sympathies were again upon the side of peace and compromise, and he was sent by the senate, in 43 B.C.
, upon a peace embassy to Antony, who was laying siege to Mutina. While on his way thither he died. Cicero's ninth Philippic is a eulogy on him. This epistle, like the letters from Caesar, Lucceius, and Dolabella (Intr. 53), was called forth by the death of Tullia, and is perhaps the most widely known of all the letters in the correspondence of Cicero.
sane quam: cf. Ep. XXXI.2n.
pro eo ac: for ut; cf. perinde ut, Ep. LXVII.1n.
graviter molesteque: cf. oro obsecro, Ep. L. 1n.
istic adfuissem: pleonastic for adfuissem.
istic : i.e. in Italy. Servius was in Athens.
miserum atque acerbum: see graviter molesteque, above.
confieri: colloquial from two points of view: (1) it is used for the simple verb fieri. Lorenz, Introd. to Pseud. n. 36, says: In general compounds with con- are popular throughout the old comic poetry, and must have been extremely common in the Roman vulgar language of that day. The loss of force which the preposition suffers in almost every case bears witness to this fact; (2) facio, when compounded with a preposition, has -fici for its passive form. Such forms as confieri and defieri for confici and defici are found only in colloquial and archaic Latin. Cf., e.g., Plaut. Trin. 408; M. G. 1261; and Thielmann, De sermonis proprietatibus in primis Ciceronis libris, 52.
propinquos ac familiaris : cf. graviter molesteque, above. The words quoted are thrown in loosely, as an appositive to quos [gap in text] perspicias: the mood is determined by forsitan.