Letter LXXVIII: ad familiares 4.12
Athens, May 31, 45 B.C.
M. Claudius Marcellus, the consul of 51 B.C.
, who had been living in banishment at Mytilene since the battle of Pharsalus, was recalled by the senate, with the consent of Caesar, towards the close of the year 46 B.C.
The indifference which he felt concerning his recall is shown both by the coldness and brevity of his letter of acknowledgment to Cicero (Fam. 4.11), and by the fact that he did not set out for Rome until the middle of 45 B.C.
On his way thither he was murdered at the Piraeus, as described in this letter, the style of which is terse and graphic.
non iucundissimum : instances of litotes are common in the Letters; cf. non minimum, non pessimum, non mediocriter, etc.
visum est faciendum: Landgraf, p. 327, notes that facere ut is a colloquial expression (cf. Fam. 10.17.3), while facere followed by the infin., as here, belongs to vulgar Latin; cf. Petron. 51 fecit Caesarem reporrigere.
navi: the regular form in early Latin. Nave appears first in Cicero's time. From Livy on nave is the common form.
collegam nostrum: probably in the augurate.
ab Athenis: cf. ab Aegina, Ep. LXXV.4n. Cf. also ab Epidauro, above, and ab Athenis, 2.
reliquam [gap in text] absolverem: before leaving his province he held the circuit courts, which it was part of a governor's duty to do.
supra Maleas: super is the common preposition in this sense.