Letter XC: ad familiares 16.21
Athens, July-Oct., 44 B.C.
On young Marcus, cf. Intr. 54. The young man had been pursuing his studies at Athens for about a year and a half, but he was fonder of the pleasures of life than of study, and the reports which came to the father from Leonides (cf. Att. 14.16.3; Att. 15.16 A.), under whose special care he had been put, were so unfavorable that Cicero had considered the advisability of going to Athens to investigate the matter. In view of this alarming possibility, the young man wrote this letter to Cicero's confidential secretary, Tiro. This and Fam. 16.25 are the only letters extant from a rather large correspondence, known to the ancients, of the young Marcus with his father and with Tiro. Most of the stylistic peculiarities of the letter may be classified under the following categories: (1) extravagance of statement; (2) the use of Greek words; (3) a tendency to use certain expressions otherwise rarely found outside the writings of the elder Cicero; (4) colloquialisms. On dulcissimo, cf. Intr. 88a.
post [gap in text] sextum: the distance from Rome to Athens could be covered in 21 days (cf. Intr. 64) under favorable circumstances. Possibly young Marcus had delayed in replying and wished to conceal that fact. The archaic form quadragensimum is sufficiently supported by tricensima (Fam. 10.31.5) and quadragensimo (Fam. 10.33.5). Cf. also CIL. 1.198.21 and 199.27. See also Crit. Append.
exoptatissimus : the generous use of superlatives in the first sentence illustrates well young Cicero's desire to please his correspondent. See also Intr. 96.
vehementer: cf. Intr. 90.