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account for the fact that the smaller collection which we possess presents us with very few letters to those eminent persons. The argument on which Nake most relies for his theory that the letters, as we now have them, were first published in the beginning of the second century A. D., is the fact that Fronto* made a collection of elegant extracts from Cicero's letters—a fact which seems to me in no way to support his hypothesis, but rather to tend to subvert it.t
The three books ad Quintum Fratrem embrace a period of six years, from 694-700 (b. c. 60–54). They are highly interesting, though not written with that complete abandon which characterises the letters to Atticus. Indeed one is greatly struck and somewhat puzzled by the stately and respectful courtesy of the great consular to his younger and comparatively undistinguished brother in the first letter of this correspondence. It is, however, rather a formal essay on provincial government than a letter, and was intended as a return for the letter of Quintus on the duties of a candidate (Ep. xii.).
The correspondence with Brutus has been pronounced spurious until recent times. But the objections against it are by no means decisive. The Latinity has been defended by C. F. Hermann, and Niebuhr admitted the possible genuineness of the first book. Orelli considers that the first book was written by a rhetorician twenty or thirty years after the death of Cicero, and the second by some Italian or German in the fifteenth century. Nipperdey insists only on the spuriousness of the two letters (I. 16, 17) in which Octavianus is inveighed against. Plutarch (Brut. 53)
* Memini me excerpsisse ex Ciceronis epistolis ea duntaxat quibus inesset aliqua de eloquentia vel de philosophią vel de Rep. disputatio; praeterea si quid elegantius aut verbo notabili dictum videretur, excerpsisse . . . Omnes autem Ciceronis epistolas legendas censeo mea sententia, vel magis quam eius omnes orationes. Epistolis Ciceronis nihil est perfectius. Front. ad Antonin. ii. 5 (ed. Mai. 1823).
+ L. Gurlitt, in an able essay (Gottingen, 1879), maintains that there never was any larger collection than those which we have. He explains the allusions of Nonius and other grammarians as referring to the collections which we possess, or as being corrupt, or as instances of negligence or stupidity on the part of the grammarian. With regard to Nonius, he quotes with approbation the words of Bücheler (Rheim. Mus. 596), quocum qui comparari posset levitate et stupiditate neque antiquitas neque nostra aetas ullum grammaticum tulit.
Gurlitt strongly holds the theory that Tiro was the editor.
throws doubts on the genuineness of these letters. But Ammianus Marcellinus (xxix. 5, 24) says, agebat autem haec Tullianum illud advertens quod 'salutaris vigor vincit inanem speciem clementiae. This passage (with severitas for vigor) is found in Epp. ad Brut. i. 2, 5, and is an important testimony to the genuineness of the letters.* The first book is found in M; the second (according to Cratander, who first edited it) was in the lost C.t Cratander's verdict on the question of their genuineness is this:-(has epistolas) quod a Ciceroniana dictione abhorrere non videbantur, et in vetusto codice primum locum obtinerent, nos haud quaquam praetermittendas existimavimus. This seems to me a just view of the duty of an editor. Moreover, in the great confusion of their order they have a defect from which the supposed forger would most probably have kept them free. I shall therefore include these letters in my edition. To the letter to Octavianus, as manifestly spurious, I shall not give a place. I
But I have ventured on a very decided innovation in publishing the treatise commonly known as De Petitione Consulatus in its proper place in the correspondence of Cicero for the first time. Many views have been taken of the nature of this composition. But one (that of Eussner) would clearly deny to it a place in this volume. I feel bound, therefore, to show that this theory is untenable. Here, however, is not the best place to discuss the question. The reader will find a full statement of the case in Appendix C. to Introduction, on the Commentariolum Petitionis.
* There is another passage in Amm. Marc. which seems to me to imply a perusal of the Brutine correspondence : languentibus partium animis, xiv. 11. Surely this is a reminiscence of the very strange expression ne animi partium Caesaris commoverentur. Epp. ad Brut. ii. 4, 5. † See Introd. iii. $ 1.
The case against the authenticity of these letters has been much strengthened since the appearance of the first edition of this volume by the essay of Paul Meyer (Zurich, 1881) · Untersuchung über die Frage der Echtheit des Briefwechsels, Cicero ad Brutum,' and by an able article by F. Beecher in the Rheinisches Museum, xxxvii. pp. 576 ff. The question of the authenticity of the Brutine correspondence will be treated when I arrive at the point in the correspondence of Cicero where it makes its appearance. Whether genuine or not, I think they ought to be included, if only because they have been so long the battlefield of critics. Much instruction as to the style of Cicero is afforded by the arguments both of the assailants and the defenders of the Latinity of these letters.
§ 2. ON THE STYLE OF THE LETTERS. We have in the Letters of Cicero an almost unique literary monument. The history of one of the most interesting epochs in the annals of the world is unfolded to us in a series of cabinet pictures by a master hand. We contemplate, passed in review before us, a procession of those Roman nobles who in the last few decades of the Republic wielded a greater power than is now given to kings, and lived with far greater splendour. The Senate has been called a mob of kings. Most of its members had held, or would at some time hold, governments more irresponsible and not less important than the Governor-General of India now administers. And all these we see in the letters in the aspect which they presented to their friends and associates, not in the aspect which they presented to the world and to the historian. We see Pompeius, with his embroidered toga and with his chalked bandages on his legs, sulking because no one would thrust on him that greatness which he might have grasped if he had but put forth his hand. We hear how Lucullus thought more about teaching his bearded mullets to eat out of his hand than about the interests of the causa optima so dear to Cicero. We have a distinct portrait even of such an obscure figure as Piso (consul in 693, b. c. 61), in whose caustic words and supercilious visage we fancy we can detect a likeness to the late Lord Westbury. In Caelius and Dolabella we have a type of the jeunesse dorée of Rome; in Trebatius, of the genial professional man. To each of these Cicero writes in a tone suitable to his correspondent's years and views. Whether he exchanges rumusculi with Caelius, jokes with Paetus, or politics with Lentuluswhether he complains or apologises, congratulates or condoleswhether he lectures his brother Quintus on his violence of temper, or addresses himself to the kindly task of bantering Trebatius out of his discontent with the camp of Caesar in Gaul, we never miss the sustained brilliancy and fertility of thought and language. It is most interesting to observe the superiority of his letters to those of his correspondents. For instance (to confine ourselves to the present instalment), observe in the letter of Quintus (Ep. xii.) the forcible-feeble rhetoric, the constant employment of the word ratione, which reminds us how vaguely indefinite words like relation, attitude, element, are used by slip-shod writers in the present day to conceal inaccuracy of thought. And compare the letter from Q. Metellus Celer (Ep. xiv.) with Cicero's reply (Ep. xv.). The one is the almost inarticulate grumble of a man labouring under a sense of injury; it is vague and indefinite : though very short, be repeats the same sentiment twice, and he finishes with an obscure menace which seems to have escaped from him involuntarily. It is, in short, such a letter as would be written by the average colonel of the present day. The reply is a masterpiece of ingenióus defence, which, if necessary, the writer might afterwards describe as an apology, but which really puts the aggrieved Proconsul completely in the wrong, and it concludes with a quiet smile at the stupid threat—a smile which Metellus would not see, but which would be enjoyed by the intelligent. We have, it is true, many charming letters from Caelius and others of Cicero's correspondents, notably the exquisite letter of Sulpicius before referred to. These, however, are quite exceptional, and the net result of the comparison of the letters of Cicero with those of his contemporaries is a greatly strengthened belief in the amazing literary endowments of Cicero.* But the quality in Cicero's letterst which makes them most valuable is that they were not (like the letters of Pliny, and Seneca, and Madame de Sévigné) written to be published. The letters are absolutely trustworthy; they set forth the failures and foibles of their writer as well as his virtues and his triumphs. The portraits with which they abound were Dever to be shown to his involuntary sitters, so there was no reason why they should not be faithful. In his speeches this is not so: according to the requirements of his brief, his subjects are glorified or caricatured beyond recognition.
As a motto for the whole correspondence may be taken his own words ; in which he exalts the letter of Atticus over the oral description of Curio. He should be a good talker who could surpass the vivacity of Cicero's letters. But it is a serious error to ascribe carelessness to them. His style is colloquial, but thoroughly accurate. Cicero is the most precise of writers. Every sentence
* For points of difference between the letters of Cicero and his correspondents, see pp. 71 ff.
† Of course I here refer to the private letters. The public letters have not this quality. For an instance of the degree to which Cicero disguises his real feelings in his public letters, see Att. xiv. 13b, where he sends to Atticus a copy of a letter to
Ubi sunt qui aiunt (cons owvis, Att. ii. 12, 2.
corresponds to a definite thought, and each word gives its aid to the adequate expression of the whole. Those who think that the speeches are a mere effusion of rhetoric, a piling up of superlatives for most of which another superlative might easily be substituted, without any injury to the meaning or effect of the passage, have (it seems to me) not read Cicero aright. Every adjective is set down with as careful a pen as ever was plied by a master-hand; each is almost as essential to the sentence as the principal verb. We have an amusing testimony to the carefulness—one might say purism-of his letters in Att. vii. 3, 10, where he so earnestly defends his use of in before Piraeum (while he avows with shame that he should have written Piraeum not Piraeea), on the ground that Piraeus cannot be regarded as a town ; citing in defence of his usage Dionysius and Nicias Cous, and quoting a passage in point from Caecilius, whom he candidly allows to be but a poor authority, as well as one from Terence, whose elegantia he considers to be beyond dispute. All this, too, at a time when one might have supposed that he would have been more concerned in deciding on the political position to be assumed by him on his return to Rome, which he was fast approaching, and from which were constantly reaching him miri terrores Caesariani, and reports which he describes as falsa, spero, sed certe horribilia. We should, therefore, in my opinion, never admit the theory of carelessness in the writer to influence our opinion about the soundness or unsoundness of a phrase or construction.*
In treating of the Latinity of these letters one must, of course, in an Introduction dwell mainly on the general aspects of the style, for details referring the student to the notes and to special
* The letters from exile are not marked by the carefulness and accuracy of his other letters. He tells us himself that this is so. We find a remarkable statement in Ep. lxii. (Att. iii. 7, 3), ego et saepius ad te et plura scriberem, nisi mihi dolor meus quum omnes partes mentis, tum maxime huius generis facultatem ademerit ; and we do find a carelessness and inaccuracy which contrast strongly with the style of his happier days.' Like Hamlet, he has not skill to reckon his groans. Hence expressions and constructions which in Parts I. and 11. would call for the knife, in Part III. may often be regarded as genuine. The great stylist no longer feels the energy to achieve, or the pride in achieving, that precision and grace of expression in which he so vastly out. stripped his contemporaries. Remarkable examples of this pigritia (to use Cicero's own word for his “ listlessness,' his 'unstrung condition' during exile, Ep. lxvi. 2) may be found twice in Ep. lxiii., $ 1 (the very letter in which he owns his feeling of literary impotence); twice in Ep. Ixiv. 4; as well as in other letters written during his exile.