Saturday, April 24, 2021

I am still the same: Cicero, Ad Atticum III.5

The letters of Cicero reveal insights into aspects of ancient Roman masculinity. By reading these letters, we see that Roman men often had deep, loving and affectionate friendships with their peers. There is no shame or stigma in expressing love and support to one another. In the following letter, Cicero expresses his love and appreciation for his friend Atticus as he faces a terrifying personal crisis (his exile in 58 BCE).


Terentia tibi et saepe et maximas agit gratias. id est mihi gratissimum. ego vivo miserrimus et maximo dolore conficior. ad te quid scribam nescio. si enim es Romae, iam me adsequi non potes; sin es in via, cum eris me adsecutus, coram agemus quae erunt agenda. tantum te oro ut, quoniam me ipsum semper amasti, ut eodem amore sis; ego enim idem sum. inimici mei mea mihi, non me ipsum ademerunt. cura ut valeas. data iiii Idus April. Thuri.

--Cicero, Ad Atticum III.5

From Cicero to Atticus: Greetings,

Terentia gives you frequent & immense thanks, and I do, too. I am doing really badly and I’m overwhelmed with the greatest sorrow. I don’t even know what to write to you. If you’re at Rome, it’s too late to follow me; but if you’re already on the road, when you catch up to me, we can discuss what I’ve got to do. I beg you one thing: as you have always loved me, please keep the same level of support; for I am still the same person.  My enemies have taken away everything from me except myself. Please, take care of yourself.



Name:  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Date:  106 BCE – 43 BCE

Works: de Amicitia

               de Divinatione*


               In Catilinam

              Pro Archiam, etc.



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Cicero was an Italian-born Roman statesman and author who lived during the complexities of Rome’s transition from Republic to monarchy. Cicero spent most of his life in service of his country, serving as both a lawyer, senator, and even consul [Roman equivalent of president]. He is known for his suppression of the failed governmental coup in 63 BCE known as the Catilinarian conspiracy that occurred during his consulship. After the rise of Octavian [later known as the first Roman emperor Augustus], his views fell out of favor and he was eventually put to death during the proscriptions under the Second Triumvirate (Octavian, Marc Antony and Lepidus). He was a prolific author with a wide range in genres, and his literary style was adopted by Petrarch as the default model for the Latin language.


Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

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