Saturday, May 22, 2021

A Friend in Need: Cicero, Ad Atticum III.3

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).


Vtinam illum diem videam cum tibi agam gratias quod me vivere coegisti! adhuc quidem valde me paenitet. sed te oro ut ad me Vibonem statim venias quo ego multis de causis converti iter meum. sed eo si veneris, de tota itinere ac fuga mea consilium capere potero. si id non feceris, mirabor; sed confido te esse facturum.

--Cicero, Ad Atticum III.3 

To: Atticus

From: Cicero


I hope that one day I will thank you for forcing me to go on living; I certainly still regret it. But I ask you to come visit me at Vibo, where many reasons have caused me to change my route. If you meet me there, I can get your advice on my strategy for my exile and my flight. I’d be surprised if you can’t come; rather, I am confident that you will.



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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