Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 1.djvu/762

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744 CICERO.

more than one book to Q. Axius, single letters to M. Titinius, to Cato, to Caerellia, and, under the title of "Epistola ad Pompeium," a lengthened narrative of the events of his consulship. (Ascon. ad Orat. pro Planc. c. 34, pro Sull. c. 24.)

Notwithstanding the manifold attractions offered by the other works of Cicero, we believe that the man of taste, the historian, the antiquary, and the student of human nature, would willingly resign them all rather than be deprived of the Epistles. Greece can furnish us with more profound philosophy, and with superior oratory; but the ancient world has left us nothing that could supply the place of these letters. Whether we regard them as mere specimens of style, at one time reflecting the conversational tone of familiar every-day life in its most graceful form, at another sparkling with wit, at another claiming applause as works of art belonging to the highest class, at another couched in all the stiff courtesy of diplomatic reserve; or whether we consider the ample materials, derived from the purest and most inaccessible sources, which they supply for a history of the Roman constitution during its last struggles, affording a deep insight into the personal dispositions and motives of the chief leaders,--or, finally, seek and find in them a complete key to the character of Cicero himself, unlocking as they do the most hidden secrets of his thoughts, revealing the whole man in all his greatness and all his meanness,--their value is altogether inestimable. To attempt to give any idea of their contents would be to analyze each individually.

The Editio Princeps of the Epistolae ad Familliares was printed in 1467, 4to., being the first work which issued from the press of Sweynheym and Pannartz at Rome. A second edition of it was published by these typographers in 1469, fol., under the inspection of Andrew of Aleria, and two others were produced in the same year at Venice by Jo. de Spira.

Editions of the Epistolae ad Atticum, ad M. Brutum, ad Q. Fratrem, were printed in 1470 at Rome by Sweynheym and Pannartz, and at Venice by Nicol. Jenson, both in folio; they are taken from different MSS., and bibliographers cannot decide to which precedence is due. The first which exhibited a tolerable text was that of P. Victorius, Florence, 1571, which follows the MS. copy made by Petrarch. The commentaries of P. Manutius attached to the Aldine of 1548, and frequently reprinted, are very valuable.

The most useful edition is that of Schütz, 6 vols. 8vo., Hal. 1809-12, containing the whole of the Epistles, except those to Brutus, arranged in chronological order and illustrated with explanatory notes. The student may add to these the translation into French of the letters to Atticus by Mongault, Paris, 1738, and into German of all the letters by Wieland, Zurich, 1808-1821, 7 vols. 8vo., and the work of Abeken, Cicero in seinen Brieftn, Hanov. 1835.

4. Poetical works.

Cicero appears to have acquired a taste for poetical composition while prosecuting his studies under Archias. Most of his essays in this department belong to his earlier years; they must be regarded as exercises undertaken for improvement or amusement, and they certainly in no way increased his reputation.

1. ** Versus Homerici. Translations from Homer. (See de Fin. v. 18.) The lines which are found de Divin. ii. 30, Tusculan. iii. 26, 9, de Fin. v. 18; Augustin, de Civ. Dei, v. 8, amounting in all to 44 hexameters, may be held as specimens.

2. * Arati Phaenomena.

3. ** Arati Prognostica.

About two-thirds of the former, amounting to upwards of five hundred hexameter lines, of which 470 are nearly continuous, have been preserved, while twenty-seven only of the latter remain. The translation is for the most part very close-- the dull copy of a dull original. Both pieces were juveline efforts, although subsequently corrected and embellished. (De Nat. Deor. ii. 41, comp. ad Att. ii. 1.) [Aratus, Avienus, Germanicus.]

4. * Alcyones. Capitolinus (Gordian. 3) mentions a poem under this name ascribed to Cicero, of which nearly two lines are quoted by Nonius. (s. v. Praevius.)

5. Uxorius. Accolade droite.png See Capitolin. l.c.
6. Nilus.

7. * Limon. Four hexameter lines in praise of Terence from this poem, the general subject of which is unknown, are quoted by Suetonius. (Vit. Terent. 5.)

8. ** Marius. Written before the year в. с. 82. (De Leg. i. 1; Vell. Pat. ii. 26.) A spirited fragment of thirteen hexameter lines, describing a prodigy witnessed by Marius and interpreted by him as an omen of success, is'quoted in de Divinatione (i. 47), a single line in the de Legibus (i. 1), and another by Isidorus. (Orig. xix. 1.)

9. * De Rebus in Consulatu gestis. Cicero wrote a history of his own consulship, first in Greek prose, which he finished before the month of June, в. с. 60 (ad Att. ii. 1), and soon afterwards a Latin poem on the same subject, divided, it would seem, into three parts. A fragment consisting of seventyeight hexameters, is quoted from the second book in the de Divinatione (i. 11-13), three lines from the third in a letter to Atticus (ii. 3), and one verse by Nonius. (s. v. Eventus.)

10. * * De meis Temporibus. We are informed by Cicero in a letter belonging to в. с. 54 (ad Fam. i. 9), that he had written three books in verse upon his own times, including, as we gather from his words, an account of his exile, his sufferings, and his recall—the whole being probably a continuation of the piece last mentioned. Four disjointed lines only remain (Quintil. xi. 1. § 24, ix. 4. § 41), one of which is, " Cedant arma togae concedat laurea linguae," and the other, the unlucky jingle so well known to us from Juvenal (x. 122), " O fortunatam natam me console Romam."

11. * * Tamelastis. An elegy upon some unknown theme. One line and a word are found in the commentary of Servius on Virgil. (Ecl. i. 58.)

12. * * Libellus Jocularis. Our acquaintance with this is derived solely from Quintilian (viii. 6. § 73), who quotes a punning couplet as the words of Cicero "in quodam joculari libello."

13. Pontius Glaucus. Plutarch tells us that Cicero, while yet a boy, wrote a little poem in tetrameters with the above title. The subject is unknown. (Plut. Cic. 2.)

14. Epigramma in Tironem. Mentioned by Pliny. (Ep. vii. 4.)

The poetical and other fragments of Cicero are given in their most accurate form, with useful introductory