Scholia Reviews ns 11 (2002) 36.
D. R. Shackleton Bailey, Cicero, Letters to Quintus and Brutus; Letter fragments; Letter to Octavian; Invectives; Handbook of Electioneering. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, 2002. Pp. viii + 483. ISBN 0-674-99599-6. UKú14.50.
D. R. Shackleton Bailey, Cicero, Letters to friends. 3 volumes. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, 2001. Pp. i + 497; ii + 477; i + 497, 3 maps. ISBN 0-674-99588-0; 674-99589-0; 674- 99590-2. UKú14.50 each.
University of Stellenbosch
Shackleton Bailey's much anticipated and appreciated new Loeb edition concludes his monumental contribution to the study of Ciceronian correspondence. This edition adequately replaces the previous Loeb version.[] It incorporates the Shackleton Bailey Teubner text, references to his commentary on the letters,[] and updated bibliographies for each work. The translation is largely the one which appeared in the Penguin translation of the letters to Cicero's brother Quintus and Marcus Brutus.[] New additions to this volume are: the letter fragments (not previously available in the Loeb series); Shackleton Bailey's new edition and translation of the pseudo-Ciceronian Letter to Octavian; and a new text and translation of both the pseudo-Sallustian and pseudo- Ciceronian Invectivae. The apocryphal Handbook of Electioneering (Commentariolum Petitionis) appears in revised form, with the Shackleton Bailey Teubner text, while retaining M. I. Henderson's notes and translation of the 1972 edition (reprinted in 1989) with minor changes.
In this edition, as for the rest of the Ciceronian correspondence, Shackleton Bailey retains the, by now well established, Shackleton Bailey numbering scheme according to which the letters are numbered chronologically at the beginning of each letter with the conventional numbering included in parentheses. For instance: 'Cicero's second letter in the collection to his brother Quintus: 2 (I.2)'. This is repeated at the top of each set of pages: 'LETTER 2 (I.2)'.
The collection commences with a brief introduction to Cicero's correspondence with his brother Quintus. Here Shackleton Bailey provides the reader with a capsule biography of Cicero's younger and only brother. The relationship between the brothers is described in summary (Shackleton Bailey has the advantage of making considerable use of references to his earlier work), revealing, contrary to the conventional view of 'an affectionate relationship down to the closing years of their lives' (cover, front flap of this edition), a relationship not void of friction. Quintus is depicted as a translator and prolific versifier (p. 3); a 'rabbit in front of his wife' (p. 4), and reluctant to commit himself to true reconciliation with his 'bigger brother' after they had a severe disagreement, 'a bitter quarrel during the Civil War which was never more than superficially patched up' (p. 4).
Whereas Ciceronian scholarship seldom manages to approach Cicero dispassionately, Shackleton Bailey succeeds in transporting the many-faceted persona of Cicero, the man of letters, to modern society. The earliest extant letter to Quintus, 'a tract' which could have been entitled 'Advice to a Governor' (p. 4), depicts big brother Cicero giving sound advice on the complexity of a praetorian governor's task. The composure emanating from the persona of this letter, however is soon shattered when a very despondent, corpse-like exile breathing vapours of death emerges from letters 3 and 4 (hereafter Shackleton Bailey numbering only).
Understanding the fluctuating twists and turns of Cicero's mood and style is no easy task, but Shackleton Bailey over time has proven himself an excellent judge of Ciceronian character. Letter 2 to Quintus, a private letter, is informal and very colloquial in style and translation: 'at enim Graecis solis indulgeo. quid?' This is rendered: 'It is not as though I am nice only to Greeks' (2.6). Overall the translation is smooth and easy to follow and it benefits both the non-Latin and non-Classicist reader in such a way that the translation functions to a certain degree also as a commentary. For instance, against Williams' more literal translation 'provincials' (1989: 407) for 'provincialium hominum et Graecorum' Shackleton Bailey's 'Roman residents and Greeks' (1.18) gives adequate supplementary elucidation; publicani (italicised only in the Williams translation) is rendered 'tax farmers' (1.6, 32-34), while additional information about publicani and its various meanings can be found in the useful glossary (p. 464) at the end of the volume; the meaning of toga praetexta (purple-bordered gown 15.3) is spelled out both in Shackleton Bailey's translation and corresponding footnote 4 (pp. 120f.) where the discussion of Cicero's ingenious word play even adds to that provided in the Shackleton Bailey commentary of 1980 (pp. 192f.).
A brief introduction containing a condensed biography of M. Junius Brutus precedes Cicero's letters to him. It provides a short summary of the principal political developments of 43 BC, a crucial year both in Roman politics and in Cicero's life. The extant correspondence between Cicero and Brutus in the collection consists of twenty-six letters, including two apocrypha. These letters date from March or April to July 43 BC and reveal a very statesmanlike Cicero, filled with political purpose on the one hand, and on the other a rather passive Brutus, the helpless spectator of events that were to culminate in a new dispensation.
Letter 1 of the collection sets the tone for this watershed year in Roman politics. Shackleton Bailey's translation 'the ultimate crisis is thought to be upon us' carries a note of urgency that is to be sensed throughout Cicero's letters to Brutus (cf. 3.2, and 17.4 exitu is rendered as 'the final issue of the commonwealth'). Apart from Shuckburgh who translated 'the decisive hour has arrived',[] this sense of urgency has been overlooked by previous translators (Cary translates discrimen as 'extremely critical position').[]
The collection includes the two infamous and querulous letters usually ascribed to Brutus, very different in style from the virtuous but politically less dynamic Liberator who was not often inclined to vigorous language. One is grateful that Shackleton Bailey has finally relieved the Brutus of the earlier Loeb edition of 'the responsibility for these two repetitious and unjust diatribes' (p. 204). For discussion of the genuineness of these letters the reader is referred to the introduction of Shackleton Bailey's 1980 Cambridge edition (p. 204).
The selection of letter fragments from Cicero to others and those written to him included in this volume, follow the traditional arrangement of the Teubner edition and is 'confined (almost) to actual quotations, omitting some items as insignificant and/or unintelligible' (Shackleton Bailey's introductory note p. 311). It consists mainly of fragments from 44/43 BC, including those (twenty- eight in all) to the young Octavian, the future ruler envisioned both to 'pardon the past and concede the future' (4.23B). This, (the last extant words of Cicero) heralds, perhaps with irony, a new Roman era.
One minor point of criticism: for those unfamiliar with the Ciceronian correspondence, a short glossary of persons could be helpful. To look up, for instance, Q. Axius (fragment X) or Caerellia (fragment XII), users of this Loeb edition will have to resort to the glossary of persons included in the Penguin translation of Cicero's Letters to his Friends. Vol. 2 (1978) 397-435.
In dealing with the apocryphal works in this collection Shackleton Bailey once more shows his amazing versatility and confident guidance. The short but useful introductory notes to these infamous, though not negligible rhetorical fabrications (the letter to Octavian and both invectivae did, after all, deceive 'contemporaries and posterity' p. 339), confirm their status as 'spurious beyond reasonable doubt' (p. 361). However, these works, though from an age that perhaps lacks the resplendent quality of an eloquent Cicero, are not devoid of merit. They still assert the power of rhetoric.
Also included in this volume is the Handbook of Electioneering, a treatise in epistolary form, ostensibly written by Quintus Cicero to his brother Marcus early in 64 BC. The question of authorship at present remains one on which there is no consensus (p. 395), and recent scrutiny of the treatise has shown that it remains a first-rate, if not the central source for late-Republican electoral politics.[] Shackleton Bailey's textual and interpretive notes (pp. 413, 434f., 443) will provide useful assistance. The volume concludes with a brief appendix on Roman dates, money, and names; concordances for the letters to Quintus and Brutus, a glossary of general terms, and finally, separate indices for each work in the collection.
Shackleton Bailey is to be commended for a very satisfactory introduction to the 435 letters collected in the Loeb edition of Cicero's Letters to Friends. It includes a brief historical background (pp. 3-15) reproduced from his Loeb edition of the Letters to Atticus; short biographical details about Cicero's family (p. 15); the manuscript tradition (pp. 17-19); basic bibliographical references (p. 20), and a brief register of Cicero's correspondents (pp. 21-34). The text is virtually the same as that of Shackleton Bailey's Teubner text, the arrangement and numbering of the letters follow that of his Cambridge edition and the revised translation does not differ significantly from the two-volume Penguin edition which appeared in 1978. At the end of this volume an appendix incorporating Roman dates, money, and names is provided, together with a list of consuls from 68- 43 BC; a concordance; glossary; index and three useful maps.
The correspondence ranges widely in substance and style, reflecting a Roman society in flux. We meet the flamboyant Caelius Rufus, better known for his unremitting requests to Cicero to send him panthers from Cilicia for his aedilician games (Fam. 79, 81, 84, 88). Through the eyes of Caelius, whose political insight Cicero deemed priceless, the reader gets a bird's eye view of the Roman political scene during the period of civil strife. Here, in the limelight of Rome, rowdy meetings take place; a divided senate plays for time (Caelius describes these senatorial proceedings as a childish charade, Fam. 83) while the protagonists Caesar and Pompey prepare to do battle. In all this Fortune has the last say: she 'is preparing a mighty and fascinating show', so Caelius (pp. 371-431). These were heady days indeed.
Shackleton Bailey's often tongue-in-cheek handling of Cicero and his contemporaries, and the corresponding liberties taken with translation, makes for lively reading. This is consistent (at times) with the melodramatic tone of some of the letters. Finally, the reader is left with a very true to life picture of an emotional Cicero, writing to his darling Terentia (mea vita), years before marital strife took its toll: non queo plura iam scribere; impedit maeror -- 'I cannot write any more now. Grief clogs my pen.' (Fam. 6.3), viximus, floruimus; non vitium nostrum sed virtus nostra nos adflixit -- 'It has been a good life, a great career. The good in me, nothing bad, has brought me down' (Fam. 6.6).
The merit of these Loeb volumes is that it provides a useful synthesis of Shackleton Bailey's monumental commentaries and his Penguin translation, making it accessible to a very wide range of readers, students and scholars alike.
[] W. Glynn Williams, M. Cary, and M. I. Henderson (edd.), Cicero: The Letters to his Brother Quintus; The Letters to Brutus; Handbook of Electioneering; Letter to Octavian. Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass. 1989).
[] D. R. Shackleton Bailey (ed.), M. Tullius Cicero: Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem et M. Brutum (Stuttgart 1988); idem, Cicero: Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem et M. Brutum (Cambridge 1980); idem, Cicero: Epistulae ad Familiares (Cambridge 1977).
[] D. R. Shackleton Bailey, Cicero: Cicero's Letters to his Friends (Harmondsworth 1978) 251- 392.
[] E. S. Shuckburgh, The Letters of Cicero. Vol. IV (London 1900) 203.
[] Cary  631.
[] R. Morstein-Marx, 'Publicity, popularity and patronage in the Commentariolum Petitionis', Classical Antiquity 17.2 (1998) 259-88.