Cicero, Letters to Friends, Volume III

LCL 230: 426-427

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  • Academy (Academia): A hall (gymnasium) and park at Athens sacred to the hero Academus, in which Plato established his philosophical school. Hence Plato’s school or system of philosophy, which went through various phases after his time. The terminology became confused, but Cicero recognized the ‘Old Academy’ of Plato and his immediate successors and the ‘New’ Academy of Arcesilas and Carneades, which maintained the uncertainty of all dogma and to which he himself professed to belong. In his own times this was modified by his teachers Philo of Larisa and Antiochus of Ascalon, the latter of whom claimed to represent the Old Academy with a system akin to Stoicism. Cicero gave the name ‘Academy’ to a hall which he built on his estate at Tusculum.
  • Aedile (aedilis): Third in rank of the regular Roman magistracies. Four at this time were elected annually, two Curule and two Plebeian. They were responsible for city administration and the holding of certain public Games. The chief magistrates in some municipalities were also so called.
  • Assembly: I sometimes so translate populus or comitia, as describing the Roman people convened for electoral or legislative purposes. There were several different sorts


  • varying with the convening magistrate and the business to be done.
  • Attic(ism): One use of the word was in connection with Roman oratory. In Cicero’s time a movement principally represented by Calvus and M. Brutus favoured an austere style like that of the Athenian Lysias.
  • Augur: The priestly College of Augurs were official diviners interpreting signs (mostly from the flight and cries of wild birds or the behaviour of the Sacred Chickens) before major acts of public (and sometimes private) business. The College, like that of Pontiffs, was in practice almost a preserve of the nobility, so that for a ‘new man’ like Cicero membership was a coveted social distinction.
  • Auspices (auspicia): Divination from birds or other signs was officially necessary as a preliminary to major acts by magistrates, who were said to ‘have auspices,’ i.e. the power of taking them.
  • BacchusDay (Liberalia): The festival of Liber Pater, commonly identified with the Greek god Dionysius or Bacchus, and Libera on 17 March. It was the usual day for a coming of age ceremony.
  • Board of Four: Municipalities (not Roman colonies) were commonly governed by four principal magistrates (quattuorviri), divided into two pairs (duoviri), and a senate of decuriones.
  • Bona Dea: See Good Goddess.
  • Boy (puer): Male slaves of any age were so called, as in later times.
  • Campanian Land (Domain, ager Campanus): Fertile land in Campania, originally confiscated by Rome in 211