L. Plotius Gallus. de hoc Cicero in epistula ad M. Titinium sic refert: equidem memoria teneo pueris nobis primum Latine docere coepisse Plotium quendam. ad quem cum fieret concursus et studiosissimus quisque apud eum exerceretur, dolebam mihi idem non licere; continebar autem doctissimorum hominum auctoritate, qui existimabant Graecis exercitationibus ali melius ingenia posse. (Suet. Gram. 26)
1. Iocos enim hoc genus veteres nostri ‘dicta’ dicebant. testis idem Cicero, qui in libro epistularum ad Cornelium Nepotem secundo sic ait: itaque nostri, cum omnia quae dixissemus ‘dicta’ essent, quae facete et breviter et acute locuti essemus, ea proprio nomine appellari ‘dicta’ voluerunt. (Macrob. Sat. 2.1.14)
2–3. Cicero ad Nepotem: hoc restiterat etiam, ut a te fictis aggrederer donis; ‘aggrederer’ passive dixit, ἐνεδρευθῶ. in eodem: qui habet ultro appetitur, qui est pauper aspernatur; passive, ἐξουθενεῖται. (Prisc. GLK II.383.1)
4. Cicero . . . ad Cornelium Nepotem de eodem [sc. Caesare] ita scripsit: quid? oratorem quem huic antepones eorum qui nihil aliud egerunt? quis sententiis aut acutior
L. Plotius Gallus. Concerning him Cicero in a letter to M. Titinius1 has the following: For my part I remember that when I was a boy a certain Plotius for the first time began teaching in Latin. People flocked to him and everyone anxious to learn trained with him. It distressed me that I was not free to do the same, but I was held back by the authority of very learned men who held that minds could better be nourished by Greek exercises.
1. The Romans of old called jokes of this sort dicta. The same Cicero is witness, who in his second Book of letters to Cornelius Nepos says as follows: And so our countrymen chose that things we said wittily and tersely and pointedly be given specially the name of dicta, though all sayings were dicta (things said).
2–3. Cicero to Nepos: It only remained for me to be attacked by you with false gifts. He used adgrederer as passive, ‘be ambushed.’ In the same: He that has is courted, he that is poor is despised. Passive, ‘is made naught of.’2
4. Cicero . . . to Cornelius Nepos concerning the same [Caesar] wrote as follows: Which orator among those who did nothing else will you put ahead of him? As to content, who is more acute or more pregnant? As to expression,
- 1Possibly Pontius Titinianus of Letters to Atticus 189 (IX.19).2, son of Cicero’s and Atticus’ friend Q. Titinius, a wealthy Senator.
- 2Adgredi is never found passive in classical Latin. Perhaps a should be omitted, making te object of adgrederer. Aspernatur too is suspicious, the passive being unciceronian, though found in the stylistically underprivileged Bellum Africanum.