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Cicero, Ad Familiares, Epistle 1

Cicero (106-43 BC) is history's master of the art of Rhetoric.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

In this first epistle, we will read a short message from Cicero to his wife Terentia. We will concentrate on learning the parts of a Latin epistle, with common greeting and closing expressions. To complete the objectives of this lesson, complete the following tasks:

1. Study the lesson below, carefully and completely.
2. Read the instructions for translation exercises.
3. Complete translation exercises.
4. Memorize all lesson vocabulary.
5. Work to earn a perfect score on your lesson exam.

Latin Text

This is the first epistle of the collection of Sturmius.

Marcus Tullius Cicero Terentiae S.P.D.

Si vales, bene est: Ego valeo. Nos quotidie tabellarios vestros exspectamus, qui si venerint, fortasse erimus certiores, quid nobis faciendum sit, faciemusque te statim certiorem. Valetudinem tuam cura diligenter.

Vale. Cal. Septemb.

Exposition

The following notes are provided to guide you through the translation of this reading. If you have any questions, please post them on the course support forum.

Marcus Tullius Cicero Terentiae S.P.D.

  • Marcus Tullius Cicero: the name of Cicero in the nominative case.
  • Terentiae: Terentiae, the dative case of Terentia, the name of Cicero’s wife.
  • S.P.D.
    • Salutem: substantive, feminine, singular, accusative: “health”
    • Plurimam: adjective, feminine, singular, accusative: “much”
    • Dicit: verb, present, active, indicative, singular, 3rd: “(he) says”
  1. Si vales, bene est: Ego valeo.
  • si: conjunction, “if”
  • vales: verb, present, active, indicative, singular, 2nd: “you are well”
  • bene: adverb, “well”
  • est: verb, present, active, indicative, singular, 3rd: “(it) is”
  • ego: pronoun, 1st person, masculine, singular, nominative: “I”
  • valeo: verb, present, active, indicative, singular, 1st: “I am well”
  1. Nos quotidie tabellarios vestros exspectamus…
  • nos: pronoun, plural, nominative: “We”
  • quotidie: adverb, “daily”
  • tabellarios: noun, masculine, plural, accusative: “messengers”
  • vestros: pronoun, masculine, plural, accusative: “your”
  • exspectamus: verb, present, active, indicative, plural, 1st: “we look out for”
  1. …qui si venerint…
  • qui: relative pronoun: masculine, plural, nominative: “who”
  • si: conjunction: “if”
  • venerint: verb, future-perfect, active, subjunctive, plural, 3rd person: “they shall have come”
  1. …fortasse erimus certiores…
  • fortasse: adverb, “perhaps”
  • erimus: verb, future, active, indicative, plural, 1st person: “[we] shall be”
  • certiores: adjective noun, masculine, plural, accusative: “more certain”
  1. …quid nobis faciendum sit…
  • quid: pronoun, neuter, singular, nominative: “what”
  • nobis: pronoun, masculine, plural, dative/ablative: “by us”
  • faciendum: participle, future, passive, singular, accusative: “about to be done”
  • sit: verb, present, subjunctive, active, singular, 3rd person: “may be”
  1. …faciemusque te statim certiorem.
  • faciemusque: compound of faciemus + -que:
    • faciemus: verb, future, active, indicative, plural, 1st person: “we shall make”
    • -que: conjunction, “and”
  • te: pronoun, feminine, singular, accusative: “you”
  • statim: adverb, “immediately”
  • certiorem: comp. adjective noun, feminine, singular, accusative: “more certain”
  1. Valetudinem tuam cure diligenter. Vale.
  • valetudinem: substantive noun, feminine, singular, accusative: “health”
  • tuam: pronoun, feminine, singular, accusative: “your”
  • cura: verb, present, active, imperative, singular, 2nd person: “take care (of)”
  • diligenter: adverb, “diligently”
  • vale: verb, present, active, imperative, singular, 2nd person: “be well”
  1. Cal. Septemb.
  • Calenda: substantive noun, feminine, singular, ablative: “on the Calends”
  • Septembris: substantive noun, masculine, singular, genitive: “of September”
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