12. This forms part of Varro’s answer to Cicero, which corresponded in substance to Lucullus’ speech in the Academica Priora The drift of this extract was most likely this: just as there is a limit beyond which the battle against criminals cannot be maintained, so after a certain point we must cease to fight against perverse sceptics and let them take their own way. See another view in Krische, p. 62.
13. Krische believes that this fragment formed part of an attempt to show that the senses were trustworthy, in the course of which the clearness with which the fishes were seen leaping from the water was brought up as evidence. (In Luc. 81, on the other hand, Cic. drew an argument hostile to the senses from the consideration of the fish.) The explanation seems to me very improbable. The words bear such a striking resemblance to those in Luc. 125 (ut nos nunc simus ad Baulos Puteolosque videmus, sic innumerabilis paribus in locis esse isdem de rebus disputantis) that I am inclined to think that the reference in Nonius ought to be to Book IV. and not Book III., and that Cic., when he changed the scene from Bauli to the Lucrine lake, also changed Puteolosque into pisciculosque exultantes for the sufficient reason that Puteoli was not visible from Varro’s villa on the Lucrine.
14. The passion for knowledge in the human heart was doubtless used by Varro as an argument in favour of assuming absolute knowledge to be attainable. The same line is taken in Luc. 31, D.F. III. 17, and elsewhere.
15. It is so much easier to find parallels to this in Cicero’s speech than in that of Lucullus in the Academica Priora that I think the reference in Nonius must be wrong. The talk about freedom suits a sceptic better than a dogmatist (see Luc. 105, 120, and Cic.’s words in 8 of the same). If my conjecture is right this fragment belongs to Book IV. Krische gives a different opinion, but very hesitatingly, p. 63.
16. This may well have formed part of Varro’s explanation of the [Greek: katalepsis], temeritas being as much deprecated by the Antiocheans and Stoics as by the Academics cf. I. 42.
17. I conjecture malleo (a hammer) for the corrupt malcho, and think that in the second ed. some comparison from building operations to illustrate the fixity of knowledge gained through the [Greek: katalepseis] was added to a passage which would correspond in substance with 27 of the Lucullus. I note in Vitruvius, quoted by Forc. s.v. malleolus, a similar expression (naves malleolis confixae) and in Pliny Nat. Hist. XXXIV. 14 navis fixa malleo. Adfixa therefore in this passage must have agreed with some lost noun either in the neut. plur. or fem. sing.
18. This and fragm. 19 evidently hang very closely together. As Krische notes, the Stoic [Greek: enargeia] had evidently been translated earlier in the book by perspicuitas as in Luc. 17.