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Sec.Sec.1—14. Summary. Cic., Varro and Atticus meet at Cumae (1). Cic., after adroitly reminding Varro that the promised dedication of the De Lingua Latina is too long delayed, turns the conversation towards philosophy, by asking Varro why he leaves this subject untouched (2, 3). Varro thinks philosophy written in Latin can serve no useful purpose, and points to the failures of the Roman Epicureans (4—6). He greatly believes in philosophy, but prefers to send his friends to Greece for it, while he devotes himself to subjects which the Greeks have not treated (7, 8). Cic. lauds this devotion, but demurs to the theory that philosophy written in Latin is useless. Latins may surely imitate Greek philosophers as well as Greek poets and orators. He gives reasons why he should himself make the attempt, and instancing the success of Brutus, again begs Varro to write on philosophy (9—12). Varro putting the request on one side charges Cic. with deserting the Old Academy for the New. Cic. defends himself, and appeals to Philo for the statement that the New Academy is in harmony with the Old. Varro refers to Antiochus as an authority on the other side. This leads to a proposal on the part of Cic. to discuss thoroughly the difference between Antiochus and Philo. Varro agrees, and promises an exposition of the principles of Antiochus (13, 14).
Sec.1. Noster: our common friend. Varro was much more the friend of Atticus than of Cic., see Introd. p. 37. Nuntiatum: the spelling nunciatum is a mistake, cf. Corssen, Ausspr. I. p. 51. A M. Varrone: from M. Varro’s house news came. Audissemus: Cic. uses the contracted forms of such subjunctives, as well as the full forms, but not intermediate forms like audiissemus. Confestim: note how artfully Cic. uses the dramatic form of the dialogue in order to magnify his attachment for Varro. Ab eius villa: the prep is absent from the MSS., but Wesenberg (Em. M.T. Cic. Epistolarum, p. 62) shows that it must be inserted. Cic. writes abesse Roma (Ad Fam. V. 15, 4), patria (T.D. V. 106) etc., but not abesse officio (De Off. I. 43, where Wes. alters it) or the like. Satis eum longo intervallo: so all the MSS.; but Halm, after Davies, reads se visentum for satis eum, quoting Ad Att.