And Shakleton Bailey on Carcopino
Salutations from Cicero to his friend Atticus, from one of the earlier letters in the book. Where the correspondence takes up, Cicero is about 40, so a man of substance already. As he remarked elsewhere, it was harder for him to find a carrier to Athens than for Atticus to find someone headed for Rome. ("Atticus" is merely a nickname to one who spent much time in Greece; Cicero refers to them both as philhellenes.) It intimates some of the challenges in finding a trustworthy messenger; frequently correspondence will entail reference to "a certain person" when someone specific is meant (say, Pompey)—no doubt a precaution lest the wrong eyes take and misuse the information. Other things he waits till a more dependable messenger becomes available.
So, I am underway: Cicero seems affable, politic, a bit full of himself (as you would expect), but provides a nice picture of machinations in the Senate and courts and public life in Rome—among the upper crust at least. He is a businessman at least, or rather, a man of business—meaning he means business, he takes care of business—so a certain amount of his concerns involves buying and selling properties. From previous readings in Cicero I already know that his house in Tusculum was his greatest pleasure.
D.R. Shackleton Bailey, writing in the 70s, warns in his bibliographical note:
The only modern commentary on the entire correspondence, that of Tyrrell and Purser (7 vols., 1904-33, recently reprinted), is a mine of honest misinformation. On the other hand, J. Carcopino's Les Secrets de la correspondance de Ciceron (2 vols., 1947; Engl. tr. 1951), a farrago of garbled facts and false inferences, is more worthy of an unscrupulous prosecuting attorney than a serious scholar.