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Cicero: Select Letters (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) [Paperback]

Marcus Tullius Cicero , D. R. Shackleton Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

3 July 1980 Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics
Professor Shackleton Bailey is renowned for his major scholarly editions of Cicero's letters already published by Cambridge University Press. This selection from the complete correspondence is designed specifically for students at universities and in the upper forms at schools, and offers them a representative introduction to one of the most varied and most important literary correspondences in any language. In choosing letters for inclusion the editor concentrates on Cicero as a man and writer and on his relationship with his contemporaries, but he has also included letters which deal with people and events of special significance in the turbulent political history of the period. The edition includes an introduction, the text of the letters with critical notes, and a commentary which gives help with linguistic problems as well as elucidating the historical and social background.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (3 July 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521295246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521295246
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 12.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Book Description

Professor Baily selects letters on Cicero as a man and writer and on his relationship with his contemporaries. He also includes letters that deal with people and events of special significance in the turbulent political history of the period. This book is specifically for students at universities and in the upper forms at schools.

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Quantum dolorem acceperim et quanto fructu sim privatus et forensi et domestico Luci, fratris nostri, morte in primis pro nostra consuetudine tu existimare potes. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful book 20 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback
This is a brilliant edition of Cicero's letters, with a very informative introduction on Cicero's life and a great commentary on the text at the back of the book. The commentary stands me in good stead as a Classics Undergraduate, giving useful background information to help understand the sense, if sometimes little aid is given on more difficult sentences.
A very good book, helping the student to improve their Latin considerably!
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shackleton Bailey's commentary on Select Letters of Cicero 27 Nov 2011
By Eustathios - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a review of D.R. Shackleton-Bailey's commentary on Select Letters of Cicero for the Cambridge green and yellow series. This commentary presents many difficulties to the reader attempting to read Cicero's correspondence in Latin for the first time. The most vexing of these is that even though the prose of Cicero's correspondence is qualitatively different from his oratorical and philosophical works -less complex and more conversational to be sure, but for that very reason more alien and potentially more difficult for the reader used to Cicero's speeches- SB offers a minimal amount of grammatical help to the reader. Moreover, the commentary proper is only about 20 pages longer than the text of the letters itself, with the result that only a slight majority of the text of this book consists of commentary at all. SB mostly provides notes on the identity of proper nouns, translations of Greek words, and the antecedents of potentially ambiguous demonstrative pronouns. The commentary on individual letters is sometimes prefaced by a short paragraph to provide it some historical context or some context in Cicero's broader correspondence -sometimes helpful, sometimes not- but even so the letters allude to realities, places, and events that SB leaves obscure or acknowledges obliquely in an allusive note. SB assumes an intimate knowledge of Roman political realities and procedures, among other things, in the reader.

As for the selection of letters itself (79 in total, ranging in length from a few sentences to several pages), there are many letters included here with undeniable literary and historical value, but as a unit the selection suffers from consisting of letters culled from disparate parts of Cicero's surviving correspondence, which is itself quite large. The letters are arranged in the order in which they were written, but besides the chronological relationship between them there is usually no immediately discernible interaction or progression between them, and SB does not explicitly trace out any recurring themes or evolutions of thought in them. To begin a new letter is to effectively begin the book anew.

On the whole, then, instead of using this commentary it might be more profitable to read a selection of letters from SB's larger commentary on Cicero's correspondence for the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries series, choosing a continuous series of letters from a particular stretch of time and thereby finding a measure of continuity in one's reading. Even reading a selection out of SB's Loeb edition might be preferable.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 17 Aug 2012
By Granny Kazoo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I don't usually leave reviews, but after I saw that this commentary received 1 star from its only review, I shall do so. The work that Shackleton Baily did on Cicero's correspondence is nonpareil and this book is a sample of a much larger oeuvre. I don't find that it suffers as a result of that - the selection is representative. The previous reviewer is correct that commentary does not do much in the way of basic grammar. The peculiarities of epistolary tenses and the like are dealt with, and many of the more compressed constructions do get addressed by Bailey. I first used this book nine years ago and I used it yesterday.
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