|the numbering of the letters and the summary of Cicero's activities for this year are taken from Cicero, Letters, ed & trans by Evelyn Shuckburgh.
This opening of the correspondence finds Cicero, now in his thirty-ninth year, in the midst of his official career. He had already been quaestor (B.C. 75) and aedile (B.C. 69), and was looking forward to his election to the praetorship in the next year (B.C. 67). He had already risen almost to the highest place in his profession as advocate, and had partly delivered, partly published his great indictment of Verres only a year ago. He is married to Terentia (B.C. 80), and has one daughter, Tullia or Tulliola, born on August 5, probably the next year (B.C. 79). His intimacy with T. Pomponius Atticus (three years his senior), perhaps begun at school, had lasted at least eleven years, from the time when he met him at Athens (B.C. 79), and with him had been initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries (de Leg. 2.). There too they had both seen much of the writer's cousin Lucius, whose death he deplores in this letter (de Fin. 5.1). Atticus had lived abroad in Athens and Epirus, with occasional visits home from B.C. 88 to B.C. 65, in which latter year he seems to have returned for a more lengthened stay (Nep. Att. 4). The two friends have already corresponded frequently, but this is the first letter preserved.