Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cicero, Political Speeches

Cicero, Political Speeches, transl. D. H. Berry, Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford, 2006.

The style is ‘periodic’; that is, once the sentence or ‘period’ has begun, the listener has to wait some time before the various subordinate clauses have been delivered and the sense is complete. (Note on the translation, xxvi)

The clauses themselves and the words or groups of words within them are often arranged in carefully balanced pairs, sometimes so as to form a contrast, or sometimes in a symmetrical pattern; or they can be arranged in threes, with increasing weight placed on each item, or greater weight placed on the final second and final item. (xxvi)

In periodic style, the most important part of the period is the end (the beginning is the next most important), because it is here that the sense of completion is delivered. (xxvi)

Certain rhythmical patterns (‘clausulae’) are favored and others (mainly those which resemble verse) avoided. This ‘prose rhythm’ is one of the most important features in his style. (xxvi)

Besides rhythm, there are many other techniques used by Cicero to enliven or adorn his prose, such as rhetorical questions (questions that do not expect an answer), anaphora (repetition of a word or phrase in successive clauses), asyndeton (omission of connections), apostrophe (turning away to address an absent person or thing), exclamation, alliteration and assonance, wordplay, and metaphor. (xxvii)

I have rendered long Latin sentences by long English ones, and for the most part have chopped up the Latin sentences only where the length was longer than a modern reader would tolerate. … If a significant idea is withheld until the end of a sentence (as commonly happens in periodic style), then I have also withheld it until the end. (xxvii)

If we turn now from periodicity to prose rhythm, we find that unfortunately there is little that a translator can do, … In writing English translation, then, the translator can at least take care that the English he is writing does not strike the ear harshly. (xxviii)

Cicero is exceedingly fond of doublets, particularly in the first three of the speeches in this collection, but in good English doublets (‘aims and objectives’, ‘terms and conditions’) are used only sparingly, if at all. When Cicero uses a doublet with two words of identical meaning, as he quite frequently does, should the translator preserve the doublet and write intolerably verbose English or solve the problem by omitting one half of the doublet? It would not be acceptable, in my view, to omit a word that Cicero has included, and especially to omit a stylistic feature, a doublet, when Cicero has wished it to be there; but equally I feel it would not be [xxviii] acceptable to write bad English. My solution in such cases has therefore been to keep the doublet, but choose two English words which are similar in meaning, but not quite synonymous. (xxix)

Some authors, particularly poets, are simply untranslatable: a translation cannot provide an experience which is close enough to that of reading the original to be satisfactory. Cicero is not one of these authors; (xxx)

In Verrem, I (‘Against Verres’)

The very thing that was most to be desired, members of the jury, the one thing that will have most effect in reducing the hatred felt towards your order and restoring the tarnished reputation of the courts, this it is which, in the current political crises, has been granted and presented to you; and this opportunity has come about not, it would appear, by human planning, but virtually by the gift of the gods. (opening, 13)

He tells people that he was really afraid only once in his life, when I formally indicted him. And this was not simply because he had returned from his province to a blaze of hatred and discredit… no; the problem was that it was, as it happened, a bad time to attempt to corrupt the court. (14)

I may as well pass over the shame and disgrace of his early life. But as for his quaestorship, the first stage in an official career, what did it consist of except public money stolen from Gnaeus Carbo by his own quaestor, … (16)

But the greatest and most numerous monuments and testaments to all his vices are those which he has now set up in Sicily— (16)

As for his sexual crimes and immorality, considerations of decency prevent me from relating his outrageous behaviour; and at the same time I am reluctant thereby to add to the grief of those whose wives and children could not be protected from his violent assaults. ‘But he did all this discreetly, so that it would not become public knowledge.’ On the contrary, I do not think there is anyone who has heard the name of Verres who could not also enumerate the terrible crimes he has committed. I am therefore much more frightented of being thought to have missed out many of his crimes than to have made any up. indeed, I do not think that this great crowd which has come to listen today is wanting to find out from me what Verres is accused of so much as to go over with me what it already knows. (17)

Since that is how things stand, this depraved lunatic has chosen another means of fighting me, … Indeed, he makes no great secret of it. He confronts me with the empty names of nobility, in other words of arrogant aristocrats, who do not so much damage my case by their nobility as help it by their notoriety. … I will go on to tell you briefly, gentlemen, what hopes he has in his heart and what he is planning; but first please let me explain to you how he has dealt with the situation from the outset. (17)

I ask you, Metellus: intimidating witnesses, particularly ruined and fearful Sicilians, and not just with your own authority but with the fear inspired by the position of consul and the power of two praetors—if this is not judicial corruption, then could you please tell me what is? What would you not do for someone who was innocent and a relative of yours, seeing that you abandon your duty and the dignity of your position for a criminal who is unrelated to you, and lead those who do not know you to conclude that what he keeps saying about you is true? For I am told that Verres says that you were made consul not by fate, like the other members of your family, but by his own effort. (21)

Since our entire order is being oppressed by the wickedness and criminality of a few individuals and is tainted by the bad reputation of the courts, I declare to men of this type that I intend to be their hated prosecutor and their hateful, unrelenting, and bitter adversary. I am going to take on this role, indeed I claim this role, which I shall fulfill in my magistracy, which I shall fulfill in that place from which the Roman people have asked me, from 1 January, to collaborate with them over our national affairs and over the criminal elements. (24)

This is a trial in which you will be passing verdict on the defendant, but the Roman people will also be passing verdict on you. This case will determine whether it is possible, when a jury consists of senators, for a very guilty but very rich man to be convicted. Moreover, this is a defendant who has only two characteristics, extreme guilt and immense wealth; so if he is acquitted, no other conclusion could possibly be drawn except the least favourable one. (27)

You have the power to wipe out and destroy the disgrace and scandal by which this order has for some years now been affected. It is universally agreed that since the courts were constituted in their present form, no panel has been so eminent and admired as this one. So if anything should go wrong in this trial, everyone will conclude not that more suitable jurors should be selected form the same order—since no such men exist—but that a different order altogether should be found to judge cases. (27)

De Imperio Cn. Pompei, (‘On the Command of Gnaeus Pompeius’)

For when, because of successive reruns of the election, I was formally declared, three times over, as the first of the candidates to be elected to a praetorship, and by the votes of all the centuries, then it was made very clear to me, citizens, both what you had concluded about me personally and what you were recommending to others. (110)

…my subject is the outstanding and unique merit of Gnaeus Pompeius—a subject on which it is more difficult to finish speaking than to begin. In making my speech, therefore, my task will not be to strive after abundance so much as moderation. (111)

It is therefore imperative that you wipe out that mark of disgrace incurred in the earlier Mithridatic war, which has now stained the reputation of the Roman people deeply and for much too long. For disgrace it is that man who, on a single day in so many cities throughout the whole of Asia, by a single message and a single word of command ordained that the Roman citizens in Asia should be killed and butchered, has not only still paid no penalty commensurate with his crime, but more than twenty-two years later is still sitting on his throne. And as king, he is not content to hide away in some dark corner of Pontus or Cappadocia, but wishes to break out from the kingdom he inherited and range over territories that pay you revenue—in the bright light, that is, of Asia. (112)

There is another point you must not overlook, one I left until last when I started to discuss the character of the war. This relates to the property owned by many Roman citizens—whose interests, citizens, you in your wisdom must take carefully into account. … It will therefore be a mark of your humanity to save this large number of citizens from ruin, and a mark of your wisdom to appreciate that the national interest would be affected by the ruin of so many of them. (115)

But think how much moderation he shows in other matters too. From where do you think he got his extraordinary rapidity, his astonishing speed in traveling? It was not because his rowers were unusually strong or because of any hitherto undiscovered method of [122] navigation or any new winds that he reached the most distant places as quickly as he did, but rather because he was not held back by the things that hold other commanders [Lucullus] back. Greed did not deflect him from his chosen course and cause him to chase after plunder, nor did passion cause him to seek pleasure, or beautiful surroundings luxury, statues, paintings, and other words of art which are found in Greek cities and which other commanders think are theirs for the taking, he did not even consider them worth going to see. (123)

However, the illustrious and patriotic Quintus Catulus, a man to whom you have awarded the highest honours that are in your power to bestow, and Quintus Hortensius, who possesses supreme gifts of position, fortune, merit, and talent, hold a different view. For my part, I admit that their authority has influenced you strongly on many occasions in the past, as indeed it should. But in this particular case, although, as you know, the authority of these valiant and illustrious gentlemen stands against me, we can still set that authority to one side and arrive at the truth by a logical consideration of the facts. And it will be all the more easy to do this because my opponents admit the truth of everything I have said so far— (126)

This war, citizens, relates to Asia, and to kings. It therefore calls not only for the unique military ability that Gnaeus Pompeius possesses, but also for many other fine moral qualities. It is not easy for a Roman commander to pass through Asia, Cilicia, Syria, an dthe kingdoms of the interior, and think only of the enemy and of honour. Then again, there may be some commanders who have feelings of decency and self-control and are restrained in their behaviour; but because so many of the rest are utterly rapacious, no one actually believes that the decent ones exist. (131)

In Catilinam (‘Against Cataline’)

How far, I ask you, Catiline, do you mean to stretch our patience? How much longer will your frenzy continue to frustrate us? at what point will your unrestrained recklessness stop flaunting itself? Have the nightly guards on the Palatine, have the patrols in the streets, have the fears of the people, have the gatherings of all loyal citizens, have these strongly defended premises in which this meeting is being held, have the faces and expressions of the senators here had no effect on you at all? Do you not realize that your plans have been exposed?

(pg 156, note 302) [How far, I ask you: Quo usque tandem, a highly dramatic and effective opening t the speech (and one of the two or three most famous quotations from Latin literature.) The expression is used nowhere else by Cicero, but occurs in Sallust (Cat. 20.9) in an address given by Catiline to his followers a year before Cicero delivered the First Catilinarian. … D.A. Malcom proposed that quo usque tandem was a demagogic phrase favored by Catiline, which Cicero then mockingly threw back at him.]

What a decadent age we live in! the senate is aware of these things, the consul sees them—yet this man remains alive! Alive, did I say? He is not just alive: he actually enters the senate, he takes part in our public deliberations, and with his eyes he notes and marks down each one of us for assassination. We meanwhile, brave men that we are, think that we have done enough for our country if we merely get out of the way of his frenzy and his weapons. /
You, Catiline, ought long ago to have been taken to your death, and on a consul’s order. It is o yourself that the destruction which you have long been plotting for all of us ought to be visited. … so are we, as consuls, to put up with Catiline, when he is aiming to devastate the entire world with fire and slaughter? (156)

If I now order your arrest, Catiline, and if I order your execution, I suppose what I shall have to be afraid of is not that every loyal citizen will accuse me of being slow to act, but that someone will say I have been too severe! But as it happens, there is a particular reason why I am still not brining myself to do what I ought to have done long ago. You will be executed only when no one can be found so criminal, so wicked, and so similar to yourself as to deny the justice of that course of action. (158)

In view of this, Catiline, finish what you have started: leave the city at long last. The gates are open: go. For too long now have Manlius and that camp of yours been waiting for you to assume command of it. And take all your followers with you; or if you cannto take them all, take as many as you can. Purge the city. As for me, you will release me from the great fear I feel, if only there is a wall separating us. at all events, you cannot stay any longer with us: I will not tolerate it, I will not endure it, I will not allow it. [160] … For if I order your execution, all the other members of the conspiracy will remain within the state; but if you leave Rome, as I have long been urging you to do, the voluminous, pernicious dregs of society—you companions—will be flushed out of the city. (161)

By Hercules, if my salves were as afraid of me as all your fellow-citizens are of you, I would certainly think I ought to leave my house—so don’t you think you ought to leave Rome? And if I saw my fellow-citizens looking at me, even without justification, with such deep hatred and suspicion, I would prefer to remove myself from their sight than remain before the hostile gaze of all of them. … If you very own parents feared and hated you, and it was absolutely impossible for you to become reconciled with them, surely, I think, you would withdraw to somewhere where they could not see you. But now your own country, which is the common parent of us all, hates you and is frightened of you, and has long ago come to the conclusion and you are contemplating nothing but her destruction. Will you not then respect her authority, defer to her judgment, or fear her power? (163)

‘Put the question to the senate,’ you say. That is what you demand; and if this order should pass a decree saying that it wishes you to go into exile, you undertake to comply. I am not going to put it to the senate: it would not be my practice to do so. All the same, I will allow you to see what view these senators take of you. Get out of Rome, Catiline. Free the country from fear. Go into exile—if that is the term you are waiting to hear. (164)

Those physical power of yours we hear so much about have set you up for a life of this kind: the ability to lie on the bare ground has prepared you not just for launching sexual assaults but for committing crime, the capacity to stay away not just for cheating husbands in their sleep but for robbing unsuspecting people of their property. Now you have an opportunity to show off your celebrated capacity to endure hunger, cold, and the lack of every amenity—hardships which you will shortly find out have finished you off! (166)

Now, conscript father, I want to avert and deflect a particular complain that our country might—almost with reason—make against me. So please pay careful attention to what I am going to say and store it deep inside your hearts and minds. … imagine that the entire nation were to address me like this: ‘Marcus Tullius, what are you playing at? Are you going to permit the departure of a man whom you have discovered to be a public enemy, [166] … To these most solemn words of our country, and to all individuals who share the feelings she expresses, I will make this brief answer. Had I judged that punishing Catiline with death was the best course of action, conscript fathers, I should not have given that gladiator a single hour of life to enjoy. … And yet there are not a few members of this order who either fail to see what is hanging over us or pretend not to see it. … But as it is, I know that if he goes to Manlius’ camp, as he means to, there will be no one so stupid as not to see that the conspiracy exists, and no one so wicked as not to acknowledge that it exists. (167)

Pro Marcello is a speech of thanks to Caesar for agreeing to pardon his most die-hard republican enemy, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the consul of 51. It is in fact misnamed: the title Par Marcello (‘For Marcellus’) leads one to expect a forensic speech, a defense of Marcellus in a court of law. Instead this is an epideictic (display) speech, a speech in praise of Caesar (technically, a panegyric), and would more correctly be called De Marcello (‘On Marcellus’), … We do not know what title, if any, Cicero gave it. (204)

There is no stream of genius large enough, no tongue or pen forceful or fluent enough I will not say to embellish your achievements, Gaius Caesar, but even to record them. But I do nevertheless maintain, and with your permission declare, that there is no glory in all those achievements greater than that which you have this day attained. (213) [but even to record them: of course, Caesar wrote his Gallic War and Civil War, which were greatly admired for their purity of style. Those who consider Cicero’s flattery excessive may like to reflect on the fact that Caesar told Cicero around this time that it was a greater achievement to have advanced the frontiers of the Roman genius than to have advanced those of the Roman empire (Pin. Nat. 7.117)]

But in the glory which you have acquired by your present action, Gaius Caesar, you have no partner: all of it, however great it may be (and it is indeed the greatest possible), all of it, I repeat, is yours. No centurion, no prefect, no cohort, no troop can take any of it for themselves, and even that mistress of human affairs, Fortune, does not offer herself as your partner in this glory: she yields it to you, and admits that it is wholly and exclusively yours. (213)

After all, no power is so strong that it cannot be weakened and broken by steel and force. But to conquer one’s own temper, to check one’s anger, to show moderation towards the conquered, to take a fallen enemy pre-eminent in birth, character, and virtue, and not merely raise him up, but actually enhance his former standing—that is the act of someone whom I would not rank with the greatest of men, but would judge akin to a god. (214)

On the other hand, when you reflect on us, whom you have desired to join you in matters of state, you will also have reason to reflect on your extraordinary acts of kindness, your astonishing generosity, and your unprecedented wisdom—qualities which I would venture to describe not as the highest virtues, but as the only ones. (217)

But still, given that men’s minds do contain dark corners and hidden recesses, let us by all means increase your suspicion—for that way we shall also increase your vigilance. After all, is there anyone so ignorant of the world, so politically naïve, and so oblivious to his own safety and that of his fellow men that he fails to appreciate that his own survival is bound up with yours, … It is your task, Gaius Caesar, and yours alone, to restore everything that you can now see lying battered and shattered (as was unavoidable) by the violence of war. Courts must be established, credit restored, self-indulgence checked, the birth-rate raised, and everything which has become disintegrated and dissipated reorganized by means of stringent legislation. … That is why I was disappointed when I heard you make that admirable remark, so full of wisdom, ‘I have lived long enough for nature, or for glory.’ Long enough perhaps for nature, if you like; and, I will add, for glory; if that is what you want; but—and this is the crucial point—by no means long enough for your country. So please do not show the wisdom of philosophers in despising death: do not be wise at our peril! (218)

Future generations will surely be astounded to hear and read of your commands, your provinces, the Rhine, the Ocean, the Nile, your numberless battles, your unbelievable victories, monuments, games and triumphs. But unless your bring stability to this city through reform and legislation, … Some will praise your achievements to the skies, while others will perhaps find something missing… Submit, therefore, to the judgment of those who, many centuries from now, will judge you, and may well do so with less partiality than we do: for they will judge you without passion and without self-interest on the other hand, and without envy and without malice on the other. (220)

Philippic II

Like Pro Marcello (46 BC), the Second Philippic is an epideictic (display) speech set in the senate. But there the resemblance ends. Pro Marcello dates from the period of Caesar’s dictatorship; the Second Philippic from two years later, six months after his assassination. Pro Marcello was delivered on a real occasion, in Caesar’s presence; the Second Philippic, …was never delivered. (222)

He had not wished to cross swords with Antony; but when Antony, with all the authority of a consul, bitterly attacked him in the senate in the absence, he felt impelled to write, in pamphlet form, a comprehensive rejoinder. This rejoinder, the Second Philippic, marked the point of no return in Cicero’s deteriorating relationship with Antony, while also confirming Cicero’s status as Rome’s greatest orator. Written in a simpler style than most of his previous speeches, particularly the elaborate Pro Marcello, it is an utterly devastating attack. Later orators and critics regarded it as the classic invective, and the fact that its author was murdered for writing the Philippics certainly added to its fascination. … The speech did much to determine the way Antony was viewed by posterity: it was used by Plutarch for his Life of Antony (c. AD 110-115), which in turn provided the historical basis for Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. (222)

Cicero’s Philippics (there are fourteen of them in existence, four dating from 44 and the rest from January to April 43) are more properly known as In Antonium (‘Against Antonius’). But in a lost letter to Brutus, Cicero jokingly suggested that they might be described as his ‘Philippics’, … The title Philippics is a reference to the four (extant) speeches which the Athenian orator Demosthenes composed against Philip II or Macedon between 351 and 340. Cicero’s Philippics, like those Demosthenes, set out to defend the freedom of the state against an aggressor who threatened it. … In choosing the title, Cicero did not mean to suggest any complex relationship between the two sets of speeches: all he was doing was making a light-hearted comparison between himself and Greece’s most famous orator. (223

To what fate of mine, conscript fathers, should I attribute the fact that, over the past twenty years, there has not been a single enemy of the state who did not at the same time declare was on me also? I need not name names: you will recall them yourselves. Those enemies paid me penalties greater than I would have wished: I am surprised, Antonius, that when you copy their deeds you do not also shudder at their ends. I was less surprised in the case of the others. After all, none of them set out to become my enemy: in each case, it was because they attacked the state that they encountered my opposition. You, on the other hand, though I had never said so much as a word against you, attacked me with unprovoked abuse—so you could present yourself as more reckless than Catiline, more demented than Clodius; and you calculated that your alienated from me would serve as a recommendation for you in the eyes of disloyal citizens. (opening, 229)

You said that you had declined to stand for the augurate as a favour to me. What astonishing effrontery, what outrageous cheek! (230)

But I was done a favour by you. And what favour was that? As it happens, I have always openly acknowledged what it is you are referring to: I have preferred to say that I am in your debt than let people who do not know any better suppose me ungrateful. But what was the favour? That you did not kill me at Brundisium? Could you in fact have killed a man whom the victor himself—who, as you used to boast, had made you the chief of his band of brigands—had wanted kept unharmed, and had actually ordered to go to Italy in the first place? … Under the circumstances, I should not have been so much pleased at not having been killed by you as dismayed that it was within your power to do so with impunity. [230] /
But let us agree to call it a favour, since brigands cannot grant anything greater: where can you say I have been ungrateful? Are you really saying that I should not have complained at the destruction of the state, in case I appeared to show you ingratitude? Yet in that complaint, sorrowful and grief-stricken as it was—but also necessary for me to make, in view of this rank in which the senate and people of Rome have placed me—did I say anything offensive, did I say anything intemperate, did I say anything unfriendly? What self-control it required, when complaining about Marcus Antonius, to refrain from abuse—particularly when you had scattered to the winds the last remnants of the state; when at your house everything was up for sale in the most disgraceful of markets, when you admitted that laws that had never been promulgated had been enacted both by yourself and in your own interest; when as augur you had abolished the auspicies, and as consul the right of veto; when to you shame you were going around with an armed escort; and when, worn out with wine and fornication, you daily indulged, within that shameless house of yours, in every type of pervasion. But I behaved instead as if my quarrel were with Marcus Crassus, with whom I have had many serious disagreements in my time, rather than with a supremely worthless gladiator: I made a deeply felt complaint about the state, but said not a word about the man. For this reason I will make him understand today how great was the favour that he on that occasion received from me. (231)

So much for his lack of manners: but look at his astonishing stupidity. What would you have to say to me in reply, O man of eloquence that you are— (231)

Come one, then, what would you have to say to me if I told you that I never sent you that letter in the first place? … For what could be less intelligent for any person—let alone an orator—than to bring up a point against his opponent which, if it were countered with a simple denial, could not be taken further? /
But as it happens I do not deny it—and on this issue I thereby prove you guilty not just of bad manners, but of madness. For is there a single word in that letter that does not betoken civility, respect, and goodwill? (232)

Conscript father, I have something to say in my own defence and much to say against Marcus Antonius. As to the former theme, I ask you to listen to me sympathetically as I defend myself; as to the latter, I shall myself make sure that you pay me close attention while I speak against him. At the same time I beg of you: if you agree that my whole life and particularly my public speaking have always been characterized by moderation and restraint, then please do not think that today, when I give this man the response he has provoked, I have forgotten my true nature. (232)

Lucius Caesar, your uncle… Although unrelated to him, I as consul accepted Caesar’s guidance—but did you, his sister’s son, ever ask his advice on any public matter at all? /
Immortal gods, whose advice, then, does he ask? Those fellows, I suppose, whose very birthdays we are made to hear announced. ‘Antonius is not appearing in public today.’ ‘Why ever not?’ ‘He is giving a birthday party at his house outside the city.’ ‘Who for?’ I will name no names: just imagine it’s now for some Phormio or other, now for Gnatho, now for Ballio even. What scandalous disgrace, what intolerable cheek, wickedness, and depravity! (234)

Your consulship, then, is a blessing, and mine was a curse. Have you so lost your sense of shame, together with your decency, that you dare to say such a thing in the very temple where I used to consult the senate in its days of greatness, when it rules the world—but where you have not stationed thugs armed with swords? (234)

But how did it occur to you to remind us that you were brought up in the house of Publius Lentulus? Was it that you were afraid we might find it impossible to believe that you could have turned out so bad by nature, unless nurture also were added? So obtuse were you that throughout your entire speech you were at issue with yourself, making statements that were not merely incoherent but actually inconsistent and incompatible: the result was that you seemed to be not so much in dispute with me as with yourself. You admitted that your stepfather was implicated in that terrible crime, and yet you complained that he was punished for it. (235)

Now here is a sign, I will not say of his impudence, since he wants to be called impudent, but of the last thing he wants to have ascribed to him, his stupidity—a quality in which he surpasses everyone else. … It is not impudence which causes you to make such shameless accusations, but your failure to see the extent to which you contradict yourself. (235)

But at one point you even attempted to be witty. Good gods, it didn’t suit you at all! You must carry some of the blame for this yourself—after all, you could always have borrowed some jokes from your actress wife. (236)

You dared to claim, and at enormous length too, that it was thanks to me that Pompeius was detached from Caesar’s friendship, and that it was therefore my fault that the Civil War happened. In this you were not entirely wrong; but you were wrong about the timing, and that is the most important thing. (237)

But all that is ancient history. Turning to the more recent past, you said that I instigated the killing of Caesar. On this I am afraid, conscript fathers, that you may think me guilty of the shocking offence of having arranged for a sham prosecutor to bring a charge against me—someone who would not only laud me with praises that rightfully belong to me but also load me with ones that properly belong to others. For who ever heard my name mentioned as one of the partners who carried out that glorious deed? [ Cicero was not let into the plot against Caesar: he was thought too old and timorous. His innocence is proved by letters (Fam. 10.28 and 12.4, both of c.2 February 43) that he later wrote to two of the conspirators, Trebonius and Cassius, in which he said that he wished they had invited him to the feast on the Ides of March, because then there would have been no leftovers (i.e. he would have insisted on Antony’s assassination as well). Note 25, page 324] (237)

And do you not understand, you utter moron, that if it were a crime to have wished Caesar dead, which is what you accuse me of, then it must also be a crime to have rejoiced once Caesar was dead? For what difference is there between someone who urges an action before it is done and someone who applauds it afterwards? What does it matter whether I wanted it done or was pleased that it had been done? Well then, is there anyone—besides those who were glad that he had turned into a king—who did not want this deed to happen, or failed to approve it afterwards? So all are guilty. All loyal citizens, so far as was in their power, killed Caesar. Not everyone had a plan, not everyone had the courage, not everyone had the opportunity—but everything had the will. (239)

Are you ever going to understand that you have got to make up your mind whether the men who carried out that deed are murderers or champions of freedom? /
Pay attention for a moment. Try to think like a man who is sober, just for a second. I am their friend, as I freely admit, their partner, as you accuse me of being; and I tell you that there is no middle way. If they are not liberators of the Roman people and saviours of the state, then I admit that they are worse than cut-throats, worse than murderers, worse even than parricides—if it is indeed a more wicked crime to kill the parent of one’s country than [239] one’s own parent. (240)

And yet, if it is a crime to have wished Caesar dead, then please consider, Antonius, what ought to happen to you. For everyone knows that you and Gaius Trebonius plotted to kill him at Narbo; … I forgive you for not acting. After all, the task called for a real man. (241)

You say I forfeited Pompeius’ goodwill because of the things I said. But was there anyone he was more fond of? Anyone he was more ready to talk to and discuss his plans with? this was indeed ‘great’, that we would disagree in politics and yet remain friends. … What that brilliant and almost superhuman man thought of me is known to those who accompanied him from Pharsalus to Paphos. He never mentioned my name except in the most honourable terms, … So do you have the impertinence to attack me in that man’s name, … (242)

You said that I never receive any inheritances. Would the charge were true! Then more of my friends and connections would still be alive. But what put it into your head to bring this up? after all, my accounts do in fact show that I have received more than twenty million sesterces in inheritances. But I concede that in this area you have been luckier than I. Me nobody made his heir unless he was a friend of mine; so that along with the material benefit, if there was any, there also came a degree of sadness. You, on the other hand, were the heir of Lucius Rubrius of Casinum, a man you never once set eyes on. And observe how fond of you he was, this man who could have been black or white as far as you knew. He passed over the son of his brother Quintus Fufius, an honourable Roman equestrian with whom he was on the best of terms, and the son whom he had publicly proclaimed as his heir he did not even name in his will. You, on the other hand, whom he had never seen, or at least never spoken to, he made his heir. Please tell me, if it is not too much trouble, what Lucius Turselius looked like, how tall he was, which town he came from, and which tribe. ‘I have no idea,’ you will say, ‘I only know what farms he owned.’ So that is why he disinherited his brother and made you his heir instead! Furthermore, Antonius seized many other private fortunes, the property of people he had nothing to do with, posing as their heir and using force to drive away the real heirs. (243)

Was it to formulate arguments such as these, you utter lunatic, that you spent day after day declaiming in a country house that rightfully belongs to someone else? Though, as your closest friends are always saying, the reason you declaim is to help you belch up your wine, not to sharpen your intelligence. (243)

I have now said as much as I need to in reply to his charges. But I still ought to say something about my censorious critic himself. I am not going to pour forth everything that could be said on the subject: after all, if we cross swords often, as we are bound to, I will always need to have fresh material. But even so, the sheer number of his crimes and misdemeanours affords me ample scope. (244)

Would you like us, then, to look at your record from your childhood onwards? Yes, I think so: let’s start at the beginning. Do you remember how when you were still a child you went bankrupt? ‘That was my father’s fault,’ you will say. I grant it: your is a model of filial duty! (244)

Then you assumed the toga of manhood—and immediately turned it into a toga of womanhood. [Roman boys wore the purple-bordered toga of boyhood until their mid-teens, when they formally changed it for the unbordered toga of manhood; but togas were also worn by female prostitutes. Cicero says that no sooner had Antony assumed the toga of manhood than he prostituted himself to other men, taking the dishonourable passive (female) role.] First you were a common prostitute: you had a fixed rate for your shameful services, and not a low one either. But soon Curio appeared on the scene. He saved you from having to support yourself as a prostitute, fitted you out in the dress of a married lady, as it were, and settled you in good, steady wedlock. No slave boy bought for sexual gratification was ever as much in his master’s power as you were in Curio’s. How man times did his father throw you out of his house! How many times did he post guards to stop you crossing his threshold! But you, with night to aid you, lust to drive you, and the prospect of payment to compel you, had yourself lowered in through the roof-tiles. Such disgrace that house could endure no longer. Are you aware that I am speaking about things of which I am exceptionally well informed? Cast your mind back to the time when the elder Curio was confined [244] to bed by his grief. The son threw himself in tears at my feet and asked me to help you out. He begged me to protect him from his father’s anger if he asked him for six million sesterces—that being the sum for which he said he had stood surety for you. As for himself, in the ardour of his passion he declared that he could not endure the pain of being separated from you, and would therefore take himself off into exile. How deep were the troubles of a flourishing family which I at that time laid to rest, or rather removed altogether! I persuaded the father to pay off his son’s debts; to use the family’s capital to redeem a young man of such promising character and abilities; and to assert his rights and powers as the head of the family to prevent his son not only from being a friend of yours, but even from seeing you. When you remembered that I was responsible for all of this, would you have dared to provoke me with your insults if you did not rely on the protection of those swords which we now see in front of us? (245)

…and even at that time he was up to something inside Clodius’ house—he knows very well what I am talking about. [Cicero insinuates that, during Clodius’ tribunate in 58, Antony committed adultery with Clodius’ wife Fulvia (whom he was much later to marry).] (245)

You returned from Gaul to stand for the quaetorship. I dare you to say that you called on your mother before coming to see me. I had received a letter from Caesar asking if I would accept your apologies, and so I did not allow you to say a single word on the subject of reconciliation. After that you paid me attentions, and I kept a lookout for you in your campaign for the quaetorship. It was then that you attempted to kill Publius Clodius in the forum before the approving eyes of the Roman people. Though you did this on your own initiative, and not on my prompting, you nevertheless declared that, as far as you were concerned, you would never make adequate amends for the wrongs you had done me unless you actually killed him. I am therefore astonished that you should now say that it was at my prompting that Milo carried out that deed, since when you offered me the same service on your own initiative I did nothing to encourage you. (246)

You were elected quaestor; then all of a sudden, without a decree of the senate, without the lots being drawn, without any legal justification, you ran off to Caesar [normally quaestors drew lots for their provinces. What seems to have happened in this case is that Caesar put in a special request for Antony, which was then approved by the senate, but not before Antony had departed. His haste would be explained by the revolt of Vercingetorix: he participated in the siege of Alesia.]. In your own view, once you had squandered all you had to live on, that was the only place in the world that could serve as a refuge for your poverty, debt, and profligacy. But once you had stuffed yourself there with Caesar’s largesse and your own plunderings—if you can call it stuffing, when you immediately throw up what you have just swallowed—you flew, destitute, to the tribunate, intending to conduct yourself in that magistracy, if at all possible, just as your husband had. [Antony was elected tribune for 49. As a magistrate in office, he would be immune from prosecution, and therefore safe, for the time being, from his creditors. Cicero says that he intended to behave as Curio had done in his tribunate in 50: Curio had gone over to Caesar in return for a bribe.] (246)

For some time now, the matter of that crime of yours has not been raised—but its memory is not erased. As long as the human race, as long as the name of the roman people shall endure—and that will be for ever, if you allow it—so long will that pestilential veto of yours be spoken of. (247)

It was you, yes, you, Marcus Antonius, who first gave Gaius Caesar, desperate as he was to wreak havoc, and excuse to make war on his country. (247)

How wretched you must be if you have grasped this! And more wretched still if you have not grasped that this is what is being recorded in history, this is what is being handed down to posterity, and this is what will be the recollection of every generation for the rest of time: that you were the sole cause of the consuls being driven out of Italy, … (248)

…it was Antonius who… it was Antonius who… it was Antonius who… Just as Helen was to Troy, so was he to this city both the cause of war and the bringer of pestilence and death. (248)

But let me tell you of a crime within a crime. (248)

You arrived at Brundisium, then, into the bosom and embrace of your little starlet. What’s wrong? Am I not telling the truth? How distressing it is to be unable to deny what is so disgraceful to admit! If you felt no shame before the people from the country towns, what about the army veterans? Was there a single soldier at Brundisium who did not catch sight of her? A single soldier who was not aware that she had traveled for days on end to bring you her congratulations? A single soldier who was not sickened to discover so late in the day what a worthless man he had followed? After that there was another trip through Italy, with the same actress in attendance. Soldiers were settled on the towns in an appallingly brutal fashion; and at Rome there was a hideous plundering of gold, silver, and especially—wine. (250)

But let us pass over these examples of a sturdy wickedness, and talk instead of a lightweight kind of worthlessness. You with that gullet of yours, that chest, that gladiator’s physique downed such a [250] quantity of wine at Hippias’ wedding that you were forced to throw up in full view of the Roman people—the next day. What a disgusting sight—disgusting even to hear of! Had this happened to you at dinner, as you knocked back bottle after bottle, is there anyone who would not have thought it outrageous? But at a gathering of the Roman people, while conducting public business, as Master of the Horse, when a mere belch would have been shocking, he vomited, filling his lap and the whole platform with morsels of food stinking of wine! But he himself concedes that this was among his grosser achievements. Let us move on, then, to his greater ones. (251)

Were you so overcome by doziness, then—or, to be more accurate, by insanity—as to purchase confiscated property (a man of your birth!), and the property of Pompeius too, without appreciating that it makes you accursed in the eyes of the Roman people, an object of detestation, and the enemy of all the gods and all mankind now and for ever more? But how presumptuous was the way in which this spendthrift immediately threw himself on the property of the man whose valour caused the name of Rome to fill foreign peoples with terror, but whose fairness cause it to fill them with love!
So, drenching himself with the wealth of that great man, he danced for joy, like a character from a play, ‘rags to riches’. But, as some poet has it: ‘Ill gotten, ill spent’ It is incredible and weird [251] how he squandered so much property in so few, I will not say months, but days. There was a vast quantity of wine, an enormous weight of the purest silver, valuable textiles, and a large store of elegant and beautiful furniture from numerous houses—the belongings not of a sybarite, but of a man of ample means. Within a few days, it had all gone. What Charybdis was ever so all-consuming? Charybdis did I say? If that ever existed, it was only a single creature. I call haven to witness that Ocean itself could scarcely have swallowed up so many things, so widely dispersed in places so far apart, in so short a time. Nothing was secured, nothing was kept under seal, nothing was catalogued. Whole cellars were given away to the most worthless individuals. Actors came and took what they liked, as did actresses. The house was packed with gamblers, filled with drunks. Drinking went on for days on ed, all over the place. (252)

But the house itself and the property outside the city—monstrous effrontery! Did you dare to enter that house, did you dare to cross its hallowed threshold, did you dare to show your revolting face before its household gods? For a long time no one could set eyes face before its household gods? For a long time no one could set eyes on that house, no one could pass it without weeping: are you not ashamed to have been a lodger in it all this time? After all, in spite of your own ignorance, there is nothing in it that can give you any pleasure. Or when you see those naval trophies in the forecourt, do you suppose it is your own house that you are entering? That is impossible. You may be without sense or feeling—indeed, you are—but you do at least recognize yourself, your own things, your own people. In fact, I do not believe that you can ever have a moment’s peace, awake or asleep. You may be crazed and violent—you are—but whenever you see a vision of that unique man, you must inevitably start in terror from your sleep, and often be driven insane when awake. (252)

At this point you took no part in that war, being too cowardly –and also too lustful. You had already tasted the blood of your fellow-citizens, or rather drunk deeply of it: you had fought at Pharsalus. [note: 331: i.e. at the end of 47, the point Cicero has reached. Caesar departed for Africa in December 47, but Antony stayed in Rome throughout the campaign. J. T. Ramsey (CQ, NS 54 (2004), 161-73) has shown that Antony must have failed to accompany Caesar not because he had fallen out with him, as was traditionally assumed, but because Caesar needed him for the vital task of breaking up and disposing of Pompey’s property in order to raise money for his troops.] (253)

As to your enquiry about the manner of my return, first of all it was in daylight, not under cover of dark; then it was in boots and a toga, not in slippers and a shawl. I can see you staring at me, and I can tell you are seething. But I am sure you would be friends with me again if you appreciated the shame I feel at your behavior—although you yourself feel no shame at it. Of all the most outrageous crimes, I have never seen or heard anything more disgraceful. Though you supposed yourself to have been Master of the Horse, though you were standing for the consulship (or rather asking Caesar for it) for the following year, nevertheless you raced through the towns and colonies of Gaul, the region where we used to campaign for the consulship in the days when that office was stood for and not asked for, in slippers and a shawl! (255)

Now recall his consulship from 1 January down to 15 March. Was any flunkey ever so subservient, so groveling? He could do nothing on his own initiative; he asked permission for everything; sticking his head into the back of his colleague’s litter, he would ask him for favours that he could then go on to sell. (257)

But I don’t want my speech to skip over the single most glorious of all the many exploits of Marcus Antonius; so let me come to the Lupercalia. He is not acting the innocent, conscript fathers: he looks embarrassed, and is sweating and pale. … Your colleague was sitting on the rostra, dressed in a purple toga, seated on a golden chair, a wreath upon his head. You climbed the steps, you approached the chair, a Lupercus (you were indeed a Lupercus—but you should have remembered that you were also a consul)—and you held out a diadem. Throughout the forum, there was an audible gasp. Where had you got the diadem from? You hadn’t just found it on the ground and picked it up: you had brought it with you—a deliberate, premeditated crime. You kept on trying to place the diadem on Caesar’s head, as the people shouted their disapproval; … But you even made a play for sympathy: you threw yourself as a suppliant at his feet. What were you begging for? To be a slave? You should have requested that role for yourself alone, you whose manner of living since your early years showed that you would submit to anything, would happily accept servitude. You certainly had no right to make the request on our behalf, or on that of the Roman people. What magnificent eloquence you displayed—when you addressed a public meeting in the nude! What could be more [258] disgraceful than this, what more disgusting, (259)

Caesar’s assination… What an escape you made on that glorious day, what terror you showed, and what little confidence you had that your own life would be spared, so conscious were you of your crimes! (259)

Where are the seven hundred million sesterces which appear in the accounts at the temple of Ops? This is money with a sad provenance, it is true; but if it is not to be returned to its original owners, it could be used to save us from having to pay tribute. But you, Antonius, were forty million sesterces in debt of 15 March. How was it, then, that you managed to become solvent again by 1 April? (262)

How many days you carried on your disgraceful orgies in that villa! From nine o’clock in the morning there was drinking, gambling, vomiting. Unhappy house, ‘how different a master’—although how was Antonius its master? How different an occupant, then! Marcus Varro kept that house as a retreat for study, not as a den of vice. Think of the things that used to be discussed, contemplated, and written down in that villa in former times: the laws of the Roman people, the records of our ancestors, every branch of philosophy and human knowledge. (265)

Why should I remind you of the threats and insults with which he attacked the Sidicini and bullied the people of Puteoli, because they had chosen Gaius Cassius and the Bruti as their patrons? (266)

So how are you going to reply? I am waiting to hear your eloquence. I knew your grandfather to be a fine speaker, but you have a still more open manner of speaking. After all, he never addressed a public meeting in the nude, whereas you, simple creature that you are, unburdened yourself before our very eyes! Are you going to reply to me? Are you going to dare open your mouth at all? Are you going to find a single point from this very lengthy speech of mine that you feel confident enough to answer? (267)

Why is the senate encircled by a ring of armed men? Why are your henchmen listening to me sword in hand? … The Roman people will snatch those arms and wrest them from your grasp. I only hpe we do not perish in the attempt! / But whatever you do to us, so long as you pursue your present policies, believe me, you cannot last long. … The Roman people have men to whom they can entrust the helm of the state: wherever in the world they are, there is the entire defence of the state… The state certainly has young men of the highest rank ready to fight in its defence. Let them stay away as long as they wish, in the interests of peace: the state will call them back. (268)

But just as people who suffer from the numbness of sensation brought on by a disease are incapable of tasting food, so, I am sure, the lustful, the greedy, and the criminal cannot savour real praise. All right then: if the prospect of praise cannot induce you to do right, cannot even fear call you away from your filthy actions? You are not afraid of the courts. If that is because you are innocent, then I approve. But if it is because you rely on violence, then you evidently do not appreciate that a person like that who has no fear of the courts has something else that he ought to be afraid of. And if you are not afraid of brave men and loyal citizens because they are kept from you by force of arms, then, believe me, your own supporters will not tolerate you for long. [even if you are not afraid of being assassinated by patriots, because you have henchmen to keep them at bay, you ought still to be afraid of being assassinated by your own supporters, as happened to Caesar] (269)

Look back, I ask you, Marcus Antonius, look back on your country. Think of the people from whom you are sprung, not of those with whom you live. With me, do as you will: only make your peace with your country. But that is for you; I shall speak for myself. I defended this country when I was a young man: I shall not desert it now that I am old. I faced down the swords of Catiline: I shall not flinch before yours. (270)

If nearly twenty years ago in this very temple I declared that death could not be untimely for a man who had reached the consulship, with how much more truth could I now say ‘for an old man’? in fact, for me, conscript fathers, death is actually desirable now that I have discharged the responsibilities of the offices I attained and completed the tasks I undertook. Two things alone I long for: first, that when I die I may leave the Roman people free—the immortal gods could bestow on me no greater blessings; and second, that each person’s fate may reflect the way he has behaved towards his country. [on December 63, in the debate on the Catilinarian conspirators; cf. Cat. 4.3 ‘For a man of courage, death cannot be shameful; for a man who has reached the consulship, it cannot be untimely; and for a wise man, it cannot be pitiable.’] (339)


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