A Pirate Orator! A Late-Arriving Orphan! Slandering Cicero…

I had coffee with a wonderful Cicero scholar today. I went home to find something cool by Cicero to post but then I read this:

Pseudo-Sallust, Against Cicero

“I would have a hard time enduring your attacks with a level mind, Marcus Tullius, if I believed that this petulance of yours came from good judgment rather than a sick mind. But, since I discover in you neither balance nor modesty, I will answer you just so you may lose the pleasure you get from slandering someone when you are slandered yourself.

Where shall I complain, whom shall I address, Senators, to tell that the Republic is being divided up as booty for any kind of daring pirate? Can I call to the Roman people, the people who are so corrupted by expenditures that they offer themselves and their fortunes for sale? Can I call to you, Senators, whose authority is a joke to any of the foulest and most criminal—especially when Marcus Tullius defends the laws, the courts, and the Republic and lords over this order as if he were the last scion of a famous family of Scipio Africanus and not some orphan citizen, just recently rooted in this city?

Come on, Marcus—aren’t your words and deeds perfectly clear? Haven’t you lived in such a way from boyhood that you believed that there was nothing sinful which anyone could do to your body? Or, I guess you did not develop this excessive elegance of yours with Marcus Piso by offering up your shame? It is thus hardly a wonder that you sell it so criminally since you won it so disgustingly.”

[The text goes on to insult Cicero’s wife, daughter, his relationship with Crassus and more…Many apologies to anyone who cares for Cicero, I have a weakness for excessive Latin invective…and Cicero did too…]

Graviter et iniquo animo maledicta tua paterer,M. Tulli, si te scirem iudicio magis quam morbo animi petulantia ista uti. Sed cum in te neque modum neque modestiam ullam animadverto, respondebo tibi ut si quam male dicendo voluptatem cepisti, eam male audiendo amittas.

Ubi querar, quos implorem, patres conscripti, diripi rem publicam atque audacissimo cuique esse praedae? apud populum Romanum? qui ita largitionibus corruptus est, ut se ipse ac fortunas suas venales habeat. an apud vos, patres conscripti? quorum auctoritas turpissimo cuique et sceleratissimo ludibrio est; ubi M. Tullius leges, iudicia, rem publicam defendit atque in hoc ordine ita moderatur quasi unus reliquus e familia viri clarissimi, Scipionis Africani, ac non reperticius, accitus, ac paulo ante insitus huic urbi civis.

An vero, M. Tulli, facta tua ac dicta obscura sunt? an non ita a pueritia vixisti ut nihil flagitiosum corpori tuo putares quod alicui collibuisset? aut scilicet istam immoderatam eloquentiam apud M. Pisonem non pudicitiae iactura perdidicisti! itaque minime mirandum est quod eam flagitiose venditas quam turpissime parasti.


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