Inspired by a rather amusing collection of Classics-themed Halloween costumes, I have been wondering what might put the scare into ancient Greeks and Romans. One answer was easy. Well, if you trust what Marcus says in his speeches…
Cicero calls lots of people monsters (immanis, belva, monstrum) but his favorite beast to burden is Marcus Antonius. Here is a sampling of the monstrous things he says about him.
“Your affair, Romans, is not with a criminal and evil man, but with a twisted, enormous beast who should be overcome now that he has fallen in a trap.
Non est vobis res, Quirites, cum scelerato homine ac nefario, sed cum immani taetraque belua quae, quoniam in foveam incidit, obruatur.
“Beware lest you allow this twisted and pestilential beast who has been constrained by labors.”
taetram et pestiferam beluam ne inclusam et constrictam dimittatis cavete.
Philippic 13. 21
“Who was ever such a barbarian, such a beast, such an animal?”
Quis tam barbarus umquam, tam immanis, tam ferus?
“But who can bear this most twisted beast, or how could they? What exists in Antonius apart from lust, cruelty, immaturity, and arrogance?”
Hanc vero taeterrimam beluam quis ferre potest aut quo modo? Quid est in Antonio praeter libidinem, crudelitatem, petulantiam, audaciam?
“Since you were also accustomed to complain about a person, what do you think you would do about a beast?”
Quin etiam de illo homine queri solebas: quid te facturum de belua putas?