Fragmentary Friday: Cicero Tricked Us All!

Fragments of Cicero’s Letters to Brutus  in Quintilian (Taken from LCL 462)

Or. Inst. 3.8.41

“Cicero might be able to absolve me when he writes to Brutus with the suggestion of many things which could be used to advise Caesar:

“Would I be a good man, if I counseled him? Not at all—for an advisor’s goal should be to be useful to the person he advises. But the advice should also be right–Who denies it? But there is not always room for what is right when giving advice”

Poterat me liberare Cicero, qui ita scribit ad Brutum praepositis plurimis quae honeste suaderi Caesari possint: simne bonus vir, si haec suadeam? minime; suasoris enim finis est utilitas eius cui quisque suadet. at recta sunt. Quis negat? sed non est semper rectis in suadendo locus

8.3.6

“Cicero correctly puts it in these very words in some letter to Brutus: “For I do not think that eloquence which does not provoke wonder is eloquence at all”

Recteque Cicero his ipsis ad Brutum verbis quadam in epistula scribit: nam eloquentiam quae admirationem non habet nullam iudico

 

8.6.20

“When Cicero was writing to Brutus he said this much about himself: “I have tricked the people and seem to be an orator!”

Cicero ad Brutum populo, inquit, imposuimus et oratores visi sumus, cum de se tantum loqueretur

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Burney 157  f. 121v (British Library)

The Ideal Statesman and Pompey’s True Aims

To Atticus, Ep.  8.11 (27 Feb 49)

“I believe it is in his fifth book that Scipio says ‘Just as a favorable trip is a captain’s task, health is the doctor’s, victory is the generals, the duty of the leader of a state is the happy life of its citizens: strength for their safety, abundance for their goods, fame for their self-worth, and truth for their virtue. I wish for the accomplishment of the best men among us to be this.’

‘Our’ Gnaeus has never before thought about this, nor now in the present affair at all. Domination has been sought by both of them—nothing has been done for the happiness and honesty of the state. [Pompey] did not leave the city because he could not defend it nor Italy because he was driven away, but from the beginning he planned to attack every land and sea, to annoy foreign kings, and to bring alien peoples to Italy in arms—to raise the largest armies. He has been salivating for a long time for that type of Sullan rule—and many who follow him long for it to. Do you believe that there was no way for them to come to an agreement, that no pact was possible? It is possible today, but neither man cares whether we are happy. Both want to rule.”

nam sic quinto, ut opinor, in libro loquitur Scipio: ‘ut enim gubernatori cursus secundus, medico salus, imperatori victoria, sic huic moderatori rei publicae beata civium vita proposita est, ut opibus firma, copiis locuples, gloria ampla, virtute honesta sit; huius enim operis maximi inter homines atque optimi illum esse perfectorem volo.’ hoc Gnaeus noster cum antea numquam tum in hac causa minime cogitavit. dominatio quaesita ab utroque est, non id actum, beata et honesta civitas ut esset. nec vero ille urbem reliquit quod eam tueri non posset nec Italiam quod ea pelleretur, sed hoc a primo cogitavit, omnis terras, omnia maria movere, reges barbaros incitare, gentis feras in Italiam armatas adducere, exercitus conficere maximos. genus illud Sullani regni iam pridem appetitur, multis qui una sunt cupientibus. an censes nihil inter eos convenire, nullam pactionem fieri potuisse? hodie potest. sed neutri σκοπὸς est ille, ut nos beati simus; uterque regnare vult.

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Marcus Writes His Wife and Almost Sounds Human

Cicero to his Wife, Ep. 14.4 (29 April 58 BCE)

“You encourage me to be brave and have hope of recuperating my safety—and I wish that the situation were so that we might rightly hope. For now, when may miserable me expect your letters? Who will carry them to me? I would have awaited them at Brundisium if the sailors had allowed it, though they did not wish to await a storm.

Whatever remains, endure with all of your great dignity, my Terentia. We have lived and flourished. It was not vice but virtue which has afflicted us! Nothing has been done wrong, other than not losing life with its accessories. But if this was better for our children, that we live, we will endure what remains even if they should not be endured. And, yet, as I urge you to stand firm, I cannot convince myself.”

 

Tu quod me hortaris ut animo sim magno et spem habeam reciperandae salutis, id velim sit eius modi ut recte sperare possimus. nunc miser quando tuas iam litteras accipiam? quis ad me perferet? quas ego exspectassem Brundisi si esset licitum per nautas, qui tempestatem praetermittere noluerunt.

Quod reliquum est, sustenta te, mea Terentia, ut potes honestissime. viximus, floruimus; non vitium nostrum sed virtus nostra nos adflixit. peccatum est nullum, nisi quod non una animam cum ornamentis amisimus. sed si hoc fuit liberis nostris gratius, nos vivere, cetera, quamquam ferenda non sunt, feramus. atqui ego, qui te confirmo, ipse me non possum.

 

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Writing for What Audience? Cicero on the Middle(brow?)

[Marcus Varro is the speaker in this excerpt]

Cicero, Academica 1.4

“Because I recognized that philosophy had been most expertly explored in the Greek language, I believed that anyone from Rome who was inclined toward the subject would prefer to read it in Greek, if they were educated in Greek doctrines. If they shuddered at Greek arts and learning, they would not be interested in those very matters which could not be understood without Greek. So, I did not want to write what the unlearned could not understand or what the learned would not care to.”

Nam cum philosophiam viderem diligentissime Graecis litteris explicatam, existimavi si qui de nostris eius studio tenerentur, si essent Graecis doctrinis eruditi, Graeca potius quam nostra lecturos; sin a Graecorum artibus et disciplinis abhorrerent, ne haec quidem curaturos quae sine eruditione Graeca intellegi non possunt; itaque ea nolui scribere quae nec indocti intellegere possent nec docti legere curarent.

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Feats of Mind Beat Feats of Strength

Sallust, War with Catiline 1.1 

“All men who desire to be better than the rest of the animals should try with all their strength not to move through life in silence like cattle, creatures nature has made low and slaves to their stomachs. But all our ability resides in either mind or body: we use the mind to rule and the body as its servant; one is our common ground with the gods, the other with the beasts. For this reason, it seems better to me to seek glory through feats of intelligence instead of strength. And, since the life we experience is brief, to fashion for it a remembrance that is as robust as possible. For, while the fame of riches and beauty is fickle and weak, excellence is bright and eternal.”

 

Omnis homines, qui sese student praestare ceteris animalibus, summa ope niti decet, ne vitam silentio transeant veluti pecora, quae natura prona atque ventri oboedientia finxit. 2 Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est: animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est. 3 Quo mihi rectius videtur ingeni quam virium opibus gloriam quaerere et, quoniam vita ipsa, qua fruimur, brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxume longam efficere. 4 Nam divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habetur.

Money-Lenders are Twice as Bad as Thieves (or, Cato the Elder loves Farming)

Palaiophron, well into his first month teaching Latin at a new high school, told me that he feels like Cato at times when considering “kids today”. Here’s the introduction to Marcus Porcius Cato’s De Agri Cultura (Praefatio). (He was a censor, by the way. This makes censorious make sense…)

“It is in fact true that one may make a living by trade, if it were less dangerous, or even by money-lending, if it were honorable. Our forefathers thought this way and enshrined it in the laws to indemnify a thief doubly and a usurer by a factor of four. How much they considered a money-lender worse than a thief can be seen from this fact. When they used to praise a man as good, they would praise him by calling him a good farmer, a good land-owner—it was thought that to be praised in this way was the most impressive compliment. I think that the trader is a vigorous man, serious about making money; but, as I said above, this is dangerous and calamitous. No, the bravest men and the strongest soldiers are born from farms—their way is the most dutiful, the most stable, the least susceptible to envy and those who pursue this way of life are also least likely to be depressed. Now, that I may return to the subject at hand, what I have said will serve as a basic introduction to my project.”

Est interdum praestare mercaturis rem quaerere, nisi tam periculosum sit, et item foenerari, si tam honestum. Maiores nostri sic habuerunt et ita in legibus posiverunt: furem dupli condemnari, foeneratorem quadrupli. Quanto peiorem civem existimarint foeneratorem quam furem, hinc licet existimare. Et virum bonum quom laudabant, ita laudabant: bonum agricolam bonumque colonum; amplissime laudari existimabatur qui ita laudabatur. Mercatorem autem strenuum studiosumque rei quaerendae existimo, verum, ut supra dixi, periculosum et calamitosum. At ex agricolis et viri fortissimi et milites strenuissimi gignuntur, maximeque pius quaestus stabilissimusque consequitur minimeque invidiosus, minimeque male cogitantes sunt qui in eo studio occupati sunt. Nunc, ut ad rem redeam, quod promisi institutum principium hoc erit.

If Any People Can Claim to Be Descended from Gods…(Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, Praefatio 7-9)

“What conditions existed before the founding of the city or when it was being built are passed down as the fanciful tales of poets rather than the tested truths of history; and it is not my plan to confirm or refute them. It is the license of the ancient past to make the city more prominent by mixing human origins with the divine. And if it is permitted for any people to claim their own origins as sacred and to make their founders gods, then the glory of the Roman people in war is so great that, when they claim that most powerful Mars is the father of their own founder, surely the races of man can endure it as easily as they do Roman empire.”

Quae ante conditam condendamve urbem poeticis magis decora fabulis quam incorruptis rerum gestarum monumentis traduntur, ea nec adfirmare nec refellere in animo est. Datur haec venia antiquitati ut miscendo humana divinis primordia urbium augustiora faciat; et si cui populo licere oportet consecrare origines suas et ad deos referre auctores, ea belli gloria est populo Romano ut cum suum conditorisque sui parentem Martem potissimum ferat, tam et hoc gentes humanae patiantur aequo animo quam imperium patiuntur

The Consolation of Ancient History (Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, Praefatio 1)

“If I am going to complete something worth its effort as I record the tale of the Roman people from the beginning I do not know clearly; if I knew, I would not dare to say—since I have observed that this subject is of some antiquity and well-worn thanks to every new generation of authors who believe that they can establish something more certain in the events themselves or that they can improve upon rough antiquity by their skill in writing. However this turns out, it will be sufficient for me to have used my strength to make a record of the deeds of the planet’s foremost people. If my repute fades into obscurity among such a crowd of writers, I will be consoled by the nobility and greatness of those whose names precede me.

The subject, furthermore, is a tremendous undertaking, one that must be traced back over seven hundred years and which, though based in rather modest beginnings, has increased to such a size that it strains under its own weight. I also doubt that, for most readers, the first periods and the times near them will offer much in the way of pleasure; instead readers will rush to recent affairs during which a people who have long been powerful are bringing themselves to ruin. In contrast, I seek out a somewhat different reward for my labor: whenever I can turn my mind to these ancient affairs, I distract it from all the troubles which our age has been witnessing for years for as long as I contemplate the bygone days. Even if I cannot hide from the truth, since the mind of the historian mulls over every concern, it nevertheless brings some solace.”

 

Facturusne operae pretium sim si a primordio urbis res populi Romani perscripserim nec satis scio nec, si sciam, dicere ausim, quippe qui cum veterem tum volgatam esse rem videam, dum novi semper scriptores aut in rebus certius aliquid allaturos se aut scribendi arte rudem vetustatem superaturos credunt. Utcumque erit, iuvabit tamen rerum gestarum memoriae principis terrarum populi pro virili parte et ipsum consuluisse; et si in tanta scriptorum turba mea fama in obscuro sit, nobilitate ac magnitudine eorum me qui nomini officient meo consoler. Res est praeterea et immensi operis, ut quae supra septingentesimum annum repetatur et quae ab exiguis profecta initiis eo creverit ut iam magnitudine laboret sua; et legentium plerisque haud dubito quin primae origines proximaque originibus minus praebitura voluptatis sint, festinantibus ad haec nova quibus iam pridem praevalentis populi vires se ipsae conficiunt: ego contra hoc quoque laboris praemium petam, ut me a conspectu malorum quae nostra tot per annos vidit aetas, tantisper certe dum prisca [tota] illa mente repeto, avertam, omnis expers curae quae scribentis animum, etsi non flectere a uero, sollicitum tamen efficere posset.

Semantic Change and the Challenges of Linguistics: Varro, On the Latin Language, V.2-3

Varro, On the Latin Language, V 2-3

“…The first part, where we consider why and from where words develop, The Greeks call etymology; the second part is semantics. I will speak of these two categories in the following books together but more sparingly of the second.

These things are often rather obscure because every word that has been used does not still exist; the charge of time has made some forgotten. Moreover, every word that still exists, since it may be subject to misuse (applied incorrectly, for example) may not be wholly the same (since many words are altered by changes in spelling). And not every word has its origin from roots based in our own language. Many words indicate a different thing now from what they used to mean: for example, hostis (“enemy”). For, people who used this word in the past meant a foreigner who followed his own native laws; now when they use it they mean what used to be called perduellem (“enemy”).”

priorem illam partem, ubi cur et unde sint verba scrutantur, Graeci vocant etymologian, illam alteram peri semainomenon. De quibus duabus rebus in his libris promiscue dicam, sed exilius de posteriore.

Quae ideo sunt obscuriora, quod neque omnis impositio verborum exstat, quod vetustas quasdam delevit, nec quae exstat sine mendo omnis imposita, nec quae recte est imposita, cuncta manet (multa enim verba litteris commutatis sunt interpolata), neque omnis origo est nostrae linguae e vernaculis verbis, et multa verba aliud nunc ostendunt, aliud ante significabant, ut hostis: nam tum eo verbo dicebant peregrinum qui suis legibus uteretur, nunc dicunt eum quem tum dicebant perduellem.

The Challenges of Etymology and Historical Linguistics: Varro, On the Latin Language, V. 5

“The passing of time degrades most things; it destroys many. The man you saw as a handsome boy you find distorted in old age. A third generation does not see the same man the first witnessed For this reason, the things which memory has stolen from our forebears, despite the work of Mucius and Brutus to track the fugitives down, cannot be brought back. If I am not able to track things down, I will not be slower because of it, but quicker in pursuit if possible. For the shadows in the forests where these things must be sought are not modest and there are no worn paths to the places we want to pursue—and, certainly, no few obstacles which may stand in the tracker’s way.”

Vetustas pauca non depravat, multa tollit. Quem puerum vidisti formosum, hunc vides deformem in senecta. Tertium seculum non videt eum hominem quem vidit primum. Quare illa quae iam maioribus nostris ademit oblivio, fugitiva secuta sedulitas Muci et Bruti retrahere nequit. Non, si non potuero indagare, eo ero tardior, sed velocior ideo, si quivero. Non mediocres enim tenebrae in silva ubi haec captanda neque eo quo pervenire volumus semitae tritae, neque non in tramitibus quaedam obiecta quae euntem retinere possent.

Marcus Terentius Varro was a Roman scholar who lived from the time of the Gracchi until after the Battle of Actium (116 BC to 27). He wrote 25 books on the Latin language, of which we have barely 20%