Give Me The Books! Legacy Hunter, Bibliophile Edition

Cicero to Atticus, 1.20 12 May 60

“Now, so I might return to my own affair, Lucius Papirius Paetus, a good man and my fan, has set aside as a gift for me the books which Servius Claudius left. Because your friend Cincius informed me that it is permitted thanks to the Lex Cincias for me to take them, I told him happily that I would accept the books if he brought them to me. Now, if you care for me and you know that I care for you too, please endeavor through your friends, clients, guests even your freedmen and slaves if necessary, to ensure that not even a page is lost.

For I seriously need both the Greek books—which I have an idea about—and the Latin ones—which I know that he left. Day-by-day I find rest for myself in these books in whatever time is left for me from my political work. I will be really, really thankful if you would be as diligent in this as you are usually in the affairs which you understand concern me deeply. I also entrust to you Paetus’ personal business, concerning which he owes you the greatest thanks. And I not only ask but I even implore you to visit us soon.”

7 Nunc ut ad rem meam redeam, L. Papirius Paetus, vir bonus amatorque noster, mihi libros eos quos Ser. Claudius reliquit donavit. cum mihi per legem Cinciam licere capere Cincius amicus tuus diceret, libenter dixi me accepturum si attulisset. nunc si me amas, si te a me amari scis, enitere per amicos, clientis, hospites, libertos denique ac servos tuos, ut scida ne qua depereat. nam et Graecis iis libris quos suspicor et Latinis quos scio illum reliquisse mihi vehementer opus est. ego autem cottidie magis quod mihi de forensi labore temporis datur in iis studiis conquiesco. per mihi, per, inquam, gratum feceris si in hoc tam diligens fueris quam soles in iis rebus quas me valde velle arbitraris, ipsiusque Paeti tibi negotia commendo, de quibus tibi ille agit maximas gratias, et ut iam invisas nos non solum rogo sed etiam suadeo.

 

Cicero might be a bit of a bibliomaniac. We have posted earlier about his letter to his brother, asking for books. He describes returning home as a reunion with his books. (Vergerio riffs on this) Petrarch seems to have contracted a similar disease. (Really, he was incurable.)

Antiquity had an apocryphal moral argument about Cicero earning his life in exchange for burning his books.

And although Mark Tully is all about giving books, he’s not much into lending them:

Letters to Atticus, 8

“Beware of lending your books to anyone; save them for me, as you write that you will. The greatest excitement for them has gripped me, along with a contempt for everything else.”

libros vero tuos cave cuiquam tradas; nobis eos, quem ad modum scribis, conserva. summum me eorum studium tenet, sicut odium iam ceterarum rerum.

Cicero, Always Chirping about the Ides of March

Earlier in the Month I posted some of Cicero’s comments about the Ides of March to Brutus. Here is a letter from Brutus complaining about Cicero.

Letters: Brutus to Atticus, I.17

“You write to me that Cicero is amazed that I say nothing about his deeds. Since you are hassling me, I will write you what I think thanks to your coaxing.

I know that Cicero has done everything with the best intention. What could be more proved to me than his love for the republic? But certain things seem to me, what can I say, that the most prudent man has acted as if inexperienced or ambitiously, this man who was not reluctant to take on Antony as an enemy when he was strongest?

I don’t know what to write to you except a single thing: the boy’s desire and weakness have been increased rather than repressed by Cicero and that he grinds on so far in his indulgence that he does not refrain from invectives that rebound in two ways. For he too has killed many and he must admit that he is an assassin before what he objects to Casca—in which case he acts the part of Bestia to Casca—

Or because we are not tossing about every hour the Ides of March the way he always has the Nones of December in his mouth, will Cicero find fault in the most noble deed from a better vantage point than Bestia and Clodius were accustomed to insult his consulship?

Our toga-clad friend Cicero brags that he has stood up to Antony’s war. How does it profit me if the cost of Antony defeated is the resumption of Antony’s place?  Or if our avenger of this evil has turned out to be the author of another—an evil which has a foundation and deeper roots, even if we concede <whether it is true or not> those things which he does come from the fact that he either fears tyranny or Antony as a tyrant?

 But I don’t have gratitude for anyone who does not protest the situation itself provided only that he serves one who is not raging at him. Triumphs, stipends, encouragement with every kind of degree so that it does not shame him to desire the fortune of the man whose name he has taken—is that a mark of a Consular man, of a Cicero?

1Scribis mihi mirari Ciceronem quod nihil significem umquam de suis actis; quoniam me flagitas, coactu tuo scribam quae sentio.

Omnia fecisse Ciceronem optimo animo scio. quid enim mihi exploratius esse potest quam illius animus in rem publicam? sed quaedam mihi videtur—quid dicam? imperite vir omnium prudentissimus an ambitiose fecisse, qui valentissimum Antonium suscipere pro re publica non dubitarit inimicum? nescio quid scribam tibi nisi unum: pueri et cupiditatem et licentiam potius esse irritatam quam repressam a Cicerone, tantumque eum tribuere huic indulgentiae ut se maledictis non abstineat iis quidem quae in ipsum dupliciter recidunt, quod et pluris occidit uno seque prius oportet fateatur sicarium quam obiciat Cascae quod obicit et imitetur in Casca Bestiam. an quia non omnibus horis iactamus Idus Martias similiter atque ille Nonas Decembris suas in ore habet, eo meliore condicione Cicero pulcherrimum factum vituperabit quam Bestia et Clodius reprehendere illius consulatum soliti sunt?

Sustinuisse mihi gloriatur bellum Antoni togatus Cicero noster. quid hoc mihi prodest, si merces Antoni oppressi poscitur in Antoni locum successio et si vindex illius mali auctor exstitit alterius fundamentum et radices habituri altiores, si patiamur, ut iam <dubium sit utrum>ista quae facit dominationem an dominum [an] Antonium timentis sint? ego autem gratiam non habeo si quis, dum ne irato serviat, rem ipsam non deprecatur. immo triumphus et stipendium et omnibus decretis hortatio ne eius pudeat concupiscere fortunam cuius nomen susceperit, consularis aut Ciceronis est?

Image result for Ancient Roman Cicero

 

Cicero, Opportunist or Hypocrite

This is the rhetorical climax of a fragmentary speech, the beginning of which I posted last month.

Pseudo-Sallust, Against Cicero

“I ask you, Arpinian Romulus, you who have outpaced all the Pauli, Fabii and Scipios with your exceptional virtue, what place then do you possess in this state? What faction of the republic pleases you? Who is your friend, who is your enemy? The one against whom you intrigued in the state, now you’re his errand boy. You attack the man who demanded that you come back from exile in Dyrrachium. The men you used to call tyrants, now you uphold their power; those who seemed optimates to you before you now call rash psychopaths. You argue cases for Vatinius; you think poorly of Sestius. You assail Bibulus with the most childish words while you praise Caesar. You most sedulously serve the man you hate most! You stand believing one thing and then sit thinking something different about the republic. You slander some, you hate others. You move lightly, keeping your promise neither here nor there.”

Oro te, Romule Arpinas, qui egregia tua virtute omnis Paulos, Fabios, Scipiones superasti, quem tandem locum in hac civitate obtines? quae tibi partes rei publicae placent? quem amicum, quem inimicum habes? cui in civitate insidias fecisti, <ei>17 ancillaris. quo auctore18 de exsilio tuo Dyrrachio redisti, eum <in>sequeris. quos tyrannos appellabas, eorum potentiae faves; qui tibi ante optimates videbantur, eosdem dementes ac furiosos vocas. Vatini causam agis, de Sestio male existimas. Bibulum petulantissimis verbis laedis, laudas Caesarem. quem maxime odisti, ei maxime obsequeris. aliud stans, aliud sedens sentis de re publica. his male dicis, illos odisti, levissime transfuga, neque in hac neque in illa parte fidem

Image result for Cicero

Working, Sleeping, Coming Back: Some Plautine Fragments

Plautus, Addictus

“I really prefer work more than sleeping…”

opus facere nimio quam dormire mauolo:

 

Boeotia, fr 1

“I hope the gods destroy the guy who invented hours”

par ut illum di perdant, primus qui horas repperit

 

Commorientes

“I’d jump headfirst into a well…”

saliam in puteum praecipes

 

Frivolaria, fr. 6

“You should do what you do eagerly, not by force!”

naue agere oportet quod agas, non ductarier.

 

Uncertain

Fr. 12

“Despite his age and gray hair, he’s a fool”

stultus est aduorsum aetatem et capitis canitudinem.

 

Fr. 42

“Why are you muttering and torturing yourself?”

quid murmurillas tecum et te discrucias?

 

fr. 47

“Be my enemy until I come back”

 inimicus esto, donicum ego reuenero

Image result for Ancient Roman Comedy

 

Saving Your Country: Vengeance and History in the Fragments of Cornelius Nepos

Cornelius Nepos, Fragments

Fragment 1.1 The following is allegedly from a letter by Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi to her remaining son

“You may say that it is a fine thing to take vengeance from your enemies. Indeed, that seems neither greater nor finer to anyone than to me, if it can be achieved while the republic is kept safe. But since this cannot happen, may our enemies not perish for a long time—may they stay as they are now—rather than our country meet ruin and destruction”

Dices pulchrum esse inimicos ulcisci. Id neque maius neque pulchrius cuiquam atque mihi esse videtur, sed si liceat re publica salva ea persequi. Sed quatenus id fieri non potest, multo tempore multisque partibus inimici nostri non peribunt, atque uti nunc sunt erunt potius quam res publica profligetur atque pereat.

 

Fragment 2.1 Eulogy for Cicero

“You should not be ignorant of the fact that this genre of Latin literature is not only the only one that did not match Greece but was left altogether simplistic and incomplete with the death of Cicero. For he was  the only one who was able and likely to endow history with a worthy voice—since, he certainly polished the rough eloquence bequeathed by our forebears. He gave Latin philosophy, which was improper before, with his own style. From this I am unsure whether or not the republic or history was aggrieved more greatly by his passing.”

Non ignorare debes unum hoc genus Latinarum litterarum adhuc non modo non respondere Graeciae, sed omnino rude atque inchoatum morte Ciceronis relictum. Ille enim fuit unus qui potuerit et etiam debuerit historiam digna voce pronuntiare, quippe qui oratoriam eloquentiam rudem a maioribus acceptam perpoliverit, philosophiam ante eum incomptam Latinam sua confirmarit oratione. Ex quo dubito, interitu eius utrum res publica an historia magis doleat.

 

Image result for Ancient Rome Cornelius Nepos

Changing Tack: Cicero on Ends and Means in Politics

Ep. 20 (I.9) Cicero to Lentulus Spinther

“For I do not think it is necessary to fight against such powers nor to get rid of the precedence taken by our highest citizens, even if it were possible; nor do I think it necessary to affix myself to a single opinion when situations change and the desires of good men change with them—no, one must change with the times. Remaining in an permanent opinion has never been praised among exceptional men for the governing of the state. But, as in sailing it is good to get ahead of a storm even if you will not find the harbor; yet if you can make it to safe ground by changing your approach, only a fool would risk danger to hold to the course he began rather than make his destination by changing something. Thus, while all of us running the state should seek the proposition which I have often sought—peace with dignity—we should ensure not to speak the same but always to seek the same thing.”

  1. nam neque pugnandum arbitrarer contra tantas opes neque delendum, etiam si id fieri posset, summorum civium principatum <neque> permanendum in una sententia conversis rebus ac bonorum voluntatibus mutatis, sed temporibus adsentiendum. numquam enim <in>praestantibus in re publica gubernanda viris laudata est in una sententia perpetua permansio; sed ut in navigando tempestati obsequi artis est etiam si portum tenere non queas, cum vero id possis mutata velificatione adsequi stultum est eum tenere cum periculo cursum quem coeperis potius quam eo commutato quo velis tamen pervenire, sic, cum omnibus nobis in administranda re publica propositum esse debeat, id quod a me saepissime dictum est, cum dignitate otium, non idem semper dicere sed idem semper spectare debemus.
Image result for Medieval Manuscript Cicero

Burney 275

Advice for Candidates on Super Tuesday from Cicero

Quintus Tullius Cicero, On Electioneering 21-23

 

“There are three things that will guarantee votes in an election: favors, hope, and personal attachment. The trick is giving these incentives to the right people. People are led to believe that they have reasons for giving support at the polls for extremely small favors– and that significant number of people you have attracted will not fail to understand that if they do not do enough for you in this crisis, that they will never have anyone else’s trust. And even though this is true, they still require an appeal and must be allowed the opinion that they, who have to this point been obligated to us, may hold us similarly obligated to them.

The voters who are motivated by hope–a class of people which is much more diligent and serious–you must persuade them that your assistance is ready for them immediately and there should be no mistake in them noticing that you are paying attention to what service they perform for you.

The third class of people I have mentioned, those of sudden friends, you must make more loyal by expressing your gratitude by adapting your speeches to the very reasons they seem to be eager about your candidacy; by showing that you feel the same way about them; and by implying that this relationship may  grow into intimacy and long-term friendship.”

sed quoniam tribus rebus homines maxime ad benevolentiam atque haec suifragandi studia ducuntur, beneficio, spe, adiunctione animi ac voluntate, animadvertendum est quem ad modum cuique horum generi sit inserviendum. minimis beneficiis homines adducuntur ut satis causae putent esse ad studium suifragationis, nedum ii quibus saluti fuisti, quos tu habes plurimos, non intellegant, si hoc tuo tempore tibi non satis fecerint, se probatos nemini umquam fore. quod cum ita sit, tamen rogandi sunt atque etiam in hanc opinionem adducendi ut qui adhuc nobis obligati fuerint iis vicissim nos obligari posse videamur. [22] qui autem spe tenentur, quod genus hominum multo etiam est diligentius atque officiosius, iis fac ut propositum ac paratum auxilium tuum esse videatur, denique ut spectatorem te officiorum esse intellegant diligentem, ut videre te plane atque animadvertere quantum a quoque proficiscatur appareat. [23] Tertium illud genus est studiorum voluntarium, quod agendis gratiis, accommodandis sermonibus ad eas rationes, propter quas quisque studiosus tui esse videbitur, significanda erga illos pari voluntate, adducenda amicitia in spem familiaritatis et consuetudinis confirmari oportebit.

Quintus Tullius Cicero. For the full text of Commentariolum petitionis got to Perseus.

Quintus’ commentariolum petitionis shows that when it comes to politics there really is nothing new under the sun

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.

How Far Should Historical Analysis Go? Polybius on Rome

Polybius, Histories 3.4

“If it were possible to develop a sufficient analysis of whether or not men and states should be praised or criticized from only their victories and defeats, then I think I could stop here and end my investigation, and end the work at these most immediately narrated events, according to my original plan. For the fifty-three years end here which brought about the expansion and advance of Roman power. In later years, it seems it was agreed that it was necessary for everyone to heed the Romans and obey what they commanded.

But since evaluations of rulers and the conquered, if based merely on the contests themselves, are not at all complete—this is because what seems to many to be the greatest successes, if they are not used correctly, may bring the greatest disasters; and, in turn, the most shocking disasters at times can turn into the advantage of those who suffer them if they handle them well—we must add to the events that have been described the policy of the conquerors, what it was like after this and how they ruled in general, the various beliefs and evaluations of those who were ruled by them, and in addition to these things, I must investigate the actions and passions which overpowered and dominated men in their private lives and in their shared governments. It is obvious that it will be clear from these things whether the Roman rule should be avoided or instead should be sought and for future generations whether the Roman rule should be praised and envied or criticized. And this indeed will be the most useful contribution of my work both for the present day and years to come.”

Εἰ μὲν οὖν ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν κατορθωμάτων ἢ καὶ τῶν ἐλαττωμάτων ἱκανὴν ἐνεδέχετο ποιήσασθαι τὴν διάληψιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψεκτῶν ἢ τοὐναντίον ἐπαινετῶν
ἀνδρῶν καὶ πολιτευμάτων, ἐνθάδε που λήγειν ἂν ἡμᾶς ἔδει καὶ καταστρέφειν ἅμα τὴν διήγησιν καὶ τὴν πραγματείαν ἐπὶ τὰς τελευταίας ῥηθείσας πράξεις κατὰ τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς πρόθεσιν. ὅ τε γὰρ χρόνος ὁ πεντηκοντακαιτριετὴς εἰς ταῦτ’ ἔληγεν, ἥ τ’ αὔξησις καὶ προκοπὴ τῆς ῾Ρωμαίων δυναστείας ἐτετελείωτο· πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ὁμολογούμενον ἐδόκει τοῦτ’ εἶναι καὶ κατηναγκασμένον ἅπασιν ὅτι λοιπόν ἐστι ῾Ρωμαίων ἀκούειν καὶ τούτοις πειθαρχεῖν ὑπὲρ τῶν παραγγελλομένων.

ἐπεὶ δ’ οὐκ αὐτοτελεῖς εἰσιν οὔτε περὶ τῶν κρατησάντων (οὔτε περὶ τῶν) ἐλαττωθέντων αἱ ψιλῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν ἀγωνισμάτων διαλήψεις, διὰ τὸ πολλοῖς μὲν τὰ μέγιστα δοκοῦντ’ εἶναι τῶν κατορθωμάτων, ὅταν μὴ δεόντως αὐτοῖς χρήσωνται, τὰς μεγίστας ἐπενηνοχέναι συμφοράς, οὐκ ὀλίγοις δὲ τὰς ἐκπληκτικωτάτας περιπετείας, ὅταν εὐγενῶς αὐτὰς ἀναδέξωνται, πολλάκις εἰς τὴν τοῦ συμφέροντος περιπεπτωκέναι μερίδα, προσθετέον ἂν εἴη ταῖς προειρημέναις πράξεσι τήν τε τῶν κρατούντων αἵρεσιν, ποία τις ἦν μετὰ ταῦτα καὶ πῶς προεστάτει τῶν ὅλων, τάς τε τῶν ἄλλων ἀποδοχὰς καὶ διαλήψεις, πόσαι καὶ τίνες ὑπῆρχον περὶ τῶν ἡγουμένων, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις τὰς ὁρμὰς καὶ τοὺς ζήλους ἐξηγητέον, τίνες παρ’ ἑκάστοις ἐπεκράτουν καὶ κατίσχυον περί τε τοὺς κατ’ ἰδίαν βίους καὶ τὰς κοινὰς πολιτείας. δῆλον γὰρ ὡς ἐκ τούτων φανερὸν ἔσται τοῖς μὲν νῦν οὖσιν πότερα φευκτὴν ἢ τοὐναντίον αἱρετὴν εἶναι συμβαίνει τὴν ῾Ρωμαίων δυναστείαν, τοῖς δ’ ἐπιγενομένοις πότερον ἐπαινετὴν καὶ ζηλωτὴν ἢ ψεκτὴν γεγονέναι νομιστέον τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτῶν. ἀρχὴν αὐτῶν. τὸ γὰρ ὠφέλιμον τῆς ἡμετέρας ἱστορίας πρός τε τὸ παρὸν καὶ πρὸς τὸ μέλλον ἐν τούτῳ πλεῖστον κείσεται τῷ μέρει.

Sallust, War with Catiline 1.1: Feats of Mind Beat Feats of Strength

 

“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.

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