Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cicero: Catiline Has Left

Now, speaking to the citizens of Rome, rather than the Senate, Cicero informs to the Roman people that their wicked enemy Catiline has, at long last, fled from the city after making mischief, chaos, and threats. (Tandem aliquando, Quirites, L. Catilinam furentem audacia, scelus anhelantem, pestem patriae nefarie molientem,  vobis atque huic urbi ferro flammaque minitantem ex urbe vel eiecimus vel emisimus vel ipsum egredientem verbis prosecuti sumus.)

After discussing Catiline's flight, Cicero tells the Romans that by fleeing from Rome, Catiline not only admitted to his conspiracy, but also brought joy to Cicero by leaving the city walls.(Sed cur tam diu de uno hoste loquimur, et de eo hoste, qui iam fatetur se esse hostem, et quem, quia, quod semper volui, murus interest, non timeo;)

Cicero then begins to change the subject and focus on the fellow conspirators still remaining in Rome because their threat to the Republic of Rome is still very real. (de his, qui dissimulant, qui Romae remanent, qui nobiscum sunt, nihil dicimus?)

To seem merciful and caring, Cicero tells the Romans that he isn't going to punish these conspiring men, rather that he is going to heal both them and the Republic, for their own good. Cicero believes this can be done, but only if the conspirators will hear him out. (Quos quidem ego, si ullo modo fieri possit, non tam ulcisci studeo quam sanare sibi ipsos, placare rei publicae, neque, id quare fieri non possit, si me audire volent, intellego.)

To clarify the conspiracy, Cicero tells his people that Catilines "troops" were raised from a  variety of classes. (Exponam enim vobis, Quirites, ex quibus generibus hominum istae copiae comparentur;)

The first class included indebted high class men, who Cicero says should be feared the least. The second class of Catiline's conspirators included indebted men who strove for political control. The third class included elders from the colonies established by Roman general Sulla, who, like Catiline, had strong negative feelings towards Rome. The fourth class was made up of indebted, lazy, and worthless soldiers, who are by no means an immediate threat. The fifth class included murderers, assassins and criminals that outnumbered Cicero's power. The final class was made up of Catiline's personal friends, allies and acquaintances, who were directly rounded up by Catiline himself.

Cicero plans to heal these men from their wickedness with his words from his orations, rather than punishment. (deinde singulis medicinam consilii atque orationis meae, si quam potero, afferam)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cicero: Failure of the Plot

   In continuation to his denouncing oration, Cicero starts off with three frustrated rhetorical questions, an example of his common writing technique 2's & 3's. Cicero asks from the Senate where is it that they live and and what sort of state they have, as if all morality is gone. (O di inmortales! ubinam gentium sumus? in qua urbe vivimus? quam rem publicam habemus?)

    Cicero then accuses his senators, that there are men, here within the Senate, that dream of the destruction of both Rome, and the entire world. (Hic, hic sunt in nostro numero, patres conscripti, in hoc orbis terrae sanctissimo gravissimoque consilio, qui de nostro omnium interitu, qui de huius urbis atque adeo de orbis terrarum exitio cogitent!)

    As consul, Cicero sees these corrupt men and asks for their opinion of the Senate, in attempts to uncover their lies. (Hos ego video consul et de re publica sententiam rogo)

   Cicero believes that these men should be slaughtered with an iron sword, but he has yet to "wound them with his words", or scold them. (quos ferro trucidari oportebat, eos nondum voce volnero!)

    Directly at Catiline, Cicero accuses him of being at the house of Marcus Laecas, a fellow conspirator,  where they both plotted against Rome by dividing up parts of Italy, deciding who to leave in Rome and who to take with them, and also, establishing parts of Rome to destroy. (Fuisti igitur apud Laecam illa nocte, Catilina, distribuisti partes Italiae, statuisti, quo quemque proficisci placeret, delegisti, quos Romae relinqueres, quos tecum educeres, discripsisti urbis partes ad incendia, confirmasti te ipsum iam esse exiturum )

   According to Cicero, Catiline said that because Cicero himself was alive, he was worried that he had only a little delay left for his plot to take action. (dixisti paulum tibi esse etiam nunc morae, quod ego viverem)

   Cicero, now going into the details of the plot, tells Catiline that he is aware of the two Roman horsemen, sent by Catiline, that were to set him free of his worries, by killing him in his own bed just before dawn. (Reperti sunt duo equites Romani, qui te ista cura liberarent et sese illa ipsa nocte paulo ante lucem me in meo lectulo interfecturos esse pollicerentur)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cicero: Why Not Put Catiline To Death?


    As Catiline's conspiracy began to unravel before Rome's eyes, Roman Consul Cicero continues his oration, attacking his new enemy, by addressing Catiline's designated death, as well as how he himself plans to take action.
    Cicero continues his speech by stating that, as time wears on, specifically 20 days since the discovery of Catiline's plots, the authority of the senate is weakening. Cicero metaphorically compares the authority of the senate to a sword, both being strong and sharp. (At vero nos vicesimum iam diem patimur hebescere aciem horum auctoritatis.) 

    With a solution in mind, Cicero arouses the idea of the execution of Catiline, by rummaging up an old law within the "senatus consultum" (a text maintaining laws passable by Consul) which seemed to have lost effect over time. Cicero uses a simile to compare the senatus consultum, or the decree of the senate, to a sword that has been put away into a sheath, both being deadly yet concealed. (Habemus enim huiusce modi senatus consultum, verum inclusum in tabulis tamquam in vagina reconditum, quo ex senatus consulto confestim te interfectum esse, Catilina, convenit)
      Next, Cicero scolds Catiline, telling him that his life itself is meant to grow more powerful in corruption. (Vivis, et vivis non ad deponendam, sed ad confirmandam audaciam)

    Conflicted on the matter, Cicero asks the Senate not to look upon him as negligent on the matter, and that he himself condemns his lack of aggression and blames himself for his delay of action. (Cupio, patres conscripti, me esse clementem, cupio in tantis rei publicae periculis me non dissolutum videri, sed iam me ipse inertiae nequitiaeque condemno)

    Cicero then makes reference to Catiline's camps, which have been set up in Faesulae, Etruria, or modern day Fiesole, Italy, which was colonized by General Sulla with veterans, who under the leadership of Gaius Mallius, began support the Catiline Conspiracy. (Castra sunt in Italia contra populum Romanum in Etruriae faucibus conlocata)

    In agitation, Cicero tells the "Conscript Fathers", or the Senate, that day by day, the enemies of Rome are growing larger, and their leader, Catiline, is, surprisingly right here in Rome, plotting from within. (crescit in dies singulos hostium numerus; eorum autem castrorum imperatorem ducemque hostium intra moenia atque adeo in senatu videtis intestinam aliquam cotidie perniciem rei publicae molientem)

    Cicero fears that, if he does in fact kill Catiline, the Senate will say action has been done too late, and any commoner would say action has been done too cruelly. Yet Catiline justifies his hesitation on the matter by saying that with time, he can assure the situation was handled both correctly and justly. (Si te iam, Catilina, comprehendi, si interfici iussero, credo, erit verendum mihi, ne non potius hoc omnes boni serius a me quam quisquam crudelius factum esse dicat

    When even the people as wicked and corrupt as Catiline believe his execution was lawfully, only then will Cicero kill Catiline. (Tum denique interficiere, cum iam nemo tam inprobus, tam perditus, tam tui similis inveniri poterit, qui id non iure factum esse fateatur)

    Yet Cicero assures Catiline that his remaining life will be just as bad as any death. Catiline will live under the eye of all of Rome, as well as Cicero's personal guards, which Catiline has neglected to realize have been watching him all along. (Quamdiu quisquam erit, qui te defendere audeat, vives, et vives ita, ut [nunc] vivis. multis meis et firmis praesidiis obsessus, ne commovere te contra rem publicam possis. Multorum te etiam oculi et aures non sentientem, sicut adhuc fecerunt, speculabuntur atque custodient.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cicero: Catiline's Audacity


    During the final decades of the Roman Republic, a band of indebted aristocrats, led by Lucius Sergius Catilina, or Catiline, forged a conspiracy against Rome and the Roman consul Cicero himself. Political ambition being his motive, Catiline began to raise an army of disaffected senators, Etruscans, and equestrians in hopes of corupting Rome. After Rome's downfall, Catiline planned to resurrect his city, gaining political and heroic status. Yet on October 18, 63 B.C., Roman general Crassus brought letter of warning to Cicero regarding this 'Catiline Conspiracy'. The following day, Cicero read these now scandalous letters to the senate, destroying both Catiline's reputation and conspiratorial plans. Cicero later wrote four rhetorical orations regarding Catiline's plots, one coming to be known as 'In Catilinam"

    Cicero begins 'In Catilinam' with six rhetorical questions, aimed directly at Catiline himself. With the patience of the senate growing thin, Cicero demands of Catiline the time when his plots, which are making a mockery of Rome itself, will cease. (Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?)

    Cicero then asks Catiline whether or not he was unmoved by the guards of the Palatine (the central most hill of the 7 Hills of Rome, where political figures commonly live), or by the patrol men of Rome, or by the faces and expressions of the Roman people, or by senate meetings at the 'curia', while he was plotting against them all. (Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora voltusque moverunt?)

    Next, Cicero informs Catiline that his plots are indeed known to the men of the Senate, as well as his actions and meetings during the night before and the night before last. (Patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam non vides? Quid proxima, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris?)

    Cicero begins to show his frustration regarding the matter as he ridicules the actions of present politicians. While Catiline plots against Rome, he continues to partake in Roman life, and Cicero can't believe that Rome would allow someone of such threat to continue living. (O tempora, o mores! Senatus haec intellegit. Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. Vivit? immo vero etiam in senatum venit, fit publici consilii particeps, notat et designat oculis ad caedem unum quemque nostrum.)

    Then, Cicero, now fully frustrated, tells his fellow senators (fortes viri), that Catiline should have been executed a long time ago and that he himself plans to turn the tables on Catiline by conferring his conspiracy upon him. (Nos autem fortes viri satis facere rei publicae videmur, si istius furorem ac tela vitemus. Ad mortem te, Catilina, duci iussu consulis iam pridem oportebat, in te conferri pestem, quam tu in nos omnes iam diu machinaris.)

    Cicero next brings up past times of murder and death to prove to the Senate that Catiline, should in fact, be put to death. First, Cicero mentions the death of Tiberius Gracchus, a roman political who caused only minor turmoil with his reform on agrarian legislation, by the hands of the Roman high priest Publius Scipio. If such petty affairs used to be cause for death, Cicero questions why Rome allows Catiline, who plans to devastate the entire world, to live. (An vero vir amplissumus, P. Scipio, pontifex maximus, Ti. Gracchum mediocriter labefactantem statum rei publicae privatus interfecit; Catilinam orbem terrae caede atque incendiis vastare cupientem nos consules perferemus?)

    Cicero also mentions the death of Spurius Manlius, who strove for a rebellion, by the hands of Gaius Servilius Ahala, to further enforce that Catiline's situation is cause for the same punishment, death. (Nam illa nimis antiqua praetereo, quod C. Servilius Ahala Sp. Maelium novis rebus studentem manu sua occidit)

    Lastly, Cicero contrasts the Rome of today (fortes viri) with the Rome of yesterday (viri fortes), in that present politicians are weaker than their forefathers, who once would punish harmful citizens equally as harsh as their most bitter enemy. (Fuit, fuit ista quondam in hac re publica virtus, ut viri fortes acrioribus suppliciis civem perniciosum quam acerbissimum hostem coercerent.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pliny: Hunting With A Notebook

    In Pliny the Younger's personal letter entitled, "Hunting With A Notebook," Pliny cohesively connects two vastly different things: Hunting and a notebook. Hunting became a key piece in Roman culture during the reign of Augustus after the Imperial period of the first century A.D. The Romans forged the goddess of the hunt, Diana, out of the belief that hunting was vital to humanity. Romans hunted almost daily, giving both sacrifices and prayer to Diana before their departure. Commonly, Romans hunted game such as deer, boar, stage and surprisingly birds. Hunting was done both on horseback and foot with weapons such as thrusting and throwing spears, small hunting bow and arrows, slings, nets, and even dogs called ventragus. Romans found joy in hunting, and created it into a popular sporting event. Yet in this letter, Pliny describes a new and unthought of way of hunting.

   To introduce his humorous letter, Pliny informs its readers of the humor within, and that he is weell aware of its unusual content. (Ridebis, et licet rideas)

Pliny begins with an anecdote. He tells us that despite expected disbelief, he himself was able to catch three wild and beautiful boar. Pliny knows that this statement is hard to accept, considering the nature of wild boar, but he doesn't fail to assure us that what he is saying is in fact true. (Ego ille quem nosti apros tres et quidem pulcherrimos cepi, “Ipse?” inquis.  Ipse)

Yet Pliny tells us that he did not use spears or weapons to capture these boar, against common hunting tactics. Pliny informs us that he was waiting near net traps with a stylus and 'notebook,' where he observed nature in a pensive manner. (Ad retia sedebam: erat in proximo non venabulum aut lancea, sed stilus et pugillares; meditabar aliquid enotabamque)

The reason for this, Pliny explains, is that even if he leaves empty handed and with no game, he will have left with new and profound knowledge of both world and animal nature. (ut si manus vacuas, plenas tamen ceras reportarem.)

Pliny assures us that this type of study is reliable and worth-while. (Non est quod contemnas hoc studiendi genus)

  Pliny describes that within the hunting realm, silence is abundant. Yet. Pliny appreciates silence, because it is not only a though inducer, but a vital part of hunting. (Iam undique silvae et solitudo ipsumque illud silentium quod venationi datur magna cogitationis incitamenta sunt.)

With these, tactics, Pliny assures that you may be able to bring home not only food and flesh, but wisdom and knowledge. (Proinde cum venabere, licebit, auctore me, ut panarium et lagunculam, sic etiam pugillares feras.)

Lastly, Pliny metaphorically states that wisdom brings you just as far as brute force in the world of hunting, by giving mention to the goddesses Minerva, of wisdom, and of hunting, Diana. (Experieris non Dianam magis montibus quam Minervam inerrare.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pliny: What Shall We Do About The Christians?

      In Pliny the Younger's letter to Emperor Trajan of the Roman Empire, later entitled "What Shall We Do About The Christians," Pliny discusses the topic regarding how he should take action on the newly discovered Christians within his region of control. Christianity arose in the Roman Empire during the first century A.D. Since Christianity is a monotheistic religion, its followers worshiped God and only God. Yet the problem arose once Christians refused to honor the gods of Rome, a religious and lawful crime. The persecution of Christians began with that of Jesus Christ himself, who was killed by way of crucifixion. Christians were sought out and hunted as criminals. But under the rule of Emperor Trajan, Christians were given the chance to clean their slate of past Christian worship in a formal trial. If refused, all Christians would be executed. Over a period of about 300 years, Christianity was illegal until the signing of the Edict of Milan by emperors Constantine I and Licinius, which gave religious freedom to all parts of the Roman Empire.

    Pliny introduces this issue by informing Trajan of a mysterious and anonymous book that was published which lists the names of Christians within Bithynia. (Propositus est libellus sine auctore multorum nomina continens.)
Pliny further discusses his confusion on the matter by stating that some of those named within the book refute the accusation and deny being Christian presently or have been Christian in the past. (Qui negabant esse se Christianos aut fuisse)
Next, Pliny tells Trajan of a ceremony, which he himself had ordered, in which the Christian were giving offerings of wine and incense to the roman gods and Trajan's own statue. Pliny observes this act as blasphemous to those who truly are Christians, for honoring a god other than your own is sinful and morally wrong. (deos appellarent et imagini tuae, quam propter hoc iusseram cum simulacris numinum afferri, ture ac vino supplicarent, praeterea maledicerent Christo)
Yet Pliny understands that those who are truly Christian are forbidden to take part in these ceremonies honoring other gods, meaning that these people who did take part are, in fact, not Christians. (quorum nihil posse cogi dicuntur qui sunt re vera Christiani) dimittendos esse putavi.)

Further uncertainty takes hold of Pliny once he learns of Christians, who had been ratted out by spies, who deny that they are Christian and that they had in fact stopped the practice any where from two to three to even twenty years ago. (Alii ab indice nominati esse se Christianos dixerunt et mox negaverunt: fuisse quidem, sed desisse, quidam ante triennium, quidam ante plures annos, non nemo etiam ante viginti)
Pliny lastly discusses the rebuttals of former Christians; that their only mere fault. if any fault at all was that they were accustomed to their way of life, which included singing hymns to Christ on an appointed day, as you would to any god, and binding themselves to Christ by taking part in no criminal activity. (Affirmabant autem hanc fuisse summam vel culpae suae vel erroris, quod essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum in vicem, seque sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria committerent, ne fidem fallerent)
In the end, Pliny has yet to find out more about this controversial issue except for "depraved and excessive superstition." (Nihil aliud inveni quam superstitionem pravam, immodicam.)