Cicero /

Edited by: Ingo Gildenhard, Louise Hodgson, et al.

DE IMPERIO 36 ESSAY

‘Thou art more lovely and more temperate’: Pompey’s soft sides

Cicero now moves on from hailing Pompey’s martial prowess and his stunning success as a general to a consideration of his other qualities. Already in § 13, he differentiated between Pompey’s impact on (Eastern) provincials and that of other generals on the grounds of Pompey’s special character traits – temperantia, mansuetudo, humanitas:

His vos, quoniam libere loqui non licet, tacite rogant, ut se quoque, sicut ceterarum provinciarum socios, dignos existimetis, quorum salutem tali viro commendetis; atque hoc etiam magis, quod ceteros in provinciam eius modi homines cum imperio mittimus, ut etiam si ab hoste defendant, tamen ipsorum adventus in urbis sociorum non multum ab hostili expugnatione differant. Hunc audiebant antea, nunc praesentem vident, tanta temperantia, tanta mansuetudine, tanta humanitate, ut ei beatissimi esse videantur, apud quos ille diutissime commoratur.

[Since they [sc. the Eastern allies of Rome] are not allowed to speak their mind, they beseech you silently that, just like the allies of the other provinces, you consider them, too, worthy so as to entrust their safety to such a man – especially given that with the other men we send with a command into a province of this kind, even if they ward off the enemy, their arrivals in the cities of the allies do not differ much from a hostile takeover. Previously they were hearing, now, with him present, they see that this man is of such self-control, of such gentleness, of such human kindness that those seem to be most blessed amongst whom he remains for the longest period of time.]

The relative clause quas paulo ante commemorare coeperam harks back to the beginning of his discussion of virtus in § 29, where he insisted that virtus comprises not just martial prowess and military genius, but also moral qualities and talent for diplomacy: Neque enim illae sunt solae virtutes imperatoriae, quae vulgo existimantur, labor in negotiis, fortitudo in periculis, industria in agendo, celeritas in conficiendo, consilium in providendo. Cicero covered the ‘orthodox’ virtutes imperatoriae in §§ 29-35. What follows now is a discussion of virtutes imperatoriae (or artes, as he goes on to call them: see next note), which are not commonly recognized as such: innocentia, temperantia, fides, facilitas, ingenium, humanitas.

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