[110] Et tū in Caesaris memoriā dīligēns, tū illum amās mortuum? quem is honōrem maiōrem cōnsecūtus erat quam ut habēret pulvīnar, simulācrum, fastīgium, flāminem? est ergō flāmen, ut Iovī, ut Mārtī, ut Quirīnō, sīc dīvō Iūliō M. Antōnius. quid igitur cessās? cūr nōn inaugurāris? sūme diem, vidē quī tē inauguret: collēgae sumus; nēmō negābit. ō dētestābilem hominem, sīve quod tyrannī sacerdōs es sīve quod mortuī! quaerō deinceps num hodiernus diēs quī sit ignōrēs. nescīs herī quārtum in circō diem lūdōrum Rōmānōrum fuisse, tē autem ipsum ad populum tulisse ut quīntus praetereā diēs Caesarī tribuerētur? cūr nōn sumus praetextātī? cūr honōrem Caesaris tuā lēge datum dēserī patimur? an supplicātiōnēs addendō diem contāminārī passus es, pulvīnāria contāminārī nōluistī? aut undique religiōnem tolle aut usque quāque cōnservā.

Caesar: Dead Duck or Deified Dictator?

One of the most hotly contested issues after the Ides of March was Caesar’s ‘ontological status’: was he a dead mortal or had he become divine? [more] [study questions]

Et tu in Caesaris memoria diligens [es], tu illum amas mortuum?: the sarcastic rhetorical question leads on from the end of the previous paragraph, where Cicero blamed Antony for plundering artistic treasures from the park that Caesar left to the Roman people. Cf. § 51, where Cicero also uses et tu (here reinforced by the repetition of tu at the beginning of the second clause) to kick-start a question brimming with sarcasm and outrage. Caesaris is an objective genitive dependent on memoriadiligens can be construed with various prepositions (OLD s.v. 2), here it is in + ablative. The verb of the first clause (es) is elided: ‘And are you attentive to Caesar’s memory, do you love him — dead as he is?’ mortuum is an (exposed and programmatic) expansion of illum (note the homoioteleuton), picking up me-mor-ia in the first clause in paronomasia. The figure here carries an ideological punch: memoria, in the sense of (collective) remembrance through various means and media of commemoration, is the way Rome’s community has traditionally kept the dead (mortui) present — not deification. At the beginning of a paragraph devoted to a discussion of religious honours for Caesar, Cicero emphatically and programmatically calls the dictator dead (rather than deified), preparing for the ironic use of the formulation divus Iulius two sentences later (see below).

quem is honorem maiorem consecutus erat quam ut haberet pulvinar, simulacrum, fastigium, flaminem?quem is an interrogative adjective agreeing with honorem: ‘what greater honour…’. is, the subject of the sentence (and rather squashed between quem and honorem) refers to Caesar: ‘what greater honour had this man attained than…’. utintroduces a consecutive clause after the comparative maiorem + quam. Scholars debate when the four honours Cicero here lists were actually awarded to Caesar — and whether they amount to his full-scale deification in official religious practice. According to Koortbojian, the standard here has to be the practice of a cult dedicated to the worship of Caesar deified (2013: 32): ‘which — if any — of these honors can be linked directly with the publica sacra of state cult — “those performed at public expense on behalf of the populus” — and which connote the ritual offerings (sacrificia or supplicationes) by which such cult was defined’. He explores each of the four honours in turn and reaches the conclusion that none implies Caesar’s actual godhood, even though all are symbols of divinity: they may have been designed to signal that Caesar had begun to approximate, rather than (as of yet) fully transformed into, a divine being. These fine distinctions are important, but they are fine: and while Caesar may not have officially entered Roman state cult by the time Cicero composed Philippic 2, the passage here clearly shows that some of his supporters deemed his transformation into a god successfully completed: his divinity was very much in the eyes of the beholder.

pulvinar, simulacrum, fastigium, flaminem: an asyndetic, climactic sequence, with the last two items related by alliteration. We move from sacred, ceremonial cushion (pulvinar), to a statue of a (quasi-)divinity (simulacrum), which on certain ritual occasions rested on a pulvinar, to a piece of temple architecture (fastigium  pediment) that would house statues of gods, to a priest responsible for the cult of a specific divinity (flamen). All of these constituted senatorial honours for Caesar, shortly before (or, in the case of the flamen, perhaps soon after) his assassination.

pulvinar: deriving from pulvinus, -i, m. (‘cushion’ or ‘pillow’), pulvinar (n.) has a range of meanings: ‘1) divine couch, 2) sacred marriage-bed, 3) sacred edifice or space (similar to aedesfanum, or templum), including the Pulvinar in the Circus Maximus, and 4) lectisternium (a sacrificial meal for a god)’: van den Berg (2008: 240). Cicero here uses the term in sense 1), i.e. a cushioned, ceremonial couch on which the image of a deity — or of a person honoured like a deity — was placed for ceremonial purposes or worship. At the end of the paragraph, he uses the term again (pulvinaria), but in sense 4). Sometime in January or February 44 (?), Caesar seems to have been accorded the privilege, hitherto restricted to gods, to have a statue or image of his placed on a sacred, ceremonial couch during public festivals and processions.

simulacrum: the context makes it clear that simulacrum here refers to a kind of statue that implies Caesar’s divinity (or special association with the divine) (cf. OLD s.v. 3a). However, it remains unclear which statue of Caesar Cicero has in mind. Possibilities include the statue with the inscription Deo Invicto (‘To the Unconquered God’) that the senate voted to set up in the temple of Quirinus in 45 BCE; or the statue that appeared next to Victory during a circus procession that inaugurated games in honour of Caesar’s victory in the civil war, also in 45 BCE (to the displeasure, as Cicero notes with glee, of a significant portion of the audience: Att. 13.44.1). See Koortbojian (2013: 36) for discussion.

fastigiumfastigium here as the technical meaning of ‘pediment’, i.e. the triangular upper part of the front of a building, typically a temple. Caesar — again following a vote by the senate — added such a pediment to his house in the Forum, which gave it the appearance — but only the appearance, as Koortbojian is keen to stress — of a temple: ‘a house with a pediment was not a temple and, without an altar, no place for cult. Like all the insignia bestowed upon Caesar, this too acknowledged his new status, but that new status cannot yet be understood institutionally. Just as the ornamenta triumphalia signaled a victor’s status by likening him, visibly, to Jupiter, so too Caesar’s house might now look like a shrine, and thus liken its inhabitants to a god. But temple, altar, and cult were yet to come, and with them, only with them, the advent of cult and the institutionalization of Caesar’s divine status. No veneratio here’ (2013: 32). At the same time, Suetonius implies that for some Romans (arguably including himself) this piece of architecture (as well as the term for it) carried particularly noxious connotations of self-aggrandizement and all but turned Caesar into a tyrant — and hence fair game (Life of Julius Caesar 76.1, cited above 247–48). As Jenkyns (2013: 23) notes: ‘The word [sc. fastigium] is interesting here, for the Senate did indeed vote a fastigium for the dictator’s house; the acme — fastigium — of achievement is embodied literally at the tip of the gable. Cicero indignantly lists this ornament among the other quasi-divine honours that Julius received; the city’s profile expresses both the ups and downs of the political rat race and a kind of continuum extending from gods to men. As a fastigium crowns the pediment of a temple, so it adorns a dynast’s home. Calpurnia, Julius Caesar’s wife, was said to have dreamt before his murder that the fastigium on his house toppled down [Plut. Caes. 63.5; Suet. Jul. 81.3]. This is a symbolism close to reality’.

flaminem: a flamen was a special priest appointed to carry out the rites of a specific divinity. Traditionally, there were 15 flamines in all — three so-called higher ones (flamines maiores) filled by patricians for Jupiter (Flamen Dialis), Mars (Flamen Martialis), and Quirinus (Flamen Quirinalis); and twelve minor ones (flamines minores) filled by plebeians and dedicated to less important — not to say: obscure — divinities, many of whom associated with the sphere of agriculture. Only ten of them are known by name: Flamen Carmentalis (the flamen for Carmentis), Flamen Cerialis (for Ceres), Flamen Falacer (for Falacer), Flamen Floralis (for Flora), Flamen Furrinalis (for Furrina), Flamen Palatualis (for Palatua), Flamen Pomonalis (for Pomona), Flamen Portunalis (for Portunus), Flamen Volcanalis (for Vulcan), and Flamen Volturnalis (for Volturnus). Unlike the first three honours, i.e. pulvinarsimulacrum, and fastigium: the list is clearly climactic, having a flamen unequivocally means that one is a divinity.

A scholarly debate rages over the question whether Caesar was awarded the honour of a flamen during his lifetime or after his death, with our passage figuring prominently. Here are Beard, North, Price (1998: 2.222): ‘This passage is one of the main pieces of evidence to suggest that Caesar was aiming at deification during his lifetime. … Cicero is teasing Antony by asking him why, if he was as devoted to Caesar’s memory as he said he was, he had not yet gone through the formal ceremony of inauguration as flamen, that is special priest of Caesar’s new cult. In doing this, Cicero claims detailed knowledge of the cult — the god’s title, the priest’s title, even the new priest’s identity. In fact, the formal recognition of Caesar as a god (divus Julius) did not occur till after Cicero’s death and Antony only became flamen divi Iulii in 40 B.C. (Plutarch, Life of Antony 33.1). The only explanation for Cicero’s apparent knowledge is that he knew of detailed plans for deification drafted in Caesar’s lifetime, but only implemented in the years after his death’. Cole (2014: 173) is somewhat more circumspect: ‘The tenses in this passage … make it clear that Cicero is speaking of honors granted in Caesar’s lifetime — honors not mentioned by Cicero until after Caesar’s death’. But does our passage really offer decisive evidence ‘for a cult of the living Caesar’? Cole rightly asks: ‘Why are there no comments on this development in letters to Atticus? Can this passage in the Second Philippic be isolated as Cicero’s principled, categorical objection to cult for Caesar?’ And Koortbojian (2013: 35) argues that ‘in contrast to the fastigium and the pulvinar, the flaminate — like the simulacrum… — must have been among the posthumous honors that figured in the accommodations that the Senate enacted with the rival parties in the wake of Caesar’s assassination’.

est ergo flamen, ut Iovi, ut Marti, ut Quirino, sic divo Iulio M. Antonius. quid igitur cessas? cur non inauguraris? sume diem, vide qui te inauguret: collegae sumus; nemo negabit: whether the honour of a flamen was voted to Caesar while he was still alive or as a posthumous award, what primarily matters for our passage is the fact that the designated flamen Antony had not yet undergone inauguration: it is Antony’s delay in bringing the honour to fruition that Cicero singles out for sarcastic commentary. The chiastic design and the ut … sic structure of (a) flamen : (b) IoviMartiQuirino :: (b) divo Iulio : (a) M. Antonius gives the (wrong) impression of a basic equivalence between the priesthoods of the flamines maiores (see previous note) and the new priesthood of divine Julius — an impression deliberately reinforced by the opening est ergo, which forcefully suggests the statement of a fact. But as the subsequent series of questions, exhortations, and encouragements makes apparent, Antony has so far fallen woefully short of putting this greatest of all honours into (cultic) practice. Cicero mockingly offers to help him out: like Antony, he was an augur (collegae sumus) and could have assisted in Antony’s inauguration as flamen.

o detestabilem hominem, sive quod tyranni sacerdos es sive quod mortui sacerdos es]!: Cicero shouts out an accusative of exclamation — the Latin equivalent of WRITING AN EMAIL IN CAPS. o detestabilem hominem then segues into two alternative quod-clauses (coordinated by sive  … sive …: ‘be it that  …, be it that…’) that conjure Antony as priest (Cicero slips from the technical flamen to the generic sacerdos) of Caesar, whether when still alive as tyrant (tyranni sacerdos) or dead (mortui sacerdos). Being the priest of either a tyrant or a dead man is of course abominable.

tyranni: the text is disputed: some manuscripts have Caesaris instead. One will have been a marginal gloss for the other. For the dilemma to bite, tyranni is clearly the superior option.

quaero deinceps num hodiernus dies qui sit ignoresquaero governs the indirect question num … ignores: ‘I next ask whether by any chance you do not know…’ ignores governs the further indirect question hodiernus dies qui sit, with the emphatic prolepsis of hodiernus dies: ‘which day today is’.

nescis heri quartum in circo diem ludorum Romanorum fuisse, te autem ipsum ad populum tulisse ut quintus praeterea dies Caesari tribueretur?: the main verb of the rhetorical question, nescis, introduces a twofold indirect statement linked by the adversative particle autemquartum … diem … fuissete … ipsum … tulisse. ‘Don’t you know that…?’ The ut-clause specifies what Antony proposed to the people. Cicero cast Philippic 2 as a speech delivered on 19 September 44, so heri (‘yesterday’) refers to 18 September, which was the fourth day of the period of games (15–18 September) that, after a brief interval, followed on the festival of the ludi Romani (‘Roman Games’, 4–12 September). Antony, at some unspecified point in time, seems to have proposed to add a fifth day of games to the Ludi Romani, but then abandoned the plan

Alternatively, Cicero here picks up on the motion Antony carried in the senate meeting of 1 September, namely that an extra day should be added to all festivals of thanksgiving to the gods (so-called supplicationes) in honour of Caesar: see Phil. 1.13, cited above; further Weinstock (1971: 62–64). As Lacey (1986: 238) points out, ‘It was an open question whether the Roman Games were, or were not, thanksgivings. In origin they were, but as they were held annually, and on the same date whether there were or were not any victories to celebrate, it could be thought that they were not, and “thanksgivings” meant only those voted to honour commanders for their successes, when appropriate’. Clearly, Antony did not believe that the Ludi Romani were affected by his motion on supplicationes — whereas Cicero posits that they were, and that a fifth day of games should have been added — gleefully interpreting Antony’s ‘failure’ to institute an extra day in Caesar’s honour (which would have been the 19 September) as a sign of disrespect for the dead dictator. On this reading, Cicero ‘invents’ his evidence here, on the basis of divergent interpretations of Antony’s own motion (and differing definitions of the Ludi Romani and the applicability of the label supplicatio).

cur non sumus praetextati? cur honorem Caesaris tua lege datum deseri patimur?: Cicero continues with two further rhetorical questions, addressed to himself and the rest of the senators or augurs (sumuspatimur), which are grounded in the claim that Antony failed to follow through on his own legislation and add an extra day of games to the Ludi Romani. If that extra day had been added, Cicero, as augur, and perhaps also other high-ranking Romans who had held curule office, would have been dressed in the toga praetexta.

an supplicationes addendo diem contaminari passus es, pulvinaria contaminari noluisti?an here introduces an irritable direct question (OLD s.v. 1). The passage is obscure. Cicero seems to be saying that Antony was happy to profane supplicationes, but somehow became squeamish when it came to the pulvinaria. But given that supplicationes were carried out in front of the pulvinaria, the question arises: ‘How could Antony defile the supplicationes without also defiling the pulvinaria?’ (Denniston 1926: 170). The sentence clearly presupposes that supplicationes and pulvinaria have a distinct religious identity and significance — but precise details of the scenario he has in mind elude us.

aut undique religionem tolle aut usque quaque conserva: Cicero concludes with two imperatives (tolleconserva) coordinated by aut … aut. His either — or (‘all or nothing’) is a false alternative.

dīligēns: careful; diligent, scrupulous; accurate; industrious; assiduous; thrifty, economical, frugal; attentive, fond (of), devoted (to)

pulvīnar –āris n.: a couch on which images of gods were placed at a banquet offered to the gods

simulācrum simulācrī n.: likeness, image, statue

fastīgium fastīgi(ī) n.: summit

flāmen –inis m.: a priest

Iuppiter Iovis m.: Jupiter; (in poetry) the sky, the heavens

Mārs Mārtis m.: Mars

Quirīnus –ī m.: Quirinus, the name of the deified Romulus

Iūlius –iī m.: Julius, the name of the Roman gens in which the family of Caesar was the most prominent; applied to Augustus

Marcus Marcī m.: Marcus

Antōnius –iī m.: Antonius (a name)

cessō cessāre cessāvī cessātus: to cease, be idle; hold back, lay off, delay; rest; be free of; fail

cūr: why

inaugurō –augurāre: to take omens from the flight of birds, practise augury, divine; invest with a priesthood by augury, inaugurate

collēga collēgae m.: colleague (in official/priestly office); associate, fellow (not official)

ō: O

dētestābilis –e: execrable, abominable, detestable

quod: because, the fact that

tyrannus tyrannī m.: tyrant

mortuus –a –um: dead

deinceps: one after another, in order, in succession

hodiernus –a –um: of today, today's

īgnōrō īgnōrāre īgnōrāvī īgnōrātus: to not know; be unfamiliar with; disregard; ignore; be ignorant of

herī: yesterday or here

circus –ī m.: a circle, circuit, circular area; surrounding multitude or throng of spectators

lūdus lūdī m.: game, play, sport, pastime, entertainment, fun; school, elementary school

Rōmānus –a –um: belonging to Rome; Roman; subst., Romanus, i, m., a Roman (> Roma)

quīnque; quīntus –a –um: 5; 5th

tribuō tribuere tribuī tribūtus: to divide, assign; present; grant, allot, bestow, attribute

praetextātus –a –um: wearing the toga praetexta

supplicātiō –ōnis f.: public prayer/thanksgiving

contāminō contāmināre contāmināvī contāminātus: to defile, pollute, stain

religiō religiōnis f.: supernatural constraint, taboo; obligation; sanction; worship; rite; sanctity; reverence, respect, awe, conscience, scruples; religion; order of monks/nuns

ūsquequāque: in every conceivable situation; wholly, altogether

cōnservō cōnservāre cōnservāvī cōnservātus: to keep safe/intact, save (from danger); preserve, maintain; spare; keep/observe

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Suggested Citation

Ingo Gildenhard, Cicero: Philippic 2.44–50, 78–92, 100–119. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2020. ISBN: 978-1-947822-12-2.