[115] Recordāre igitur illum, M. Antōnī, diem quō dictātūram sustulistī; pōne ante oculōs laetitiam senātūs populīque Rōmānī, cōnfer cum hāc nūndinātiōne tuā tuōrumque: tum intellegēs, quantum inter lucrum et laudem intersit. sed nīmīrum, ut quīdam morbō aliquō et sēnsūs stupōre suāvitātem cibī nōn sentiunt, sīc libīdinōsī, avārī, facinerōsī vērae laudis gustātum nōn habent. sed sī tē laus adlicēre ad rēctē faciendum nōn potest, nē metus quidem ā foedissimīs factīs potest āvocāre? iūdicia nōn metuis? sī propter innocentiam, laudō; sīn propter vim, nōn intellegis, quī istō modō iūdicia nōn timeat, eī quid timendum sit?

Looking for the Taste of (Genuine) Glory...

In this paragraph, Cicero replays the ending of the first Philippic: he again begins by praising Antony for abolishing the office of dictator, only to dwell on his subsequent U-turn, caused by his pathological inability to grasp the true nature of glory. [study questions]

Recordare igitur illum, M. Antoni, diem quo dictaturam sustulistirecordare is the second person imperative singular of the deponent recordor, going with the vocative M. Antoni. The antecedent of the relative pronoun quo (an ablative of time) is diem: ‘Recall that day on which…’. For Antony’s motion that outlawed the act of proposing anyone to be appointed dictator see § 91 above.

pone ante oculos laetitiam senatus populique Romani, confer [eam] cum hac nundinatione tua tuorumque: Cicero delivers two further imperative blows (poneconfer) in asyndetic sequence, inviting him to visualize (pone ante oculos) the joy he managed to spark when he scrapped the dictatorship and compare it to his disgraceful pursuit of tyrannical self-enrichment shortly thereafter: he refers to Antony putting the res publica up for sale for personal gain (see § 92 above). His close friends and relatives profited from the process as well (§ 93: sunt ea quidem innumerabilia quae a tuis emebantur non insciente te: ‘the items bought by persons close to you, and not without your knowledge, are innumerable’). laetitiamis the accusative object of both imperatives. The comparison is either (a) compressed or (b) imprecise. (a) Cicero asks Antony to compare joy with an (unspecified) negative emotion such as grief (dolor) at the trafficking (nundinatio) in favours that he and those close to him engaged in after the Ides of March. (b) Cicero compares the emotional reaction to a laudable deed (laetitia) with a contemptible action (nundinatio).

The governing word of tuorum is nundinatione: the -que after tuorum thus coordinates the possessive adjective tua and the possessive genitive tuorum. This is one of only six instances in which Cicero ends a sentence on the enclitic -que(Kraus 1992: 321).

In his philosophical dialogue Tusculan Disputations, Cicero classifies ‘excessive’ (gestienslaetitia (together with aegritudometus, and libido) as a mental disturbance to be avoided (Tusc. 4.8, elaborated at 4.13). In his orations, he tends to be rather less po-faced about emotions, and ‘joy’ (laetitia — though not the excessive variety) becomes another criterion for dividing the world into ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’. Cicero is here in part responding to Antony’s assertion that he experienced heinous and homicidal glee (laetitia) at the deaths of Clodius (2.21: at laetatus sum. quid ergo? in tanta laetitia cunctae civitatis me unum tristem esse oportebat?) and Caesar (2.29: tu autem, omnium stultissime, non intellegis, si, id quod me arguis, voluisse interfici Caesarem crimen sit, etiam laetatum esse morte Caesaris crimen esse?). Instead, he endorses a salvific variant of reciprocal joyfulness on the part of both public benefactors and their beneficiaries, which he already outlined at the end of the first Philippic. See Phil. 1.30 (addressing Dolabella): Quem potes recordari in vita illuxisse tibi diem laetiorem, quam cum, expiatio foro, dissipato concursu impiorum, principibus sceleris poena affectis, urbe incendio et caedis metu liberata, te domum recepisti? (‘What day can you recall in life that shone upon you more joyously than that in which, when the Forum had been purged, concourse of impious wretches scattered, the ringleaders of the crime punished, the city delivered from burning and the fear of massacre, you betook yourself home?’) There were moments when Antony participated in this economy: when he surrendered his son as hostage to the conspirators, the senate and the people of Rome were overjoyed (Phil. 1.32: quo senatus die laetior, quo populus Romanus?). But he has since then lost his way, exulting over the destruction of normal senatorial proceedings (§ 109); and he remains unaffected by the joy of right-minded citizens over civic-minded actions. 

senatus populique Romanisenatus populusque Romanus (here in the genitive singular dependent on laetitiam) is how Rome’s political community self-identified. The City Council of Rome (Comune di Roma) still uses SPQR as its official emblem today: you’ll find it embossed on all manhole covers, for instance.

tum intelleges, quantum inter lucrum et laudem intersit: the interrogative adverb quantum (how much?) introduces an indirect question (hence the subjunctive intersit). There are various ways to reproduce the deftly alliterated phrase lucrum et laudem in English: gain and glory, profit and plaudits, riches and renown, cash and kudos, lucre and laudation, Mammon and merit… It’s the same principle of verbal homophony / conceptual polarity as ‘chalk and cheese’. As Lacey (1986: 241) notes, ‘laudem starts a series of echoes’: see verae laudis gustatumlauslaudo in the following sentences.

sed nimirum, ut quidam morbo aliquo et sensus stupore suavitatem cibi non sentiunt, sic libidinosi, avari, facinerosi verae laudis gustatum non habent: Cicero launches into an analogy (ut … sic): just as people whose taste buds are affected by illness have lost the ability to savour food, so various kinds of scumbags are unable to appreciate true glory. The diagnosis of socio-pathologies is a standard move in Cicero’s invective repertory. quidam (masculine nominative plural: ‘some’) is the subject of the well-crafted ut-clause: note the chiastic hendiadys morbo aliquo et sensus stupore, the persistent s-alliteration (sensusstuporesuavitatemsentiunt) and the figura etymologica (sensus … sentiunt). quidamcorrelates with the three adjectives in asyndetic sequence used as nouns in the sic-clause: libidinosi (‘the libidinous’), avari(‘the greedy’), and facinerosi (‘the criminal’).

morbo aliquo et sensus stuporemorbo and stupore are causal ablatives best understood as a hendiadys: ‘because of numbness of perception caused by some disease’. The two nouns are modified, respectively, by a pronominal adjective (aliquo) and an adnominal genitive (sensus): the arrangement is chiastic.

sed si te laus adlicere ad recte faciendum non potest, ne metus quidem a foedissimis factis potest avocare?: the conditional sequence cast as a rhetorical question offers Antony two possible reasons for behaving in a civic-minded fashion: in the (negated) si-clause Cicero mentions the ideal scenario only to rule it out: it consists in the prospect of renown (laus) exercising sufficient positive pull towards acting in the right way (adlicere ad). Conversely, the apodosis outlines the minimalist alternative of acceptable behaviour, i.e. fear (of punishment) holding Antony back from the vilest deeds (a … avocare correlates with adlicere ad…), which, so the rhetorical question implies, Antony does not meet either. The superlative foedissimis is deliberate: Cicero does not even demand abstention from foeda facta, just those that are vile in the extreme. The figura etymologica is profoundly pessimistic: ad recte faciendum is mentioned as a counterfactual possibility, the foedissima facta are established facts.

Extra information:

Cicero’s choice of adlicere to capture the attraction of laus to which Antony is not susceptible is curious since it is a verb he elsewhere associates with dubious sensual pleasure. See for instance pro Murena 74, where he mockingly impersonates Cato the Younger objecting to the practice of wooing voters through the provision of sensual pleasures:

At enim agit mecum austere et Stoice Cato, negat verum esse adlici benivolentiam cibo, negat iudicium hominum in magistratibus mandandis corrumpi voluptatibus oportere. ergo, ad cenam petitionis causa si quis vocat, condemnetur? ‘Quippe’ inquit ‘tu mihi summum imperium, tu summam auctoritatem, tu gubernacula rei publicae petas fovendis hominum sensibus et deleniendis animis et adhibendis voluptatibus? utrum lenocinium’ inquit ‘a grege delicatae iuventutis, an orbis terrarum imperium a populo Romano petebas?’

[Cato, however, deals sternly with me like a true Stoic. He says that it is wrong to promote good-will with food and warp men’s judgement by means of pleasure in an election of magistrates. Are we then to condemn everyone who gives an invitation to dinner for this purpose? ‘Am I,’ he says, ‘going to have you seek supreme power, supreme authority, the very government of the State by pandering to men’s senses, bewitching their minds and plying them with pleasures? Were you asking,’ he says, ‘a gang of spoilt youths for a job as a pimp or the Roman people for world dominion?’]

As Fantham (2013: 180) notes: ‘the accumulation of strong sensual vocabulary like adlicere and delenire, associated with pleasure, reinforces the contrast between the solemn metaphor of gubernacula and the image of the pander appealing to susceptible young men’.

iudicia non metuis? si propter innocentiam [non metuis], laudo; sin propter vim [non metuis], non intellegis, qui isto modo iudicia non timeat, ei quid timendum sit?: Cicero imagines a gesture of dismissal on Antony’s part in response to the threat of legal proceedings. In turn, he once more affirms his ethics of praise, contrasting personal integrity (innocentia), which entails laus, with the reliance on the illegitimate use of physical force (vis). He ends by stressing that Antony’s trust in vis is misplaced: as history shows, strongman-politics results in violent resistance. ei is dative of authorship (with the gerundive timendum sit) and the antecedent of qui. Translate in the following order: non intellegis quid ei timendum sit (indirect question), qui…. Dependence on vis, far from quelling fear, ought to generate it.

recordor recordārī recordātus sum: to remember, recollect

dictātūra –ae f.: the office of a dictator, dictatorship

laetitia laetitiae f.: joy, happiness

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

nūndinātiō –ōnis f.: a trading, bargaining, chaffering, buying and selling

tuī –ōrum m.: your friends, kinsmen, countrymen, descendants, etc. (> tuus)

lucrum lucrī n.: gain, profit

nīmīrum: without doubt, doubtless, indisputably, certainly, surely, truly

stupor –oris m.: numbness, lethargy, paralysis, torpor; by metonymy, an insensate person, clod

suāvitās –ātis f.: sweetness, charm, pleasantness

libīdinōsus –a –um: full of desire, passionate, wilful, licentious, sensual, lustful, voluptuous, libidinous

avārus –a –um: greedy

facinorōsus (facinerōsus) –a –um: criminal, villainous, atrocious, vicious

gustātus –ūs m.: the taste, as one of the five senses; the taste, flavor of anything

alliciō (adl–) –allicere –allēxī –allectum: to allure, entice, attract, persuade, influence

ā–vocō –āre: to call off, call away

innocentia –ae f.: harmlessness, blamelessness, innocence

sīn: but if; if on the contrary

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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.