[44] Vīsne igitur tē īnspiciāmus ā puerō? sīc opīnor; ā prīncipiō ōrdiāmur. tenēsne memoriā praetextātum tē dēcoxisse? ‘patris’, inquiēs, ‘ista culpa est’. concēdō. etenim est pietātis plēna dēfēnsiō. illud tamen audāciae tuae quod sēdistī in quattuordecim ōrdinibus, cum esset lēge Roscīā dēcoctōribus certus locus cōnstitūtus, quamvīs quis fortūnae vitiō, nōn suō dēcoxisset. sūmpsistī virīlem, quam statim muliebrem togam reddidistī. prīmō vulgāre scortum; certa flāgitiī mercēs nec ea parva; sed cito Cūriō intervēnit, quī tē ā meretrīciō quaestū abdūxit et, tamquam stolam dedisset, in mātrimōniō stabilī et certō collocāvit.

A Glance at Teenage Antony: Insolvent, Transgendered, Pimped,
and Groomed

Since OCR invites us to parachute right into the middle of Philippic 2, here is a quick orientation of where exactly in the text we are when we reach § 44: after his opening statement (§§ 1–2) and his rebuttal of Antony’s attack on him (§§ 3–41), Cicero spends the following two paragraphs inveighing against his adversary’s skills as a public speaker, with particular reference to Antony’s oratorical efforts in the period immediately after Caesar’s assassination. This transitional section (§§ 42–43) helps to set up the second main part of the speech, which begins here in § 44: it features a prolonged and systematic assault on Antony. This portion is of prodigious length (§§ 44–114) and will bring us right up to the concluding peroration (§§ 115–19). [more] [study questions]

Moment in time: This and the following three paragraphs (45–47) detail, or allude to, events that allegedly (! Cicero freely mixes fact and fiction) took place in the late 70s and early to late 60s BCE.

Visne igitur te inspiciamus a puero?: Cicero began the previous paragraph with a direct address to his wider (imaginary) audience (43: at quanta merces rhetori data est! audite, audite, patres conscripti, et cognoscite rei publicae vulnera — ‘But what a fee was given to Antony’s teacher in rhetoric! Hear, hear, senators, and learn about the wounds inflicted on the commonwealth!’). By contrast, he opens § 44 with a rhetorical question addressed specifically to Antony, who is also imagined in attendance: vis is the 2nd person singular of volovelle, attached to which is the enclitic interrogative particle -ne. Verbs of will and desire are followed either by an accusative-plus-infinitive (visne … nos te inspicere …?) or a subordinate clause introduced by ut or ne — though ‘when the idea of Wishing is emphatic, the simple Subjunctive, without ut, is employed’ (Gildersleeve and Lodge 347). This is the construction here. In the English translation, an infinitive might be a good way of linking vis and inspiciamus: ‘would you like us to examine you…?’

igitur: the conjunction here serves to introduce the promised topic: Antony’s depravity (see OLD s.v. 4): ‘So then’.

a pueropuer means ‘boy’, and the ablative phrase indicates a point of origin in time, i.e. ‘from boyhood’.

Extra information:

The precise reference of Roman age-terms is often difficult to determine. In his dialogue Cato Maior de Senectute 33, Cicero outlines the ‘race-course of life’ as involving the following four stages:

• the weakness of childhood (infirmitas puerorum): c. 3–16 (following infancy?)

• the fierceness of youth (ferocitas iuvenum): c. 17–30

• the seriousness of settled age (gravitas constantis aetatis): c. 30s and 40s

• the maturity of old age (senectutis maturitas): c. 50s–

For further details, see Parkin (2003) and Cokayne (2003).

sic opinorsic here means ‘yes’ and opinor in response to a question ‘I think so’. Cicero answers his own rhetorical question with a colloquial affirmation that gives his discourse a snarky flavour: he clearly relishes the prospect of going through Antony’s imaginary CV.

a principio ordiamurordiamur is an exhortative subjunctive (‘Let us…’). The hiatus here, i.e. the collocation of vowels at the end of one word (principi-o) and the beginning of another (o-rdiamur), is unusual: in good prose style, ‘the juxtaposition of the same long vowels should be avoided’ (Kirchner 2007: 191). One is therefore left wondering whether Cicero here deliberately breaches stylistic conventions, perhaps to feign distaste at the material he is about to delve into. The phrase a principio reiterates and fortifies a puero in a mock-serious tone designed to suggest meticulous attention to detail, reminiscent of the Sound-of-Music principle ‘Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start’ or Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland: ‘“Begin at the beginning”, the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop”’. (And — nice irony — it must have been the cue for OCR to jump in here!)

tenesne memoria praetextatum te decoxisse?: another rhetorical question held in the 2nd person singular, again with the verb (tenes) upfront and the enclitic interrogative particle -netagged on. tenes  … memoria (= meministi) introduces an indirect statement with te as subject accusative and the intransitive decoxisse as verb. ‖ decoquo is a culinary term, meaning ‘to diminish the volume of a liquid by boiling (coquo) it down (de)’. Metaphorically, it was used to refer to squandering resources (the Latin equivalent to our ‘to burn through money’) as well as the outcome thereof: ‘to become insolvent’, which is its meaning here. The waste of Antony’s patrimony and its toxic consequences are key themes in the paragraph, reinforced through lexical repetition: see decoctoribusdecoxisse. ‖ praetextatum stands in predicative position to te: ‘when you (still) wore the toga praetexta’, i.e. ‘when you were a boy’. Cicero’s use of praetextatusas age-label (rather than pueriuvenis, or adulescens) prepares the ground for the sartorial satire to follow.

‘patris’, inquies, ‘ista culpa est’: Cicero imagines Antony’s response to the charge of bankruptcy to be a ‘It’s all me dad’s fault’. inquies is 2nd person singular future indicative active. ‖ The sentence well illustrates the power of dramatic word order. Stripped of rhetorical amplification, the Latin might read: culpam esse patris dicet (‘He will say that it is the fault of his father’). Instead of any such bland and boring pronouncement, Cicero offers up a rhetorical gem. To start with, we get an instance of so-called sermocinatio or ‘dialogue’, as Cicero switches from direct address (visne…?) to impersonation: he acts out what he imagines to be Antony’s reply to the charge of insolvency. The use of direct (instead of indirect) speech adds drama to the occasion and also enables Cicero ‘to perform Antony’. It further conveys the impression that Antony is under cross-examination, and what he (according to Cicero) comes up with in a moment of stress is not pretty: in a shocking act of shameless disloyalty, he blames his father. The exposed position of the genitive patris, further emphasized by the inset inquies, enacts Antony’s willingness to leave his father hung out to dry, to deflect responsibility from himself.

patris: Rome’s political culture, with its emphasis on the emulation of forebears and commitment to the preservation of ancestral customs (mores maiorum), was much invested in the figure of the father and the notion of paternal discipline (patria potestas), in particular their role in transmitting standards of behaviour and adherence to social norms across the generations. Cicero here intimates that Antony, lacking a proper father figure, was set adrift early on with disastrous consequences. His biological father, the disreputable Marcus Antonius Creticus, was strikingly unsuccessful as a military commander, had a nasty reputation for large-scale provincial exploitation, and died in bankruptcy. And his stepfather, Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, joined Catiline’s conspiracy and was among those executed by Cicero in 63 BCE. (In § 14, Cicero explicitly blames Antony for choosing Lentulus as role model rather than a morally more upright relative; cf. also § 17.)

ista culpa: there is a hidden agenda in Cicero’s use of the demonstrative pronoun ista. It implies a sense of relief, coupled with an admission of guilt, on Antony’s part: in this particular instance, he is able to shift the blame onto someone else, and does so gladly even if it amounts to a betrayal of his progenitor; yet the over-emphatic demonstrative suggests a guilty conscience — a nervous awareness that further charges are bound to stick. In a mere five words, Cicero thus sketches out a nuanced character profile of Antony: fretting, disloyal, guilty, stupid.

concedo: concedo means something like ‘granted’ and is designed to surprise: why does Cicero concede a point to the opponent? But as we read on, it becomes apparent that the quasi-conciliatory tone in fact prepares the way for a sucker punch:

etenim est pietatis plena defensioetenim sets up the sarcastic quip that Cicero only lets him off the hook since Antony anyway impales himself: his imaginary line of defence (shifting blame onto his father) manifests a shocking lack of pietas. Cicero again uses extraordinary word order to highlight the key lexeme: just as patris, the genitive pietatis takes pride of place. The correlated fronting of both patris and pietatis (words further linked by alliteration) energizes Cicero’s sarcasm stylistically. (Contrast the ‘unmarked’ variant: etenim defensio est plena pietatis.) Antony here violates a fundamental Roman value: ‘the father / son relationship was bilateral in nature, including devotion and affection on the part of the sons and consideration and respect on the part of the fathers. The Latin word pietas, used to describe moral and social duty of both sons and fathers, encapsulated this dual set of emotional obligations’ (Cantarella 2003: 286).

etenim: the conjunction is used for ‘adding something in explanation or corroboration of what has been said or implied’ (OLD s.v.).

plena: for plenus + genitive see Gildersleeve & Lodge 239: ‘Of adjectives of Fulness, with the Genitive, only plenusrepletusinops, and inanis are classical and common; … Plenus occurs very rarely with the Abl. in Cicero and Caesar, more often in Livy’.

illud [est] tamen audaciae tuae quod sedisti in quattuordecim ordinibus, cum esset lege Roscia decoctoribus certus locus constitutus, quamvis quis fortunae vitio, non suo decoxisset:the main verb of the sentence (est) is understood. audaciae tuae is a genitive of characteristic. The substantive quod-clause (in the indicative: Cicero claims to be reporting a fact) elaborates on — and stands in apposition to — illud. The subsequent cum- and quamvis-clauses explain why Cicero objects to Antony having taken a seat in the theater in the front fourteen rows. At Rome, ‘seating arrangements at the games were a reflection and reaffirmation of the social hierarchy’ (Edwards 1993: 111), and in 67 BCE the tribune of the people Lucius Roscius Otho passed the lex Roscia theatralis, which reserved the first fourteen rows (the quattuordecim ordines) behind the orchestra in the Roman theatre for the ‘knights’ (equites) — a social rank based in part on the assessment of wealth, i.e. property and possessions worth at least 400,000 sesterces. (We play the same games of privilege, eg John Lennon at the Royal Variety Performance, ‘For our last number I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry’.) Roscius’ law stipulated that those whose fortune dipped below this level lose the privilege of special seating — even if (as Cicero goes on to stress in the quamvis-clause) the insolvency was not their fault, but a stroke of bad luck. See further Rawson (1987: 102).

audaciae tuaeaudacia (‘recklessness’), which might be a useful quality in battle, ‘is exclusively negative in Cicero’s works’ (McDonnell 2006: 59). audax and audacia are common slurs in Cicero’s political invective, referring generally ‘to those who oppose the boni with disregard for the law’ (Grillo 2015: 124), with reference to Wirszubski (1961) and Weische (1966: 28–33), and Cicero, de Inventione 1.5); yet ‘the intensive application within [the second speech against Catiline] associates them specifically with the conspirators’ (Hutchinson 2005: 185). In Philippic 2, Cicero comes back to the thematic link between Catiline and audacia right away, calling Antony ‘more reckless than Catiline’ (audacior quam Catilina) in the programmatic opening paragraph. audacia remains a hallmark of Antony throughout the speech: see §§ 4 (o incredibilem audaciam), 9 (audaciae tuae), 19 (Antony takes pride in his audacia, though certain of his seemingly reckless acts should rather be ascribed to his stupidity), 43 (homo audacissime), 64 (Antony’s audacia tops that of everyone else), 68 (o audaciam immanem), 78 (nequam hominem audacemque), 90 (audacia). Here we might capture a sly dig at Antony’s stepfather (see above on patris), who passed on his wicked disposition to his impressionable charge. Words ‘of the audeoaudaxaudacia family’ also occur frequently in Roman comedy to refer to improper or outrageous behaviour: see Sussman (1998: 117, n. 8). The two frames of reference — political invective and comedy — are clearly not mutually exclusive.

decoctoribus certus locus constitutus: this is the first of three instances of the attribute certus, -a, -um in the paragraph, all mockingly alliterated. (In addition to decoctoribus certus locuconstitutus, see certa … merces and cito Curio … in matrimonio … certo collocavit below.) The collocation certus locus would seem to imply that Roscius’ law, on top of depriving the insolvent of the privilege to sit with their rank, allocated them to a special area (of shame?), though our sources are silent on what that area might have been.

quamvis quis fortunae vitio, non suo [vitio] decoxisset: the law did not differentiate between those who became insolvent owing to circumstances beyond their control such as parental mismanagement (= fortunae vitio, where fortuna means something akin to ‘bad luck’) and those who were personally responsible for their family’s loss of wealth.

sumpsisti virilem, quam statim muliebrem togam reddidisti: after dealing with one instance of teenage delinquency, Cicero moves on to the moment when Antony came of age, which in Rome was marked by the ritual change of the toga praetexta (the boyhood toga) for the toga virilis (the manhood toga). Cicero’s syntax suggests that Antony instantly perverted the garment — turning it into something suitable for a person the exact opposite of a man with citizenship status, i.e. a woman (mulier) for sale (as the next sentence shows): the noun that virilem modifies, i.e. togam, which also serves as antecedent to the relative pronoun quam, has been sucked into the relative clause to keep close company with muliebrem: ‘you assumed the toga of manhood, which you instantly turned into the outfit worn by female prostitutes’. This is humiliation not by cross-dressing but by trans-gendering: ‘Accusations of men wearing women’s clothing are a well-attested form of invective and there are repeated examples of this within Cicero’s speeches. In this passage, however, it is not that Antony has made himself effeminate by wearing women’s clothes, he has instead worn the toga muliebris and so has become a scortum, a prostitute’ (Dixon 2014: 302). (In fact, Cicero puts it the other way around, claiming that Antony as soon as he came of age, prostituted himself and thereby transformed his brand-new toga virilis, which ought to have been a badge of pride, into a toga muliebris, a mark of shame.) ‘Woman’ is a common aspersion in the hyper-masculine, testosterone-fuelled world of Roman politics, which often coincides with charges of sexual licentiousness: in one of his speeches against Verres (2.2.192), for instance, Cicero suggests that it is impossible to find a man lazier and more cowardly, more a man among women and a contemptible woman among men than his adversary (homo inertior, ignavior, magis vir inter mulieres, impura inter viros muliercula proferri non potest); and in the speech on his house (de Domo sua 139), his archenemy Clodius is said to have violated religious sensibilities by being a woman among men and a man among women (contra fas et inter viros saepe mulier et inter mulieres vir). Interestingly enough, Curio Pater is supposed to have quipped about Caesar that he was ‘every woman’s man and every man’s woman’ (Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar 52.3: omnium mulierum virum et omnium virorum mulierem).

primo [eras] vulgare scortum: the original meaning of scortum is ‘leather’ or ‘hide’, but it is also a word for both male and female prostitute from Plautus onwards, presumably on account of a fantasised connection between the working of leather and sexual intercourse: see Adams (1983), who also notes that scortum was a more pejorative term than meretrix. So scortum vulgare = ‘a whore — and a common one to boot’. (In fact, the underlying idea might be that the scortum is like an ‘old boot’, supposedly worn ‘hard’ — and worn out — by too much sex.) The practice of prostitution carried a heavy social stigma in republican Rome and included ‘the exclusion of prostitutes and pimps from the senatorial order, the equestrian order, the roll of judges (album iudicum), the decurionate, and the army’ — as well as a host of other civic disabilities (McGinn 1998: 26). The accusation of prostitution is a standard topos of political invective: ‘Not surprisingly, prostitutes provided fuel for the fires of Roman invective, both in the courtroom and out, and an accusation of prostitution was a handy weapon to use against both male and female opponents’ (Williams 2010: 36). Cicero liked the slur. In the pro Caelio, he turns Clodia into a quasi-prostitute. In the speech on his house (Dom. 49), he calls her brother Clodius a scortum populare (‘everybody’s favourite slut’) and in the speech for Sestius (Sest. 39) a scurrarum locupletium scortum (‘a whore for rich idlers’). See also in Catilinam 2.6, where Cicero implies homoerotic bonds between Catiline and his fellow-revolutionaries. Many prostitutes, male or female, were slaves — a connection Cicero does not fail to make: see the subsequent paragraph.

primo: an adverb (‘initially’).

certa [erat] flagitii merces nec ea [merces erat] parva: having joined the oldest profession in the world in the attempt to restore the family’s fortune, Antony (so Cicero suggests) made himself sexually available at a fixed rate (certa … merces), which amounted to a considerable sum (nec ea parva). The lexeme merces hints at the etymologically related term meretrix (‘woman who earns, paid woman’, from mereo ‘to receive one’s wage’, ‘earn’, or, more specifically, ‘to earn money by prostitution’); cf. also a meretricio quaestu in the following sentence.

flagitiiflagitium means ‘disgrace’, ‘infamy’ and can also refer to outrageous behaviour, esp. (as here) to a disgraceful act of sexual misconduct (OLD s.v. 4c). Cicero associates Antony with flagitium at various points throughout the oration: see §§ 24, 4547, 57, 58, 76 (+ 15 and 35 for the adjective flagitiosus).

sed cito Curio intervenit, qui te a meretricio quaestu abduxit et, tamquam stolam dedisset, in matrimonio stabili et certo collocavit: The blow-by-blow (cf. statimprimocito) of Cicero’s ‘travesty’ reaches its coup de grâce: Curio comes to the rescue (intervenit is highly ironic), collecting (or ‘abducting’) Antony from plying his trade in Rome’s red-light district and making an honest wo/man out of him: the stola was the garb worn by legally married Roman matrons. The elements of this scenario are easy to parallel in New Comedy: ‘Like the young lover in numerous Roman comedies, Curio rescues his beloved from the threat of a life of prostitution to make her his wife’ (Edwards 1993: 64).

Curio: C. Scribonius Curio (c. 84–49 BCE) is a curious character and constant companion throughout the first half of the speech (see §§ 3, 4, 11, 45–464850–51, 58). Born just a couple of years before Antony, he became quaestor in 54, tribune of the people in 50, and praetor in 49, before dying in the same year fighting on Caesar’s side against King Juba I (a supporter of Pompey) in North Africa. Like his father he was well-connected and a reasonably talented orator, being in cahoots with, or entertaining friendly relations with, such varied characters as Antony, Clodius (whom he supported in the context of the Bona Dea scandal), and Caesar (quite belatedly, after years of opposition, persuaded, it seems, by a handsome financial reward). In a letter to Atticus from 13 February 61, in which he details resistance against the senatorial effort to pass a bill against Clodius on account of his religious transgression at the Bona Dea festival, Cicero refers to ‘the whole Catilinarian gang with little Miss Curio at their head’ (Att. 1.14.5 = 14 SB: totus ille grex Catilinae duce filiola Curionis). Despite the fact that Cicero did not always see eye to eye with Curio filius or Curio pater (for whom see § 45 below), he entertained friendly relations with the family, the occasional bust-up notwithstanding (Cicero’s letters ad Familiares2.1–7 are addressed to Curio Junior).

Cicero drops hints about the relationship between Antony and Curio from the end of the exordium onwards. In response to Antony’s accusation that Cicero turned his back on him after an initial phase of support, Cicero rejects the idea that young Antony was ever under his influence: however salutary that may have been, Curio would not have tolerated any such interference (Phil. 2.3):

at enim te in disciplinam meam tradideras — nam ita dixisti — domum meam ventitaras. ne tu, si id fecisses, melius famae, melius pudicitiae tuae consuluisses. sed neque fecisti nec, si cuperes, tibi id per C. Curionem facere licuisset.

[You had given yourself over to my instruction (as you put it), had frequented my house. If indeed you had done so, you would have taken better care of your reputation and your virtue. But you neither did so nor, had you wished, would Gaius Curio have let you.]

As Shackleton Bailey (1982: 219) points out, we are here dealing with ‘a hit at Antony’s subservience to a possessive lover’. This opening gesture to their smutty affair (as filthy as fabricated) finds full elaboration in §§ 44–46.

qui te a meretricio quaestu abduxitmeretricius quaestus is synonymous with flagitii merces in the previous sentence. abducere can imply seduction: Cicero relishes the paradox that Curio ‘seduces’ Antony the ‘seductress’ away from his métier of seduction.

tamquam stolam dedissettamquam introduces a comparative clause, in which Cicero is speaking figuratively and counterfactually (hence the subjunctive): ‘as though he had given you a stola’, i.e. ‘as if he had turned you into an honourable woman’.

in matrimonio stabili et certo collocavit: at the moment Antony is supposed to become a vir, he loses the plot of growing up. His period as a free-lance prostitute segues into a ‘stable’ love affair with one particular suitor that resembles a proper marriage, thus completing the process of transforming Antony from fledgling man to full-blown woman.

By construing collocare with in + ablative, Cicero tweaks the standard idiom in matrimonium collocare = ‘to give in marriage’ (OLD s.v. 9). Here the meaning of collocare is rather ‘to put / place (into a situation or condition)’: OLD s.v. 7. Part of the fun here is that he describes the relationship with full irony as a proper marriage rather than using another term that would have flagged up the perverse nature of the liaison, such as matrimonium iniustum, a union in which the partners wanted to be married but lacked conubium, i.e. ‘the capacity to marry legally’, or concubinatus, partners living together but with one or both lacking the desire to be married (see Treggiari 1991: 49–52 or Hersch 2010: 19–22). The repetition of certus reinforces the irony: Antony has moved from selling his sexual favours for a fixed price tag to a firm and stable marriage (though, as the next paragraph shows, his mercenary motives remained very much alive).

īnspiciō –ere –spexī –spectus: to look into or overlook (> in and specio, look)

opīnor opīnārī opīnātus sum: to suppose, imagine; have a (favorable or unfavorable) opinion about

ōrdior ōrdīrī ōrsus sum: to begin

praetextātus –a –um: wearing the toga praetexta

dēcoquō –coquere –coxī –coctum: to boil away, boil down, diminish by boiling

etenim: and indeed; for in fact

dēfēnsiō dēfēnsiōnis f.: defence

audācia audāciae f.: boldness; recklessness, audacity, impudence; courage

quod: because, the fact that

quattuordecim quārtus –a –um decimus –a –um: 14, 14th

Roscius –a –um: Roscian; of the Roscii, a Roman family

dēcoctor dēcoctōris m.: insolvent person, ruined man, spendthrift, bankrupt

quis quid after sī nisī ne or num: anyone, anything, someone, something

virīlis virīle: male, manly, virile; toga virilis: the toga of a grown man

muliebriter: womanly, womanish

toga togae f.: toga

vulgāris –e: of or belonging to the great mass or multitude, general, usual, ordinary, every–day, common

scortum scortī n.: harlot, prostitute

flāgitium flāgiti(ī) n.: shame, disgrace; scandal, shameful act, outrage, disgraceful thing; scoundrel

mercēs mercēdis f.: pay, wages, interest; article for sale, commodity

Cūriō –ōnis m.: Curio, a Roman cognomen, esp. M. Scribonius Curio, tribune in 50 BCE

interveniō –venīre –vēnī –ventum: to come between, come upon, come in, intervene, interrupt

meretrīcius –a –um: of harlots, of prostitutes, meretricious

quaestus quaestūs m.: profit, gain; occupation, calling, pursuit of income

abdūcō abdūcere abdūxī abductus: to lead away, carry off; detach; entice, seduce, charm; withdraw

stola –ae f.: a long upper garment, a shawl (worn by respectable Roman ladies)

mātrimōnium –ī(ī) n.: marriage

stabilis –e: steadfast, lasting, permanent (> sto); measured, steady

collocō collocāre collocāvī collocātus: to place, put, set in order, proper position, arrange; station, post, position; apply; put together, assemble; settle/establish in a place/marriage; billet; lie down

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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.