[90] Quī tibi diēs ille, M. Antōnī, fuit! quamquam mihi inimīcus subitō exstitistī, tamen mē tuī miseret quod tibi invīderīs. quī tū vir, dī immortālēs, et quantus fuissēs, sī illīus diēī mentem servāre potuissēs! pācem habērēmus, quae erat facta per obsidem puerum nōbilem, M. Bambaliōnis nepōtem. quamquam bonum tē timor faciēbat, nōn diuturnus magister officī; improbum fēcit ea quae, dum timor abest, ā tē nōn discēdit, audācia. etsī tum, cum optimum tē multī putābant mē quidem dissentiente, fūnerī tyrannī, sī illud fūnus fuit, scelerātissimē praefuistī.

Antony’s Finest Hour

Cicero spends most of this paragraph speculating on what might have been had Antony been willing to sustain the conciliatory outlook he adopted right after Caesar’s assassination, and especially during the senate meeting of 17 March. Cicero claims it was Antony’s finest hour — and if he had continued to act in the spirit in which negotiations were conducted, a lasting peace and much fame would have ensued. But from the point of view of Philippic 2, these musings are past counterfactuals. As Cicero had predicted (see the previous paragraph), as soon as Antony’s fear evaporated, his audacia kicked back in. It manifested itself not least in the way he conducted Caesar’s funeral, which took place a couple of days later (c. 20 March) — the subject of the following paragraph. [study questions]

Qui tibi dies ille, M. Antoni, fuit!: The interrogative adjective qui, which modifies dies, here introduces an exclamation (see OLD s.v. qui 3), with ille in predicative position: ‘What a day that was for you, Marcus Antonius!’ Cicero uses the same construction in qui… vir below.

quamquam mihi inimicus subito exstitisti, tamen me tui miseret quod tibi inviderisinimicus (‘personal enemy’ as opposed to hostis, ‘external enemy’) stands in predicative position to the subject of the quamquam-clause, an implied tu, and governs the dative mihi: ‘even though you have suddenly become my personal enemy’. With subito, Cicero refers to the events that unfolded in September, more specifically the first Philippic, delivered in the senate on 2 September. The speech provoked Antony’s anger — and an official declaration of inimicitia: see Phil. 5.19: at ille homo vehemens et violentus… inimicitias mihi denuntiavit (‘then that rash and violent man declared himself my enemy’). Despite this state of enmity, Cicero professes to feel pity for Antony nevertheless (tamen me tui miseret) — because he did harm to himself (quod tibi invideris) instead of becoming a hero of the republic (elaborated on in the subsequent sentences).

me tui miseretmiseret is an impersonal present indicative active, with the person who feels the pity in the accusative (me) and the person pitied in the genitive (tui): ‘pity of you affects me’ = ‘I pity you’.

quod tibi inviderisinvideris is the 2nd person singular perfect subjunctive active of invideo, which takes the dative (tibi): literally, ‘because you regarded yourself with envy’. quod here follows a verb of emotion (miseret) and is used to indicate the reason for Cicero’s pity: Gildersleeve & Lodge 341. The oblique relation to the main clause accounts for the subjunctive. The thought here is convoluted: during the senate meeting of 17 March, Antony showed himself willing to co-operate with the senate and thereby acquired goodwill and credit in senatorial circles; but by the time of Philippic 2, he had changed his political outlook. Cicero here mockingly imputes that he did so because he had become envious of the stellar reputation he had managed to gain. He thus continues to presuppose that Antony suffers from awkward personality splits.

qui tu vir, di immortales, et quantus fuisses, si illius diei mentem servare potuisses!: a past counterfactual condition with both the (up-front) apodosis (qui… fuisses) and protasis (si… potuisses) in the pluperfect subjunctive: ‘What a man and how great you would have been, if you had been able to…’

illius diei mentem servaremens here refers to the mental disposition (anxious, hence conciliatory, and willing to cooperate with the conspirators) Antony had on 17 March.

pacem haberemus, quae erat facta per obsidem puerum nobilem, M. Bambalionis nepotem: the imperfect subjunctive haberemus can be understood as forming another apodosis to the si-clause in the previous sentence: ‘[if you had been able to retain the mental disposition you had on that day,] we would (still) have the peace (now), which was (at the time) brokered through…’ Both puerum nobilem and M. Bambalionis nepotem stand in apposition to obsidem.

M. Bambalionis nepotem: Antony’s child with Fulvia was the grandson of M. Fulvius Bambalio, Fulvia’s father. Cicero disses father and daughter at Phil. 3.16: tuae coniugis, bonae feminae, locupletis quidem certe, Bambalio quidam pater, homo nullo numero. nihil illo contemptius qui propter haesitantiam linguae stuporemque cordis cognomen ex contumelia traxerit (‘the father of your wife, the good woman — and at any rate rich —, is a certain Bambalio, a complete nobody. Nothing is more contemptible than he who got his humiliating nickname from his stammer and dimwittedness’). Bambalio comes from the Greek verb βαμβάλειν = to stammer. It is unlikely that Bambalio was a nobilis, so the phrase puerum nobilem is designed to highlight the low social rank of Fulvia’s family (as opposed to Antony’s): see Shackleton Bailey (1992: 51). And even if he was, the juxtaposition of nobilem with Bambalionis (which contains within itself, but also soundly jumbles up, nobilis) gives the impression that any claim of Antony’s offspring to nobility laughably dissolves in a preposterous stammer. Arguably, it was this piece of spiteful mischief that encouraged Cicero to use the otherwise rather cumbersome periphrasis puerum nobilem, M. Bambalionis nepotem (a phrase that in itself produces an onomatopoeic stammer: -um, -lem, Bam-, tem-) in the first place: there are many more obvious ways to refer to Antony and Fulvia’s child. See e.g. Cicero, Philippic 1.2 (in a conciliatory moment): pax denique per eum et per liberos eius cum praestantissimis civibus confirmata est (‘Finally, through him and his son [the plural liberos refers to a single child], peace with our most outstanding fellow-citizens was established’).

quamquam bonum te timor faciebat, [timor] non [est] diuturnus magister offici; [te] improbum fecit ea quae, dum timor abest, a te non discedit, audacia: Cicero here considers how the countervailing forces of (momentary) fear (timor) and natural insolence (audacia) shape Antony’s conduct. Even though fear made Antony a politically sound (bonum) person (facio here means ‘to cause to be / become’, ‘make’, ‘render’, with te as accusative object and bonum as predicate) for a little while (note the imperfect faciebat, expressing duration in the past), it is not an emotion that will ensure a permanent change in outlook — as Cicero states in the gnomic main clause, in which both the subject (timor) and the verb (est) is implied: ‘fear is not a long-term teacher of duty’. In the end, insolence, which is Antony’s default condition unless it is temporarily suspended because of fear, reasserted itself and has made Antony villainous (improbus) again. The perfect fecit refers to a moment in the past when Antony’s audacia reasserted itself, and the relative clause quae… discedit makes it apparent that this state is continuing at the time of speaking.

ea… audacia: the hyperbaton of the demonstrative adjective ea and the noun it modifies (effectively placed at the very end of the sentence) reinforces the sense that insolence is Antony’s default condition.

etsi tum, cum optimum te [esse] multi putabant me quidem dissentiente, funeri tyranni, si illud funus fuit, sceleratissime praefuistietsi here introduces a main clause with praefuisti as verb and an implied tu as subject: ‘and yet, at the time when (cum)…, you presided over the funeral (praesum takes the dative) of the tyrant… in the most criminal fashion’. cum introduces a temporal clause with multi as subject and putabant as verb, which governs an indirect statement with te as subject accusative, an implied esse as verb, and optimum as predicative complement. me quidem dissentiente is a (concessive) ablative absolute.

tyranni: this is the first of several instances in Philippic 2 where Cicero refers to Caesar with the Greek loanword tyrannus. See also §§ 96 and 117.

si illud funus fuit: ‘if that was a funeral’. Cicero expresses his doubts that what happened around 20 March can be classified as a (proper) funeral, underscoring his contempt with a disagreeable f-alliteration in funus fuit. (At Orator 49, he calls ‘f’ the most unpleasant of letters — insuavissima littera.)

Antōnius –iī m.: Antonius (a name)

exsistō –sistere –stitī: to emerge, appear, be visible, be

miseret miserēre miseruit/miseritum est: to it moves (one) to pity

quod: because, the fact that

invideō invidēre invīdī invīsus: to envy, regard with envy/ill will; be jealous of; begrudge, refuse (+ dat.)

immortālis immortālis immortāle: immortal, not subject to death; eternal, everlasting, perpetual; imperishable

obses obsidis m. or f.: hostage; pledge, security

Marcus Marcī m.: Marcus

Bambaliō Bambaliōnis m.: Bambalio (a cognomen)

nepōs nepōtis m.: grandchild, nephew, descendant; spendthrift, playboy

diūturnus –a –um: long–lasting

improbus –a –um: wicked/flagrant; morally unsound; greedy/rude; immoderate; disloyal; shameless

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

etsī: although

dissentīō dissentīre dissēnsī dissēnsus: to disagree

tyrannus tyrannī m.: tyrant

scelerātus –a –um: accursed, criminal, scoundrel

praesum praeesse praefuī praefutūrus: to be in charge/control/head (of) (+ dat.); take the lead (in); be present (at)

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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.