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[91] Tua illa pulchra laudātiō, tua miserātiō, tua cohortātiō; tū, tū, inquam, illās facēs incendistī, et eās quibus sēmustilātus ille est et eās quibus incēnsa L. Belliēnī domus dēflagrāvit. tū illōs impetūs perditōrum et ex maximā parte servōrum quōs nōs vī manūque reppulimus in nostrās domōs immīsistī. īdem tamen quasi fūlīgine abstersā reliquīs diēbus in Capitōliō praeclāra senātūs cōnsulta fēcistī, nē qua post Īdūs Mārtiās immūnitātis tabula nēve cuius beneficī fīgerētur. meministī ipse dē exsulibus, scīs dē immūnitāte quid dīxerīs. optimum vērō quod dictātūrae nōmen in perpetuum dē rē pūblicā sustulistī: quō quidem factō tantum tē cēpisse odium rēgnī vidēbātur ut eius omnem propter proximum dictātōrem metum tollerēs.

Antony as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The paragraph falls into two parts: in the first, devoted to Caesar’s funeral, Antony plays Mr Hyde — a subversive monster out to destroy the city and murder its best citizens; in the second, which revisits senatorial business in late March / early April conducted in the spirit of the compromise reached between Caesarians and liberators on 17 March, Antony has a moment as Dr Jekyll — a high magistrate who conducts affairs of state with sense and sensibility. Cicero singles out for appreciation two aspects from Antony’s early collaboration with the senate: his initial restraint in the use of Caesar’s unpublished state papers; and his apparent aversion to any future form of autocracy at Rome. All three topics (Caesar’s funeral; Caesar’s unpublished state papers; anti-autocratic politics) can benefit from some context. [more] [study questions]

Tua illa pulchra laudatio [Caesaris], tua miseratio, tua cohortatio [erat]: an asyndetic tricolon, reinforced by the triple anaphora of tua, rendered even punchier by the suppression of the verb (erat): ‘That “beautiful” funeral oration, the pathos, the exhortations — they were yours’ (alternatively, one could take laudatiomiseratio, and cohortatio, together with tutu, as subjects of incendisti). The first colon gives the generic reference to the type of speech (a funeral oration, laudatio funebris, consisting in a eulogy of the deceased); the second (miseratio) specifies the emotional register of Antony’s speech (it was fraught with pathos designed to generate sympathy for the deceased), the third (cohortatio) pinpoints its intended impact on the audience, i.e. incitement of anger to be unleashed in violent action against the killers.

Caesar’s funeral is an awkward moment for Cicero not least since Antony here truly proved his worth as orator. As consul, he was in charge of delivering the funeral oration in praise of the deceased, and he managed to use this opportunity to sway public opinion in favour of Caesar and the Caesarians, including himself, while stirring up ill-will towards the conspirators. Cicero was present at the occasion and also acquired a written version of it afterwards (Att. 15.20.2 = 397 SB).

tu, tu, inquam, illas faces incendisti, et eas quibus semustilatus ille est et eas quibus incensa L. Bellieni domus deflagravit: Cicero continues in anaphoric mode as he pivots from Antony’s inflammatory rhetoric to real flames. et eas… et eas… stands in apposition to illas faces: ‘both those… and those…’. incensa is perfect passive participle in the nominative feminine singular, modifying domus. Lucius Bellienus is not otherwise known, but presumably supported the conspirators.

semustilatus ille est: the reference is to Caesar (ille), or rather his corpse. semi-ustilo means ‘to half-burn’ and suggests the undignified nature of the proceedings: whipped into a frenzy by Antony’s speech, the crowd lost any sense of ritual decorum and turned the funeral into a riot. One of the victims was Caesar’s corpse: instead of receiving a proper cremation, Cicero suggests, it only got scorched in the context of a city-wide conflagration. The — decidedly rare — verb is not coincidentally the same that Cicero used at pro Milone 33 to refer to the half-burnt corpse of Clodius, whose death caused a similarly violent aftermath.

tu illos impetus perditorum et ex maxima parte servorum quos nos vi manuque reppulimus in nostras domos immisisti: the third sentence in a row that begins with a second person pronoun or pronominal adjective. Here Cicero casts Antony as a general who directs the attacks of villains and slaves against the houses of senators with republican convictions. If Suetonius (Life of Julius Caesar 85) is right that the houses which suffered a mob attack were those of the two leading conspirators Cassius and Brutus, Cicero — by using the first person plural nos… reppulimus — generates the hyperbolic impression of a much more widespread attack, while also declaring his solidarity with the republican ringleaders.

idem tamen quasi fuligine abstersa reliquis diebus in Capitolio praeclara senatus consulta fecisti, ne qua post Idus Martias immunitatis tabula [figeretur] neve [tabula] cuius benefici figeretur: the ne introduces a (bipartite) noun-clause. The two parts are linked by the -ve attached to the second ne that specifies the contents of two decrees that Cicero endorsed. qua is in the nominative feminine singular (= aliqua; after sinisine and numali- goes ‘bum!’) modifying tabula, the subject of the clause, which also has to be supplied in the second part as the noun on which the genitive cuius[= alicuiusbenefici depends. Public regulations, such as laws and decrees, were inscribed on bronze tablets (tabulae) and put on display on the Capitoline Hill: ‘… you saw to the passing of outstanding decrees of the Senate, providing that after the Ides of March no record of exemption or of any special favour be posted’. Cf. Phil. 1.3: assentiri etiam nos Ser. Sulpicio, clarissimo viro, voluit, ne qua tabula post Idus Martias ullius decreti Caesaris aut benefici figeretur (‘He even wished us to assent to the motion of Servius Sulpicius, a man of great distinction, that from the Ides of March no notice of any decree or grant of Caesar’s should be posted’). As Ramsey (1994: 131–32) shows, Cicero here tries ‘to convey the false impression that there was such a ban because Cicero deliberately chose to quote a single clause from this decree in order to suggest that Antony agreed to surrender more power than he in fact did under the terms of the decree’. (For a reconstruction of the decree, see essay: Antony as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (§91): there was most likely never a complete ban — the decree rather called for a systematic review of the archive by the consuls, under the general supervision of an advisory board (consilium).)

quasi fuligine abstersa: an ablative absolute. The quasi indicates that Cicero is speaking figuratively.

meministi ipse de exsulibus [quid dixeris], scis de immunitate quid dixeris: the two ablative phrases de exsulibus and de immunitate belong into the indirect questions (the first very elliptical). At Philippic 1.2–3 (cited above), Cicero reproduces the cross-examination of Antony in the senate before the passing of Sulpicius’ motion, giving reassurances that Caesar’s state papers did not contain unwelcome surprises.

de immunitatemunus, -eris, n. denotes a ‘task’, ‘duty’ or ‘obligation’, and im-muni-tas ‘was the exemption of a community or an individual from obligations [munera, such as the payment of taxes] to the Roman state or of an individual from obligations to a local community’ (Burton 2012).

optimum vero [erat] quod dictaturae nomen in perpetuum de re publica sustulisti: the main verb (erat) needs to be supplied. quod (+ indicative) introduces a substantive clause, i.e. a clause that functions like a noun. Here it is the predicative complement to optimum: ‘But the best thing was that…’. The subject of the quod-clause is an implied tu, the verb is sustulisti.

dictaturae nomen in perpetuum … sustulistidictaturae is an appositional genitive dependent on nomen: ‘the term dictatorship’. in perpetuum is an adverbial phrase with sustulisti. Cicero could have used other words to express the idea of ‘forever’ (sempiternoaeterno; at Phil. 1.4 (cited above) he used funditus ‘entirely’ in this context), but in perpetuumgenerates a nice antithesis with — and ironically recalls — Caesar’s last title dictator perpetuo (‘dictator in perpetuity’).

quo quidem facto tantum te cepisse odium regni videbatur ut eius omnem propter proximum dictatorem metum tolleresquo is a connecting relative (= et eo) and part of the ablative of cause quo quidem facto: ‘because of this deed at least’. The subject is tantum … odium (the degree of hatred is underscored by the hyperbaton), which sets up the consecutive ut-clause. The objective genitive regni depends on odium: ‘… such hatred of kingship seemed to have taken hold of you that…’

eius omnem … metumeius, which refers back to regni, is an objective genitive dependent on metumomnem … metum(note the hyperbaton) correlates thematically and stylistically with tantum … odium in the main clause: hatred and fear are two powerful and complementary emotions.

propter proximum dictatorem: a reference to Caesar’s recent dictatorship and a condensed rephrasing of propter perpetuae dictaturae recentem memoriam at Phil. 1.4 (cited above).

laudātiō –ōnis f.: a praising, praise, commendation, eulogy, panegyric, encomium

miserātiō –ōnis f.: pity, compassion, sympathy

cohortātiō cohortātiōnis f.: exhortation

incendō incendere incendī incensus: to set on fire; set fire to, kindle, burn; cause to flame/burn; keep fire burning; scorch; make fiery hot (fever/thirst); light up; cause to glow; intensify; inspire, fire, rouse, excite, inflame; provoke, incense, aggravate

sēmiustulō (sēmustulō) –āre — –ātus: to half-burn, to burn in part

Lūcius –iī m.: Lucius

Belliēnus –ī m.: Bellienus, a Roman cognomen

dēflagrō –āre: to burn down, to be consumed by fire; to perish, be destroyed; to burn out, cease burning

perditus –a –um: ruined, desperate, depraved

repellō repellere reppulī repulsum: to drive back, repel

immittō immittere immīsī immīssus: to send in(to), let in(to)

fūlīgō –inis f.: soot

abstergeō –ēre abstersī abstersum: to wipe clean

Capitōlium –iī n.: the Capitol

praeclārus –a –um: very clear; splendid; famous; bright, illustrious; noble, distinguished

cōnsultum cōnsultī n.: decree, decision

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

īdūs īduum (pl. f.): the Ides (middle of Roman month)

Māvortius –a –um or Mārtius –a –um: pertaining to Mavors or Mars; ; warlike, martial; of Mars; son of Mars; received in battle, honorable; sacred to Mars (> Mavors)

immūnitās –ātis f.: freedom or exemption from public services, burdens, or charges, immunity, privilege

tabula tabulae f.: writing tablet (wax covered board); records (pl.); document, deed, will; list; plank/board, flat piece of wood; door panel; counting/playing/notice board; picture, painting; wood panel for painting; metal/stone tablet/panel w/text

neu or neve: or not, and not; (for negative of imp.) [neve ... neve => neither ... nor ]

fīgō fīgere fīxī fīxus: to fix, fasten, transfix, pierce

exsul exsulis m.: exile

quod: because, the fact that

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

dictātor dictatōris m.: dictator, commander

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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.
http://dcc.dickinson.edu/cicero-philippics/ii-91