Hīc mīrāmur hunc hominem tantum excellere cēterīs, cuius legiōnēs sīc in Asiam pervēnerint, ut nōn modo manus tantī exercitūs, sed nē vēstīgium quidem cuiquam pācātō nocuisse dīcātur? Iam vērō quem ad modum mīlitēs hībernent, cotīdiē sermōnēs ac litterae perferuntur; nōn modo ut sumptum faciat in mīlitem, nēminī vīs adfertur, sed nē cupientī quidem cuiquam permittitur. Hiemis enim, nōn avāritiae perfugium māiōrēs nostrī in sociōrum atque amīcōrum tēctīs esse voluērunt.

    39: Pompey the peaceful, or: imperialism with gloves

    In this section, Cicero moves on from describing the faults of other commanders to building up a picture of the excellent conduct of Pompey when he brought his army into Asia...[full essay]

    Study Questions:

    • What is hic? (Hint: it’s not the demonstrative pronoun.)
    • What case, number and gender is cuius? To whom does it refer?
    • Identify and explain the mood of pervenerint.
    • What declension (and what gender) are manus and exercitus? What case is manus in, what case exercitus?
    • What type of clause does ut introduce?
    • What construction does dicatur govern?
    • What kind of clause is quem ad modum milites hibernent?
    • Both hiemis and avaritiae are genitives dependent on refugium: but what type of genitive is hiemis, what type avaritiae?
    • How many indirect statements can you find in this section? Can you identify the verbs introducing them, and find their subject accusatives?

    Stylistic Appreciation:

    What are the rhetorical devices Cicero uses to emphasise the good behaviour of Pompey’s forces in Asia?

    Discussion Point:

    Cicero ends this section by invoking the normative force of the ancestors. Are ‘older generations’ by definition ethically superior – in ancient Rome and elsewhere in history?

    Hic miramur hunc hominem tantum excellere ceteris, cuius legiones sic in Asiam pervenerint, ut non modo manus tanti exercitus, sed ne vestigium quidem cuiquam pacato nocuisse dicatur?: The main verb of the direct question is miramur, which introduces an indirect statement, with hunc hominem as subject accusative and excellere as infinitive. A relative clause follows (cuius... pervenerint: the verb is in the subjunctive because it is a subordinate clause within indirect speech). The sic therein sets up the consecutive ut-clause.

    ut non modo manus tanti exercitus, sed ne vestigium quidem cuiquam pacato nocuisse dicatur?: The verb of the ut-clause is the impersonal dicatur (in the present subjunctive), which governs a ‘nominative + infinitive construction’: the subjects are manus and vestigium, the verb is nocuisse. Negatives are a bit of an issue here, caused by a slight adjustment to the non modo ... sed etiam ... (‘not only... but also...’) formula. Cicero here wants to say ‘not only not, but not even’, but does not add the required second negative to the ‘non-modo’ part; rather, he uses the ‘local negation’ ne … quidem, which in the first instance negates the word in-between, i.e. vestigium, to negate the entire sentence. Put differently, Cicero is saying literally: ‘that not only a hand, but not even a footprint, of such a great army is said to have harmed anybody peaceful’ – which makes little sense. What he means, however, is ‘that not only no hand, but not even a footprint, of such a great army is said to have harmed anybody peaceful.’

    hic: the adverb, rather than the demonstrative pronoun, which can be translated along the lines of ‘here’ or ‘in these circumstances’.

    hunc hominem: Pompey.

    manus: in form, manus could be either nominative singular (‘hand’) or nominative plural (‘band’). The verb (dicatur) does not help us to decide: when a verb governs two subjects, it regularly agrees with the closest one, in this case vestigium, which is singular. So manus could still be plural. The question then becomes one of interpretation.

    ceteris: in the dative plural because the verb excellere (meaning ‘to surpass’ or ‘to excel’) takes the dative. imperatoribus is implied.

    tantum: used adverbially here: ‘so much’ or ‘so greatly’.

    cuiquam pacato: this is dative, and acts as the object of nocuisse. cuiquam comes from quisquam (‘anyone’); pacato is either the adjective pacatus, -a, -um (derived from paco), meaning ‘disposed to peace, peaceable’ or the perfect passive participle of paco, -are, -avi, -atum, meaning ‘to impose a settlement on, bring under control, subdue’. The choice between ‘anyone peaceful’ and ‘anyone who had (already) accepted the terms of Roman peace after having been subdued’ involves a fine, but important distinction: were those that didn’t suffer harm peaceful to begin with or is Cicero referring to communities that were once hostile but are now ‘pacified’ the Roman way? He comes back to Roman notions of peace and provincial exploitation with a sarcastic witticism at the end of the speech (§ 67): ecquam putatis civitatem pacatam fuisse, quae locuples sit, ecquam esse locupletem, quae istis pacata esse videatur? (‘Do you imagine that any state has been “pacified” and still remains wealthy, that any state is wealthy and seems to these men [= greedy members of Rome’s ruling elite] “pacified”?’) Put differently, Cicero suggests that Roman ‘pacification’ proceeded until a province had been stripped of its wealth...

    Iam vero quem ad modum milites hibernent cotidie sermones ac litterae perferuntur: the subject of the sentence are sermones ac litterae, referring to oral reports or hearsay (sermones) and written missives (litterae) that, so Cicero implies, reach Rome on a daily basis (cotidie) and bring news on how Pompey’s soldiers comport themselves in their winter quarters. iam vero (‘moreover’) gives an emphatic beginning to what follows as if there is still much more to say about Pompey’s self-control. It highlights how Pompey not only avoided damaging the areas through which he led his army, but also made sure that no-one in these areas was forced to spend money on his troops during a time when many other generals plundered the provinces to increase their own wealth.

    quem ad modum milites hibernent: an indirect question (hence the present subjunctive of hibernent) notionally dependent on sermones ac litterae and introduced by quem ad modum.

    cotidie: the adverb suggests a constant stream of news from Asia to Rome, implying in turn that Pompey was building up a high degree of goodwill with Rome’s allies. (The idea of the allies preferring Pompey to be Rome’s general came up already in § 13 and recurs in § 41.)

    Non modo ut sumptum faciat in militem nemini vis adfertur, sed ne cupienti quidem cuiquam permittitur: this sentence summarizes the contents of the oral and written reports that reached Rome, so one could have expected Cicero to present this intelligence in indirect speech. He doesn’t, thereby enhancing the vividness of his discourse. The word order serves the same purpose: by placing the consecutive ut-clause ut sumptum faciat in militem, which specifies the results of the two main clauses, i.e. nemini vis adfertur and ne cupienti quidem cuiquam permittitur, up front, Cicero raises the expectation that he is about to detail a form of financial abuse or extortion – only to cancel out this expectation instantly with nemini vis adfertur. vis is the subject of adfertur: it refers to the illegitimate use of physical force or violence. The second main clause generates a similar moment of surprise. If Cicero first stresses that no one was forced to support Pompey’s soldiers against their will, he now ups the ante by arguing that, with Pompey in charge, no provincial is allowed to incur expenses on behalf of the Romans even if he wanted to do so!

    ne cupienti quidem cuiquam permittitur: as above, the negative in ne...quidem covers the entire sentence. cupienti is the present active participle in the dative of cupio agreeing with cuiquam: it was not permitted to anyone, even if he so desired.

    Hiemis enim, non avaritiae perfugium maiores nostri in sociorum atque amicorum tectis esse voluerunt: the subject is maiores nostri, the main verb voluerunt, which introduces an indirect statement with perfugium as subject accusative and esse the verb (here used as a full verb): ‘the ancestors wished there to be a shelter from ... in the houses of ...’ (If Cicero had written tecta instead of in ... tectis, esse would be a copula, i.e. a verb that ‘links’ the subject and its predicate: ‘the ancestors wished the houses of ... to be a shelter from...’.)

    Hiemis ..., non avaritiae perfugium: hiemis is an objective genitive, avaritiae is a subjective genitive: in the phrase hiemis perfugium, someone else is seeking shelter from ‘the object’ winter; in the phrase avaritiae perfugium, it is ‘the subject’ greed that is seeking shelter. Or, put differently, hiemis is the object against which the verbal action implied in perfugium is directed, whereas avaritiae is the subject understood to carry out the verbal action implied in perfugium. The fact that these two words are both in the genitive and depend on the same noun serves to highlight the contrast between these two diametrically opposed ways of treating the houses of the allies.

    maiores nostri: with his invocation of the ancestors, Cicero implies that Pompey has lived up to the high standards supposedly upheld in the past, further reinforcing the idea that he was a fair and self-disciplined commander. (Cicero mentions the glory or actions of their ancestors to spur on the Roman people to defeat Mithridates in §§ 6, 11 and 14 of this speech.)

    in sociorum atque amicorum tectis: the hyperbaton in ... tectis generates a closed word order.

    tectis: this is ablative plural to go with the word in, and literally means ‘roofs’. Here this word is used to refer to the whole building (a rhetorical device called ‘synecdoche’), and therefore can be translated as ‘houses’.

    40 Plutarch, Life of Pompey 30.1.


    excellō, -ere, excelluī, excelsum, 3, a. and n.: be eminent; be superior, excel, surpass.

    Asia, -ae, [Ἀσία], f.: Asia, usually referring to Asia Minor.

    manus, -ūs, f.: hand; handwriting, style; band, force, company, forces, troops.

    pācō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [pāx], 1, a.: make peaceful, pacify, subdue.

    hībernō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [hībernus], 1, n.: pass the winter, winter, be in winter quarters, have winter quarters.

    cotīdiē [quot + diēs], adv.: every day, daily.

    perferō, -ferre, -tulī, -lātum, [per + ferō], irr., a.: bear through; bring, convey; carry news, announce, report; carry through, accomplish, bring about; put up with, bear, suffer, endure.

    sūmptus, -ūs, [sūmō], m.: expenditure, expense, cost, outlay. sūmptum facere, to be at an expense, to make an expenditure.

    avāritia, -ae, [avārus], f.: greed, avarice, covetousness.

    perfugium, -ī, [perfugiō], n.: refuge, shelter, asylum.

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    Suggested Citation

    Ingo Gildenhard, Louise Hodgson, et al., Cicero, On Pompey’s Command (De Imperio), 27–49. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-78374-080-2. DCC edition, 2016.https://dcc.dickinson.edu/cicero-de-imperio/39