Iam quantum cōnsiliō, quantum dīcendī gravitāte et cōpiā valeat, in quō ipsō inest quaedam dīgnitās imperātōria, vōs, Quirītēs, hōc ipsō ex locō saepe cognōvistis. Fidem vērō eius quantam inter sociōs exīstimārī putātis, quam hostēs omnēs omnium generum sānctissimam iūdicārint? Hūmānitāte iam tantā est, ut difficile dictū sit, utrum hostēs magis virtūtem eius pūgnantēs timuerint an mānsuētūdinem victī dīlēxerint. Et quisquam dubitābit, quīn huic hoc tantum bellum trānsmittendum sit, quī ad omnia nostrae memōriae bella cōnficienda dīvīnō quōdam cōnsiliō nātus esse videātur?
42: Peace for our time
In the previous paragraph, Cicero started with four sentences that dealt with Pompey’s temperantia, constituted also stylistically as a unit by the quadruple anaphora of nunc. In the last sentence of § 41, he moved on to facilitas – a switch in focus marked by the particles Iam vero – which he treats in one sentence. § 42 continues this approach: we get another list of sentences, introduced by either iam or vero, to do with (mainly) ‘soft’ virtutes…[full essay]
- Why is valeat in the subjunctive?
- What kind of ablative are consilio, gravitate and copia?
- What is the antecedent of the relative pronoun quam?
- Parse generum.
- Parse iudicarint and explain the mood.
- What kind of ablative is humanitate?
- What kind of clause is ut difficile dictu sit?
- Parse dictu.
- Parse pugnantes.
- dicendi (in the first sentence) goes with both gravitate and copia; eius (in the penultimate sentence) goes with both virtutem and mansuetudinem. What do you call this phenomenon?
- Explain the construction governed by the preposition ad (ad omnia nostrae memoriae bella conficienda).
- Why is videatur in the subjunctive?
- What does Cicero mean when he says that public oratory comprises quaedam dignitas imperatoria?
Discuss the rhetorical effect of Cicero’s use of quantus, -a, -um and tantus, -a, -um.
Cicero argues that the secret of Pompey’s ability to bring wars to a successful conclusion derives in large part from his ‘soft qualities’ – the reliability of his ‘word’ (fides) and his human kindness (humanitas). Is that a principle that holds true elsewhere in history?
Iam quantum consilio [sc. valeat], quantum dicendi gravitate et copia valeat, in quo ipso inest quaedam dignitas imperatoria, vos, Quirites, hoc ipso ex loco saepe cognovistis: the main verb is cognovistis which governs the indirect question (hence the subjunctive) quantum ... valeat. The antecedent of the relative clause introduced by in quo ipso is ambiguous, not least since quo and ipso could be either masculine or neuter. It could be Pompey, the subject of the indirect question implied in valeat: ‘in whom there is anyhow a certain dignity characteristic of a general’. It could be dicendi – understood either specifically in the sense of ‘Pompey’s way of speaking’ or more generally ‘powerful oratory’. Or it could hark back to the indirect question in its entirety, i.e. the powerful display of political wisdom eloquently articulated. In this last sense in particular, Cicero implicitly claims dignitas imperatoria also for himself.
Lexically and thematically, Cicero here harks back to the opening of § 29, the beginning of his discussion of virtus: Iam vero virtuti Cn. Pompei quae potest oratio par inveniri? Quid est quod quisquam aut illo dignum aut vobis novum aut cuiquam inauditum possit adferre? Neque enim illae su virtutes imperatoriae, quae volgo existimantur... Arguably, his claim that dicendi gravitas et copia belongs to a discussion of (Pompey’s) virtus and possesses quaedam dignitas imperatoria, apart from solving the tension between excellence and its recapitulation in discourse (insofar as discourse itself emerges as a field of excellence), constitutes something new and unheard of – and worthy not just of Pompey, but also of Cicero!
quantum consilio, quantum dicendi gravitate et copia valeat: Cicero uses the anaphora of quantum to differentiate between Pompey’s political intelligence (consilio) and his eloquence (dicendi gravitate et copia).
consilio ... gravitate ... copia: ablatives of respect or specification.
vos, Quirites: the direct appeal to the audience makes this part more vivid: Cicero appeals to the experience of his audience as evidence for his argument.
hoc ipso ex loco: the preposition that governs the ablative phrase (ex) comes second, in this case after the two pronominal adjectives hoc and ipso, a phenomenon called ‘anastrophe’. Cicero refers to the place from which he is speaking, i.e. the rostra or ‘speaker’s platform’. A keen sense of place is a distinctive feature of Cicero’s oratory, and the very first sentence of the pro lege Manilia contains a programmatic reference to the location of delivery (§ 1): Quamquam mihi semper frequens conspectus vester multo iucundissimus, hic autem locus ad agendum amplissimus, ad dicendum ornatissimus est visus, Quirites, tamen hoc aditu laudis, qui semper optimo cuique maxime patuit, non mea me voluntas adhuc, sed vitae meae rationes ab ineunte aetate susceptae prohibuerunt (‘Even though it has at all times given me a special pleasure to behold your crowded assembly, and this place in particular has seemed to me to afford the amplest scope for action, the fairest stage for eloquence, nonetheless, fellow-citizens, this approach to fame, which the best have ever found most widely open, has hitherto been barred to me, not certainly by any wish of mine, but by that scheme of life which, from my earliest years, I had laid down for myself’). The reference to the sphere of domestic politics sets up one of many contrasts operative in this passage. Cicero draws attention to Pompey’s proven excellence at home, as basis for encouraging his audience to make reliable inferences about his reputation abroad (see further below: inter socios, omnes hostes).
Fidem vero eius quantam inter socios existimari putatis, quam hostes omnes omnium generum sanctissimam iudicarint?: The main verb of the question is putatis which governs fidem vero eius quantam inter socios existimari in oratio obliqua. The subject accusative is the interrogative pronoun quantam, the infinitive is existimari. fidem stands in predicative position to quantam, but is pulled up front for emphasis. It is also the antecedent of the relative pronoun quam.
Cicero works his way up from the domestic sphere in the previous sentence to Rome’s allies in the main clause here (inter socios) to Rome’s enemies in the relative clause (hostes omnes omnium generum), but he inverts allies and enemies chronologically: iudicarint is in the perfect (Rome’s enemies have already judged Pompey’s trustworthiness completely inviolable), which serves Cicero as basis for an a-fortiori argument that he casts as a rhetorical question: if already Rome’s enemies have demonstrated the highest possible esteem for Pompey’s fides (note the superlative sanctissimam), then the esteem in which it is held by Rome’s allies is, surely, off the scale.
eius: the genitive of the demonstrative pronoun is, dependent on fidem: ‘his [sc. Pompey’s] trustworthiness’.
hostes omnes omnium generum: a hyperbole, reinforced by juxtaposition, polyptoton, and chiasmus (noun + adjective :: adjective + noun), designed to recall earlier universalizing statements about Pompey’s comprehensive experience of warfare.
iudicarint: the contracted form of iudica-ve-rint, i.e. 3rd person plural perfect subjunctive active. The subjunctive is perhaps best explained as a case of so-called attractio modi (‘attraction of mood’): it is a subordinate clause within indirect speech (fidem ... existimari) introduced by putatis.
Humanitate iam tanta est, ut difficile dictu sit, utrum hostes magis virtutem eius pugnantes timuerint an mansuetudinem victi dilexerint: the subject of est is Pompey. humanitate ... tanta is an ablative of characteristic or quality: ‘he is of such human kindness that...’
ut difficile dictu sit: a consecutive ut-clause set up by tanta. dictu is a supine.
The Latin ‘supine’ is a verbal substantive that follows the 4th declension in those cases in which it occurs. There are two forms: one ending in -um, the other in -u. The supine in -um (originally an accusative of direction) expresses purposes with verb of motion. Here is an example from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria on why women frequent the theatre: spectatum veniunt, veniunt, spectentur ut ipsae: ‘they come in order to see, they come so that they themselves are seen’ – or, more elegantly, ‘they come to see and be seen’. The supine ending in -u, as here, derives originally from the dative (expressing purpose) and occurs mainly with a range of adjectives such as fas, nefas; facilis, difficilis; incredibilis; or mirabilis. It is best translated in English with the infinitive: mirabile visu: ‘wondrous to behold’, difficile dictu: ‘difficult to say’.]
utrum hostes magis virtutem eius pugnantes timuerint an mansuetudinem victi dilexerint: after positioning Pompey in relation to the citizens and the allies, Cicero considers his impact on the enemy in what amounts to a magnificent play with antitheses (virtutem v. mansuetudinem, pugnantes v. victi, timuerint v. dilexerint) in two acts. Initially, while they are still involved in combat (pugnantes) the enemies fear (timuerint) Pompey’s martial prowess (virtus); once vanquished (victi), they love (dilexerint) his leniency (mansuetudinem). Whether their initial fear or their subsequent love is stronger Cicero finds it difficult to say. The switch from present active participle (pugnantes) in the utrum-half to the perfect passive participle in the an-half presents the outcome of a war against Pompey as a foregone conclusion: all foes will be vanquished. As pointed out above, virtus, in the ‘primary’ sense of martial prowess/courage on the battlefield, and mansuetudo map out the full spectrum of Pompey’s excellences, from the ‘hard’ to the ‘soft’. The sense of closure thereby generated sets up the last sentence in the section on virtus:
Et quisquam dubitabit quin huic hoc tantum bellum permittendum sit, qui ad omnia nostrae memoriae bella conficienda divino quodam consilio natus esse videatur?: Cicero finishes with a rhetorical question (that requires a resounding ‘no-one’ as answer) and a concluding endorsement of Pompey that again asserts his special relationship with the divine sphere. Pompey, Cicero asserts, has been born for a purpose: to bring all wars to a successful conclusion. He uses the formulation natus ad... (with the preposition ad expressing purpose) to elevate certain individuals such as Pompey or Milo (who, according to Cicero, was born to rid the res publica of Clodius) into figures of destiny. They come into existence with a divine charter (cf. divino quodam consilio) to perform certain deeds for the wellbeing of the commonwealth.46 This is particularly remarkable since Fate (with a capital F) is by and large a negative, four-letter word for Cicero: he usually doesn’t hold with notions of historical destiny or necessity, only flirting with them occasionally (as here) to score rhetorical points.
Et quisquam dubitabit quin...: after negated expressions of doubt or hesitation (here the negation is built into the rhetorical question which demands ‘no-one’ as an answer), quin is a conjunction meaning ‘that’. Such quin-clauses are in indirect speech and hence take the subjunctive (permittendum sit).
46 Begemann (2012) 249 labels this rhetorical ploy ‘ad natus-formula’.
gravitās, -ātis, [gravis], f.: weight, heaviness; oppressiveness, severity; importance, dignity, gravity, influence.
īnsum, inesse, īnfuī, [in + sum], irr., n.: be in, be on; exist in, belong to.
imperātōrius, -a, -um, [imperātor], adj.: of a commander, of a general.
Quirītēs, -ium, [Curēs, an ancient town of the Sabines], m., pl.: originally people of Cures; after the union of the Sabines with the Romans, Roman citizens, Quirītēs; sometimes in sing., Quirīs, -ītis, a Roman citizen, Quirite.
quantus, -a, -um, adj., inter.: how great? how much? rel., as great as, as much as. tantus — quantus, as great as, as much as.
hūmānitās, -ātis, [hūmānus], f.: human nature, humanity; kindness, good nature, politeness; culture, refinement.
magis [root mag in māgnus], adv.: more, in a greater measure; in a higher degree, far more, rather, in preference.
mānsuētūdō, -inis, [mānsuētus], f.: gentleness, mildness clemency.
dīligō, -ere, dīlēxī, dīlēctum, [dī- + legō], 3, a.: select out, single out; choose above all others, esteem, prize, love, cherish; be content with, appreciate.
dīvīnus, -a, -um, [dīvus], adj.: of a god, of a divinity, divine; godlike, superhuman; religious, sacred; inspired by divine influence, prophetic.