6.15

M. Tulliō Cicerōne ōrātōre et C. Antōniō cōnsulibus, annō ab urbe conditā sexcentēsimō octōgēsimō nōnō, L. Sergius Catilīna, nōbilissimī generis vir, sed ingeniī prāvissimī, ad dēlendam patriam coniūrāvit cum quibusdam clārīs quidem, sed audācibus virīs. Ā Cicerōne urbe expulsus est. Sociī eius dēprehēnsī in carcere strangulātī sunt, ab Antōniō alterō cōnsule Catilīna ipse victus proeliō est interfectus.

    Cicero Consul. Conspiracy of Catiline (63 BCE)

    Sallust, Conspiracy of Catiline. Cicero, Against Catiline.

    M. Tulliō Cicerōne ōrātōre et C. Antōniō cōnsulibus: ablative absolute with form of esse assumed (AG 419.a)

    M. Tulliō Cicerōne ōrātōre: Cicero is one of Rome’s most prolific authors. His speech Against Catiline (In Catilinam) is still extant and its opening line is famously popular in Latin classrooms even today.

    L. Sergius Catilīna: In 63 BCE Catiline, who had served as praetor in 68 BCE, was unsuccessful for the second year running in his bid for the consulship. As leader of a group of disaffected aristocrats, impoverished Sullan veterans and the urban poor he organized a conspiracy at Rome and in Italy which was revealed to Cicero by spies. In November Cicero obtained written evidence of the plot, drove Catiline from Rome and arrested Lentulus and Cethegus in Rome. These were condemned by the senate and executed. Catiline's army of irregulars was defeated near Pistoria in January 62 BCE by the propraetor M. Petreius and Catiline was killed. Antonius, the other consul, led one of the armies against Catiline and is also credited with defeating Catiline (Bird).

    nōbilissimī generis: genitive of quality (AG 345)

    ad dēlendam patriam: "to destroy his country," gerundive denoting purpose (AG 500.4)

    in carcere strangulātī sunt: a  punishment also visited on Aristonicus in Brev. 4.20 and Jugurtha in Brev. 4.27, (Smith, carcer).

    Details

    The Mamertine prison was at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. This was the only prison in Rome in early times. In it most of the famous captives of the Romans were strangled. It consisted of an upper and lower chamber. The term Tullianum sometimes applied to the prison as a whole is more properly restricted to the lower dungeon. Sallust in the Catiline (55.3–4) gives an impressive picture of the lower vault in which Jugurtha perished. "There is," he says, "in the prison a chamber named the Tullianum, about twelve feet below the surface of the earth. It is surrounded by walls, and covered by a vaulted roof of stone; but its appearance is repulsive and fearful, because of the neglect, and the darkness, and the stench" (Hazzard).

    Catilīna ipse: It was not until March of the next year (62 BCE) that Catiline was surrounded, while attempting to escape into Gaul, and was slain (Hazzard).

    Core Vocabulary | Numbers | Dates

    M.

    M., abbreviation of the praenomen Marcus; M'., abbreviation of the praenomen Manius

    Cicerō, ōnis, m.

    M. Tullius Cicerō, the famous orator, consul 63 B.C.

    ōrātor, ōris [ōrō], m. an orator, ambassador
    C.

    abbreviation of the praenomen Gaius

    Antōnius, ī, m.

    the name of a Roman gens, C. Antōnius, consul 63 B.C., L. Antōnius, consul 41 B.C., M. Antōnius, the friend of Caesar and member of the Second Triumvirate, consul 44 B.C.

    L.

    abbreviation of the praenomen Lucius

    Catilīna, ae, m.

    L. Sergius Catiline, a conspirator during the consulship of Cicero, 63 B.C.

    prāvus, a, um, adj.

    crooked, wrong; perverse, wicked

    dēleō, ēre, ēvī, ētus to destroy, overthrow, rain
    coniūrō, āre, āvī, ātus

    to take an oath together, conspire, plot

    expellō, ere, pulī, pulsus

    to drive out or away, expel, dislodge

    dēprehendō, ere, ī, hēnsus

    to seize, catch; surprise, detect, discover

    carcer, eris, m. prison
    strangulō, āre, āvī, ātus to strangle, throttle, kill

     

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