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38

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 38: OF LOCUSTS AND LEECHES

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 In this paragraph Cicero considers the impact the presence of an army has on the wider population, both within Italy and beyond. In his effort to rouse sympathy with the plight of allies and external nations affected by warfare or, more specifically, undisciplined or marauding troops owing to a lack of leadership, he encourages his audience to draw on recent personal experiences. We get the following three scenarios:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 (i) Roman armies on the march through Italy (itinera)

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 (ii) Roman armies attacking enemy cities (hostium urbes)

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 (iii) Roman armies camping in their winter quarters (hiberna, sc. castra)

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 among allied nations (sociorum civitates)

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 In what is prima facie a highly counterintuitive argument (phrased carefully, to be sure, in the form of a rhetorical question), Cicero implies that (i) and (iii) have caused greater havoc than (ii). The ‘collateral damage’ caused by troop movement within Italy (cf. in Italia) serves as basis for his suggestion that outside Italy (cf. apud exteras nationes) the destructive impact on allied nations (sociorum civitates) by Roman winter quarters exceeds the harm done to enemies (cf. hostium) by Roman soldiers sacking their cities. This is baffling – and prepares for the explanatory punch-line set up by enim. The reason for this unfortunate paradox is that soldiers tend to plunder their host community into ruin unless their general checks their marauding; but only a general who exercises self-control (a rare creature indeed, so Cicero implies) is able to control his army.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Itinera, quae per hosce annos in Italia per agros atque oppida civium Romanorum nostri imperatores fecerint, recordamini: Itinera is pulled up front for emphasis. Opinions on how to interpret the subjunctive fecerint in the quae-clause vary: some think that we are dealing with a generic relative clause (‘Recall the kind of marches that our generals made…’); ((Radice and Steel (2014) 70.)) others that it is an indirect question dependent on recordamini, with quae being interrogative rather than relative (‘Recall the marches which/which marches our generals made…’). ((Macdonald (1986) 70.)) The latter seems more attractive, not least since it continues the pattern from the end of the previous paragraph: quantas calamitates … ferant, quis ignorat? Itinera, quae …. fecerint, recordamini!

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 per hosce annos: it is unclear how far back Cicero wants his audience to

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 think: does per hosce annos refer as far back as the Social War? The civil wars between Sulla and the Marians? Or just the suppression of the revolt of Spartacus? The vague chronology ensures that the identity of nostri imperatores remains equally vague. The sentence by itself does not imply misbehaviour on the part of the generals: Pompey, after all, was one of the imperatores that would have come to mind; the emphasis is rather on the burden of ordinary troop movement on the civilian population. But in the light of how the paragraph ends, one could wonder whether Roman generals and their armies always maintained impeccable discipline while travelling through Italy.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 tum facilius statuetis, quid apud exteras nationes fieri existimetis: statuetis (3rd conjugation) is future active indicative, existimetis (1st conjugation) is present active subjunctive in the indirect question introduced by the interrogative pronoun quid, which has a double function: it is the accusative object of existimetis and the subject accusative of the indirect statement governed by existimetis (fieri being the infinitive).

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 facilius: the comparative form of the adverb facile.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Utrum plures arbitramini per hosce annos militum vestrorum armis hostium urbes an hibernis sociorum civitates esse deletas?: Cicero continues to address his audience directly: the main verb of the rhetorical question is arbitramini. It introduces an indirect statement consisting of two subject accusatives, each with a genitive attribute, coordinated by utrum (hostium urbes) … an (sociorum civitates), and one infinitive: esse deletas. The emphatically placed attribute plures modifies both urbes and civitates. Likewise, the possessive genitive militum vestrorum modifies both armis and hibernis. So Cicero begins and ends with elements ‘shared’ by the utrum– and the an-part: plures, per hosce annos, militum vestrorum, esse deletas; in between we get the disjunctive contrasts: armis as compared to hibernis (ablatives of instrument); hostium as compared to sociorum (possessive genitives); urbes as compared to civitates (subject accusatives).

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Utrum… an…: introduces a disjunctive question that offers more than one alternative. Cicero strongly suggests that the (prima facie counterintuitive) second alternative is the right one: to say that the opposite is the case would hardly be worth the effort, but to argue that winter-quarters are more pernicious for the indigenous population than the wholesale destruction of cities through armed violence baffles and intrigues. It calls for explication, which Cicero delivers in the subsequent sentence (cf. enim).

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 hibernis: allies were expected to support Roman armies that set up winter quarters in their territory. Depending on the demands made by the general on the local population and the discipline he imposed on his soldiers, the presence of a camp during the winter months could turn into a destructive imposition.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Neque enim potest exercitum is continere imperator, qui se ipse non continet, neque severus esse in iudicando, qui alios in se severos esse iudices non vult: the main sentence falls into two parts coordinated by neque… neque… The subject (imperator) and the verb (potest, which governs both continere and esse) remain the same.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 In §§ 37-38 Cicero offers a critique of Roman generals and armies, whom he conceives as operating in the service of the Roman people (and its magistrates): cf. his repeated reference to imperator(es), armies (exercitus), and soldiers (milites), and his use of the possessive adjectives noster and vester. § 37: quem enim imperatorem…; propter hanc avaritiam imperatorum; nostri exercitus; § 38: nostri imperatores; militum vestrorum (armis). Throughout it is fairly clear that Cicero blames the generals first and foremost, rather than their troops, and the final sentence hammers the point home in no uncertain terms: an army is an extension of the will and the ethics of its leader. The principle ‘there are no bad soldiers, only bad leaders’ will have resonated well with Cicero’s primary audience, the Roman people, many of whom will have served time as citizen-soldiers. It is also a principle he endorses elsewhere, at times with reference to Plato, who argued the same in the Republic. Is it true, though?

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 severus: fans of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series won’t have problems with the meaning of this adjective: just think Snape.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 in iudicando … iudices: an instance of figura etymologica.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 qui alios in se severos esse iudices non vult: non vult introduces an indirect statement with alios as subject accusative and esse as infinitive. severos agrees with iudices (in attributive position) and the entire phrase stands in predicative position to alios. The reflexive pronoun se (accusative singular ) refers to the subject of the qui-clause, i.e. the general.

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Source: https://deimperio.theclassicslibrary.com/commentary/38-2/