|

41

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 41: SAINT POMPEY

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The paragraph consists of five sentences, with the first four focusing on Pompey’s temperantia vel continentia (the two terms are virtual synonyms) and the final sentence moving on to Pompey’s facilitas:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 (i) Itaque omnes nunc in iis locis Cn. Pompeium sicut aliquem non ex hac urbe missum, sed de caelo delapsum intuentur;

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 (ii) nunc denique incipiunt credere, fuisse homines Romanos hac quondam continentia, quod iam nationibus exteris incredibile ac falso memoriae proditum videbatur;

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 (iii) nunc imperii vestri splendor illis gentibus lucem adferre coepit;

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 (iv) nunc intellegunt non sine causa maiores suos tum, cum ea temperantia magistratus habebamus, servire populo Romano quam imperare aliis maluisse.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 (v) Iam vero ita faciles aditus ad eum privatorum, ita liberae querimoniae de aliorum iniuriis esse dicuntur, ut is qui dignitate principibus excellit, facilitate infimis par esse videatur.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 (i) – (iv) elevate Pompey; (v) emphasizes that despite his elevated status Pompey has remained humble. Grammar, syntax, and style reinforce the point. Cicero sets up (i) – (iv) as a thematic unit by means of the anaphora of nunc; the iam vero of (v) marks a new section in the argument: the two particles iam and vero will continue to provide ‘transitional kit’ in the following paragraph (see below). A similar effect is achieved by the subjects and the verbs. (i) – (iv) present matters from the perspective of the Eastern provincials, which Cicero introduces in (i) with the formulation omnes in iis locis (‘everybody in this part of the world’). omnes in iis locis is also the implied subject of (ii) incipiunt credere and (iv) intellegunt. (iii) also maintains the provincial perspective but with an element of variation. If (i) intuentur, (ii) incipiunt credere, and (iv) intellegunt put the emphasis on the perception of provincials, (iii), which is the central sentence of this section, foregrounds facts from a Roman point of view (see imperii vestri splendor), even though the focus remains on the impact of Rome on provincial peoples: illis gentibus is synonymous with omnes in iis locis. In contrast, (v) again breaks with this pattern: we get the impersonal passive verb dicuntur, which carries no implication that what is being said about Pompey’s accessibility and ease in interpersonal interaction is a matter of provincial perception: it holds true anywhere.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 The anaphora of nunc endows this paragraph with special urgency: opinions in the East are (again) swinging in favour of Rome because of Pompey’s presence and the way in which he has conducted his military operations so far. The Roman people, so Cicero implies, ought not to miss this opportunity and build on the momentum Pompey has generated, not least since they are the beneficiaries of Pompey’s efforts on behalf of the res publica. In the course of the paragraph, Cicero transforms the respect, indeed worship, that Pompey commands in the East into the imperial glory of the Roman people: nunc imperii vestri splendor illis gentibus lucem adferre coepit. Now it is the ‘glory of your empire’, rather than just Pompey’s personal success. Thus Pompey’s temperance results in a view of the Roman empire itself as being above human, bringing ‘light’ to the people of the East. (The notion of the Roman people as a civilising force would have been welcome to Cicero’s audience, but we should not take his word for it that the provincial people really saw Rome in this way.) Cicero even implies that the moral standards of ancestral Rome justified her empire, as demonstrated by the fact that some gave up their independence voluntarily, arguing (on the basis of no evidence) that the reason for this voluntary submission to Roman rule was the self-restraint of Roman officials at the time – the same self-restraint for which Pompey, too, is famous.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Cicero is here most likely alluding to the decision of King Attalus III of Pergamum, who died without heir in 133 BC, to leave his kingdom to the Roman people. The reasons will have had more to do with a pragmatic sense of power-politics in the region than appreciation of the outstanding morals of Roman officials – and the decision proved at any rate controversial. It was Tiberius Gracchus who decided to accept the legacy (before he got killed, that is), via the people, as a way to fund his land redistribution. (As someone who enjoyed an inherited guestfriendship with Eumenes he received the news ahead of everyone else.) Some in the senate were pretty cross with him for jumping the gun, especially when a revolt broke out, led by Aristonicus, a son of Attalus’s predecessor Eumenes. It took two years to quell the uprising and another two years to set up the province of Asia. Put differently, Cicero is playing fast and loose with the historical truth.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Itaque omnes nunc in iis locis Cn. Pompeium sicut aliquem non ex hac urbe missum, sed de caelo delapsum intuentur: intuentur is here construed with a double accusative (Cn. Pompeium and aliquem) coordinated by sicut. The two participles missum and delapsum agree with aliquem: ‘they looked upon Gnaeus Pompeius as someone who was not sent from this city, but who descended from the sky.’

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 delapsum: This idea of a serene descent from on high spells epiphany, picking up on the theme of Pompey’s almost divine virtus which runs through the speech, elevating him above ordinary men. It is important to note, though, that Cicero here distinguishes sharply between an Eastern and a Roman point of view. Pompey’s divinity is in the eyes of the beholder: the subjects of intuentur are Eastern provincials. For Cicero’s Roman audience, Pompey remains ex hac urbe missus, i.e. a properly appointed magistrate of the senate and the people of Rome, who derived his position and powers from constitutional procedures. ((Classen (1963) 332, with reference to Cicero, Letters to Atticus 2.21.4. At Man. 13, Pompey ironically appears divine to Rome’s allies in part because of his outstanding humanitas!)) This use of ‘divergent focalization’ presupposes, and taps into, the Roman prejudice about the Greek East as a hotbed of superstitious beliefs, including the elevation of humans to divine status. Cicero, in other words, nowhere asserts that Pompey is a god; he merely reports that, in the East, he was perceived as one. By making the issue one of psychology (‘Pompey seems divine’, i.e. to those who don’t know better ), rather than ontology (‘Pompey is divine’) he manages to portray Pompey as god-like, without subverting important principles of Rome’s political culture, which had no room for the worship of human beings as gods.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Even though Cicero presents the impression of Pompey as quasi-divine as the delusion of foreign communities, he suggests that this delusion is real in its consequences insofar as it can be exploited to strategic advantage. To begin with, the quasi-religious adulation Pompey commands stands in striking contrast to the religious outrage caused by Lucullus, which Cicero reported in the opening parts of the speech. The nature of the enemy (a king) and the theatre of operation (Asia), so he suggests, call for a general who can rival his opponent in religious charisma. Pompey’s ability to appear god-like thus emerges as a crucial military asset. As the recipient of the same sort of ‘irrational’ devotion Mithridates enjoys, Pompey will be able to fight fire with fire. ((This is a leitmotif throughout the speech; at Man. 24, for instance, Cicero makes the paradoxical point that kings afflicted by misfortune can count on the sympathy of those, qui aut reges sunt aut vivunt in regno, ut iis nomen regale magnum et sanctum esse videatur (‘who are either kings themselves or the dwellers in a kingdom, as the name of king seems to them grandiose and venerable’). Rome needs a general with the same attributes, and Pompeius Magnus is an obvious choice: Gruber (1988) 24. In fact, simply by an inversion of regale and magnum in the cited Latin – ut iis nomen magnum regale et sanctum esse videatur = ‘as the name of Pompey (= Magnus) seems to them royal and venerable’ – Pompey turns into a divinely anointed king!)) Cicero thus makes tactical use of a foreign system of belief, meant to encourage the Roman people to put Pompey in charge of the war.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 But wasn’t this technique potentially dangerous? By making the Eastern point of view part of his discourse, did Cicero not willy-nilly endow Pompey with a divine aura of sorts? How many members in the audience would have picked up on the ‘divergent focalization’? Isn’t Cicero violating important principles of oligarchic equality on which the senatorial tradition of republican government rested by hailing Pompey as god-like? On the other hand (and depending on how we define the context of the speech), it is equally possible to argue that the focalized deification of Pompey is a profoundly conservative form of praise in that it limits the validity (and hence the virulence) of Greek ideas about divine human beings to the Eastern Mediterranean. As we have pointed out in the Introduction, ever since Roman aristocrats became aware of the Greek practice to grant (semi-)divine status to outstanding individuals, some of them toyed with the notion of integrating this unique form of exaltation into their own public image. Cicero’s strategy of geographic focalization, on the other hand, reduces the Greek concept of ‘human godlikeness’ to a localized, psychological phenomenon, thus radically confining its scope and implicitly denying its relevance and applicability at Rome. The fact that other cultures are more prone to turn humans into gods, so Cicero seems to be saying, may be exploited for strategic purposes in the context of imperial expansion but does (or should) not necessarily affect Pompey’s domestic identity. There is, then, a dialectic of panegyric excess and republican moderation in place here that is fiendishly difficult to pin down: what do you think Cicero was up to? ((This note is based on Gildenhard (2011) 264-65.))

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 nunc denique incipiunt credere, fuisse homines Romanos hac quondam continentia, quod iam nationibus exteris incredibile ac falso memoriae proditum videbatur: credere introduces an indirect statement, with homines Romanos as subject accusative and fuisse as infinitive, followed by a substantive quod-clause, which explicates the indirect statement: ‘… a fact that…’. quod is the subject of videbatur and agrees with incredibile and proditum: ‘… a fact that … appeared unbelievable and wrongly transmitted to memory’. The striking emphasis on ‘now’ (nunc) and ‘beginning’ (incipiunt, coepit) divides Roman history for present purposes into three distinct phases: (i) an early time of moral excellence that currently is nothing but an indistinct (provincial) memory or, worse, has started to look like a mere invention; (ii) an intermediary time of decline and corruption that has rendered the alleged quality of the previous period look ‘too good to be true’; (iii) the present, defined and dominated by Pompey, in whom ancestral excellence has re-emerged – and with it belief and confidence in the historical existence and continued possibility of impeccable conduct on the part of Roman magistrates. Cicero here taps into a long-standing Roman discourse that configured ‘the ancestors’ as benchmarks of excellence. It is important to realize that this sweeping conception of history, with its vague caesuras (Cicero doesn’t explain when and why the decline kicked in or why and how Pompey has managed to buck the trend), is as much a figment of Cicero’s imagination as it is tailor-made for his rhetorical aim of elevating Pompey above his contemporaries.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 hac … continentia: an ablative of quality.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 quondam … iam: the two adverbs mark a temporal contrast: given the conduct of contemporary Roman generals, by now (iam) the notion that once (quondam) there were Romans of outstanding self-restraint had lost any credibility (cf. incredibile) – a credibility now gradually restored by Pompey (cf. incipiunt credere).

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 falso memoriae proditum: falso is an adverb; despite the fact that it may look like a dative it does not – and cannot: memoria is feminine – agree with memoriae, which is a dative governed by proditum: ‘falsely transmitted to memory’.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 nunc imperii vestri splendor illis gentibus lucem adferre coepit: with the strategically placed vestri, Cicero has his audience partake in Pompey’s supernatural aura and in turn ensures that the supernatural aura of Pompey appears as a force acting on behalf of the Roman people. The imagery continues the divine connotations of de caelo delapsum: the metaphorical invocation of brightness and light in splendor and lucem adferre suggests the supernatural and the salvific and reinforces the importance of just governance as the ultimate foundation of Rome’s imperial rule: ‘The depredations causing the light to be dimmed were the fault not only of the pirates but of greedy and unjust governors … and a man of singularis virtus is needed to bring it back to those areas of the world in need of it, Rome included. This theme of Rome’s problems being caused by lack of moderation in Rome’s own leaders who bring about a break in fides between Rome and its provinces is closely linked to similar expressions in both Cicero’s De Officiis and Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae. In the theme of light lost and light returning we should understand that Cicero’s thinking allows that Rome’s claim to leadership is not intrinsic, nor is it an inalienable birthright. It will last only as long as Rome deserves it, that is, while her imperium is based on justice. In the same way that Rome’s lumina cannot rely on their ancestors for their status but must face the iudicium publicum which will confirm their dignitas, so the position of Rome as the lux orbis terrarum, and thus the claims of the populus Romanus to maiestas, or ‘greaterness’, are valid only if such claims rest on the just practices of the centre and its representatives.’ ((Welch (2005) 320-21.))

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 nunc intellegunt non sine causa maiores suos tum, cum ea temperantia magistratus habebamus, servire populo Romano quam imperare aliis maluisse: the subject continues to be omnes (in iis locis). The verb intellegunt introduces an indirect statement with maiores suos as subject accusative and maluisse as infinitive, which in turn governs the antithetical infinitives servire (taking populo Romano as dative object) and imperare (taking aliis as dative object).

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 non sine causa: the phrase belongs to the indirect statement. A double negative (non + sine) makes a positive. The rhetorical device is called litotes.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 maiores suos: the reflexive possessive adjective suos identifies the ancestors in question as those of the provincials (the implied subject of intellegunt).

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 tum, cum ea temperantia magistratus habebamus: another potentially tricky use of cum, given that it is followed by an ablative (ea temperantia). This may well give one the (wrong) idea that it is the preposition. In fact, it is the conjunction: cum here introduces a temporal clause in the imperfect indicative (habebamus). It is set up by tum: ‘at the time (tum) when (cum)’. (Note that this is not the correlation cum – tum discussed above.)

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 ea temperantia: an ablative of quality, which does not take any preposition.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 magistratus: a fourth declension noun in the accusative plural: the accusative object of habebamus.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 servire … maluisse: as noted above, the most striking illustration of this unusual preference occurred in 133 BC, when the King of Pergamum, Attalus III, died leaving no heir but a will in which he left his kingdom to the people of Rome. Note, however, that the transfer of power occurred after his death, so did not affect him personally, and that other members of the royal family were not quite as keen to relinquish their independence as the deceased king: a rebellion of one of his more distant relatives ensued, which was, ironically, quelled with the help of the King of Pontus at the time, Mithridates V Euergetes, the father of Mithridates Eupator, against whom Rome is now fighting. Cicero of course has no interest in rehearsing any such details; he nonchalantly generalizes and, moreover, ascribes the unprecedented act of a single king to a widespread appreciation of Roman morals among Eastern provincials. The antithesis between servire and imperare heightens the hyperbole: the dramatic declaration that entire nations gladly gave up their own freedom in order to enjoy Roman rule underscores the alleged strategic advantage of innocentia in the context of imperial expansion. If, so Cicero seems to be implying here, provincials did not have to live in fear of marauding Roman generals and their armies, they would become part of the Roman empire of their own accord.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Iam vero ita faciles aditus ad eum privatorum, ita liberae querimoniae de aliorum iniuriis esse dicuntur, ut is qui dignitate principibus excellit, facilitate infimis par esse videatur: the verb is the passive dicuntur, which governs a nominative + infinitive (esse) construction. There are two plural subjects, aditus and querimoniae, each with a predicative complement, faciles and liberae, with the infinitive esse. The two subjects follow each other asyndetically, an effect re-inforced by the anaphora of ita, which sets up the consecutive ut-clause that concludes the sentence.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 aditus ad eum privatorum: privatorum is a subjective genitive dependent on aditus: who has access? Private individuals. The power of a Roman magistrate or pro-magistrate in a province, especially when he was in command of an army, was quasi-autocratic. It is therefore hardly surprising that a steady stream of visitors – and not just official delegates from civic communities such as the Cretan ambassadors Cicero mentioned in § 35 but also private individuals – would seek him out to gain his support: for all intents and purposes, he represented the law. Cicero suggests that Pompey made himself available to all and sundry and used his extraordinary powers with a keen sense of justice.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 de aliorum iniuriis: aliorum is a subjective genitive dependent on iniuriis: who has committed harm? Others.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 ut is qui dignitate principibus excellit, facilitate infimis par esse videatur: the ut-clause and the relative clause embedded therein map out two complementary qualities situated at the opposite ends of Rome’s socio- political spectrum. In terms of social rank (dignitas) Pompey is at the very top of Roman society; in terms of his accessibility (facilitas), his behaviour does not differ from those who are at the very bottom. The syntax reinforces the perfect, paradoxical match of Pompey’s dignitas and facilitas:

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0  

ut-clause relative clause
Subject (Pompey) is qui
Ablative of respect dignitate facilitate
Whom he surpasses/matches principibus infimis
Verb, indicating Pompey’s relative position excellit par esse videatur

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0  

Page 28

Source: https://deimperio.theclassicslibrary.com/commentary/41-2/