¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Cicero continues using praeteritio to deal with Pompey’s apparent power over fortune, with even nature doing his bidding. His use of the verb obsecundare (with venti and tempestates as subjects) in particular is striking and quite unparalleled: it personifies forces of nature and endows them with a mind of their own that Pompey is somehow able to bend to his will. This remarkable hyperbole assimilates him to a divine being capable of controlling the physical environment – though in the next sentence (hoc brevissime dicam…) Cicero stresses, however obliquely, that the gods remain the ultimate source of Pompey’s luck: he is the recipient of such lavish divine favours (quot et quantas di immortales ad Cn. Pompeium detulerunt) that it would be an act of hubris for others to even dream about them. This sets up the concluding thought: Cicero suggests to the people that it would be in their interest to pray (as, he alleges, they anyway do so already) that the gods transform the felicitas he has ascribed to Pompey into its Sullan variant, by turning it into his personal and ever-lasting possession (quod ut illi proprium ac perpetuum sit). Both the salus and imperium of Rome and the man himself (homo ipse) justify such prayers – though the programmatic reference to Pompey as a human being (homo ipse) is designed to reassure those members of the audience who would have balked at Cicero’s idiom of quasi-deification. Pompey, Cicero continues to suggest, is unlike Sulla: his luck does not serve as a source of self-empowerment beyond the remits of the republican constitution, but benefits the commonwealth at large. Cicero thus manages to attribute to Pompey luck of Sullan proportions without turning it into an undesirable quality reminiscent of a tyrant. The concluding emphasis on the benefits that the Roman people derive from Pompey’s luck picks up on one of the main themes of the speech: the felicitous congruence of Pompey’s appointment to the generalship and the interests of the people.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The section on felicitas, then, offers a precarious balancing act: it is as much about defining and delimiting ‘divine support’ as it is about claiming the quality for Pompey. Cicero makes a significant concession to the Sullan variant, trying to harness its appeal for his argument in favour of Pompey, while at the same time reworking it in a republican key. As Kathryn Welch puts it: ‘Pompey’s felicitas is a personal attribute (Sullan) but he acts in harmony with his fellow-citizens and for their benefit (not-Sullan).’ ((Welch (2008) 194.))
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 itaque non sum praedicaturus, quantas ille res domi militiae, terra marique, quantaque felicitate gesserit, ut eius semper voluntatibus non modo cives adsenserint, socii obtemperarint, hostes oboedierint, sed etiam venti tempestatesque obsecundarint: the main verb, non sum praedicaturus, governs the indirect question quantas … gesserit (hence the subjunctive). quantas and quanta set up the consecutive ut-clause that concludes the sentence. Cicero enumerates four different entities who comply with Pompey’s wishes. They are arranged climactically: we start with Roman citizens (cives), move on to allies (socii), which are followed, surprisingly, by enemies (hostes), and conclude hyperbolically with forces of nature (venti tempestatesque). Cicero enhances the effect by how he places non modo (followed by a tricolon of simple subject + verb phrases) and sed etiam (the last, climactic item and the only one that features two subjects – venti tempestatesque). eius … voluntatibus and semper go with all four verbs.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 itaque non sum praedicaturus: stating that one will not talk about something while doing so is called praeteritio – the rhetorical equivalent of having your cake and eating it.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 quantas ille res domi militiae, terra marique, quantaque felicitate gesserit: quantas is an interrogative adjective agreeing with res, the accusative object of gesserit. Between accusative object, subject (ille) and verb, Cicero places a tricolon of ablative phrases: the first two (domi militae; terra marique) are locatives; the third, quanta felicitate, is an ablative of means. The arrangement is climactic: Cicero moves from ‘bipolar’ mapping of geography, which includes consideration of both social (domi militiae) and physical (terra marique) space to the abstract quality of felicitas. The –que after quanta links terra marique and quanta felicitate.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 domi militiae, terra marique: all four nouns are in the locative case. domi militiae refers to the Roman practice of dividing the world into a (demilitarized) zone of peace (domi) and a zone of (potential) warfare (militiae). Initially, the sacred boundary of the city of Rome, the pomerium, demarcated the two spheres. (The only occasion when an imperator with his soldiers was allowed to cross the pomerium was the triumph: in the course of the ritual, the general and his army would follow a prescribed route through the city to the Capitol, where he would sacrifice to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and lay down his imperium.)
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 venti tempestatesque obsecundarint: contrast § 40, where Cicero discusses the reasons for Pompey’s seemingly special speed of movement: he disclaims the help of the winds as well as other external factors and, with deliberate bathos, grounds Pompey’s velocity instead in his outstanding character.
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 hoc brevissime dicam, neminem umquam tam impudentem fuisse, qui ab dis immortalibus tot et tantas res tacitus auderet optare, quot et quantas di immortales ad Cn. Pompeium detulerunt: after saying in praeteritio what he had allegedly no intention of saying, Cicero continues with what he will say – if very briefly (brevissime). dicam introduces an indirect statement with neminem as subject accusative and fuisse as infinitive, with tam impudentem in predicative position. tam sets up a relative clause of characteristics (hence the subjunctive of auderet).
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 hoc brevissime dicam, neminem umquam tam impudentem fuisse: Latin authors frequently add a demonstrative pronoun to verbs of thinking and stating that introduce an accusative + infinitive construction to give special emphasis to the indirect statement: ‘This I shall say, however briefly, namely that nobody…’ The demonstrative pronoun is particularly pronounced here, coming as it does after a praeteritio: ‘I won’t be commenting on x; but this I will say…’
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 quod ut illi proprium ac perpetuum sit, Quirites, cum communis salutis atque imperii, tum ipsius hominis causa, sicuti facitis, velle et optare debetis.: quod is a connecting relative (= et id), referring back to Pompey’s unparalleled felicitas. It is the subject of the nominal ut-clause dependent on (velle et) optare debetis; proprium ac perpetuum agree with quod in predicative position.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 cum communis salutis atque imperii, tum ipsius hominis causa: this is one long prepositional phrase dependent on the postpositive preposition causa, which governs the genitives communis salutis atque imperii and ipsius hominis. They are coordinated by cum … tum. See our commentary on § 31.
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 sicuti facitis, velle et optare debetis: Cicero takes the normative sting out of debetis (‘you ought…!’), by claiming that the people do so already anyway: sicuti facitis, namely velle et optare.