¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 After fairly briskly dispatching the first of four essential attributes of his perfect general, scientia rei militaris, in § 28, Cicero here moves on to the second in his list, virtus, which receives more extensive coverage (§§ 29-42). In § 29 he introduces three decisive conceptual operations that remain crucial for how the section on virtus unfolds:
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 (ii) By adding the attribute imperatoriae, he implies that there are virtutes specific to the general. This in turn entails that the virtutes specific to the general do not constitute the sum-total of virtutes: there are others as well.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 (iii) Within the subcategory of virtutes imperatoriae, he distinguishes between those that are commonly (cf. quae vulgo existimantur) recognized and those that are not. He goes on to list those he considers common ones right away (labor in negotiis, fortitudo in periculis, industria in agendo, celeritas in conficiendo, consilium in providendo), but postpones his treatment of the ‘uncommon’ ones until § 36, i.e. halfway through the section.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 All three of these moves are of crucial importance to Cicero’s agenda in the pro lege Manilia. And all are to some degree both unorthodox and self- serving. To begin with, the switch from the singular virtus to the plural virtutes ‘de-essentializes’ virtus. Instead of opting for one basic, ‘essential’ meaning of the term (such as ‘martial prowess’), Cicero opens up an entire portfolio of virtutes, in which any one quality (such as ‘martial prowess’) is just one (if perhaps a privileged one) among several others that need to be taken into consideration as well. The use of the plural virtutes is not in itself unusual – it also occurs elsewhere in Latin literature, from Plautus and Terence onwards.2 ((Cicero’s discussion of virtus at de Inventione 2.159, where he defines the term philosophically (and very much against Roman common sense) as animi habitus naturae modo atque rationi consentaneus (‘a disposition of the mind in harmony with nature and reason’) and posits that it is comprised of four parts, i.e. prudentia (‘practical wisdom’), iustitia (‘justice’), fortitudo (‘bravery’), and temperantia (‘moderation’), is slightly different again: it betokens an attempt to impose a Greek intellectual grid of canonical excellences on the Roman notion, but again demonstrates how malleable virtus was in Roman discourse, dependent on genre and occasion.)) And yet, in this particular setting, the way in which Cicero ‘pluralizes’ virtus may well have raised the eyebrows of those who, for whatever reason, preferred to think of virtus as consisting primarily in one particular quality (such as – again – straightforward military excellence). Similarly, other Roman aristocrats might well have balked at the differentiation of virtutes imperatoriae into those that are commonly recognized and those that are not. They might have objected that if one wanted to distinguish between virtus and virtutes imperatoriae in the first place, then the common understanding of virtutes imperatoriae as consisting of labor, fortitudo, industria, celeritas, and consilium is quite comprehensive, that, in other words, there are no ‘uncommon’ virtutes that qualify for being added to the list. But what Cicero hints at here, he elaborates in detail in §§ 36-42, where he submits that in addition to the ‘common ones’ the perfect general is also outstanding in innocentia, temperantia, fides, facilitas, ingenium and humanitas. In contrast to ‘courage’, ‘strategic brilliance’, and ‘martial prowess’, these are all ‘soft’ virtues, which put the emphasis on ethical excellences, such as integrity of character, self-restraint, trustworthiness, and ease in social intercourse. The conceptual operations here thus ultimately enable Cicero to endow virtus with a range of untraditional or at least unorthodox meanings – a conceptual creativity that, as we shall see, is a key part not only of his promotion of Pompey, but of his self-promotion as well.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Iam vero virtuti Cn. Pompei quae potest oratio par inveniri?: Cicero begins the new section with a rhetorical question, flagging up the inability of speech (even his) to match reality. The interrogative adjective quae and the noun it modifies (oratio) are postponed, yielding proleptic pride of place to Pompey’s virtus. The word order, with virtus coming first and the oratio about it a distant second, thus mirrors the facts. The v-alliteration vero – virtuti (cf. also inveniri) adds rhetorical colour.
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Iam vero: iam can be used to mark a transition to a new topic (here from Pompey’s scientia rei militaris to his virtus); in this sense, it is frequently strengthened by vero (as here): OLD s.v. iam 8a.
¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 inveniri: the basic meaning of invenio is ‘to encounter, come upon, meet, find’. In rhetoric, it acquired the technical sense ‘to devise arguments or topics for a speech’. Inventio (‘invention’, ‘finding something to say’) is the first of five canonical parts in classical rhetorical theory of how to prepare and deliver an oration. The others are dispositio (‘the organization of the argument’), elocutio (‘style’, i.e. ‘artful expression’), memoria (‘memory’, ‘recall’), and pronuntiatio or actio (‘delivery’). Cicero’s earliest surviving piece of theoretical prose is entitled de Inventione. Cicero thus seems to imply that he could falter at the first task when faced with the challenge of capturing Pompey’s virtus in discourse. Despite this (mock-)diffidence, he will of course rise to the occasion.
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 quid est quod quisquam aut illo dignum aut vobis novum aut cuiquam inauditum possit adferre?: The subject and the predicate of the question are quid and est. quid is also the antecedent of quod; the subject of the quod– clause is quisquam; dignum, novum, inauditum are predicates of quod. Cicero uses a polyptoton of the generalizing quisquam ~ cuiquam and a polysyndetic (aut – aut – aut) tricolon to underscore the futility of anyone (quisquam) trying to put Pompey’s outstanding ability into words that would be worthy of Pompey (illo), novel to the Roman people (vobis), or unfamiliar to anyone (cuiquam) in the whole wide world. The rhetorical question calls for the answer ‘nothing’. Cicero, of course, will find something to say worthy of Pompey, new to his audience, and simply unheard of – starting with the next sentence where he claims that there are virtutes imperatoriae not commonly thought of as such, a claim that (as we shall see) forms the basis for an interesting bipartite structure to this section. In what follows, then, the posture of modesty adopted here thus imperceptibly turns into a platform of oratorical megalomania that culminates in the assertion at the end of the section (§ 42) that outstanding public oratory features among those things worthy of a general. There is, then, plenty that is novel and unheard of in Cicero’s discourse about (Pompey’s) virtus, and in a special sense the originality of his approach also proves ‘worthy’ of Pompey (as well as of Cicero himself).
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 quid est … quod quisquam … possit adferre?: quod introduces a relative clause of characteristic (hence the subjunctive possit): ‘what is there of such a kind that…’
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Neque enim illae sunt solae virtutes imperatoriae, quae vulgo existimantur, labor in negotiis, fortitudo in periculis, industria in agendo, celeritas in conficiendo, consilium in providendo, quae tanta sunt in hoc uno, quanta in omnibus reliquis imperatoribus, quos aut vidimus aut audivimus, non fuerunt: the subject of the sentence is illae, which takes solae virtutes imperatoriae as predicate and functions as antecedent of the relative pronoun quae: ‘those are not the only qualities specific to a general, which are thought of as such by the people – namely…’. quae, a connecting relative (= et ea), is in the nominative neuter plural (cf. tanta) as Cicero steps back and sums up the preceding qualities (which are of indiscriminate gender ).
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 ‘work’, ‘labour’, ‘toil’, ‘physical exertion’, ‘hardship’. Cicero uses labor as a positive hallmark elsewhere, often in conjunction with another term such as studium (de Oratore 1.260: Atheniensem Demosthenem, in quo tantum studium fuisse tantusque labor dicitur: ‘Demosthenes, the Athenian, in whom there is said to have been so much enthusiasm and application to work’) or industria (in Verrem 3.103: hominum summi laboris summaeque industriae: ‘men of the greatest industry and diligence’). More frequently, labor is not itself a virtus, but the context in which excellence manifests itself. See e.g. Tusculan Disputations 1.2: in laboribus et periculis fortitudo (‘courage in hardships and dangers’). The willingness to undergo physical toil and bear hardship is a key feature of Roman-aristocratic self-promotion.
¶ 16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 As for neg-otium: as the negation of otium (‘free time’, ‘leisure’), it refers to the fact of being occupied, i.e. ‘work’ or ‘business’ and, in particular, ‘public or official business’, both in the singular and (as here) plural, with or without the attribute publicus.
¶ 17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 fortitudo in periculis: fortitudo means ‘courage’ and ‘courage’ only (unlike virtus, which can mean ‘courage’ but also has a wide range of other meanings). Quintessentially, it captures facing up to danger, in particular on the battlefield. In § 28, Cicero implicitly divided the qualities that characterize the perfect military commander into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ ones, when he lamented the absence of a large pool of viri fortes atque innocentes to choose from (utinam, Quirites, virorum fortium atque innocentium copiam tantam haberetis…!). His supreme commander needs to be brave (fortis) first and foremost, but also show integrity of character (innocens) – one of the ‘uncommon’ qualities Cicero will return to in § 36[Extra information:
¶ 18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 The adjective fortis is very common, the noun fortitudo less so. Cicero uses it a lot in his philosophical works to translate the Greek term for ‘manliness’ and courage, i.e. andreia (from anêr, meaning ‘man’) since he employs virtus (in terms of etymology, the closest equivalent to andreia) to translate the Greek term for ethical excellence, i.e. aretê. ((McDonnell (2006) 334.)) In the speeches, in contrast, fortitudo occurs only nine times.]
¶ 18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 industria in agendo: industria means ‘diligence’, ‘application’, ‘industry’, referring to the careful and purposeful pursuit and execution of tasks, not least in military matters.
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 celeritas in conficiendo: Given that the war against Mithridates had been dragging on for more than two decades, Pompey’s track-record of bringing conflicts to a quick and decisive conclusion (proven not least in his campaign against the pirates: a point that Cicero will hammer home in §§ 32-35, with repeated references to ‘speed’) is particularly pertinent.
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 consilium in providendo: consilium has a range of meanings, from ‘advice/counsel’ to ‘advisory body/council’. Here it refers to the ‘exercise of judgement’ or ‘discernment’ in matters of military strategy or more generally ‘strategic intelligence’.
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 in hoc uno … in omnibus reliquis imperatoribus: an antithesis that contrasts this one specific individual with all the rest. It is reinforced by the chiasmus of (a) hoc (b) uno :: (b) in omnibus (a) reliquis.
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 quos aut vidimus aut audivimus: the antecedent of quos is imperatoribus. With vidimus and audivimus Cicero harks back to the end of § 27, where he argued that Pompey outshines in excellence both the glory of his contemporaries (eorum hominum, qui nunc sunt, gloriam) and the memory of historical superstars (memoriam antiquitatis): vidimus refers to individuals within living memory (whether still alive or dead: vidimus is in the perfect) and audivimus to generals more distant in time or culture. The ancient world produced its share of military geniuses, and Cicero’s formulation evokes the spectre of one figure in particular: Alexander the Great. He was widely considered the best and the most successful military leader there ever was, and Pompey, from early on, modelled himself on the Macedonian prince in a spirit of imitation and emulation, starting with his adoption of the epithet ‘Magnus’.