¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Cicero continues with his onslaught of rhetorical questions, but now gives them a special edge: they all involve his audience, the Roman people, whom he holds to account at least partially for the dire state of affairs caused by the pirates. On the face of it, the tactic of collective shaming is curiously negative, but it generates room for the special relationship between Pompey and the people that Cicero will bring into play in subsequent paragraphs, while also reminding them that technically they are in charge of the far-flung empire that Rome has become. This comes with certain responsibilities, not the least of which is appointing generals capable of dealing effectively with military challenges.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The paragraph falls into three parts. We begin with a string of rhetorical questions (all calling for a negative answer ) that put the spotlight on Cicero’s audience, the Roman people:
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 After the one sentence that is not a rhetorical question in this paragraph (fuit hoc quondam … non sua tecta defendere), Cicero returns to interrogative mode with three further rhetorical questions that all follow the same pattern: they are introduced by a verb in the deliberative subjunctive, which sets up an indirect statement, followed by a circumstantial cum-clause (note, though, that the cum-clauses do not belong into the indirect statements):
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 The pattern continues in the following paragraph (see below). In those last three rhetorical questions Cicero contrasts the ill-fortune that the pirates inflicted on non-Roman citizens (allies, envoys sent to Rome, merchants) with that suffered by Roman armies or official representatives of the Roman people (exercitus vestri, legati populi Romani, secures, i.e. axes here symbolic of praetors and their magisterial power ).
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Quam provinciam tenuistis a praedonibus liberam per hosce annos?: quam is an interrogative adjective modifying provinciam (‘which province’). tenuistis governs the direct object provinciam; the adjective liberam stands in predicative position to provinciam: NOT ‘which free province did you keep’ (because then you are stuck with a praedonibus, which you can’t properly fit in), BUT ‘which province did you keep free’ (and then a praedonibus fits in very nicely: ‘free from pirates’). For tenuere, see OLD 20: ‘to cause to remain, keep, maintain (in a given condition)’.
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 per hosce annos: hosce is the combination of the accusative masculine plural form of hic, haec, hoc (hos) and the enclitic particle –ce, which can be added to demonstratives to strengthen their force: ‘throughout these particular years’.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 quod vectigal vobis tutum fuit?: quod is an interrogative adjective modifying vectigal (‘what revenue’). As liberam, tutum stands in predicative position. NOT: ‘what safe revenue was there?’ BUT: ‘What revenue was safe?’ vobis is a dative of advantage, producing an elegant alliteration with vectigal.
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 quem socium defendistis?: Whereas provincia and vectigal refer to matters of direct concern to the Roman people, the case is less clear-cut with a socius (‘ally’ – more commonly in the plural: socii). ((On Rome’s allies (or, rather, ‘slaves to Rome’) see the recent monograph by Myles Lavan (2013).))
¶ 17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 cui praesidio classibus vestris fuistis?: cui may look like yet another interrogative adjective this time in the dative (after the quam, the quod, and the quem of the previous sentences); indeed, it could be one in form, but it is not – despite the irritating, since potentially misleading, fact that it is followed by a noun in the same case (dative), i.e. praesidio. The facts of the matter are that cui is an interrogative pronoun and that cui and praesidio are two different kinds of dative co-ordinated by the verb fuistis. cui is a dative of advantage (‘for whom?’), praesidio is a dative of means (finalis) answering to the question ‘what for?’ and standing in predicative position to the subject of the sentence (which here is embedded in fuistis): ‘for whom were you a bulwark?’ or ‘whom did you serve as a bulwark?’
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 quam multas existimatis insulas esse desertas, quam multas aut metu relictas aut a praedonibus captas urbes esse sociorum?: After several interrogative adjectives (quam, quod, quem) and an interrogative pronoun (cui), we now get an interrogative adverb: quam could be an interrogative adjective in the accusative feminine singular, but the fact that it is followed by multas makes it clear that it is the adverb meaning ‘how’. The main verb of the sentence is existimatis, which introduces an indirect statement. The subject accusatives are multas … insulas and multas … urbes and the infinitives are esse desertas, relictas (sc. esse), and captas … esse.
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Fuit hoc quondam, fuit proprium populi Romani, longe a domo bellare, et propugnaculis imperii sociorum fortunas, non sua tecta defendere: Cicero feels outrage, which is reflected in his syntax. Instead of the straightforward fuit hoc quondam proprium populi Romani (‘this was once characteristic of the Roman people’), he restarts his sentence with a repetition of fuit (literally: ‘this was once, it was characteristic of the Roman people’). The two infinitive phrases (i) longe a domo bellare, and (ii) propugnaculis imperii sociorum fortunas, non sua tecta defendere stand in apposition to the demonstrative pronoun hoc (in the nominative neuter singular ). (Like any other noun, the substantial infinitive can stand in apposition to a noun or (in this case) pronoun.) Such so-called ‘appositional infinitives’ are best translated by adding a ‘namely’: ‘this was once the case, it was characteristic of the Roman people, namely to wage war…’. As Gregory Hutchinson (2013) points out, the construction resembles (and recalls) a passage in one of the speeches that the Athenian orator Demosthenes delivered against the Macedonian king Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great (Phil. 3.36: ‘There was, there was something then, Athenians…’). For Athens, Demosthenes laments, ‘unbroken victory, empire, and altruistic enterprise belong (hitherto) only in the past’ (272).
¶ 24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Both Cicero and his Athenian counterpart thus claim that their state has been shamefully letting down its proud tradition of asserting its own proud traditions! (We owe this reference to John Henderson.)
¶ 25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 fuit proprium populi Romani: proprium (in the nominative) stands in predicative position to the subject of the sentence (embedded in fuit) and governs the possessive genitive populi Romani.
¶ 26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 longe a domo: Macdonald has the following note on the preposition a, Cicero’s use of which here some of you may find surprising: ‘It is Cicero’s practice to use the accusative and ablative cases without prepositions to indicate motion to or from a point when that point is indicated by the name of a town or small island, or by the words domus, rus, and humus. The preposition, however, is used in certain circumstances and is regularly found in conjunction with longe.’ ((Macdonald (1986) 65.))
¶ 27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Sociis ego nostris mare per hos annos clausum fuisse dicam, cum exercitus vestri numquam a Brundisio nisi hieme summa transmiserint?: This is the first of three rhetorical questions (demanding the answer ‘no’) that are not introduced by an interrogative adjective or pronoun but acquire their status as questions from the deliberative subjunctive of the main verb (here dicam: ‘am I to say…?’). dicam introduces an indirect statement, with mare as subject accusative and clausum fuisse as infinitive. sociis … nostris is a dative of (dis)advantage.
¶ 28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Sociis ego nostris … exercitus vestri: Cicero here plays with personal pronouns and possessive adjectives to position himself polemically vis-à- vis his audience. He uses an inclusive nostris with reference to the allies (‘our’ – i.e. yours and mine), but uses a differentiating vestris with reference to the armies (‘your’).
¶ 29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 cum exercitus vestri numquam Brundisio nisi hieme summa transmiserint: the subject of the cum-clause is exercitus vestri (nominative plural – the forms of the genitive singular are identical, so don’t get confused!). transmiserint is perfect subjunctive.
¶ 31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 a major port on the Adriatic coast of Italy, offering the shortest route to Greece. But because of the pirates, Cicero claims, even full-scale armies didn’t dare to embark except outside the regular sailing season.
¶ 33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 Qui ad vos ab exteris nationibus venirent captos querar, cum legati populi Romani redempti sint?: This is the second of three rhetorical questions (demanding the answer ‘no’) that acquire their status as questions from the deliberative subjunctive of the main verb (here querar: ‘am I to lament…?’). querar introduces an indirect statement with an – elided! – eos as subject accusative (and antecedent of the relative pronoun qui) and captos (sc. esse) as infinitive.
¶ 34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 cum legati populi Romani redempti sint: legati is nominative plural, populi Romani genitive singular. Cicero here refers to the piratical habit of kidnapping Roman officials and collecting ransom in return for their release.
¶ 35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 Mercatoribus tutum mare non fuisse dicam, cum duodecim secures in praedonum potestatem pervenerint?: This is the third of three rhetorical questions (demanding the answer ‘no’) that acquire their status as questions from the deliberative subjunctive of the main verb (here dicam:
¶ 36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 ‘am I to say…?’). dicam introduces an indirect statement with mare as subject accusative and fuisse as infinitive; tutum despite its position in front of mare is predicative: NOT ‘the safe sea was not’ BUT: ‘the sea was not safe’. mercatoribus is a dative of (dis)advantage.
¶ 37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 cum duodecim secures in praedonum potestatem pervenerint: high magistrates of the Roman republic went about their business with an entourage of lictors, who carried the fasces: a bound bundle of wooden rods that included an axe (securis) when they left the city. The fasces were a symbol of magisterial power, with the axe in particular signifying jurisdiction over life and death. Outside Rome, consuls had twelve, praetors six lictors. Cicero here refers to an incident that involved the capture of two praetors (hence 2 x 6 = 12 axes). We know their names (Sextilius and Bellinus) from Plutarch’s Life of Pompey 24, but nothing else.