¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 As his second case study to illustrate Pompey’s auctoritas, Cicero chooses the impact of his presence in Asia after Mithridates’ crushing defeat of the Roman forces under the command of C. Triarius at the battle of Zela in 67 BC. He invokes the possibility of a ‘worst-case scenario’: Rome’s loss of the province of Asia. This, Cicero submits, would have been the outcome of the defeat had it not so happened by divine dispensation that Pompey was in the region at the time, as a result of his command against the pirates. The auctoritas accorded to him even by Rome’s bitter foes Mithridates and Tigranes (the king of Armenia and Mithridates’ son-in-law) sufficed to prevent them from exploiting their victory – or so Cicero argues. Without doing anything Pompey thus managed to check the enemy in an act of ‘psychological warfare’: his auctoritas in the eyes of the royal beholders. This scenario forms the basis for Cicero’s conclusion: if Pompey’s auctoritas has such a positive impact on Roman interests in the region, an opportunity to bring his virtus to bear on the war against Mithridates would surely yield the desired result.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Iam accepta in Ponto calamitate ex eo proelio, de quo vos paulo ante invitus admonui, cum socii pertimuissent, hostium opes animique crevissent, satis firmum praesidium provincia non haberet, amisissetis Asiam, Quirites, nisi ad ipsum discrimen eius temporis divinitus Cn. Pompeium ad eas regiones fortuna populi Romani attulisset. This is a complex sentence, best taken piece by piece.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 (i) We begin with an ablative absolute: the participle is accepta and the noun is calamitate. But unlike ‘standard’ ablative absolutes, this one is not self-contained. ex eo proelio belongs to the ablative absolute, just as much as the relative clause de quo vos paulo ante invitus admonui (the antecedent of quo is proelio) and a quick-fire sequence of three asyndetic cum-clauses: (a) cum socii pertimuissent, (b) [cum] hostium opes animique crevissent, (c) [cum] satis firmum praesidium provincia non haberet.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 (iii) amisissetis Asiam forms the apodosis of a conditional sequence and is followed by the protasis, the dependent clause that specifies the condition, here introduced by nisi, which takes us to the end of the sentence (attulisset).
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Overall, this is a highly dramatic syntax – the sentence is designed to generate a sense of crisis, evoke, if counterfactually, an ultimate disaster (the loss of Asia), before resolving the crisis with reference to our hero Pompey. By having the initial ablative absolute used to present the Roman defeat in battle ‘overflow’ into further constructions, Cicero gives an impression of the disastrous repercussions of the military disaster, an effect further enhanced by the use of asyndeton in the sequence of cum-clauses (and the elision of the conjunction after the first), which lead up to the centre of the sentence: the main clause amisissetis Asiam and a direct address to the audience (Quirites). By inverting the usual order of the conditional sequence (protasis followed by apodosis), Cicero can use the negated protasis to specify why the loss of Asia ultimately did not happen: according to him, it was the arrival of Pompey in the nick of time that turned an imminent into an averted catastrophe. Great stuff!
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 ex eo proelio: the reference is to the battle between the forces of Mithridates and a part of the Roman army that Lucullus had left under the command of C. Triarius near the city of Zela in 67 BC (the same year in which Pompey held the command against the pirates). The Romans were soundly defeated.
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 paulo ante: ante is an adverb, preceded by an ablative of the measure of difference: a little bit (paulo) earlier (ante). Cicero already touched upon the defeat in § 25.
¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 invitus: even though it happens to serve his rhetorical agenda, Cicero is keen to stress, for obvious reasons, that he mentions this military disaster only with the greatest reluctance.
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 nisi ad ipsum discrimen eius temporis divinitus Cn. Pompeium ad eas regiones fortuna populi Romani attulisset: Cicero ascribes Pompey’s presence in the region to divine agency. fortuna here should probably be capitalized: see our discussion of the phrase fortuna rei publicae in § 28. Together with the adverb divinitus, which means something akin to ‘by divine providence or influence’, the phrase Fortuna populi Romani implies that the appointment of Pompey to his command against the pirates happened according to a supernatural plan, chartered by Rome’s patron deity.
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 ad ipsum discrimen eius temporis: a somewhat pleonastic expression of time to enhance the significance of the crisis: ipsum discrimen refers to the actual moment of crisis, eius temporis to the larger period of time within which it occurred.
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Huius adventus et Mithridatem insolita inflatum victoria continuit et Tigranem magnis copiis minitantem Asiae retardavit.: The subject of the sentence is adventus – one of the various ‘arrivals’ by Pompey (who is of course meant with the demonstrative pronoun huius) that Cicero recalls at different moments in the speech: see also §§ 13 and 30. It goes with both verbs (continuit, retardavit), each with its own accusative object (Mithridatem, Tigranem). Both enemies of Rome receive further specification by means of a participle construction. Cicero portrays Mithridates as ‘puffed up’ (inflatum) because of his rare victory (insolita … victoria is an ablative of cause), whereas Tigranes is threatening Asia with his troops: minitor, a deponent verb, takes the dative of the person or object under threat, here the Roman province of Asia (Asiae). magnis copiis is an instrumental ablative.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 The sentence here reiterates an observation already made in § 13: cuius adventu ipso atque nomine, tametsi ille ad maritimum bellum venerit, tamen impetus hostium repressos esse intellegunt [sc. Rome’s friends and allies in the region] ac retardatos (‘the fact of his arrival, his reputation alone, although it is for a naval war that he has come, they feel to have checked and restrained the onslaughts of their foes’).
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Et quisquam dubitabit, quid virtute perfecturus sit, qui tantum auctoritate perfecerit? aut quam facile imperio atque exercitu socios et vectigalia conservaturus sit, qui ipso nomine ac rumore defenderit?: The main clause is et quisquam dubitabit, which governs two indirect questions each leading up to a relative clause of characteristic.
|Main Clause||Indirect questions||Relative clauses of|
|Et quisquam dubitabit||(i) quid virtute perfecturus sit||(i) qui tantum auctoritate perfecerit|
¶ 21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 The subject of the two verbs in the indirect question (perfecturus sit, conservaturus sit) and the relative clauses of characteristic (perfecerit, defenderit) is Pompey.
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 perfecturus sit … conservaturus sit: indirect questions in Latin take the subjunctive, but here the actions to which Cicero is referring lie in the future – and Latin does not have a straightforward future subjunctive. To indicate future intent, he therefore uses the so-called ‘future active periphrastic subjunctive’, which consists of the future active participle form (perfecturus, conservaturus; note that Latin doesn’t have a future passive participle) and the present subjunctive of sum (sit). (It’s called ‘periphrastic’ because separate words, rather than inflection, are being used to express the grammatical form.) The problem does not arise in the relative clauses of characteristic: here Cicero is referring to past deeds and can use the perfect subjunctive (perfecerit, defenderit).