Chapter 22. Cicero Maledicus, Cicero Exul

This chapter will regard Cicero as a poet in a nontechnical sense, an artist projecting the archaic categories of praise and blame in his verbal medium, oratory, and will examine how “aggressive” elements in his speeches contributed to his exiles and death.
Oratory, even if it is not metrical, is closely linked to poetry. When it was no longer customary to write editorials in poetry, as Solon did, politicians became poets in prose, as it were, continuing the archaic Greek traditions of praise and blame. [1] The poet and orator were closely associated. Aristotle wrote, “It was naturally the poets who first set the movement going … it was because poets seemed to win fame through their fine language when their thoughts were simple enough, that the language of oratorical prose at first took a poetical colour.” [2] Cicero could write, “For the poet is extremely close [finitimus] to the orator, a little more confined by meter, freer however in his choice of words, his partner [socius] certainly in using many kinds of figurative language, and nearly the same.” [3] Already by the time of Aristotle, praise (epainesis) and blame (psogos) were a central part of oratorical theory. [4]
Gorgias, the rhetorician and sophist, was reputed to be the student of Empedocles, the philosopher, prophet, and poet. [5] But, for Diogenes, Empedocles is already a rhētōr. [6] Gorgias spoke of the power of the word, “the incantatory power which by its witchery enchants, persuades, and changes the souls of men.” [7] Thus, just as the dividing line between philosopher, magician, and sophist is not easy to draw, the line between poet and orator is not clearly marked either. Though they have obvious differences, they share much in common.
Roman oratory, like Greek oratory, had a substantial component of invective. Rome was a “maledica civitas,” according to Cicero. [8] Ronald Syme writes, “The law-courts were an avenue for political advancement through prosecution, a battle-ground for private enmities and political feuds, a theatre for oratory. The best of arguments was personal abuse.” [9] N. W. Merrill, in a valuable discussion of invective in Rome, asserts that “attacking the morality and behavior of one’s opponent became the standard method of winning a case.” He adds, perhaps unnecessarily, “This concept is totally alien to modern legal procedure.” [10]
As Merrill and others have shown, the invective, however extreme it seems to us now, was often accepted in a good-humored way. [11] The topoi were stereotyped and conventional; the most a skillful orator could do would be to give them new vividness by his oratorical brilliance, as did Cicero. If one attacked an opponent, this was accusatio; if one was attacked, the abuse was a maledictum. [12] The attacks were expected, and sometimes seem almost friendly. However, Antony’s response to Cicero’s Philippics shows that oratorical invective could sting deeply. Oratorical invective could pass from the conventional to bitter attack.
Anthony Corbeill, in an important book on Roman invective, argues that invective was based on important values and “biases” in Roman society, and in turn, “helped shape the ethical standards current during the politically convulsive period of the late Republic.” Thus it exercised “real powers of persuasion.” Invective and the laughter it produced often were used to “exclude” the political opponent as despicable and non-Roman. [13] Thus invective has a distinct ethical flavor. “The orator reserves his contempt for the evil citizen; invective provides a kind of supplement to normal legal proceedings.” [14] Thomas N. Mitchell highlights the themes of frugalitas and moderation as opposed to luxuria and subservience to libido—viewed politically, these attributes support or harm the republic—as supplying the material for Cicero’s rhetoric of praise and blame. [15]
Thus, in Rome, as in Greece, praise (laus) and blame (vituperatio) became a defined aspect of oratorical theory. [16] The archaic categories continued to exercise power in the politics of Republican Rome.
In such an environment, where invective was so powerful, it is not surprising that actual poets, such as Naevius, and later Ovid and Juvenal, should offend political leaders and be punished by exile. In the case of Cicero, as a dominant practitioner of traditional Roman invective, we find the same mechanisms of punishment and exclusion in place. The orator gains power, to a large extent, through his ability to attack verbally, to defend his client by abusing the client’s enemy. Oratory was Cicero’s main path to political power, and invective and satirical language were central aspects of Roman oratory. As Merrill and Syme state, attacking one’s opponent was the standard method of winning a case.
On the other hand, many other factors contributed to Cicero’s success, obviously: artistic “positive” language in his oratory, skillful political and legal maneuvering, shrewd alliances, pre-existing family connections, a political situation favorable to his advancement, and luck. Yet at all times in his career there is a close synergy of oratory and politics. In times of great crisis, he would deliver speeches to hurt his enemies and praise his own allies and causes. The Catilines and Philippics are obvious examples. Cicero’s speeches in the senate and elsewhere had an enormous impact, serving a function similar to that of political advertising, editorializing, newspapers, and magazines today. Mitchell, despite his extensive survey of Cicero’s family connections and his early political alliances, writes that he was a “novus homo whose main hope for political distinction lay in eloquence.” [17]
But, as we have seen, the greater the power through artistic invective, the greater the danger to the practitioner, who is often exiled and executed. If Cicero fits this pattern, he is particularly valuable because his life is so well documented; here we are dealing substantially with history (which is not the case with many exiled poets). Though, of course, some legendary material might still be attracted to such a heroic figure, our extensive documentation allows us to control it more precisely.
The paradigm for Cicero as exiled poet is dependent on an understanding of the importance of Roman law pleading for political advancement: (1) Cicero, as a new man, was not from one of the prominent Roman families. He could not gain political success through his family and political connections alone. [18] (2) Cicero’s oratory was the main factor in elevating him. Aside from oratory’s value in politics generally, Cicero, as Rome’s dominant orator, gained political favors and alliances by defending his allies and attacking his allies’ enemies (that is, to defend Roscius, he had to attack Chrysogonus. Praise and blame are inextricably intertwined). (3) The nature of the Roman law courts, as described by Syme, cannot be emphasized enough. You made political progress by means of prosecuting in the courts, where battles involving private and political feuds were conducted. Personal attacks were far more effectual than appeals to evidence. Oratory as sword to wield against enemies— “personal abuse”—is here given central emphasis. Invective is a key element of oratory, since we are dealing with “prosecution,” “enmities,” and “feuds” (in Syme’s words). To repeat Merrill, “Attacking the morality and behavior of one’s opponent became the standard method of winning a case.” Christopher Craig tempers this judgment only to the extent of affirming that invective was an important tool both in the law courts and in the senate; but invective had more impact in the law courts if it was based on truth. [19]
Though Cicero wrote some poetry, [20] his artistic blame is primarily found in his prose speeches, which, as has been noted, were replete with inventive and artistic verbal humor and abuse. [21] Plutarch recounts an incident in which the consul Cicero, in a law case, made fun of the absurd paradoxes of the Stoics to undercut his opposing lawyer, the Stoic Murena; when the audience laughed loudly, Murena remarked acidly, “What a funny man we have, my friends, for consul.” Plutarch comments, “Cicero was naturally prone to laughter and fond of jesting.” However, he was also “often carried away by his love of jesting into scurrility [bōmolokhon] and when, to gain his ends in his cases, he treated matters worthy of serious attention with ironical mirth and pleasantry he was careless of propriety.” [22]
The wit and venom of his invective were an important part of the oratorical fireworks that made his speeches so entertaining, popular, and successful. Cicero’s success in winning the Roscius case, which he did in a great part by attacking Chrysogonus, ensured that he was never without law cases afterwards. [23]
Cicero’s invective, wielded in the law court, could destroy a powerful, if corrupt, political career, as in the case of Verres, who was forced to endure exile in Massilia after Cicero’s devastating courtroom performance against him, just as Demosthenes had forced Aeschines out of Athens through his invective.
Of course, Verres fled before Cicero had delivered all of the Verrine orations, but Cicero did prosecute for a full day, which was enough. It has been suggested that it was Cicero’s evidence, not his oratory, that made the prosecution so devastating, but that would be an oversimplification. It was the combination of “evidence,” cross-examination of witnesses, and Cicero’s powerful oratory that caused Verres to flee. As has been shown above, Roman courts were more oriented toward oratory than toward evidence in the modern sense, though evidence was a factor. D. Stockton writes of the central importance of Cicero’s oratorical skill, with its satirical bent, on that first day of trial. More than speedy legal maneuvering was necessary to win the trial: “Clarity of exposition … mastery of a … maze of detail, and all crowned by all the arts of public persuasion—cajolery, irony, sarcasm, the sly hint, the rolling thunder of justified reprobation, the neat joke … often just the sheer music of the spoken word: these too were needed, and … dazzled contemporary Rome.”
Stockton reasonably supposes that much of this early examination of witnesses is preserved in the actio secunda of the Verrines. After this case, “Cicero thus became Rome’s foremost advocate.” [24] In much the same way, Cicero’s remarkable sustained attack on Catiline, the First Catiline, forced the conspirator out the senate hall and out of Rome. [25]
As has been repeatedly noted, such power is always dangerous for the person who wields it, and in the changing fortunes of Roman politics, Cicero endured a series of exiles; he was even singled out for assassination by the Catiline conspirators. After he successfully defended Roscius of Ameria in 79 BC, largely by attacking Chrysogonus, a powerful freedman of Sulla, [26] he spent the next two years in Athens and Rhodes—perhaps his first exile, though he departed Rome ostensibly for his health and education. Plutarch tells us that Sulla had merely used Chrysogonus in the Roscius murder, and that Cicero left Rome because he indeed feared Sulla after winning the Roscius case. He “undertook the defence of Roscius, won his cause, and men admired him for it; but fearing Sulla he made a journey to Greece, after spreading a report that his health needed attention.” [27] In 77 the orator returned to Rome; his “health had improved,” after Sulla had died in 78.
Scholars are divided as to which story to believe, Plutarch’s or Cicero’s. Erich Gruen rejects Plutarch, presenting a carefully argued case. His main argument is chronological (the interval between the For Roscius, in 80, and Cicero’s departure from Rome, in 79). However, it is entirely possible that it took some months for Cicero’s situation to become increasingly dangerous, after the first major offense of the Roscius case, and that it took time for him and his friends to learn of his danger. In addition, it is possible that the combination of the Roscius case and the case of the woman of Arretium, in which Cicero again criticized Sulla indirectly, might have caused Sulla’s real or imagined wrath. Thus, Plutarch’s interpretation is not certain, but is at least a possibility that should be taken seriously. The chronology of Cicero’s return also fits in neatly with the Plutarch story. [28]
Cicero’s second exile took place in 58, when Clodius, acting with the support of the First Triumvirate, and after frequent verbal attacks on the orator, [29] passed a law calling for the exile of anyone who had executed a citizen without trial (as Cicero had done during the Catiline conspiracy). [30] Cicero left Rome in humiliation and agony, deserted by the Pompey he had so loyally supported, but who was now, as part of the First Triumvirate, involved in Caesarian and Clodian alliances. After Cicero had left Rome, the malevolent Clodius passed a law stating that he could be killed with impunity within four hundred miles of Rome, and the orator’s residence in Rome and properties outside the city were soon sacked and destroyed.
The torture of exile for the urban dweller of antiquity is shown by Cicero’s constant thoughts of suicide during the exile. He was “a kind of image of a dead man, a breathing corpse.” [31] It was reported that Cicero’s mind was “becoming unhinged with grief.” [32] He wrote to his wife from Brundisium: “Would that I had been less eager to live! … if however, these ills can never be removed, I assure you, my dearest, that my desire is to see you as soon as possible and die in your arms.” [33] If his life helps his children, he will live, even if life is unbearable. [34] “No practical wisdom or mere erudition either is strong enough to endure so great a grief.” [35] However, as R. G. M. Nisbet notes, Cicero was able to view his exile as a “voluntary martyrdom”; [36] the “voluntary motif” is an important recurring theme in the ideology of poetic victims. [37]
Cicero waited in Macedonia until he was recalled as a result of the belated efforts of Pompey and his friend Milo. After his return, his first speech, After his Return: To the Senate, lacerated the consuls, Gabinius and Piso, who had allowed his exile: [38] “The dominant note is a veritable paroxysm of hatred … This bottomless depth of rancor, of hatred, of revenge, uttered without any moderation, is the soul and spirit of [After his Return] … We shiver at this fury.” [39] Soon Cicero would lash out at a favorite target, Clodius, in the On His House. [40]
So closely was a Roman’s happiness bound up with residence in Rome that Cicero viewed his Cilician governorship (51–50 BC) as a painful exile, and was constantly thirsty for political news from Rome. [41]
After Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, the stage was set for Cicero’s final, fatal series of invective speeches, the Philippics. Cicero was inevitably aligned with the Republican party, the assassins, and opposed the Caesarian leader, Antony. In mid-44 Cicero had contemplated a visit to Greece, but turned back when it appeared that his presence would be necessary for the struggle of the senate against the dictatorial powers of Antony. [42] After he entered Rome to cheering crowds, Antony called a meeting of the senate, in which he planned to pass legislation calling for honors devoted to the deified Caesar. Cicero refused to attend, pleading fatigue. [43] Antony responded by attacking Cicero violently in the senate, threatening to tear down his house—“this indeed was said much too wrathfully, and with great fury.” [44] Cicero responded, in a senate meeting on September 2, with the first Philippic—significantly, it is a defensive document; Antony had attacked the orator unreasonably; Cicero retaliates only in response.
This speech was still somewhat restrained in tone; but the verbal hostilities would escalate. Antony called a meeting of the senate for September 19; he came to it “agmine quadrato” (with battleline in order), [45] and delivered a violent tirade against Cicero, vividly described by the orator: “He seemed to all to be, in his usual fashion, rather spewing than speaking … He poured all his drunken frenzy on my single head … but I cast him, belching and full of nausea, into the toils of Caesar Octavianus.” [46]
Cicero, again put on the defensive, then composed one of his masterpieces of invective, the second Philippic, which was probably distributed as a pamphlet in December after being circulated among Cicero’s friends. [47] In its first half (2–17) Cicero answered Antony’s attacks against himself; in the second half, he delivered an exhaustive vituperatio against Antony’s character. [48] The rest of the Philippics followed, by which Cicero succeeded in turning the senate against Antony and keeping him from Rome, thus showing once again how the “satirist” has the power to “exile” his enemy. Plutarch writes: “He raised a successful faction against Antony, drove him [exekrouse] out of the city, and sent out the two consuls, Hirtius and Pansa, to wage war upon him.” [49]
Political and military considerations were of course intertwined with Cicero’s oratory. [50] One could argue, against Plutarch, that Antony left Rome (soon after November 28) merely to deal with Decimus Brutus in Gaul. However, Cicero’s oratory was an important factor in Antony’s discomfiture toward the end of his consular year. Cicero’s first Philippic had struck an important blow against Antony’s prestige and influence in the senate; and in the third and fourth Philippics, delivered in the senate and forum on December 20, Cicero branded Antony an outlaw. The senate gave Cicero most of his requests after the fifth Philippic, delivered on January 1 when Antony was no longer consul; but they balked at a complete break with Antony, and instead tried to negotiate with him. However, the two new consuls, Hirtius and Pansa, would eventually lead an army against Antony, which was Cicero’s main objective. Antony had in effect become an outlaw, a hostis of the senate, to a large extent through Cicero’s oratorical and political efforts. Unfortunately for Cicero, though the consuls won a major battle, they did not succeed in killing Antony. [51] And Cicero’s own exile would follow quickly.
When Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with Antony, Cicero’s days were numbered. Though Octavian reportedly at first tried to save the orator whom he had not long since called “Father,” he acceded to Antony, and Cicero was soon proscribed by the man against whom he had been marshaling his invective. [52]
The sources for Cicero’s death have been collected and commented upon by Homeyer. [53] Plutarch, primarily followed here, is the fullest and most important account. [54] On the point of sailing from Italy at Circaeum, the orator hesitated, tortured by indecision. Perhaps the sea was too rough to sail on; perhaps he was too ill to sail; perhaps he had not totally given up trust in Octavian. He actually started a journey back to Rome, then returned to the coast, at Astura.
From here he sailed to Caieta, where he owned some lands. Perhaps he preferred to die in Italy; Livy, in a pretty embellishment, has him say, “Let me die in my own country which I have often saved.” [55] He retired to a private house; changing his mind once more, he was being carried to the sea when Antony’s soldiers found and executed him. The final death had the voluntary motif, for Cicero “stretched forth his neck out of the litter.” [56] The Judas of the piece carried out the sentence, Popillius Laenas, whom Cicero had defended. [57] According to Appian, it was a horrible death, for Laenas “struck and cut through his neck three times because of his inexperience.” This is may be ahistorical, a secondary accretion that increases the brutality of the murderers and the suffering of the sacrificial hero-victim. [58]
Cicero’s head and hands (because they had written the Philippics) were taken to Rome and displayed on the rostrum. Dio tells us that Antony’s wife, Fulvia, after holding the head in her lap and mocking it, stuck a pin into its tongue. Invective warfare is felt so passionately that it is carried on even after death, as the full details of the account show:
ὡς δ’ οὖν καὶ ἡ τοῦ Κικέρωνός ποτε ἐκομίσθη σφίσι (φεύγων γὰρ καὶ καταληφθεὶς ἐσφάγη), ὁ μὲν Ἀντώνιος πολλὰ αὐτῷ καὶ δυσχερῆ ἐξονειδίσας ἔπειτ’ ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὴν ἐκφανέστερον τῶν ἄλλων ἐν τῷ βήματι προτεθῆναι, ἵν’ ὅθεν κατ’ αὐτοῦ δημηγορῶν ἠκούετο, ἐνταῦθα μετὰ τῆς χειρὸς τῆς δεξιᾶς, ὥσπερ ἀπετέτμητο, ὁρῷτο· ἡ δὲ δὴ Φουλουία ἔς τε τὰς χεῖρας αὐτὴν πρὶν ἀποκομισθῆναι ἐδέξατο, καὶ ἐμπικραναμένη οἱ καὶ ἐμπτύσασα ἐπί τε τὰ γόνατα ἐπέθηκε, καὶ τὸ στόμα αὐτῆς διανοίξασα τήν τε γλῶσσαν ἐξείλκυσε καὶ ταῖς βελόναις αἷς ἐς τὴν κεφαλὴν ἐχρῆτο κατεκέντησε, πολλὰ ἅμα καὶ μιαρὰ προσεπισκώπτουσα.
When, however, the head of Cicero also was brought to them one day (he had been overtaken and slain in flight), Antony uttered many bitter reproaches, and then ordered it to be exposed on the rostra more prominently than the rest, in order that it might be seen in the very place where Cicero had so often been heard declaiming against him, together with his right hand, just as it had been cut off. And Fulvia took the head into her hands before it was removed, and after abusing it spitefully and spitting upon it, set it on her knees, opened the mouth, and pulled out the tongue, which she pierced with the pins that she used for her hair, at the same time uttering many brutal jests.
Cassius Dio 47.8.3–4 [59]
Thus the man who had caused just exile and execution for others had received the equivalent reward unjustly from a political strongman. Plutarch adds a telling detail; when Romans saw the orator’s head and hand on the rostrum, “they thought they saw there, not the face of Cicero, but an image of the soul of Antony.” [60] The juridical death of the “poet” has paradoxically enshrined the criminality of the lawless politician forever.
To summarize: Cicero was the most powerful wielder of invective of his generation. It was largely by means of this legal and political abuse that he pursued his brilliant career, making his name by attacking Chrysogonus and Verres. Satire is often the weapon of the comparatively socially disadvantaged; Cicero, from nonaristocratic background, became consul, a novus homo, to a great extent as a result of it. Just as satirists could cause the exile or death of their victims, so Cicero’s invective caused Catiline, Verres, and perhaps Antony [61] to leave Rome. On the other hand, Cicero’s attack on Chrysogonus perhaps resulted in his own exile; and his attack on Antony resulted in his departure from Rome, and the most permanent exile, execution. So history seems to copy the earlier legends of satirists killing or exiling their satirical victims and being exiled and executed in turn; but this can only be because the legends reflect authentic, and persistent, social structures.


[ back ] 1. Juvenal admired Cicero’s abusive art (the second Philippic is “divine and of outstanding fame,” 10.125, conspicuae divina Philippica famae), and many of the traditional invective topoi used by Cicero are found in Juvenal e.g. luxuria: Cicero For Roscius 75 cf. Juvenal 6.292–297; drunkenness, Cicero Against Piso 22, cf. Juvenal 6.314; see Merrill 1975:2–3, 15, 121, 153, 169. Cf. Winkler (1988), who sees mockery, but admiration, in Juvenal’s treatment of the orator. The tradition extended back to a comic poet, Plautus, cf. Merrill 1975:2, 18n5; Geffcken 1973.
For praise and blame in the Greco-Roman world, see Dumézil 1943; “Census,” in Dumézil 1969:103–124; Ward 1973:130, 135; ch. 2 (Aesop).
[ back ] 2. Rhetoric 3.1, 1404a (trans. Roberts): Ἤρξαντο μὲν οὖν κινῆσαι τὸ πρῶτον, ὥσπερ πέφυκεν, οἱ ποιηταί … Ἐπεὶ δ’ οἱ ποιηταὶ, λέγοντες εὐήθη, διὰ τὴν λέξιν ἐδόκουν πορίσασθαι τήνδε τὴν δόξαν, διὰ τοῦτο ποιητικὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο λέξις …
[ back ] 3. On Oratory 1.69–70: Est enim finitimus oratori poeta, numeris astrictior paulo, verborum autem licentia liberior, multis vero ornandi generibus socius, ac paene par.
[ back ] 4. Aristotle Rhetoric 1.3.10–37 (1358b), 1.9 (1366a–1367b). See also Plato Phaedrus 267c–d; Hinks 1936; Usher 1999:62–63. After Demosthenes delivered his devastating oratorical attack on Aeschines, the latter chose to leave Athens, Plutarch Demosthenes 24.2 (857). For Demosthenes’ invective, see Rowe 1968 and 1966; Usher 1999:227–285. Demosthenes produced his masterpiece, perhaps, of invective, De Corona, only after Aeschines had attacked his reputation in the Against Ctesiphon; thus, it was viewed (by the author) as defensive satire.
[ back ] 5. See Diogenes Laertius 8.58 (DK 82 A3); Olympiodorus in Gorgias 6.17 N. (A10); Suda s.v. Gorgias (A2); cf. Isocrates Antidosis 268 (Empedocles and Parmenides are “sophists,” and Gorgias is listed with them).
[ back ] 6. Diogenes Laertius 8.58 (DK 82 A3). For Empedocles as poet, see Lucretius 1.731.
[ back ] 7. Encomium of Helen 10 (trans. Dodds 1959:8): ἡ δύναμις τῆς ἐπωιδῆς ἔθελξε καὶ ἔπεισε καὶ μετέστησεν αὐτὴν γοητείαι. See DK 82 B11; Entralgo 1970:32–107.
[ back ] 8. See above, ch. 20; For Caelius 38.
[ back ] 9. Syme 1939:149–152; also “The Uses of Invective,” in Jerome 1962; Nisbet 1961:192–197; Williams 1970:606; Fowler 1909:106–107.
[ back ] 10. Merrill 1975:30.
[ back ] 11. See Merrill 1975:39–42.
[ back ] 12. Merrill 1975:33–34; Cicero For Caelius 6.
[ back ] 13. Corbeill 1996:5. As I will argue, it is the orator’s power to “exclude” his enemy that leaves him open to the counterattack of force. Cf. Corbeill 1996:19.
[ back ] 14. Corbeill 1996:19; for the ethics of seemingly extreme satirists, see ch. 3 (Archilochus), ch. 4 (Hipponax) and app. B.
[ back ] 15. Mitchell 1991:41–42.
[ back ] 16. Cicero On Rhetorical Invention 2.177–178 (trans. Hubbell, adapted): “Praises and vituperations will be derived from the topics that are employed with respect to the attributes of persons …” (Laudes autem et vituperationes ex eis locis sumentur qui loci personis sunt attributi …); On Oratory 2.349 (trans. Sutton): “these topics of praise and blame we shall frequently have occasion to employ in every class of law-suit” (his locis et laudandi et vituperandi saepe nobis est utendum in omni genere causarum). Cicero On Oratory 2.182; “Cicero” Rhetoric To Herrenius 3.10–15; Quintilian Training in Oratory 3.4.1–10. Merrill 1975:5; Corbeill 1996:16; Craig 2004:188–190.
[ back ] 17. Mitchell 1979: 44. Cf. also Habicht 1990.
[ back ] 18. See Mitchell 1979:44.
[ back ] 19. Craig 2004, cf. Riggsby 1997:248, who argues against Syme et al. that law courts were generally oriented toward judgments based on truth. However, he writes, “In invective, truth is largely irrelevant.”
[ back ] 20. See Plutarch Cicero 2.3 (861); Townend 1965:109–134; Spaeth 1931.
[ back ] 21. For Cicero’s invective, satire, and humor, see Macrobius Saturnalia 11.3; Cicero On Oratory 1.17; 2.217–290; On Rhetorical Invention 1.16–22; 100–105; “Cicero” Rhetoric To Herrenius 2.47–49; 3.10–15; Koster 1980:134–145; also pt. 3A; Opelt 1969:40–57, in which the Cicero section is the largest section for any one author; Haury 1955, esp. 106–109; Merrill 1975, “Cicero and Early Roman Invective”—an excellent thesis, which concludes that Cicero always used traditional topoi in his invective, but used them with enormous skill; Delacy 1941. See also, Nisbet 1965, esp. 65–67; Corbeill 1996; Craig 2004; Volpe 1977:311–312; Geffcken 1973; Austin 1960; Nisbet 1961:192–195; Watson 1970 (unconvincing); Wooten 1983:73–86; Solmsen 1938:542–546; Sollmann 1960:51–53, 55–58; De SaintDenis 1958; Canter 1936; Grant 1924:131–139; Dunkle 1967; Hands 1962.
[ back ] 22. Demosthenes & Cicero Compared 1.4–5, 886 (trans. Perrin): Κικέρων δὲ πολλαχοῦ τῷ σκωπτικῷ πρὸς τὸ βωμολόχον ἐκφερόμενος, καὶ πράγματα σπουδῆς ἄξια γέλωτι καὶ παιδιᾷ κατειρωνευόμενος ἐν ταῖς δίκαις εἰς τὸ χρειῶδες, ἠφείδει τοῦ πρέποντος … “ὡς γελοῖον ὦ ἄνδρες ἔχομεν ὕπατον.” δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ γέλωτος οἰκεῖος ὁ Κικέρων γεγονέναι καὶ φιλοσκώπτης.
[ back ] 23. Brutus 312; see below.
[ back ] 24. Stockton 1971:47–48. Cf. Scullard 1959:98.
[ back ] 25. Cicero Against Catiline 2.1; Plutarch Cicero 16.3–4 (868); Scullard 1959:113.
[ back ] 26. Cicero mentions the shock that was felt by the prosecuting cousins when he actually mentioned the freedman’s name, For Roscius 60. For mockery of the real wrongdoers in the case, see Sihler 1914: 51. Cf. Elliott 1960:123, 122–129; and above, ch. 21.
[ back ] 27. Plutarch Cicero 3 (862b–c): ἀναδεξάμενος οὖν τὴν συνηγορίαν καὶ κατορθώσας ἐθαυμάσθη, δεδιὼς δὲ τὸν Σύλλαν ἀπεδήμησεν εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα, διασπείρας λόγον ὡς τοῦ σώματος αὐτῷ θεραπείας δεομένου.
[ back ] 28. Cicero also pleads health reasons in Brutus 313–314. Gruen 1968:149–178, cf. Mitchell 1979:93n1. Schur (1962:216) accepts Plutarch here, cf. Bucheit 1975:570.
[ back ] 29. On the Responses of the Haruspices 17; On His House 76 (in isto tuo maledicto).
[ back ] 30. See Nisbet 1961:ix–xiv; Shackleton Bailey 1965–1968 2:227–232; Herescu 1961, who contrasts Cicero’s actual exiles with a psychic exile during Caesar’s ascendancy; Seager 1965; Cremaschi 1944; Gahan 1985, esp. 145n1; Grasmück 1977, and 1978:110–126; Habicht 1990:47; Mitchell 1991:132–157; Stroh 2004, with further literature.
[ back ] 31. Letters to his Brother, Quintus 1.3.1, quamdam effigiem spirantis mortui. See also Cicero Letters to Atticus 3.7–21; Letters to his Brother, Quintus 1.4; Plutarch Cicero 32.5 (877b): “he led a disheartened and excessively mournful existence for the most part” (ἀθυμῶν καὶ περίλυπος διῆγε τὰ πολλά). Cf. Stockton 1971:190; Sihler 1914:208–209. The exile was an “intolerable wound,” Nisbet 1965:64. For Cicero’s exile as a death, see Claassen 1996:574–575, 1999:107. For exile generally as death, see Doblhofer 1987:166–178; 57; and below, ch. 23 (Ovid’s misery in exile), ch. 25 (Seneca’s exile poetry). For Cicero’s psychological state, Briot 1968.
[ back ] 32. Letters to Atticus 3.13.2, mentis errore ex dolore adfici.
[ back ] 33. Letters to His Friends 14.4.1 (trans. Williams): quod utinam minus vitae cupidi fuissemus! … si haec mala fixa sunt, ego vero te quam primum, mea vita, cupio videre et in tuo complexu emori.
[ back ] 34. Letters to His Friends 14.4.5.
[ back ] 35. Letters to his Brother, Quintus 1.3.5 (trans. Sihler): neque enim tantum virium habet ulla aut prudentia aut doctrina ut tantum dolorem possit sustinere.
[ back ] 36. Nisbet 1965:64; Nisbet discusses the important passage in For Sestius (45, cf. On his House 63–64; 98–99; Against Piso 21), in which Cicero sees himself as a passenger on a ship menaced by pirates; when the pirates demand Cicero, his friends refuse to surrender him, but Cicero is willing to give himself up for the good of his companions. This self-sacrificial motif had great mythical power, for it crops up again in Cicero’s death (see below); earlier it had defined the deaths of Aesop (see above, ch. 2; cf. G 92–100) and Socrates (see above, ch. 15). Paradoxically, even when the victim is forced into exile or execution, he departs or dies “willingly.” For the voluntary ideology in sacrifice, see Burkert 1983:4, cf. Petronius fr. 1.
[ back ] 37. For further on the experience of Cicero’s exile, see Doblhofer 1987:73–75.
[ back ] 38. See After His Return: To the Senate 10–18; this blame of his exilers is balanced by a section of praise extended to Cicero’s supporters, 18–23. Cf. Letters to Atticus 4.1.4.
[ back ] 39. Sihler 1914:216.
[ back ] 40. See Stroh 2004.
[ back ] 41. Cf. Herescu 1961:139; Sihler 1914:271.
[ back ] 42. Letters to Atticus 16.7.1–2.
[ back ] 43. Philippics 1.5–6; 2.43.
[ back ] 44. Philippics 1.5: Nimis iracunde hoc quidem et valde intemperanter.
[ back ] 45. Philippics 5.7.
[ back ] 46. Letters to His Friends 12.2.1, 12.25.4 (trans. Ker): itaque omnibus est visus, ut ad te antea scripsi, vomere suo more, non dicere … omnemque suum vinulentum furorem in me unum effunderet … quem ego ructantem et nauseantem conieci in Caesaris Octaviani plagas. Cf. Philippics 2.1 (me maledictis lacessisti); 3.33; 5.19–20: Antony “vomited a speech” against Cicero “from his most filthy mouth” (orationem ex ore impurissimo evomuit). For defensive characterization of one’s verbal attacker as expelling verbal filth, cf. Aristophanes Acharnians 377ff. For the motif of Antony actually vomiting, see Philippics 2.63, 76, 84, 104; Merrill 1975:120–121.
[ back ] 47. Letters to Atticus 16.11. See Holmes 1928:198, and Stockton 1971:298n56 for the dating of this speech’s appearance.
[ back ] 48. Cf. Wooten 1983:53–54; Sussman 1994.
[ back ] 49. Cicero 45.3 (884) (trans. Perrin): τὸν μὲν Ἀντώνιον ἐξέκρουσε καὶ κατεστασίασε, καὶ πολεμήσοντας αὐτῷ τοὺς δύο ὑπάτους, Ἵρτιον καὶ Πάνσαν, ἐξέπεμψε …
[ back ] 50. For a sympathetic political analysis of Cicero’s position at this time, see Mitchell 1991:300–311.
[ back ] 51. Third Philippic 24; 11; 27; Letters to His Friends 10.28.1. On the occasion of the third and fourth Philippics, see Letters to His Friends 10.28.2.
[ back ] 52. Plutarch Cicero 46.2–3 (884); Mitchell 1991:319–323.
[ back ] 53. Homeyer 1977. The ancient sources can be found on p. 56n1; see especially Plutarch Cicero 46–49 (884–886); Brutus 27.6; Antony 20; Appian Civil Wars 4.19.73; 4.20.81; Dio Cassius 47.8.3; Livy ap. Seneca Rhetor Persuasive Discourses 6.17. Homeyer shows that, as might be expected, the sources are contradictory and embellished by folkloric details. See also Homeyer 1971; Buechner 1958; Egger 1958; and treatments in such standard works as Syme 1939:192; Gelzer 1939, esp. 1087–1088; Stockton 1971:332; Sihler 1914:462.
[ back ] 54. See Homeyer 1977: 57–68.
[ back ] 55. Livy ap. Seneca Rhetor Persuasive Discourses 6.17: “moriar” inquit “in patria saepe servata.” This is probably unhistorical. Buechner (1958) argues unconvincingly that Cicero decided to die so that his influence would continue on, even if the Republic had died. Cf. following note.
[ back ] 56. Plutarch Cicero 48.4–5 (885): ἐσφάγη δὲ τὸν τράχηλον ἐκ τοῦ φορείου προτείνας.
[ back ] 57. Thus Seneca Rhetor Persuasive Discourses 6.20; Appian Civil Wars 4.20.77; Dio Cassius 47.11.12 (who, with Plutarch among others, mentions that Cicero had defended him against a charge of patricide—perhaps an ironic ornamentation, for the pater patriae to be killed by a patricide, see Homeyer 1977:66). Plutarch, however, has Herennius kill the orator, cf. Homeyer 1977:65–66.
[ back ] 58. See Homeyer 1977:68–80, esp. 70n33.
[ back ] 59. Trans. Cary. This story is probably another fictional detail emphasizing further the monstrousness of Cicero’s persecutors, cf. Gelzer 1939:1088; Homeyer 1977:82n64. For the theme of the mutilation of the poet’s tongue, cf. Plutarch On Exile 16 (606B); Seneca On Anger 3.17, where Lysimachus removes a man’s tongue, eyes, ears, and nose to punish a chance bit of verbal mockery; ch. 17 (poet Teig Dall O’Higgin’s tongue cut out); epilogue. For Fulvia, cf. Plutarch Antony 10.5 (920c–d); Babcock 1965.
[ back ] 60. Plutarch Cicero 49.1 (885): οὐ τὸ Κικέρωνος ὁρᾶν πρόσωπον οἰομένοις, ἀλλὰ τῆς Ἀντωνίου ψυχῆς εἰκόνα.
[ back ] 61. According to Plutarch, see above. At the very least, Cicero’s oratory was a central force in turning the senate against Antony and making him a hostis, an ‘enemy, outlaw’ of Rome.