I.1-3 Notes

The Exordium is the formal beginning of a speech. It's function is threefold: to make the audience attentus (or "attentive" -- because you cannot persuade if your audience is not paying attention), docilis (or "teachable" -- because you cannot persuade unless your audience can learn from you) and benevolus (or "benevolent" -- because you cannot persuade unless you make a good impression on your audience. Here's a brief overview of ancient oratory.

usque is redundant with tandem; it has been argued that this redundancy was a feature of Catilines impatient style. If so, Cicero begins his by taking Catiline's speech away from him, by both making that speech his own and by mocking Catiline. In any event, the unusual idiom and its redundancy point to the major question this speech sets for itself to answer: when will something happen?

abutere: The speech begins as a form of invective, that is, it abuses Catiline in public; and what better way to abuse someone than by accusing them of abuse. It seems to be a general principle of rhetoric that you preempt your opponent by accusing him of the very thing you are yourself doing.

Catilina: The direct address to Catiline marks this speech as a species of invective; that is, it is not addressed to the Senators (deliberative oratory) or to a judge and jury (forensic oratory). Invective is a species of epideictic oratory; that is, its function is to persuade the audience to hold a certain belief about value in the present. Here, the position of the vocative, Catilina, is enclitic; that is, it lends emphasis to the word or phrase that precedes it.

patientia nostra: utor and its compounds take the ablative of means to complete their meaning. They are vestiges of a middle voice in Latin and originally meant something like: I get usage by means of. Translated simply: "abuse our patience".

Quam diu etiam: Note the parallel structure of three interrogative sentences. Their beginnings are all terms of temporal duration; their middles are all terms that refer to Catiline's moral failings; their ends are a climax: from abuse to mockery to recklessness. Note also the equal length of the sentences and the devices by which a note of impatience is added to the questions.

furor: Although the form of the middle phrase in these three sentences varies, the substance designates a moral failing of Catiline in each case: abuse, madness, uncontrol.

iste tuus: iste is the second person demonstrative meaning "that beside you"; tuus, the possessive adjective of the second person, intensifies the "beside you" sense of iste. The reason for this emphasis on the second person is that conversation and discourse usually involves two people in "our" discussion. When one part of this "I - you" exchange is designated as "yours", it is felt to violate the presumption that the conversants are involved in a common enterprise.

eludit: the sense of the word entails both "mockery" and "escape". It is one of the remarkable features of this speech that the consul who begins feeling that his patience has been abused and that Catiline has "mockingly eluded" him, ends by asking for more patience and both demanding and predicting that Catiline will "escape" to the camp of Manlius.

Quem ad finem: Both in the sense of towards what limit, and so a repetition of the idea in quam diu and in quo usque tandem, and in the sense of towards what goal, purpose. Both meanings are possible because a goal is a limit and a purpose is typically the end of an action (Compare the designation, final clause.).

audacia: There is a climax here in the movement from "patience" to "mockery" to "recklessness".

nihil:An emphatic negative introducing a question is often impatient: Will you NOT stop doing that? This negative pronoun, literally nothing, is a common way of making an emphatic adverb, not at all. It is technically an internal accusative going with the verb: nihil te moverunt = they move you nothing, or they move you no moving.

Te: the oblique cases of the personal pronouns find themselves in enclitic position:they emphasize the word that precedes. As a result you should learn to notice them and hold in your mind the fact that te is the direct object of a verb you have yet to see.

The Palatium was an isolated hill overlooking the forum in a strong and central position. A guard was placed there both because it would be a likely place for revolutionaries to capture and take a position and because such an action would be widely seen as demonstrative of the crisis. Ciceros house, as well as Catilines house, was on the Palatium, and in imperial time it became the place for the imperial residence. Because of this association, the word came into English as palace. The genitive case is used to make any noun into an adjective. In English we do this with prepositional phrases (the Romance language way: the driver of the bus) or we do it by putting nouns in front of other nouns (the Germanic way: the bus driver). Here, you can translate the genitive, Palati, with the best prepositional phrase that gets the sense: guard of the Palatine? protection for the Palatine? watch on the Palatine?

Nihil ... nihil ... nihil...: Each time that nihil is repeated the listener is taken back to the original nihil, that is in this case, to the beginning of the sentence. That means that everything you are waiting for in order to make sense of the words, you are still waiting for. Put another way, repetition of nihil means that the listener will return to the subject of the sentence again without getting the verb. In situations like this, Roman authors usually do not repeat the te (see above) which is just making the nihil more emphatic.

urbis: See above on the Genitive Case: watches for the city? watches in the city? watches throughout the city?

timor populi without a context in expressions like this (a verbal noun and a genitive noun), the genitive noun could be either a subjective genitive (the peoples fear = populus timet) or an objective genitive (fear of the people = [aliquis] timet populum).

bonorum:The substantival use of the adjective, boni, for the good men is common and filled with political implications.

senatus is senats, that is, it is a genitive of senatus, -s, M. The phrase habendi senatus is a gerundive phrase in the genitive that modifies locus. Literally: a place for Senate-holding. The force of obligation and necessity that is often associated with the gerundive is usually not felt in these kinds of phrases, which may also be thought of as taking an active verbal expression with the gerund (for holding the Senate) and turning it into a passive expression with the gerundive modifying the noun (for the Senate being held).

hic locus was the Temple of Jupiter Stator on the Palatine Hill facing the Sacra Via. The Senate usually met in the Curia Hostilia. Ciceros selection of this place had obvious symbolic significance, and if you look ahead, you will discover that Cicero ends this speech talking directly to Jupiter Stater.

horum: Since Cataline was at the Senate meeting and being addressed, this demonstrative refers to those in the audience.

Patere is the infinitive in indirect discourse. The sentence begins with a simple accusative subject + infinitive construction: non sentis> consilia patere. Note that the infinitive is in the present tense: Are you not aware that that your plans are wide open. This basic structure: Interrogative main verb (Dont you know?) plus Indirect Discourse will continue in the next two sentences. The whole unit of three sentences forms a tri-colon crescendo.

non: Like nihil above, this sets up an anaphora (or repetition of the same word) non in the parallel phrase: non vides.

sentis: A Table may help you see the parallelisms that produce the tri-colon crescendo:

Indirect Discourse

Main Verb as a Question

Patere tua consilia

non sentis?

constrictam iam horum omnium scientia

teneri coniurationem tuam

non vides?


Subjunctive in Indirect Question


Quid proxima>

quid superiore>>nocte

ubi quos

quid consilii





quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris?

constrictam: The meaning of constrictam (constricted, limited, diminished) is the opposite of the parallel word, patere (wide open, exposed, clear).

omnium: Subjective genitive (hi omnes sciunt coniurationem tuam) or objective genitive ([aliqui] sciunt hos omnes)?

scientia: After a perfect passive participle (or in a passive participle phrase) you should expect some designation of the means by which something is done; this is an ablative of means.

teneri: Note that this present infinitive in indirect discourse dependent upon non vides is parallel to patere, another present infinitive in indirect discourse dependent upon non sentis.

[*] The phrase, teneri coniurationem tuam, is directly parallel to patere tua consilia. This means that the participle phrase, constrictam ... scientia, adds additional information to the statement; that is, it is predicative and most predicative modifications can be translated as if they were a new predicate (that is, a new sentence): Dont you see that your conspiracy has been constricted and is held .

egeris: The form of this verb, perfect subjunctive, is your only clue that the sentence is not over. The meaning, what did you do last night, is simply expressed in Latin: quid proxima nocte egit? The subjunctive indicates that the question is not just a simple question, but it is a subjoined or subordinate question. Notice the difference in English between the simple and the subordinate question:

What did you do last night?

What you did last night [is subject to dispute].

The first is a simple question; the second a subordinate question. English marks the difference by switching verb position: subject before verb for subordinate questions; verb before subject for simple questions. Now, in Latin, the subjunctive mood, itself just a tiny change in the sound of the verb, causes the same change in the perception of the sentence as this tiny shift in word order does in English. Therefore, after egeris you are still waiting for the main verb of the sentence (hence, the graphic >).

fueris: ubi is an interrogative in paralles with quid; fueris is another perfect subjunctive in parallel with egeris; therefore, we are still waiting for our main verb.

consilii: quid + genitive is a common way of denoting an indefinite amount or quality of something; the genitive is a partitive genitive. It is often best translated as if the quid were an adjective: what council.

quem: Subject accusative in indirect discourse with the infinitive, ignorare, after abitraris.

nostrum: This is tricky. Cicero proceeds with another interrogative as if it were parallel to quid, ubi, quos, quid, but, in fact, this is really parallel to Quo usque Quam diu Quem ad finem Quem nostrum. The trickiness is part of Ciceros impatience: you find yourself at the end of the sentence (arbitraris is not a perfect subunctive, but a present indicative, a main verb) before you knew it. It is also tricky to keep track of the various subordinate structures: arbitraris> indirect discourse (accusative = infinitive construction); but this indirect discourse, quem ignorare, has already produced the indirect questions that began with quid proxima egeris (interrogative + subjunctive). To understand the construction, take as your model: arbitraris> aliquem ignorare> qui sis = Do you think > that anyone does not know > who you are? But remember, that, as often in Latin, the sentence goes backwards in terms of English expectations: qui sis < quem ignorare < arbitraris?

O tempora: The accusative of exclamation is best thought of as a figure of speech that ellipts, or leaves out, the verb that would, except for the impetuous impatience of the speaker, be spoken. Here, one might imagine the ellipsis of something like I contemn .

[*] A sentence is a notoriously difficult thing to define precisely. If it is a syntactical unit defined as having a main verb, then this is the third sentence after O tempora, o mores! But, if it is a defined as a complete thought, then tamen tells you that the two preceding sentences were really the equivalent to subordinate clauses (although the Senate knows, although the consul see, nevertheless he lives). There is no unequivocally correct answer, but there is understanding and good judgment.

immo is a particle that is used in the high style. It is probably equivalent to Nay, rather, but we find it difficult to speak in the high style, especially if Nay rather must be followed immo and etiam. Here, Cicero marks the beginning of a climax: after three verbs that summarize an outrageous situation (intellegit, videt, vivit), he climaxes with three more sentences that elaborate just what is outrageous. Notice again the parallelism: Senatus haec intellegit is capped and made specific with in senatum venit; consul videt is capped and made specific with fit publici consili particeps; and hic tamen vivit (a sentence begging for elaboration) is capped and elaborated with notat et designat ad caedem unumque nostrum. These three capping sentences are in a tri-colon crescendo.

vero can mean either truly or but truly; here, it means but truly.

consili: The genitive, publici consili, goes with particeps: subjective or objective?

ad caedem: The phrase is designat ad caedem: ad + accusative is often used for purpose expressions. This function is similarly expressed in English with the preposition "for": He marked them out for

fortes: Appositions are always predicative in their force; that is, they add a thought to the sentence. Consider, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce. In most circumstances, this means [Please, settle down and be] Ladies and Gentlemen, [because] I would like to introduce . Here the apposition is perhaps more complex: it is sarcastic (or concessive).

facere: Infinitive with videor. Video means I see, but videor means I am seen or I seem. Now, it is important to note that I seem really means that in someone elses eyes I am seen. This is important because the passive form of video actually controls indirect discourse (just like the active form). The major difference is that the subject of the infinitive is the same as the subject of the passive videmur and so it is not expressed.

rei publicae: The dative is used to designate the person for whom something. Some editors will write the verb satis facere as a single word, satisfacere.

vitemus: If videmur creates a situation of virtual indirect discourse, then subordinate clauses dependent upon the verb [satis]facere will be in the subjunctive as subordinate clauses in indirect discourse.The manuscripts also offer vitamus. The difference is that with the subjunctive the thought is "we've done enough if we avoid"; with the indicative the sentence is, "if we avoid, we think we've done enought."

Ad mortem: This is a bold threat. It was against the law to kill or exile any Roman citizen without a vote of the people and in 59BCE Cicero was in fact tried and exiled for his actions at this time. Nevertheless, since 21 October, that is, for three weeks, he had had a Senatorial decree on his side advising that he see to it that he republic receive no harm: videant consules ne quid res publica detrimenti capiat. This decreee, known the be mocking name that Julius Caesar gave it, the Senatus Consultum Ultimum, was merely advisory; it had no legal force. I the past, however, it had been used to justify extreme action against revolutionaries like Gaius Gracchus and Saturninus. During recent months, in fact, Cicero had himself defended Rabirius, who was prosecuted in 63 BCE for his actions in 100 BCE, when as consul he used the authority of the decree to kill Saturninus without a proper trial.

te: te is enclitic and emphasizes mortem, the emphatic word in the sentence. In fact, structurally this word responds (in terms of what should have happened, oportebat)to what Cicero presents as the outrageous fact of the matter: vivit.

duci: Passive present infinitive with oportet.

iussu: With passive verbs, here the passive infinitive, you should expect expressions of agency and means. This is the ablative of means.

iam pridem oportebat: The imperfect of the verb, oportebat, means that the propriety of this action was continuous during the past; the meaning of the adverb, already before this moment, means that the same propriety had been continuing for some time before that. In English we say either it had been for some time now proper.

in te: Another parallel structure; this time, in te parallels ad mortem. This parallelism alerts the audience to the possibility that the main verb of the first clause, iam pridem oportebat, will also be the main verb of the second clause. And, in fact, it is.

in nos: The relative clause begins quam tu IN NOS, with tu being enclitic again (it only indicates subject change), and this makes a stark contrast with IN TE. The shape of the thought is: IN TE conferri quam tu IN NOS, or, put bluntly: against YOU, not against us.

An: An introduces the second of two alternative questions: utrum an or ne an? (e.g., Are you going or will you stay? Do we have precedent or is this unparalleled?) An is used by itself to give a sense of impatience, as if the first question was ellipted in haste to get to the more important question. The best translation would be just Or.


vero: Here, vero means truly, and might be translated by in fact.

P. Scipio Nasica lead a mob that attacked and killed Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus in 133 when he appealed directly to the Roman people for his re-election as tribune of the plebs. It is often said that this was the first time Rome set about solving problems of internal politics with murder.

pontifex maximus: At the time that P. Scipio acted against Gracchus he was a private citizen of consular rank, that is, he had been consul but no longer held any official magistracy. After this action, he went into exile and it was there, in his absence, that he was appointed Pontifex Maximus. He was the official representative of the college of priests.

T. Gracchus: The elder of two brothers who at the end of the 2nd century tried to reform land distribution in order to relieve Rome of some of the problems of the urban poor.

labefactantem: Present active participle, in agreement with Gracchum. Almost all particples in Latin are predicative, that means that they contribute to the meaning of the predicate. In doing so they answer questions like, when, under what circumstances, for what reason, and so on. The present participle is often translated as he was/is doing something.

privatus: Masculine nominative singular adjective. This adjective is separated from its noun, the subject of the sentence, by several words; such separation usually marks a modifier as predicative. Here one may feel a contrast between the importance of the action and the insignificance of the position; if so, translate as if a concessive, though only a private citizen.

Catilinam is parallel in form and position to Gracchum. Notice how the rest of this sentence is parallel to what preceded in the sentence.

cupientem: The present active participle in parallel in form and sentence structure to labefactantem. Cicero is making a case by setting two examples side by side: Scipio, though a private citizen, did this when something mediocre was happening; we, though consules, are patient though the world is threatened.

consules: In position and in function, parallel to privates. The contrast between a man acting as a private citizen and another acting as consul is about as great a contrast as one can imagine in the Roman political system. The implied argument is a fortiori: If Scipio was able to do something, a fortiori we should.

Nam is a particle, or sentence connective. It is usually used to indicate that the sentence it introduces will explain something said in the preceding sentence. A simple example would be, He is thoughtless. For he never considers the feelings of others. Nam, however, is used in many more flexible ways than simple discursive explanation. Here, Cicero is explaining the haste of his argument (praetereo) and why he is not going to give a list precedents (nimis antiqua).

quod: quod + indicative = the fact that.

Ahala killed without legal process Maelius in 439 BCE upon the suspicion that he was aiming at royal power. The name, Ahala, means armpit; he received this cognomen because because, as the story goes, he killed Maelius with a dagger which he had hidden under his arm. Many details of the story are doubted but there seems to be some basis in fact for it.

Spurius Maelius was, according to legend, a wealthy plebeian who tried to alleviate a corn shortage by private donations. This threatened the aristocrats and they killed him for aspiring to revolution.

novis rebus: res novae, literally new things, was a political catch word for revolution in Rome. The dative is determined by studeo, which takes the dative when it means eager for.

ista: This is the second person demonstrative; it usually refers to the person you are talking to and usually means, that of yours. The question arises then: does ista mean that virtue that you, Catiline, talk about [but do not show]? or that virtue that you, Ahala and Scipio, showed in your actions? or is it one of those rare but exampled uses of iste as an emphatic demonstrative without any particular second-person reference?

[*] The basic main clause is: fuit ista virtus. The demonstrative (see note above) points to the quality which produces the result clause, ut: that virtue .such that .: fuit ista virtus ut.

ut: The basic elements of the result clause are only 4: subject (viri), means (suppliciis), direct object (civem) and subjunctive verb in secondary sequence (coercerent). All the rest modifies the nouns or the adjectives. It usually helps to see the simple structure of the sentence: fuit ista virtus ut viri suppliciis civem coercerent.

viri: virtus above is manly virtue; hence, viri fortes here.

[*] In English and in Latin we often elipt the elements of a phrase or clause that do not need to be repeated. Here, the quam clause compares the punishment (acrioribus suppliciis) of citizens with the punishment enemies. The full version is: suppliciis acrioribus quam [illis suppliciis quibus] acerbissimum hostem [coercerent].

coercerent: The basic meaning, to restrain, came to be equivalent to to punish when the subject suggested official action; in other words, in Rome official restraint of undesired activity is punishment and vice-versa.

Habemus: Cicero turns to the present in comparison with the past.

in te: In classical Latin prepositional phrases did not modify nouns in the way they can in English and French; prepositional phrases were usually adverbial. This usage was extended first to nouns that were made from verb stems (e.g., oratio in Catilinam and, as here, consultum in te).

vehemens et grave: These adjectives, separated from the noun they modify, are marked by this separation as being in predicative position. Coming like this at the end of the sentence, they are often the equivalent of an appended proposition, that is, they add to the original statement (We have an S.C. against you) a new statement ( and it is fierce and severe.).

Non: Emphatic non often looks forward to an explicit or implicit sed. The structure of thought in this sentence is: non consilium, neque auctoritas, [sed] nos.

deest: Desum means to be (sum) apart, absent (de), to lack. Compound verbs, especially compounds of the verb to be, take the dative case: desum tibi: I am absent from/for you. See next note.

rei publicae: Is this a Dative with desum (see above) or a genitive with consilium? This is a judgment call, but the parallelism with auctoritas huius ordinis suggests rather strongly that it is the genitive with consilium: a governmental play.