II.4-6 Notes

Exordium: Return to a review of past precedent.

Decrevit: The subject verb core of the sentence is senatus decrevit = the senate decreed. When a Roman author reverses this word order, the effect is best captured in English by translated by postponing the subject: There was a decree by the senate. Compare fuit quondam ista virtus = there was once such virtue.

ut: decerno takes a jussive clause as its direct object; this is actually a form of indirect discourse, or indirect command: the Senate decreed that the consul do something; here the direct command was: videat consul ne res publica detrimente capiat: let the consul see to it that the republic receive no damage.

L. Opimius, cos. 121, when Gaius Gracchus (the brother of Tiberius Gracchus, see above) took to violence in order to advance his reforms. Opimius received the so-called Senatus Consultum Ultimum. He crushed the rebellion with at the cost of about 3,000 Roman lives and afterward condemned a large number to death in a special quaestio. He was prosecuted the following year, but acquitted. Some felt that this gave constitutional standing to the senate advise.

videret: imperfect subjunctive according to sequence.

ne: video, when it means see to it or watch out, takes a jussive noun clause as its object, another indirect command.

quid: The indefinite pronouns quis, quid, quisque, quidque, etc. often take a partitive genitive: see unum quemque nostrum above. Here, quid requires the partitive genitive detrimenti as a kind of explanation. One might be just as comfortable considering the genitive to be a genitive of the rubric: let the republic receive nothing under the rubric of damage.

quasdam: There are three main types of indefinite pronoun in Latin: quis, quid, which doubts the very existence of the person or thing (hence, it is often found after si, nisi, num, and ne); aliquis, aliquid, which assumes the existence of the person or thing but is uncertain about the particular characteristics; and quidam, quaedam, quodam, which assumes both the existence and the particular characteristics, but refuses to identify precisely. Thus, quidam, quaedam, quodam may be used to apologize for a metaphor (a certain bond holds the humanities together) or to insinuate who or what without actually naming the person or thing. It is usually rhetorically effective when you want the audience to assume that you and they are in agreement, but do not want to risk an disagreement about particulars.

Gaius Gracchus, the younger brother of Tiberius Gracchus.

patre: Tiberius Gracchus, cos. 177, 163, an eminent political figure in his time.

avo: Scipio Africanus, the conquerer of Hannibal.

maioribus: For instance, Tiberius Gracchus, son of the consul of 238 and consul himself in 215.

M. Fulvius: Originally a supporter of Tiberius Gracchus, he served on the Gracchan land commission from 130 on. He proposed citizenship for the Italian towns in order to solve the land problem; he was himself consul in 125, but became Tribune of the Plebs in 122 in order to help Gaius Gracchus.

[*] Note the parallel structure of the two sentences: verb, prepositional phrase, subject, description of subject.

simili senatus consulto: This refers to the sentence above that begins Decrevit quondam and it is in a parallel position in the thought: decrevit interfectus occissus; simili consultomors. The ablative can be thought of as an ablative of means with permissa or as an ablative of accordance with.

C. Marius: Another novus homo who proceded directly to the consulship in 106 BCE, and held it for the sixth time in 100 BCE. His agents, Saturninus and Servilius Glaucia, went too far in trying to promote his and their own interests in Marius, having received from the Senate the so-called Senatus Consultum Ultimum crushed their revolt and killed them.

consulibus: Dative with permissa.

Num: This interrogative particle introduces a question that expects a negative answer. It is originally the adverb for now; compare nunc, which is *num + -ce (as hunc is *hum +-ce; -ce is the deictic particle meaning here). How did a particle meaning now come to imply a negative answer was expected? The theory is that questions typically expect (or fear) a negative answer. Is he coming? is asked because someone expects or fears that someone is not coming. That means that the simple question already implies a kind of negative response. Num heightens this expectation; consider: Come now, are you saying he is coming? or Is he coming? really? The same explanation can explain ne, the particle that indicates that neither a positive nor a negative answer is expected: -ne cancels the expectation of a negative. Furthermore, nonne implies a positive answer by asking the question in a negative form: He is coming, isnt he?

diem: Accusative for the duration of time taken with the verb, remorata est.

rei publicae: After poena, the genitive is either a subjective or an objective genitive; either "the republic punishes them" or "they punish the republic"

remorata: remoror = to keep waiting. Now, the trick in this sentence is the striking personification of mors ac poena as subject of remorata est. Consider: If I keep you waiting, you are waiting for me. Thus, here, if death keeps Saturninus waiting, he is waiting for death, that is, he is waiting to die. Cicero says, sardonically, "neither death nor penaltly keep Saturninus waiting." The English idiom does not at first sound like it means this, so you may use your imagination to get the sense into a translation. The core of the sentence is: num unum diem Saturninum mors remorata est? = Really now, did death keep Saturninus waiting a single day?


vicesimum: The decree was passed on 22 October, 18 days before by our counting, but 19 days by Roman inclusive counting.

diem: Accusative of duration of time contrasting with the unum diem above; iam means already.

patimur: See above the note on oportebat. If something was continuous in the past, Latin uses the imperfect; but that will mean that it is not going on now. If something is going on now, Latin uses the present; but that will mean that it was not going on in the past. English has a special construction for events that were continuous in the past and still continuous in the present: I have been living here for 5 years. Other languages do not have this construction so they have to combine past continuation and present continuation. They do so with a temporal adverb referring to the past and a present tense: I am living her for 5 years.

aciem: acies = sword blade. Here, metaphorical with auctoritatis, and meant to recall the sword of Ahala, hidden in his armpit, as well as other swords metaphorical and real.

horum refers to the people present, that is, the Senators; compare auctoritas huius ordinis above at I.3.

Habemus: Repetition of the introductory sentence to the earlier summary of present circumstances.

enim: Like the particle, nam, so enim indicates that its sentence will explain something in the preceding. Here it explains what Cicero means by the blade of the authority of these men.

huiusce modi: of this very type, the ce is that deictic particle mentioned above (see note 91): this here.

tabulis: Bronze tablets, that is. It exists on these tablets as a potential until it is used.

quo: Relative pronouns are a grammatical device that allows one to join a connection (any connective idea, but and is the most common) and a demonstrative (which points back at an antecedent) into a single word. Consider: The man whom you see over there is a thief. = The man and you see him over there is a thief. We usually think of relatives as subordinating conjunctions, but given this origin, you can see how they might readily be used as sentence connectives. quo ex s. consulto is a sentence connective, and the editor should probably have used a semi-colon or even a period after reconditum. Translate: And in accordance with this senatus consultum

convenit: It is important to keep track of the time relationships in this sentence. convenit is a past tense (Gould and Whitely are wrong). Cicero says, thinking of the past, And, in accordance with that senatus consultum, it was appropriate/fitting for you to have been killed immediately.

Vivis: Compare hic tamen vivit. Vivit? above. The transition here is the same, but without the explicit tamen. Above Cicero was blaming the government in general: Senatus haec intellegit, consul videt nos, autem, fortes viri. Now, he will focus the blame upon himself only.

ad deponendam: Ad + gerundive = purpose (expressed as the goal of motion and activity); you must supply audaciam with deponendam.

cupio:, I want to be, is almost by definition concessive: although I want to be good, I like being bad. Hence, this sentence will end with sed. The core of the first two main clauses is: cupio + accusative-infinitive construction. me esse clementem is like indirect discourse, in that it means that I be merciful.

clementem: Ironically, clementia was the signal characteristic of Julius Caesars policy toward his Roman enemies. One wonders if Caesarian clementia was in any sense already identified with him. In the debate about the execution of the conspirators, in which the Fourth Catilinarian participates, Caesar argued against execution, and in Sallusts monograph, Bellum Catinlinae, written later of course, Caesar is identified with clementia.

cupio: The anaphora indicates parallelism of thought or structure. This main clause has the same shape as the one above, except that it is expanded by a prepositional phrase, in tantis rei publicae periculis.

rei publicae: The genitive case turns any noun into an adjective. Here, rei publicae modifies periculis; there are many possible translation: republican dangers, governmental crises, threats to the constitution, dangers to the state.

dissolutum: If clementia is a desirable characteristic, dissolutus describes the danger inherent in clementia: to be merciful without being lax. The two cupio clauses are what is called foil, that is, the background that allows the next statement to stand out clearly and sharply. Here, we call the cupio-clauses ethical foil because they characterize the ethos or character of the speaker: a cautious man who would like to be merciful without being lax. Against this foil, his own self (note emphatic ipse) accusation stands out sharply.

Sed marks the preceding anaphora of cupio as concessive.

iam: the temporal adverb, already, marks the immediate danger and Ciceros impatience, supposedly, with himself.

ipse: I myself, in other words, you dont need to condemn me; I myself condemn myself.

inertiae: Verbs of accusation take a genitive of the charge; it is much like the English to condemn of murder.

[*] This should mean that Cicero will no longer be inactive or ineffective. And the following section begins by listing the reasons for action.

Etruriae faucibus: The passes between Lombardy and Etruria are at Fiesole through the Apeninnes into modern Tuscany.

[**] This sentence is about two things: where the camps are and why they are there. If you take the main to be sunt: the main clause ends with in Italia, and everything from contra p.R to conlocata is an appended proposition: There are camps in Italy [and they are] set up against the R.p. in the Apennine passes. If you take the verb of the main clause to be sunt conlocata, you need to get all three prepositional phrases into an adverbial relationship with sunt conlocata: Camps have been located in Italy, in the Apennine passes, against the R.p. Its a judgment call, but I prefer the first.

crescit: Notice that the flow of thought is marked by the first words of the sentences: Camps . Increase.

singulos: in dies already means daily; in dies singulos is a more intense way of saying individual day by individual day.

eorum autem castrorum: These three words are essentially connective material, helping the audience know how one sentence is connected to another. When this is noticed, you can think of the progress of thought in terms of the emphatic words in these main clauses: Castra. Crescit . Imperatorem.

intra moenia: These spatial prepositional phrases recall the description of the castra. If you think of that sentens as, castra sunt in Italia + 2 prepositional phrases describing the danger, then this sentence is similar: imperatorem ducemque hostium + 2 prepositional phrases elaborating the danger: intra moenia atque in senatu videmus.

molientem: The participial phrase is predicative and, coming after the closure of the main verb, has the force of an appended proposition: [and he is] contriving some internal ruin . This means that the preceding clauses and phrases have a kind of parallel structure: Castra sunt in Crescit | Imperatorem intestinam molientem.

cotidie: Formally the adverb should modify a verbal like molientem: daily contriving ; but there is no reason not to feel that it modifies the verbal aspect of perniciem: contriving daily danger.

rei publicae: Either objective genitive with perniciem or dative with molientem. Since the meanings are the same and the syntax of both is common, I dont know how one could know which it should be called. Perhaps we should make up a name: The Genitive-Dative of the Noun-Verb.

[*] SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE. Without much warning, Cicero here enters upon an hypothetical (as iussero makes clear): If I will have ordered that you be seized.

comprehendi: Passive infinitive with iubeo. Latin has two constructions for indirect command. The introductory verb determines which one is used. iubeo take the infinitive; impero takes a jussive noun clause.

[**] The parallelism established by siinfinitive indicates that everything found in si te iam, Catilina, comprehendi but not in si interfici must be supplied to the second clause for it to make sense, and everything found in si interfici iussero, but not in si te iam, Catilina, comprehendi must likewise be supplied backwards.

iussero: Future perfect in a future indicative conditions or future-factual condition. The future perfect is used because it will only be after the order is given that, as Cicero imagines, he will have to be afraid.

credo: Sarcastic. Cicero never uses a parenthetical credo meaing that he actually does belief it; always it means that he does not believe the absurd conclusion that someone else might believe. This means that to understand this apodosis (the conclusion to the condition) you have to be aware that Cicero is saying the opposite of what he means. Sarcasm is always hard to hear in a foreign language.

verendum: The passive periphrastic or gerundive in the future time (erit). Literally, there will have to be a fearing.

mihi: The gerundive adds the notion of necessity or obligation to the meaning of the verb; the dative case is used here, as elsewhere in Latin, to indicate the person upon whom that obligation falls. It is called the Dative of Agent and it is usually easiest to translate it as if it were the agent of a passive verb.

ne: This fearing clause, lest or that, is complicated by the insertion of a comparative clause (quam quisquam) as well as indirect discourse. It will be easier to understand the sentence if you remove the comparative clause, find the core of the sentence, then add again the comparative clause (including anything ellipted). So, what is the comparative clause? It is non potius [this] quam [that]: potius (rather) quam (than) is a common idiom and quam is looks to potius. Here, then, is an outline that indicates the parallelisms:

ne non hoc


omnes boni


a me






factum esse dicat.

Now, removing the comparison and adding what is ellipted (underlined below) we have the core:

ne non hoc omnes boni serius a me factum esse dicant.

[I will have to be afraid that] all good men will not say hoc serius a me factum esse. Now, remember, Cicero is being sarcastic; what he means is that the only reasonable fear is precisely that good men will say he acted serius, rather late, too slowly. The alternative fear, the one that he sarcastically says he should be afraid of, is the ellipsis:

ne quisquam crudelius a me factum esse dicat = that someone will say he acted too cruelly.

Now we can try to put the two comparisons back into one fearing clause: (sarcastically) I suppose I will have to be afraid more that all good men will not say I acted too slowly than that someone will say I acted too cruelly, meaning my real fear is that good men will say I acted slowly rather than that anyone will say I acted cruelly.

Verum always means but (it never means truly). Cicero, having given several powerful reasons for taking immediate action and having condemned himself of inaction and ineffectiveness, now must explain not only why he has not acted, but why he will not act immediately. This is an important transition, and the sentence, in fact, is merely a transition. See next two notes.

Certa de causa looks forward and promises a clear and fixed reason for not doing (nondum) exactly what he has just said he ought (iam pridum ... oportuit) to have done.

Tum denique: There are two problems which are one: quo usque tandum (when will Catiline stop) and "when will you kill him?" tum denique is the answer to both.

interficere: Future passive indicative 2nd person singular.

tam: the anaphora parallels the three adjectival phrases and the meaning points to a forthcoming result clause.

tui: similis may be followed by a dative or a genitive with no significant difference in meaning.

inveniri: Note that the infinitive (a complementary infinitive) is passive.

qui: This is the relative clause of result clause that the tam was pointing toward: so wretched that he (qui).

iure: This is the single most important word in the thought and everything in the sentence has been postponing it. Note the progression: certa de causa (I have a fixed and clear reason) nondum (not yet) tum (but then) cum iam (when already) nemo tam improbus (there is no one so wicked) qui id non fateatur (that he wont say) iure (It was just and right and legal).

Quam diu: Temporal clause corresponding to tum cum iam (then when already) by filling the meantime: as long as.

vives: Look all the way back to section 2: hic tamen vivit. Vivit? immo vero. And recall section 4: vivis, et vivis . Now, the problem Cicero has tried to make his audience imagine, namely that Catiline is alive, has gone away and Cicero speaks as if that very problem (hic tamen vivit) has been all along part of his policy: vives, et vives ita ut vivis.

multis et firmis: in English we say many strong, but Latin typically prefers to make lists of adjectives with et: many and strong.

oppressus: The participle is, as almost always in Latin, predicative; here, it describes how Catiline will live, which is to say that the participle phrase is in apposition to the adverbial ita. For information about how to translate participles, check here. An alternative reading obsessus is followed by Clark's OCT. The rhetoric of "suppression" seems to suit better Cicero's careful watchfulness behind the scenes, and it also suits his later arguments that suppression is not enough.

ne is the purpose of the guards, of course, but it is also the purpose of Ciceros putative policy and so this purpose clause is meant to answer directly the alarm Cicero created in the opening sentences.

Multorum: Parallel to multis, this is a special form of repetition called polyptoton, that is, anaphora with the repeated word in different cases.

te: The oblique cases of the personal pronoun are usually unemphatic and so they find themselves in what is called enclitic position, that is, attached to the emphatic word in their phrase or clause. Here, you should note that there is an accusative object, te, and then wait to see where it belongs in relation to the other words of the sentence. The answer is, with sentientem, a participle in the same case and gender.

non sentientem: it is, of course, a matter of debate how accurate Ciceros self-portrayal is at this point. A cynic can easily point out that the claim that I have agents watching you and you dont know it, if correct, can never be proved or disproved precisely because you do not know it.

adhuc: Again Cicero stresses his point that this has been a consistent policy on his part.

speculabuntur atque custodient: The two verbs are important and it is important that they be stated separately: Ciceros agents watch, spy and observe, so Cicero has full knowledge; they also protect, guard, and, in effect, hold Catiline in custody (though he does not know it).