Translation Notes
Oratio in Catilinam Prima
by Marcus Tullius Cicero

NOTE: The grammars cited are those of Allen and Greenough (§), Gildersleeve (G.), and Harkness (H.). The commentary as found in the source book uses page numbers and repeating line numbers on each page as the main system of identification for each comment. This, of course, is meaningless on a web page. Therefore this webmaster will use chapter numbers and/or the section numbers (the numbers found in the text) as dividing lines between groups of commentary. Also, please remember that this commentary is not comprehensive, it was originally intended as a complementary aid to beginning students using this text in a Latin course.--Webmaster.

Hyperlink Index

To jump straight to a specific section, click the hyperlink bookmark for that section below, or scroll down to the beginning of section 1:
Section: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.

ORATION AGAINST CATILINE

ARGUMENT

   Chap. 1 Proposito. Catiline's effrontery in appearing in the Senate when his guilt is known. 2. Weakness of the consuls in allowing him to live. Contrast with former magistrates in the cases of Gracchus, Saturninus, and Servilius. The situation calls for action: reasons for the delay. 3, 4. The consul fully informed: latest acts of the conspirators. Hortatio. 5. Catiline is exhorted to go out and join his confederates. 6, 7. Life in the city should be intolerable to him: he is feared and hated by all good citizens: his native city begs him to beone. 8. He has offered to go into custody: all good men urgent for his depature: the Senate shows by its silence approval of Cicero's words. 9, 10. The consul urges him to depart: but he will go out only as a public enemy. Peroratio. 11, 12. The consul may be charged with remissness: but he has been biding his time. 13. For half-way measures would have been of no avail: Catiline's death would not have freed the state from his confederates. Let Catiline depart. Appeal to Jupiter to save Rome.

I. PROPOSITO Ch. I - V (Sec. 1-10)

Section 1

   etiam(et iam), still. eludet, baffle, i.e. his mad conduct makes fools of the Roman people, as it were, by continuing to escape the just punishment that would suppress it. quem ad finem: almost equivalent to quamdiu, but implying some shock or crisis (finem) which must follow.
   sese iactabit, insolently display itself. nihil (adverbial acc.) not at all.
   Palati: one of the strongest positions in the city, commanding the Forum, and so most likely to be seized by the conspirators. The Palatium, an isolated hill, of a rudely quadrangular shape, was the original seat of the city of Rome, from which the city spread gradually over the other hills. In the last years of the republic, the Palatine became the fashionable place for residences. Here was Cicero's house as well as Catiline's. It was because of its nearness to his house, as well as because of the strength of its position, that Cicero selected this temple for the meeting of the Senate on this occasion. Under the Empire, the Palatine became the seat of the imperial residence, and its name, palace, has passed in this sense into most modern languages.
   bonorum: the Senate was surrounded by a crowd of equites and other citizens (see Sect. 21, below).
   locus: the Senate was assembled, not, as usual, in the Curia Hostilia, but in the Temple of Jupiter Stator, which occupied a commanding position on the brow of the Palatine Hill and faced the Sacred Way. The ruins of this temple were discovered some years ago. horum (with a gesture), i.e. the Senators present. ora, features. voltus, expression: the phrase is a sort of hendiadys, almost equivalent to expression of their features (§ 385; G. 698; H. 636, iii, 2).
   patere: note the emphatic position. non: observe the abruptness and force given by omitting the interrogative particle -ne. constrictam . . . teneri, is held fast bound (§ 292; G. 238; H. 388, 1, N).
   proxima, superiore: for what was done on the night of Nov. 6, see sect. 4; as to proxima, last night, we meet with nothing but general assertions.

Section 2

   O tempora, etc., what a time! what a state of things! (mores = customs of the time.)
   immo, nay more: immo here negatives not the fact of the preceding statement (vivit), but only its form as not being strong enough; nay is similarly used in English, as in Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2. 313: "To strike, to spurn me, --nay, to kill me too!"
   videmur, etc. = think we do enough for (i.e. fulfill our duty to the state). si . . . vitemus: in the dir. form, satis facimus si vitamus.
   ad mortem: the consuls originally possessed full powers of judgment in criminal cases, including punishment by death. These highest powers of the imperium were suspended within the city by laws which gave the right of appeal to the people (see note, Sect. 28), but the Senate could revive them in cases of danger by the formula Videant consules ne quid res publica detrimenti capiat, --a proceeding analogous to the proclamation of martial law. This action the Senate had taken Oct. 21, nearly three weeks before.
   oportebat, apodosis of an implied condition (§ 311, c; G. 254, R.¹; H. 511, 1, N.³); the imperfect is used with iam pridem, where in English we might expect the pluperfect (§ 277, b; G. 234; H. 469, 2). oportebat alone would mean "you ought [now] to be [but are not]"; with iam pridem it means "you ought to have been long ago and still ought to be."
   iam diu: words in brackets are thought to be spurious insertions in the text.

Section 3

   an vero (§ 211, b; G. 457, 1; H. 353, N.4) properly belongs both to interfecit and perferemus; in English we should connect the two clauses by and. vir amplissimus, pontifex maximus: observe how these words strengthen the force of the example.
   Ti. Gracchum: Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, a young man of high rank and great purity of character, attempted to carry through some important reforms, particularly touching the tenure of the public lands, B.C. 133. Requiring more time to make his legislation effective, he attempted illegally to secure his own re-election as tribune, when he was attacked and killed by a mob of Senators headed by P. Scipio Nasica.
   privatus: at the time referred to, Nasica was only a private of consular rank. He afterwords went into exile, and was made Pontifex Maximus in his absence. The word privatus is rhetorically opposed to nos consules.
   illa, that case, plural for singular as referring to the circumstances of the case.
   Ahala: the magister equitum of the famous Cincinnatus; he killed without legal process the eques Maelius, on suspicion that the latter was aiming at royal power (B.C. 439). novis rebus (the classic expression for a violent change of government), revolution: dative after studentem.
   fuit (emphatic), there was, etc., implying that it is so no longer (§ 344, d, 3); cf. fuit Ilium, Æneid, ii. 325.
   habemus (emphatic), i.e. it is not that we lack, etc. senatus consultum: i.e. the decree conferring dictatorial power on the consuls (see note in sect. 2, above), ut videant consules, etc.
   vehemens, severe, as regards Catiline; grave, carrying weight, and so justifying the consuls in any extreme measures. non deest, etc., it is not that the state lacks wise counsels, etc., but that the consuls are remiss in executing them.

Section 4

   decrevit: translate, to preserve the emphasis, there was one a decree, etc. ut . . . videret, subst. clause of purp., obj. of decrevit (§ 331; G. 546; H. 498). Opimius: Lucius Opimius was consul B.C. 121, when Caius Gracchus, the younger brother of Tiberius, was attempting to carry through a series of measures far more revolutionary than those of his brother. The Senate took alarm, and entrusted the consul with absolute power. In the tumult that ensued, some 3,000 are said to have lost their lives, including Gracchus and his leading associate Fulvius.
   ne . . . caperet, obj. of videret.
   interfectus est (emphatic), i.e. in that case death was promptly inflicted.
   patre: Tiberius Gracchus, the elder, was one of the most eminent statesmen of his day. avo: Scipio Africanus, the conqueror of Hannibal.
   Mario (dat. after permissa): this was in Marius' sixth consulship (B.C. 100). He was secretly in league with the revolutionists, Saturninus and Servilius Glaucia, corrupt demogogues, unworthy imitators of the noble Gracchi. When it came to the point, however, the courage of Marius failed him: he deserted his accomplices, and joined the Senate in crushing the revolt.
   rei publicae, poss. gen., the punishment being looked on as something belonging to the party revenged, and exacted from the other party as a payment due.
   remorata est (governing Saturninum, etc.) keep Saturninus and Servilius waiting, i.e. did they have to wait one day, etc. vicesimum: strictly speaking, it was now (Nov. 6) the 19th day by Roman reckoning from Oct. 21 (cf. § 259, c; G. 336, R.¹). patimur: for tense, see § 276, a; G. 230; H. 467, 2.
   horum, i.e. the Senate.
   huiusce (§ 101, footnote; G. 104, 1, N.¹; H. 186, 1) modi, i.e. like those just mentioned. tabulis, brazen tablets, on which the laws, etc., were inscribed. The edict is said to be shut up in them (until put in force), like a sword hidden in its scabbard.
   interfectum esse: § 288, d; G. 280, 2. convenit, perf. (§ 311, c; G. 254, R.¹; H. 511, 1, N.³).
   ad deponendam, etc.: § 300; G. 432; H. 542, iii, 544, 1.
   cupio (emphatic), I am anxious: a concession, opposed by sed, below. me esse: § 311, b, N.; G. 532, R.²; H. 535, ii.
   dissolutum, arbitrary.
   ipse: Latin in such cases emphasizes the subject; English, the object (§ 195, l; G. 311, 2; H. 452, 1).
   inertiae: § 220; G. 378; H. 409, ii.

Section 5

   castra sunt, etc.: an enumeration of the circumstances which make a mild policy no longer possible.
   faucibus, narrow pass, leading north from Etruria, through the Apennines. conlocata: § 291, b; G. 250, R.²; H. 471, 6, N.¹
   iam, at once.
   erit verendum, etc., I shall have to fear, I suppose (ironical), that all good citizens will fail to say (lit. will not say) that I have acted too late rather than that anybody will say that I have acted too cruelly, i.e. I shall have to fear that I shall be accused of cruelty rather than slackness. ne non . . . dicat: § 331, f; G. 550, 2; H. 498, iii, N.². boni (sc. dicant): here, as usual, the well-intentioned, i.e. those who held the speaker's views.
   ego, opposed to omnes boni (above). factum esse: § 288, d; G. 280, R.³, a; H. 511, 1, N.³.
   denique, i.e. then, and not before.
   iam, at length.
   fateatur: for mood, see § 319, 2; G. 631, 1; H. 500, i.

Section 6

   ita ut vivis, just as you are [now] living.
   ne . . . possis, purpose (not result).
   etiam, besides the forces on guard.
   speculabuntur, probably referring to the spies in the interest of the government, who were in the very heart of the conspiracy.
   quid, etc., what is there for you to wait for more? quod. . .exspectes, rel. clause of purpose.
   inlustrantur, opposed to obscurare; erumpunt, to continere.
   recognoscas, review (with licet; ut omitted: see § 331, f. R.; G. 553, R.¹; H. 502.1).

Section 7

   dicere: for tense, see § 336 A, N.¹; G. 281, 2, N; H. 537, 1.
   futurus esset, subord. clause in ind. disc.
   num, etc., was I mistaken in, etc. (lit. did the fact escape me).
   idem (nom.) has the force of also.
   optimatium, i.e. of the Senatorial party. in ante diem: § 259, e ;G. p. 491 ; H. 642, 4.
   sui conservandi . . . causa ( § 298 a, c ; G. 428, R.¹ and R.²; H. 542. N.¹): this passage is neatly turned so as to save their self-respect by attributing their flight to that discretion which is the better part of valor.
   cum . . . dicebas: we should expect diceres; the imperf. indic. is probably an archaic survival (Cf. § 277, e, and N.).
   tamen: opposed to discessu ("though the rest were gone, yet," etc.).

Section 8

   Praeneste (Palestrina), an important town of Latium, about twenty miles from Rome, in a very commanding situation. Its possession would have given Catiline a valuable military post. Praeneste had been a chief stronghold of the Marian party in the Civil War, and Sulla had punished it by establishing a military colony there (hence coloniam).
   sensistine, did you not find? -ne here = nonne (§ 210, d, and N.; G. 454, N.5).
   praesidiis, the garrison manning the walls; custodiis, sentinels at the gates; vigiliis, watchmen (i.e. night-guard). agis, etc.: notice the climax.
   noctem illam superiorem, that night, - night before last, i.e. Nov. 6; priore (line below) refers to the same night.
   quam te: § 336, a, 1, R.; H. 524, I¹.
   inter falcarios, i.e. to the street of the scythe-makers. non agam obscure, i.e. I will speak out and be more definite. in domum: § 258, b, N.¹; G. 337, R.³.
   eodem, at the same place (lit. to the same place, according to the Latin idiom).

Section 9

   gentium: § 216, a, 4; G. 372, N.³; H. 397, 4.
   quam rem publicam, what sort of state?
   hic, hic, here, right here. patres [et] conscripti: the formal designation of the Senators; patres were the patrician members of the Senate, conscripti were the plebeians enrolled in that originally patrician body. The conjunction is regularly omitted (as often in such combinations). Observe that the stock English translation conscript fathers is inexact.
   qui : the antecedent is the understood subject of sunt. atque adeo, and in fact.
  
cogitent: § 320 a; G. 631, 2; H. 503, i.
   oportebat: see sect. 2 and note. voce volnero : the alliteration is intentional and may easily be imitated in English, wound with a wordigitur (resumptive), then (i.e. as I said).
   quemque, each (of the conspirators). placeret, indir. quest.
   relinqueres, educeres, delib. subj. in an indir. quest. ( § 334, b; G. 265; H. 484, v).
   morae, partitive genitive. viverem, subj. in subord. clause in indir. disc.
   equites: these were C. Cornelius and L. Vargunteius.

Section 10

   omnia . . . comperi: Cicero's contemporaries made sport of him for using this phrase so often in the case of the conspirators.
   salutatum, supine ( § 302; G. 435; H. 546). All prominent citizens were accustomed to hold a kind of morning reception (cf. "the king's levee") to which their friends and dependents came to bid them good morning and to escort them to the Forum. cum . . . venissent: best translated by when, etc.
   id temporis ( §§ 216, a, 3, 240; G. 336, N.², 369; H. 378, 2, 397, 3) at that very time.
   praedixeram: Cicero had thus put on record, as it were, the fact that he was acquainted with the details of the conspiracy.
   desiderant, have been wanting ( § 276, a; G. 230; H. 467, 2).
   si minus (sc. omnes), if not.

 

II. HORTATIO Ch. V - X. (Sec. 10 - 27)

Section 10 cont.

   murus, i.e. city wall (cf. parietibus, walls of a house, sect. 6). intersit: § 314; G. 573; H. 513, i.
   non feram, etc.: the same idea is repeated for emphasis, but, for variety, different words are used.

Section 11

   atque, and particularly. huic, i.e. in whose temple we are met.
   Statori (sto), the one who causes to stand firm. The temp to Jupiter Stator was vowed by Romulus when his troops were giving way, and built upon the spot where their flight was stayed. The remains of this temple have been recently discovered [now over a century ago - Webmaster] on the Palatine, near the Arch of Titus.
   in uno homine, by one man (Catiline), lit. in the case of one man.
   proximis: the consular election was usually held in July; but in this year, on account of the disturbed condition of things, it did not take place until Oct. 28. in campo: the comitia centuriata, in which the higher magistrates were elected, were held in the Campus Martius, or military parade-ground, north of the city. This is the space covered by the main part of modern Rome.
   competitores: Catiline's successful conmpetitors were D. Silanus and L. Murena.
   copiis, i.e. persons in the employ of his friends, slaves and hired retainers. nullo . . . concitato, without exciting (a very common way of expressing this idiom in Latin).
   videbam, I saw all along (observe the force of the imperfect).

Section 12.

   nunc iam, now at length.
   huius imperi, i.e. that which I now possess: namely, that conferred upon the consuls by the special decree of the Senate dent operam, etc. (see note, Sect. 2). Without this decree they possessed imperium, it is true, but it was limited (in the city) by special privileges of Roman citizens.
   tu, opposed to comitum.
   sentina rei publicae, political rabble; or, keeping the original figure, we might say, bilge-water of the ship of state.

Section 13

   faciebas, were on the point of doing ( § 277, c; G. 233; H. 469, 1).
   hostem, a public enemy, whom the consul would have the right to expel from the city. non iubeo: Cicero avoids the appearance of ordering a citizen to go into exile, since that was something which the consul had no right to do.
   iam, longer.
   metuat: cf. note on cogitent. (Sect. 9)
   privatarum rerum, in private life, i.e. intercourse with others out of the family (distinguished from domesticae, above).
   quem . . . inretisses, i.e. after entangling, etc. (subj. of characteristic). ferrum . . . facem, i.e. arm him for acts of violence, or inflame him to deeds of lust.

Section 14

   quid vero, and say!
   novis nuptiis, etc.: this crime is mentioned by no other writer, and is perhaps one of the orator's exaggerations.
   alio . . . scelere: Sallust mentions, as a matter of common belief, that Catiline killed his own son, in order to gratify his new wife Aurelia Orestilla, "a woman praised for nothing but beauty."
   ruinas: this charge was undoubtedly correct. The conspiracy was mainly composed of men of ruined fortunes, who hoped to better themselves in the general scramble of a revolution.
   Idibus: the Calends and Ides -- the beginning and middle of the month -- were the usual times for the payment of debts. Catiline's failure in the consular canvass had probably stirred up his creditors to push him for payment.

Section 15

   cum, causal, but best translated by when.
   prid. Kalendas Ianuarias, etc.: Dec. 31, B.C. 64. The act here mentioned seems to have been in preparation for a rising that had been planned by Catiline for the next day, Jan. 1, B.C. 63. On this day the consuls Cotta and Torquatus entered upon their office, and it was the intention of Catiline to take advantage of their inauguration to murder them and seize the government. The plot got whispered about, and its execution was put off to Feb. 5, when it failed again through Catiline's precipitancy in giving the word.
   cum telo (a technical expression) weapon in hand.
   manum, a band (of assassins). interficiendorum causa: § 298, c; G. 428, R.²
   mentem aliquam, some change of mind.
   aut . . . aut, etc., either obscure or few.
   non multa, etc., i.e. they were too well known to need recapitulation, and too numerous to admit of it. commissa, which you have perpetrated.
   petitiones, thrusts, the word regularly used for the attack of a gladiator. Cicero uses this and similar terms as an affront to Catiline. ita coniectas, etc., so aimed that they seemed impossible to be shunned. The Latin has no adj. or "impossible." [Although The New College Latin & English Dictionary lists impossibilis, -is, -e, but this may be a Medieval Latin construction of adding the negatory im- to the Classical Latin's possibilis, -is, -e. -- Webmaster.]
   corpore, i.e. dodging with the body (a common colloquialism, hence ut aiunt).

Section 16

   tibi (dative of reference), etc., wrested from your hands ( § 235, a; G. 350, 1; H. 384, 4, N.²).
   quae quidem, etc., I know not by what rites it has been consecrated and set apart, that you think, etc., (as if Catiline had solemnly pledge himself to use this dagger on nobody lower than a consul).
   nunc vero, but now (indicating a marked transition). vita, i.e. that you should desire to prolong it (cf. sect. 15).
   quae nulla ( § 216, e; G. 370, R.²), nothing of which.
   necessariis: this word is used of any close relation, as that of kinsman, client, guest, comrade, member of the same order, etc.
   quid quod, what of this, --that, etc.
   subsellia, undoubtedly wooden benches brought in for the occasion.
   consulares: these voted as a class, and probably sat together. Catiline, as a praetorius, no doubt sat in their neighborhood.
   ferendum [esse] is the pred. of the clause quod . . . reliquerunt.

Section 17

   servi, emphatic, and hence preceding si.
   iniuria, unjustly, wrongfully.
   carere aspectu, be deprived of the sight of.
   aliquo concederes, would retire somewhere. nunc, opposed to the contrary to fact si, etc.
   te nihil . . . cogitare, that you think of nothing (depending on iudicat). iudicat: for tense see § 276, a; G. 230; H. 467, 2.
   auctoritatem, etc.: observe the climax in both nouns and verbs.

Section 18

   quae (i.e. patria) . . . agit, she thus pleads with you.
   annis: § 256, b; G. 393, R.²; H. 379, 1.
   sociorum, i.e. the allied cities of the province of Africa, which Catiline had governed as propraetor, B.C. 67.
   leges et quaestiones, i.e. in his lawless career both as praetor in Rome and as propraetor in Africa. neglegendas implies only evasion; evertendas, violence.
   superiora illa, those former crimes of yours.
   me . . . esse, etc.: this and the two following infin. clauses (Catilinam timeri and nullum videri . . . consilium) are subj. of est ferendum; posse depends on videri. quicquid increpuerit, subjunc. of integral part ( § 342; G. 663, 1; H. 529, ii).
   abhorreat (subj. of characteristic), is inconsistent with.
   hunc . . . eripe, rescue me from, etc., lit. snatch it from me ( § 229; G. 345, R.¹; H. 386, 2).
   ne opprimar: § 306, a; G. 595; H. 508, 4. aliquando, some time or other (implying impatience).

Section 19

   etiam si . . . possit: § 313, c; G. 604 and R.²; H. 515, ii.
   in custodiam dedisti, i.e. into free custody, on parole. This appears to have been late in October, when Catiline was prosecuted on the Lex Plautia de vi. When a respectable Roman was charged with a crime it was customary for some person to bail him out, as it were, by becoming responsbile for his appearance. Being thus responsible, the surety kept the accused in a kind of custody at his house.
   ad M'. Lepiud, etc.: ad = apud. Lepidus was the consul of B.C. 66.
   ad me: this was of course intended by Catiline as a demonstration of his innocence.
   domi meae: § 258, e; G. 411, R.4.
   parietibus, loc. ablative; moenibus, ablative of means. Observe the difference of meaning in these words and the emphasis of the contrast. qui . . . essem: this would subj. (sim) in direct discourse, as implying the reason ( § 320, e; G. 626, R.; H. 517).
   Metellum: Q. Metellus Celer, consul B.C. 60; he afterwards did good service in the campaign against Catiline.
   virum optimum, an excellent man (ironical, of course).
   sagacissimum, keen-scented; fortissimum, energetic and fearless.
   videtur debere, does it seem that he ought to be? Observe that the Latin prefers the personal construction ("does he seem," etc.), which the English idion with ought does not allow us to imitate ( § 330, b, 1; G. 528, R.²; H. 534, 1, N.¹).

Section 20

   Two courses were open to Catiline, -- to leave the city or to run his chances of being put to death. If he left the city, he could, of course, either join his accomplice Manlius in the insurgent camp at Faesulae or abandon his projects and go into voluntary exile. Apparently some of the Senators had privately urged him to adopt the latter alternative, promising, in that case, that all proceedings should be dropped, and Catiline, though rejecting their advice, had declared that he would not refuse to obey a senatus-consulatum decreeing his banishment. Such a decree would, however, have been favorable to Catiline's plans, for, since he had not been formally brought to trial, he would have been able to pose as an injured citizen exiled by an arbitrary aristocratic party. Hence Cicero refuses to put the question to the Senate, though he asserts there could be no doubt about the result. By taking this course Cicero forced Catiline to make his intentions plain by the overt act of leaving the city of his own accord and hastening to the camp of Manlius.

   refer ad senatum: the technical term for the action of the presiding officer (regularly the consul) in bringing a matter before the Senate for action. si, etc., future condition in indirect discourse.
   placere, (sc. sibi): the subject is te . . . exsilium.
   abhorret, is contrary to: because the Senate would have no legal power to pronounce such a judgment.
   faciam ut, etc. ( § 332; G. 553, 1; H. 498, ii): to make the feelings of the Senate clear, Cicero formally commands Catiline to leave the city (egredere, etc.); then pauses to allow the Senators a chance to protest, and then points out that no objections are heard.
   ecquid attendis, are you listening? The adverbial ecquid ("at all") can hardly be idiomatically rendered, but gives an emphasis to the question. [Although the modern idiom "Are you even listening?" may be appropriate. -- Webmaster.]
   patiuntur, they tolerate this, i.e. they make no objection to this extreme exercise of authority of my part. quid, etc.: why do you wait for those to express their opinion in words whose wishes you see clearly by their silence? The Latin idiom is quite different: why do you wait for the expressed opinion (auctoritatem) of [those] speaking whose wishes you see [when] silent?

Section 21

   huic, this . . . here: the demonstrative pronouns are often thus employed in the so-called deictic use, accompanied by a gesture. Sestio: a member of the aristocratic party whom Cicero afterwards defended in one of his greatest orations.
   M. Marcello: a prominent member of the aristocracy, consul B.C. 51; not to be confounded with the person of the same name mentioned in sect. 19. He took a leading part in the civil war against Caesar, and was afterwards defended by Cicero (Pro M. Marcello). iam, by this time. consuli, consul as I am.
   in templo, i.e. notwithstanding the sacredness of the place. vim et manus (hendiadys), violent hands.
   cum quiescunt, i.e. by keeping quiet (§ 326, a; G. 582; H. 517, 2).
   videlicet cara, alluding to his demand to have the matter submitted to the Senate.
   voces, cries (of the crowd outside).
   haec (with a gesture, cf. huic, sect. 21, first note), i.e. all that is round us, the city, etc.
   prosequantur, escort. It was the custom for those who were going into voluntarily exile to be thus accompanied to the gate by their friends. Cicero sarcastically declares that, if Catiline will depart, the whole Senate will be so glad to be rid of him as to forget his crimes and pay him this honor.

Section 22

   te ut . . . frangat, i.e. break down your stubbornness (purpose clause after loquor; though it may be an exclamatory clause with ut: § 332, c; G. 558; H. 486, ii, N.).
   uti nam . . . duint: § 267, b; G. 261; H. 483, 1; for form see § 128, e²; G. 130, 4; H. 240, 3.
   ire: § 271, a; G. 532, and R.²; H. 498, i, N.
   recenti memoria (ablative of time): translate by a while-clause.
   est tanti, it is worth the cost (§ 252, a; G. 380, 1, R.; H. 405).
   sit: § 314; G. 573; H. 513, i.
   ut . . . commoveare, etc., subj. of est postulandum (§ 331, h; G. 546, 1; H. 499, 3).
   is es . . . ut: § 319, 1, R.; G. 552; H. 500, ii.

Section 23

   inimico, a private enemy, thus attributing to Cicero personal motives of opposition.
   recta (sc. via), straightway. vix feram, etc.: for Catiline's going into voluntary exile would tend to prove that he was innocent and had been persecuted by the consul (see note at beginning of Section 20 notes).
   sin autem, etc.: Catiline's going to Manlius would prove his guilt and show the wisdom of Cicero's action.
   lactrocinio, brigandage, i.e. partisan warfare, as opposed to a regular war (iustum bellum).

Section 24

   quamquam, and yet (§ 313, f; G. 605, R.²; H. 515, iii, N.²): cf. the same use of quamquam, and of tametsi, sect. 22. invitem: § 268; G. 265; H. 486, ii. sciam, characteristic subjunctive.
   Forum Aurelium: a small place on the Via Aurelia, about fifty miles from Rome. The Via Aurelia was the road which led along the sea-coast of Etruria, by which Catiline left the city the following night. praestolarentur, rel. clause of purpose.
   aquilam: the silver eagle had been adopted by Marius as the standard of the legion, and the eagle in question was said to have been actually used in the army of Marius.
   sacrarium: it was customary in Roman houses to have a little shrine for the worship of the lares and other protecting divinities. Doubtless Catiline was believed to have placed this eagle in such a shrine as an object of superstitious worship.
   ut possis, exclamatory clause with ut (see note on frangant, sect. 22).

Section 25

   rapiebat (§ 277, b): the imperfect is used instead of the present because the action is conceived of as ceasing at the moment when Cicero discovered the plot.
   haec res, i.e. leaving the city as an enemy and taking up arms.
   non modo, to say nothing of (§ 209, a, 1; G. 445; H. 553, 2).
   atque connects perditis and derelictis; ab connects fortuna and spe with derelictis.
   conflatam, run together (like molten metal).

Section 26

   hic, i.e. in this band.
   bacchabere, will revel. To a Roman the word suggested the wild orgies of the frenzied Bacchanals, so that it is much stronger than our revel, which in course of time has become rather vague: cf. Aeneid, IV. 301 (and illustrations).
   meditati sunt, have been practised; feruntur, are talked about. labores: cf. Sallust's Catiline, ch. V.: L. Catiline nobili genere natus fuit, magna vi et animi et corporis, sed ingenio malo pravoque. Huic ab adulescentia bella intestina caedes rapinae discordia civilis grata fuere ibique iuventutem suam exercuit. Corpus patiens inediae algoris vigiliae supra quam cuiquam credibile est.
   facinus, deed of violence, contrasted with stuprum, debauchery; just as bonis otiosorum, property of peaceful citizens, is with somno maritorum, the repose of husbands.
   ubi ostentes (purpose clause), opportunity to display (lit. a place where, etc.).

Section 27

   reppuli (§ 323, 1; G. 580; H. 521, i): Cicero here takes credit to himself for using his influence as consul to defeat the election of Catiline.
   exsul, consul: observe the play upon words.
   latrocinium: cf. note on latrocinio, sect. 23 above.

III. PERORATIO Ch. XI - XIII (Sect. 27 - 33)

Section 27 cont.

   querimoniam, i.e. for not having suppressed the conspiracy more vigorously. detester ac deprecer (construed with a me, above), remove by protest and plea.
   patria: the personified patria is dramatically introduced as accusing Cicero of remissness in letting Catiline go unharmed.
   M. Tulli (voc.): the regular way of formal address; the use of the family name (Cicero) is more familiar.
   evocatorem servorum, a summoner of slaves, i.e. to enlist under him against the state. To the Romans (as to all peoples who, having a large slave population, are in constant fear of servile revolts) such an accusation was the most violent reproach conceivable.
   duci, rapi, mactari: § 331, a, N.¹; G. 546, N.³; H. 535, ii.

Section 28

   rogatae sunt: the magistrate who proposed a law formally asked the people whether they would accept it; hence rogo was the word regularly used for this act, and the proposition itself was called rogatio. The leges in question, Valeria, Porcia, and Sempronia (of Caius Gracchus), were enacted to protest -- like our laws securing the habeas corpus and trial by jury -- the life and liberty of citizens against the arbitrary power of magistrates, which in this case would apparently be used by Cicero. at nunquam, etc.: as a fact, however, the precedents here referred to had been really violations of the constitution.
   praeclaram . . . gratiam, you show a noble attitude (cf. habere gratiam and agere gratias).
   nulla commendatione maiorum: though by the Roman constitution the higher offices were open to all citizens, yet it was rare that a man whose ancestors had not held these offices could succeed in attaining them himself. If, like Cicero, he did so, he was called a novus homo and his descendants belonged to the nobility. tam mature: Cicero attained the quaestorship, the praestorship, and the consulship (honorum gradus) at the earliest age possible in each caes. This was a mark of public confidence which had never happened to a novus homo before.
   invidiae, i.e. the odium which might attach to the consul's apparently exceeding his constitutional authority. In fact Cicero was later brought to trial and exiled on this very charge.

Section 29

   num est, pray is (implying strong negation): § 210, c; G. 464, R.; H. 351, 1, N
   inertiae, sc. invidia, the reproach. an belongs with non existimas.
   conflagraturum, will be consumed (lit. will burn up).
   idem sentiunt, have the same views. mentibus, thoughts.
   factu, the rare "latter supine" (§ 303; G. 436; H. 547 and N.¹).
   gladiatori: the gladiators were trained slaves owned by rich men and were often employed as bullies in political campaigns. Hence the word came almost to mean ruffian, "bruiser," "thug."
   si honestarunt: notice that the simple condition here expresses cause (§ 306, a, N.).
   superiorum, before them.
   maxime, ever so much.
   ut . . . putarem, result clause explaining hoc (not a substantive clause). partam (from pario), acquired (a very common meaning).

Section 30

   non nulli, etc.: it should be remembered that there were many well-intentioned citizens who either doubted the existence of a conspiracy or thought Cicero's fear of it greatly exaggerated; and that even among those who admitted the fact there was considerable variety of partisan feeling.
   videant, dissimulent, subjunctive of characteristic. (not co-ord. with dicerent), expressing the character of the men referred to, while aluerunt, etc. merely gives additional facts about them (hence indicative).
   regie, despotically: the Roman idea of a king and kingly government was associated with Tarquinius Superbus. Here the word also implies the assumption of unlawful power (= tyrannice), as well as its abuse.
   nunc, as it is. quo (§ 201, h): the antecedent is in castra.
   improbum, dishonest.
   hoc . . . interfecto, disguised fut. protasis (§ 310, a; G. 600, 1; H. 507, N.7); the apodosis posse is future in sense (307, d; G. 248, R.).
   eiecerit: for tense, see § 307, c; G. 244, 2; H. 508, 2.
   eodem, to the same place.
   adulta, full-grown, as opposed to stirps, the root (properly the stock from which new shoots may spring out), and semen, the seed.

Section 31

   iam diu: the conspiracy was ready to break out B.C. 65 (see note about plan in sect. 15).
   versamur, have lived. nescio quo pacto, somehow or other (§ 334, e; G. 467, N.; H. cf. 455, 2).
   veteris (sharply contrasted with nostri), i.e. the disease is of long standing, but its outbreak has occurred just in my consulship.
   visceribus, vitals (properly the great interior organs, as the heart, lungs, etc.).
   aestu febrique, the heat of fever (hendiadys).
   reliquis vivis, ablative absolute.

Section 32

   circumstare, hang round, for the purpose of intimidation: the praetor urbanus had his tribunal in the Forum.
   patefacta, laid bare; inlustrata, set in full light; oppressa, crushed; vindicata, punished. Observe the climax.

Section 33

   omnibus, prospects. What Cicero has just said (the last line of sect. 32) makes the omen under which Catiline is to depart, -- an omen of good for the state but of evil for him.
   Iuppiter: thus the oration closes with a prayer to Jupiter Stator, in whose temple the Senate was now assembled.
   Statorem, the Stay. The name was apparently first given to Jupiter as the Stayer (sto, sisto) of flight (see note to sect. 11), but it is here applied to him as the Stay (supporter) of the Roman state, a meaning which the word may well have from its derivation.
   arcebis, used as a mild imperative (§ 269, f; G. 265¹; H. 487#4).
   latrones: cf. latrocinium in sect. 27.

Go to Cicero Page
[Cicero Page]
Go to Introduction
[Introduction]
Go to top of page
[Top of Page]
Go to Oration #2 Translation Notes
[Oration #2 Notes]
Go to Oration #1 Latin Text
[Latin Text]