Imágenes de páginas

explain it otherwise :—we may (1) suppose Pliny to refer to an assignation in which Cicero was forestalled by Tiro. Even for such an episode in the life of Cicero one is hardly prepared; but how infinitely less would such a feature mar one's whole mental portrait of the man. The last lines would then mean “Why do we conceal our amours, and cautiously give none of them to the world (nullum sc. amorem), and yet confess that we are familiar with the ruses of Tiro, his stolen (and therefore short, hasty) dalliance (with another's mistress) and stealthy joys that were the more piquant for being stealthy?'* But there is (2) another means whereby to reconcile the passage from Pliny with the purity of Cicero. The Ciceronian epigram referred to may have been merely playful, as the French translator of Pliny in Didot's series seems to regard it. Perhaps Asinius Gallus, in comparing his father with Cicero, followed the absurd practice of the ancient rhetoricians, and heaped all charges, however improbable, on him, above whom he wished to exalt his father. Among other absurd accusations, he may have impugned Cicero's intercourse with Tiro, Such a statement would merely have been looked on as a fitting ingredient in a rhetorical theme, not more absurd and not more groundless than the abuse of Pseudo-Sallust or Dio Cassius Cicero could afford to jest on such a theme, and perhaps on some occasion on which Tiro had broken some business appointment, he wrote an epigram in which he affected to regard Tiro as a faithless mistress—an epigram which was possibly misunderstood by Pliny: however, the letter is not inconsistent with the theory that he viewed the epigram in its proper light as a jeu d'esprit. Indeed one can well conceive how Cicero, familiar as he was with Plato,t should use language which might well be misunderstood by one living under the Roman Empire, when, as we know, this hideous moral disease spread far and wide. I

If Cicero had no purity to save him from this contamination, surely his respectability would have prevented him from owning it. He is essentially gravis. In Att. č. 1, 5, he apologises for an indecent joke. Invidia vitetur (quoted above) was the golden rule which divided the conduct of Cicero, even where principle and respect for the honestum did not rule his desires.

* I should prefer to read nosce with the best mss, and to connect atque fatemur with the foregoing words.

† For instances of erotic language applied to men, and for a thoroughly masterly view of the whole subject of Platonic love, see Thompson's Phaedrus.

Of the first fifteen Emperors, fourteen were stained with this vice ; Augustus, Titus, Trajan, were in this respect no higher than Nero or Caligula. The exception was the weak pedant, the husband of Messallina.


The brochure on the duties of a candidate for the consulship, usually styled the De petitione Consulatus Liber, is not so called by any writer before the date of the mss in which it is preserved. The author of the Essay himself seems to have wished it to be known by the title Commentariolum Petitionis (by which name I shall therefore designate it), and to have hoped that his work, though primarily intended for the guidance of one particular candidate, would be regarded as a compact and convenient handbook of electioneering tactics by future aspirants to office in Rome. It takes the form of a letter. In no ms has it an inscription inconsistent with the character of a letter; the epigraph of by far the best ms, the Codex Erfurtensis (called D by Orelli, and E by Baiter), is Q. M. Fratri S. D. This ms was collated by Wunder, who assigns it to the fourteenth century, but Bücheler agrees with Meyncke in placing it in the end of the eleventh century, or the beginning of the twelfth. E may, indeed, almost be called the only codex of the Commentariolum. The Italian mss collated by Lagomarsini, and the Parisini of Voss, are (with perhaps unnecessary warmth) designated as a sterquilinium by Bücheler. One of these unsavoury mss (L 38 of Lagomarsini) strangely ascribes the authorship to the great Marcus, and makes the treatise a letter to his brother Quintus: other Lagomarsinian mss take the ordinary view, and ascribe the letter to Quintus; while one (L 117) has this inscription :De petitione Consulatus ad Q. aut M. Ciceronem Fratrem. Quod opusculum pars M. Ciceronis, pars Quinti esse volunt. Phrasis autem et ratio Quinto adiudicant, nam solus Marcus consulatum gessit.

That the Commentariolum was a letter written by Quintus to his brother Marcus during his candidature for the consulship is the verdict of every editor from Valerius Palermus to Bücheler. But Eussner not only refuses it the name of a letter, but holds that it is a cento from certain works of Cicero, compiled by some learned man, much given to logical division, but quite destitute of grace or force of style, who, on account of his accurate familiarity with the details of the period of Cicero's candidature, and by reason of his considerable acquaintance with the style of the Ciceronian Age, must be held to have flourished about the end of that period.*

* 'Qui, cum et earum rerum, quae Cicerone petente consulatum agebantur, admodum gnarus sit, et ab eo, qui illa aetate vigebat, sermone non alienus esse videatur, tempore ab ipsa Ciceronis aetate proximo floruisse putandus est.'--Eussn. Comm. Pet., p. 22.

conte the very nmentariolumothed

One cannot but agree, to some extent, with Eussner's view as to the lack of literary merit in the brochure. It derives its interest neither from grace of style, nor from its matter and contents. It owes its interest chiefly, if not altogether, to one circumstancc—the very circumstance on which Eussner grounds his view. It is this. The Commentariolum has two or three vigorous attacks on the competitors of Cicero, clothed (notably in one instance) in powerful and original phrase. These reappear almost word for word in the fragments of Marcus Cicero's Oratio in. Toga Candida preserved in the Commentary of Asconius. To account for this phenomenon only two theories are possible (for the coincidence cannot be accidental), either (1) M. Cicero borrowed from the author of the Commentariolum, or (2) the author of the Commentariolum borrowed from M. Cicero. The latter is the opinion of Eussner, who fancies that he can detect in the Commentariolum not only plagiarisms from the Oratio in Toga Candida, but from the pro Plancio, the pro Murena, and the first letter of Marcus to his brother Quintus, on the Duties of a Provincial Governor (Q. Fr. i. 1). As the speech pro Plancio was written A. o. c. 700 (b. c. 54), the Commentariolum must, on this hypothesis, be posterior to the consulship of Cicero by about ten years. The theory is of course, at the very outset, confronted by the difficulty (which Eussner does not attempt to meet), that it represents the author of the Commentariolum as keeping up an elaborate parade of ignorance, and carefully concealing his knowledge of the issue of the contest and other such matters, of which knowledge not a restige appears in the Commentariolum. For instance, the author speaks of Catiline, not Antonius, as Cicero's most formidable opponent. Now, surely, the compiler postulated by Eussner would not thus have neglected the chances of the ultimately successful candidate, and in so doing depreciated his counsel, by betraying his want of political foresight; the more especially as he might have estimated never so highly the chances of Antonius' success without at all betraying his knowledge of the issue. When the author of the Commentariolum speaks of Catiline as Cicero's most formidable opponent, surely the natural inference is that the tract was written in the beginning of the year 690 (b.c. 64), when Catiline's prospects actually did look bright, or at least before the month of June, when his excesses had begun to swell the ranks of Antonius' supporters; unless Eussner is prepared to maintain that his compiler of set purpose introduced statements falsified by the issue, so as to conceal the posterior origin of the brochure, and to impart to it the appearance of having been the work of Quintus, under whose name he wished to recommend to posterity his own Essay. But it will not be necessary to apply such tests to demonstrate the unsoundness of Eussner's theory, if it can be shown (as I think it can) that he has altogether failed to establish any such coincidences between the Commentariolum and any work of Cicero (save the Oratio in Toga Candida), except merely fortuitous coincidences in words, such as might exist between any two works of the same period.

Before, therefore, I examine these supposed plagiarisms from the pro Plancio, pro Murena, and the first letter to Quintus, I shall briefly advert to the positive arguments for the authorship of Quintus, and weigh Eussner's objections against the same.

The Commentariolum cannot have been written before 690 (b.c. 64), as Bücheler has shown, because, of the six candidates mentioned by Asconius as competing with Cicero, only two are deemed worthy of consideration. Now, we know from Att. i. 1, that in July, 689 (b.c. 65), it was not certain even who would come to the poll; so that we must allow some time for the waxing and waning of the candidature of four other competitors. Moreover, the verdict in the trial of Catiline, which took place probably about November of 689 (b.c. 65), is spoken of as not a very recent event. The date of the Essay, therefore, cannot have been earlier than the beginning of 690 (b. c. 64). But it must have been written before June, 690 (b. c. 64), for Catiline's chances are preferred to those of Antonius; but we know that about June the supporters of Catiline began signally to fall away. Therefore the date of the Essay may be placed in the beginning of 690 (b.c. 64). The positive arguments, then, for the authorship of Quintus are these :

(1). At this period Quintus would have had abundant leisure for the composition of his Essay, for he had just laid down his aedileship. And now, too, the treatise would have been particularly well timed, if looked on in the proper light, namely, as an attempt to point out the tactics of a really able canvass, which, however, should in nowise conflict with the law; for the five years immediately preceding the candidature of Cicero were singularly fertile in laws regulating the procedure at elections, and in prosecutions for infringement of the same. Now, the Commentariolumn preaches a rigorous purism in keeping within the letter of the law: for instance, nomenclatores are not recommended, as they were forbidden by a recent, but universally neglected, enactment.* Quintus, therefore, might have conferred on his brother a really solid benefit in mastering the recent legislation on the subject of ambitio, and pointing out how far he could avail himself of the arts of electioneering without coming into collision with the law. This task would have demanded the leisure which Quintus had and Marcus lacked.

* Lange, ii. 666. It was probably a clause in the law of Aurelius Cotta, 684 (b. c. 70). Και νόμου γραφέντος όπως τους παραγγέλλουσι είς αρχήν ονοματολόγοι with napoi, xuAlapxíay (tribunatum militum) uetiwv, móvos ételbeto (v. I. étébeta) Tov vómov.-Plut. Cat. Min. ch. 6.

(2). This Essay is a libellus isagogicus on the model of the treatise in which Varro had recently, 684 (b. c. 70), given instructions to Pompeius how to hold a senate as Consul. We are told by Gellius (xiv. 7) that this treatise was afterwards lost, and that Varro subsequently treated the same subject in a letter to Oppianus. May not the Commentarium isagogicum of Varro have suggested to Quintus his Commentariolum petitionis, and may not the form chosen by Quintus have suggested to Varro, in the second edition, the idea of throwing his tractate into the shape of a letter?

(3). From Q. Fr. iii. 1, 23, we may infer that Quintus was familiar with the precepts of Epicharmus. Now in Comm. 39 we have the words quamobrem 'Etixépuelov illud teneto nervos atque artus esse sapientiae non temere credere,' a maxim afterwards quoted by Marcus (Att. i. 19, 8) in its Greek and metrical form,

ναφε, και μέμνασαπιστεϊν· άρθρα ταύτα ταν φρενών.

(4). In Att. ii. 3, 3, Cicero says to Atticus, 'coopáotov Tepi piloTvías affer mibi de libris Quinti fratris : ' Quintus, therefore, had in his library a work which may have suggested to him the treatise, or at least aided him materially in its execution.

(5). The whole letter of Marcus to Quintus on the subject of the Duties of a Provinciai Governor (Q. Fr. i. 1) reads as a companion-essay to the Commentariolum ; it is a practical expression of the degree to which Marcus appreciated the sympathy of his brother at a critical time; and probably would never have been written but for the Commentariolum, with which it about coincides in length. Moreover, it contains many expressions which seem directly to refer to the essay of Quintus : for instance, Quod si ut amplissimum nomen consequeremur unus praeter ceteros adiuvisti (Q. Fr. i. 1, 43); and again, idcirco et tua longissima quaque epistola maxime delector, et ipse in scribendo sum saepe longior (ibid. 45). To this be it added, that we learn from the letters of Marcus to Quintus passim, that Marcus habitually in all important affairs sought from his younger brother and gratefully acknowledged such practical counsels as form the staple of the Commentariolum. Other arguments which might be adduced as positive evidence for the authorship of Quintus will more fitly fall under the answers to Eussner's objections against the same, which I now proceed to consider.

(1). The first objection of Eussner to the belief in Quintus' authorship is, that the author of the Commentariolum begins not with the very

« AnteriorContinuar »