The Politics of Being Heard: Marcus Antonius (cos 99)
Kathryn Welch (University of Sydney)
1. Plutarch Antonius 1.1 (Loeb Classical Library)
Ἀντωνίου πάππος μὲν ἦν ὁ ῥήτωρ Ἀντώνιος, ὃν τῆς Σύλλα γενόμενον στάσεως Μάριος ἀπέκτεινε, πατὴρ δὲ ὁ Κρητικὸς ἐπικληθεὶς Ἀντώνιος, οὐχ οὕτω μὲν εὐδόκιμος ἐν τοῖς πολιτικοῖς ἀνὴρ οὐδὲ λαμπρός, εὐγνώμων δὲ καὶ χρηστός, ἄλλως τε καὶ πρὸς τὰς μεταδόσεις ἐλευθέριος, ὡς ἀφ᾿ ἑνὸς ἄν τις ἔργου καταμάθοι.
Antony’s grandfather was the orator Antonius, who joined the party of Sulla and was put to death by Marius; his father was Antonius surnamed Creticus, a man of no great repute in public life, nor illustrious, but kindly and honest, and particularly a liberal giver, as one may see from a single instance.
2. Plutarch Marius 44.1-4 (Loeb Classical Library)
τοιαύτη δέ τις ἦν, ὡς ἔοικε, τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἡ τῶν λόγων σειρὴν καὶ χάρις, ὥστε ἀρξαμένου λέγειν καὶ παραιτεῖσθαι τὸν θάνατον ἅψασθαι μὲν οὐδεὶς ἐτόλμησεν οὐδὲ ἀντιβλέψαι, κάτω δὲ κύψαντες ἐδάκρυον ἅπαντες. διατριβῆς δὲ γενομένης ἀναβὰς ὁ Ἄννιος ὁρᾷ τὸν μὲν Ἀντώνιον διαλεγόμενον, τοὺς δὲ στρατιώτας ἐκπεπληγμένους καὶ κατακεκηλημένους ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ· κακίσας οὖν ἐκείνους καὶ προσδραμὼν αὐτὸς ἀποτέμνει τὴν κεφαλήν.
So indescribable, however, as it would seem, was the grace and charm of his words, that when Antonius began to speak and pray for his life, not a soldier had the hardihood to lay hands on him or even to look him in the face, but they all bent their heads down and wept. Perceiving that there was some delay, Annius went upstairs, and saw that Antonius was pleading and that the soldiers were abashed and enchanted by his words; so he cursed his men, and running up to Antonius, with his own hands cut off his head.
3. Inscription from Corinth IGRP 4.1116 (Taylor and West 1928, 13)
Quod neque conatus quisquanst neque[adhuc meditatus].
Noscite rem ut famaa facta feramus virei.
Auspicio – – – – i pro consule, classis
Isthmum traductast, missaque per pelagus.
Ipse iter eire profectus Sidam. Classem Hirrus Atheneis
Pro praetore anni e tempore constituit.
Lucibus haec paucis parvo perfecta tumultu
Magna [ac qu]<;>m ratione atque sai1:1He simul].
- [u]e. i probus e. s..t lauda[t], quei cont..r a est inv[idet illum].
Invjq[ea]nt, dum q[uos cond]~~et id y[ideant].
Learn to know of a thing which no man ever tried or ventured to think of, learn to know that we may celebrate with fame the deeds of the hero. Under the auspices of [Antonius Marcus] proconsul, the fleet was transported across the Isthmus and dispatched over the sea. The proconsul himself set out for Side. Hirrus, his propraetor, because of the season of the year stationed the fleet at Athens. In a few days all this was accomplished with little confusion, and at the same time with great skill and security…
4. Cicero Brutus 139-142 (trans. FRRO, with thanks)
omnia ueniebant Antonio in mentem; eaque suo quaeque loco, ubi plurimum proficere et ualere possent… sic ab illo in maxime opportunis orationis partibus conlocabantur. erat memoria summa, nulla meditationis suspicio; imparatus semper aggredi ad dicendum uidebatur, sed ita erat paratus ut iudices illo dicente non numquam uiderentur non satis parati ad cauendum fuisse. uerba ipsa non illa quidem elegantissimo sermone… — sed tamen Antonius in uerbis et eligendis, neque id ipsum tam leporis causa quam ponderis, et conlocandis et comprehensione deuinciendis nihil non ad rationem et tamquam ad artem dirigebat… sed cum haec magna in Antonio tum actio singularis…: manus umeri latera supplosio pedis status incessus omnisque motus [cum uerbis sententiisque consentiens]; uox permanens, uerum subrauca natura. Sed hoc uitium huic uni in bonum conuertebat. habebat enim flebile quiddam [in questionibus] aptumque cum ad fidem faciendam tum ad misericordiam commouendam.
Antonius noticed everything, and all was placed in the right position where it could make the most impact and value … thus the material was placed by him in the most opportune places in his speech. He had the best memory, there was no suspicion of preparation. He always seemed to come forward to speak entirely unprepared, but he was so well prepared that when he spoke the judges often seemed not sufficiently prepared to beware his arguments. His words themselves were not those of a most elegant speech… but still Antonius, in his choice of words, and this not so much for the sake of elegance as of weight, and in his combination and organisation of them into periods, structured them all with rationality and perhaps with some theory. Antonius was a master in this and he had an outstanding delivery…: hands, shoulders, chest, stamping of foot, stature in standing still and movement complimented his words and ideas; his voice was supported and by nature a bit hoarse. But this disadvantage he turned into an advantage. For he adopted a certain pathos in forensic speeches which was useful in creating trustworthiness as well as moving the audience to compassion.
5. Cicero Brutus 144 (trans. FRRO with thanks)
nam ut Antonius coniectura mouenda aut sedanda suspicione aut excitanda incredibilem uim habebat: sic in interpretando, in definiendo, in explicanda aequitate nihil erat Crasso copiosius.
Just as Antonius was an expert in making up conjectures or placing or rousing suspicion, no one was more resourceful than Crassus in interpreting, defining and laying out equity.
6. Cicero de oratore 2.124-125
124 Tum Crassus: Tu vero, inquit, Antoni, perge, ut instituisti. Neque enim est boni neque liberalis parentis, quem procrearis et eduxeris, eum non et vestire et ornare, praesertim cum te locupletem esse negare non possis. Quod enim ornamentum, quae vis, qui animus, quae dignitas illi oratori defuit, qui in causa peroranda non dubitavit excitare reum consularem et eius diloricare tunicam et iudicibus cicatrices adversas senis imperatoris ostendere? Qui idem, hoc accusante Sulpicio, cum hominem seditiosum furiosumque defenderet, non dubitavit seditiones ipsas ornare, ac demonstrare gravissimis verbis multos saepe impetus populi non iniustos esse, quos praestare nemo possit; multas etiam e re publica seditiones saepe esse factas, ut cum reges essent exacti, ut cum tribunicia potestas constituta; illam Norbani seditionem ex luctu civium et ex Caepionis odio, qui exercitum amiserat, neque reprimi potuisse et iure esse conflatam? 125 Potuit hic locus tam anceps, tam inauditus, tam lubricus, tam novus sine quadam incredibili vi ac facultate dicendi tractari? Quid ego de Cn. Mallii, quid de Q. Regis commiseratione dicam? Quid de aliis innumerabilibus? in quibus non hoc maxime enituit, quod tibi omnes dant, acumen quoddam singulare, sed haec ipsa, quae nunc ad me delegare vis, ea semper in te eximia et praestantia fuerunt.
Here Crassus observed: “Nay, Antonius, you go on with your plan. For it ill becomes a good and generous father to refuse clothing and equipment to the child you have begotten and reared, especially as you cannot plead poverty. For what did that advocate lack, in the way of resource, passion, energy or greatness, who in closing his case did not hesitate to call forward the defendant of consular rank, and tear open his tunic, and display to the tribunal the scars on the old general’s breast? Who again, in his defence of a factious and frenzied client, prosecuted by Sulpicius here, did not hesitate to glorify civil discord in itself, and to show, in most convincing terms, that many popular movements are justifiable, and no one by any possibility answerable for them; that moreover civil discord has often been aroused in the interest of the community, witness the expulsion of the kings and the establishment of the authority of tribunes; that the outbreak of Norbanus, arising as it did from public mourning and indignation against Caepio, who had lost his army, could not have been restrained and was justifiably kindled. 125 Could this line of argument, so hazardous, startling, treacherous and unfamiliar, be handled otherwise than by oratorical power and readiness truly marvellous? What shall I say of the lamentation over Gnaeus Mallius, or of that over Quintus Rex? What of countless other cases, wherein the really unequalled acuteness, universally recognized as yours, was not the most brilliant feature, but those very qualifications, which you would now delegate to me, were consistently displayed in outstanding excellence by yourself?”
Career of Marcus Antonius the Orator [RE28]
112 Quaestor pro praetore
103 or 102 Praetor
102-100 Praetor pro consule in Cilicia
Some Cases (following Alexander 1990)
113 Successfully defended himself on a charge of incestum: quaestio investigating the Vestals under L. Cassius Longinus Ravilla (Alexander 43)
112? Prosecuted Cn. Papirius Carbo after a defeat by the Cimbri at Noreia (Alexander 47)
103? Defended Cn. Mallius iudicium populi (Alexander 64)
98 Witness against Sextus Titius, tried de maiestate (Alexander 80)
97/96? Defended himself on a charge de ambitu (Alexander 83)
97 Defended M’. Aquillius de repetundis (Alexander 84)
95? Defended C. Norbanus, tried de maiestate (Alexander 86)
90 Successfully (?) defended himself in the Varian Court (Alexander 108)
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