“Politics outside institutions in Late Republican Rome”
Cristina Rosillo-López, Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Cic. QF. 2.9.2 (55 BCE):
Sed tamen postridie, quam tu es profectus, multa nocte cum Vibullio veni ad Pompeium, cumque ego egissem de istis operibus atque inscriptionibus, per mihi benigne respondit: magnam spem attulit; cum Crasso se dixit loqui velle mihique, ut idem facerem, suasit. Crassum consulem ex senatu domum reduxi, suscepit rem dixitque esse, quod Clodius hoc tempore cuperet per se et per Pompeium consequi; putare se, si ego eum non impedirem, posse me adipisci sine contentione, quod vellem; totum ei negotium permisi meque in eius potestate dixi fore.
Nevertheless, the day after you started I went long before daybreak with Vibullius to call on Pompey; and upon addressing him on the subject of the works and inscriptions in your honour, he answered me very kindly, gave me great hopes, said he would like to talk to Crassus about it, and advised me to do so too. I joined in escorting Crassus to his house on his assuming the consulate: he undertook the affair, and said that Clodius would at this juncture have something that wanted to get by means of himself and Pompey: he thought that, if I did not baulk Clodius’s views, I might get what I wanted without any opposition. I left the matter entirely in his hands and told him that I would do exactly as he wished.
Cic. Att. 4.11.1 (55 BCE)
etiam illud cuius modi sit velim perspicias; potes a Demetrio. dixit mihi Pompeius Crassum a se in Albano exspectari ante diem iiii Kal.; is cum venisset, Romam (eum) et se statim venturos ut rationes cum publicanis putarent. quaesivi gladiatoribusne. respondit ante quam inducerentur. id cuius modi sit aut nunc si scies aut cum is Romam venerit ad me mittas velim.
“Also I should like you to find out what this means: you can do so from Demetrius. Pompey told me that he was expecting Crassus in his Alban villa on the 27th: that as soon as he arrived, they were going at once to Rome to settle accounts with the publicani. I asked, “During the gladiatorial exhibitions?” He answered, “Before they begin“. I wish you would tell me what this means, either right now, if you know it, or when he arrives to Rome”.
Longest conversations in direct speech:
- Att. 10.4.7-12: Cicero and Scribonius Curio (14 April 49 BCE)
- Att. 15.11: Group conversation of June 44 BCE: Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Servilia, Tertulla (Cassius’ wife and Servilia’s daughter), Porcia and Favonius.
- Att. 9.18: Cicero and Caesar (28 March 49 BCE)
Cic. Att. 9.18
CICERO (Ci) AND CAESAR (Ca)
Ca: “he kept remarking that he was condemned by my decision, that the rest would be the slower to come, if I did not do so.
Damnari se nostro iudicio, tardiores fore reliquos, si nos non venerimus, dicere.
Ci: I remarked that their case was unlike mine.
ego dissimilem illorum esse causam
Ca and Ci: After much discussion
Ca: “Come, then, and discuss the question of peace.”
‘veni igitur et age de pace
Ci: ” At my own discretion?” said I.
‘ ‘meone ‘ inquam ‘arbitratu?
Ca: “Am I to prescribe to you?” said he.
‘an tibi’ inquit ‘ego praescribam?’
Ci: “My motion will be this,” said I, “that the senate disapproves of any going to Hispania or taking armies across to Greece, and,” I added, “I shall make many regretful marks as to Gnaeus.”
‘sic’ inquam ‘agam, senatui non placere in Hispanias iri nec exercitus in Graeciam transportari, multaque , inquam ‘de Gnaeo deplorabo.’
Ca: Thereupon he said, “Of course, I don’t wish such things said.”
‘ tum ille, ‘ego vero ista dici nolo.
Ci: “So I supposed,” said I, “but I must decline being present there, because I must either speak in this sense, and say many things which I could not possibly pass over, if present, or I must not come at all.”
‘ita putabam , inquam; ‘sed ego eo nolo adesse quod aut sic mihi dicendum est multaque quae nullo modo possem silere si adessem aut non veniendum.’
Ca: By way of ending the discussion, he requested that I would think it over.
summa fuit, ut ille quasi exitum quaerens, ‘ut deliberarem.’
Ci: I couldn’t say no to that.
non fuit negandum.
So we parted (…)‘
ita discessimus. (…)
Ca: Caesar’s closing remark: “that if he was not allowed to avail himself of my counsels, he would avail himself of such as he could, and would scruple at nothing”.
Illa tamen katakleis illius est odiosa quam paene praeterii, si sibi consiliis nostris uti non liceret, usurum quorum posset ad omniaque esse descensurum.
All translations are Loeb.
Very selective bibliography
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Hariman, Robert. (1989): “Political style in Cicero’s letters to Atticus”, Rhetorica, 7, 145-158.
Martelli, F. (2017) “The Triumph of Letters: Rewriting Cicero in ad Fam. 15”. Journal of Roman Studies, 1-26.
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Rosillo-López, C. (2017) “Informal conversations between senators in the Late Roman Republic”, in: Political Communication in the Roman World, C. Rosillo-López, ed., Brill, Impact of Empire, nº 27, p. 34-51.
Rosillo-López, C. (2018) “I Said, He Said: Fragments of Informal Conversations and the Grey Zones of Public Speech in the Late Roman Republic”, in: C. Gray, A. Balbo, R. M.A. Marshall and C. Steel, eds., Reading Republican Oratory: Reconstructions, Contexts, Receptions, Oxford University Press, p. 247-259.
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Walser, Gerold (1957) Der Briefwechsel des L. Munatius Plancus mit Cicero. Helbing & Lichtenhahn.
White, P. (2010) Cicero in letters: epistolary relations of the Late Republic. Oxford University Press.