Commentary on De Imperio Cn. Pompei



29 Causa 'situation', 'nature of the case'; watch order in translating
1-2 genere ... magnitudine i.e. it is the sort of war that we must fight and its importance needs measures adequate for so large a conflict

4 ad persequendi studium 'a desire to see it through to the end'; purpose construction

debeat consecutive subjunctive [result/characteristic]

5 agitur 'is involved' [similarly, the two verbs aguntur which follow]

6 cum ... tum 'great indeed in ..., but greatest of all in ...'. This pair of words is regularly used to express a progression [sometimes translated 'not only ... but also']

7 sociorum atque amicorum the allied states outside of Italy

9 certissima ... maxima Even Cicero, by the standaards of his time a humane and progressive man in his attitude towards provincials and one prepared to fight cruelty and corruption in provincial governors, sees the matter as one of Roman prestige and the province itself primarily as a source of revenue [or thinks his audience does]

10 ornamenta the outward signs of the rise in standards of living that the wealth from Asia would bring to Rome in times of peace

11 bona the investments of the knights and the ossessions of the Italian trading community

a vobis a with the ablative of agent instead of the dative to avoid confusion with quibus, dative with est consulendum. Remember te consulo = I consult you; tibi consulo = I consult your interests


13 appetentes the participial adjective is regularly followed by an objective genitive

14 macula 'blot', 'stain'

16 quod 'in that'

uno die in 88; as a deliberate act of policy, to show to the provincials that Roman authority was ended, he ordered a simultaneous massacre throughout the province of all Romans and Italians. 80,000 are said to have been slaughtered

17 civitatibus the Greek cities of Asia Minor

21 ita ... ut consecutive clauses in which the pattern of the sentence is regnat, et ita regnat ut ... or triumphavit, sed ita triumphaverunt ut ... (§8 lines 25-1) are used to limit the first statement, and are common in Cicero. Rephrasing of the sentence is necessary in translation: 'but he ruled for a further 22 years, a king unwilling to skulk in the fastnesses of Pontus or even of Cappadocia, but sallying forth ...'.

22-23 emergere ... versari sc. velit

22 patrio 'hereditary', i.e. Pontus. He had added Cappadocia to his domains in the last decade of the previous century.


23 vectigalibus masculine again, almost certainly. It could, however, mean 'in the midst of your revenues', but this is unlikely..

25 insignia victoriae i.e. triumphs - but not the final victory.

26 L. Sulla L. Cornelius Sulla, the victor over Mithridates in the First Mithridatic War and subsequently dictator. Owing to the civil war following his return to Italy from the East, he did not celebrate his triumph until 81.

L. Murena L. Licinius Murena was left by Sulla in 84 as propraetor in Asia where he deliberately provoked the Second Mithridatic War by his aggression. He was defeated by Mithridates and after being ordered by Sulla to cease fighting returned to Rome in 81. Later in the same year he celebrated an ill-deserved triumph, ambition for which had made him start the war.

2 Verum tamen 'but nevertheless'

3-4 quod egerunt ... quod reliquerunt either 'for what they did ... for what they left undone' taking quod as the direct object of the verbs and understanding the antecedent, or alternatively, as is preferable, take quod as a conjunction and the two verbs absolutely. The use of ago in this way is well attested, and it would be easy to extend the use to the parallel verb relinquo. In this case, translate: 'we must praise them for being active and forgive them for leaving their work unfinished'.

5 res publica 'the condition of the state'. While Sulla was in the East the Marians had re-established themselves in Rome, and the rapidity with which he organised Asia and the mildness of the terms imposed upon Mithridates, show Sulla's eagerness to return to Italy and regain his political authority.


6 reliquum i.e. that followed Murena's departure

6-7 oblivionem ... comparationem variety is obtained by the use of two abstract nouns derived from verbs rather than the gerund or gerundive. The meaning is the same: 'to blot out the memory of the old war'.

7 contulit aliquid ad aliquid conferre = to devote something to some purpose

8 ornassetque 'and had equipped'

9 potuisset we should expect posset but the proximity of the pluperfect subjunctives may well have attracted this verb into their tense, although the time of its action is simultaneous with comparasset

10 Bosporanis After the end of the First Mithridatic War, Mithridates had to suppress revolts in Colchis and the Cimmerian Bosporus (the modern Crimea). His operations were interrupted by Murena's raids, but even after Murena's recall he was unable successfully to complete them.

11 simularet 'he pretended' (that he was doing something that he was not). The opposite is dissimulare. His pretence lay in making out that this war - real enough - was the cause of all his preparations.

Hispaniam this was one of the alliances by means of which Mithridates hoped to hold off Rome.

12 duces rhetorical plural: only Sertorius is meant. It was probably in the winter of 76-75 that the negotiations between Mithridates and Sertorius were conducted.

13 disiunctissimis ... diversis 'very far apart ... very different'

14 binis the distributive numeral is used with the plural of nouns whose numbers have different meanings: copia = plenty, bundance; copiae = troops, forces

15 ancipiti contentione districti 'engaged in a struggle on two fronts'. ancipiti here with its root meaning. Mithridates' excellent strategy never came to anything owing to the collapse of the war in Spain after the murder of Sertorius in 72.

de imperio 'for world dominion'


16 alterius partis 'on the western [lit. 'other of two'] front'

17 plus firmamenti ac roboris 'more support and a more vigorous backing'

18 divino 'inspired'. this passage gives an inflated estimate of Pompey's individual contribution to success. The war-weariness of the Spanish tribes and the death of their leader were more telling factors than anyy strategy or leadership of Pompey's.

19 res 'the campaign'

20 ff initia ... videantur the strategic and tactical ability of Lucullus were first class, and it was upon them that his military success rested. His subsequent failures were brought about by his deficiencies as a leader. He failed to hold the loyalty of his troops, and his salutary reorganization of Asiatic affairs, intended to alleviate the burden caused by Sulla's indemnity, earned him the bitter hatred of the Roman financiers. In 68 this had compelled the government to deprive him of the province of Asia, and in 67 his army's discipline collapsed and he was forced to remain inactive. It was he who broke Mithridates but could not finish the war.

21-22 non felicitati ... sed fortunae note the oratorical antithesis and chiastic order. It may be that today military historians pay too little attention to luck, but it is certain that in the ancient world luck was believed to play a far greater part in a general's successes or failures than is allowed to it today. Even making allowance, however, for this shift of emphasis, we should always be on our guard when we meet such rhetorical figures of speech, lest the writer is more interested in them than in an accurate analysis of the events.

23 alio loco §20

24 ei with verbs of 'depriving', Latin uses the dative of the person deprived, not, as we might expect, the ablative of separation. This use of the dative to denote the person to whose disadvantage the act is performed is to be explained by the fact that in Latin constructions tend to develop in pairs of opposites; and this particular use has grown up on the analogy of the dative of the indirect object after verbs of 'giving'. The ablative with a preposition is normal with a thing or place.


25 de 'as to', 'as for'

26 exorsus the first part of the speech, not the introduction

27-28 videte ... putetis videte and putetis are not merely repetitive. Cicero's audience is being asked to consider the situation, not with a view to action but to forming an opinion about it: 'consider with what inspiration you should in your view be moved'.

1-2 saepe ... gesserunt piracy was endemic in the Mediterranean during the republican period and was only finally suppressed by Augustus. The beaks decorating the Rostra were from the pirate [Italian] stronghold of Antium destroyed in 338, and wars were fought in 229 and 219 against the Adriatic pirates [Illyrians]. In the second century both Rome and the Hellenistic states disbanded their navies, leaving an unpoliced Mediterranean in which piracy was rampant; it reached its height during the first century B.C. A succession of campaigns was fought during the forty years before Pompey appeared on the scene. In 102 the praetor, M. Antonius, conducted a campaign against the pirates off the south coast of Asia Minor and established the province of Cilicia; P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus, the proconsul of Cilicia from 78 to 74, made a systematic attempt to clear them from southern Asia Minor; M. Antonius Creticus, the son of the praetor of 102, was himself praetor in 74 and for two years waged an unsuccessful war against them; and in 68 to 66 Q. Caecilius Metellus Creticus conquerred the pirate base of Crete.

mercatoribus ... tractatis ablative absolute with a causal connection with the finite verb; mercatores are traders, navicularii are ship-owners; iniuriosius tractatis, i.e. having suffered nothing nearly so bad as the fate of the Romans at the hands of Mithridates.

2 vos strongly contrasted with maiores nostri; English would insert a conjunction [similarly, vos in lines 6, 10, 11; vobis in line 13]

2-3 tot ... necatis as described in §7

4 tandem in questions means 'I ask you'.

4-5 appellati superbius 'addressed rather disrespectfully'. In 146 the Roman envoys attending a meeting of the Achaean League were insulted and, according to some accounts, ill-treated. It suits Cicero's purpose to ignore the tradition of personal violence since he is concerned to contrast the mere insults repaid by war in the past with the recent slaughter which his contemporaries hesitate to revenge.

6 lumen figurative: 'glory'

exstinctum esse note the tense of the infinitive and that it agrees with lumen not Corinthum (f.), owing to the close connection in sense beetwen the predicate and the word in apposition.

7 legatum M'. Aquilius, consul in 101, was, as legate in 88, driven from Bithynia by Mithridates, captured, and killed by having molten gold poured down his throat; a fitting reply, it was held, to Roman avarice

9 libertatem imminutam 'any restriction upon the liberty of ...'. Latin regularly uses a participle where a verbal noun would be more natural in English.

11 persecuti sunt 'avenged'

12 relinquetis? sc. 'unavenged'


Videte Cicero's theme is a commonplace of ancient oratory and phrased in the direct contrast so beloved of classical orators; ne 'that not' has the subjunctive sit [line 14]; the correlative ut 'as' is followed by the indicative.

14 tueri et conservare 'protect and keep safe'

16 Quid? introduces a new point

quod 'the fact that'

17 vocatur often has this transferred meaning of placing in a certain position

18 Ariobarzanes ruler of Cappadocia, a Roman ally

21 cuncta Asia atque Graecia ablative of place. The preposition - in this case it would be in - is often omitted when the noun is qualified by summus, imus, medius, totus, omnis, cunctus, universus.

22 exspectare 'to await eagerly'

23 imperatorem ... certum 'any particular general'

24 alium i.e. not the general they wanted; this was M'. Acilius Glabrio, consul in 67.

25 periculo at the hands of Glabrio or Lucullus


26 sentiunt 'perceive'

hoc idem quod vos lit. 'this same thing which you see'; translate 'just as you yourselves do'

26-27 in quo ... omnia 'whose qualifications are in every respect the highest'; for these qualifications see §§36 and 51.

27 propter here an adverb: 'in the area', 'close at hand';  as also §16 line 10

1 aegrius they are all the sorrier that they are not having his help because he is so near them

adventu ipso atque nomine 'by the mere fact of his arrival and by his reputation alone'

2 maritimum bellum against the pirates

venerit the perfect subjunctive in indirect statement after intellegunt represents the perfect indicative of direct speech

tamen shows the beginning of the main sentence after a concessive clause and in this use is regularly first word

2-3 repressos ... ac retardatos 'checked and delayed'; to attribute the decline in the power of Mithridates to the influence of Pompey does less than justice to Lucullus.

4 taciti Cicero apparently avoids the derivative adverb but in general Latin uses an adjective agreeing with the subject, rather than an adverb qualifying the verb, which is the normal English usage

ut ... existimetis indirect command

5 commendetis consecutive subjunction as in dignus est qui puniatur 'he is worthy of punishment'

atque hoc etiam magis quod 'and this all the more, because'

7 imperio the power held by the curule magistrates (i.e. consuls and praetors0 who governed the provinces; the power of the lower magistrates was potestas

7-9 ut ... differant for more upon proverbial misgovernment see §65

8 adventus in urbes in English a prepositional phrae may be either adverbial or adjectival, in Latin it may only be adverbial and it therefore cannot normally qualify a noun. If, however, the noun was derived from a verb, no objection was felt to qualifying it with such a phrase. Here adventus is sufficiently close to the verb advenio for it to be qualified by in urbes.

9-10 hunc ... vident 'they previously heard and now see in front of them this man of such ... that ...'

10 temperantia etc. these qualities portray an idealised Pompey. His standards of provincial government were certainly higher than those of many of his contemporaries, but his 'moderation', 'gentleness', and 'kindness' are qualities which propaganda claimed for leaders such as Pompey, and which the picture of him painted by ancient writers does not confirm.

12 commoretur subjunctive because it represents part of what the provincials say, and is therefore a subordinate clause in indirect speech


13 Qua re si etc. watch word-order in translating [translation: nulla ... iniuria is ablative of means with lacessiti; ipsi is nominative plural with maiores nostri]

propter socios genuine concern for her allies played a small part in Rome's considerations. In all cases cited by Cicero Rome's eyes were on her own advantage in a wider field than that suggested by the alleged cause for her declaration of war.

14 cum Antiocho the Romans fought Antiochus the Great in a war (192-188) to protect their allies among the Greeks of Asia Minor

cum Philippo Philip V of Macedon upon whom the Romans declared war in 200 for assisting the Acarnanians' attack on Athens

cum Aetolis they assisted Antiochus in his war against Rome

cum Poenis in the three Punic wars

15 [vos with provocatos; the subject of the infinitive defendere]

convenit impersonal

[16 una adverb: look it up if you don't know what it means as an adverb]

17 dignitate the respect which you feel is due to anyone or anything; 'honor'

praesertim cum Cicero, after all his fine talk about helping wronged allies and Rome's imperial honor, lets the cat out of the bag

de ... agatur 'your most important revenues are at stake'; in §6 the more usual idiom vectigalia aguntur is employed

19 tanta sunt 'are so great and no more', 'are scarcely adequate'; tantus expresses only relative size, and is therefore used with a following ut to denote a small amount, extent, etc.

eis ... contenti esse 'to be satisfied with them'

21 ubertate ... fructuum the land upon which crops were grown and which produced revenue in the form of tithes, decumae. [ubertate, varietate, magnitudine, multitudine are ablatives of specification]

22 magnitudine pastionis this produced the capitation tax levied for the right of pasturing cattle, scriptura

multitudine ... exportantur exports produced customs dues, portoria; exportantur is indicative because earum ... exportantur means no more than 'exports'. Use of the subjunctive would introduce consideration of what the exports were.

24 belli ... dignitatem the orator's way of saying 'the revenues which enable you to wage war and raise your standard of living in time of peace'


27 venit perfect indicative

1 [mali neuter singular genitive]

ipse 'mere'

3 pecua 'pastures'; normally an ante-classical word

5 portu 'harbor dues'

6 scriptura so called from the written list in the records of the publicani stating the number of cattle pastured on the public land


[8 quo ... animo esse ablative of description; eos later in the line is subject of esse]

9 pensitant again indicative although the verb of a subordinate clause in indirect speech; eos qui ... pensitant means 'our taxpayers'

exercent atque exigunt the first verb refers to those who control the collection of taxes, the publicani; the second to those who do the actual collecting

[10 propter adverb]

[11 equitatus genitive singular]

[12 familias not their wives and children but the larger familiae of slaves]

13 custodiis stations to prevent the evasion of portoria

[14 magno periculo ablative of attendant circumstances (probably)]

15 fructui 'a source of revenue'; predicative dative with the usual accompanying dative of the person interested [i.e. vobis in the double dative construction - and here I add 'ouch!' for the characterisation of the tax-collections (and consequently the provincials) as 'ei qui vobis fructui sunt']

17 liberatos 'in a state of having been freed'; Cicero emphasizes by his choice of this participle rather than liberos the positive measures which Rome must take [note the ablatives of separation calamitate and formidine with liberatos]


ac ne illud quidem ... this marks a new point: 'nor should you overlook this fact either'; vobis is dative of agent with the gerundive neglegendum

[quod relative pronoun (i.e. it doesn't mean 'because'), whose antecedent is illud]

quod ... proposueram 'which I had intended to take last' [the point being that extremum is predicate: it refers to quod without modifying it; in English one would have to write the equivalent of quod proposueram extremum esse]

19 cum essem ... dicturus 'when I started to speak' [dicturus essem is what tense of the subjunctive? it is first future periphrastic conjugation]

21 pertinet the subject is belli genus to be understood from the previous clause

pro 'in accordance with'

habenda est ratio rationem habere = 'to take account of'

22 et 'firstly'

23 honestissimi atque ornatissimi 'of good standing the well-to-do' (lit. 'well equipped')

rationes et copias 'their business and resources'; Cicero's argument is that the publicani have invested their money in the task of collecting Rome's provincial taxes for her and are therefore entitled to expect her protection

quorum ipsorum per se i.e. without consideration of others [quorum ipsorum is possessive genitive with res et fortunae]

[25 vobis curae esse double dative]

26 nervos 'sinews'; both Latin and English use the anatomical metaphor

duximus 'we have thought'

27 exercet 'farm' [as in tax-farming]

[illa object of exercet; refers to vectigalia; does not modify (how could it?) firmamentum]

firmamentum 'prop', 'pillar', 'support'; the metaphor has changed [firmamentum is in apposition with ordinem]

ceterorum ordinum i.e. all members of the state other than the publicani


1 deinde 'secondly'

ex ceteris ordinibus either 'from the other classes' taking ordinibus to have the same meaning as ordinum in §17, or 'from the other companies' taking it in a narrower sense to refer to the merchants, shipowners and others who were in the same broad class as the publicani. The distinction should not be pressed. The first part of the sentence makes beetter sense if ordinibus is taken in the second way, yet partim ipsi ... debetis must refer to the senators, who were forbidden by a lex Claudia of 218 to take part in large-scale commerce, but who often had money invested in companies of publicani, and held land abroad.

2 partim ipsi ... partim eorum in the first case partim is an adverb; in the second, a noun with a partitive genitive depending upon it. Cicero could have as well written alii ... alii

3 pecunias magnas collocatas habent 'have large sums of money invested'; beware of translating as if Cicero had written pecunias multas collocaverunt [and be ready to explain the difference in class]

4 [Est existential; emphatic]

humanitatis vestrae ... sapientiae possessive genitives 'it is the mark of' [also called appositional genitive]

[5 calamitate ablative of separation]

6 a re publica compressed for a rei publicae calamitate [with seiuntam]

7 illud primum parvi refert 'it is of little importance'; illud refers to the rest of the sentence; parvi is a genitive of price, one of the adverbial uses of the case

8 vos ... reciperare 'that we can by a later victory [victoria is ablative of means] win back the revenues lost by the tax-farmers'; publicanis is in this translation taken as a dative of the agent, but it could be 'win back for the tax-farmers the revenues they have lost'. The argument is that there would be nobody to collect the taxes, which would therefore be useless to Rome. The existing publicani would have lost their capital, and new men would not take on so risky a enture.

[9 isdem the publicani; dative of possession, as is aliis in the next line]

redimenti 'of hiring', 'of farming'


11 quod the accusative of the relative pronoun of which id, itself the object of retinere, is the antecedent. Note that doceo takes two accusatives; the more common construction in classical Latin is an accusative and infinitive.

eadem Asia 'that same Asia'

initio temporal ablative; 'at the beginning'

12 belli Asiatici the Third Mithridatic war

docuit singular, although there are two connected subjects. It is easy to understand how Asia and Mithridates could very easily be felt to represent a single idea.

quidem emphasizes id. We should probably obtain the same effect by tone of voice

[calamitate ablative of means with docti]

[memoria locative ablative with retinere]

13 tum to be taken with concidisse

[14 permulti subject of amiserant, comes between the object res and its adjective magnas]

amiserant when a cum-clause indicates the time at which the action of the main clause takes place, i.e. dates it, the indicative is always used; amisisset here would mean that the colllapse of credit at Rome ocurred after the losses in Asia

solutione ... concidisse 'credit collapsed owing to non-payment of debts' [solutione impedita is ablative absolute]

16 ut non introduces a negative consecutive clause; lit. 'so as not to'; translate by 'without' and verbal noun

[pluris accusative plural masculne]

17 a quo periculo Latin commonly puts first in a sentence any reference to the subject-matter of the previous sentence, particularly if emphasis is required

18 haec fides ... pecuniarum 'our whole system of credit and finance'

19 in foro the banks, tabernae argentariorum, were in the Forum (the clivus argentarius, named after them, runs out of it past the Capitol). The point is that not only private fortunes, but the whole national financial system was at stake.

20 versatur 'is conducted'

implicata est ... cohaeret an attempt might be made to reproduce in English the root meanings of these words. Note the different tenses.

21 illa neuter although strictly referring to pecuniae Asiaticae; not haec, because although referred to last they are geographically the more distance; haec is finance at Rome

ut ... non see note above; non qualifies concidant

22 motu in the particular sense of 'political movement' and so in a bad sense 'rebellion', 'tumult'

qua re videte this sentence recapitulates the four points of the last four chapters: 1. Rome's good name, 2. her allies' safety, 3. her revenues, 4. her citizens' fortunes

vobis dative of agent


26 quoniam temporal rather than causal 'having spoken ...' rather than 'since I have spoken ...'

de magnitudine Cicero now passes to the second main part of his speech

1 dicam future indicative

dici i.e. by the opponents of strenuous action [present passive infinitive]

ita ... ut consecutive; bellum should be supplied from belli genus as the subject of sit gerendum and the two parallel ita ... ut constructions should not be so translated in English. It is better to make the first subordinate: 'While the nature of the war is so ... yet it is not ...'.

3 in quo ... est 'and in connection with this point it is my most important task ...'

4 ea ... videantur the neuter pronouns of Latin with verbal adjectives in agreement are best translated by abstract nouns containing the verbal idea: 'lest that foresight which ought to be your major concern become an object of your contempt'

5 L. Lucullo Cicero is now a member of the senate by virtue of the quaestorship which he had held in 75. He had attained this office with the support of those whom he had helped in the courts and the approval of the optimates. He must therefore tread warily to avoid making too many enemies and endangering his own political future.

6 tantum ... laudis 'as much praise as ...' partitive genitive [that is, tantum and quantum are correlative and laudis is partitive genitive with tantum]

viro ... homini viro = man as opposed to woman and therefore brave; homini = man as opposed to animal and therefore having intelligence; one may translate viro here as 'soldier'

7 debeatur 'is owed'; subjunctive because it is the verb of a subordinate clause in indirect speech

dico 'I assert', 'I maintain'

adventu temporal 'at the time of his arrival'

maximas ancient authorities mention figures of about 150,000 infantry, and beetween 10,000 and 20,000 cavalry

8 ornatas atque instructas fuisse this infinitive represents the pluperfect indicative of direct speech; the two verbs are combined to convey the perfection of the equipment of Mithridates' armies

10 Cyzicenorum This siege became a byword for the heroic resistance of the inhabitants, and the variety of Mithridates' appliances; Cyzicus was one of the leading cities of Asia and was made a libera civitas by Rome in repayment for its loyalty during the war with Mithridates.

oppressam esse represents an imperfect indicative 'was besieged'

12 virtute ... consilio instrumental ablatives; periculis is an ablative of separation [and obsidionis is, of course, genitive with periculis]


13 classem After his retreat from Cyzicus in 73, Mithridates embarked 10,000 men in a fleet of 50 ships led by M. Marius, who had been sent to join him by Sertorius - hence ducibus Sertorianis. Lucullus met and destroyed this force in two battles off the Aegean islands of Tenedos and Lemnos. [Note by the way that Cicero continues in O.O. although the editor marks a new sentence.]

14 studio atque odio 'with the hatred born of civil strife' [hendiadys]

15 raperetur 'was hurrying'

17 Pontum the kingdom of Pontus, not the Black Sea [object of patefactum esse]

18 ex omni aditu clausus 'barred from all access'

Sinopen Greek form of the accusative of Sinope, by origin a Greek colony, the capital and birthplace of Mithridates

19 Amisum another Greek colony, some hundred miles to the east of Sinope, also on the Black Sea coast

erant indicative because this relative clause is inserted by Cicero, and is not part of the indirect speech

20 ceterasque ... permultas this phrase must be taken as a whole 'and all the numerous other cities of Pontus and Cappadocia' [urbis is accusative plural]

21 uno 'mere'; a rhetorical exaggeration: their reduction took longer than a year

22 [regno patrio atque avito ablative of separation with spoliatum]

alios ... reges firstly to his son-in-law Tigranes, king of Armenia, and his son Machares, ruler of the kingdom of the Bosporus; then to Arsaces, king of Parthia [NB gentis in the next line refers to the same places; gentis is accusative plural]

23 supplicem predicate ('as a suppliant'); note how Cicero has put the subject se of the infinitive contulisse amongst the kings; English word order is regem, spoliatum regno patrio atque avito, contulisse se ad alios reges atque ad alias gentis]

24 salvis ... sociis without imposing forced exactions upon the provincials [ablative absolute]

integris vectigalibus without damaging the revenues - to the satisfaction and profit of the publicani [also ablative absolute]

25 atque ita sc. dictum

26 [a nullo ablative of personal agent with the verb esse laudatum (of which L. Lucullum is subject) in line 28]

[istorum in particular, Hortensius and Catulus, but also many of the other optimates; partitive genitive]

[huic legi the proposed law; the noun and adjective decisively separated by the verb; causae is also object of obtrectant]

27 obtrectant indicative because statement is specific not generic, i.e. 'the opponents'

hoc loco the rostra


innocentium 'honest; cf. use of innocentia in §36

copiam supply'

unus 'alone'

antiquitatis memoriam i.e. those of the past whom we remember

virtute 'in merit'


res 'qualities'

virtutem a difficult word to translate; it means professional ability rather than merely soldierly courage; see §§29ff. for what Cicero had in his mind

auctoritatem most important for a Roman public figure; 'prestige'

felictatem another quality more important in Roman eyes; cf. note on §10 felicitati

quis ... scientior = cui plus scientiae fuit

e ludo ... disciplinis 'after his schooling and the studies of boyhood'

bello maximo ... profectus est in the fighting against the Marsi during the Social War. We have an inscription showing that in 89 he was a member of the staff of his father, Cn. Pompeius Strabo, who, as one of the consuls of that year, was the Roman commander in this campaign. There was bitter fighting, and the epithet acerrimis is well deserved. The ablatives bello and hostibus are ablatives of attendant circumstances, one of a number of uses of this case, deriving from the assumption of the functions of a case which had existed separately at an earlier stage of linguistic development, and had expressed the idea of accompaniment.

extrema pueritia born in 106, he was seventeen years old in the campaign of 89, and still only nineteen when a member of his father's army fighting Cinna

exercitus imperator on Sulla's return to Italy from Greece in 83 Pompey joined the Sullan party, and in Picenum raised an army of three legions for him

quisquam 'any other single individual'

concertavit particularly of legal disputes; a hostis is a public enemy and an imicus private

provincias here used in its original meaning 'sphere of administration', 'office'; the word at first meant the sphere of action of a magistrate possessing imperium and later, with Roman expansion overseas, came to denote the geographical area of which the magistrate had control

suis because the grammatical subject adulescentia implies the adulescens Pompey

offensionibus belli 'defeats in battle', 'failures'

triumphis he had already celebrated two triumphs - over the Marians in 79, and after the Servile War in 71

exercuerit a consecutive perfect subjunctive

fortuna 'misfortune'

civile against Cinna, Carbo and Lepidus; Africanum against the Marian remnants in Africa; Transalpinum against Gallic tribes on his way to fight Sertorius in Spain in 76; Hispaniense against Sertorius; servile against the slaves in their uprising in 71 on his return from Spain; navale against the pirates in 67.

in usu positam militari 'within the range of military experience'; esse is not to be taken with positam


iam vero 'moreover'; these words emphasise the transition to a still more important theme, Pompey's military capacity

cuiquam dative of the agent with the perfect participle passive

virtutes imperatoriae 'the qualities necessary in a general'

labor 'energy'


Italia after the return of Sulla from the East in 83

Sicilia Late in 82 Pompey crossed to Sicily, and the Marian opposition disintegrated without serious fighting; their leader, the consul Cn. Papirius Carbo, was caught on the island of Pantellaria and executed.

terrore ... celeritate a neat example of chiasmus

explicavit 'released', 'extricated'

Africa, ... Gallia, ... Hispania, ... Italia see §28 above

cum a conjunction

bello taetro periculosoque Ciceero had good cause to apply such words to the rising of the slaves under Spartacus. ... Under the leadership of the Thracian gladiator Spartacus in 73 the slaves defeated one of the praetors and made themselves masters of southern Italy. In the following year they defeated two consular armies and the proconsul of Cisalpine Gaul, but the Senate then appointed M. Licinius Crassus, one of the praetors of this year, as its commander and he swiftly brought the war to a successful end. The serious fighting was over when Pompey arrived on the scene, and his part in the war was confined to rounding up defeated fugitives.

absente when the participle is used as an adjective the ablative ends in -i, when as a noun or verb (in the ablative absolute construction) in -e

attenuatum ... ac sepultum see above note; there is no justification for Cicero's claim


nunc vero iam a very emphatic transitional phrase to introduce the climax of this account of the campaigns of Pompey, the Pirate War

maria ... universa 'the high seas'

tum 'as well as'

in singulis oris 'along the various shores'

ut lateret? 'as to escape notice'

cum navigaret? 'since he had to sail'

hieme Mediterranean navigation usually ceased during the winter, and the pirates coiuld be expected not to put to sea in the winter months. But we hear from Dio Cassius, who wrote a history of Rome, that not even were the winter months safe frm their depredations.

referto praedonum this genitive with words denoting fullness or abundance is partitive in origin

turpe see §33 below for the sort of thing that was happening

ab omnibus ... imperatore this is a very strained use of the rhetorical figure of speech known as commutatio: 'you must eat to live, not live to eat'. omnibus imperatoribus = all living Roman commanders; omnibus annis = their whole life


vectigal note how early this comes in Cicero's list; cf. note on §14 praesertim cum and other passages which show the importance of the Romans' financial stake in the provinces.

classibus vestris instrumental ablative

quam multas ... captas urbes Plutarch in his Life of Pompey gives the figure as 400

longinqua 'distant events'

fuit the perfect tense indicates a past state which has now ceased to exist

longe a domo It is Cicero's practice to use the accusative and ablative cases without prepositions to indicate motion to or from a point when that point is indicated by the name of a town or small island, or by the words domus, rus, humus. The preposition, however, is used in certain circumstances and is regularly found in conjunction with longe. In later prose writers from Livy onwards it is often found in any circumstances.

propugnaculis imperii 'with the bulwarks of empire'; the armies and fleets

dicam deliberative subjunctive 'am I to say ... '

vestri rather than nostri to bring home to his audience that these armies were their own responsibility

Brundisio The shortest sea crossing was from Brundisium which was therefore the most usual port of embarkation for Greece.

redempti sint 'have been ransomed'; we know of no corroboration for this story but there is no good reason to doubt it

duodecim secures 'two praetors'; an example of metonymy, a figure of speech in which an attribute is substituted for the thing or person intended; although a praetor had only two lictors in Rome, he had six in the provinces and the lictors only carried their axes outside the city. Plutarch tells us that their names were Sextilius and Bellinus, but we do not know anything more about them.


Cnidum Plutarch confirms the story of these attacks.

quibus instrumental ablative

vitam et spiritum probably a reference to the imports of grain which were seriously disrupted by the pirates; see §34

an ... ignoratis 'do you really not know ...?'

Caietae on the coast of Latium; note the genitive of definition. It is more usual to find the place-name in apposition to the common noun, and therefore in the same case.

celeberrimum 'very busy'

inspectante cf. note on §30 absente

praetore possibly M. Antonius Creticus, who was praetor in 74 and in command of a fleet to deal with the pirates, and we read in Plutarch that a daughter of his father M. Antonius (cf. liberos below, a rhetorical plural as duces in §9 for Sertorius) was captured on the coast of Italy

Ostiense this is confirmed by Dio Cassius

incommodum 'reverse', 'set-back'

labem 'stain', 'blot'; cf. macula

prope inspectantibus vobis 'almost before your very eyes'; Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber was only some sixteen miles from Rome

praepositus esset the subjunctibve has consecutive force; translate 'a fleet important enough to be commanded by a consul of the Roman people' not 'a fleet which had a consul of the Roman people in command'

oppressa est indicative because the cum-clause identifies the Ostiense incommodum by indicating an action which is its equivalent

pro an exclamation, also spelt proh

hominis not viri because his virtus 'genius' is divina and is being contrasted with that of mere mortals

modo 'only recently'

Oceani ostium the Strait of Gibraltar


atque haec ... watch the order of the sentence in translation

a me this ablative of the agent with the preposition is occasionally found instead of the dative of the agent with the gerundive although there is no ambiguity involved such as there is in the case of §6 a vobis

praetereunda attracted into the plural to agree with haec instead of the expected praetereundum non est - Cicero is not recounting the feats of Pompey but their speed

tanti ... navigavit 'this mighty wave of war swept over the sea'; figurative for the huge fleet of Pompey

nondum ... mari see note on §31 hieme and also §35 ineunte vere

haec ... subsidia 'these three sources of the grain supply'


duabus Hispaniis Citerior and Ulterior, Nearer and Further

Gallia Transalpina The southern part of Gaul became a Roman province in 122, hence Provincia gave its name to Provence.

confirmata agrees with Gallia, the nearest noun, but refers to Hispaniis as well

oram Illyrici maris the Illyrian shore of the Adriatic Sea

Achaiam omnemque Graeciam Cicero uses this phrase because Achaia refers to the Peloponnese only and is not yet in current use for the whole of Greece

Italiae duo maria the Mare Hadriaticum or Superum and the Mare Tyrrhenum or Inferum

ut 'from the time when'

ubique 'wherever they were'

praedones the antecedent has been attracted into the relative clause, as often happens, particularly when it has an epithet, or is in apposition to another noun

Cretensibus see §46. Driven by the cruelty of Q. Metellus. This discreditable affair nearly caused an outbreak of fighting between two Roman commanders.

usque in Pamphyliam Cicero makes his point by a piece of rhetorical trickery. His audience in far away Rome would not realise that Pamphylia is in comparison no great distance from Crete. For this dative see note on §10 ei.

deprecatoresque = ad deprecandum 'envoys to plead their cause'

obsidesque as a mark of clemency, that they might hope for his protection. A negative sentence is commonly followed by et, -que, or ac. Translate 'but'.

imperavit is followed by the accusative of the thing demanded

tam diuturnum see note on §11 saepe gesserunt

confecit the whole campaign lasted only three months; it took forty days to clear the western Mediterranean and then a further forty-nine to deal with the East


virtus imperatoris 'genius as a general'

ceterae the moral and intellectual qualities required

paulo ante in §29

artes 'qualities'; ths word means someting not very different from virtutes but implies their practical operation

huius i.e. bellandi virtus

administrae lit. 'helper'; translate by a relative clause

innocentia ablative of description or quality; translate by 'integrity'.

facilitate 'graciousness', 'affability'; it is the readiness to listen to others

humanitate 'courtesy'; cf. §41 faciles aditus

quae ... consideremus 'Let us briefly consider their nature as found in Cn. Pompeius'.

summa 'in the highest degree'

contentione 'comparison'


ullo in numero putare lit. 'to reckonin any number' (of generals), i.e. to count as a general at all

veneant atque venierint? used as the passive of vendo; the reverse order of tenses would be more natural in English

quid ... cogitare to be taken closely together. hunc hominem is the subject of cogitare which is to be constructed after the possumus ... putare of the previous sentence.

aerario the public treasury; the governor of a province was not paid but received money from the treasure at Rome to cover his expenses

propter cupiditatem provinciae this must mean 'ambition to retain his province' rather than 'obtain a province'

in quaestu 'on loan'

admurmuratio The sentence makes it clear that this word means a noise of disapproval of the men about whom Cicero has been talking rather than one of approval of his words.

ante here the adverb

voluerit future perfect

ferant 'bring in their train', not 'suffer'


itinera before quae for emphasis; the mood shows that quae is interrogative, not relative

civium Romanorum The Italians had received full Roman citizenship after the Social War.

existimetis see note on §11 videte ... putetis

hibernis One of the heavy obligations laid upon towns in the provinces was the provision of winter-quarters for the Roman troops. Wealthy towns often purchased exemption - a fruitful source of enrichment to a governor. One of the advantages enjoyed by civitates liberae was freedom from this burden.


hic 'in these circumstances'

non modo ... dicatur the second non after the modo is regularly omitted when there is a predicate common to both clauses, so that the negative in ne ... quidem can be referred to the whole sentence. Cicero means that far from ravaging the country, they kept to a minimum the damage done by their march through it.

sermones i.e. by word of mouth

hiemis ... avaritiae 'from the winter ... for avarice'; note the change from the objective to subjective genitive.


age vero The singular is used, even to large audiences, because the phrase had become stereotyped and almost the equivalent of a transitional particle.

unde ... inventum 'how do you think he acquired that great speed ...'

inaudita 'hitherto unknown'

non avaritia owing to his innocentia

devocavit 'called away', 'allured'

amoenitas In classical authors this word always refers to the beauty of nature.

nobiitas 'renown'; Plutarch in his Life of Pompey tells us that not even Athens detained him for long.

labor 'energy'

signa ... arbitrantur Roman officials were accomplished looters of works of art, and many a noble house in Rome came to be decorated with the works of Greek artists. The best-known account in Latin literature of this sort of behavior is contained in Cicero's speeches against Verres.


delapsum The verb delabor is regularly used of the descent of gods to earth.

fuisse Note the position fo this word in the sentence: 'that there really were ...'

quondam this goes with continentia not fuisse; translate 'who once showed such self-control'

quod iam ... videbatur 'which was beginning to seem'; falso memoriae proditum lit. 'falsely handed down to memory'; translate 'a complete myth'

cum ... habebamus The indicative is here used in a cum-clause in past time because the clause merely identifies the time of their preference.

iam vero 'furthermore'

faciles aditus cf. note to §36 facilitate

privatorum private individuals as opposed to magistrates

liberae 'without restriction'

de aliorum iniuriis 'about wrongs done them by others'; a subjective genitive

dignitate 'rank', an ablative of specification


consilio political wisdom

gravitate 'dignity', a quality highly prized by the Romans

copia 'fluency'

valeat Pompey is the subject

in quo ipso dicendi is the antecedent

quaedam dignitas imperatoria 'something of the authority appropriate to a general'

hoc ipso ex loco the Rostra

fidem 'word of honor'

sanctissimam 'completely inviolable'

humanitate ... mansuetudinem We know that he showed a prudent clemency towards many of the surrendered pirates, and this in all probability influenced the Cretans who wished to surrender to him rather than to Q. Metellus. In §46 below, however, Cicero attributes their behavior to the prestige of Pompey.

virtutem here 'bravery'

quisquam ... quin These words are used because of the negative force of the rhetorical question.

ad ... conficienda 'to end all the wars of our time'; ad with the gerundive is regularly used to express purpose


reliquum est ... Take this sentence in the order reliquum est ut ... dicamus de felicitate quam ... possumus, sicut ... deorum

praestare 'guarantee'

aequum est sc. dicere

potestate 'what is within the power of ..'

Maximo, Marcello, Scipioni, Mario The first three are heroes of the Second Punic War, the last is Gaius Marius

non ut ... sed ut consecutive, looking back to hac

invisa ... ingrata 'causing offence' because fortuna is not in illius potestate but in that of the gods; 'ungrateful' because such an assumption ignores the kindness and bounty of the gods


non sum praedicaturus The rhetorical device of praeteritio in which you tell your audience what you are not going to say to them. Cf. §60 non dicam

adsenserint normally used by Cicero in the passive form

hoc 'this one point'

tacitus 'in his heart'; the addition of this word makes the assertion more telling because many express silent wishes for more than they would dare to hope aloud

detulerunt defero means 'I give without being asked'

proprium 'assured'


quare this section recapitulates the whole case

accuratissime the force of cura is stronger than anything suggested by our derived word accurate; translate 'with the most scrupulous care'

dubitatis 'do you hesitate to ...'; in this sense it is normally followed by the infinitive

hoc tantum boni 'this great boon' sc. of appointing such a general

conferatis contrasted with detulerunt above, this verb means that what is being given has been requested


erat deligendus The gerundive with a past tense of the verb to be expresses an idea analogous to that of the potential subjunctive in the apodosis of unreal conditions, and the verb therefore regularly remains in the indicative mood.

nunc 'but as it is'

iis qui habent Lucullus, Glabrio, and Marcius Rex

cetera sc. quae communia sunt rather than bella

summa is ablative with salute

regium 'against a king'