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  • Katharina Volk (a1) and James E.G. Zetzel (a1)


Cedant arma togae, ‘let arms yield to the toga’. Thus begins the famous verse from Cicero's poem on his consulship that highlights the protagonist's suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy by favourably contrasting this political achievement with success on the battlefield. But how does the line continue? Its conclusion is transmitted in two different versions, concedat laurea laudi and concedat laurea linguae, and scholars have long been divided over which one is Cicero's original text. In this paper, we revisit the issue and not only (1) propose an answer to the question of what Cicero actually wrote, but also (2) examine those attestations of the verse that date to the author's own lifetime, elucidating the contexts that account for the quotation of one variant rather than the other.


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Our heartfelt thanks for comments and suggestions go to Bruce Gibson, Editor of CQ, and especially the anonymous reader, whose incisive observations and probing questions have contributed greatly to what we hope is an improvement over this article's earlier incarnation.



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1 De consulatu suo fr. 6 Soubiran = 12 Courtney = 11 FPL 4. On the interpretation of cedant arma togae, see Volk, K., ‘The genre of Cicero's De consulatu suo’, in Papanghelis, T.D., Harrison, S.J. and Frangoulidis, S. (edd.), Generic Interfaces in Latin Literature: Encounters, Interactions and Transformations (Berlin, 2013), 93112, at 105–10.

2 For the following discussion, compare and contrast the detailed treatment (with further references) of Lomanto, V., ‘Cedant arma togae’, in De tuo tibi: omaggio degli allievi a Italo Lana (Bologna, 1996), 115–41, at 124–34.

3 In In Pisonem, the quotation is put in the mouth of Cicero's adversary, Piso. In De Officiis, the variant linguae is attested in some manuscripts of the twelfth century and later (not reported by Winterbottom in the OCT, but see Dyck, A., A Commentary on Cicero, De Officiis [Ann Arbor, 1996], ad loc.).

4 The allusions to our line in this correspondence have remained largely unnoticed and will be discussed in greater detail in Section 2(c) below.

5 This Plautine parallel to Cicero's verse was first pointed out by Marmorale, E.V., ‘Sul testo di un verso di Cicerone (F. P. L. 10 Baehrens, 16 Morel)’, RFIC 75 (1947), 118–20.

6 For similar ancient etymologies, see Maltby, R., A Lexicon of Ancient Latin Etymologies (Leeds, 1991), s.vv. laurus and laus. Our thanks to Philip Hardie for first bringing this folk etymology to KV's attention.

7 Courtney, E.g. E., The Fragmentary Latin Poets (Oxford, 2003 2), 172: ‘the civilian laus won by a consul’; Soubiran, J., Cicéron: Aratea, fragments poétiques (Paris, 1972), 259: ‘l'estime, la considération civiles’.

8 Cf. TLL s.v. as well as Hellegouarc'h, J., Le vocabulaire latin des relations et des partis politiques sous la république (Paris, 1963), 365–9, who shows that laus describes the recognition sought by upper-class Romans in all areas of their public activity, from oratory to domestic politics to warfare.

9 See Section 2(b) below for further discussion of Caesar's praise, including its date and provenance. We are working on the assumption that the invective against Cicero transmitted under the name of Sallust (the next source where linguae shows up) is Augustan at the earliest and thus postdates the quotation in Caesar as well as Cicero's death. For a recent discussion of the origins of the pseudo-Sallustian and -Ciceronian invectives, see Novokhatko, A., The Invectives of Sallust and Cicero (Berlin, 2009), 326.

10 For this view, see Baehrens, E., Fragmenta Poetarum Romanorum (Leipzig, 1886), 303, who writes, ‘fortasse offensionem in linguae ab inimicis motam ipse tacite correxit Tullius’, as well as e.g. Mariotti, S., ‘Probabili varianti d'autore in Ennio, Cicerone, Sinesio’, PP 9 (1954), 368–75, at 371–2; Romano, D., ‘Laudi o lingua? (Cicerone Poet. fragm. 16 Traglia)’, Atti della Accademia di Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Palermo 37 (1977–8), 139–49; Lomanto (n. 2); and now Garcea, A., Caesar's De Analogia (Oxford, 2012), 95–6. Editions that print linguae include Baehrens; FPL 1 (Morel, 1927); and Ewbank, W.W., The Poems of Cicero (London, 1933).

11 Courtney (n. 7), 172. The same view is held e.g. by Marmorale (n. 5); Traglia, A., La lingua di Cicerone poeta (Bari, 1950), 231–2; Allen, A.W. Jr., ‘O fortunatam natam ...’, TAPhA 87 (1956), 130–46, at 133; Nisbet, R.G.M., M. Tulli Ciceronis in L. Calpurnium Pisonem Oratio (Oxford, 1961), 143; Soubiran (n. 7), 259–60; Goldberg, S.M., Epic in Republican Rome (New York, 1995), 151; and Kurczyk, S., Cicero und die Inszenierung der eigenen Vergangenheit: Autobiographisches Schreiben in der späten römischen Republik (Cologne, 2006), 89. Editions that print laudi include Courtney; Soubiran; FPL 2 (Büchner, 1982); FPL 3+4 (Blänsdorf, 1995 and 2011); and Traglia, A., Ciceronis Poetica Fragmenta, vol. 1 (Rome, 1950).

12 It is not clear, in most cases, why scholars have believed this to be so. Would highlighting one's own eloquence be more offensive than drawing attention merely to one's political achievements (cf. Kurczyk [n. 11], 89, who maintains that replacing laudi with linguae entails a ‘Steigerung bezüglich des Selbstlobes’)? This may have been be the opinion of Plutarch, who in Cic. 51, after quoting the line in Greek (with γλώττῃ; see p. 204 above), opines that it is fine for a politician to achieve his objectives by eloquence, but ignoble to love and lust after τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου δόξαν. Or would ancient readers instead have been prone to sarcastically misinterpreting linguae, e.g. as meaning ‘chatter, gossip, slander’, as suggested by Traglia, Lingua (n. 11), 231 and Mariotti (n. 10), 371? Compare the discussion in Lomanto (n. 2), 126 with n. 29, who also rightly dismisses the idea, occasionally mooted, that Cicero never otherwise uses lingua to mean ‘eloquence’ (with reference esp. to De or. 3.139).

13 The only exception to this – other than Plutarch (see previous note), who, however, is not primarily concerned with critiquing the line as such – is Piso as reported by Cicero (Pis. 74), but he uses the laudi version. See further Section 2(a) below.

14 Cedant arma togae is generally quoted or alluded to more often on its own than with the second half of the verse, in whichever form. In addition to the examples discussed in the text, see Cic. Fam. 12.13.1, Phil. 2.20; [Cic.] Sall. 7; Ov. Am. 1.15.33; Luc. 9.199; Juv. 8.240–4.

15 On this technique, see esp. Clay, D., Lucretius and Epicurus (Ithaca, 1983), 176–85. There are many points of contact, in terms of both style and content, between Cicero and Lucretius, two experimental hexameter poets writing in the same period. On Lucretius' debt to Cicero's Aratea, see now Gee, E., Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition (New York, 2013), 57109; for the likelihood that De consulatu suo, too, influenced De rerum natura, see Volk (n. 1), 98–9.

16 See Gale, M.R., ‘Lucretius 4.1–25 and the proems of the De rerum natura’, PCPhS (40) 1994, 117.

17 Cf. Clay (n. 15), 183–4 and Gale (n. 16), 11.

18 Speculation on the pragmatics of either line's place in the poem is bound up with the open question of whether De consulatu suo featured a first-person or a third-person narrative: did Cicero tell of his own exploits, and would he himself have pronounced cedant arma togae, either in his role as narrator or as a protagonist? Compare the discussion in Volk (n. 1), 99–105.

19 We might imagine that laudi was clarified in the following line by a relative clause, one or more adjectives, a genitive, or some other syntactical construction. However, the fact that the verse survives as a self-contained statement, with no source quoting the putative second line, makes this scenario less likely.

20 On this motif, see Volk (n. 1), 101–5.

21 This interpretation is put forward by Volk (n. 1), 105–10. We are grateful to Bruce Gibson for drawing our attention to Stat. Theb. 10.827, where Statius appears to allude to Cicero's famous line in a ‘proem in the middle’ that likewise signals the poet's choice of one type of epic over another: hactenus arma, tubae, ferrumque et uulnera ...

22 On the background and chronology, see the discussion by Nisbet (n. 11), 199–202. It should be noted that Cicero very clearly distorts Piso's own actions and in particular his lack of desire for a triumph; see Griffin, M., ‘Piso, Cicero and their audience’, in Auvray-Assayas, C. and Delattre, D. (edd.), Cicéron et Philodème: la polémique en philosophie (Paris, 2001), 8599, at 88–92.

23 See Dugan, J., Making a New Man: Ciceronian Self-Fashioning in the Rhetorical Works (Oxford, 2005), 5566, esp. 64–5 on the juxtaposition of Philodemus and the attack on Piso's criticism of Cicero's poem.

24 On Cicero's interpretation of his own verse here, see Volk (n. 1), 106–7.

25 For a detailed account of Cicero's dealings with Pompey in this period, see Lomanto (n. 2), 116–24; see also Nisbet (n. 11) on Pis. 73 for the interpretation of the line.

26 Nisbet (n. 11), ad loc. takes minimae laudi as referring to Cicero's praise (‘Piso yielded even to Cicero's modest fame’; compare Grimal, P., Cicéron, Discours XV.1: Contre Pison [Paris, 1966], 187), but this makes little sense in context.

27 For the statistics, we rely on a PHI search, but exclude the repetitions of the same verse at Off. 1.77 and as a fragment of Cicero's poetry.

28 The most important discussions of this complicated problem, to which we owe much, are Hendrickson, G.L., ‘The De analogia of Julius Caesar; its occasion, nature, and date, with additional fragments’, CP 1 (1906), 97120; Tschiedel, H.J., Caesars ‘Anticato’: Eine Untersuchung der Testimonien und Fragmente (Darmstadt, 1981), 6976; Dobesch, G., ‘Caesars Urteil über Ciceros Bedeutung: Gedanken zu Cic. Brut. 253 und Plin. n.h. 7,117’, Tyche 17 (2002), 3962; Dugan (n. 23), 177–89; and Garcea (n. 10), 81–97.

29 Cf. Beagon, M., The Elder Pliny on the Human Animal: Natural History, Book 7 (Oxford, 2005), ad loc.

30 Richter, W., ‘Das Cicerobild der römischen Kaiserzeit’, in Radke, G. (ed.), Cicero ein Mensch seiner Zeit (Berlin, 1968), 161–97, at 167, rightly describes this apostrophe as outdoing any other ancient comment on Cicero. The text given here is that of Mayhoff's Teubner text of 1909. Schilling, in the Budé edition (1977), follows a suggestion of A. Ernout and in 117 deletes et facundiae Latiarumque litterarum parens; he also reads atque rather than aeque. On the language of the passage, see Wolverton, R.E., ‘The encomium of Cicero in Pliny the Elder’, in Henderson, C. (ed.), Classical Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Honor of Berthold Louis Ullman, vol. 1 (Rome, 1964), 159–64; Tschiedel (n. 28), 71–4; and Dobesch (n. 28), 51–4.

31 Pliny's syntax is convoluted throughout the passage but becomes close to untranslatable in the last clause: what starts as a qualitative comparison of the value of pushing forward the boundaries of the Roman genius vis-à-vis extending those of the Roman empire (the former is worth ‘more’: plusest ingenii Romani terminos ... promouisse quam [promouisse terminos Romani] imperii, with quam picking up on plus) appears to morph into a quantitative comparison of the extent to which said boundaries are moved forward (the intellectual conquest proceeds ‘as far as’ the territorial one: ingenii Romani terminos in tantum promouisse quam imperii, with quam picking up on in tantum). For the sake of comprehensibility, our translation captures only the first implication.

32 Cf. Cic. Att. 2.1.3 (= 21 SB), Pis. 4–5; the only ones missing in Pliny's list are Pro Rabirio perduellionis reo and the speech setting aside his province; cf. Wolverton (n. 30), 159–60.

33 See Dobesch (n. 28), 53.

34 The reference to M. Antonius is puzzling. Wolverton (n. 30), 161–2 suggests that it is an absent-minded recollection of the standard declamation topics about Cicero, included without regard to chronology.

35 Authors named in the index include Cornelius Nepos, Varro and Asinius Pollio, all of whom outlived Cicero and two of whom, at least, wrote about him.

36 The inconclusiveness of this evidence is noted by Tschiedel (n. 28), 70–1, although he still believes that both dictator Caesar and hostis provide pointers to the date.

37 See Hendrickson (n. 28); Drexler, H., ‘Parerga Caesariana’, Hermes 70 (1935), 203–34, at 204–5; Gelzer, M., Cicero: Ein biographischer Versuch (Wiesbaden, 1969), 267 with n. 27; and Dugan (n. 23), 186–7.

38 In assigning the quotation to the Anticato, Tschiedel is following Klotz's edition of Caesar's fragments in vol. 3 (1927) of his Teubner. Garcea (n. 10), 97 agrees that the fragment in Pliny comes from the Anticato, but attempts to solve the problem posed by the similarity between this citation and Caesar's praise of Cicero as reported in the Brutus by dating the Anticato before the Brutus. That is impossible: the Brutus represents Cato as alive, and it was almost certainly largely complete when the news of Thapsus arrived. The Cato, a laudatio, must have been written after Cato's death (April 46), and the Anticato was a reply to the Cato. For the chronology, see Douglas, A.E., M. Tulli Ciceronis Brutus (Oxford, 1966), ix–x.

39 Cf. Tschiedel (n. 28), 74–6; Garcea (n. 10), 94–7. On Cicero's bid for a triumph in 51 b.c.e., see further Section 2(c) below.

40 On the interpretation of these fragments, see Drexler (n. 37), 203–4.

41 See Dobesch (n. 28), 54–6. For the idea that this work might have been a letter, see Dobesch, G., ‘Caesar und der Hellenismus’, in Kinsky, R. (ed.), Diorthoseis: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Hellenismus und zum Nachleben Alexanders des Großen (Munich, 2004), 108252, at 193–5; the same article contains an imaginative exploration of Caesar's supposed concept of ‘Roms Reich des Geistes’ at 195–8.

42 Compare Pliny's praise of Italy and final address to Nature at the end of the Natural History: salue, parens rerum omnium Natura, teque nobis Quiritium solis celebratam esse numeris omnibus tuis faue (‘hail Nature, parent of all things, and look kindly on your having been praised in every one of your aspects by one Roman alone – me’, 37.205). Other comparable passages addressing a parens all refer to divinized mortals: so Verg. Aen. 5.80; Livy 1.16.3; Stat. Silv. 4.1.17, 4.3.139; and Sil. Pun. 17.651.

43 Cf. TLL s.v., 1A1b. Garcea (n. 10), 94 draws attention to facundia in Plin. HN Praef. 5 (in fact, the word's only other appearance in Pliny), but is wrong to suggest that Pliny is the first to use it in that meaning.

44 Fuchs, H., ‘Cicero über Caesar, Nepos und Plinius über Cicero’, MH 18 (1961), 232, recognizing the awkwardness of the phrase, suggests emending Latiarum to Latiarium, from Latiaris. That word, unfortunately, is even more rare, and the adjective is hardly ever used except in connection with Jupiter Latiaris.

45 In addition to Corn. Sev. fr. 13 Courtney = 219 Hollis and Sextilius Ena, fr. 1 Courtney = 202 Hollis, cf. Ov. Pont. 2.3.75; Luc. 8.348. For detailed commentary on Cornelius' lines, see Dahlmann, H., Cornelius Severus (Mainz, 1975), 94–9.

46 For similar pairings, see Plin. HN 2.190, 14.4; Gell. NA 17.21.1 (which may be drawing on Nepos or Varro). Dobesch (n. 28), 61–2 ascribes the phrase about extending the bounds of the Roman ingenium to Caesar because it is too original to be the creation of Pliny or some lesser man; compare also A. Gitner, review of Garcea (n. 10), Gnomon 86 (2014), 15–19, at 16 with n. 1.

47 See Kaster, R., ‘Becoming “CICERO”’, in Knox, P. and Foss, C. (edd.), Style and Tradition: Studies in Honor of Wendell Clausen (Stuttgart, 1998), 248–63, quotation at 261.

48 There is no exact parallel for ut ... scripsit in HN, but there are several similar phrases identifying (in the present tense) sources for various forms of information. In each case, the phrase is embedded within the information being attributed to a source. Thus, for example, in speaking of the domestic mustela (as opposed to the wild variety), Pliny cites Cicero: haec autem, quae in domibus nostris oberrat et catulos suos, ut auctor est Cicero, cottidie transfert mutatque sedem, serpentes persequitur (‘but the second type, which wanders around our houses and moves its pups and house daily, according to Cicero, chases snakes’, 29.60). Although we do not have the text of Cicero in question (the index to Book 29 cites only ‘Cicero’ as source), it seems highly likely that the content of the whole sentence was drawn from him, not merely the point about the animal's moving its young around daily that surrounds the parenthetical phrase; at a bare minimum, Cicero must be responsible for catulos suos ... persequitur. Other comparable passages are found at 4.119, 28.74, 36.84 and 37.104.

49 So too Garcea (n. 10), 95.

50 In the last phrase, we follow Hendrickson (n. 28), 114 with n. 2 and the text of Douglas (n. 38) in reading num rather than the transmitted nunc; it must in any case be a question expecting a negative answer. Löfstedt, E., Syntactica, vol. 2 (Lund, 1933), 308–11 discusses the style of this quotation of Caesar; he views its use of Ciceronian rhythms as in part a matter of genre (so too Douglas [n. 38], ad loc.), in part genuine flattery of Cicero. Garcea (n. 10), 90 is wrong to suggest that it is meant as parody, or that Löfstedt thought so.

51 Sinclair, P., ‘Political declensions in Latin grammar and oratory 55 b.c.e.–c.e. 39’, Ramus 23 (1994), 92109 argues (92–6) both that Caesar's intention was to aid provincials in learning Latin and that the emphasis of De analogia was on rhetoric rather than grammar. Garcea (n. 10), 4–5, 81–3 apparently follows Sinclair in this, but his edition makes it very clear that while Ciceronian rhetoric provided Caesar's starting point, the emphasis of the book was on language much more than on rhetoric.

52 For a careful analysis of this fragment, see Garcea (n. 10), 83–6.

53 Dugan (n. 23), 177–82 gives a good account of the ‘mixture of flattery and criticism’ (p. 181) on both sides of the exchange between Caesar and Cicero.

54 For a recent analysis of Crassus' speech in De or. 3, see Mankin, D., Cicero: De Oratore Book 3 (Cambridge, 2011), 919, 128 (on 3.37) and 138–9 (on 3.51). For a thorough discussion of ornatus in Cicero, see also Garcea (n. 10), 49–77.

55 See Hendrickson (n. 28); on Latinitas, see particularly his p. 105. See also Dobesch (n. 28), 44–6.

56 It is not clear to us why Garcea (n. 10), 88–9 believes that Caesar and Cicero are using copia in different senses: Cicero is here abridging Caesar – who, as Garcea rightly says, is using copia as equivalent to eloquence, not simply with reference to vocabulary – and not attempting to rewrite him. ‘Fluency and richness of style’ (so Douglas [n. 38], on Brut. 138) is the standard meaning of copia. On the omission of paene, see also Dobesch (n. 28), 46–7.

57 On Cicero's aspirations to an actual triumph after his Cilician campaign of 51 b.c.e., see the following section.

58 The argument of this section of the Brutus, like that of the poetic fragment under discussion, forms part of Cicero's larger discourse across his works about the relative importance of military and civic accomplishment, a discourse in which his own achievements as consul typically take centre stage (compare Section 2[d] below on Off. 1.77). On this strategy, see above all Nicolet, C., ‘Consul togatus’, REL 38 (1960), 236–63, at 240–52.

59 See Dobesch (n. 28), 48–51. While there is no exact parallel for the full phrase, bene meritus de re publica is common as a formal description of public benefactors, including both military and civic activities (e.g. Caesar at BCiv. 1.13.1 has the decurions of Auximum refer to him as C. Caesarem imperatorem, bene de re publica meritum; Cicero at Verr. 2.3.48 ironically refers to Verres' wish to appear bene de re publica, bene de populo Romano meritus for his benefactions): unlike the triumph itself, this kind of praise is not limited to military achievements.

60 Cicero in the Brutus mentions neither his second (military) supplicatio for his Cilician warfare nor his failure to be awarded a triumph (see further the following section). That is deliberate: he wants to emphasize the real value of his words, not to be distracted by what even he reluctantly recognized as the limited value of his military activities.

61 Kraus, C.S., ‘Hair, hegemony, and historiography: Caesar's style and its earliest critics’, in Reinhardt, T., Lapidge, M. and Adams, J.N. (edd.), Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose (Oxford, 2005), 97115 emphasizes the sexual ambiguities of Cicero's comment; Dugan (n. 23), 185 views it as an uneasy but genuine praise of the ‘manly vigour’ of Caesar's style in the Commentaries. Kraus aptly describes the ancient views of the commentarius as ‘an emperor in search of new clothes ... which would provide the copia, ornatus, and completeness appropriate to a work of artistic prose’ (p. 97). Cicero's comment emphasizes the absence of precisely these qualities.

62 See Dobesch (n. 28), 56–7.

63 See Kaster (n. 47).

64 On cedant arma togae as a ‘slogan’, see Narducci, E., ‘Gli slogans della pace in Cicerone’, in Uglione, R. (ed.), Atti del convegno nazionale di studi su la pace nel mondo antico, Torino 9–10–11 Aprile 1990 (Turin, 1991), 165–90, at 166–81.

65 For Cicero's military actions in Cilicia and his epistolary efforts to secure the supplicatio, see Wistrand, M., Cicero Imperator: Studies in Cicero's Correspondence 51–47 b.c. (Göteborg, 1979), 360; for a more concise treatment, see Mitchell, T.N., Cicero, the Senior Statesman (New Haven, 1991), 226–9 and 253–6.

66 To judge from other letters (Fam. 2.15.1 = 96 SB; Att. 7.1.7 and 8 = 124 SB), Cicero originally did not mind too much that Cato had not supported his bid for the supplicatio (seeing that it had passed anyway) and was in fact quite pleased with his positive speech; once he learned, however, that Cato had voted in favour of a record-length twenty-day supplicatio for his son-in-law Bibulus (Att. 7.2.7 = 125 SB; November 50), he was enraged, declaring Cato to have been turpiter ... maleuolus and summing up what he considered his duplicitous behaviour as follows: dedit integritatis, iustitiae, clementiae, fidei mihi testimonium, quod non quaerebam; quod postulabam negauit (‘he gave testimony of my integrity, justice, clemency and good faith, which I didn't ask for; what I did ask for, he denied me’, ibid.).

67 A similar idea is found in Cat. 4.21.

* Our heartfelt thanks for comments and suggestions go to Bruce Gibson, Editor of CQ, and especially the anonymous reader, whose incisive observations and probing questions have contributed greatly to what we hope is an improvement over this article's earlier incarnation.

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