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  • Lydia Langerwerf

Known to us only through the spectrum of hostile sources, Lucius Sergius Catilina (108–62 bc) is an enigma. Nevertheless, one aspect of his personality seems clear. However much they differ in their evaluation of the patrician's failed coup d’état in 63 bc, our main authorities, Cicero and Sallust, both assert his tremendous daring. This article will demonstrate that their agreement on this issue is deceptive. Reviewing their use of the word audacia (‘daring’) as an attribution typical for rebel behaviour, I will explore how its use in combination with words for madness and despair provides it with different positive as well as negative connotations. Although, as we shall see in more detail below, many scholars have either ignored the term or discussed audacia as a standard, mono-dimensional piece of invective, it is a dynamic and multifaceted word representative of the chaos of the Late Republic.

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1 Water, K. H., ‘Cicero, Sallust and Catiline’, Historia 19.2 (1970), 195215.

2 Although not entirely unprecedented, as Cicero's own defence of G. Rabirius (Pro Rabirio reo perduellionis) showed, their execution without trial was certainly an exceptional measure that could be conceived as flaunting the Republican values that Cicero was claiming to uphold. T. P. Wiseman, ‘The Ethics of Murder’, in Remembering the Roman People. Essays on Late Republican Politics and Literature (Oxford, 2009), 209–10, reads the criticisms of Dio Cass. 46.20.1–2 and the pseudo-Sallustian In Ciceronem, 5–6, as representative of a more widespread unease with Cicero's actions.

3 A. Lintott, Cicero as Evidence. A Historian's Companion (Oxford, 2008), 17, 142–8, discusses in detail whether the speeches were edited after their delivery and argues that the fourth Catilinarian is a complete fiction. He counters the previously held assumption that they saw only limited alteration: W. Stroh, Taxis und Taktik. Die advokatische Dispositionskunst in Ciceros Gerichtsreden (Stuttgart, 1975), 51–4. On the delivery and publication of speeches in general, see R. Morstein-Marx, Mass Oratory and Political Power in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge, 2004), 25–31. On Cicero's endeavours to ‘spin’ a positive remembrance of his role in the affair, see J. Hall, ‘Saviour of the Republic and Father of the Fatherland: Cicero and Political Crisis’, in C. Steel (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Cicero (Cambridge, 2013), 215–30.

4 Cic. Att. 2.1.2; Cic. Arch. 28.

5 R. Mellor, The Roman Historians (London, 1999), 32; P. L. Schmidt, ‘Sallustius. 4’ in Kl. Pauly, iv.1513.

6 S. Schmal, Sallust (Hildesheim, 2001), 9–20; R. Syme, Sallust (Berkeley, CA, 1964), 121–37.

7 Wirszubski, C., ‘Avdaces: A Study in Political Phraseology’, JRS 51 (1961), 13. Craig, C. P., ‘Self-restraint, Invective and Credibility in Cicero's First Catilinarian Oration’, AJPh 128.3 (2007), 335–9, argues that Cicero uses his standard invectives sparingly in this speech so as to support the truth-value of his allegations. He does not, however, include audacia among his list of invectives.

8 I. Gildenhard, Creative Eloquence. The Construction of Reality in Cicero's Speeches (Oxford, 2010), 7–10, 81–5, 129–32.

9 Translations of Cicero are taken from C. Macdonald (ed. and trans.), Cicero. In Catilinam 1–4, Pro Murena, Pro Sulla, Pro Flacco (Cambridge, MA, 1976).

10 I. Hammar, Making Enemies. The Logic of Immorality in Ciceronian Oratory (Lund, 2013), 122–3.

11 See V. E. Pagán, Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History (Austin, TX, 2005), 46–9.

12 A. Vasaly, ‘The Political Impact of Cicero's Speeches’ in Steel (n. 3), 157. Note also Cic. Cat. 3.12, admonishing the people to take care that Cicero's actions ‘shall never be an injury to me’.

13 See Hardie, A., ‘Furor Poeticus’, CR 50.1 (2000), 109–11, a review of D. Hershkowitz, The Madness of Epic. Reading Insanity from Homer to Statius (Oxford, 1998). G. Ledworuski, Historiographische Widersprüche in der Monographie Sallusts zur Catilinarischen Verschwörung (Frankfurt am Main, 1994), 204–5, interprets furor in Sall. Cat. 24.2 and 24.5 as a catchword vilifying populares politics.

14 See especially Cic. Cat. 1.26.

15 A. R. Dyck in Cicero. Catilinarians (Cambridge, 2008), 111; Hammar (n. 10), 182–7.

16 Cicero's own defence of Caelius is representative of this: Cael. 11–12.

17 See V. Sauer, Religiöses in der politischen Argumentation der späten römischen Republik. Ciceros Erste Catilinarische Rede – eine Fallstudie (Stuttgart, 2013), 96–102, on the association of furor with scelus and audacia.

18 Note, in particular, Cic. Cat. 2.7 and 2.17–23.

19 Compare Pagán (n. 11), 13, arguing that Cicero relies on prevailing negative attitudes to foreigners and slaves. This is, however, problematic given that Catiline recruited among the elite whereas Cicero relied on the Allobroges and a woman of dubious reputation to betray the conspiracy.

20 Cic. Cat. 2. 5–6, 2.9, 2.19, 2.24; see also 3.8, 4.4, and 4.13.

21 Ibid., 2.25.

22 Cicero's appeal to choose an honourable death is not just politically motivated but consistent with his ideological outlook, as expressed most clearly in Tusc. 2.2 and 2.17.41, as well as in the entire first book of his Tusculan Disputations.

23 P. MacKendrick, The Speeches of Cicero (London, 1995), 75–91.

24 Vasaly (n. 12), 153–4.

25 The Pro Murena was delivered in between the second and third Catilinarian Speeches.

26 The idea of Cicero responding directly to Catiline is attractive in view of the latter's speech in Sall. Cat. 20–2. At 20.9, Sallust has Catiline echoing Cic. Cat. 1.1.1. See also Genovese, E.N., ‘Cicero and Sallust: Catiline's “Ruina”’, CW 68.3 (1974), 171–7.

27 See Neal Wood, Cicero's Social and Political Thought (London, 1988), 194–5.

28 Cic. Cat. 4.3.16–17 and Cic. Cael. 11–12 are representative of this. Cicero acknowledges Catiline's energy, enterprise, preparedness, resourcefulness, and endurance, but only to show that he is an extremely talented criminal.

29 Translations of Sallust are taken from J. C. Rolfe (ed. and trans.), Sallust. War with Catiline, War with Jugurtha, Selections from the Histories, Doubtful Works (Cambridge, MA, 1921).

30 A. T. Wilkins, Villain or Hero. Sallust's Portrayal of Catiline (New York, 1994), 160, provides a useful list of uses of audacia in Sallust's Bellum Catilinae.

31 J. T. Ramsey, Sallust's Bellum Catilinae (New York, 2007), 57–9.

32 D. J. Kapust, Republicanism, Rhetoric and Roman Political Thought. Sallust, Livy and Tacitus (Cambridge, 2011), 27–52, notes how Sallust depicts Catiline's followers as ‘out of time’. They are led astray by the luxury and decadence of their age, whereas in earlier times their audacia would have served a more positive purpose.

33 See Wilkins (n. 30), 19, on the comparison with Sempronia at Sall. Cat. 26.

34 Note, on this difference, Wirszubski (n. 7), 19–21, interpreting audacia as a political slogan used by the Optimates. Wirszubski based his theory almost exclusively on Cicero, but interestingly mentions Sallust as an example. See also A. Weische, Studien zur politischen Sprache der Römischen Republik (Aschendorff, 1966), whose analysis is based on Wirszubski, and the review by Earl, D., ‘Audacia et al’, CR 19.1 (1969), 74–6.

35 See Bruggisser, P., ‘Audacia in Sallusts Verschwörung des Catilina’, Hermes 130.3 (2002), 265–87, interpreting audacia as a vox media, with positive and negative connotations. See also Schmal (n. 6), 114–17, whose approach to virtus is similar.

36 Dio Cass. 37.39.3. suggests that Catiline chose to face Antonius in the hope that he would allow himself to be defeated, but there is no hint of this in Sallust.

37 Wilkins (n. 30), 47–51, discusses the speech, but emphasizes Catiline's pessimism.

38 As his account of Cato's speech suggests (Sall. Cat. 52).

39 Catherine Edwards, Death in Ancient Rome (New Haven, CT, and London, 2007), 29–31.

40 See Wilkins (n. 30), 80.

41 Incidentally, Plut. Vit. Cic. 10.4 completes the circle by translating Catiline's audacia as τολμητής.

42 As Bruggisser (n. 35), 276, emphasizes.

43 T. F. Scanlon, The Influence of Thucydides on Sallust (Heidelberg, 1980), 75.

44 Compare Wilkins (n. 30), 47 and 51, and Ramsey (n. 31), 8.

45 Sall. Cat. 61.7–9.

46 Sallust's depiction of Catiline's followers is markedly different from his association of them with debt and crime earlier in the narrative. See Wilkins (n. 30), 71–2.

47 Wilkins (n. 30), 133, following the suggestion of Katz, B.R., ‘“Dolor”, “Invidia” and “Misericordia” in Sallust’, AClass 24 (1981), 7185, and Katz, B.R., ‘Did Sallust Have a Guilty Conscience?’, Eranos 8 (1983), 101–11.

48 Sall. Cat. 51–2. Bruggisser (n. 35) argues that Sallust, through his ultimate choice of Cato's point of view, represents Caesar's references to an older audacia that was combined with consilium as part of the inversion of values. He ignores Sallust's relationship of patronage with Caesar. Patzer, H., ‘Sallust und Thukydides’, Neue Jahrbücher 4 (1941), 124–36, in contrast, argues not just that Sallust's view on audacia is similar to Thucydides’ on τόλμη, but also that the two speeches of Cato and Caesar represent two complementary ideals of leadership.

49 At Caes. B Civ. 3.16.4, B Civ. 3.26.1, and Caes. B. Gal. 8.5.1. Note also the neutral use at B. Gal. 1.18.3 and the negative uses at B Civ. 1.53 and B Civ. 3.104.2. In the speech, Sallust has Caesar use audacia positively at Cat. 51.37. Compare also Sall. Cat. 9.3.

50 Indeed, Sallust's concentration on Caesar and Cato at the expense of Cicero himself, who, despite his great historical role in the affair, only receives modest attention in Sallust's account as a whole, appears to speak against this. See Kapust (n. 32), 70; Hunink, V., ‘Het tegenwicht van Sallustius’, Lampas 31 (1998), 4055.

51 Compare M. McDonnell, Roman Manliness. Virtus and the Roman Republic (Cambridge, 2006), 333–4.

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