previous next

4. [8]

Dare now, O you Fury to describe yours; the beginning of which was the Compitalitian games, then first celebrated since the time that Lucius Metellus and Quintus Marcius were consuls, contrary to the inclination of this order: games which Quintus Metellus (I am doing injury to a gallant man who is dead when I compare him, to whom this city has produced few equals, to this ill-omened beast)—but he, being consul elect when a certain tribune of the people, relying on his own power, had ordered the master of the games to celebrate them in contempt of a resolution passed by the senate, though still a private individual, forbade it to be done, and he carried that point by the weight of his character, which he had not as yet any power to enforce. You, when the day of the Compitalitia1 had fallen on the first of January, permitted Sextus Clodius, who had never before filled any office which entitled him to wear the pratetexta, to celebrate the games, and to strut about in a praetexta like a profligate man, as he was, a man thoroughly worthy of your countenance and regard. [9] Therefore, when you had laid this foundation of your consulship, three days after, while you were looking on in silence, the Aelian and Fufian law, that bulwark and wall of tranquillity and peace, was overturned by Publius Clodius, that fatal prodigy and monster of the republic. Not only the guilds which the senate had abolished were restored but countless new ones were established of all the dregs of the city and even of slaves. The same man, immersed in unheard of and impious debaucheries, abolished that old preceptress of modesty and charity, the severity of the censor, while you in the mean time, you sepulchre of the republic, you who say that you were at that time consul at Rome, never by one single word intimated any opinion of your own amid such a terrible shipwreck of the state.

1 The compitalicii ludi, or compitalia, as they are called a few lines after, were a festival celebrated once a year in honour of the lares compitales, to whom sacrifices were offered at places where two ways met. It is said to have been instituted by Tarquinius Priscus, in honour of the birth of Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus is said to have sacrificed boys at them to Mania the mother of the Lares; but after his expulsion this custom was abolished, and the offerings were garlic and poppies. The exact day on which the games were celebrated varied, but it was always in the winter. In one of Cicero's letters to Atticus, (vii. 7,) he speaks of them as falling one year on the second of January. According to some editions the proper reading here is the thirtieth of December. Smith, Dict. Ant. p.279, v. Compitolia.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Albert Clark, 1909)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Rome (Italy) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.7.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: