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III. Contentio

Death is none too severe a penalty; rigor in punishing the conspirators is mercy to the city. Opinion of L. Caesar.

quamob rem, etc.: because Caesar's view has in Caesar a popular sponsor, while the view of Silanus is in fact the more merciful one.

statueritis, dederitis: § 516, c and N. (307, c and a.); G. 595, N.2; H. 540, 2 (473, 2); cf. H.-B. 490.

contionem: see Introd. to Manilian Law in notes (p.272). The action of the consul would have to be justified before the people, who might regard it as a tyrannical measure. In this justification Cicero would have Caesar to assist him.

obtinebo eam, make it appear that it [this view], etc.

ita . . . liceat: an asseveration like our "so help me God." The point lies in the idea of "so and not otherwise" implied in it.

ut . . . moveor, as [it is true that] I am influenced, etc.

animo, hr my mind's eye (properly, abl. of means).

patria, native city.

cum vero: vero introduces (as often) the most striking point. The other conspirators are bad enough, but when, etc.

Vestalium: see note on p. 130, l. 19.

si quis: for form, see § 148, b, N. (104, a, N.); G. 106, R.; H. 512, I (454, I); cf. H-B. 141, a.

sumpserit: see note on dependisse, p. 146, l. 7; for tense, see note on statueritis, p. 146, l. 17.

ut . . . conlocarent: purp. clause in appos. with id.

nisi vero, etc.: reductio ad absurdum, as usual with this phrase; § 525, b, N. (315, b, N.); G. 591, R.4; H.-B. 578, 31 a.

L. Caesar: L. Caesar (consul B.C. 64), was a distant relative of the Dictator, son of Lucius Caesar (consul B.C. 90, the year of the Social War), the author of the law giving citizenship to the Italian allies (see note, Arch., sect. 7). The sister of Lucius Caesar (the younger) was married to Lentulus, and his mother, Fulvia, was daughter of M. Fulvius Flaccus, the leading adherent of C. Gracchus. When Gracchus and Flaccus found themselves (B.C. 121) drawn into a collision with the Senate, they sent the young son of Flaccus with a proposition of compromise. The Senate, however, refused to listen to any terms, threw the messenger into prison, — where he was afterwards strangled, —and moved upon the insurgents with all the power of the state. In the contest that followed, both leaders and several thousands of their partisans lost their lives. It was to these events that L. Caesar had appealed in justifying his vote in condemnation of his brother-in-law Lentulus.

ejus refers to avum.

legatum: of course the informal messenger of insurgents could have no claim to the title ambassador, or to the privileges which attached to the title in ancient as well as modern times.

quorum limits factum: understand with simile some word describing the present conspiracy (what act of theirs was like this?).

largitionis . . . versata est: the plans of C. Gracchus embraced not only a lex frutmentaria, allowing every citizen to buy a certain amount of corn from the state at less than half its market rate, and a lex agraria, providing for the distribution of public land among the poorer citizens, but also the establishment of several colonies, both in Italy and the provinces, the object of which was at once to provide poor citizens with land, and to relieve the city, by emigration, of a part of its proletariat. Though these grants were perhaps just, yet their proposal was regarded by the nobility as a political bid for popular favor, and hence gave rise to violent party jealousy (partium contentio).

avus (see note on p. 131, l. 6): he was an active supporter of the Senate on this occasion; ille (1.32) refers to the same person.

urbem inflammandam: according to Sallust's Catiline, ch. 43, this work was assigned to Gabinius and Statilius.

vereamini follows censeo (ironical), as if with ut omitted.

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  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Cicero, For Archias, 7
    • A. A. Howard, Benj. L. D'Ooge, G. L. Kittredge, J. B. Greenough, Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, 148
    • A. A. Howard, Benj. L. D'Ooge, G. L. Kittredge, J. B. Greenough, Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, 516
    • A. A. Howard, Benj. L. D'Ooge, G. L. Kittredge, J. B. Greenough, Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, 525
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