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IN the fifth oration of Cicero Against Verres, 1 in a copy of unimpeachable fidelity, since it was the result of Tiro's 2 careful scholarship, is this passage: “Men of low degree and humble birth sail the seas; they come to places which they had never before visited. They are neither known to those to whom they have come nor can they always find acquaintances to vouch for them, yet because of this mere faith in their citizenship they believe that they will be safe, not only before our magistrates, who are constrained by fear of the [p. 37] laws and public opinion, and not only among Roman citizens, who are united by the common bond of language, rights, and many interests, but wherever they may come, they hope that this possession will protect them.”

It seemed to many that there was an error in the last word. For they thought that futuram should be written instead of futurum, and they were sure that the book ought to be corrected, lest like the adulterer in the comedy of Plautus 3 —for so they jested about the error which they thought they had found—this solecism in an oration of Cicero's should be “caught in the act.”

There chanced to be present there a friend of mine, who had become an expert from wide reading and to whom almost all the older literature had been the object of study, meditation and wakeful nights. He, on examining the book, declared that there was no mistake in writing or grammar in that word, but that Cicero had written correctly and in accordance with early usage. “For futurum is not,” said he, " to be taken with rem, as hasty and careless readers think, nor is it used as a participle. It is an infinitive, the kind of word which the Greeks call ἀπαρέμφατος or 'indeterminate,' affected neither by number nor gender, but altogether free and independent, such a word as Gaius Gracchus used in the speech entitled On Publius Popilius, delivered in the places of assembly, 4 in which we read: 'I suppose that my enemies will say this.' He said dicturum, not dicturos; and is it not clear that dicturum in Gracchus is used according to the same principle [p. 39] as futurum in Cicero? Just as in the Greek language, without any suspicion of error, words such as ἐρεῖν, ποιήσειν, ἔσεσθαι, and the like, are used in all genders and all numbers without distinction." He added that in the third book of the Annals of Claudius Quadrigarius are these words: 5 “While they were being cut to pieces, the forces of the enemy would be busy there (copias . . . futurum)” ; and at the beginning of the eighteenth book of the same Quadrigarius: 6 “If you enjoy health proportionate to your own merit and our good-will, we have reason to hope that the gods will bless the good (deos . . . facturum)” ; that similarly Valerius Antias also in his twenty-fourth book wrote: “If those religious rites should be performed, and the omens should be wholly favourable, the soothsayers declared that everything would proceed as they desired (omnia . . .processurum esse).” 7 “Plautus also in the Casina, 8 speaking of a girl, used occisurum, not occisuram in the following passage: Has Casina a sword?—Yes, two of them.— Why two?—With one she'd fain the bailiff slay, With t'other you. So too Laberius in The Twins wrote: 9 I thought not she would do (facturum) it. Now, all those men were not unaware of the nature of a solecism, but Gracchus used dicturum, Quadrigarius futurum and facturum, Antias processurum, Plautus occisurum and Laberius facturum, in the infinitive mood, a mood which is not inflected for mood or number or person or tense or gender, [p. 41] but expresses them all by one and the same form, just as Marcus Cicero did not use fiturum in the masculine or neuter gender—for that would clearly be a solecism—but employed a form which is independent of any influence of gender.” 10

Furthermore, that same friend of mine used to say that in the oration of that same Marcus Tullius On Pompey's Military Command 11 Cicero wrote the following, and so my friend always read it: “Since you know that your harbours, and those harbours from which you draw the breath of life, were in tile power of the pirates.” And he declared that in potestatem fuisse 12 was not a solecism, as the half-educated vulgar think, but he maintained that it was used in accordance with a definite and correct principle, one which the Greeks also followed; and Plautus, who is most choice in his Latinity, said in the Amphitruo: 13

Número mihi in mentém fuit,
not in mente, as we commonly say.

But besides Plautus, whom my friend used as an example in this instance, I myself have come upon a great abundance of such expressions in the early writers, and I have jotted them down here and there in these notes of mine. But quite apart from that rule and those authorities, the very sound and order of the words make it quite clear that it is more in accordance with the careful attention to diction and the rhythmical style of Marcus Tullius that, either [p. 43] being good Latin, he should prefer to say potestatem rather than potestate. For the former construction is more agreeable to the ear and better rounded, the latter harsher and less finished, provided always that a man has an ear attuned to such distinctions, not one that is dull and sluggish; it is for the same reason indeed that he preferred to say explicavit rather than explicuit, which was already coming to be the commoner form.

These are his own words from the speech which he delivered On Pomnpey's Military Command: 14 “Sicily is a witness, which, begirt on all sides by many dangers, he freed (explicavit), not by the threat of war, but by his promptness in decision.” But if lie had said explicuit, the sentence would halt with weak and imperfect rhythm. 15

1 ii. 5. 167.

2 Cicero's favourite freedman, who not only aided him in his literary work, but also, after the orator's death, collected, arranged, and published his patron's writings, in particular his correspondence.

3 Bacch. 918.

4 Gracchus delivered two speeches against Popilius, one in the Forum at Rome (pro rostris), the other circum conciliabula, in the market-places of various towns of Latium; see Meyer, O. R. F,2 p. 239.

5 Fr. 43, Peter.

6 Fr. 79, Peter.

7 Fr. 59, Peter.

8 v. 691.

9 v. 51, Ribbeck.3

10 Cellius' friend was partly right. Such forms as dicturum were derived from the second supine dictu + *erom (earlier *esom), the infinitive of sum. Later, the resulting form dicturum was looked upon as a participle and declined. In the early writers such infinitives did not change their form, and did not add the tautological esse.

11 § 33.

12 That is, for in potestate.

13 v. 180. Leo reads num número mi in mentém fruit “it hasn't just occurred to me, has it?”

14 § 30.

15 The cadence _u_u was a favourite one with Cicero at the end of a sentence.

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