previous next
But at Rome, in the mean time, Lentulus, with the other leaders of the conspiracy, having secured what they thought a large force, had arranged, that as soon as Catiline should reach the neighborhood of Fæsulæ, Lucius Bestia, a tribune of the people, having called an assembly, should complain of the proceedings of Cicero, and lay the odium of this most oppressive war on the excellent consul ;1 and that the rest of the conspirators, taking this as a signal, should, on the following night, proceed to execute their respective parts.

These parts are said to have been thus distributed. Statilius and Gabinius, with a large force, were to set on fire twelve. places of the city, convenient for their purpose,2 at the same time; in order that, during the consequent tumult,3 an easier access might be obtained to the consul, and to the others whose destruction was intended; Cethegus was to beset the gate of Cicero, and attack him personally with violence; others were to single out other victims; while the sons of certain families, mostly of the nobility, were to kill their fathers; and, when all were in consternation at the massacre and conflagration, they were to sally forth to join Catiline.

While they were thus forming and settling their plans, Cethegus was incessantly complaining of the want of spirit in his associates; observing, that they wasted excellent opportunities through hesitation and delay;4 that, in such an enterprise, there was need, not of deliberation, but of action; and that he himself, if a few would support him, would storm the senatehouse while the others remained inactive. Being naturally bold, sanguine, and prompt to act, he thought that success depended on rapidity of execution.

1 XLIII. The excellent consul] “Optimo consuli.” With the exception of the slight commendation bestowed on his speech, luculentam atque utilem reipublicæ, c. 31, this is the only epithet of praise that Sallust bestows on the consul throughout his narrative. That it could be regarded only as frigid eulogy, is apparent from a passage in one of Cicero's letters to Atticus (xii. 21), in which he speaks of the same epithet having been applied to him by Brutus: " Brutus thinks that he pays me a great compliment when he calls me an excellent consul (optimum consulem); but what enemy could speak more coldly of me?"

2 Twelve places of the city, convenient for their purpose] “Duodecim--opportuna loca.” Plutarch, in his Life of Cicero, says a hundred places. Few narratives lose by repetition.

3 In order that, during the consequent tumult] “Quò tumultu.” "It is best," says Dietsch, "to take quo as the particula finalis (to the end that), and tumultu as the ablative of the instrument."

4 Delay] “Dies prolatando.” By putting off from day to day.

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 Notes (Axel W. Ahlberg, 1919)
load focus Latin
load focus Latin (Axel W. Ahlberg, 1919)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

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

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (28 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: