De Oratore

Cogitanti mihi saepe numero et memoria vetera repetenti perbeati fuisse, Quinte frater, illi videri solent, qui in optima re publica, cum et honoribus et rerum gestarum gloria florerent, eum vitae cursum tenere potuerunt, ut vel in negotio sine periculo vel in otio cum dignitate esse possent; ac fuit cum mihi quoque initium requiescendi atque animum ad utriusque nostrum praeclara studia referendi fore iustum et prope ab omnibus concessum arbitrarer, si infinitus forensium rerum labor et ambitionis occupatio decursu honorum, etiam aetatis flexu constitisset.

Cesare Maccari (1840-1919): Cicero denounces Catiline (Palazzo Madama, Rome)

Quam spem cogitationum et consiliorum meorum cum graves communium temporum tum varii nostri casus fefellerunt; nam qui locus quietis et tranquillitatis plenissimus fore videbatur, in eo maximae moles molestiarum et turbulentissimae tempestates exstiterunt; neque vero nobis cupientibus atque exoptantibus fructus oti datus est ad eas artis, quibus a pueris dediti fuimus, celebrandas inter nosque recolendas.

Nam prima aetate incidimus in ipsam perturbationem disciplinae veteris, et consulatu devenimus in medium rerum omnium certamen atque discrimen, et hoc tempus omne post consulatum obiecimus eis fluctibus, qui per nos a communi peste depulsi in nosmet ipsos redundarent. [Read more...]

Author: Marcello · Filed under: Incipit, Latin · Tags:

De Bello Civili

Litteris C. Caesaris consulibus redditis aegre ab his impetratum est summa tribunorum plebis contentione, ut in senatu recitarentur; ut vero ex litteris ad senatum referretur, impetrari non potuit. Referunt consules de re publica [in civitate]. [Incitat] L. Lentulus consul senatu rei publicae se non defuturum pollicetur, si audacter ac fortiter sententias dicere velint; sin Caesarem respiciant atque eius gratiam sequantur, ut superioribus fecerint temporibus, se sibi consilium capturum neque senatus auctoritati obtemperaturum: habere se quoque ad Caesaris gratiam atque amicitiam receptum. In eandem sententiam loquitur Scipio: Pompeio esse in animo rei publicae non deesse, si senatus sequatur; si cunctetur atque agat lenius, nequiquam eius auxilium, si postea velit, senatum imploraturum.

Haec Scipionis oratio, quod senatus in urbe habebatur Pompeiusque aberat, ex ipsius ore Pompei mitti videbatur. Dixerat aliquis leniorem sententiam, ut primo M. Marcellus, ingressus in eam orationem, non oportere ante de ea re ad senatum referri, quam dilectus tota Italia habiti et exercitus conscripti essent, quo praesidio tuto et libere senatus, quae vellet, decernere auderet; ut M. Calidius, qui censebat, ut Pompeius in suas provincias proficisceretur, ne qua esset armorum causa: timere Caesarem ereptis ab eo duabus legionibus, ne ad eius periculum reservare et retinere eas ad urbem Pompeius videretur; ut M. Rufus, qui sententiam Calidii paucis fere mutatis rebus sequebatur. Hi omnes convicio L. Lentuli consulis correpti exagitabantur. Lentulus sententiam Calidii pronuntiaturum se omnina negavit. Marcellus perterritus conviciis a sua sententia discessit. Sic vocibus consulis, terrore praesentis exercitus, minis amicorum Pompei plerique compulsi inviti et coacti Scipionis sententiam sequuntur: uti ante certam diem Caesar exercitum dimittat; si non faciat, eum adversus rem publicam facturum videri. Intercedit M. Antonius, Q. Cassius, tribuni plebis. Refertur confestim de intercessione tribunorum. Dicuntur sententiae graves; ut quisque acerbissime crudelissimeque dixit, ita quam maxime ab inimicis Caesaris collaudatur.

Misso ad vesperum senatu omnes, qui sunt eius ordinis, a Pompeio evocantur. Laudat promptos Pompeius atque in posterum confirmat, segniores castigat atque incitat. Multi undique ex veteribus Pompei exercitibus spe praemiorum atque ordinum evocantur, multi ex duabus legionibus, quae sunt traditae a Caesare, arcessuntur. Completur urbs et ipsum comitium tribunis, centurionibus, evocatis. Omnes amici consulum, necessarii Pompei atque eorum, qui veteres inimicitias cum Caesare gerebant, in senatum coguntur; quorum vocibus et concursu terrentur infirmiores, dubii confirmantur, plerisque vero libere decernendi potestas eripitur. Pollicetur L. Piso censor sese iturum ad Caesarem, item L. Roscius praetor, qui de his rebus eum doceant: sex dies ad eam rem conficiendam spatii postulant. Dicuntur etiam ab nonnullis sententiae, ut legati ad Caesarem mittantur, qui voluntatem senatus ei proponant.

Author: Marcello · Filed under: Incipit, Latin · Tags:

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Author: Marcello · Filed under: Incipit, Latin · Tags:

Civil Disobedience

I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

Author: Marcello · Filed under: English, Incipit · Tags:

De natura deorum

Cum multae res in philosophia nequaquam satis adhuc explicatae sint, tum perdifficilis, Brute, quod tu minime ignoras, et perobscura quaestio est de natura deorum, quae et ad cognitionem animi pulcherrima est et ad moderandam religionem necessaria. De qua [cum] tam variae sint doctissimorum hominum tamque discrepantes sententiae, magno argumento esse debeat [ea] causa, principium philosophiae ad h* scientiam, prudenterque Academici a rebus incertis adsensionem cohibuisse. Quid est enim temeritate turpius aut quid tam temerarium tamque indignum sapientis gravitate atque constantia quam aut falsum sentire aut, quod non satis explorate perceptum sit et cognitum, sine ulla dubitatione defendere?

Velut in hac quaestione plerique, quod maxime veri simile est et quo omnes +sese duce natura venimus, deos esse dixerunt, dubitare se Protagoras, nullos esse omnino Diagoras Melius et Theodorus Cyrenaicus putaverunt. Qui vero deos esse dixerunt, tanta sunt in varietate et dissensione, ut eorum infinitum sit enumerare sententias. Nam et de figuris deorum et de locis atque sedibus et de actione vitae multa dicuntur, deque is summa philosophorum dissensione certatur; quod vero maxime rem causamque continet, utrum nihil agant, nihil moliantur, omni curatione et administratione rerum vacent, an contra ab iis et a principio omnia facta et constituta sint et ad infinitum tempus regantur atque moveantur, in primis [quae] magna dissensio est, eaque nisi diiudicatur, in summo errore necesse est homines atque in maximarum rerum ignoratione versari.

Author: Marcello · Filed under: Incipit, Latin · Tags: