Esphagē

Death_of_Cicero

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ἐν τούτῳ δ’ οἱ σφαγεῖς ἐπῆλθον, ἑκατοντάρχης Ἑρέννιος καὶ Ποπίλλιος χιλίαρχος, ᾧ πατροκτονίας ποτὲ δίκην φεύγοντι συνεῖπεν ὁ Κικέρων, ἔχοντες ὑπηρέτας. ἐπεὶ δὲ τὰς θύρας κεκλεισμένας εὑρόντες ἐξέκοψαν, οὐ φαινομένου τοῦ Κικέρωνος οὐδὲ τῶν ἔνδον εἰδέναι φασκόντων, λέγεται νεανίσκον τινὰ τεθραμμένον μὲν ὑπὸ τοῦ Κικέρωνος ἐν γράμμασιν ἐλευθερίοις καὶ μαθήμασιν, ἀπελεύθερον δὲ Κοΐντου τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ, Φιλόλογον τοὔνομα, φράσαι τῷ χιλιάρχῳ τὸ φορεῖον κομιζόμενον διὰ τῶν καταφύτων καὶ συσκίων περιπάτων ἐπὶ τὴν θάλατταν. ὁ μὲν οὖν χιλίαρχος ὀλίγους ἀναλαβὼν μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ περιέθει πρὸς τὴν ἔξοδον, τοῦ δ’ Ἑρεννίου δρόμῳ φερομένου διὰ τῶν περιπάτων ὁ Κικέρων ᾔσθετο, καὶ τοὺς οἰκέτας ἐκέλευσεν ἐνταῦθα καταθέσθαι τὸ φορεῖον. αὐτός δ’, ὥσπερ εἰώθει, τῇ ἀριστερᾷ χειρὶ τῶν γενείων ἁπτόμενος ἀτενὲς ἐνεώρα τοῖς σφαγεῦσιν, αὐχμοῦ καὶ κόμης ἀνάπλεως καὶ συντετηκὼς ὑπὸ φροντίδων τὸ πρόσωπον, ὥστε τοὺς πλείστους ἐγκαλύψασθαι τοῦ Ἑρεννίου σφάζοντος αὐτόν, ἐσφάγη δὲ τὸν τράχηλον ἐκ τοῦ φορείου προτείνας, ἔτος ἐκεῖνο γεγονὼς ἑξηκοστὸν καί τέταρτον, τὴν δὲ κεφαλὴν ἀπέκοψεν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰς χεῖρας, Ἀντωνίου κελεύσαντος, αἷς τοὺς Φιλιππικοὺς ἔγραψεν. αὐτός τε γὰρ ὁ Κικέρων τοὺς κατ’ Ἀντωνίου λόγους Φιλιππικοὺς ἐπέγραψε καὶ μέχρι νῦν τὰ βιβλία Φιλιππικοὶ καλοῦνται.
(Plutarch, Bios Kikerōnos 48)

But meantime his assassins came to the villa, Herennius a centurion, and Popillius a tribune, who had once been prosecuted for parricide and defended by Cicero; and they had helpers. After they had broken in the door, which they found closed, Cicero was not to be seen, and the inmates said they knew not where he was. Then, we are told, a youth who had been liberally educated by Cicero, and who was a freedman of Cicero’s brother Quintus, Philologus by name, told the tribune that the litter was being carried through the wooded and shady walks towards the sea. The tribune, accordingly, taking a few helpers with him, ran round towards the exit, but Herennius hastened on the run through the walks, and Cicero, perceiving him, ordered the servants to set the litter down where they were. Then he himself, clasping his chin with his left hand, as was his wont, looked steadfastly at his slayers, his head all squalid and unkempt, and his face wasted with anxiety, so that most of those that stood by covered their faces while Herennius was slaying him. For he stretched his neck forth from the litter and was slain, being then in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut off his head, by Antony’s command, and his hands — the hands with which he wrote the Philippics. For Cicero himself entitled his speeches against Antony “Philippics,” and to this day the documents are called Philippics. (tr. Bernadotte Perrin)

2 thoughts on “Esphagē”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s