Tyrannicidae

TYRANNICIDAE PRAEMIUM.

Tyrannus, suspicatus sibi venenum datum ab eo medico quem in arce habebat, torsit eum. ille pernegavit. misit ad medicum civitatis. dixit datum illi ab illo venenum, sed se remedium daturum. dedit poculum, quo exhausto statim periit tyrannus. contendunt de praemio.
absit, sanctissimi iudices, ut hanc vos fidem tyrannicidii detrahatis quam et medicus confirmaverit et tyrannus. confingunt nocendi voluntatem postquam sanandi rationem perdiderunt. poenas meas hinc cogitate in quibus nec ira nec natura cessavit. tolerabilis vis est ubi ad consuetudinem mali causa necessitatis emergit. ultio quidem illa, non quaestio. tyrannus venenum non quaesivit; se vindicavit! praemium consequitur qui ausus est et confirmare meum venenum et suum remedium polliceri? o quam facile † regunt persuasiones illecebrae, verumque in contrarium tranferunt! † virus serpebat interius et artus omnes longa poenarum dilatione languebant. veneficium iam tyrannus agnoverat. quia instantem interitum sentiebat, festinans medicum flagitabat. unde venenum tam celeriter praeparasti? dicis forte, “maior mihi dandi veneni fiebat occasio quae ex ipsius voluntate veniebat.” nativum hoc genus timoris est, ut ex sensu priore ad cuncta cautior sollicitudo procedat. nonne iam apud tyrannum cuncta suspecta praesens formido faciebat? medicum tota arce clamabat quasi ego de tyrannicidio non negassem. in arce me nec animus deseruit nec venenum. (Calpurnius Flaccus, Decl. 13)

The Doctor Who Killed a Tyrant

The Law: There is a reward for slaying a tyrant.

The Situation: Suspecting that he had been given poison by a particular doctor whom he kept on call in his castle, a tyrant tortured the man, but he steadfastly denied it. The tyrant sent for the city’s doctor. He told the tyrant that he had been given poison by the other doctor, but that he would administer an antidote. He gave the tyrant a cupful, and, after draining it, he immediately died. They dispute over the reward.

(Speech of the castle doctor)

August members of this tribunal, God forbid that you should impugn this convincing evidence of the tyrannicide which both a doctor and a tyrant have corroborated. They are fabricating the intent to harm him, after they lost the means of curing him. Consider my punishment at this man’s hands, in the course of which neither his rage nor his inborn bent relented. Violence is endurable when the reason of its inevitability emerges to deal with the continued suffering of pain. That was indeed his revenge, not an interrogation. The tyrant did not interrogate me about the poison; no, he vented his vengeance! Does the man who dared both to corroborate my own act of poisoning and to promise his own antidote now aim at the reward? Oh, how easily + the enticements carry within them the capacity to convince and shift the truth into its opposite! + The poisonous brew kept slowly spreading more deeply during the lengthy delay caused by my punishment. At this stage the tyrant became fully aware of the poison. Since he began to realize that death was imminent, pressed for time, he began to clamor for a doctor. By what means did you prepare a poison so quickly? Perhaps you are saying, “I had a more favorable opportunity for administering the poison since it arose from his own free choice.” Well, there exists this naturally occurring type of <fear>, with the result that a more cautious concern would arise from his previous experience in regard to all the circumstances. Didn’t his immediate sense of alarm now begin to render everything as suspicious in the tyrant’s eyes? The tyrant kept shouting for a doctor throughout the entire castle as if I hadn’t denied anything about my attempt on his life. In that castle neither my courage – nor my poison – failed me. (tr. Lewis A. Sussman)

Londoniae

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Post illum* successit Hely filius eius: regnumque quadraginta annis tractavit. hic tres generavit filios: Lud, Cassibellaunum, Nennium: quorum primogenitus, videlicet Lud, regnum post obitum patris suscepit. exin gloriosus aedificator urbium existens, renovavit muros Trinovanti et innumerabilibus turribus eam circumcinxit. praecepit etiam civibus ut domus et aedificia sua in eadem construerent, ita ut non esset in longe positis regnis civitas quae pulchriora palatia contineret. fuit ipse bellicosus homo et in dandis epulis profusus. et cum plures civitates possideret, hanc prae omnibus amabat: et in illa maiori parte totius anni commanebat: unde nominata fuit postmodum Kaerlud. et deinde per corruptionem nominis Kaerlondon. succedente vero tempore per commutationem linguarum dicta fuit Londoniae: et postea Londres applicantibus alienigenis, qui patriam sibi submittebant.

* illum = Cligueillum

(Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae 20.3)

Next to him succeeded his son Heli, who reigned forty years. He had three sons, Lud, Cassibellaun, and Nennius; of whom Lud, being the eldest, succeeded to the kingdom after his father’s death. He became famous for the building of cities, and for rebuilding the walls of Trinovantum, which he also surrounded with innumerable towers. He likewise commanded the citizens to build houses, and all other kinds of structures in it, so that no city in all foreign countries to a great distance round could show more beautiful palaces. He was withal a warlike man, and very magnificent in his feasts and public entertainments. And though he had many other cities, yet he loved this above them all, and resided in it the greater part of the year; for which reason it was afterwards called Kaerlud, and by the corruption of the word, Kaer-london; and again by change of languages, in process of time, London; as also by foreigners who arrived here, and reduced this country under their subjection, it was called Londres. (tr. Aaron Thompson & J.A. Giles)

Degenerare

Tune, cum te ac tuam vitam nosses, in Siciliam tecum grandem praetextatum filium ducebas, ut, etiamsi natura puerum a paternis vitiis atque a generis similitudine abduceret, consuetudo tamen eum et disciplina degenerare non sineret? fac enim fuisse in eo C. Laelii aut M. Catonis materiem atque indolem: quid ex eo boni sperari atque effici potest, qui in patris luxurie sic vixerit ut nullum umquam pudicum neque sobrium convivium viderit, qui in epulis cotidianis adulta aetate per triennium inter impudicas mulieres et intemperantes viros versatus sit, nihil umquam audierit a patre quo pudentior aut melior esset, nihil umquam patrem facere viderit quod cum imitatus esset non, id quod turpissimum est, patris similis putaretur?
(Cicero, In Verrem 2.3.159-160)

How could you, Verres, knowing yourself and the life you lead, take with you to Sicily a young son who was no longer a child, so that, even if his natural bent tended to wean him from his father’s vices and make him unlike his family, habit and training might nevertheless keep him true to type? Suppose there had been in him the stuff and the disposition to make a Laelius or a Cato of him, what good could be hoped for, or produced from, a boy living amid his father’s debaucheries, so that he never set eyes on one decent or sober dinner-party; a boy who day by day for three years spent his adolescence feasting with unchaste women and intoxicated men, who never heard his father say anything that could make him more modest or virtuous, or do anything that he could copy without incurring the foul disgrace of being recognized as his father’s son? (tr. Leonard Hugh Graham Greenwood)

Diamartiai

BMVB1452-Justus_Sustermans-La_familia_de_Darius_davant_Alexandre_el_Gran
Justus Sustermans, The Family of Darius in Front of Alexander

Ταῦτα μὲν Πτολεμαῖος καὶ Ἀριστόβουλος λέγουσι· λόγος δὲ ἔχει καὶ αὐτὸν Ἀλέξανδρον τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ ἐλθεῖν εἴσω ξὺν Ἡφαιστίωνι μόνῳ τῶν ἑταίρων· καὶ τὴν μητέρα τὴν Δαρείου ἀμφιγνοήσασαν ὅστις ὁ βασιλεὺς εἴη αὐτοῖν, ἐστάλθαι γὰρ ἄμφω τῷ αὐτῷ κόσμῳ, τὴν δὲ Ἡφαιστίωνι προσελθεῖν καὶ προσκυνῆσαι, ὅτι μείζων ἐφάνη ἐκεῖνος. ὡς δὲ ὁ Ἡφαιστίων τε ὀπίσω ὑπεχώρησε καί τις τῶν ἀμφ’ αὐτήν, τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον δείξας, ἐκεῖνον ἔφη εἶναι Ἀλέξανδρον, τὴν μὲν καταιδεισθεῖσαν τῇ διαμαρτίᾳ ὑποχωρεῖν, Ἀλέξανδρον δὲ οὐ φάναι αὐτὴν ἁμαρτεῖν· καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνον εἶναι Ἀλέξανδρον. καὶ ταῦτα ἐγὼ οὔθ’ ὡς ἀληθῆ οὔτε ὡς πάντῃ ἄπιστα ἀνέγραψα. ἀλλ’ εἴτε οὕτως ἐπράχθη, ἐπαινῶ Ἀλέξανδρον τῆς τε ἐς τὰς γυναῖκας κατοικτίσεως καἱ τῆς ἐς τὸν ἑταῖρον πίστεως καὶ τιμῆς· εἴτε πιθανὸς δοκεῖ τοῖς συγγράψασιν Ἀλέξανδρος ὡς καὶ ταῦτα ἂν πράξας καὶ εἰπών, καὶ ἐπὶ τῷδε ἐπαινῶ Ἀλέξανδρον.
(Arrian, Anabasis Alexandrou 2.12.6-7)

This is the account of Ptolemaeus and Aristobulus; there is, however, a story that next day Alexander himself visited the tent with Hephaestion and no other companion; and Darius’ mother, not knowing which of the two was the king, as both were dressed alike, approached Hephaestion and did him obeisance, since he appeared the taller. Hephaestion drew back, and one of her attendants pointed to Alexander and said he was the king; she drew back in confusion at her mistake, but Alexander remarked that she had made no mistake, for Hephaestion was also an Alexander. I have written this down without asserting its truth or total incredibility. If it really happened, I approve of Alexander’s compassion for the women and of the trust and honour bestowed on his companion. If the historians of Alexander think it plausible that he would have acted and spoken in this way, I approve of Alexander on that ground too. (tr. Peter Astbury Brunt)

Neanikōtera

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Σκοπεῖτε δέ· καλεῖν κελεύω τοὺς νέους ἐπ’ ἀκρόασιν, δραμὼν ὁ παῖς τοῦτο ποιεῖ, οἱ δ’ οὐ μιμοῦνται τὸν ἐκείνου δρόμον, ὃν ἔδει τῷ παρ’ αὑτῶν καὶ νικᾶν, ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν ἐν ταῖς ᾠδαῖς μένουσιν ἃς ἴσασιν ἅπαντες, οἱ δ’ ἐν φλυαρίαις, οἱ δ’ ἐν γέλωσι· τῆς δὲ ἐν τούτοις βραδυτῆτος παρὰ τῶν ὁρώντων κατηγορουμένης, εἴ ποτε καὶ γνοῖεν εἰσελθεῖν, κατὰ τὰς νύμφας βαδίζουσιν ἤ, τό γε ἀληθέστερον, κατὰ τοὺς ἐπὶ τῶν καλῶν ἰόντας, πρίν τε εἴσω θυρῶν εἶναι καὶ εἰσελθόντες, ὥστ’ εἶναι τοῖς καθημένοις ἀγανακτεῖν οὕτω βλακεύοντας ἀναμένουσι νέους. καὶ τοιαῦτα μὲν τὰ πρὸ τοῦ λόγου, λεγομένου δὲ ἤδη καὶ δεικνυμένου πολλὰ μὲν νεύματα πρὸς ἀλλήλους ὑπὲρ ἡνιόχων καὶ μίμων καὶ ἵππων καὶ ὀρχηστῶν, πολλὰ δὲ ὑπὲρ μάχης ἢ γενομένης ἢ μελλούσης. ἔτι τοίνυν οἱ μὲν ἑστᾶσι, λιθίνοις ἐοικότες, καρπῷ καρπὸν ἐπιβάλλοντες, οἱ δ’ ἑκατέρᾳ χειρὶ τὰς ῥῖνας ἐνοχλοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ κάθηνται τοσούτων ὄντων τῶν κινούντων, οἱ δὲ βίᾳ καθίζουσι τὸν κεκινημένον, οἱ δ’ ἀριθμοῦσι τοὺς ἐπεισερχομένους, τοῖς δ’ ἀρκεῖ πρὸς τὰ φύλλα βλέπειν, τοῖς δὲ λαλεῖν ὅ τι τύχοιεν ἥδιον ἢ παρέχειν αὑτοὺς τῷ ῥήτορι. τὰ δ’ αὖ νεανικώτερα, τὸν γνήσιον τῷ νόθῳ βλάψαι κρότον, καὶ βοὴν κωλύσαι προελθεῖν, καὶ διὰ τοῦ θεάτρου πορευθῆναι παντὸς ἀφέλκοντα τῶν λόγων ὁπόσους οἷόν τε, νῦν μὲν ἀγγελίαις ἐψευσμέναις, νῦν δ’ ἐπὶ λουτρὸν κλήσει τὸ πρὸ ἀρίστου· δαπανῶνται γὰρ δὴ καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτά τινες. οὔτ’ οὖν ὑμῖν, ὦ κακοὶ νέοι, κέρδος οὐδέν, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ τοῖς ἀποῦσιν, οὔτε τῷ λέγοντι τό γε ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἧκον, ὅταν ὃς μόνος ἐστὶ μισθὸς ἐπιδείξεων, τοῦτον οὐκ ἔχῃ.
(Libanius, Or. 3.11-14)

Just consider. I tell my slave to invite the students to a lecture. Off he runs and does my bidding, but they don’t match his speed, though it should be even outdone by their own: some of them dilly-dally over popular songs, or horse-play, or joking, and if ever they do condescend to put in an appearance, when the onlookers object to their slowness on such occasions, they mince along like brides or, with more truth perhaps, like tight-rope walkers, both before and after entering the door, so that they annoy those already seated and awaiting the arrival of such idle young good-for-nothings. That is what happens before the speech; but when I am speaking and developing any theme, there is much nodding of heads to one another about drivers, actors, horses, dancers or some fight that has happened or is due to happen. What is more, some stand there with arms folded like graven images, or fidget with their noses with either hand, or sit stock still, though there is so much to excite them, or they force an excited listener to sit down, or count the number of the newcomers, or content themselves with looking at the leaves or chattering about anything that comes into their heads – anything rather than attend to the speaker. And the horse-play, too! – spoiling genuine applause with the slow hand-clap, preventing the utterance of an approving cheer, walking through the middle of the whole theatre and diverting as many as they can away from the speech, sometimes by a faked message, sometimes by an invitation to bathe before dinner – yes! There are people who waste their money even on things like that! You wretched students, there is no more profit in it for you, any more than for absentees, nor for the speaker, at least as far as you are concerned, when he fails to get the one real reward for declamations. (tr. Albert Francis Norman)

Centesimum

Tum Anci filii duo etsi antea semper pro indignissimo habuerant se patrio regno tutoris fraude pulsos, regnare Romae advenam non modo vicinae sed ne Italicae quidem stirpis, tum impensius iis indignitas crescere si ne ab Tarquinio quidem ad se rediret regnum, sed praeceps inde porro ad servitia caderet, ut in eadem civitate post centesimum fere annum quam Romulus deo prognatus deus ipse tenuerit regnum donec in terris fuerit, id servus serva natus possideat. cum commune Romani nominis tum praecipue id domus suae dedecus fore, si Anci regis virili stirpe salva non modo advenis sed servis etiam regnum Romae pateret.
(Livy 1.40.2-3)

Now the two sons of Ancus had always considered it a great outrage that they had been ousted from their father’s kingship by the crime of their guardian, and that Rome should be ruled by a stranger whose descent was derived from a race not only remote but actually not even Italian. But their indignation was vastly increased by the prospect that even after Tarquinius’ death the sovereignty would not revert to them, but, plunging down to yet baser depths, would fall into the hands of slaves; so that where, a hundred years before, Romulus, a god’s son and himself a god, had borne sway, so long as he remained on earth, in that self-same state a slave and the son of a slave woman would be king. It would be not only a general disgrace to the Roman name, but particularly to their own house, if during the lifetime of Ancus’ sons it should be open not only to strangers, but even to slaves to rule over the Romans. (tr. Benjamin Oliver Foster)

 

Purpurantibus

milka

Addit etiam illud, quod vinctum fasciola Aurelianum aquila innoxie de cunis levaverit et in aram posuerit, quae iuxta sacellum forte sine ignibus erat. idem auctor est vitulum matri eius natum mirae magnitudinis, candidum sed purpurantibus maculis, ita ut haberet in latere uno “ave” et in alio coronam. (Historia Augusta, Vita Aureliani 4.6-7)

This, too, is related, that Aurelian, while wrapped in his swaddling-clothes, was lifted out of his cradel by an eagle, but without suffering harm, and was laid on an altar in a neighbouring shrine which happened to have no fire upon it. The same writer asserts that on his mother’s land a calf was born of marvellous size, white but with purple spots, which formed on one side the word “hail,” on the other side a crown. (tr. David Magie)