Virtutem

Roman_Military_Statue

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

“Ceterum homines superbissimi procul errant. maiores eorum omnia quae licebat illis reliquere, divitias, imagines, memoriam sui praeclaram; virtutem non reliquere, neque poterant: ea sola neque datur dono neque accipitur. sordidum me et incultis moribus aiunt, quia parum scite convivium exorno neque histrionem ullum neque pluris preti coquom quam vilicum habeo. quae mihi lubet confiteri, Quirites; nam ex parente meo et ex aliis sanctis viris ita accepi, munditias mulieribus, viris laborem convenire, omnibusque bonis oportere plus gloriae quam divitiarum esse; arma, non supellectilem decori esse. quin ergo, quod iuvat, quod carum aestumant, id semper faciant: ament, potent; ubi adulescentiam habuere, ibi senectutem agant, in conviviis, dediti ventri et turpissumae parti corporis; sudorem, pulverem et alia talia relinquant nobis, quibus illa epulis iucundiora sunt. verum non ita est. nam ubi se flagitiis dedecoravere turpissimi viri, bonorum praemia ereptum eunt. ita iniustissume luxuria et ignavia, pessumae artes, illis qui coluere eas nihil officiunt, rei publicae innoxiae cladi sunt.”
(Sallust, Bell. Iug. 85.38-43)

But these men are filled with arrogance and they are very wrong. Their ancestors left them all that they could leave: wealth, family portraits, the glorious memory of their own actions; they did not leave them virtue, nor could they. That is the only thing that cannot be given or received as a gift. They say I am vulgar and uneducated because I do know how to set an elegant dinner table and I do not have an actor or a cook worth more than my foreman. But I’m pleased to confess that this is true, citizens. For I have learned from my parents and other righteous men that elegance is for women, labour is for men; that good men ought to have more glory than wealth; that armour is the true ornament, not furniture. Well, then, let them always do what they enjoy, what they consider valuable: let them fall in love, get drunk, continue to do in old age what they did as young men—attend banquets, remain dedicated to their belly and the shameful parts of their body. Let them leave to us the sweat and the dust and other such things; to us these things are sweeter than banquets. But, it doesn’t happen like that. For when these most disgraceful men have debased themselves with their own dereliction, they set out to steal the rewards due to good men. And so it is most unjust that these most wicked practices, extravagant wastefulness and cowardly indolence, do no damage to those who adopt
them, but they are the ruin of the innocent Republic. (tr. William W. Batstone)

Imagines

Togatus Barberini

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

“Equidem ego non ignoro, si iam mihi respondere velint, abunde illis facundam et compositam orationem fore. sed in maxumo vostro beneficio cum omnibus locis meque vosque maledictis lacerent, non placuit reticere, ne quis modestiam in conscientiam duceret. nam me quidem ex animi mei sententia nulla oratio laedere potest; quippe vera necesse est bene praedicent, falsa vita moresque mei superant. sed quoniam vostra consilia accusantur, qui mihi summum honorem et maxumum negotium imposuistis, etiam atque etiam reputate, num eorum paenitendum sit. non possum fidei causa imagines neque triumphos aut consulatus maiorum meorum ostentare, at, si res postulet, hastas, vexillum, phaleras, alia militaria dona, praeterea cicatrices advorso corpore. hae sunt meae imagines, haec nobilitas, non hereditate relicta, ut illa illis, sed quae ego meis plurumis laboribus et periculis quaesivi. non sunt composita verba mea; parvi id facio. ipsa se virtus satis ostendit; illis artificio opus est, ut turpia facta oratione tegant. neque litteras Graecas didici; parum placebat eas discere, quippe quae ad virtutem doctoribus nihil profuerant. at illa multo optima rei publicae doctus sum: hostem ferire, praesidia agitare, nihil metuere nisi turpem famam, hiemem et aestatem iuxta pati, humi requiescere, eodem tempore inopiam et laborem tolerare. his ego praeceptis milites hortabor; neque illos arte colam, me opulenter, neque gloriam meam, laborem illorum faciam. hoc est utile, hoc civile imperium. namque cum tute per mollitiem agas, exercitum supplicio cogere, id est dominum, non imperatorem esse. haec atque alia talia maiores vostri faciundo seque remque publicam celebravere. quis nobilitas freta, ipsa dissimilis moribus, nos illorum aemulos contemnit et omnis honores non ex merito, sed quasi debitos a vobis repetit.”
(Sallust, Bell. Iug. 85.26-37)

I am fully aware that if they wanted to respond to me now, they would deliver a very eloquent and crafted oration. But on the occasion of the very great kindness you have bestowed, since they cut me and you at every opportunity with insults, I did not want to be silent. I did not want modesty to be construed as a guilty conscience. In fact, it is my heartfelt opinion that no speech can damage me: the truth necessarily speaks well for me; lies are refuted by my life and character. But it is your judgement that is denounced, you who gave me the greatest office and the most important mission, and so you must consider again and again whether your action is to be regretted. I cannot justify your confidence by bringing forth the portraits or triumphs or consulships of my ancestors; but, if circumstances demand, I can bring forth spears, a banner, medallions, other military honours, and in addition the scars on the front of my body. These are my family portraits, my nobility, not an inheritance bequeathed to me, as theirs is, but won by my own many labours and dangers. My words are not well crafted; I care little for that. Manly virtue can present itself well enough; they are the ones who need artifice to hide their shameful deeds with a speech. And I have not learned Greek: I had no desire to learn that which of course was of no help in teaching the teachers virtue. But I have learned those things that are most important to the state: to strike the enemy, to defend a position, to fear nothing but a disgraceful report, to endure alike the cold of winter and the heat of summer, to sleep on the ground, to sustain hunger and hard work at the same time. These are the lessons I urge upon my soldiers. And I am not stingy with them while being lavish with myself; I do not give them the labour and take glory for myself. This is effective, this is civic command. For when you live a soft life of safety, but coerce an army with threats of punishment, that is to be a slave-owner, not a commander. It was by doing these and other similar things that your ancestors glorified themselves and their state. But the aristocrats, relying on that glory, while being themselves of a very different character, hold us in contempt, though we emulate their ancestors. And then they seek from you all the political offices, not because they deserve them, but as if they were entitled to them. (tr. William W. Batstone)

Nobilitas

Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius

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

“Comparate nunc, Quirites, cum illorum superbia me hominem novom. Quae illi audire aut legere solent, eorum partem vidi, alia egomet gessi; quae illi litteris, ea ego militando didici. nunc vos existumate facta an dicta pluris sint. contemnunt novitatem meam, ego illorum ignaviam; mihi fortuna, illis probra obiectantur. quamquam ego naturam unam et communem omnium existumo, sed fortissimum quemque generosissimum. ac si iam ex patribus Albini aut Bestiae quaeri posset, mene an illos ex se gigni maluerint, quid responsuros creditis, nisi sese liberos quam optumos voluisse? quod si iure me despiciunt, faciant item maioribus suis, quibus, uti mihi, ex virtute nobilitas coepit. invident honori meo; ergo invideant labori, innocentiae, periculis etiam meis, quoniam per haec illum cepi. verum homines corrupti superbia ita aetatem agunt, quasi vestros honores contemnant; ita hos petunt, quasi honeste vixerint. ne illi falsi sunt, qui divorsissumas res pariter exspectant, ignaviae voluptatem et praemia virtutis. atque etiam, cum apud vos aut in senatu verba faciunt, pleraque oratione maiores suos extollunt, eorum fortia facta memorando clariores sese putant. quod contra est. nam quanto vita illorum praeclarior, tanto horum socordia flagitiosior. et profecto ita se res habet: maiorum gloria posteris quasi lumen est, neque bona neque mala eorum in occulto patitur. huiusce rei ego inopiam fateor, Quirites, verum, id quod multo praeclarius est, meamet facta mihi dicere licet. nunc videte quam iniqui sint. quod ex aliena virtute sibi arrogant, id mihi ex mea non concedunt, scilicet quia imagines non habeo et quia mihi nova nobilitas est, quam certe peperisse melius est quam acceptam corrupisse.”
(Sallust, Bell. Iug. 85.13-25)

“Compare, now, citizens, those men, their arrogance, with me, a “new man”. The things that they heard or read about, some of them were things I saw, the rest were things I did. What they learned from books, I learned being a soldier. Now you must judge whether deeds or words are of more value. They scorn my status as a “new man”, I scorn their cowardice; I am taunted for my station in life, they for their shameful activities. I believe that we all have a single common nature, but that the bravest man is the most noble. And, if the fathers of Albinus or Bestia could be asked whether they would rather have a son like me or like the nobles, what do you think they would say except that they wanted the best possible children? On the other hand, if it is right for them to look down on me, they should look down on their own ancestors too, men whose nobility, like mine, began in manly virtue. They are jealous of my office; therefore, let them be jealous of my hard work, my integrity, even the dangers I have faced, since it was through these that I have gained that office. But these men, vitiated by arrogance, pass their lives as if they despised the honours you can give, but seek those honours as if they had lived an honourable life. Surely they are deceived if they expect to enjoy the pleasures of indolence and the rewards of manliness, two contradictory things. Furthermore, when they speak before you or in the Senate, most of their speech is taken up with praising their ancestors: they think that by recalling those brave deeds they themselves become more glorious. But the converse is true. For the more glorious the life of their ancestors is, the more shameful their own cowardice becomes. Certainly this is the truth of the matter: the glory of their ancestors is like a light which does not allow their virtues or faults to be hidden. I confess, citizens, that I have no advantages of this kind, but I have that which is much more glorious: I can talk about my own deeds. Now consider how unfair they are. They do not grant to me from my own virtue the very thing they arrogate to themselves from the virtue of others—of course it is because I do not have family portraits and my nobility is recent. But surely it is better to have created nobility than to have received and corrupted it.” (tr. William W. Batstone)

Perditum

Ea tempestate mihi imperium populi Romani multo maxume miserabile visum est. Cui cum ad occasum ab ortu solis omnia domita armis parerent, domi otium atque divitiae, quae prima mortales putant, adfluerent, fuere tamen cives, qui seque remque publicam obstinatis animis perditum irent. namque duobus senati decretis ex tanta multitudine neque praemio inductus coniurationem patefecerat neque ex castris Catilinae quisquam omnium discesserat: tanta vis morbi atque uti tabes plerosque civium animos invaserat.
(Sallust, Bell. Cat. 36.4-5)

At that time, it seems to me, the empire of the Roman people was in an especially deplorable state. Everything from the rising sun to the setting sun was dominated by and obedient to Roman arms; and at home there was abundant peace and wealth, things that humans consider most important. But nevertheless there were citizens who with unwavering hearts were intent on destroying themselves and their state. Indeed, in spite of two decrees that were passed by the Senate, no one from that great multitude of men was induced to expose the conspiracy and no one at all left the camp of Catiline. Such was the force of the disease that like a plague had invaded the minds of many citizens. (tr. William W. Batstone)

Tullianum

862-1

Est in carcere locus, quod Tullianum appellatur, ubi paululum adscenderis ad laevam, circiter duodecim pedes humi depressus. eum muniunt undique parietes atque insuper camera lapideis fornicibus iuncta; sed incultu, tenebris, odore foeda atque terribilis eius facies est. in eum locum postquam demissus est Lentulus, vindices rerum capitalium, quibus praecepta erat, laqueo gulam fregere. ita ille patricius ex gente clarissuma Corneliorum, qui consulare imperium Romae habuerat, dignum moribus factisque suis exitium vitae invenit. de Cethego Statilio Gabinio Caepario eodem modi supplicium sumptum est.
(Sallust, Bell. Cat. 55.3-6)

In the prison, when you have gone up a little to the left, there is a place called the Tullianum which is a depression of about twelve feet into the ground. Walls protect it on all sides and above there is a dome made with stone arches, but squalor, murk, and stench make it hideous and terrible to behold. After Lentulus was sent down into this place, the executioners strangled him with a rope as ordered. Thus that man, an aristocrat from the glorious family of the Cornelii, a man who had held consular power at Rome, found an end that suited his character and his actions. Cethegus, Statilius, Gabinius, and Caeparius were executed in the same way. (tr. William W. Batstone)

Virtus

sallust

Omnes homines, qui sese student praestare ceteris animalibus summa ope niti decet ne vitam silentio transeant veluti pecora, quae natura prona atque ventri oboedientia finxit. sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est; animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est. quo mihi rectius videtur ingeni quam virium opibus gloriam quaerere, et, quoniam vita ipsa qua fruimur brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxume longam efficere; nam divitiarum et formae gloria fluxa atque fragilis est, virtus clara aeternaque habetur.
(Sallust, Bell. Cat. 1.1-4)

All human beings who want to be superior to the other animals ought to struggle with every resource not to be like cattle passing silently through life. It is natural for the cattle to hang their heads and obey their stomachs, but all our strength is situated in our mind as well as our body: we use the mind more for control, the body for servitude; the one we have in common with the gods, the other with the beasts. And so I think it more upright to seek glory with our inner resources than with our physical strength and, since life is itself brief, to make the memory of our lives as long as possible. I say this because the glory of wealth and physical beauty is fluid and fragile; but virtue is held brilliant and eternal. (tr. William W. Batstone)