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Chapter Two Transforming the Visible: In Catilinam 1 and 3
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Chapter Two
Transforming the Visible: In Catilinam 1 and 3

Nullus locus in [Roma] non religionum deorumque est plenus.

There is no place in Rome that is not filled with religious significance and with gods.
Livy 5.52.2

In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., began a now-famous oration with the following words: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. . . . But one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free." The evocation of Abraham Lincoln was obvious to all present: in the diction of the opening phrase, in the allusion to the statue in the Lincoln Memorial, and in the explicit reference to the Emancipation Proclamation. If, two thousand years hence, we had no text of the Gettysburg Address, or were unsure where King stood when he spoke, or did not realize that the monument housed a huge statue of Lincoln, the rhetorical impact of the words might well be obscure. The phrase "five score years ago" would appear to be an inexplicable archaism, and the idea of the "symbolic shadow" of a "great American" might never be connected with the fact that King spoke in the actual shadow cast by the massive representation of the Great Emancipator.

The distance we are removed in time and place has obscured many of the associations that must have been immediately available to Cicero's audience. In a thoughtful analysis of the symbolism of the Marsyas statue in the Comitium of the Forum Romanum, F. Coarelli has spoken of ideas connected with a monument that "can easily escape a modern observer, yet were perfectly comprehensible to all at the time of their realization."[1] What is for us a recondite allusion to setting, extracted


with some effort from the text, might well have been for Cicero's listeners immediately obvious. And an accomplished orator like Cicero would surely have avoided belaboring the obvious. In exploring this topic, therefore, we must keep in mind that Cicero's rhetorical instincts would frequently have counseled him to make connections between theme and setting subtle rather than patent, implicit rather than explicit. Furthermore, if we are to understand both the explicit and implicit allusions to places and monuments in the speeches, it is clear that we must go beyond analysis of the text in isolation and attempt to hear the speech as it was heard by its audience; we must try to understand, insofar as possible, the audience's reaction to what they heard in the context of what they saw. While certain elements of the topographical setting of the Catilinarians and the associations of that setting are irretrievably lost to us, much has been revealed through the work of Roman historians and archaeologists. We will begin, then, with the places where the speeches were delivered, focusing not only on their physical topography but also on their "metaphysical topography"—that is, the meaning these places would have held for a Roman audience in Cicero's time.

The Temple of Jupiter Stator

The first Catilinarian oration was delivered to the Senate in the Temple of Jupiter Stator, which was at the time surrounded by a large number of citizens, including a contingent of armed equites .[2] The building was located at the southeast end of the Forum valley on the elevated ground of the Velia at the base of the Palatine Hill.[3] In Roman, as in many an-


cient religions, crossroads were sacred places, and the Temple of Jupiter Stator stood guard over a crossroads of great antiquity, sanctity, and strategic importance, formed by the meeting of the Sacra Via and the Clivus Palatinus. East of this point, the extension of the Sacred Way led out of the city through the Porta Capena and along the Via Appia; to the north the Velia descended towards the populous residential areas of the Subura; to the south the Clivus Palatinus led up the Palatine Hill, the ancient nucleus of Romulean Rome; and to the west the Sacra Via descended from this place, its beginning and highest point, past the monuments associated with the earliest days of the city—the house of the Vestal Virgins, the Temple of Vesta, and the Regia—down into the Forum proper.[4] Although its precise location remains a matter of debate, a review of the historical associations of the temple itself, as well as a general understanding of the topography and monuments ofthe


area, allows us to reconstruct the kinds of emotional and intellectual meanings this place would have held for Cicero's audience.[5]

The stories that were connected with the foundation of the Temple of Jupiter Stator in Cicero's time are preserved in the histories of Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.[6] Both Augustan historians trace the vowing of the temple to a battle in the war with the Sabines that followed the forcible abduction of the Sabine women by the Romans. And in both accounts of this battle the reader can discern the joining of two important aetiological narratives, one explaining the location and name of the Temple of Jupiter Stator on the elevated ground at the southeast end of the Forum valley, and the other accounting for the Lacus Curtius at the opposite end of the Forum.

In the opening of his account of the battle, Livy describes how the Sabines rushed down into the Forum from the Capitoline citadel, which they had seized through the treachery of Tarpeia. In the Forum they met the Romans, led by Romulus, who had poured forth from their walled settlement on the Palatine. During the battle the Roman champion Hostilius falls, and the tide of the struggle suddenly turns. Romulus is swept by his retreating troops back to the "old gate of the Palatine" (i.e., the Porta Mugonia), where he addresses a prayer to Jupiter, reminding him that it was with his divine assent that he had first founded the city "here on the Palatine" (1.12.4). He goes on to ask the god to "drive the enemy back at least from this spot" (1.12.5) and to stay the flight of the Romans, promising that he will dedicate a temple to Jupiter Stator to serve as a reminder that the city had been saved by divine intervention. He then announces to his men that Jupiter Optimus Maximus commanded them to renew the battle, and he rushes to the forefront of his troops.

This event, which the reader expects to be followed immediately by a description of the success of the Romans in driving the enemy back across the Forum, is instead succeeded by an account of the fortunes of the Sabine champion, Mettius Curtius. At a point when the reader assumes that Romulus and his men, inspired by Jupiter Stator, have already forced the enemy back from the Porta, Curtius is depicted "not


Fig. 2.
The Center of Republican Rome, showing the Capitoline Hill, the Velia, and the
Forum valley. The plan illustrates the positions of key monuments as they
might have existed in 63 B.C.

far from the gate of the Palatine" (1.12.8), taunting the Romans as cowardly and already defeated. Spurred by Curtius's challenges, Romulus leads a charge against the enemy, whereupon the Sabines retreat. Curtius is plunged by his horse into the marsh at the opposite end of the Forum but soon emerges to renew the battle. By his wedding of these two narratives Livy encourages the reader to see the same series of events from two different points of view: in the first part of the narrative the Roman flight to the Porta is attributed to the fall of their champion


Hostilius, and the Roman recovery depends on Romulus's leadership and his prayer to Jupiter Stator; in the succeeding episode, however, the Romans appear to have been driven back to the Porta by the onslaught of Curtius and are moved to counterattack by Romulus, who has been aroused by Curtius's taunts.

Dionysius's account of the battle (2.42.1–43.5) also appears to be a conjunction of the same episodes, although the order of the two has been reversed.[7] In the first, Mettius Curtius, commanding the Sabine center, drives the Romans back to the gates of the city but is himself forced back when Romulus abandons command of the right wing to aid his retreating troops in the center (2.42.3). This account ends with Curtius's escape from the swamp. In the episode that follows, Romulus is wounded on the head by a stone and carried inside the walls. The Romans are forced to retreat, pursued "even up to the city" (2.43.2: achri tes poleos ), until Romulus, recovered from his wound, again leads his men out and turns the tide of battle. It is now the Sabines who are forced to retreat, a maneuver in which they are hampered by the pursuit of the Romans, who attack from the high ground (2.43.4). While Dionysius makes no mention of Romulus's vow in this description of the battle, in a later passage he reports that because the god had heard his prayers and caused his routed troops to stand and fight, Romulus inaugurated a temple to Jupiter Stator near the Porta Mugonia (2.50.3).

The Temple of Jupiter Stator, then, was associated with Rome's first great military crisis. The flight that carried Romulus and his men to the Porta Mugonia was the turning point in a battle in which the very survival of Romulus's new city was to be decided. At the outset of the battle the Romans had been forced to abandon the rest of Rome to their enemies, and they controlled only the ancient core of the city within the Palatine walls. It was back to these walls, within the pomerium, or sacred boundary, of the Palatine city, that the Sabines had driven the Romans at the critical moment of Romulus's appeal to Jupiter. From this point no further retreat was possible, for if the Sabines had succeeded in breaching the Porta, the city would have been lost. The moment is dramatically akin to the night attack on the Capitoline by the Gauls when the Arx alone was held by a remnant of defenders against the enemy. And just as the sight of the Arx evoked the memory of Manlius, who


had prevented the final victory of the Gauls, the Temple of Jupiter Stator served as a testament to the leadership and heroism of Romulus, who had saved the newly founded city at a moment of profound danger.

The accounts of Livy and Dionysius also show that the continuance of Rome was not only the work of human resolve; central to the meaning of the story that the Romans associated with the temple was the belief that the salvation of the city at this time was owed to the direct intervention of Jupiter on Rome's behalf. This divine intervention is to be seen in two ways. In Livy's narrative, Romulus appeals to Jupiter in his capacity as Stator or "Stayer" to halt both the attack of the Sabine enemy (1.12.5: hinc saltem arce hostes ) and the flight of the Romans (1.12.5: deme terrorem Romanis fugamque foedam siste ). This latter interpretation of the meaning of the cult title of the god is the more common of the two and reappears in a second story in Livy connected with the temple (10.36.4–12). Here the historian states that in 296 B.C. , when M. Atilius Regulus was hard-pressed in a battle against the Samnites at Luceria, he vowed a temple to Jupiter Stator if the god would stay the flight of the Roman troops. Immediately thereafter the Romans halted their retreat, turned, and routed the enemy. Explaining why the same temple at the foot of the Palatine was twice vowed, Livy adds that Romulus had inaugurated only a fanum, or consecrated area, while the building itself was erected by the state subsequent to Atilius's vow (10.37.14–16). From these accounts it is clear that Cicero's audience would have seen Jupiter Stator as a god of battle who acted on behalf of Rome in moments of grave military crisis. He was both a divine protector who repulsed the attacks of Rome's enemies and a heavenly ally who brought victory by inspiring Roman troops to overcome their panic and fear.[9]

The senators who assembled to hear Cicero's speech would have felt Romulus's presence in this place in yet another way. Not only did the site evoke the memory of Romulus in his role as military leader, but it also recalled his actions as founder, for this area was closely associated with the Palatine Hill and the city that had been founded there by Ro-


mulus. First of all, the site constituted the chief topographical link between the Forum valley and the Palatine, since the saddle of the Velia formed a natural ramp leading up the hill. Here was the easiest access to the Palatine, the point at which the earliest herdsmen would have driven their cattle up into the archaic settlement. In fact, Varro (LL 5.164) states that the name of the Porta Mugonia, the gate that stood immediately by the Temple of Jupiter Stator, came from mugire and referred to the lowing of the cattle that had once been herded along this path.[10]

In addition to being the easiest point of access to the Palatine, the site of the Temple of Jupiter Stator was also the most ancient and solemn area of approach to the hill. The Romans believed that the colonial founding rites practiced in their own times had been initiated by Romulus when he founded the city of Rome.[11] According to these rites the founder used a bronze plow to mark out the pomerium, the sacred boundary, of the new city. The walls of the city followed the circuit thus created, while the gates were indicated by lifting the plow in certain places along the line of this circuit. The Porta Mugonia, which appears in all the ancient references as the monument most closely associated both topographically and notionally with the Temple of Jupiter Stator, was one of the three gates believed to have been created by Romulus when, by this rite, he founded the Palatine city.[12] Further, it was in this place, according to Ovid, that Romulus had initiated these rites by burying the burnt offerings made on behalf of the new city and by beginning the sacred furrow.[13] It is for this reason that Livy depicts Romulus,


when he vows the temple to Jupiter Stator, reminding Jupiter that "here on the Palatine, commanded by your birds, I laid the first foundations of the city" (1.12.3–7: Iuppiter, tuis, inquit, iussus avibus hic in Palatio prima urbi fundamenta ieci ).

The immediate area of the temple would have contained a number of other visible monuments (in addition to the Porta) connected with this act of foundation. The line of the archaic pomerium of the Palatine, followed by the celebrants of the Lupercalia, would probably have been marked by stone cippi .[14] Ovid (Fast. 4.821–25) refers to an altar set up here by Romulus during the ritual founding of the city to mark the place where the first fruits had been buried. Unless this altar was one of those that had fallen to ruin and been restored by Augustus, it would no doubt have been visible in Cicero's day. Finally, in this area stood a temple to the Lares, the indwelling spirits of the city of Rome, as well as one to the Di Penates, the household gods carried by Aeneas from Troy. Both of these monuments were associated with divine sanction for and protection of the city from its earliest existence.[15]


If one were to think of Romulus's foundation on the Palatine in terms of a house, the site of the Temple of Jupiter Stator was the janua, the sacred entrance, to that house. Or, to draw a different analogy, the associated monuments of the temple and the Porta Mugonia formed the "Propylaeum" of the Palatine. It was on this strategic site that the Palatine "began" in a topographical, religious, and ceremonial sense. And in this place Cicero could assume that images of the foundation of Rome by Romulus and of the great battle later fought against the Sabines to protect the city were particularly vivid in the minds of his audience.

The First Catilinarian: Munitissimus Locus

At the very outset of the first Catilinarian Cicero draws attention to the setting in which the speech takes place.[16] The orator begins the proem


with a riveting series of challenges to Catiline that move from a wider to an ever narrower focus on the prevailing ambiance. After referring to the armed guards who have stood night watch on the Palatine, the fear that has gripped the people, and the loyal citizens who have gathered outside the temple, he asks Catiline whether "the fact that the Senate has met in this well-fortified place (munitissimus locus ) has disturbed" him (1). The passage culminates with an allusion to the "faces and expressions" of the senators who sit within the temple. In a later passage, Cicero goes on to describe in more detail the scene inside the building. Here he recalls how upon Catiline's entrance none of those assembled greeted him but rather shrank away in fear, and how when he took his seat, the benches around him immediately emptied (16). The mute hostility and dread displayed by the senators both here and at the moment when Cicero orders Catiline from the city (20–21) is contrasted with the raucously expressed sentiments of the citizens who surround the building (21). These men, according to Cicero, have scarcely been restrained from physically attacking Catiline and eagerly await the opportunity to escort him to the city gates.

These allusions to the highly charged ambiance within and without the temple were intended by Cicero to focus the attention of his listeners on the crisis that was being played out before their eyes. Everything they saw and heard around them became a perceptible demonstration of Cicero's contentions: that Catiline had paralyzed the city with fear; that the masses, the equites, and the Senate itself were united in their opposition to the conspirators; that the consul's prudent action had thus far allowed the city to be preserved from harm; and that the crisis had deepened to the point that firm and courageous action was now imperative. Most of all, such scenes become a visible sign of Catiline's alienation from the city and its inhabitants, an isolation so complete that now the very light and air of Rome could no longer hold any pleasure for him.[17]

In addition to describing the general milieu in which the speech was taking place, Cicero twice addresses Jupiter Stator, the deity to whom the building was dedicated and whose statue would have dominated the


inside of the temple (11, 33). Cicero could be sure that these references to the god would call up a number of associations in the minds of his listeners, especially when we note that these references are embedded in a text that makes constant use of metaphors drawn from war and personal combat.[18] For instance, the defenders of the state congratulate themselves on avoiding Catiline's "weapons," while the final decree of the Senate is termed a "sword hidden in its sheath" (2, 4). In section 15 Cicero uses a dueling metaphor to describe his escape from Catiline's attacks "by, as it were, a slight swerve of the body" and goes on to refer to "the dagger" that has "so many times . . . been wrested from [Catiline's] hand" or "by chance slipped from [his] grasp" (16). Since the primary understanding of Jupiter's role as Stator appears to have been as a divine "steadier" in the heat of combat who brought victory through stemming panic and flight, it seems clear that the orator's allusions to the temple and its god, when set within a pattern of references to metaphorical combat, would have led his listeners to feel that the struggle with Catiline and his followers could already be seen as a war, and that in this war the forces of the boni were encouraged, protected, and supported by the god of battles in whose temple they met.[19]

But allusions to the temple and to Jupiter Stator would have called up other, even more specific, associations, and these were also prepared for by Cicero's development throughout the speech of images of Catiline and his followers. Clearly, one of Cicero's chief aims in the first Catilinarian was to induce his audience to see Catiline not only as a pernicious citizen (3: civem perniciosum )—a traitor deserving of exile—but


as a hostis whose plans and actions had thrust him outside the pale of citizenship and the legal protection that accompanied that status.[20] At various points, therefore, within the overall pattern of military metaphors noted above, the orator exploits the concept of Catiline as an enemy leader from without who has managed to penetrate the walls of the city.[21] Early in the speech the consul declares: "Why, you see the general and commander of this enemy within the walls, and even within the Senate" (5: eorum autem castrorum imperatorem ducemque hostium intra moenia atque adeo in senatu videtis ); and similar diction is repeated when the patria remonstrates with Cicero for allowing the future leader (ducem ) and general (imperatorem ) of a war against the state (bellum ) to leave the city (27). When the orator says to Catiline, exire ex urbe iubet consul hostem (13: "The consul orders the enemy to leave the city"), the syntax and diction of the phrase make clear that the orator is encouraging his listeners to see Catiline as the enemy chief (hostis ) who has breached the city walls, while the consul assumes the role of military commander and defender of the city (consul ), the "togate general" engaged in a duel to the death with the leader of the enemy forces to see which of the two will carry off the spolia opima .[22]

This theme of "the enemy within" is reinforced as well by the orator's oft-repeated allusions to the walls themselves. These begin with the passage cited above (5), in which Cicero exclaims that the enemy general has not only succeeded in entering within the city walls but has even dared to appear inside the Senate. Two subsequent references (10, 19) emphasize the extreme personal danger posed to the consul by his opponent's presence within Rome. In section 32, however, the image of the city wall is a vital one in generalizing the cause. Here Cicero commands


the conspirators to depart and, in so doing, imagines the walls of the city as a physical and moral boundary between patriots and traitors, between good men and evil, between boni and improbi . The injunction that Catiline's followers be separated "from us" by the city wall is prefaced by the remark that this was a demand that Cicero had made many times before. It is not to be doubted, then, that this same theme was one that had been exploited in many previous speeches of Cicero's consular year and had become familiar to his audience.[23]

Such passages prepared Cicero's audience to make an obvious connection between past and present. By the end of the speech, when the orator appeals in prayer to Jupiter Stator, his listeners would surely have felt the special relevance to their own situation of the circumstances under which the temple had been founded. In the early days of the city its loyal defenders had been forced to confront an enemy who had treacherously breached the city walls. Now Cicero's audience too was confronted with an enemy who threatened them from inside the walls. From their foothold within the city the Sabines had launched their attacks throughout the Forum. Catiline and his coconspirators had also created panic and violence throughout the city: they had planned attacks in the Comitium (7, 15, 32), disturbed the tribunals of the judges (32), and threatened "the temples, buildings, and walls of the city and the lives of its citizens" (12). Like their forebears, the boni had now been driven back by the fierce attacks of the enemy to the munitissimus locus at the foot of the Palatine. The senators in Cicero's audience are thus encouraged by the orator to see Catiline and his followers in the role of the Sabine hostes while identifying themselves with the hard-pressed defenders of the Palatine settlement who had been inspired by the will of the god.

In this scenario Cicero himself implicitly assumes the role of Romulus, for he solicits the aid of Jupiter Stator from the very spot where the founder had prayed for the intercession of the same god at a moment of similarly grave danger to the continued existence of the city. The sonorous and moving prayer that concludes the speech is surely intended by Cicero as a verbal echo of that of Romulus, and the orator's diction is markedly similar to that used later by Livy in depicting the vow made by the founder. "But you, O father of gods and men, repulse the enemy at least from this place" (1.12.4–5: At tu, pater deum hominumque,


hinc saltem arce hostes ), Romulus prays at the turning point in the battle. "You, Jupiter, will repulse [them] from the buildings and walls of the city and . . . punish the enemies of the state" (33: Tu, Iuppiter . . . a tectis urbis ac moenibus . . . arcebis et . . . hostis patriae . . . mactabis ) is Cicero's prayer at the end of the first Catilinarian . We shall see that this role of alter Romulus (or, in the sarcastic phrase of one of his enemies, "the Romulus from Arpinum") was one the orator would attempt to play throughout the Catilinarian crisis.[24]

The strategy of the speech, then, encouraged a connection in the listener's mind between the traditional story of the temple's founding and the present crisis; but a closer look at the passages addressed to Jupiter Stator shows that Cicero is suggesting as well a broader understanding of Jupiter's role. In the first of these passages, which immediately follows Cicero's command that Catiline depart and thereby "purge" the city, the orator gives thanks to all the gods and especially to Jupiter Stator, whom he calls "the most ancient guardian of this city" (11: antiquissimo custodi huius urbis ), because the citizens had so often avoided "such a foul, horrid, and destructive bane" (11: tam taetram, tam horribilem tamque infestam rei publicae pestem ). While the reference to Jupiter Stator as the city's "most ancient guardian" could be understood as an allusion to the god's action in inspiring the Romans during the battle with the Sabines, it seems to hint at a different and more general understanding of his function. Further, the appeal to Jupiter Stator to save the city from what is termed a "plague" or "curse" suggests that his sphere of action extends beyond that normally associated with a god of battles.[25]

The second and more extended reference to Jupiter Stator, already cited for its implicit exploitation of the connection between past and present, makes clear what was only hinted at in the earlier passage. Here Cicero had said:


Tu, Iuppiter, qui isdem quibus haec urbs auspiciis a Romulo es constitutus, quem Statorem huius urbis atque imperi vere nominamus, hunc et huius socios a tuis ceterisque templis, a tectis urbis ac moenibus, a vita fortunisque civium omnium arcebis et homines bonorum inimicos, hostis patriae, latrones Italiae scelerum foedere inter se ac nefaria societate coniunctos aeternis suppliciis vivos mortuosque mactabis.


You, Jupiter, who were established by the same auspices as those by which Romulus established the city, whom we rightly call the Stator of this city and its imperium, may you repel this man and his companions from your temple and from the other temples, from the buildings and walls of the city, from the lives and fortunes of all the citizens; and may you visit with everlasting punishments—both while they are living and after they are dead—these opponents of good men, enemies of the fatherland, brigands of Italy, who are now joined in criminal society and evil confederation.

The text begins with two striking and surprising locutions. First, Jupiter is addressed as "Stator of this city and its imperium ." Here Cicero has transformed the meaning of the cult title, as Stator can in this case no longer be understood simply as "Stayer." Cicero's phrase looks to the root meaning of the word: Jupiter Stator becomes Jupiter "the stabilizer," "the one who makes the city stand." Cicero emphasizes this reinterpretation by inverting the normal word order of the verb so that constitutus (also derived from the root stare ) appears as close as possible to the word Stator.

Second, Cicero states that Jupiter as Stator was established by Romulus (constitutus ) "by the same auspices" (isdem auspiciis ) as those by which the city was established. If one thinks of the meaning of the temple only in connection with the battle fought against the Sabines, the statement is unintelligible. The traditional stories depicting the auspicia urbis condendae, while varying in other details, are unvarying in chronology: the taking of auspices by Romulus (and, in vain, by Remus) is always presented as the first and determinant act in the establishment of the city.[26] On the other hand, the auspices taken by Romulus that estab-


lished the templum (or, according to Livy, the fanum ) of Jupiter Stator came only later in the history of the city, after the battle with the Sabines.

There is clearly something amiss in the way the passage has been interpreted. When Cicero says, Tu, Iuppiter qui . . . es constitutus, quem Statorem . . . vere nominamus, it has been assumed that this should be understood as "Tu, Iuppiter Stator, cuius templum constitutum est."[27] If, however, we take Cicero at his word, it is Jupiter who was "established" by Romulus at the moment of the foundation, not his templum . This use of the verb with a personal subject is in no way unusual; and the use of the verb constituere in connection with both the personal (tu ) and the inanimate (urbs ) in the same sentence is an example of zeugma, a figure often used by Cicero.[28] Cicero here implies that in the augural signs granted to Romulus more was signified than simply divine sanction for the establishment of the city. Cicero interprets these first auspices as a covenant between Romulus and Jupiter, according to which the god both assented to the foundation of Rome and assumed the role of Stator, that is, establisher and protector, of the new city. The orator thus joins conceptually and chronologically the two chief associations of the location where the speech was delivered: the founding here of the


Palatine city by Romulus and the subsequent dedication of a temple in this place to Jupiter Stator.

On a philosophical level, this reinterpretation of Jupiter Stator's role constitutes a significant broadening of the sphere in which the god was praesens (i.e., both present and efficacious). His function as a god of battles in stemming the attack on the Palatine city and emboldening the Roman troops becomes an expression of his larger role—as Stator urbis atque imperii or, in the language of the earlier passage, antiquissimus custos urbis (11). Römisch has shown that a parallel approach can be found in the Pro Milone . Here, Jupiter Latiaris, the Latin god of the Alban hills, is seen not only as the avenger of Clodius's sacrilege within his own space but as the guardian of Rome's destiny;[29] similarly, in the first Catilinarian, Jupiter Stator is no longer restricted in his sphere but has become the protector of the city itself and its imperium .[30] This sense is strengthened by the diction of the address to Jupiter, for the orator's appeal to the god to protect the city and its citizens uses the ritual terms arcere, meaning "to keep the profani at a distance," and mactare, referring to destruction that is dedicated to or ordained by a divinity.[31] The templum of the god, then, is not to be thought of as simply the consecrated area on the Velia but extends to the entire area within the walls. The conspirators' crimes are a profanation of this templum, and Cicero proclaims that Jupiter himself will avenge them.

It is not likely that this interpretation of the cult title of the god was in the popular consciousness at the time of the speech; it is unclear, however, whether Cicero was actually the originator of the


concept.[32] A similar interpretation later appears in Seneca's De beneficiis, where the philosopher states that the term Stator did not derive, "as the historians relate," from the fact that Jupiter had halted the flight of the Roman troops, but because "all things exist by his beneficence, he is the establisher and stabilizer [of all]" (4.7.1: et Iovem . . . Statorem, qui non, ut historici tradiderunt, ex eo, quod post votum susceptum acies Romanorum fugientium stetit, sed quod stant beneficio eius omnia, stator stabilitorque est ). The passage, which testifies to the syncretism of all aspects of the chief god, echoes a section of the De legibus (2.28) in which Cicero states that all virtues were rightly held divine, including things to be hoped for such as Salus, Honor, Ops, and Victoria, as well as cult titles of Jupiter such as Invictus and Stator. The assertion of the unity of divine functions would seem to point to a Stoic source for this interpretation. If this is the case, then the manipulation of the ideas found in the speech is an example of the orator's effort not only to abstract general principles from individual instances (a constant feature of Ciceronian rhetoric), but also to make use of philosophical tenets as part of this process of abstraction.

The degree to which these associations were accessible to Cicero's audience is witnessed by a passage from a later speech by an imitator of Cicero. The speech, entitled Oratio pridie quam in exsilium iret,[33] alludes to the first Catilinarian, attempting at the moment of Cicero's exile—his greatest failure—to recall the moment of his greatest triumph. In section 24 the author (assuming the persona of Cicero) addresses Jupiter in the following words:

teque, Iuppiter Stator, quem vere huius imperii statorem maiores nostri nominaverunt, cuius in templo hostilem impetum Catilinae reppuli a muris, cuius templum a Romulo victis Sabinis in Palatii radice cum Victoria est collacatum, oro atque obsecro.

I beg and beseech you, Jupiter Stator, whom our ancestors have rightly called the establisher of this imperium, in whose temple I repelled from the walls Catiline's hostile attack, and whose temple was established with that of Victoria at the root of the Palatine by Romulus after the Sabines had been defeated.


The passage functions as a gloss on the earlier speech, for here the associations implicit in the first Catilinarian become clumsily explicit. The author alludes both to Jupiter Stator's role in the general, "philosophical" sense as guarantor of Roman imperium and to his role as "Stayer" in the battle against the Sabines. The analogy between Cicero and Romulus is also made more explicit by the allusion to Cicero's success in driving the enemy "away from the walls" (reppuli a muris ). If the author of this speech had been inspired only by the historical situation of the first Catilinarian, he would hardly have claimed that Cicero had repelled Catiline and his followers from the walls, since Catiline had been within the Temple of Jupiter Stator when the speech was delivered. It is only in reaction to the rhetoric of Cicero's oration that the author is led to make this analogy.

It was Cicero himself who summoned the Senate to meet in the Temple of Jupiter Stator. The claim that it was security alone that prompted the decision is weak, as temples on the Palatine itself or the Temple of Castor would have served this purpose better. In choosing the Temple of Jupiter Stator, Cicero was chiefly concerned not with the reality of security but with the perception of security. Even if the Temple of Jupiter Stator was not necessarily the strongest defensive point in which to hold the meeting, it was the temple whose associations made it most clearly munitissimus: it was the monument guarding the chief approach to the Palatine, the site of the earliest foundation of Rome; it was thought to be the spot where Jupiter had repelled the Sabine enemy and thereby saved the newly created city; and, through the reinterpretation of the cult title carried out by Cicero's rhetoric, it could be made to symbolize the divine protection of Jupiter for the city as a whole.

In this place the orator could assume that his audience might be particularly receptive to the themes he would inevitably play on that day, whether Catiline were present or not. Here would be an especially potent symbolic locus from which he might expound upon the gravity of the danger that threatened them from within the walls and to rally all patriotic Romans to the divinely supported defense of the embattled city. And in this place, closely connected both with the founding of the city by Romulus and his defense of it in the battle against the Sabines, Cicero could foster his own "Romulean" role as political, moral, and spiritual leader of Rome in its hour of crisis.


Rostra and Comitium: The Center of the Center

In a recent book, E. V. Walter has described the various aspects of place in the following way:

The concept of expressive space means the subjective dimension of located experience. Expressive reality refers to what people feel and think and imagine, just as perceptual reality signifies things they perceive, and cognitive reality, things they understand. A place is a concrete milieu and an expressive universe within specific social and physical boundaries, with a location in physical space and time and an identity.[34]

There are many indications that, for the Romans, Rome was an "expressive universe" of extraordinary richness. The physical environment of the city in Cicero's day constituted then, as now, a nexus between present and past, and, to the Roman, the past was of inestimable importance. "Not to know what happened before you were born is always to remain a child. For what is a person's life if it is not woven into the lives of those who came before by the memory of things past?" Cicero writes in the Orator .[35] Roman religious ritual lovingly preserved in incomprehensible detail antique words and actions; noble Roman houses were adorned with the realistic busts of the dead, who thereby commanded the daily notice of the living; and Roman history was an almost unbroken sigh of regret for the men and institutions that had gone before. The stimuli that sparked the remembrance of the past were, in large part, the statues, temples, graves, altars, and countless other monuments that graced the city, each carrying its story and its special significance.

This quality of historical allusiveness connected with places and monuments is perhaps best illustrated by Vergil's depiction of Aeneas's visit to Rome in the eighth book of the Aeneid, where even in the settlement of that archaic time the hero continually finds himself discovering some vestige of a lost past. Vergil, from the perspective of the first century B.C. , looks on the Forum Boarium, the Capitoline, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine of Augustan Rome and creates in these places the image of the proto-Rome of Aeneas's host, King Evander. But the poet's imagination carries him back still farther, for Evander recalls for his guest the story of Hercules' visit and his battle with the monster


Cacus on the Palatine. The ruined walls of the Capitoline lead the king to speak of an even more distant Golden Age, when Saturn himself had ruled from the Capitolium. Nor, according to Evander, was Saturn the first inhabitant of the place, for he had found on the site of Rome a rough and uncultivated society of rustics and shepherds, people sprung from the trunks of trees, whom the god had civilized and to whom he had given laws.[36]

There was perhaps no place in ancient Rome more intricate and multilayered in terms of its "expressive energy" than the place from which Cicero delivered the third Catilinarian . Unlike the modern city, stretching out before the Victor Emmanuel monument, or the medieval city, huddled beside the curve in the Tiber, or even the imperial city, which proceeded north in the great measured steps of the imperial fora, Republican Rome faced south from the Capitoline, towards the Forum Romanum, the gathering place of the crowded city, the great drawing room of Rome. The Comitium-Rostra complex, in turn, constituted the nerve center of the Forum valley. Here was the scene of political rallies, voting assemblies, judicial business, social intercourse, and, not infrequently, sectarian violence. Here religious rituals were enacted and omens reported, ambassadors were received, funeral laudations pronounced. From this place news of war and peace and of other great events affecting the state was announced to the people. From here the very times of the day had been marked.[37] Dionysius of Halicarnassus, referring to the area of the Rostra and the adjoining Lapis Niger, termed it "the chief part of the Forum"; while Pliny the Elder called the Rostra


"the most visible place" in the city.[38] Before discussing in more detail the subjective aspects of this place for Cicero's audience, we will review first its architecture and topography.

The Rostra and Comitium of Cicero's day would have reflected a series of architectural changes extending back to the earliest days of Rome. Although the Comitium was eventually transformed into a circular area bounded by a platform that was mounted by steps from within, the earliest form of the monument (which Coarelli dates to the beginning of the sixth century B.C. ) was probably a square, marked out by palings and extending symmetrically in front of the archaic Curia Hostilia.[39] The hypothesis that the archaic Comitium took this form arises both from archaeological data and from evidence that, from the earliest period, the Comitium was a templum, a square marked out by the augur and—at least in the case of the first Curia and Comitium—inaugurated with reference to the cardinal points of the compass.[40] The


first speaker's platform, created in approximately 500 B.C. and associated with the foundation of the Republic, stood almost directly south of the Curia, across the space of the Comitium. It also was rectilinear in shape and oriented on a north-south, east-west axis. In the fourth century the Comitium was enlarged, and in 338 B.C. the speaker's platform received the ship beaks (rostra ) captured by Maenius in the naval victory against the Antiates that gave it its name.[41] The area was completely rebuilt in the third century B.C. , when the Comitium took the circular shape it retained until the transformation of the entire northern end of the Forum by Julius Caesar. The Rostra, perhaps 12 Roman feet (3.5 m) in height, would have formed a segment within the southern arc of the circular platform of the Republican Comitium.[42]

In a passage from the De finibus (5.2), part of which was quoted in chapter 1 of this study, Marcus Piso speaks with nostalgia of the Curia Hostilia as it existed before 80 B.C. Cicero's audience at the time of the Catilinarian conspiracy would, like Piso, have carried in their minds two images of the area where they were assembled, that of the present and that which existed before the many changes in the Forum wrought by Sulla.[43] The Curia Hostilia (after this period sometimes called the Curia Cornelia) had been enlarged to accommodate the new senators added by the dictator. This enlargement, in turn, resulted in the truncation of part of the circle of the Comitium. The Comitium of Cicero's day, then, was a relatively restricted space that stood in the northeast corner of the Forum valley, in roughly the area that now extends between the Curia Julia on the east, the Arch of Septimius Severus on the west, the church of SS. Luca e Martina on the north, and the Sacra Via on the south.

The Sullan building program resulted not only in the shrinking of the space of the Comitium but also in the displacement of statues and the covering over of certain shrines by the new pavement. The statues of


Fig. 3.
Rostra, Curia, and Comitium.

A. Reconstruction of the Rostra. Adjacent to the Rostra and shown with aediculum
and pair of lions is the area of the Lapis Niger, the site of a shrine thought to mark
the heroon of Romulus. (From Gjerstad, "Il Comizio romano," 143.)

B. Reconstruction of the area of the Curia and the Comitium prior to changes made
by L. Cornelius Sulla (81–79 B.C. ). The plan shows the hypothetical positions of the
praetorian tribunals and the Rostra. (Adapted from Coarelli, Il Foro Romano, 2.23.)

C. Schematic plan of the relationship of Sulla's new Curia (Curia Cornelia) to the
older Curia Hostilia, with hypotheses regarding the locations of the following monuments:
(1) statue of Attus Navius; (2) Ruminal fig tree; (3) wolf; (4) statue of Marsyas; (5) puteal
(wellhead); (6) Maenian column; (7) statue of Pythagoras; (8) statue of Alcibiades; (9) tabula
Valeria; (10) bench of the tribune of the people. (Adapted from Coarelli, Il Foro Romano, 2:120.)



Pythagoras and Alcibiades that had stood in cornibus comitii ("on the 'horns' of the Comitium") were at this time removed,[44] while the site of the shrine to Stata Mater was paved over, necessitating the transfer of the cult from the Forum to the city neighborhoods.[45] The Sullan era architects were faced with a problem when contemplating the renovation of the space between the Rostra and the Graecostasis, which for centuries had been the site of an altar, a cone-shaped monument, and a cippus with an archaic inscription thought to date to the sixth century B.C.[46] This area was evidently of such sanctity that its shrine could not simply be secularized or moved; it therefore remained a sacred area, probably covered at this time by the black stone paving known as the Lapis Niger.

Not only was the front of the Rostra (that is, the side facing the Forum) adorned with the beaks from Maenius's naval victory, but the Rostra and the Comitium supported a bewildering number of other monuments and statues. We read, for instance, that a rostrated column dedicated to Maenius stood between the Comitium and the Carcer (Prison), and another such column in the Comitium held a statue of Gaius Duilius, the first Roman to win a naval victory over Carthage, in 260 B.C. ;[47] that statues of Horatius Cocles, Hostus Hostilius, and Hermodorus of Ephesus also stood in the Comitium;[48] that a bronze aedi-


cula to Concordia adorned the Graecostasis and that statues of Pythagoras and Alcibiades stood in cornibus comitii (all three of which were displaced by the Sullan building program);[49] and that a wellhead in the Comitium marked the place where the miraculous razor and whetstone of Attus Navius, an augur during the monarchy of Tarquinius Priscus, were buried.[50] A statue of this same Navius stood before the Curia until both Curia and statue were destroyed in the funeral pyre for Clodius in 52 B.C.[51] The fig tree of Attus Navius, enclosed by a bronze fence, grew in the Comitium, as did a cypress that was thought to be coeval with the city.[52] In the Volcanal, adjacent to the Comitium, grew a lotus tree, and here was said to have been a bronze statue of Romulus with quadriga.[53]


On or near the Rostra itself stood statues of Camillus (in rostris ) and of the satyr Marsyas, symbol of plebeian libertas; statues of Hercules and of three Sibyls were said to be iuxta rostra,[54] and either a single stone lion or a pair of lions stood next to the Rostra above the monuments of the Lapis Niger.[55] The Rostra also held statues of ambassadors who had been killed in the service of the state, including the four ambassadors treacherously killed at Fidenae in 434 B.C. and Gnaeus Octavius, who also died while on an embassy.[56]

The audience facing the Rostra would have seen the speaker, then, flanked by such statues and monuments and against the backdrop of the enlarged Curia of Sulla. To the east stood the Basilica Aemilia; to the west, behind Sulla's Tabularium, rose the twin heights of the Capitoline Hill: the Capitolium, which included the sacred precinct of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, and the Arx, the most prominent building of which was the Temple of Juno Moneta.[57] At the time of the third Catilinarian,


the numbers of those who gathered in the Forum to hear the consul would have been huge. They would have filled the open spaces in front of the Rostra and crowded the porches of the temples. Describing a similar scene in the fourth Catilinarian, Cicero declared to the senators gathered in the Temple of Concord: "Everyone is present, men of all orders, all classes, all ages. The Forum is full, the temples around the Forum are full, all the entrances and grounds of this temple are full" (14).

We now take up a question more important to our purposes than any involving the physical aspects of the Rostra-Comitium—namely, What was the meaning of this place for Cicero's audience? To answer this question we must discuss some of the separate strains that contributed to the perception of this complex space; but, in so doing, it should be kept in mind that a Roman of Cicero's day would not have been accustomed to thinking in terms of discrete divisions between, for instance, the "political," the "historical," and the "religious." As has often been pointed out, these concepts—which we are accustomed to rationalize into distinct aspects of experience—were overlapping and interwoven in the Roman consciousness.

A great number of the activities that went on in the Comitium and on the Rostra during the many centuries of their existence were judicial in nature.[58] The high platform surrounding the floor of the Comitium had long been the site of the tribunal of the urban praetor and of the praetor peregrinus as well. Here were the benches of the tribunes, who were ready to use their power to protect from summary judgment those who appealed to them. The tribunal of the Rostra had also been used as


a court of final appeal: the tribal assembly was summoned here in order to hear the arguments of defense and prosecution and then to decide by their votes the guilt or innocence of the accused.[59] In spite of the transfer in the second and first centuries of some of the judicial functions once carried on in the area, the Rostra-Comitium area continued to be a focus of many of the activities surrounding litigation. Several of the standing courts would have been set up in or near the Comitium, and, even after the judicial comitia no longer voted in the Comitium, the public meetings or contiones that preceded the voting continued to be convened at the Rostra.[60] It is also to be remembered that many of the judges and jurors who sat at the tribunals of the permanent quaestiones were the same men who gathered in the Curia. The area of the Comitium and that near the Rostra must have been continually alive with the legal hubbub produced by praetors and judges, defense lawyers and prosecutors, mourning-clad defendants soliciting sympathy and support, accusers and their adherents, witnesses, lictors, and scribes. Surely, then, one of the more important meanings attached to the Comitium in general and the Rostra in particular for Cicero's audience would have stemmed from its function as a locus iustitiae .

As its name shows, the Comitium had originally been the chief meeting place of the voting assemblies of the people. In the early days of the Republic both the Comitia Curiata and the Comitia Tributa used the enclosed space of the Comitium to vote on certain magisterial candidates and on legislative and judicial proceedings. The Comitia Curiata


continued to meet here, although by the late Republic its functions had withered to the purely formal, and the members of the Curiae no longer met individually but were represented by thirty lictors. In the second century B.C. , lack of space forced the tribal assemblies to abandon the Comitium and instead to assemble to cast their votes in the open area on the Forum side of the Rostra. The Rostra continued to serve until the end of the Republic, however, as the chief platform for directing the voting of these assemblies.[61] All that was required by the change from Comitium to Forum was that the magistrate overseeing the proceedings would have turned to face the Forum rather than the Curia.[62] When a vote was taken, the tribes would then have filed up, either to the Rostra or, perhaps, to a slightly lower wooden structure attached to the Rostra, in order to record their decisions.

The fact that the voting assemblies once met in the Comitium leads us to consider another aspect of this space. In archaic Rome all "political" actions required divine sanction. For this reason the magistrates were strictly bound by religious constraints governing the time and place of assemblies (which could be held only between sunrise and sunset and had to be convened within a templum ) and were required to take the auspices to determine the will of the gods before convening such comitia .[63] The use of the Comitium and of the Rostra, then, as settings for the conduct of state business was intimately tied to their sacral character, for the status of these spaces as inaugurated templa guaranteed divine approval and protection of the political activities that went on there.[64] The Comitium was also the scene of a number of religious rites and ceremonies whose roots went back to archaic Rome: the Salian priests danced in the Comitium on March 19 (the Armilustrium) during the purification of the sacred shields; here the rex sacrorum enacted the


rites of the Regifugium; and, according to R. E. A. Palmer, the Comitium was also the scene of the ritual combat between inhabitants of the neighborhoods of the Sacra Via and of the Subura that was connected with the celebration of the October Horse.[65] The perceived sanctity of the place was further reinforced by the presence of the Volcanal and, immediately next to the Rostra, of the sacred area of the Lapis Niger under which was thought to be the heroon of Romulus (or, according to some sources, the grave of the shepherd Faustulus or of Hostus Hostilius).[66] As noted, the refusal on the part of the Sullan era architects to secularize or transfer the sanctuary must have stemmed from a belief in its special holiness and inviolability.[67]

This space was also sanctified in the Roman mind by tradition, for here had been enacted momentous events in the history of the state. Some of these would have been summoned to mind by the statues that crowded upon the platform, but many links between this place and the past found their memorials only in the stories and legends learned by

The Comitium was also the place of judgment and punishment of certain offenses that involved religious pollution (see Palmer, The King and the Comitium ). Livy, for instance, recounts how a man who had been convicted of adultery with a Vestal had been scourged to death in the Comitium. The choice of the Comitium as the place for such punishments was probably not because of its proximity to the Carcer (although the scourging of lower-class criminals took place nearby at the Maenian column); rather, because certain crimes were thought to pollute the city and to alienate the gods, the criminal was considered sacer, or one whose punishment was devoted to the god as atonement. The consecrated space of the Comitium was therefore an appropriate setting for what was in essence a sacrificial offering. The same reasoning applies to the earlier practice of staging gladiatorial games within the Comitium, for originally the participants in such games were probably considered sacred offerings. See Livy 22.57.3 (scourging of adulterer), 24.20.6 (execution of deserters), 25.7.14 (scourging of hostages), 27.36.8 (gladiatorial show); Per. 55 (deserters scourged to death in Comitium).


generations of Romans. While a detailed knowledge of history would have been the possession only of the few, certain events were surely known by all. Those that looked on the Curia Hostilia knew how the tyrant Tarquin had cruelly thrown the rightful king, Tullus Hostilius, down its steps. They would have heard of the struggles that took place at the Rostra between Marcus Manlius Capitolinus and the dictator Cornelius Cossus, or between the dictator L. Papirius Cursor and his master of the horse, Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus.[68] Here the great Scipio Africanus, conqueror of Hannibal, had defended himself against the charges of the Papirii, then retired to the temples on the Capitoline, followed by the entire crowd that had witnessed his speech.[69] Of more recent and sinister memory were the scenes acted out here during and subsequent to the turbulent tribuneships of the Gracchi. It is reported that during the period of the civil wars Marius and Cinna had begun the gruesome tradition of displaying the heads of their victims on the Rostra, a practice adopted by Sulla a few years later. (On Caesar's Rostra, the head and hands of the murdered Cicero would be displayed by Antony in 43 B.C. ) Sulla had probably used the Rostra to post the lists of the proscribed and here he had presided over the auctioning of their goods.[70] The place, then, would have inspired both the horror associated with the violence of the recent past and the unique and quasi-religious reverence felt by the Romans for the distant past.

The place from which Cicero delivered the third Catilinarian constituted the point of topographical intersection between the Curia and Comitium, on one hand, and the Forum, on the other. It was, therefore, in a political, social, and psychological sense, the focal point of interaction between the principes, who met in the Senate and Comitium, and the populus, who assembled in the Forum proper. While in the early Republic the Rostra would have been primarily the locus from which the magistrates of the state commanded, directed, informed, bullied, or appeased the populace, by the second century B.C. the initiative had shifted, and the Rostra became the principal scene of tribunician challenges to the status quo. Here reformers and demagogues such as the Gracchi, Saturninus, and Glaucia had questioned senatorial competence and authority and had even succeeded at times in transferring to popu-


lar vote questions of policy long kept strictly within senatorial control. This significant change in the public interaction between Senate and people was symbolized by the story that Gaius Gracchus had been the first orator to turn his back on the Curia and the senators assembled in the Comitium in order to face the masses gathered in the Forum.[71] Whether the anecdote is true or merely ben trovato, it marks the transformation of the Rostra into a locus popularis . Henceforth, even young nobles (at least in the early stages of their careers) might be expected to make popular noises in their speeches here.[72] Cicero, in his first consular speech delivered from the Rostra, felt compelled to couch his objections to an agrarian bill in the rhetoric of the opposition: he argued that the true interests of the people rested in continuing prosperity, stability, and peace and that he—as legally, even divinely, appointed guardian of these blessings—was truly a consul popularis .[73]

If the scene of the first Catilinarian was particularly evocative to the senators who heard the speech of the glorious legends of Romulean Rome, the scene of the third Catilinarian was surely inhabited by the genius of Republican Rome. The Rostra was in symbol and in reality the center of the postmonarchical state, and if Romulus was evoked here, it was in the guise of the deified founder Quirinus, whose heroon stood beside the speaker's platform.[74] In this place, consecrated by religion and history, a magistrate of the late Republic could no longer depend on respect for his auctoritas to bend the masses to his desires, for the demagogues of the late Republic had accustomed their audiences to expect the orators who addressed them here to define all issues in terms of the libertarian catchwords and slogans of the day. In the best of times, the best of orators might successfully induce his audience to equate their own interests with the welfare of the state; in the worst of times, all persuasion yielded to violence. It was to be expected, then, that a Ciceronian speech delivered from the Rostra before an assembly of the people would be markedly different from one delivered before the Sen-


ate, and that the "popular" content and themes of such an oration might be supported by the rhetorical exploitation of this ambiance.

The Third Catilinarian: Urbs Amissa, Urbs Restituta

Like an overture, the carefully crafted opening lines of the third Catilinarian sound the major themes that are to be played upon throughout the speech:

Rem publicam, Quirites,

vitamque omnium vestrum,
bona, fortunas, coniuges liberosque vestros
atque hoc domicilium clarissimi imperi,
fortunatissimam pulcherrimamque urbem

hodierno die

deorum immortalium summo erga vos amore
laboribus, consiliis, periculis meis
e flamma atque ferro ac paene ex faucibus fati
ereptam et vobis conservatam ac restitutam


As shown by the manner in which it has been printed above, this first sentence is composed of two parts, divided in the middle by the phrase hodierno die . While the break is easily recognized, the sentence as a whole is knit together by the repetition throughout of the endings -am/-em/-um (e.g., rem, publicam, vitam, omnium, vestrum, domicilium, urbem, immortalium, ereptam, conservatam, restitutam ); by symmetrical construction, in which two pairs of phrases stand on either side of hodierno die; and by the suspension of the verb governing the long list of accusatives (videtis ) until the final word.

The sentence begins, significantly, with the word rem publicam, then goes on to define the elements that constitute the state for the audience: the first phrase speaks of the lives, property, and families of the listeners, while the second phrase, whose weighty superlatives force the speaker to slow and ultimately to halt, refers to "this abode of the most glorious empire, this most fortunate and beautiful city."[75] It is a momentous be-


ginning. To those of his listeners who believed that the threatened coup might have brought an amelioration of their condition, accomplished at the price of the lives of a few optimates, Cicero declares that, in fact, all that was of value to them—their lives and property and even the continued existence of the city itself—had hung in the balance at this time. The second part of the sentence begins by defining the agency through which the as-yet-unspoken event, affecting the citizens and their city, has occurred: what has happened has taken place because of the "love of the immortal gods" for the audience and because of the exertions, plans, and risks of the orator.[76] The final phrases of the sentence build to a climax. Cicero defines the danger that had threatened—fire, sword, and a mysterious fatum —then triumphantly declares the Republic now "snatched," "preserved," and "restored" from that danger. In this last phrase the central placement of vobis (picking up the earlier vestrum/vestros in the first part and vos in the second) emphasizes that all has been done in the interests of the audience.

The sentence as a whole is governed by the verb videtis: the people are told that on this day they "see . . . the city saved and restored." The use of the verb is significant, for throughout the oration as a whole Cicero continually emphasizes the importance of the visual and perceptible. This thematic development supports the avowed purpose of the third Catilinarian, which was to inform the people of the incontrovertible evidence (the so-called inartificial proofs) that had at long last been secured concerning the conspiracy. Throughout Cicero's account of how this evidence had been obtained and of what it consisted he never ceases to emphasize the objective and perceptible nature of these proofs: he begins with the statement that he will reveal to the people what had earlier been "made clear," "laid open," and "disclosed" to the Senate, promising to show his audience "how manifold and how obvious" (3: quam manifesta ) this evidence was; he states that his hope had always been that all would be able to see the crime "with their eyes" (4) and rejoices that at last the gods had brought it about that all could be "made plain to both Senate and people" (4: manifesto ); he recounts that


the force of the crime thus "detected and revealed" (11: manifesti atque deprehensi ) had completely unnerved the usually haughty Lentulus; and he speaks of how these "most definite . . . proofs and signs of crime, writing tablets, seals, handwriting, and finally, the confession of each accused man" were supported by even more certain signs of guilt on thepart of the conspirators, namely, their "blushes, glances, expressions, and their silence" (13). At the end of the first half of the speech he declares that no robbery in a private house had ever been so plainly proved (17: manifesto comprehensa ) as had the present conspiracy against the state.

It seems clear, then, that the orator's triumphant declaration at the beginning of the speech—that the audience could now see their city "saved and restored"—signaled his intent to make the city itself an integral part of the perceptible proof that formed the chief subject matter of the oration. The sight of the city rising up around them is to be a sign to his audience of Cicero's great victory over the conspirators: that he had crushed them "without slaughter, without bloodshed, without an army, and without a battle" (23) and that he had "preserved both city and citizens whole and unharmed" (25). The difficulty of this strategy consisted in the very fact that the city was indeed "whole and unharmed" and appeared no different than it would have if the conspiracy had never existed.[77] In order to make the unchanged aspect of the city meaningful to his audience, then, Cicero must impress on their minds the indelible image of the city as it might have been had the conspiracy succeeded.

Cicero accomplishes this rhetorical aim by continually referring in the speech to the horrors to be envisioned if the city were to succumb to a hostile attack. Elements of such a description were part of the stock-in-trade of an orator of Cicero's time, for the "captured city" topos was a commonplace of ancient oratory.[78] Cicero's embroidery on this theme


was a mixture of the real and the imagined: Catiline's actual plans for arson and murder were supported by images familiar from the rhetorical topos, and the orator's report of the evidence seized from the conspirators serves as the starting point for references to limitless destruction and indiscriminate murder. In the passage from the exordium quoted above, Cicero had spoken of the "fire and sword" from which the city had been rescued, and a few lines later he pictures fire "placed under and all around" the buildings and walls of the city, and the conspirators' swords at the very necks of the citizens (2–3). In another passage the orator declares that Volturcius had testified before the Senate that the conspiracy included a plan to fire the city in all its parts, to massacre the populace, and even to intercept and cut down outside the walls those who attempted to flee (8).[79] The audience is then told of the disagreement between Lentulus and Cethegus as to when "the slaughter and the burning of the city" (10) should commence. Yet another reference to "the burning of the city" is made in connection with L. Cassius, who is pictured as overseeing the planned arson (14). Cicero also carefully quotes the language of the supplicatio decreed in his name by the Senate. In it the consul is thanked for having "freed the city from fire and the citizens from slaughter" (15).

Such images culminate in a section that occurs towards the end of the speech. Here Cicero compares the aims of the conspirators with those of past instigators of civil strife. In the past, men did not wish that the Republic cease to exist, but rather that they should be the chief men in it. They did not desire to burn down the city, says Cicero, but wished that they might flourish in it (25). Only in this "war," which the orator calls the greatest and cruelest in human memory, have the opponents of the state held the opinion that any who were able to be safe while the city was intact should be considered their enemies. The section ends with Cicero's declaration that while the enemy had supposed that only that part of the city that fire was unable to destroy would remain, he had preserved the city and the citizens intact and unharmed (25). The hyperbole of this passage would have been supported by images of recent bloodshed and destruction still fresh in the audience's minds. When Cicero declares that Catiline would have exceeded past instigators of civil war in cruelty, he speaks to an audience who had themselves lived


through the horrors of the struggle between Marius and Sulla, and reminds them of the days when the Forum was strewn with "heaps of corpses" and "flowed with the blood of citizens" (24).[80]

Cicero further reinforces these images of destruction and murder by references to prophecy, omen, and the concept of an evil destiny that had threatened the city. The word fatum is introduced in the opening lines when Cicero declares the city to have been "snatched from the jaws of fate," and the same term reappears in the Gauls' account to the Senate of Lentulus's conversation with them. Lentulus had at that time told them that, according to the soothsayers, that very year would prove "fateful" for the destruction of the city and its imperium since it was the tenth since the acquittal of the Vestals and the twentieth since the burning of the Capitolium (9). The omens of 65 B.C. , when a number of monuments on the Capitol had been struck by lightning, are also mentioned. The soothsayers from Etruria had reported at that time the imminent danger of "murder, fire, the destruction of the laws, civil war, and the fall of the whole city and its imperium " (19).

Cicero's emphasis on the danger through which the city had passed was calculated not only to induce his audience to see their surroundings with new eyes; it also represented a celebration of his own actions at this time. The greater the peril in which Rome had stood, the more exalted ought to be the status of the man who had saved the city. It has already been noted that, in the opening line of the speech, Cicero had declared that the citizens now saw the Republic "snatched" (ereptam ) from imminent danger, "saved" (conservatam ), and "restored" (restitutam ). The last of these participles, restitutam, means literally "having been caused to stand again," and its conjunction with conservatam joins the idea of the salvation of the state with its restoration or reestablishment. While in this sentence Cicero states that the "saving and restitution" of the city has occurred both through the love of the gods and through his own "exertions, plans, and dangers," in the following lines he expands only on the latter theme. Here the happiness of the present day is compared with that on the day on which the city was founded, thereby reinforcing the suggestion contained in the joining of servatam and restitutam that this day was to be looked upon as a kind of refoundation. Not only are the founding of the city by Romulus and the saving of it by Cicero presented as commensurate events, but the consul seems


to have surpassed the deified hero, since Romulus had founded a city of uncertain future, while Cicero had saved one that had grown great (2: hanc urbem conditam amplificatamque servavit ).[81]

Cicero's subsequent allusions in the speech to Romulus and to the foundation of Rome are, at least in part, attempts to keep this comparison of founder and "refounder" alive. We note, in this regard, that the orator twice more repeats the phrase hanc urbem condidit, by which he had referred to Romulus in the exordium (2). In his announcement of the supplicatio decreed in his honor he states that it was the first such public thanksgiving made on behalf of a private citizen "since the city was founded" (15). The phrase is again used in the description of the objects on the Capitol struck by lightning (19: et tactus etiam ille qui hanc urbem condidit Romulus ). In this second passage Cicero's use of etiam marks the importance ascribed to the statue of Romulus above those listed previously, in spite of the fact that the destruction of a statue of Jupiter is the ostensible basis for alluding to the event at all; and the phrase hanc urbem condidit again points to a notional connection between the events of the present and the time of the foundation of the city.[82]

Cicero's aim in all this is clear: to make it appear that Rome had passed through a crisis so grave that its salvation was a new beginning and its unchanged aspect was a testament to Cicero, its savior and "refounder." Not only is Romulus invoked in this strategy, but we may assume that the image of Camillus, whose statue stood on the Rostra, was also meant to suggest itself. Camillus had saved Rome after the Gauls had burnt most of the city and murdered those left outside the walls of the Arx; Cicero, as he repeatedly asserts, had not only rescued the city but had done so before any bloodshed or destruction could occur. According to Livy, Camillus was hailed for his deeds as "Romulus," "the father of his country," and "a second founder of the city" (5.49.7: Romulus ac parens patriae conditorque alter urbis ); in the third Catilinarian Cicero too wished his audience to see him as pater patriae (an honor later voted him by the Senate), conditor alter urbis, and alter Romulus .


Signum Jovis

This, even in the self-aggrandizing world of the Roman Republic, was surely going too far, and Cicero was not so enamored of his own success as not to have known it. While the orator wished to establish his own claims in unmasking and crippling the conspiracy, he knew that it was necessary to put those claims within a larger context—one that would, without diminishing his stature as savior of the Republic, make his role a more acceptable one. One of Cicero's rhetorical aims in the speech, then, was to present all that had happened as an expression of the will of the gods. In the development of this theme the manipulation of the symbolism of what the audience saw before their eyes was again to be crucial.

While, in general, the scene that greeted the audience who assembled for the third Catilinarian was a familiar one, yet in at least one respect a perceptible change had taken place. Cicero had seen to it that a new statue of Jupiter would that morning be set up on a high column within the Capitolium so as to be visible to the audience that stood in the Forum below. The section of the speech in which Cicero first alludes to the statue begins with the statement that all that he had done had been planned and foreseen by the immortal gods, and that this was proved by the fact that the gods had lately been praesentes (18) in the city in such a way that one "could almost see them with one's eyes." Cicero then speaks of the omens that had recently occurred: the lights and flames seen in the night sky, the various incidents of lightning and earthquake, and, most important, the signs of the year 65 B.C. , when various monuments on the Capitol, including a statue of Jupiter, had been struck by lightning. At that time soothsayers had advised that another statue of Jupiter, larger than the one that had been destroyed, should be made and placed on the Capitolium.[83]

What Cicero wanted his audience to think and feel when they saw this statue becomes clearer when we note the meaning that had been attributed to the other signs and omens of 65 B.C. Among the objects destroyed by lightning were statues of gods and heroes, the bronze table of the Laws, and the statue group of Romulus, Remus, and the wolf. The soothsayers stated that these events signified the onset of murder, arson, the destruction of the laws, civil war, and the fall of the city and its imperium (19). It is evident, then, that the lightning was not inter-


preted as a sign of divine displeasure with the city. Rather, the method of the soothsayers was to read the physical as an analogue for the conceptual. Just as lightning had struck the Capitol, destructive plans that would strike at the heart of the city were being formed; as the Capitolium had been ravaged by fire, so the plans would include an attack by fire on Rome; and as the physical monument of the Laws had been destroyed, in the future the conceptual laws would be overturned. By objectifying the peril in which the city stood Jupiter had made perceptible that which was hitherto hidden and thereby made it possible for those who saw and understood the signs to take action to prevent the fulfillment of the evil.

Just as these visible signs were seen as a divine "objectification" of the danger that threatened to destroy the city, Cicero presents the new statue of Jupiter as a human attempt to objectify the means by which the city might be saved. He states that the soothsayers, after declaring that supplicatory games in honor of the gods should be inaugurated and that a larger statue of Jupiter should be erected on the Capitolium, made the following statement:

ac se sperare dixerunt, si illud signum quod videtis solis ortum et forum curiamque conspiceret, fore ut ea consilia quae clam essent inita contra salutem urbis atque imperi inlustrarentur ut a senatu populoque Romano perspici possent.


They said that they hoped that if the statue that you see were to look on the rising sun and the Forum and the Curia, that those plots that had been secretly formulated against the welfare of the city and its imperium would become evident to the Senate and the people.

The meaning of the passage is carried both by its diction and syntax. After dixerunt three phrases occur, the first ending with conspiceret, the second with inlustrarentur, the third with perspici possent . Each of these phrases turns on the concept of the visible and what is represented by the visible. The statue (signum ), which can be seen by the audience, is a sign (signum ) of Jupiter, who is unseen.[84] The "gaze" of the statue, looking towards the rising sun that floods the Forum with light, is a symbol of the divine illumination (inlustrarentur ) of what has been concealed. The statue looks down on the Forum and the Curia; in a parallel position (albeit in chiastic order) in the third phrase of the sentence are the


groups symbolized by these two loci: the Senate and the people of Rome. The intended collocation of object and place, then, is an attempt to concretize the relationship between the divine and the human that will allow the city to be saved. The hoped-for result of this relationship will be that Jupiter Optimus Maximus will cause the plots that have hitherto been hidden to be revealed and made plain to the Senate and the people.[85]

At first the assertion by Cicero that if the visual field of the statue would include the Forum and Curia, then the people and Senate might be saved from disaster by divine intervention appears to be a rather crude attempt to manipulate the religious gullibility of his audience. However, the relative complexity of Cicero's intent becomes clearer when we compare his handling of the material with the traditional interpretation given a similar event, preserved in an account of Aulus Gellius (4.5.1–7).[86] Gellius reports that when the statue of Horatius Codes in the Comitium was struck by lightning Etruscan soothsayers were summoned to interpret the event and to advise the Romans what action ought to be undertaken. Out of enmity to Rome, the soothsayers said that the statue should be reerected in a low place where the sun, cut off by the shadow of surrounding buildings, would never strike it (sol . . . numquam illustraret ). The plot of the soothsayers was eventually exposed, and it was found that the statue was actually meant to be relocated in a high place (in locum editum ), where, presumably, the sun would always illuminate it. When these instructions were carried out the interests of the Republic prospered (ex quo res bene ac prospere populo Romano cessit ).[87]


In the case of the statue of Cocles, what is implied is a kind of sympathetic magic whereby the placement of the statue itself served to determine whether benefit or harm would come to the state. Cicero, on the other hand, speaks of the decision to erect the statue of Jupiter as an attempt to emblematize topographically the relationship between the divine and the human that will bring about the salvation of the city.[88] This action is not a binding of divine forces but rather a supplication of the gods. It is "hoped" (20: sperare ) that the physical relationship between the statue, on one side, and the Curia and the Forum, on the other, will reflect the true relationship between the god and his people. Only if Jupiter assents to this relationship, may the citizens be assured that he will exercise his power to "bend" (19) the destructive fate that impends.

The intent to erect the statue, then, is presented by Cicero as an appeal to the gods, and the erection of the statue in itself could neither guarantee nor prove that the city was divinely protected. But in the chronological coincidence of the carrying through of this intention and the revelation of the conspiracy the statue takes on a new significance. Cicero asks whether it was not obvious that all had occurred by the will of Jupiter Optimus Maximus when it happened that the conspirators and witnesses had been led through the Forum to the Temple of Concord, where they disclosed the details of the conspiracy, at precisely the same time that the new statue of Jupiter had been set up overlooking the Forum and the Curia (21). The fact that Jupiter had caused the conspiracy to be made known on the day his statue was placed on the Capitolium was evidence that it was he who had actually brought about the


revelation of the plot. The sight of the statue, therefore, becomes visual evidence that "all that we see and especially this city is guided by the will and power of the immortal gods" (21).

This interpretation by Cicero of the meaning of the statue is accompanied by a reinterpretation of his own role in what had occurred. The consul once again summons up the image of the urban landscape—"even the temples and shrines of the gods"—threatened by destruction (22: non solum vestris domiciliis atque tectis, sed etiam deorum templis atque delubris ), an image introduced at the beginning of the speech (2: toti urbi, templis delubris, tectis ac moenibus ). In the exordium, however, Cicero had claimed that he himself had put out the fire threatening the city, had turned away the daggers from the necks of the citizens, and had been responsible for illuminating and revealing the details of the plot (3: inlustrata, patefacta, comperta sunt per me ). By the end of the speech, however, the focus has shifted. Jupiter rather than Cicero is said to have turned aside the fire threatening the city, and the conspirators' plans have been "illuminated and revealed" (21: inlustrata et patefacta ) not simply through the vigilance of the consul but by means of divine intervention.

The orator, in fact, emphatically and explicitly refuses credit for saving the city, declaring that if he himself were to claim that he had foiled the conspiracy, he ought not to be endured. Pointing to the statue on the Capitol, he declares, ille, ille Iuppiter restitit; ille Capitolium, ille haec templa, ille cunctam urbem, ille vos omnis salvos esse voluit (22). In the passage the demonstrative ille is repeated twice at the beginning of the second sentence and six times in all. Over and over again Cicero demands that the audience direct their attention to the monument that has been rhetorically transformed into evidence of the protection of Jupiter for Rome and the relationship between the god and his people. The result of that relationship has been the manifestation of the conspiracy, which Cicero now asserts has occurred by divine, not human, will. It has been Jupiter, not Cicero, who has protected "the Capitol, these temples, and the whole city" (22). Here, the sequence of topography pictures the protecting power of the god extending from his preserve on the Capitoline Hill to the temples of the gods visible to the audience in the Forum, to the whole of Rome, rising up beyond the boundaries of the Forum valley. Since the entire city, according to Cicero, owed its continued existence to the gods, not only does the statue on the Capitolium become a reminder of the divine patronage of Rome; all that the audience sees (21: omnia quae videmus ) becomes such a reminder.


This change in interpretation, although couched in self-effacing terms, provides Cicero with no less exalted a role than that which he had earlier claimed. At first the unmasking of the conspiracy appeared to be a testament to his own unstinting labor, his vigilance, and his courage, but by the end of the speech he claims that his actions were guided by divine wisdom, and he presents himself as an instrument of Jupiter. While, for the modern reader, there is little to choose between the two assertions in terms of self-advertisement, Cicero would surely have felt the distinction was an important one to make. By indicating that his own actions stemmed from the gods' desire to preserve the city and, in turn, that this desire on the gods' part arose from their love of the Roman people (1: summo erga vos amore ) Cicero gave his listeners a powerful motivation to accept his interpretation of events: to honor him was to affirm the divinely sanctioned status of themselves and their city. Further, if his audience accepted the orator's claim that his actions had been guided by the gods, then the fulfillment of the demand made at the end of the speech for their undying honor and respect was not simply a debt of gratitude but a religious imperative involving their pietas .

Thus a series of changes in the listeners' perception of the meaning of what they see around them plays a central role in the speech. Cicero first makes his audience aware of the extreme danger through which the city has passed. Its unchanged appearance is not to be taken for granted but is a special circumstance requiring explanation and interpretation. At the beginning of the speech Cicero makes the emergence of the city from peril the equivalent of a rebirth, thereby celebrating his own role as savior, refounder, and alter Romulus . Later in the speech, however, the orator asserts that the revelation of the conspiracy has been chiefly the work of the gods, and he enlarges on this theme through the meaning given the new statue of Jupiter set up on the Capitol.

By the end of the speech, then, we have arrived at the same conclusions as in the first Catilinarian: that Rome is a unique foundation, "guided by the will and power of the immortal gods" (21); that opposition to Catiline is inseparable from a belief in this unique sanction of Rome and her mission; and that Cicero's own leadership of the opposition to Catiline expressed his role as an instrument of divine will. The rhetorical course traveled in order to arrive at these conclusions, however, has differed in the two speeches, just as the audience and setting of the speeches have differed. In fact, the most striking conclusion of our analysis is that the ideas Cicero used to bridge the gap between the specifics of each rhetorical situation and the general patriotic and religious


conceptions referred to above were not just supported by the ambiance of each speech but were determined by it. In both speeches, the welfare of Rome is made dependent on the special connection between the chief god and the city. In the first speech, however, delivered in the shadow of the Palatine Hill, Cicero had spoken of this connection as a kind of covenant between Jupiter and Romulus made at the city's inception, while in the speech delivered from the Rostra, Cicero announces to the people of Rome that the saving of the city has been accomplished through "the great love of the gods for you" (1). In the first speech, delivered to the Senate within the Temple of Jupiter Stator, the principes of the state are described as the chief targets of Catiline's murderous plans, and it is they who, like the early Romans of the Palatine city, must force the enemy back from the walls. In the later speech Cicero emphasizes that in the great battle that has been won with the help of the gods the lives of all and even the existence of the city itself had hung in the balance. Finally, in the first Catilinarian Jupiter Stator is referred to as the most ancient protector of Rome, and it is he who is invoked from his temple to protect Rome from the conspirators; in the rhetoric of the third Catilinarian, Jupiter Optimus Maximus, whose statue had recently been erected on the Capitolium, is restored to his traditional role as the supreme guardian of the city.


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