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


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Chapter Two Transforming the Visible: In Catilinam 1 and 3
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