Lecture 9 - Criminals and Enemy Combatants

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2301A/B
Randall Pogorzelski

LECTURE 9: CRIMINALS AND ENEMY COMBATANTS The Five Things • Title o We don’t know what Sallust called his history of the Catilinarian conspiracy, but from early on it was known in Latin as the Bellum Catilinae, which Woodman translates as Catiline’s War • Author o Gaius Sallustius Crispus, or Sallust, was a Roman politician and adherent of Caesar. He lived (probably) from 86 – 35 BCE. He was a successful general in Africa but retired from politics amid scandal and began to write history in 44 BCE • Date o Catiline’s War was the first work Sallust wrote in his retirement, and we can narrow down the dates to sometime between 44 and 40 BCE • Location o Sallust lived in Rome, although he had a villa at Tivoli (just outside the city) where he spent a lot of time in his retirement • Language o Sallust wrote in Latin • The Five Things o Author: Sallust o Title: Catiline’s War o Date: 44 – 40 BCE o Location: Rome o Language: Latin • In the 60s BCE, there was political turmoil in Rome. The two main factions were the conservative optimates and the radical populares. Important participants include Marcus Tullius Cicero, Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Porcius Cato, and Lucius Sergius Catilina. • Lucius Sergius Catilina was a noble patrician and a popularis. He was both an excellent general and a charismatic speaker. He was one of the most radical proponents of debt reform, advocating simply abolishing debts. o Platform was aimed at the poor, and the wealthy who had lost lots of money (those who were in debt), as he believed debt should be reformed; as a result, he was the number one enemy of the optimates who believed debt should not be reformed • In 64 BCE, Catiline ran unsuccessfully for the consulship of 63. He ran again in 63 for the consulship of 62. His platform called for the cancellation of debts and redistribution of land. • Cicero as consul in 63 accused, probably unjustly, Catiline of trying to assassinate him. He showed up at the consular election wearing a breastplate and Catiline lost the election. • Catiline did not have a client army, but he did have clients placed around Italy campaigning for him, most notably Gaius Manlius, who was in Etruria where there were a large number of recently evicted farmers and unhappy war veterans. • After the electthn of 63, Cicero again accused Catiline of an assassination plot. According to Cicero, on November 7 Catiline had organized his supporters to assassinate Cicero, set fire to Rome, and incite riots and slave revolts in Italy. Cicero was tipped off and managed to prevent the assassination and arson. • On November 8 , Cicero convened the senate and delivered a scathing speech. Catiline was present and called the accusations lies. The senate passed the senatus consultum ultimum and Catiline fled the city to join Manlius in Etruria. • With Catiline gone to Etruria, Cicero continued to attack him in the senate, getting him declared a hostis, or enemy combatant, and finally, on December 3 , the captured envoys of the Allobroges produced written evidence of the conspiracy and five of the conspirators, including Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura and Gaius Cornelius Cethegus were arrested. • On December 5 , the senate voted to execute the conspirators. They sent the consul Gaius Antonius Hybrida to fight Catiline’s army in Etruria, and in January of 62 Catiline died in combat and his army was destroyed Passages L. Catalina, born of a noble line, had great strength of both mind and body, but a wicked and crooked disposition. From adolescence, internal wars, slaughter, seizures and civil disharmony were welcome to him, and there he spent his young manhood. His body was tolerant of hunger, cold and wakefulness beyond the point which anyone finds credible; his mind was daring, cunning and versatile, capable of any simulation and dissimulation; acquisitive of another’s property, prodigal with his own; burning in desires; his eloquence was adequate, scant his wisdom. The enormity of his mind always desired the unrestrained, the incredible, the heights beyond reach. • Shows nobility of Catiline – eligible to be consul, voted by the Roman people, incredibly successful Roman politician, also has great strength of both mind and body according to Sallust • It is also the case, that he has the opposite of Roman virtues, as he has a wicked and crooked disposition • This passage shows the contradiction of Catiline • According to Sallust, Catiline is both like a Roman and not a Roman (insider and an outsider at the same time) – it is this duel status of insider and outsider that the Romans were interested in exploring in the figure of Catiline After the domination of L. Sulla, he had been assailed by his greatest urge, to capture the commonwealth; and he attached no weight to the methods by which he might achieve it, provided he acquired kingship for himself. His defiant spirit was exercised increasingly each day by his lack of private assets and a consciousness of his crimes, both of which he had augmented by the qualities which I recalled above. He was incited, too, by the community’s corrupt morals, which were afflicted by those worst and mutually different maladies, luxury and avarice. • Sallust is looking for the causes of crime in both Catiline himself and in the community (morals which were “afflicted by different maladies”) – why did Catiline do what he did? • Different kinds of explanations – Sallust invokes Roman hatred of kingship, he attributes to Catiline the desire to be king (un-Roman, characterizes Catiline as an outsider who is trying to conquer the Romans and so violence against him is acceptable); but also suggests that Catiline was poor and thus committed the crimes, may be the case of relative deprivation in which Catiline thought that he had been deprived of the power and wealth that was rightfully his as a noble Roman (rational choice) • Sallust also looks at Catiline’s guilt as an explanation – driven by guilt, psychological factor of his guilt drives him further and further into crime, and this is seen throughout Sallust’s work • So here we see an economic reason for Catiline’s crime (his debt) and a psychological explanation (his guilt) – but these explanations focus exclusively on the character of Catiline, but Sallust also tells us that he is incited by the community’s corrupt morals – if Catiline had lived in a moral community, he would not have been so driven to committing such crimes o This suggests something related to the social control theory Finally, he was captivated by love for Aurelia Orestilla (in whom no good man ever praised anything but her appearance), but, because she hesitated to marry him through fear or a stepson of adult years, it is believed for certain that he killed his son, thereby ensuring an empty house for the criminal marriage. It is this affair above all which seems to me to have been his reason for speeding up the deed: for this vile spirit – hostile to gods and men – could not be calmed by wakefulness or repose: to such an extent was his conscience preying upon his unquiet mind. Hence his bloodless complexion and ugly eyes, and his walk alternating between fast and slow; in short, there was derangement in his demeanor and face. • Here, Sallust expands on Catiline’s guilt – in particular, because Orestilla did not want an older stepson, he had killed his own son and he had to live with this guilt, which changed him • Not only did guilt drive him into committing more crime but that psychological factor is also manifesting itself physically in his well being – you could see his criminality in his “bloodless complexion and ugly eyes” • Focuses the story on the criminal, central figure of Catiline’s War is Catiline • Sallust did not feature Cicero as a prominent character, but rather the villain who is Catiline – draws the portrait of the villain in a lurid and captivating manner (charismatic but disturbed criminal) ‘You have already heard before, separately, what I have pondered in my mind. Yet my spirit is kindled more and more each day when I reflect what the conditions of life will be if we do not assert our freedom ourselves. For, ever since the commonwealth passed to the jurisdiction of a powerful few, it has always been to them that the dues of kings and tetrarchs go, that the taxes of peoples and nations are paid; the rest of us – all the committed and good, noble and ignoble – have been simply “the masses”, denied favor, denied influence, beholden to those to whom, if the commonwealth thrived, we would be a source of fear. Hence all favor, power, honor and riches rest with them or are where they want them; to us they have left the dangers, rejections, lawsuits and destitution. • Catiline talks to his followers here • Catiline represents himself not as a criminal, but as a revolutionary for the masses who have been oppressed by unjust government of the powerful few • Even though, given that Sallust is treating Catiline as a great villain and thus we cannot believe what Catiline says in this passage, Sallust shows us that this is what Catiline uses to justify his actions • Looks very much like relative deprivation theory – Catiline says that the reason he is doing what he is doing is because he, and people like him, have been unjustly deprived of rights, wealth and power He (Cicero) therefore referred the matter, already discussed beforehand in rumors amongst the public, to the senate. And so, as often happens in the case of some frightening business, the senate decreed that the consuls should do their utmost to ‘prevent the commonwealth from suffering any damage’. That is the greatest power allowed to magistracy by the senate according to Roman custom: to prepare an army, to wage war, to coerce allies and citizens by every means, and to wield the highest command and jurisdiction at home and on campaign. (Otherwise a consul has the right to none of these things without an order from the people.) • This is the senatus consultum ultimum (ultimate decree of the senate) – grants consuls with emergency power • Even though the senatus consultum ultimum theoretically gave Cicero the power to do whatever he wanted, he nevertheless felt vulnerable • Used this in his legal argument for executing Catilinarian conspirators But when he sat down, Catiline, prepared as he was to dissemble everything, with face downcast and suppliant voice began to demand of the fathers that they should not believe rashly anything concerning him: he was sprung from such a family, and he had regulated his life from adolescence in such a way, that he had good prospects in every respect; they should not reckon that, as a patrician whose own and whose ancestors’ benefits to the Roman plebs were very numerous, he needed the destruction of the commonwealth – when it was being safeguarded by M. Tullius, an immigrant citizen of the City of Rome. • Catiline’s strategy, in the face of Cicero’s claims against him, is denial – he denies it all and also claims that he is from a good Roman family and he has been a noble Roman all along (which is partly true) • He further presents Cicero as an immigrant citizen of Rome, an outsider o Similar to Lysias, where outsiders vs. insiders argument was present • This strategy did not work, Catiline had no support and Romans believed Cicero • Catiline had no choice but to flee, where he would join the army that he was collecting there and fight against the Romans Nevertheless he himself (Catiline) delayed for a few days at the house of C. Flaminius in the territory of Arretium, while he furnished arms to a neighborhood, which was already galvanized; then, with the fasces and other insignia of command, he marched to Manlius in his camp. When this was found out at Rome, the senate pronounced Catiline and Manlius enemies and appointed a day before which the rest of their crowd (apart from those condemned on capital charges) could put down their arms with impunity. Apart from that, it decreed that the consuls should hold a levy, that Antonius with an army should speedily pursue Catiline, and that Cicero should act as defender of the City. • Catiline has joined the army of Manlius, which will fight against Rome • Both consuls, Cicero and Antonius, are given different duties – Cicero will act as defender of the city, and Antonius will act as military commander who will hold the army and march against Catiline’s army • No longer a matter of criminals, but rather, a matter of war in which violence against Catiline will be heroic Such was the violence of the disease and the kind of rottenness, which had attached many of the citizens’ spirits. And not only was there the mental derangement of those who were accessories to the conspiracy, but the entire plebs, in its enthusiasm for revolution, approved completely of Catiline’s projects. That, indeed, it seemed to do from its own particular habit. For it is always those in a community who have no resources who resent the good and extol the
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