Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Valeria Maria Patimo, La Pro Cluentio di Cicerone: introduzione e commento dei §§ 1 - 81. Studia classica et mediaevalia, Bd 1. Nordhausen: Verlag Traugott Bautz, 2009. Pp. 647. ISBN 9783883094915. €70.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Andrew R. Dyck, Los Angeles

Version at BMCR home site

[Though bearing a 2009 imprint date, this book arrived with BMCR only in July 2011; hence this late review.]

Pro Cluentio has been relatively neglected. Indeed, one has had to go back well over a century to find a commentary on it. Now V. M. Patimo is preparing an introduction and commentary, of which this is the first installment.

The commentary itself is massive, comprising 524 pages for just the first thirty-six OCT pages; if continued on this scale for the remainder, the commentary will total ca. 1,312 pages, making it the longest commentary on any Ciceronian speech.

By contrast the twenty-page introduction is undernourished. Here Patimo discusses Cluentius' identity, the composition of the court, the iudicium Iunianum of 74, a notorious example of the corruption of senatorial juries, and Cicero's differing accounts of it at Ver. 1.39 and Clu. 64. The introduction concludes by examining the divisio of the speech into two parts, the first of which deals, according to Cicero, with invidia, i.e., the iudicium Iunianum, the second with the charge of poisoning Oppianicus during his exile. Patimo argues that only the latter was at issue before the court, the former an attempt by the prosecution, in discussing his vita ante acta, to foment hatred against Cluentius; but the charges may not have been laid out in a formal bill of indictment, and "judicial murder" fell within the scope of the relevant law; hence the prosecutors used it against Cluentius on the grounds that it should apply to everyone (§150).1

One would have welcomed more guidance in the introduction about such questions as: why did Cicero take on the case (not an obvious move in light of his defense of Scamander, which he must explain away at §§49-55)? What is Cicero's general strategy? How does the speech fit into his evolving political perspective? What was its fate in subsequent ages? What are the foundations of the text? There should also have been more attention to the tribunal and law under which the trial occurred; and the opportunity was missed to provide incisive vignettes of the leading figures. An outline of the contents of the speech, like the one printed by Fausset (pp.xliv-liii), would also have been helpful, as would a chronological table.

The medieval tradition of the speech is bifurcated, the two branches headed respectively by the famous manuscript copied at Cluny in perhaps the eighth century and painstakingly reconstructed by A.C. Clark (C) and the Laurentianus 51,10 (M), written in Montecassino in the 2nd half of the eleventh century.2 Patimo reprints Rizzo's text (without apparatus) with seventeen listed divergences (p.31). As the first word of the speech Patimo prefers Animadverti to the form Animum adverti printed by Rizzo; either reading is possible. Patimo adduces inter alia rhythmical grounds in favor of the former (p.83); the variation is, however, probably purely graphic, the analytic form being pronounced with elision.3 Apropos of §25 Patimo plausibly argues that inermem (C) should be preferred to inermum printed by Rizzo but not unambiguously attested for Cicero; if she is going to accept C's inermem, however, it would be logical for her to adopt the following se, also transmitted in C, even though it repeats a reflexive found earlier in the sentence (cf. §66, where Patimo champions a repeated reflexive against Rizzo). In §36 we read 'fuit Avilius . . . arte quadam praeditus ad libidines adulescentulorum excitandas accomodatus'. Here Gulielmius (followed by Rizzo) was probably right in deleting praeditus; Patimo defends the transmitted text on the grounds that one should assume a dicolon with a weak pause after praeditus; but ars quaedam surely needs some sort of specification in context. The inclusion of §37 on the list of divergences from Rizzo is a mistake: both adopt Mariotti's irent for transmitted iret. At §39 Patimo argues for inter adlegatos (M) against inter adligatos, conjectured by Turnèbe on the basis of the readings of some members of the C family. Here the spellings of the MSS are not necessarily reliable because in unaccented syllables an expected short i is frequently written e.4 Furthermore her case is based on a false analogy to 2.3.5, where Turnèbe's adligatos is commonly read (against ad leg- or ad adleg- of the MSS); the latter passage exhibits the technical sense "named as 'tied' witnesses," i.e. witnesses required to stand by their stories: so Shackleton Bailey on 7.5 of his edition, where see literature, whereas the sense in our passage is the general one of being implicated in a crime, for which cf. Flac. 41: 'metuit . . . ne L. Flaccus nunc se scelere adliget' (transmitted without a variant, according to Clark's edn.). Nor am I convinced by Patimo's case for removeri at §44, as opposed to demoveri, Klotz's easy change of M's demovere; certainly the clausula (double trochee vs. heroic) is much in favor of the latter and, if removeo was the ordinary expression (as Patimo argues, p.373), that would have facilitated the corruption. On the other hand, I was glad to see Patimo adopt Peterson's omnium for hominum in §79 (qualified by Rizzo as 'fortasse recte'). Her other changes vis-à-vis Rizzo seem acceptable.

The prolixity of the commentary is problematic: while Patimo sometimes neglects interpretative points, such as the irony that at the moment when Cluentius decides to prosecute his stepfather he is said to have acted pie (§42), the reader drowns in inessential information. Thus the semantics of individual words (e.g., idoneus on p.209) are often treated in detail but seldom advance the interpretation of the speech; learned readers know about these matters or can easily find out. Again, readers should be spared lists of parallels for iuncturae now that digital databases make such information readily available, and Patimo should have shortened quotations to the point at issue, omitted paraphrase of quoted passages, and used cross-references more extensively.

Moreover, the quotations and interpretations Patimo offers are not always relevant, accurate and reliable. A certain mechanical quality is suggested by the citation (p.482) of Ver. 1.20 'iam ipse se condemnatum putabat' as parallel for 'ipse se condemnavit', where the thought is different despite similar wording. Again on p.91 Patimo speaks of 'il processo di "occultamento" degli argomenti imbarazzati . . . secondo una strategia proposta da Inv. 1.30 (id, quod ipsum [sc. adversarium] adiuvat, obscure dicitur et neglegenter)' (similarly p.404); but, in fact, ipsum there is not the opponent but, as usual, 'oneself'; and this procedure is not recommended but is included under the heading 'non quem ad modum causa postulat narratur'. Again, on p. 116, to illustrate the concept of the force of truth, she cites Quinct. 47 in the form 'adhibenda vis est veritatis'; the reading there is, however, veritati (without a variant), so the passage actually illustrates the weakness of the truth (per se). While Cael. offers a parallel for the exclamation at §48 (pro di immortales) (p.394), the parallel is surely Cael. 59 (pro di immortales, not Cael. 62 (quae quidem omnia, iudices, perfacilem rationem habent reprehendendi). In addition, some misinformation is passed along, such as the notion that Clu. is Cicero's longest speech (pp.9 and 23) or that the esse videatur type is Cicero's most frequent clausula (p.512).5

The patient reader will, however, find good observations along the way. Patimo effectively uses rhetorical and legal texts to illuminate Cicero's moves and, more than most commentators, is alert to the sound of Cicero's Latin, including the effects of the 'lugubrious' u and the littera canina; some of these observations can be subjective, however, such as the supposed 'tragic' effect of tribrach + trochee (p.308). She rightly emphasizes the strategy of insinuatio by which Cicero broaches his client's position in the exordium (pp.78, 123). On the problem of the identification of M. Aurius (§23) she has, I think, arrived at the right solution, showing that Cicero's age categories (here adulescentulus vs. vir) are slippery and adapted to his persuasive goals.

In philologicis Patimo is not always a safe guide. Thus on p. 96 she is too quick to claim sit habitura (§2) as a heroic clausula on the basis of Diomedes, GL I 470.19 ff. K. There Diomedes discusses words with the rhythm ssls, such as videatur; he remarks that such words tend to be preceded by a short syllable (sc. to avoid a heroic clausula) and gives esse videatur as an example; another of his examples is Clu. 2; hence Diomedes is saying the opposite of what Patimo alleges. Apropos of §§27-28 and 69 Patimo loses sight of the use of ille to signal a change of subject (cf. TLL. VII.1 351.67 ff.); in view of this point she might also have rethought her preference for illic over ille at §38 (p.330). Another nuance missed is et indignantis used twice in rhetorical questions in §60; cf. OLD s.v. 15. Again Patimo claims that by referring to his client as Habitus in §42 Cicero shows that he wants to give the proceedings an air 'di rigorosa ufficialità' (p.355), but in fact use of the double name A. Cluentius would have been formal, not that of the cognomen alone.6 Though Patimo thinks that the repetition of the antecedent within the relative clause is colloquial (p.408), it is usually thought to be a legalism; cf. my note on Leg. 2.20. She is too quick to challenge Fausset's (correct) interpretation of testibus at §53 as instrumental (p.430; cf. Kühner-Stegmann I 380); and praevaricari in antithesis to defendere (§58) surely is used in the technical sense 'collude with the other side' (pace Patimo, p.455; cf. TLL X.2 1094.5-8).

Patimo is sometimes less than sure-footed on historical matters. Thus she maintains (p.365) that the dispute over the citizenship of the Martiales (§43) arose in connection with the census of 86-85, but this seems too early. Oppianicus obtained a position of influence at Larinum only after Sulla's victory in the civil war, in consequence of which he returned to town in 82 or 81 (so Patimo herself, p.260); and Cluentius would only have been seventeen or eighteen (§11). We must rather assume, with Torelli, that the dispute arose after Sulla's death in 78. It is also possible (pace Patimo) that this dispute, in which Oppianicus was at odds with the decuriones, is related to the one with the same antagonists over the falsification of census records (§41).7

A mixed verdict is indicated on this first commentary on Pro Cluentio to appear in many years. Patimo deserves thanks for collecting extensive material bearing on the study of the speech and providing some good interpretations; the book could, however, have been strengthened by a more detailed introduction, a clearer focus on interpretive problems and more rigorous pruning; and one must be alert for errors.

Table of Contents

Nota critica
Exordium (§§1-8)
Propositio e partitio (§§9-11 . . . extrema intellegetis
La prima narratio e 'il romanzo di Sassia' (11 A. Cluentius-18)
La vita ante acta di Oppianico (§§19-48)
I praeiudicia (§§49-61)
Il dilemma (§§62-81)


1.   See M. C. Alexander, The Case for the Prosecution in the Ciceronian Era (Ann Arbor, 2002) 184 and the reconstruction of the law by J.-L. Ferrary, Athenaeum 79: 426-34.
2.   See the preface to Rizzo's Mondadori edition (1991), as well as her detailed studies there cited.
3.  Cf. W. S. Allen, Vox Latina, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, 1978) 78-82, especially 81n3.
4.  Cf. J. Clackson and G. Horrocks, The Blackwell History of the Latin Language (Malden, Mass., and Oxford, 2007) 273.
5.  At 25,115 words Ver. 2.3 is longest; Clu. has 21,059; esse videatur is Cicero's seventh-favorite clausula; cf. L. P. Wilkinson, Golden Latin Artistry (Cambridge, 1963) 156.
6.  Cf. J. N. Adams, Classical Quarterly 28 (1978) 146 and 155.
7.  Cf. W. Stroh, Taxis und Taktik (Stuttgart, 1975) passim on Cicero's separate treatment of related material.

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