How long, Catiline, will you continue to abuse our patience?
July 11, 2004 12:51 PM   Subscribe

In 63 B.C., Cicero gave his first speech against Catiline. You can hear the opening paragraph read in Latin, or read a translation into English. Though Cicero was a consul denouncing a rebel, the famous opening sentence is now frequently used by those challenging authority (even if it's just the tyranny of Richard Stallman).
posted by kenko (15 comments total)
it's interesting to note how poor Cicero (the unfortunate came from a pea-sized cancer -- a 'cicer' -- that one of his forefathers had on the tip of his nose) ended up being beheaded. moriar in patria saepe servata -- I'll die in the Fatherland I so often saved.
bad, narcissistic politician, fantastic writer
posted by matteo at 1:09 PM on July 11, 2004

I understand his poetry (like his epic about how he saved the Republic) is rather, uh, sub-par, though.
posted by kenko at 2:05 PM on July 11, 2004

"how poor Cicero (the unfortunate name came from ..."

my bad.

well, kenko, you just have to discard his self-promoting stuff, as I said the man had an incredibly narcissistic personality. but usually his Latin just soars -- i suggest you check out his political science texts and the philosophical stuff
posted by matteo at 2:27 PM on July 11, 2004

Indeed, his rhetoric is without equal in Latin, at least as far as my Latin teacher for six years was concerned.

Interesting in the reading audio how he elides the "em" endings of some words: I never knew that. Then again, my Latin teacher (props to Dr. Kizner) was Bronx born and bred. :)
posted by ltracey at 2:41 PM on July 11, 2004

A grand FPP, amicus kenko.

It was interesting to listen to Prof. Tarrant's rendition--except for the " W" pronunciation. Indoctrinated (to coin a phrase) in "Church Latin" as a youth, I am, horresco referens , overcome by comedic echoes of Baba Wawa (or Lily von Stupp) when I hear "v" sounded as "w."

Tarrant employs a distinct Italian accent except for the Teutonic "v." Given that modern Romani pronounce their "v's, " is there a rational basis to presume the "walidity" or the "werisimilitude" of this?

Nor have I ever heard of the elision of the genitive plural such as bonorum. It doesn't help the oratorical flow, either.
posted by rdone at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2004

Philosophically he's actually a very good source on Epicurianism as well as Stoicism, particularly in his letters.

Had he been a little less sluggish in response to these sorts of threats (or a little more ruthless) he may very well have made the transition from imperial advisor to emperor himself and saved Rome from the discord of Nero's reign (and subsequent contenders for the throne).
posted by snarfodox at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2004

"Marc Tully" -- that was the name of my 11th grade math teacher. heh. Great post!
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:02 PM on July 11, 2004

Thanks WolfDaddy—it was partially prompted by your comment in the election-postponement thread.
posted by kenko at 4:27 PM on July 11, 2004

Well, I blush, kenko. Thanks. I amuse myself--not to mention make myself more than a bit paranoid--by noting the similarities between the state of the Roman Republic before its fall to the current state of our own.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:55 PM on July 11, 2004

You're not the only one.
posted by homunculus at 5:06 PM on July 11, 2004

rdone: The explanation for the 'w' sound is that a 'V' in a Latin name is usually translated to 'OY' (Omicron Upsilon) in Greek writings of the time. For example, VITELLIUS ends up as OYITE??IOS.
posted by jaut at 6:02 PM on July 11, 2004

On that last word, pretend the ?? are two Lambdas, and the S is a Sigma. My entities looked fine on preview. Rats.
posted by jaut at 6:04 PM on July 11, 2004

I thought that at the time "u" was used for both "u" and "v" (or at least, what we would now use a "v" for). That's the way it is in my edition of the Georgics, anyway (published by Cambridge) (though I note now that it's not that way in my editions of Horace or Catullus, or in Wheelock's Latin Reader and a book on Latin prose composition).
posted by kenko at 6:07 PM on July 11, 2004

For perhaps the millionth time, I'm wishing that there were a Babelfish transator between English and Latin.
posted by alumshubby at 5:25 AM on July 12, 2004

alumshubby: The closest thing is probably William Whitaker's Words program, which is really only a dictionary. It can parse almost any Latin word (or sentence) into its number, case, voice, tense, &c., but you have to be able to interpret how each word should be used in a sentence. It's almost necessary to know Latin anyway, and jsut use it as a tool to speed up parsing. There's also a handy web interface.
posted by stopgap at 1:26 PM on July 12, 2004

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