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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10023
Anon., Rhetorica Ad Herennium, 4.51


nan Vivid Description is the name for the figure which contains a clear, lucid, and impressive exposition of the consequences of an act, as follows: "But, men of the jury, if by your votes you free this defendant, immediately, like a lion released from his cage, or some foul beast loosed from his chains, he will slink and prowl about in the forum, sharpening his teeth to attack every one's property, assaulting every man, friend and enemy, known to him or unknown, now despoiling a good name, now attacking a life, now bringing ruin upon a house and its entire household, shaking the republic from its foundations. Therefore, men of the jury, cast him out from the state, free every one from fear, and finally, think of yourselves. For if you release this creature without punishment, believe me, gentlemen, it is against yourselves that you will have let loose a wild and savage beast." Again: "For if you inflict a heavy penalty upon the defendant, men of the jury, you will at once by a single judgement have taken many lives. His aged father, who has set the entire hope of his last years on this young man, will have no reason for wishing to stay alive. His small children, deprived of their father's aid, will be exposed as objects of scorn and contempt to their father's enemies. His entire household will collapse under this undeserved calamity. But his enemies, when once they have won the bloody palm by the most cruel of victories, will exult over the miseries of these unfortunates, and will be found insolent on the score of deeds as well as of words." Again: "For none of you, fellow citizens, fails to see what miseries usually follow upon the capture of a city. Those who have borne arms against the victors are forthwith slain with extreme cruelty. Of the rest, those who by reason of youth and strength can endure hard labour are carried off into slavery, and those who cannot are deprived of life. In short, at one and the same time a house blazes up by the enemy's torch, and they whom nature or free choice has joined in the bonds of kinship or of sympathy are dragged apart. Of the children, some are torn from their parents' arms, others murdered on their parents' bosom, still others violated at their parents' feet. No one, men of the jury, can, by words, do justice to the deed, nor reproduce in language the magnitude of the disaster." With this kind of figure either indignation or pity can be aroused, when the consequences of an act, taken together as a whole, are concisely set forth in a clear style. <


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

10 results
1. Cicero, De Oratore, 2.189, 3.56, 3.206 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.189. Neque fieri potest ut doleat is, qui audit, ut oderit, ut invideat, ut pertimescat aliquid, ut ad fletum misericordiamque deducatur, nisi omnes illi motus, quos orator adhibere volet iudici, in ipso oratore impressi esse atque inusti videbuntur. Quod si fictus aliqui dolor suscipiendus esset et si in eius modi genere orationis nihil esset nisi falsum atque imitatione simulatum, maior ars aliqua forsitan esset requirenda: nunc ego, quid tibi, Crasse, quid ceteris accidat, nescio; de me autem causa nulla est cur apud homines prudentissimos atque amicissimos mentiar: non me hercule umquam apud iudices aut dolorem aut misericordiam aut invidiam aut odium dicendo excitare volui quin ipse in commovendis iudicibus eis ipsis sensibus, ad quos illos adducere vellem, permoverer; 3.56. Hanc, inquam, cogitandi pronuntiandique rationem vimque dicendi veteres Graeci sapientiam nominabant; hinc illi Lycurgi, hinc Pittaci, hinc Solones atque ab hac similitudine Coruncanii nostri, Fabricii, Catones, Scipiones fuerunt, non tam fortasse docti, sed impetu mentis simili et voluntate. Eadem autem alii prudentia, sed consilio ad vitae studia dispari quietem atque otium secuti, ut Pythagoras, Democritus, Anaxagoras, a regendis civitatibus totos se ad cognitionem rerum transtulerunt; quae vita propter tranquillitatem et propter ipsius scientiae suavitatem, qua nihil est hominibus iucundius, pluris, quam utile fuit rebus publicis, delectavit. 3.206. Orationis autem ipsius tamquam armorum est vel ad usum comminatio et quasi petitio vel ad venustatem ipsa m tractatio. Nam et geminatio verborum habet interdum vim, leporem alias, et paulum immutatum verbum atque deflexum et eiusdem verbi crebra tum a primo repetitio, tum in extremum conversio et in eadem verba impetus et concursio et adiunctio et progressio et eiusdem verbi crebrius positi quaedam distinctio et revocatio verbi et illa, quae similiter desinunt aut quae cadunt similiter aut quae paribus paria referuntur aut quae sunt inter se similia.
2. Cicero, Letters To His Friends, 5.12.4 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Cicero, In Catilinam, 1.4 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Polybius, Histories, 2.56 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2.56. 1.  Since, among those authors who were contemporaries of Aratus, Phylarchus, who on many points is at variance and in contradiction with him, is by some received as trustworthy,,2.  it will be useful or rather necessary for me, as I have chosen to rely on Aratus' narrative for the history of the Cleomenic war, not to leave the question of their relative credibility undiscussed, so that truth and falsehood in their writings may no longer be of equal authority.,3.  In general Phylarchus through his whole work makes many random and careless statements;,4.  but while perhaps it is not necessary for me at present to criticize in detail the rest of these, I must minutely examine such as relate to events occurring in the period with which I am now dealing, that of the Cleomenic war.,5.  This partial examination will however be quite sufficient to convey an idea of the general purpose and character of his work.,6.  Wishing, for instance, to insist on the cruelty of Antigonus and the Macedonians and also on that of Aratus and the Achaeans, he tells us that the Mantineans, when they surrendered, were exposed to terrible sufferings and that such were the misfortunes that overtook this, the most ancient and greatest city in Arcadia, as to impress deeply and move to tears all the Greeks.,7.  In his eagerness to arouse the pity and attention of his readers he treats us to a picture of clinging women with their hair dishevelled and their breasts bare, or again of crowds of both sexes together with their children and aged parents weeping and lamenting as they are led away to slavery.,8.  This sort of thing he keeps up throughout his history, always trying to bring horrors vividly before our eyes.,9.  Leaving aside the ignoble and womanish character of such a treatment of his subject, let us consider how far it is proper or serviceable to history.,10.  A historical author should not try to thrill his readers by such exaggerated pictures, nor should he, like a tragic poet, try to imagine the probable utterances of his characters or reckon up all the consequences probably incidental to the occurrences with which he deals, but simply record what really happened and what really was said, however commonplace.,11.  For the object of tragedy is not the same as that of history but quite the opposite. The tragic poet should thrill and charm his audience for the moment by the verisimilitude of the words he puts into his characters' mouths, but it is the task of the historian to instruct and convince for all time serious students by the truth of the facts and the speeches he narrates,,12.  since in the one case it is the probable that takes precedence, even if it be untrue, in the other it is the truth, the purpose being to confer benefit on learners.,13.  Apart from this, Phylarchus simply narrates most of such catastrophes and does not even suggest their causes or the nature of these causes, without which it is impossible in any case to feel either legitimate pity or proper anger.,14.  Who, for instance, does not think it an outrage for a free man to be beaten? but if this happen to one who was the first to resort to violence, we consider that he got only his desert, while where it is done for the purpose of correction or discipline, those who strike free men are not only excused but deemed worthy of thanks and praise.,15.  Again, to kill a citizen is considered the greatest of crimes and that deserving the highest penalty, but obviously he who kills a thief or adulterer is left untouched, and the slayer of a traitor or tyrant everywhere meets with honour and distinction.,16.  So in every such case the final criterion of good and evil lies not in what is done, but in the different reasons and different purposes of the doer.
5. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 17.13, 19.6-19.8, 20.71 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

17.13. 1.  So while the city was being taken, many and varied were the scenes of destruction within the walls. Enraged by the arrogance of the Theban proclamation, the Macedonians pressed upon them more furiously than is usual in war, and shrieking curses flung themselves on the wretched people, slaying all whom they met without sparing any.,2.  The Thebans, for their part, clinging desperately to their forlorn hope of victory, counted their lives as nothing and when they met a foeman, grappled with him and drew his blows upon themselves. In the capture of the city, no Theban was seen begging the Macedonians to spare his life, nor did they in ignoble fashion fall and cling to the knees of their conquerors.,3.  But neither did the agony of courage elicit pity from the foe nor did the day's length suffice for the cruelty of their vengeance. All the city was pillaged. Everywhere boys and girls were dragged into captivity as they wailed piteously the names of their mothers. In sum, households were seized with all their members, and the city's enslavement was complete.,4.  of the men who remained, some, wounded and dying, grappled with the foe and were slain themselves as they destroyed their enemy; others, supported only by a shattered spear, went to meet their assailants and, in their supreme struggle, held freedom dearer than life.,5.  As the slaughter mounted and every corner of the city was piled high with corpses, no one could have failed to pity the plight of the unfortunates. For even Greeks — Thespians, Plataeans and Orchomenians and some others hostile to the Thebans who had joined the king in the campaign — invaded the city along with him and now demonstrated their own hatred amid the calamities of the unfortunate victims.,6.  So it was that many terrible things befell the city. Greeks were mercilessly slain by Greeks, relatives were butchered by their own relatives, and even a common dialect induced no pity. In the end, when night finally intervened, the houses had been plundered and children and women and aged persons who had fled into the temples were torn from sanctuary and subjected to outrage without limit. 19.6. 1.  Agathocles, who was greedy for power, had many advantages for the accomplishment of his design. Not only as general was he in command of the army, but moreover, when news came that some rebels were assembling an army in the interior near Erbita, without rousing suspicion he obtained authority to enrol as soldiers what men he chose.,2.  Thus by feigning a campaign against Erbita he enrolled in the army the men of Morgantina and the other cities of the interior who had previously served with him against the Carthaginians.,3.  All these were very firmly attached to Agathocles, having received many benefits from him during the campaigns, but they were unceasingly hostile to the Six Hundred, who had been magistrates of the oligarchy in Syracuse, and hated the populace in general because they were forced to carry out its orders. These soldiers numbered about three thousand, being both by inclination and by deliberate choice most suitable tools for the overthrow of the democracy. To them he added those of the citizens who because of poverty and envy were hostile to the pretensions of the powerful.,4.  As soon as he had everything ready, he ordered the soldiers to report at daybreak at the Timoleontium; and he himself summoned Peisarchus and Diocles, who were regarded as the leaders of the society of the Six Hundred, as if he wished to consult them on some matter of common interest. When they had come bringing with them some forty of their friends, Agathocles, pretending that he himself was being plotted against, arrested all of them, accused them before the soldiers, saying that he was being seized by the Six Hundred because of his sympathy for the common people, and bewailed his fate.,5.  When, however, the mob was aroused and with a shout urged him not to delay but to inflict the just penalty on the wrongdoers out of hand, he gave orders to the trumpeters to give the signal for battle and to the soldiers to kill the guilty persons and to plunder the property of the Six Hundred and their supporters.,6.  All rushed out to take part in the plunder, and the city was filled with confusion and great calamity; for the members of the aristocratic class, not knowing the destruction that had been ordained for them, were dashing out of their homes into the streets in their eagerness to learn the cause of the tumult, and the soldiers, made savage both by greed and by anger, kept killing these men who, in their ignorance of the situation, were presenting their bodies bare of any arms that would protect them. 19.7. 1.  The narrow passages were severally occupied by soldiers, and the victims were murdered, some in the streets, some in their houses. Many, too, against whom there had been no charge whatever, were slain when they sought to learn the cause of the massacre. For the armed mob having seized power did not distinguish between friend and foe, but the man from whom it had concluded most profit was to be gained, him it regarded as an enemy.,2.  Therefore one could see the whole city filled with outrage, slaughter, and all manner of lawlessness. For some men because of long-existing hatred abstained from no form of insult against the objects of their enmity now that they had the opportunity to accomplish whatever seemed to gratify their rage; others, thinking by the slaughter of the wealthy to redress their own poverty, left no means untried for their destruction.,3.  Some broke down the doors of houses, others mounted to the housetops on ladders, still others struggled against men who were defending themselves from the roofs; not even to those who fled into the temples did their prayers to the gods bring safety, but reverence due the gods was overthrown by men.,4.  In time of peace and in their own city Greeks dared commit these crimes against Greeks, relatives against kinsfolk, respecting neither common humanity nor solemn compacts nor gods, crimes such that there is no one — I do not say no friend but not even any deadly enemy if he but have a spark of compassion in his soul — who would not pity the fate of the victims. 19.8. 1.  All the gates of the city were closed, and more than four thousand persons were slain on that day whose only crime was to be of gentler birth than the others. of those who fled, some who rushed for the gates were arrested, while others who cast themselves from the walls escaped to the neighbouring cities; some, however, who in panic cast themselves down before they looked, crashed headlong to their doom.,2.  The number of those who were driven from their native city was more than six thousand, most of whom fled to the people of Acragas where they were accorded proper care.,3.  The party of Agathocles spent the day in the murder of their fellow citizens, nor did they abstain from outrage and crime against women, but they thought that those who had escaped death would be sufficiently punished by the violation of their kindred. For it was reasonable to suppose that the husbands and fathers would suffer something worse than death when they thought of the violence done their wives and the shame inflicted upon their unmarried daughters.,4.  We must keep our accounts of these events free from the artificially tragic tone that is habitual with historians, chiefly because of our pity for the victims, but also because no one of our readers has a desire to hear all the details when his own understanding can readily supply them.,5.  For men who by day in the streets and throughout the market place were bold to butcher those who had done no harm need no writer to set forth what they did at night when by themselves in the homes, and how they conducted themselves toward orphaned maidens and toward women who were bereft of any to defend them and had fallen into the absolute power of their direst enemies.,6.  As for Agathocles, when two days had passed, since he was now sated with the slaughter of his fellow citizens, after gathering together the prisoners, he let Deinocrates go because of their former friendship, but of the others he killed those who were most bitterly hostile and exiled the rest. 20.71. 1.  When with all speed Agathocles had crossed from Libya into Sicily, he summoned a part of his army and went to the city of Segesta, which was an ally. Because he was in need of money, he forced the well-to‑do to deliver to him the greater part of their property, the city at that time having a population of about ten thousand.,2.  Since many were angry at this and were holding meetings, he charged the people of Segesta with conspiring against him and visited the city with terrible disasters. For instance, the poorest of the people he brought to a place outside the city beside the river Scamander and slaughtered them; but those who were believed to have more property he examined under torture and compelled each to tell him how much wealth he had; and some of them he broke on the wheel, others he placed bound in the catapults and shot forth, and by applying knucklebones with violence to some, he caused them severe pain.,3.  He also invented another torture similar to the bull of Phalaris: that is, he prepared a brazen bed that had the form of a human body and was surrounded on every side by bars; on this he fixed those who were being tortured and roasted them alive, the contrivance being superior to the bull in this respect, that those who perishing in anguish were visible.,4.  As for the wealthy women, he tortured some of them by crushing their ankles with iron pincers, he cut off the breasts of others, and by placing bricks on the lower part of the backs of those who were pregt, he forced the expulsion of the foetus by the pressure. While the tyrant in this way was seeking all the wealth, great panic prevailed throughout the city, some burning themselves up along with their houses, and others gaining release from life by hanging.,5.  Thus Segesta, encountering a single day of disaster, suffered the loss of all her men from youth upward. Agathocles then took the maidens and children across to Italy and sold them to the Bruttians, leaving not even the name of the city; but he changed the name to Dicaeopolis and gave it as dwelling to the deserters.
6. Horace, Odes, 3.29 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.29. When Trajan came to the city, he found it hard to be taken, for besides the natural strength of its situation, it was also secured by a double wall; but when he saw the people of this city coming out of it, and ready to fight him, he joined battle with them, and after a short resistance which they made, he pursued after them; 3.29. 4. And now Vespasian took along with him his army from Antioch (which is the metropolis of Syria, and without dispute deserves the place of the third city in the habitable earth that was under the Roman empire, both in magnitude, and other marks of prosperity) where he found king Agrippa, with all his forces, waiting for his coming, and marched to Ptolemais.
7. Sallust, Catiline, 3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

8. Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, 6.2.24, 8.3.67-8.3.69 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6.2.24.  For the force of eloquence is such that it not merely compels the judge to the conclusion toward which the nature of the facts leads him, but awakens emotions which either do not naturally arise from the case or are stronger than the case would suggest. This is known as deinosis, that is to say, language giving additional force to things unjust, cruel or hateful, an accomplishment in which Demosthenes created immense and special effect. 8.3.67.  What more would any man have seen who had actually entered the room? So, too, we may move our hearers to tears by the picture of a captured town. For the mere statement that the town was stormed, while no doubt it embraces all that such a calamity involves, has all the curtness of a dispatch, and fails to penetrate to the emotions of the hearer. 8.3.68.  But if we expand all that the one word "stormed" includes, we shall see the flames pouring from house and temple, and hear the crash of falling roofs and one confused clamour blent of many cries: we shall behold some in doubt whither to fly, others clinging to their nearest and dearest in one last embrace, while the wailing of women and children and the laments of old men that the cruelty of fate should have spared them to see that day will strike upon our ears. 8.3.69.  Then will come the pillage of treasure sacred and profane, the hurrying to and fro of the plunderers as they carry off their booty or return to seek for more, the prisoners driven each before his own inhuman captor, the mother struggling to keep her child, and the victors fighting over the richest of the spoil. For though, as I have already said, the sack of a city includes all these things, it is less effective to tell the whole news at once than to recount it detail by detail.
9. Augustine, The City of God, 1.24, 3.6, 3.14, 5.17-5.18, 15.5 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

1.24. Our opponents are offended at our preferring to Cato the saintly Job, who endured dreadful evils in his body rather than deliver himself from all torment by self-inflicted death; or other saints, of whom it is recorded in our authoritative and trustworthy books that they bore captivity and the oppression of their enemies rather than commit suicide. But their own books authorize us to prefer to Marcus Cato, Marcus Regulus. For Cato had never conquered C sar; and when conquered by him, disdained to submit himself to him, and that he might escape this submission put himself to death. Regulus, on the contrary, had formerly conquered the Carthaginians, and in command of the army of Rome had won for the Roman republic a victory which no citizen could bewail, and which the enemy himself was constrained to admire; yet afterwards, when he in his turn was defeated by them, he preferred to be their captive rather than to put himself beyond their reach by suicide. Patient under the domination of the Carthaginians, and constant in his love of the Romans, he neither deprived the one of his conquered body, nor the other of his unconquered spirit. Neither was it love of life that prevented him from killing himself. This was plainly enough indicated by his unhesitatingly returning, on account of his promise and oath, to the same enemies whom he had more grievously provoked by his words in the senate than even by his arms in battle. Having such a contempt of life, and preferring to end it by whatever torments excited enemies might contrive, rather than terminate it by his own hand, he could not more distinctly have declared how great a crime he judged suicide to be. Among all their famous and remarkable citizens, the Romans have no better man to boast of than this, who was neither corrupted by prosperity, for he remained a very poor man after winning such victories; nor broken by adversity, for he returned intrepidly to the most miserable end. But if the bravest and most renowned heroes, who had but an earthly country to defend, and who, though they had but false gods, yet rendered them a true worship, and carefully kept their oath to them; if these men, who by the custom and right of war put conquered enemies to the sword, yet shrank from putting an end to their own lives even when conquered by their enemies; if, though they had no fear at all of death, they would yet rather suffer slavery than commit suicide, how much rather must Christians, the worshippers of the true God, the aspirants to a heavenly citizenship, shrink from this act, if in God's providence they have been for a season delivered into the hands of their enemies to prove or to correct them! And certainly, Christians subjected to this humiliating condition will not be deserted by the Most High, who for their sakes humbled Himself. Neither should they forget that they are bound by no laws of war, nor military orders, to put even a conquered enemy to the sword; and if a man may not put to death the enemy who has sinned, or may yet sin against him, who is so infatuated as to maintain that he may kill himself because an enemy has sinned, or is going to sin, against him? 3.6. I add another instance: If the sins of men so greatly incensed those divinities, that they abandoned Troy to fire and sword to punish the crime of Paris, the murder of Romulus' brother ought to have incensed them more against the Romans than the cajoling of a Greek husband moved them against the Trojans: fratricide in a newly-born city should have provoked them more than adultery in a city already flourishing. It makes no difference to the question we now discuss, whether Romulus ordered his brother to be slain, or slew him with his own hand; it is a crime which many shamelessly deny, many through shame doubt, many in grief disguise. And we shall not pause to examine and weigh the testimonies of historical writers on the subject. All agree that the brother of Romulus was slain, not by enemies, not by strangers. If it was Romulus who either commanded or perpetrated this crime; Romulus was more truly the head of the Romans than Paris of the Trojans; why then did he who carried off another man's wife bring down the anger of the gods on the Trojans, while he who took his brother's life obtained the guardianship of those same gods? If, on the other hand, that crime was not wrought either by the hand or will of Romulus, then the whole city is chargeable with it, because it did not see to its punishment, and thus committed, not fratricide, but parricide, which is worse. For both brothers were the founders of that city, of which the one was by villainy prevented from being a ruler. So far as I see, then, no evil can be ascribed to Troy which warranted the gods in abandoning it to destruction, nor any good to Rome which accounts for the gods visiting it with prosperity; unless the truth be, that they fled from Troy because they were vanquished, and betook themselves to Rome to practise their characteristic deceptions there. Nevertheless they kept a footing for themselves in Troy, that they might deceive future inhabitants who re-peopled these lands; while at Rome, by a wider exercise of their maligt arts, they exulted in more abundant honors. 3.14. But what happened after Numa's reign, and under the other kings, when the Albans were provoked into war, with sad results not to themselves alone, but also to the Romans? The long peace of Numa had become tedious; and with what endless slaughter and detriment of both states did the Roman and Alban armies bring it to an end! For Alba, which had been founded by Ascanius, son of Æneas, and which was more properly the mother of Rome than Troy herself, was provoked to battle by Tullus Hostilius, king of Rome, and in the conflict both inflicted and received such damage, that at length both parties wearied of the struggle. It was then devised that the war should be decided by the combat of three twin-brothers from each army: from the Romans the three Horatii stood forward, from the Albans the three Curiatii. Two of the Horatii were overcome and disposed of by the Curiatii; but by the remaining Horatius the three Curiatii were slain. Thus Rome remained victorious, but with such a sacrifice that only one survivor returned to his home. Whose was the loss on both sides? Whose the grief, but of the offspring of Æneas, the descendants of Ascanius, the progeny of Venus, the grandsons of Jupiter? For this, too, was a worse than civil war, in which the belligerent states were mother and daughter. And to this combat of the three twin-brothers there was added another atrocious and horrible catastrophe. For as the two nations had formerly been friendly (being related and neighbors), the sister of the Horatii had been betrothed to one of the Curiatii; and she, when she saw her brother wearing the spoils of her betrothed, burst into tears, and was slain by her own brother in his anger. To me, this one girl seems to have been more humane than the whole Roman people. I cannot think her to blame for lamenting the man to whom already she had plighted her troth, or, as perhaps she was doing, for grieving that her brother should have slain him to whom he had promised his sister. For why do we praise the grief of Æneas (in Virgil ) over the enemy cut down even by his own hand? Why did Marcellus shed tears over the city of Syracuse, when he recollected, just before he destroyed, its magnificence and meridian glory, and thought upon the common lot of all things? I demand, in the name of humanity, that if men are praised for tears shed over enemies conquered by themselves, a weak girl should not be counted criminal for bewailing her lover slaughtered by the hand of her brother. While, then, that maiden was weeping for the death of her betrothed inflicted by her brother's hand, Rome was rejoicing that such devastation had been wrought on her mother state, and that she had purchased a victory with such an expenditure of the common blood of herself and the Albans. Why allege to me the mere names and words of glory and victory? Tear off the disguise of wild delusion, and look at the naked deeds: weigh them naked, judge them naked. Let the charge be brought against Alba, as Troy was charged with adultery. There is no such charge, none like it found: the war was kindled only in order that there Might sound in languid ears the cry of Tullus and of victory. This vice of restless ambition was the sole motive to that social and parricidal war - a vice which Sallust brands in passing; for when he has spoken with brief but hearty commendation of those primitive times in which life was spent without covetousness, and every one was sufficiently satisfied with what he had, he goes on: But after Cyrus in Asia, and the Lacedemonians and Athenians in Greece, began to subdue cities and nations, and to account the lust of sovereignty a sufficient ground for war, and to reckon that the greatest glory consisted in the greatest empire; and so on, as I need not now quote. This lust of sovereignty disturbs and consumes the human race with frightful ills. By this lust Rome was overcome when she triumphed over Alba, and praising her own crime, called it glory. For, as our Scriptures say, the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and blesses the covetous, whom the Lord abhors. Away, then, with these deceitful masks, these deluding whitewashes, that things may be truthfully seen and scrutinized. Let no man tell me that this and the other was a great man, because he fought and conquered so and so. Gladiators fight and conquer, and this barbarism has its meed of praise; but I think it were better to take the consequences of any sloth, than to seek the glory won by such arms. And if two gladiators entered the arena to fight, one being father, the other his son, who would endure such a spectacle? Who would not be revolted by it? How, then, could that be a glorious war which a daughter-state waged against its mother? Or did it constitute a difference, that the battlefield was not an arena, and that the wide plains were filled with the carcasses not of two gladiators, but of many of the flower of two nations; and that those contests were viewed not by the amphitheatre, but by the whole world, and furnished a profane spectacle both to those alive at the time, and to their posterity, so long as the fame of it is handed down? Yet those gods, guardians of the Roman empire, and, as it were, theatric spectators of such contests as these, were not satisfied until the sister of the Horatii was added by her brother's sword as a third victim from the Roman side, so that Rome herself, though she won the day, should have as many deaths to mourn. Afterwards, as a fruit of the victory, Alba was destroyed, though it was there the Trojan gods had formed a third asylum after Ilium had been sacked by the Greeks, and after they had left Lavinium, where Æneas had founded a kingdom in a land of banishment. But probably Alba was destroyed because from it too the gods had migrated, in their usual fashion, as Virgil says: Gone from each fane, each sacred shrine, Are those who made this realm divine. Gone, indeed, and from now their third asylum, that Rome might seem all the wiser in committing herself to them after they had deserted three other cities. Alba, whose king Amulius had banished his brother, displeased them; Rome, whose king Romulus had slain his brother, pleased them. But before Alba was destroyed, its population, they say, was amalgamated with the inhabitants of Rome so that the two cities were one. Well, admitting it was so, yet the fact remains that the city of Ascanius, the third retreat of the Trojan gods, was destroyed by the daughter-city. Besides, to effect this pitiful conglomerate of the war's leavings, much blood was spilled on both sides. And how shall I speak in detail of the same wars, so often renewed in subsequent reigns, though they seemed to have been finished by great victories; and of wars that time after time were brought to an end by great slaughters, and which yet time after time were renewed by the posterity of those who had made peace and struck treaties? of this calamitous history we have no small proof, in the fact that no subsequent king closed the gates of war; and therefore with all their tutelar gods, no one of them reigned in peace. 5.17. For, as far as this life of mortals is concerned, which is spent and ended in a few days, what does it matter under whose government a dying man lives, if they who govern do not force him to impiety and iniquity? Did the Romans at all harm those nations, on whom, when subjugated, they imposed their laws, except in as far as that was accomplished with great slaughter in war? Now, had it been done with consent of the nations, it would have been done with greater success, but there would have been no glory of conquest, for neither did the Romans themselves live exempt from those laws which they imposed on others. Had this been done without Mars and Bellona, so that there should have been no place for victory, no one conquering where no one had fought, would not the condition of the Romans and of the other nations have been one and the same, especially if that had been done at once which afterwards was done most humanely and most acceptably, namely, the admission of all to the rights of Roman citizens who belonged to the Roman empire, and if that had been made the privilege of all which was formerly the privilege of a few, with this one condition, that the humbler class who had no lands of their own should live at the public expense - an alimentary impost, which would have been paid with a much better grace by them into the hands of good administrators of the republic, of which they were members, by their own hearty consent, than it would have been paid with had it to be extorted from them as conquered men? For I do not see what it makes for the safety, good morals, and certainly not for the dignity, of men, that some have conquered and others have been conquered, except that it yields them that most insane pomp of human glory, in which they have received their reward, who burned with excessive desire of it, and carried on most eager wars. For do not their lands pay tribute? Have they any privilege of learning what the others are not privileged to learn? Are there not many senators in the other countries who do not even know Rome by sight? Take away outward show, and what are all men after all but men? But even though the perversity of the age should permit that all the better men should be more highly honored than others, neither thus should human honor be held at a great price, for it is smoke which has no weight. But let us avail ourselves even in these things of the kindness of God. Let us consider how great things they despised, how great things they endured, what lusts they subdued for the sake of human glory, who merited that glory, as it were, in reward for such virtues; and let this be useful to us even in suppressing pride, so that, as that city in which it has been promised us to reign as far surpasses this one as heaven is distant from the earth, as eternal life surpasses temporal joy, solid glory empty praise, or the society of angels the society of mortals, or the glory of Him who made the sun and moon the light of the sun and moon, the citizens of so great a country may not seem to themselves to have done anything very great, if, in order to obtain it, they have done some good works or endured some evils, when those men for this terrestrial country already obtained, did such great things, suffered such great things. And especially are all these things to be considered, because the remission of sins which collects citizens to the celestial country has something in it to which a shadowy resemblance is found in that asylum of Romulus, whither escape from the punishment of all manner of crimes congregated that multitude with which the state was to be founded. 5.18. What great thing, therefore, is it for that eternal and celestial city to despise all the charms of this world, however pleasant, if for the sake of this terrestrial city Brutus could even put to death his son - a sacrifice which the heavenly city compels no one to make? But certainly it is more difficult to put to death one's sons, than to do what is required to be done for the heavenly country, even to distribute to the poor those things which were looked upon as things to be massed and laid up for one's children, or to let them go, if there arise any temptation which compels us to do so, for the sake of faith and righteousness. For it is not earthly riches which make us or our sons happy; for they must either be lost by us in our lifetime, or be possessed when we are dead, by whom we know not, or perhaps by whom we would not. But it is God who makes us happy, who is the true riches of minds. But of Brutus, even the poet who celebrates his praises testifies that it was the occasion of unhappiness to him that he slew his son, for he says, And call his own rebellious seed For menaced liberty to bleed. Unhappy father! howsoe'er The deed be judged by after days. But in the following verse he consoles him in his unhappiness, saying, His country's love shall all o'erbear. There are those two things, namely, liberty and the desire of human praise, which compelled the Romans to admirable deeds. If, therefore, for the liberty of dying men, and for the desire of human praise which is sought after by mortals, sons could be put to death by a father, what great thing is it, if, for the true liberty which has made us free from the dominion of sin, and death, and the devil - not through the desire of human praise, but through the earnest desire of fleeing men, not from King Tarquin, but from demons and the prince of the demons - we should, I do not say put to death our sons, but reckon among our sons Christ's poor ones? If, also, another Roman chief, surnamed Torquatus, slew his son, not because he fought against his country, but because, being challenged by an enemy, he through youthful impetuosity fought, though for his country, yet contrary to orders which he his father had given as general; and this he did, notwithstanding that his son was victorious, lest there should be more evil in the example of authority despised, than good in the glory of slaying an enemy - if, I say, Torquatus acted thus, wherefore should they boast themselves, who, for the laws of a celestial country, despise all earthly good things, which are loved far less than sons? If Furius Camillus, who was condemned by those who envied him, notwithstanding that he had thrown off from the necks of his countrymen the yoke of their most bitter enemies, the Veientes, again delivered his ungrateful country from the Gauls, because he had no other in which he could have better opportunities for living a life of glory - if Camillus did thus, why should he be extolled as having done some great thing, who, having, it may be, suffered in the church at the hands of carnal enemies most grievous and dishonoring injury, has not betaken himself to heretical enemies, or himself raised some heresy against her, but has rather defended her, as far as he was able, from the most pernicious perversity of heretics, since there is not another church, I say not in which one can live a life of glory, but in which eternal life can be obtained? If Mucius, in order that peace might be made with King Porsenna, who was pressing the Romans with a most grievous war, when he did not succeed in slaying Porsenna, but slew another by mistake for him, reached forth his right hand and laid it on a red-hot altar, saying that many such as he saw him to be had conspired for his destruction, so that Porsenna, terrified at his daring, and at the thought of a conspiracy of such as he, without any delay recalled all his warlike purposes, and made peace - if, I say, Mucius did this, who shall speak of his meritorious claims to the kingdom of heaven, if for it he may have given to the flames not one hand, but even his whole body, and that not by his own spontaneous act, but because he was persecuted by another? If Curtius, spurring on his steed, threw himself all armed into a precipitous gulf, obeying the oracles of their gods, which had commanded that the Romans should throw into that gulf the best thing which they possessed, and they could only understand thereby that, since they excelled in men and arms, the gods had commanded that an armed man should be cast headlong into that destruction - if he did this, shall we say that that man has done a great thing for the eternal city who may have died by a like death, not, however, precipitating himself spontaneously into a gulf, but having suffered this death at the hands of some enemy of his faith, more especially when he has received from his Lord, who is also King of his country, a more certain oracle, Fear not them who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul? Matthew 10:28 If the Decii dedicated themselves to death, consecrating themselves in a form of words, as it were, that falling, and pacifying by their blood the wrath of the gods, they might be the means of delivering the Roman army - if they did this, let not the holy martyrs carry themselves proudly, as though they had done some meritorious thing for a share in that country where are eternal life and felicity, if even to the shedding of their blood, loving not only the brethren for whom it was shed, but, according as had been commanded them, even their enemies by whom it was being shed, they have vied with one another in faith of love and love of faith. If Marcus Pulvillus, when engaged in dedicating a temple to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, received with such indifference the false intelligence which was brought to him of the death of his son, with the intention of so agitating him that he should go away, and thus the glory of dedicating the temple should fall to his colleague;- if he received that intelligence with such indifference that he even ordered that his son should be cast out unburied, the love of glory having overcome in his heart the grief of bereavement, how shall any one affirm that he had done a great thing for the preaching of the gospel, by which the citizens of the heavenly city are delivered from various errors and gathered together from various wanderings, to whom his Lord has said, when anxious about the burial of his father, Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead? Matthew 8:22 Regulus, in order not to break his oath, even with his most cruel enemies, returned to them from Rome itself, because (as he is said to have replied to the Romans when they wished to retain him) he could not have the dignity of an honorable citizen at Rome after having been a slave to the Africans, and the Carthaginians put him to death with the utmost tortures, because he had spoken against them in the senate. If Regulus acted thus, what tortures are not to be despised for the sake of good faith toward that country to whose beatitude faith itself leads? Or what will a man have rendered to the Lord for all He has bestowed upon him, if, for the faithfulness he owes to Him, he shall have suffered such things as Regulus suffered at the hands of his most ruthless enemies for the good faith which he owed to them? And how shall a Christian dare vaunt himself of his voluntary poverty, which he has chosen in order that during the pilgrimage of this life he may walk the more disencumbered on the way which leads to the country where the true riches are, even God Himself - how, I say, shall he vaunt himself for this, when he hears or reads that Lucius Valerius, who died when he was holding the office of consul, was so poor that his funeral expenses were paid with money collected by the people?- or when he hears that Quintius Cincinnatus, who, possessing only four acres of land, and cultivating them with his own hands, was taken from the plough to be made dictator, - an office more honorable even than that of consul - and that, after having won great glory by conquering the enemy, he preferred notwithstanding to continue in his poverty? Or how shall he boast of having done a great thing, who has not been prevailed upon by the offer of any reward of this world to renounce his connection with that heavenly and eternal country, when he hears that Fabricius could not be prevailed on to forsake the Roman city by the great gifts offered to him by Pyrrhus king of the Epirots, who promised him the fourth part of his kingdom, but preferred to abide there in his poverty as a private individual? For if, when their republic - that is, the interest of the people, the interest of the country, the common interest, - was most prosperous and wealthy, they themselves were so poor in their own houses, that one of them, who had already been twice a consul, was expelled from that senate of poor men by the censor, because he was discovered to possess ten pounds weight of silverplate - since, I say, those very men by whose triumphs the public treasury was enriched were so poor, ought not all Christians, who make common property of their riches with a far nobler purpose, even that (according to what is written in the Acts of the Apostles) they may distribute to each one according to his need, and that no one may say that anything is his own, but that all things may be their common possession, Acts 2:45 - ought they not to understand that they should not vaunt themselves, because they do that to obtain the society of angels, when those men did nearly the same thing to preserve the glory of the Romans? How could these, and whatever like things are found in the Roman history, have become so widely known, and have been proclaimed by so great a fame, had not the Roman empire, extending far and wide, been raised to its greatness by magnificent successes? Wherefore, through that empire, so extensive and of so long continuance, so illustrious and glorious also through the virtues of such great men, the reward which they sought was rendered to their earnest aspirations, and also examples are set before us, containing necessary admonition, in order that we may be stung with shame if we shall see that we have not held fast those virtues for the sake of the most glorious city of God, which are, in whatever way, resembled by those virtues which they held fast for the sake of the glory of a terrestrial city, and that, too, if we shall feel conscious that we have held them fast, we may not be lifted up with pride, because, as the apostle says, The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 But so far as regards human and temporal glory, the lives of these ancient Romans were reckoned sufficiently worthy. Therefore, also, we see, in the light of that truth which, veiled in the Old Testament, is revealed in the New, namely, that it is not in view of terrestrial and temporal benefits, which divine providence grants promiscuously to good and evil, that God is to be worshipped, but in view of eternal life, everlasting gifts, and of the society of the heavenly city itself - in the light of this truth we see that the Jews were most righteously given as a trophy to the glory of the Romans; for we see that these Romans, who rested on earthly glory, and sought to obtain it by virtues, such as they were, conquered those who, in their great depravity, slew and rejected the giver of true glory, and of the eternal city. 15.5. Thus the founder of the earthly city was a fratricide. Overcome with envy, he slew his own brother, a citizen of the eternal city, and a sojourner on earth. So that we cannot be surprised that this first specimen, or, as the Greeks say, archetype of crime, should, long afterwards, find a corresponding crime at the foundation of that city which was destined to reign over so many nations, and be the head of this earthly city of which we speak. For of that city also, as one of their poets has mentioned, the first walls were stained with a brother's blood, or, as Roman history records, Remus was slain by his brother Romulus. And thus there is no difference between the foundation of this city and of the earthly city, unless it be that Romulus and Remus were both citizens of the earthly city. Both desired to have the glory of founding the Roman republic, but both could not have as much glory as if one only claimed it; for he who wished to have the glory of ruling would certainly rule less if his power were shared by a living consort. In order, therefore, that the whole glory might be enjoyed by one, his consort was removed; and by this crime the empire was made larger indeed, but inferior, while otherwise it would have been less, but better. Now these brothers, Cain and Abel, were not both animated by the same earthly desires, nor did the murderer envy the other because he feared that, by both ruling, his own dominion would be curtailed - for Abel was not solicitous to rule in that city which his brother built - he was moved by that diabolical, envious hatred with which the evil regard the good, for no other reason than because they are good while themselves are evil. For the possession of goodness is by no means diminished by being shared with a partner either permanent or temporarily assumed; on the contrary, the possession of goodness is increased in proportion to the concord and charity of each of those who share it. In short, he who is unwilling to share this possession cannot have it; and he who is most willing to admit others to a share of it will have the greatest abundance to himself. The quarrel, then, between Romulus and Remus shows how the earthly city is divided against itself; that which fell out between Cain and Abel illustrated the hatred that subsists between the two cities, that of God and that of men. The wicked war with the wicked; the good also war with the wicked. But with the good, good men, or at least perfectly good men, cannot war; though, while only going on towards perfection, they war to this extent, that every good man resists others in those points in which he resists himself. And in each individual the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. Galatians 5:17 This spiritual lusting, therefore, can be at war with the carnal lust of another man; or carnal lust may be at war with the spiritual desires of another, in some such way as good and wicked men are at war; or, still more certainly, the carnal lusts of two men, good but not yet perfect, contend together, just as the wicked contend with the wicked, until the health of those who are under the treatment of grace attains final victory.
10. Orosius Paulus, Historiae Adversum Paganos, 7.7.9 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
ammianus marcellinus Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
augustine, st, city of god Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
augustine, st, on rhetoric Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
clodius pulcher, p., violently rebuked by p. servilius Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
deinosis Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
emotions Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
enargeia Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
licinius crassus, l. (orator), applies firebrands of oratory Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
licinius crassus, l. (orator), begs for deliverance from jaws of enemies Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
marcius philippus, l., attacks against by crassus Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
octavius, m. Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
oratio gravis Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
oratio mediocris Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
orosius, and augustine Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
parricide Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
providence Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
quintilian Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
refoundation, sack (410)' Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
remus Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
rhetoric, as weapons for public life Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
rhetorica ad herrenium Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
romulus Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 118
second sophistic Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
sempronius gracchus, ti., accuses octavius of maiming power of plebs Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
servilius vatia isauricus, p., rebuke leaving clodius mutilated Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
vergil, aeneid Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
vergil Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
violent imagery, as extension of violent rhetoric Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71
violent imagery, self-serving uses Walters, Imagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome (2020) 71