in Catilinam 1.1.1-2

The opening lines from Cicero’s oration against Catiline.

Stephen Jenkin

 

 

quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos1 eludet? quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia? nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora voltusque moverunt? patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam2 non vides? quid proxima, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consili ceperis quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris? O tempora, o mores!

senatus haec intellegit, consul videt; hic tamen vivit. vivit? immo vero etiam in senatum venit, fit publici consili particeps, notat et designat oculis ad caedem unum quemque nostrum. nos autem fortes viri satis facere rei publicae videmur, si istius furorem ac tela vitamus. ad mortem te, Catilina, duci iussu consulis iam pridem oportebat, in te conferri pestem quam tu in nos omnis iam diu machinaris.

 

 

When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the Palatine Hill—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which everyone here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before— where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted? Shame on the age and on its principles!

The senate is aware of these things; the consul sees them; and yet this man lives. Lives! Aye, he comes even into the senate. He takes a part in the public deliberations; he is watching and marking down and checking off for slaughter every individual among us. And we, gallant men that we are, think that we are doing our duty to the republic if we keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks.

You ought, O Catiline, long ago to have been led to execution by command of the consul. That destruction which you have been long plotting against us ought to have already fallen on your own head.

 

Chosen by Stephen Jenkin. Stephen’s recommended translation is by D. H. Berry.

The above text and translation are provided by the Perseus Digital Library.

Read more of this text at the Perseus site.

 

Teaching Idea
This film combines a reading of the Latin with a clever animation of a cartoon version of the famous painting of the scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGTcjlZ3aFA

The eLearning resource for schools that accompanies the Cambridge Latin Course has an excellent dramatic rendition of the passage by Anthony Bowen, former University Orator at Cambridge, complete with English subtitles. It is in Stage 10.

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