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Fabrique de la déclamation antique

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Catherine Schneider
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Rémy Poignault

Valeurs culturelles

Rich and poor, father and son in Major Declamation 7

Breij

Résumé

La septième des Grandes déclamations pseudo-quintiliennes offre un intérêt tout particulier, puisqu’il s’agit de la seule déclamation complète traitant des couples déclamatoires « standard » Riche et Pauvre, Père et Fils. Cette contribution se propose d’en examiner le fonctionnement. Elle consiste en une analyse de ses protagonistes dans leur contexte direct et en rapport avec l’arrière-plan de leurs apparitions stéréotypées dans « Sophistopolis ». À première vue l’auteur ne semble guère avoir tiré parti des opportunités que lui offrait ce thème ; la narratio est extrêmement brève et manifeste peu d’intérêt pour la caractérisation. Un examen plus approfondi du texte révèle toutefois que le thème du Riche et du Pauvre est mis en relief par un usage subtil de la qualité de libertas, tandis que la relation entre Père et Fils reçoit de la profondeur par le biais d’allusions à deux tragédies sénéquiennes.

Major Declamation 7 ascribed to Quintilian is worth studying because it is the only complete declamation dealing with the standard declamatory couples of Rich and Poor, Father and Son. In this contribution I try to assess how it goes about its task. I analyse its protagonists within their direct context and against the background of their stereotypical appearances in Sophistopolis. At first sight the author seems to have made little use of the opportunities offered by the theme; the narratio is extremely brief and there appears to be little attention for characterisation. A closer look at the text reveals however that the Rich Man – Poor Man theme is enhanced by a subtle use of the quality of libertas, while the relationship between Father and Son is given profundity by means of allusions to two Senecan tragedies.

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, pr.: “It shall be illegal to torture a free person. A poor man and a rich (...)

Liberum hominem torqueri ne liceat. Pauper et dives inimici. Pauperi erat filius. Nocte quadam pauper cum filio revertebatur. Interfectus est adulescens. Offert se pauper in tormenta dicens a divite eum interemptum. Dives contradicit ex lege1.

  • 2 As observed already in Russell 1983, p. 27; the third being Husband and Wife. Russell 1983, p. 27‑3 (...)

1This is the theme of the seventh Major Declamation ascribed to Quintilian, a controversia consisting of Poor Man’s plea in favour of torture. It is special for a number of reasons. In the first place, it treats of not just one, but two of the three standard pairs that crop up again and again in the courts of Sophistopolis: both Rich Man and Poor Man, and Father and Son2. Secondly, and quite exceptionally, Father and Son are not enemies. And thirdly, Major Declamation 7 is the only complete declamation in which all this is the case, so that it seems to offer a good opportunity to study the portrayal of characters and relationships of Rich Man and Poor Man, Father and Son. That is what I propose to do in this contribution, but not before I have given brief introductions to these characters as they tend to occur in Roman declamation.

Rich Man and Poor Man

  • 3 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 271; 337; 379; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 7; 11; 17; 27; 29; 36; 50; 53; Ps.‑Quint. (...)
  • 4 Sen., Contr. V, 2; V, 5; VIII, 6; X, 1; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 252; 257; 279; 301; 304; 305; 333; 3 (...)
  • 5 Sen., Contr. II, 1; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 259; 298; 325; 345.
  • 6 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 269; 332.

2Dives et pauper inimici is easily the most frequent sentence in Roman declamation: it is found in no fewer than thirteen controversiae3. Nor is the enmity of Rich and Poor restricted to the declamations in which this brief but significant sentence crops up; it also figures, more or less explicitly as the case may be, in nineteen others4. Conversely, there are five controversiae in which the relationship is indifferent5, and only two in which Rich Man and Poor Man are friends6. It will not be amiss, therefore, to state that the bad relations between Rich and Poor are a recurring pattern in Roman declamation. Yet so far only a few authors have studied them in depth.

  • 7 Migliario 1989, p. 527‑533.
  • 8 Tabacco 1978a, p. 43‑44.
  • 9 Tabacco 1978a, p. 66‑67.
  • 10 Tabacco 1978b, p. 220.
  • 11 Tabacco 1978b, p. 198; see also Tabacco 1979.

3Migliario7 gives a brief but adequate description of the topic’s roots in contemporary reality, which, since we remain in Sophistopolis, need not concern us here. Important work has been done by Raffaella Tabacco, who wrote three studies of Major Declamation 13. In this controversia Poor Man sues Rich Man for damages: Rich Man has poisoned Poor Man’s bees, allegedly because they damaged the flowers in his luxurious gardens. Tabacco gives ample attention to the way both of them individually, and their relationship, are characterised, and her observations are valid for the majority of other controversiae concerning Rich and Poor. In her first study she begins by giving an impression of the two opponents: Rich Men are usually arrogant and criminal, and take pride in their depravity; Poor Men tend to be decent, frugal, diligent and defenceless against the nasty tricks played on them by the Rich8. Their antagonism is stressed by the antithetical traits with which they are associated: Poor Man is even-tempered and content to make do with little, and he respects his rich neighbour; but Rich Man can count impotentia, crudelitas, malignitas, livor, inhumanitas, invidia and contumelia among the vices he deploys against his enemy. And while Poor Man’s main emotions are diffidence, sadness and indignation, Rich Man is proud, tyrannical, irascible, shameless and full of contempt and mockery for other people’s misery9. In 1978, Tabacco adds two more faults to this depressing catalogue: licentia and avaritia10. The article is of considerable interest, because it elaborates on the themes of Tabacco 1978a and provides them with a broader literary context. The conclusion, too, is interesting: Tabacco states that the greatest merit of Major Declamation 13 is that the polarity between Rich and Poor is sustained throughout the text, not just by the designations listed above, but also by explicit mentions of their respective situations, possessions, and behaviour, and even by the sections devoted to the landscape and the animals that inhabit it11. She is right, and this merit gives Major Declamation 13 an exceptional character, since no other declamation is as thorough and consistent in its treatment of the motif.

  • 12 Only about Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 333 and 337, Calp. Flacc., Decl. 50 and Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 11 (...)
  • 13 Winterbottom 1984, p. 327: “These enmities [...] are given no motivation in Roman themes, but in Gr (...)
  • 14 Poor Man in Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 13 is childless, so the issue does not crop up. Sexual corruptio (...)

4While Tabacco’s observations are extensive and hold for the majority of controversiae12 concerning the relationship between Rich and Poor, they are not exhaustive. Two important features need to be added. Firstly, it ought to be noted that the reason for the feud between Rich and Poor is hardly ever stated13 – the bad relations are evidently considered an unavoidable fact of life. Secondly, an important recurring aspect of the feud between Rich and Poor is lacking in her descriptions: in many cases the crudelitas of the aggressor, i. e. Rich Man most of the time, takes the form of harming his enemy’s children, either by corrupting them sexually, or even by killing them14. Both these aspects are relevant for the following discussion of Rich and Poor in Major Declamation 7.

Rich Man and Poor Man in Major Declamation 7

5Anyone who wants to study Rich and Poor in Major Declamation 7 will have to make a little go a long way, for quite unlike Major Declamation 13, Major Declamation 7 devotes but few words to the description of Rich Man, Poor Man and their mutual relations. Their characters are hardly developed or contrasted, there is no history or context to their enmity, no explicit reason why Rich Man should be suspected of the murder of Son. All these apparent oversights greatly annoyed Ritter and even provoked him into rounding the story out himself:

  • 15 Ritter 1881, p. 114‑115.

In der narratio hätte dürfen eine ausführlichere Schilderung der Personen gegeben werden, nicht nur des Sohnes, als eines durchaus ruhigen und friedlichen Menschen; auch von sich selbst hätte der Redner erzählen sollen, wie er in Einfachheit gelebt und sich mühsam sein Brot verdient habe, anstatt wie andere Arme durch Schmeicheleien und niedrige Künste einem Reichen sich dienstlich zu erweisen, um von dem Abfall seines Tisches sich zu sättigen. Dieser Reiche, der ein übermüthiger und frecher Mensch sei, habe die Freiheit eines Armen nicht ertragen können und ihn deshalb mit seiner Feindschaft verfolgt; sonst habe er nie einen Feind gehabt, und Ähnliches. Dann hätte bei den Indizien gegen den Reichen näher ausgeführt werden dürfen, dass nothwendig Feindschaft der Grund zum Mord müsse gewesen sein, indem ein Räuber nicht Arme angegriffen, nicht nur einen derselben getödtet, nicht die Leiche unberaubt gelassen hätte15.

6Ritter is largely right in his observations. Yet there are several factors which, even if they do not render his criticism specious, can at least mitigate it. In the first place, one could put forward that the topic of Rich-versus-Poor has already been milked down to the last detail – Major Declamation 13 being a perfect specimen – so that the merest indication of the conflict suffices to evoke an entire drama. Secondly, the controversia’s status plays a part. Generally it is the status rationales which give declaimers the opportunity to expatiate on the persons and circumstances that determine a particular case. The status coniecturalis, for example, is often used to prove the identity of a perpetrator, which calls for a relatively detailed development of characters; the status qualitatis requires all kinds of mitigating and aggravating circumstances, so that detailed narrative passages are required. But the main status of Decl. mai. 7 is a status legalis; and status legales involve deliberations on the law: its wording, intention, applicability, etc. In the case of Decl. mai. 7 the status concerns scriptum et voluntas, i. e., the letter and the spirit of the law. Rich Man appeals to the letter of the law, which simply states that it is forbidden to torture free citizens. Poor Man, in his turn, relies on what he regards as its intention, i. e. to prevent that free citizens are tortured against their will. Since this is the moot point, the bulk of the controversia is devoted to discussions of the law and the reliability and judiciousness of torture.

  • 16 Ritter’s objection (cited above) that Poor Man ought to have stated that his son had not been robbe (...)

7However, apart from the status scripti et voluntatis, the status coniecturalis does crop up as a substatus in Decl. mai. 7: is Rich Man the perpetrator or not? This could have been an occasion to go into Rich Man’s depraved character and posit earlier misbehaviour in order to make him a likely suspect. But this does not happen. Instead, Poor Man opts for a strategy which may well be equally effective: he implies that it goes without saying that Rich Man is the murderer16. In an almost meta-declamatory statement he says:

  • 17 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 9: “Without a doubt there would be lots of arguments to convict you, Rich (...)

Sine dubio, dives, multa te poterant argumenta convincere, si deferret alius, et eras manifestissimus reus, si mihi percussor quaerendus esset. Quis enim credibilior in caede pauperis quam dives inimicus, aut de quo facilius constare posset scelere, <quam> quod non habet nisi de sola ultione <rationem>17?

  • 18 I have taken the liberty to coin the term “rhetorical imperfect” for this phenomenon because it is (...)

8The fragment clearly indicates that in this quarter of Sophistopolis, the attitude of Rich towards Poor can only be seen in the bleakest light: that of ingrained and murderous enmity. Note how the use of mood in the first double sentence underlines this point of view. Both sentences contain counterfactual situations, but instead of producing a “proper” conditional period, the author alternates the moods. Only the conditional clauses contain subjunctives; the main clauses are given indicatives, so that the truth they are meant to convey is in no way hypothetical, but instead remains unassailable18.

  • 19 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 6, aliquando dissedimus; 7, 9, simultates nostrae.
  • 20 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 12: “My son, who deserved praise from each and every single one of you, f (...)

9It is inherent in Rich Man’s character qua Rich Man to want to murder Poor Man’s Son, then, but he is also attributed with a motive: ultio. Here one would have expected a concrete provocation on Son’s part, but none is mentioned. On the contrary, Poor Man merely refers – in passing – to his own quarrels with Rich Man19. In the peroratio, finally, he gives a clue: filium meum, illum singulis vobis universisque laudandum, iuxta quem felix, iuxta quem adrogans eram, occidit mea nimia libertas20. It is clear, then, that Rich Man did not have it in for Son: he merely wanted to get his own back on Poor Man for his insolence and used the latter’s son as an instrument to get his revenge. Son evidently has to pay for the sins of Father. And by killing Poor Man’s Son, Rich Man in fact kills two birds with one stone: he inflicts a terrible punishment on Poor Man, but he also kills a potential enemy:

  • 21 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 10: “It is as if I can hear those deliberations of his, those secret murd (...)

Audire mehercules mihi videor illas cogitationes, illa scelerum secreta consilia: “Quid mihi cum vulneribus, quid cum cruore consumptae et iam paene abeuntis animae? Occidatur potius ille iam iuvenis, iam inimicus; de sene vindicabitis me, patris oculi”21.

  • 22 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 6: hic est inimicus [...] qui nobis subinde maledixit, hic ille contumeli (...)
  • 23 E. g. Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 1, dolore fruitur; 7, 6, te extra omnes humanorum pectorum adfectus (...)
  • 24 The passage makes it clear, incidentally, that another objection of Ritter, “[d]ann hätte bei den I (...)
  • 25 The added convenience of having no other witnesses present is mentioned only as a minor advantage.

10This is quite in line with the scant information about Rich Man’s character that is found scattered in the controversia. Although at one point he is referred to as a slanderer, a rude and outrageous person22, his overriding quality, it is emphasized repeatedly, is wanton cruelty23. It is his cruelty which makes him regret that he must try to prevent Poor Man’s torture, it is his cruelty which makes him decide to kill the son in order to hurt the father24, it is his cruelty which makes him decide to commit the murder in person and have the father witness it25:

  • 26 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 10: “Murdering a son under his father’s eyes is only worth your while if (...)

Filium in conspectu patris occidere sic operae pretium est, si illud ipse facias. Perdit plurimam de sceleribus voluptatem qui mandat, et minus gratiae rebus ex nuntio venit. Occidet alius te iubente, sed vulneribus illis non fruentur oculi, sed plus est, ut singultibus abeuntis animae, ut cruore satieris, ut conlapsum palpitantemque videas, ut me vidente. [...] Ratio saevitiae est, ut aliquis coram eo occidatur, propter quem occiditur26.

  • 27 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 8: Adfero ad quaestionem iam planctibus membra liventia; quantum animae, (...)
  • 28 In Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 12, cited on p. 280 above.
  • 29 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 4: “Compulsory freedom is a type of slavery.”

11Poor Man, being the speaker, appears to be a slightly more rounded character. He is poor, of course, and frugal; he repeatedly calls himself a senex and emphasizes his infirmitas, which is caused not only by his age but also by his excessive grief27. Yet despite his weakness, his overriding characteristic is libertas. This quality crops up in two different senses. In the sense of παρρησία, Poor Man attributes it explicitly to himself, as we have seen28, and it comes to the fore as well in his unusual request for torture and in his fierce attacks on Rich Man. But the legal sense of libertas also plays a part: Poor Man’s status as a free citizen. This status is of course the main obstacle to his being tortured, since the law forbids the torture of free citizens. But Poor Man relies on his interpretation of the law’s intention and states that the law is meant as a protection for free citizens who do not wish to be tortured. A privilege is no longer a privilege if it is foisted upon one: genus servitutis est coacta libertas29. That obstacle having been deftly removed, he takes, on the other hand, a strange pride in his free status and, by contrasting it with that of slaves, makes clever use of it to forestall two possible objections. In the first place, the judges need not be afraid that he will lie under torture, he states, for only slaves can tell lies and keep standing by them under duress:

  • 30 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 7: “However, gentlemen, supposing that it is allowed to doubt the reliabi (...)

Sed etsi fas est, iudices, dubitare de fide quaestionum, alius debet esse suspectus, ille scilicet, in quo servilium pectorum recessus, in quo verniles excutiuntur artus. Quotiens tortori est rixa cum membris, tum cruciatus agnoscit adsiduis suppliciis durata patientia. At homo cui omnino est nova res dolor corpus applicui quod scissa lacerataque veste primum ferre non potest pudorem, quod nescit ad flagellorum vices membra conponere nec ullo verbera frangit occursu30.

12The adjectives servilis and vernilis and the metonymous abstract patientia have reduced the slaves to mere objects to sharpen the contrast between free men and slaves, so that Poor Man’s free status stands out clearly. But his statement entails a double paradox. Firstly, the elevated status of a free citizen, of which one would expect that it would confer power, now equals infirmitas. Yet, and this is the second paradox, the infirmitas becomes a means of power because in its turn it strengthens Poor Man’s case. A similar paradox crops up when Poor Man forestalls another possible objection: why did he not raise an outcry when the murder was taking place? His anticipatio again uses a comparison with slaves, and again it is his status as a free citizen which accounts for his general incapacity and ineptitude: two evident weaknesses which under these particular circumstances provide him with a powerful argument.

  • 31 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 11: “The fact that I did not do anything at the time must not be a reason (...)

Ne me ideo non putetis vidisse, quia nihil feci. Servulorum iste libertorumque dolor est occiso homine statim scire, quid facias, exclamare, procurrere, fidem deorum hominumque testari31.

13We may conclude, then, that Poor Man’s character does not deviate much from standard declamatory Poor Man, although it is slightly paradoxical, combining weakness and pride.

14What about Poor Man as Father, and what about Son? In order to make sense of the scant information provided in Major Declamation 7 it will be useful to begin with a brief general introduction to the subject of Fathers and Sons in Roman declamation.

Fathers and Sons

  • 32 Vesley 2003 is a general introduction to the topic; Sussman 1995 provides a detailed scrutiny of th (...)
  • 33 For a concise bibliography of relevant titles, see Breij 2006, p. 78‑79.

15About the characters of Fathers and Sons in Roman declamation, and especially about their mutual relations, more has been written32. This has several reasons. In the first place, there is a far larger number of declamations in which the topic crops up: in as many as 125 out of the 291 controversiae that we have left, the relationship between Father and Son plays a part. Secondly, and also other than in the case of Rich vs. Poor, a stimulus was provided by the many studies which have appeared about the relationship between fathers and sons in contemporary real life33. This relationship was, of course, marked by an extreme lack of symmetry in the balance of power: sons who were in patria potestate had no independent legal identity, could not legally own possessions, were not allowed to get married or divorced without their fathers’ consent. The fathers had such rights over their sons as reduced the latter to mere possessions: they could abandon their sons as babies (ius exponendi), and at any point, they could sell them (ius vendendi) and even kill them with impunity (vitae necisque potestas).

  • 34 See e. g. Saller 1994, p. 117, 121 and 130; Vesley 2003, p. 178.
  • 35 Sen., Contr. IV, 1; VII, 4; IX, 1; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 302; 326; 350; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 7; 23; (...)
  • 36 Sussman 1995, p. 91.

16Modern historians tend to extenuate these factors, contending that due to ancient mortality rates many sons did not even have a father, and that anyway the relations were characterised by pietas rather than harshness34. But the situation in Sophistopolis contradicts that point of view. The extremely large proportion of controversiae concerned with relations between Father and Son is telling in itself. Moreover, in only very few those relations are not overtly or covertly hostile35. Father usually has a role analogous to that of Rich Man: he is the one in power, and he tends to abuse his power to the detriment of the underdog, i. e. Son. Accordingly his character, like that of Rich Man, is relatively colourful. It often consists of a multitude of vices: Father can be cruel, rigid, unreasonable, hard to please, paranoid, power hungry, cowardly, avaricious and sometimes all of the above. Again, as was the case with Poor Man, sympathy tends to lie with the powerless party. This is Son, who usually faces disinheritance and sometimes death, and only in a few cases offers active resistance to Father’s absolute power by accusing him of madness (dementia) or, allegedly, attempting to murder him. Like Poor Men, Sons are for the most part comparatively flat characters in comparison with their powerful enemies. As Sussman puts it, “declaimers are careful to portray the virtue, innocence and even naiveté of the adulescens as well as his heroism and nobility of spirit... for the most part he is actually passive, pathetic, or a victim of circumstances, in an accurate depiction of his generalized role in society as dictated by patria potestas36. It is the dominant Father who overshadows his Son to such an extent as to render him colourless.

Father and Son in Major Declamation 7

17At first sight, the treatment of Father and Son in Major Declamation 7 seems unusual in one important respect: their relationship is described as affectionate and characterized by mutual pietas, and Father does not display the usual paternal vices. This turns out to be not so strange, however, if one realizes that the position of enemy has already been taken: by Rich Man, and it is between him and Poor Man that the necessary conflict is played out. Son, in this configuration, merely serves as an instrument of revenge for Rich Man, and his death is only the catalyst for the conflict between the two sworn enemies. It will come as no surprise, then, that Son is as colourless as in most declamations. There are only three passages in which we catch a tiny glimpse of him as an actual person, and of his relationship with Father. Since they are all very brief, I will cite them in full.

18The first passage occurs relatively early in the speech:

  • 37 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 2: “I had a son, gentlemen, whose character was noble and magnanimous, an (...)

Filium, iudices, habui, sicut erecti ac sublimis animi, ita qui nondum suos haberet inimicos, et quem nemo adhuc nisi causa tantum mei doloris occideret37.

19The first part of this sentence looks like the beginning of the narratio, in which one would expect a description of Son’s main characteristics, the simple but worthy life he and Father led together, and the way it was marred by the conflict with Rich Man which resulted in Son’s death. But we are disappointed: we are only told that Son was “noble and magnanimous” (Sussman’s “nobility of spirit”); the second part of the sentence, expressed in revealing negations, denies him any more distinguishing characteristics. Instead he is presented as a clean slate, clearly to be regarded as a mere appendage of Father; he was killed not for his own sake, but as a way to hurt his father. It is this color which is then extensively discussed. The narratio only follows in the next chapter and does not fulfill the expectations raised earlier. Since it is unusually brief, it too can be cited in full:

  • 38 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 3: “It was night when we were returning home together as indeed all our d (...)

Revertebamur nocte pariter, sicut omnia nos vitae ministeria iungebant, et homines, quibus non servos praestabat fortuna custodes, tuebamur pauperem mutua pietate comitatum invicem sustinentes, invicem innixi nec nisi magna percussoris diligentia separandi, cum dives medio noctis horrore stricto mucrone prosiluit et stupentibus attonitisque miseris confodit illum fortiorem, illum, qui fortassis aliquid in mea morte fecisset. Confiteor, iudices, nihil tunc oculorum meorum diligentia, nihil egit cura miseri patris: percussor voluit agnosci38.

20This narratio may well be the briefest that occurs in the entire collection of Declamationes maiores, and it is here, I find, that Ritters objections really strike home. The author could easily have taken the opportunity to provide the drama with a context by sketching the past history, characters, ways of life and relationships of the three personae. Such a context could not only have enriched the declamation as a literary text, but also, perhaps even more importantly, could have bolstered Poor Man’s accusation and argumentatio. As it is we can, however, still scrape up some information. The most striking element of the narratio is of course the abundance of words that stress the harmony and closeness of the relationship between Father and Son. Pariter, iungebant, mutua pietate, comitatum, invicem sustinentes, invicem innixi nec [...] separandi, all occurring in a single sentence, form a congeries that makes it clear that Father thinks of his relationship with Son in terms of mutual affection and dependence. It also suggests that Son’s attitude towards Father was one of great pietas. And thirdly, Father attributes Son with one quality that he himself seems to lack: Son has physical strength and courage – Sussman’s “heroism”. But note that all these characteristics – the closeness, the pietas, the fortitude – are considered only in relation to Father himself: the closeness serves to emphasize the cruelty of Rich Man’s crime against him, the pietas and fortitudo are mentioned as deployed for his benefit. In other words, Son is not considered an individual enjoying an independent existence, he merely lives through Father.

  • 39 See above, p. 280 with n. 21.

21The third passage in which Son appears confirms this point of view. It occurs in the fragment I cited above39 where I discussed Rich Man’s cruelty, and it describes the thoughts that are ascribed to him by Poor Man: occidatur potius ille iam iuvenis, iam inimicus; de sene vindicabitis me, patris oculi. Son was destined to be Father’s successor in the feud with Rich Man; so again it is clear that Poor Man regards Son merely as a continuation of his own person.

  • 40 This subject has not yet been researched in a systematic way. Interesting contributions to the topi (...)
  • 41 See above, p. 282 with n. 31.

22This scant and one-sided treatment of Son may do Poor Man’s case no good and spoil our enjoyment of the story, but on the other hand, it also has its merits. In the first place, it conforms to and corroborates the declamatory tradition of depicting identities in relationships of power in stereotypes, which in its turn can be an indication of how these relationships were experienced in contemporary real life. And secondly, the tendency to deny sons a rounded character and to regard them instead as mere representations of their fathers, so that harming them is an effective way to get at those fathers, is of course not limited to the genre of declamation, but rather indicates the employment of a literary motif that occurs frequently in mythological and tragic material. One could think for example of Tereus, Jason, Thyestes, all of whom were punished for their misdeeds by the gruesome deaths of their young children who, like Son in Declamatio maior 7, are denied distinct personalities in the stories. But the form the motif has been given in Declamatio maior 7 contains specific reminiscences of Senecan tragedy40, a genre which both influenced declamation and underwent its influence. Seneca’s Medea and his Thyestes are especially relevant in this respect, because significant parallels can be found. We have already seen a sample in the passage I quoted above: occidatur potius ille iam iuvenis, iam inimicus; de sene vindicabitis me, patris oculi, which is an echo of Seneca’s Thyestes 893‑895: Utinam quidem tenere fugientes / possem et coactos trahere, ut ultricem dapem / omnes viderent. Quod sat est, videat pater41. And this motif, the sins of the fathers being visited upon their sons, has broader implications, which in their turn allow us to perceive yet more Senecan influences.

  • 42 See above, p. 284 with n. 37.

23Its first occurrence is relatively early in the speech. Just after Father has said that he had a noble and magnanimous son, who did not yet have any enemies of his own42, he exclaims:

  • 43 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 2: “Oh, what a miserable situation we parents are in, how vulnerable are (...)

O parentum misera condicio, quam novis inusitatisque patemus insidiis! Nos exasperamus, nos offendimus, inimici tamen liberos nostros oderunt43.

  • 44 Sen., Thy. 1100: “Thyestes: What was my children’s guilt? Atreus: That they were yours” (trans. Fit (...)

24Father realises that it is own misbehaviour which has provoked the crime; and that Son, being Father’s shadow, is made to pay the penalty to get at him. These are hardly novae inusitataeque insidiae – they are familiar from the same Thyestes, voiced by the protagonist when Atreus has revealed that his brother has eaten his own children. Thyestes asks: Quid liberi meruere? And Atreus curtly replies only this: Quod fuerant tui44. Similar motifs are found in Seneca’s Medea, when Medea, on the verge of killing the sons she had by Jason in order to punish the latter for his unfaithfulness and for the deaths of her father and brother, decides:

  • 45 Sen., Med. 549‑550 and 924‑925: “Does he love his sons so much? Good, he is caught! The place to wo (...)

Sic natos amat? Bene est, tenetur, vulneri patuit locus. [...] Liberi quondam mei, vos pro paternis sceleribus poenas date45.

25Our declamatory father feels, then, that he is at least partly responsible for the murder of Son. At first he only intimates that he considers this to be the case. He does this straight after the narratio, when he complains that he is being haunted by the murder scene:

  • 46 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 3: “The very face of the boy in his death throes still haunts my eyes, th (...)

In oculis adhuc vultus ille morientis, haerent auribus verba super cadaver habita exultantis inimici. Fidem tormentorum! Quousque percussoris filii mei conscius ero46?

  • 47 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 3: “Uncover my chest and draw the assailant’s entire secret out of my hea (...)

26The crux is in conscius. In view of the images of the victim and his murderer evoked by Father one could be inclined to interpret conscius as “aware”, and this sense of conscius certainly plays a part. But why does Father say that he no longer wants to be conscius, not of the murder but of the murderer? His next words provide a clue. In a passionate plea to the jury, he orders them: aperite pectus istud et totum de visceribus meis latronis egerite secretum47. In other words, it is most urgent for Poor Man to give his testimony, for so long as he has not managed to convince the jury of Rich Man’s guilt, he is in effect protecting Son’s murderer, thereby becoming the latter’s conscius in a different sense, namely “accomplice”.

27And Father’s sense of guilt goes yet deeper than that. It cannot be remedied with a plausible testimony of the murder and subsequent punishment of the murderer. He feels remorse not just for dealing with Son in such a way as to provide the occasion for Rich Man’s crime, but also for standing by inactively when the murder took place, and for surviving it unscathed. All these compunctions gush forth in the peroratio, resulting in Father’s explicitly taking the blame for the murder and desiring to be punished accordingly:

  • 48 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 12: “My son, who deserved praise from each and every single one of you, f (...)

Filium meum, illum singulis vobis universisque laudandum, iuxta quem felix, iuxta quem adrogans eram, occidit mea nimia libertas. Ita ego te non eculeo efferam, non super ardentis exeram flammas? [...] Concurrite, omnes liberi, omnes parentes, urite, lacerate hos, hos primum patris oculos, distrahite has manus, quae nihil pro pereunte fecerunt, hoc corpus, haec membra, quae de conplexu latronis vulnera nulla retulerunt. Sive hoc poenam sive vultis esse clementiam, debeo tam miser esse dum probo, quam cum viderem48.

28Father’s sense of guilt is so strong, then, that he actually regards himself as the murderer. The torture must therefore serve a double purpose and be not just a means to prove his case, but a form of punishment as well: for his impertinence because it occasioned the murder; for his eyes and hands because he used the former but not the latter, witnessing the crime but standing by apathetically, and for the rest of his body because it escaped the murderer without a scratch.

  • 49 Sen., Med. 1004‑1005: “Spare our son now. If there is any guilt, it is mine. / I surrender myself t (...)

29A similar sense of guilt and responsibility is expressed by the two fathers in Seneca’s Medea and Thyestes; and they, too, ask for punishment to make up for the role they played in the murder of their sons. Jason, when Medea has already killed one of their sons and is on the brink of killing the other, begs: Iam parce nato. Si quod est crimen, meum est: / me dedo morti; noxium macta caput49. And Thyestes, calling out to Jupiter to avenge the murder of his sons, asks for punishment for both Atreus and himself, but evidently regards himself as the guiltier party if a choice has to be made between him and his brother:

  • 50 Sen., Thy. 1085‑1090: “Avenge the lost daylight, hurl flames, restore the light stolen from heaven (...)

Vindica amissum diem
iaculare flammas, lumen ereptum polo
fulminibus exple. Causa, ne dubites diu
utriusque mala sit; si minus, mala sit mea:
me pete, trisulco flammeam telo facem
per pectus hoc transmitte
50.

30Both Senecan tragedies end quite abruptly as soon as the revenge has been completed and its horrible consequences have become clear in their full extent. The audience is left with a feeling of disconsolateness – the world is iniquitous and cruel instead of benign and just; resolution of conflicts is impossible; consolation is absent. The peroratio of Declamatio maior 7 concludes less dourly, but neither is there room for unqualified optimism. Poor Man calls upon his own last powers to sustain him during the interrogation, but cannot rule out the possibility that he will in some way collapse under the torture and revoke his accusation or simply die – and in that case in his world, too, justice will be denied any scope.

Conclusion

31We have seen that Major Declamation 7 is a special declamation because it is the only complete controversia that deals with Rich Man and Poor Man, Father and Son. Its theme offers ample opportunities for literary and ethical developments of the roles played by these two standard couples in Sophistopolis, as well as their relationships and the problems they encounter. However, the anonymous author has chosen to make only a modest use of these opportunities. His approach is comparatively technical, focusing to a great extent on a judicious and effective employment of the status scripti et voluntatis and the substatus coniecturalis that inform Poor Man’s plea. In all fairness, he can afford to do so because he has at his disposal a rich declamatory tradition in which these characters have already been fully formed and are thoroughly familiar. His somewhat perfunctory treatment of the two couples serves to consolidate this tradition. Furthermore, the text is not completely devoid of original twists and literary qualities. While the characterisation of Rich Man does not transcend that of standard Rich Men, Poor Man has been given a more pronounced personality by means of the emphasis on his libertas and the paradoxical way he brings this quality to bear. As for the other couple, the inclusion of tragic reminiscences adds profundity and poignancy to the relationship between Father and Son. All in all, then, it seems fair to conclude that Major Declamation 7 in fact combines the best of both worlds: on the one hand it contains a thorough argumentatio which is firmly rooted in two status, on the other, it has some literary merits for those who know where to look for them. In fact it complies nicely to the demand Quintilian made of declamation:

  • 51 Quint., II, 10, 12: “Thus declamation, inasmuch as it is the image of forensic and deliberative elo (...)

Quare declamatio, quoniam est est iudiciorum consiliorumque imago, similis esse debet veritati, quoniam autem aliquid in se habet epidicticon, nonnihil sibi nitoris adsumere51.

Bibliographie

Breij B. 2006, « Vitae necisque potestas in Roman Declamation », Advances in the History of Rhetoric 9, p. 55‑79.

Fitch J. (éd., trad.) 2002, Seneca : Hercules, Trojan Women, Phoenician Women, Medea, Phaedra, Cambridge (Mass.)-Londres.

— (éd., trad.) 2004, Seneca : Oedipus, Agamemnon, Thyestes, Hercules on Œta, Octavia, Cambridge (Mass.)-Londres.

Giomini R., Celentano M. S. (éd.) 1980, C. Iulii Victoris Ars rhetorica, Leipzig.

Håkanson L. (éd.) 1982, Declamationes XIX maiores Quintiliano falso ascriptae, Stuttgart.

Halm C. (éd.) 1863, Rhetores latini minores, 10. Sulpitii Victoris institutiones oratoriae, Leipzig, p. 311‑352 (réimpr. Francfort, 1964).

Heseltine M. (éd., trad., ann.) 1975, Petronius, Cambridge (Mass.)-Londres.

Leumann M., Hofmann J., Szantyr A. 1965, Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik, Munich.

Migliario E. 1989, « Luoghi retorici e realtà sociale nell’opera di Seneca il Vecchio », Athenaeum 67, p. 525‑549.

Pasetti L. 2009, « Mori me non vult. Seneca and Pseudo-Quintilian’s IVth Major Declamation », Rhetorica 27, p. 274‑293.

Ritter C. 1881, Die quintilianischen Declamationen. Untersuchung über Art und Herkunft derselben, Fribourg-en-Brisgau - Tübingen (réimpr. Hildesheim, 1967).

Russell D. A. 1983, Greek Declamation, Cambridge-New York.

— (éd., trad., ann.) 2001, Quintilianus, The Orator’s Education, I-V, Cambridge (Mass.)- Londres.

Saller R. P. 1994, Patriarchy, Property and Death in the Roman Family, Cambridge (réimpr. 1996).

Sussman L. A. (éd., trad., comm.) 1994, The Declamations of Calpurnius Flaccus, Leyde-New York-Cologne.

— 1995, « Sons and Fathers in the Major Declamations Ascribed to Quintilian », Rhetorica 13, p. 179‑192.

Tabacco R. 1978a, « Povertà e richezza. L’unità tematica della declamazione XIII dello Pseudo-Quintiliano », MCSN 2, p. 37‑69.

— 1978b, « L’utilizzazione dei topoi nella declamazione XIII dello Pseudo-Quintiliano », AAT 112, p. 197‑224.

— 1979, « Apes pauperis (Ps.‑Quint. XIII). Articolazione tematica ed equilibri strutturali », AAP 28, p. 81‑104.

Van Mal-Maeder D. 2007, La fiction des déclamations, Leyde-Boston.

Vesley M. E. 2003, « Father-Son Relations in Roman Declamation », AHB 17, p. 158‑180.

Wackernagel J. 1926, Vorlesungen über Syntax : mit besonderer Berücksichtigung von Griechisch, Lateinisch und Deutsch (2e éd.), Bâle (1re éd. 1920).

Winterbottom M. (éd., comm.) 1984, The Minor Declamations Ascribed to Quintilian, Berlin-New York.

Notes

1 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, pr.: “It shall be illegal to torture a free person. A poor man and a rich man were enemies. Poor Man had a son. One night Poor Man went home with Son. The young man was murdered. Poor Man says that he was killed by Rich Man and offers to undergo torture. Rich Man objects in accordance with the law” (Håkanson 1982; translations from this declamation are my own).

2 As observed already in Russell 1983, p. 27; the third being Husband and Wife. Russell 1983, p. 27‑35 deals with characterisation and relationships of the three standard couples in Greek Sophistopolis.

3 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 271; 337; 379; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 7; 11; 17; 27; 29; 36; 50; 53; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7; 11. See also Petr., 48, 5: “Sed narra tu mihi, Agamemnon, quam controversiam hodie declamasti? [...]” Cum dixisset Agamenon: “Pauper et dives inimici erant”, ait Trimalchio “Quid est pauper?” “Urbane”, inquit Agamemnon, “ ‘But do tell me, Agamemnon, what declamation did you deliver in school to-day? [...]’ Then Agamemnon said: ‘A poor man and a rich man were once at enmity’. ‘But what is a poor man?’ Trimalchio replied. ‘Very clever’, said Agamemnon” (Heseltine 1975).

4 Sen., Contr. V, 2; V, 5; VIII, 6; X, 1; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 252; 257; 279; 301; 304; 305; 333; 343; 344; 364; 370; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 6; 28; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 9; 13. Additionally there are mentions of relevant declamatory themes in Quint., IV, 2, 100; Sulp. Vict., 29; 31; 44; 50 (ed. Halm); Iul. Vict., 2; 2, 3 (= Quint., IV, 2, 100); 3, 10 (= Sulp. Vict., 44); 4, 8.

5 Sen., Contr. II, 1; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 259; 298; 325; 345.

6 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 269; 332.

7 Migliario 1989, p. 527‑533.

8 Tabacco 1978a, p. 43‑44.

9 Tabacco 1978a, p. 66‑67.

10 Tabacco 1978b, p. 220.

11 Tabacco 1978b, p. 198; see also Tabacco 1979.

12 Only about Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 333 and 337, Calp. Flacc., Decl. 50 and Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 11 can it be said that Rich Man is victimized by Poor Man.

13 Winterbottom 1984, p. 327: “These enmities [...] are given no motivation in Roman themes, but in Greek declamation they are often stated to arise from politics.”

14 Poor Man in Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 13 is childless, so the issue does not crop up. Sexual corruption: Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 252; 279; 301; 344; 370; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 29; 36. Killing: Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 337; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 7; 11; 53; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7; 11. Cf. Sussman 1994, p. 116‑117. Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 304 is an interesting exception in that Rich Man keeps saving Poor Man’s son’s life against his father’s express wishes, thereby conferring benefactions to spite his enemy.

15 Ritter 1881, p. 114‑115.

16 Ritter’s objection (cited above) that Poor Man ought to have stated that his son had not been robbed must be discounted. Such a statement would of course make it seem more likely that the murder had been committed by someone who did not need money, i. e. a rich person, but the present statement is more forceful precisely because Poor Man implies that there is no need to account for his accusation: it can be taken for granted that Rich Man is the murderer. Furthermore, the declamation’s theme does not warrant the addition of this color. In controversiae where it does play a part, the word inspoliatus is included in the argumentum. Thus Sen., Contr. X, 1; Quint., VII, 1, 33; Iul. Vict., 15, 14; 28, 30 (éd. Giomini, Celentano 1980).

17 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 9: “Without a doubt there would be lots of arguments to convict you, Rich Man, if someone else were to accuse you, and you would be the most obvious culprit if I had to look for the killer. For is there a likelier suspect, when a poor person has been murdered, than his rich enemy? Or is there any crime about which it is easier to attain certainty than one which has no other reason than revenge?”

18 I have taken the liberty to coin the term “rhetorical imperfect” for this phenomenon because it is analogous with the rhetorical pluperfect, about which we read in Leumann, Hofmann and Szantyr 1965, p. 328 (and cf. p. 662); Wackernagel 1926, p. 227: “Selten und im wesentlichen umgangssprächlich ist das sog. rhetorische Plqpf. in der Apodosis der irrealen Periode; es unterscheidet sich [...] durch lebhafte Vorwegnahme des Erfolgs der Handlung, der dann durch den folgenden nisi-Satz wieder verneint word. Das Ursprüngliche ist daher die Voranstellung des Hauptsatzes”. Nisi is not the only subordinator: examples with si are found in LHS itself.

19 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 6, aliquando dissedimus; 7, 9, simultates nostrae.

20 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 12: “My son, who deserved praise from each and every single one of you, from all of you together, my son in whose company I was happy, in whose company I was arrogant, was killed by my undue impertinence.” Poor Man’s libertas is also named as the reason for Rich Man’s hatred in Sen., Contr. X, 1, 1; 7; 15; cf. also X, 1, 6, contumax adversus fastidium divitiarum innocentia. In Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 364, Poor Man comes railing at Rich Man every night.

21 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 10: “It is as if I can hear those deliberations of his, those secret murder schemes: ‘What good is it to me if I strike with wounds, strike with bloodshed a life that has been spent already and is almost on the point of leaving? Much better to kill him, on the verge of manhood, on the verge of becoming an enemy: you, the eyes of his father, will punish the old man on my behalf’.” There is a striking reminiscence here of Seneca’s Thyestes 893‑895, when Atreus, watching his brother eat the meal consisting of his own children, remarks: Utinam quidem tenere fugientes deos / possem et coactos trahere, ut ultricem dapem / omnes viderent. Quod sat est, videat pater, “I wish I could stop the gods fleeing, round them up and drag them all to see this feast of vengeance. But it is enough that the father see it” (trans. Fitch 2004).

22 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 6: hic est inimicus [...] qui nobis subinde maledixit, hic ille contumeliosus, ille inpotens.

23 E. g. Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 1, dolore fruitur; 7, 6, te extra omnes humanorum pectorum adfectus [...] sepositum; 7, 8, crudelissime mortalium; 7, 9, saeve, crudelis; 7, 10, cruore satieris; saevitia (twice).

24 The passage makes it clear, incidentally, that another objection of Ritter, “[d]ann hätte bei den Indizien gegen den Reichen näher ausgeführt werden dürfen, dass nothwendig Feindschaft der Grund zum Mord müsse gewesen sein, indem ein Räuber [...] nicht nur einen derselben getödtet [...] hätte”, cuts no ice: Poor Man emphatically states that by killing Son, Rich Man gets two for the price of one. Also, Poor Man adds, Rich Man’s guilt would have been manifest for everyone if he had killed both.

25 The added convenience of having no other witnesses present is mentioned only as a minor advantage.

26 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 10: “Murdering a son under his father’s eyes is only worth your while if you do it yourself. You miss out on a great deal of pleasure from your crimes if you assign them to someone else, and things are robbed of some of their charm if you merely hear them reported. Of course someone else can commit the murder on your orders; but then your eyes will not feast themselves on the wounds, while it is even more important that you gloat over the last gasps of a life on its way out, that you gloat over the bloodshed, that you witness your victim quiver and break down, that you witness him while I am a witness. [...] Murdering someone in the presence of the person because of whom he is murdered, is evidence of methodical cruelty.”

27 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 8: Adfero ad quaestionem iam planctibus membra liventia; quantum animae, quantum sanguinis orbitas traxit, quanto inbecilliora sunt haec cotidianis lamentationibus everberata vitalia! Quicquam ergo fingere potest hic pallor, haec macies et iam torto similis infirmitas?, “I bring to the interrogation a body that I have already beaten black and blue in my grief; how much breath, how much blood has been drained from me by my terrible loss, and how much weaker are these limbs that I have battered during my daily laments! So am I, suffering from this pallor, from this emaciation, from a weakness that makes me look as if I have been tortured already, capable of thinking up any lies at all?”

28 In Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 12, cited on p. 280 above.

29 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 4: “Compulsory freedom is a type of slavery.”

30 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 7: “However, gentlemen, supposing that it is allowed to doubt the reliability of interrogation under torture – in such a case your mistrust must be directed at another kind of person, I mean of course one in whom the recesses of his servile breast, and his slave’s body, are scrutinized. Every time a torturer wrestles with his victim’s body, its patience, hardened by unremitting punishment, recognizes the familiar tortures. But I, a man for whom pain is something quite unusual, have submitted a body which, to begin with, cannot stand the shame of having its clothes rent and torn apart, which has no way of bracing itself against the whips that flog it in a steady pace, nor of meeting the lashes to break their force.”

31 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 11: “The fact that I did not do anything at the time must not be a reason for you to think that I was not there to witness the murder. It pertains to the grievance of slaves, and of freedmen, to know exactly what to do when a man has been killed, to shout out, to rush forward, to appeal to gods and men as witnesses.”

32 Vesley 2003 is a general introduction to the topic; Sussman 1995 provides a detailed scrutiny of the Major Declamations; Breij 2006 concentrates on fathers who (wish to) kill their sons.

33 For a concise bibliography of relevant titles, see Breij 2006, p. 78‑79.

34 See e. g. Saller 1994, p. 117, 121 and 130; Vesley 2003, p. 178.

35 Sen., Contr. IV, 1; VII, 4; IX, 1; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. min. 302; 326; 350; Calp. Flacc., Decl. 7; 23; 26; Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 6; 7; 11.

36 Sussman 1995, p. 91.

37 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 2: “I had a son, gentlemen, whose character was noble and magnanimous, and who therefore did not yet have any personal enemies of his own, so that no one would kill him yet except only to hurt me.”

38 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 3: “It was night when we were returning home together as indeed all our daily chores united us. Because we were not the sort of men whom fortune provides with slaves for body-guards, we were trying to protect our poor company of two with mutual loyalty, each in turn supporting the other, then leaning on him; we could not have been separated except by a murderer making a great effort. Then in the dead of night, a horrendous sight, Rich Man sprang forward with his sword drawn and while we, poor wretches, stood petrified and aghast, he ran his sword through the stronger one, the one who would perhaps have done something if I had been the murderer’s victim. I must confess that at that moment I did not have to rely on the careful attention of my eyes, gentlemen, nor on my solicitude as a sorrowful father: the murderer was bent on being recognised.”

39 See above, p. 280 with n. 21.

40 This subject has not yet been researched in a systematic way. Interesting contributions to the topic can be found in Van Mal-Maeder 2007, p. 84‑85 and Pasetti 2009, esp. p. 285‑292.

41 See above, p. 282 with n. 31.

42 See above, p. 284 with n. 37.

43 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 2: “Oh, what a miserable situation we parents are in, how vulnerable are we to new and unprecedented snares! It is we who irritate, we who give offence, but it is our children who are hated by our enemies.”

44 Sen., Thy. 1100: “Thyestes: What was my children’s guilt? Atreus: That they were yours” (trans. Fitch 2004).

45 Sen., Med. 549‑550 and 924‑925: “Does he love his sons so much? Good, he is caught! The place to wound him is laid bare. [...] Children once mine, you must pay the penalty for your father’s crimes” (trans. Fitch 2002).

46 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 3: “The very face of the boy in his death throes still haunts my eyes, the words spoken by my triumphant enemy over his dead body still haunt my ears. Oh trustworthy torture! For how much longer am I to be aware of / the accomplice of my son’s murderer?”

47 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 3: “Uncover my chest and draw the assailant’s entire secret out of my heart.”

48 Ps.‑Quint., Decl. mai. 7, 12: “My son, who deserved praise from each and every single one of you, from all of you together, my son, in whose company I was happy, I was arrogant, was killed by my undue impertinence. So how can I not put you [i. e. his nimia libertas] on the rack and stretch you over the hot flames? [...] Come together quickly, all you children, all you parents, and first of all burn out these paternal eyes and tear them apart; rack these hands, which did nothing for the dying youngster, rack this body, these limbs, which escaped the predator’s stranglehold scot-free. I don’t care whether you regard it as an act of mercy or a kind of punishment, but while proving my case I must feel the anguish I felt when I was a witness.”

49 Sen., Med. 1004‑1005: “Spare our son now. If there is any guilt, it is mine. / I surrender myself to death, sacrifice my guilty life” (trans. Fitch 2002).

50 Sen., Thy. 1085‑1090: “Avenge the lost daylight, hurl flames, restore the light stolen from heaven with your bolts of lightning! To save you lengthy deliberation, let each of us be judged guilty. If not, let me be judged guilty. Strike at me, hurl the fiery brand of your three-forked weapon through this chest!” (trans. Fitch 2004).

51 Quint., II, 10, 12: “Thus declamation, inasmuch as it is the image of forensic and deliberative eloquence, must bear a resemblance to real life; but inasmuch as it has an epideictic element, it must assume a degree of elegance” (trans. Russell 2001).

Auteur

Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen

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