CL 201:  Intermediate Latin I
The Oratory of Cicero

Latin Recitation Project
 

Benincasa   |   Berenson   |   Cencini   |   Dunn   |   Levy
Liverant   |   Mucha   |   Stuart   |   Vancik

In this, our last week of class, we shall focus on the rudiments of reading Latin oratory aloud.  Each student will be responsible for a passage within the latter part of the First Catilinarian.  Practice your passage and be ready to recite it in class between Wednesday (28 April) and Monday (3 May).



Hints and tips.  Here are four ground rules to get you started.
1.  Be forceful.  This was vigorous oratory—uncertainty or self-consciousness was not allowed.

2.  Be Italian.  Although some might call this a variant of rule number 1, this rule refers to overall intonation, pitch, and feeling.  Don't be afraid to let stereotypical notions of the Italian dialect color your reading.

3.  Pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunication.  C and g are always hard.  V is w, j is y.  There are no silent vowels.  Most words are accented on the third or the second to last syllable, although there are exceptions.
 

4.  Observe the colon.  The colon (not the punctuation mark or the body part) is the basic unit of any speech, a small group of words that, when delivered orally, convey meaning, a little bit at a time.  Ancient orators did not think in terms of main clauses or subordinate clauses, but in terms of cola so as not to overwhelm the audience with overlong sequences of words.

Try reading your speech in three-to-six word increments—it should naturally break down into cola of this length.



Example.  Below is a link to a recitation of the proemium (opening) of the First Catilinarian.  The passage is read by Professor Robert Sonkowsky of the University of Minnesota.
 

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quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?  quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet?  quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?  nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palatii, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt?  patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam non vides?
A few words on Sonkowsky's reading, which generally adheres to the rules outlined above.  You will note first and foremost his painstaking attempts to recapture authentic Latin pronunciation.  For instance, tandem in the first line sounds as if it ends in a nasalized -n.  Note also Sonkowsky's forcefulness, his Italian-ness, and especially his observation of cola:  he doesn't just breeze through the text;  rather, he lets the text guide his recitation.

For a less stentorian, more subtle reading by Prof. Richard Tarrant (Harvard), click here.



Assignments.  Here is the catalog of passages and their respective readers.
Mucha.  1.29.5-13.  etenim si summi viri et clarissimi cives Saturnini et Gracchorum et Flacci et superiorum complurium sanguine non modo se non contaminarunt sed etiam honestarunt, certe verendum mihi non erat ne quid hoc parricida civium interfecto invidiae mihi in posteritatem redundaret.  quod si ea mihi maxime impenderet, tamen hoc animo fui semper ut invidiam virtute partam gloriam, non invidiam putarem.
 
Cencini.  1.30.14-21.  quamquam non nulli sunt in hoc ordine qui aut ea quae imminent non videant aut ea quae vident dissimulent;  qui spem Catilinae mollibus sententiis aluerunt coniurationemque nascentem non credendo conroboraverunt;  quorum auctoritate multi non solum improbi verum etiam imperiti, si in hunc animadvertissem, crudeliter et regie factum esse dicerent.

Berenson.  1.30.21-31.  nunc intellego, si iste, quo intendit, in Manliana castra pervenerit, neminem tam stultum fore qui non videat coniurationem esse factam, neminem tam improbum qui non fateatur.  hoc autem uno interfecto intellego hanc rei publicae pestem paulisper reprimi, non in perpetuum comprimi posse.  quod si sese eiecerit secumque suos eduxerit et eodem ceteros undique conlectos naufragos adgregarit,  exstinguetur atque delebitur non modo haec tam adulta rei publicae pestis verum etiam stirps ac semen malorum omnium.
 
Vancik.  1.31.1-8.  etenim iam diu, patres conscripti, in his periculis coniurationis insidiisque versamur, sed nescio quo pacto omnium scelerum ac veteris furoris et audaciae maturitas in nostri consulatus tempus erupit.  nunc si ex tanto latrocinio iste unus tolletur, videbimur fortasse ad breve quoddam tempus cura et metu esse relevati, periculum autem residebit et erit inclusum penitus in venis atque in visceribus rei publicae.

Liverant.  1.31.8-13.  ut saepe homines aegri morbo gravi, cum aestu febrique iactantur, si aquam gelidam biberunt, primo relevari videntur, deinde multo gravius vehementiusque adflictantur, sic hic morbus qui est in re publica relevatus istius poena vehementius reliquis vivis ingravescet.

Stuart.  1.32.14-21.  qua re secedant improbi, secernant se a bonis, unum in locum congregentur, muro denique, quod saepe iam dixi, secernantur a nobis;  desinant insidiari domi suae consuli, circumstare tribunal praetoris urbani, obsidere cum gladiis curiam, malleolos et faces ad inflammandam urbem comparare;  sit denique inscriptum in fronte unius cuiusque quid de re publica sentiat.

Levy.  1.32.21-26.  polliceor hoc vobis, patres conscripti, tantam in nobis consulibus fore diligentiam, tantam in vobis auctoritatem, tantam in equitibus Romanis virtutem, tantam in omnibus bonis consensionem ut Catilinae profectione omnia patefacta, inlustrata, oppressa, vindicata esse videatis.

Dunn.  1.33.27-30.  hisce ominibus, Catilina, cum summa rei publicae salute, cum tua peste ac pernicie cumque eorum exitio qui se tecum omni scelere parricidioque iunxerunt, proficiscere ad impium bellum ac nefarium.

Benincasa.  1.33.31-38.  tu, Iuppiter, qui isdem quibus haec urbs auspiciis a Romulo es constitutus, quem Statorem huius urbis atque imperi vere nominamus, hunc et huius socios a tuis ceterisque templis, a tectis urbis ac moenibus, a vita fortunisque civium omnium arcebis et homines bonorum inimicos, hostis patriae, latrones Italiae scelerum foedere inter se ac nefaria societate coniunctos aeternis suppliciis vivos mortuosque mactabis.