First Catilinary of Cicero: summary |


First Catilinary of Cicero: summary –
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The Catilinaries are speeches given by Cicero versus Catiline and there are four in all. The first and fourth Catilinary were presented to the Senate, while the second and third to the people.

A little historical context:

  • in 63 a. C. were consuls Gaius Antonio and Cicero;
  • in 62 a. C. were consuls Giunio Silano and Licinio Murena.

Catiline he ran for the consulate three times, but was never elected. He decides to form an alliance with Gaius Manlioleader of the Sillan veterans, who had lost power with Cicero consul, and also the lower social classes.

On 7 November 63 a. C. try to assassinate Cicero, who manages to save himself. On November 8 the first Catilinary is presented on the Palatine Hill. In this first of the four original Catilinaries (one has been lost), vibrant with vehemence and pathos, all the charisma, rich dialectic and oratory ability of Cicero emerges. It was undoubtedly thanks to his great gifts that in 63 BC. C. he managed to stifle the conspiracy.


Guide he begins the speech at the Palatine Hill by inveighing against Catiline, asking him how long he will continue his game thinking of cheating the senate and abusing their patience. He claims that everyone knows of his atrocities, of his plots against the senate, but no one does anything. He recalls the past times when the Senate was stronger and is amazed at how no one has the courage to arrest him or how the decree that allows him to be eliminated has already been eliminated.

Guide accuses the state of weakness and ineptitude. He asks how he can still be allowed to spin freely in the Senate: while sensing the danger, he prefers to pretend to ignore him and some in the Senate secretly support him.
Guide himself does not decide to intervene with a definitive action against the accused, but for a very specific reason.

He implicitly threatens him with death if he does not decide to change plans and abandon his intentions.

Reinforce the demonstration of his full awareness of enemy plans, speaks of the attempted murder by two instigators of Catiline. He urges his enemy to leave the city, purge it of him and his companions, and dismantle the Manliano encampment.

At first, Catiline tried to attack exclusively Guide and he had defended himself with private garrisons so as not to provoke a state of alert, but now he is attacking the entire state. He wonders what still keeps him in town since he is now hated by everyone. Then he portrays him as an unscrupulous, imperturbable, evil, sacrilegious, perverse, obscene, dishonorable man: Cicero uses all sorts of insults to describe him in his speech and goes so far as to say that he is as fearsome as the plague.

In order to convince Catiline to flee, he therefore shows him that he knows him very well intimately. With a series of low blows he tries to convince him that by now he is stripped of all cover in front of his enemies, therefore, that he might as well deprive himself of weapons, now useless to the defense.
He proposes to the senate to sentence Catiline to death, to neutralize the plots, punish him and save himself once and for all, at least as a debt to the state. It is a duty to protect the state: it is time to find a resolution.

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First Catilinary of Cicero: summary |