Cicero, De oratore 2.90-92: A Probable Case of ‘Author Variant’

In: Mnemosyne

At De oratore 2.90-92, the mutili (M) omit a passage in which the orator L. Fufius is severely criticized. It is solely transmitted by the integri (L). In the present paper I argue that the ‘lacuna’ in M is not accidental: it is more probable that Cicero himself, not long after he had completed and published De oratore, revised 2.90-92 and deleted the Fufius-passage. The outburst against Fufius is to be seen as a covert attack on one of Cicero’s personal enemies, the Caesarian Q. Fufius Calenus, and Cicero’s revision of 2.90-92 can well be understood as being due to changed circumstances, notably his improved relationship with Caesar.

While M contains the revised version of 2.90-92, L does not contain the original one. This can be gathered from certain problems which mar the L-text. These problems are, in my view, to be connected with Cicero’s later revision of the passage: it seems likely that L’s text is due to contamination of the two versions. The original version can no longer be retrieved with certainty in all detail. Under the circumstances, the best we can do is to edit 2.90-92 according to the revised version (= M).

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  • 9

    Cf. Wilkins’ (1892) qualification ‘shameless unprincipled fellow’ (ad 2.91, s.v. ‘Fufius’). Cicero would probably have agreed: see, e.g., Off. 3.49-92, esp. 65-72. Rodger (1986) is inclined to defend Fufius to a certain extent against such criticism (p. 195; cf. 201).

  • 11

    Cf., e.g., Brut. 305.

  • 19

    Cf. Gelzer 1939, 955-956 (= Gelzer 1969, 191-193); Mitchell 1991, 189-190.

  • 24

    Gelzer 1939, 949, ll. 1-9 (= Gelzer 1969, 179). In 54, at the urgent request of Caesar, he even undertakes to defend Vatinius when the latter is indicted on the basis of the lex Licinia de sodaliciis: see Gelzer 1939, 958-959 (= Gelzer 1969, 195-197).

  • 25

    Gelzer 1939, 957, ll. 5-11 (= Gelzer 1969, 194). That Cicero did not always feel comfortable in his new position becomes clear from, e.g., Q. fr. 3.5[5-7].4 (end of Oct./beginning of Nov., 54), where he pours out his troubles as follows to his brother: illud . . . quod a puero adamaram, ‘Πολλòν ἀριστεύειν καì ὑπείροχος ἔμμεναι ἄλλων’, totum occidisse, inimicos a me partim non oppugnatos, partim etiam esse defensos, meum non modo animum sed ne odium quidem esse liberum. (Note that the final words of this quotation could be relevant within the context of the present paper.) Much later, in May 44, he appears to also have made up with Q. Fufius Calenus, at least formally (see Att. 15.4.1 and Shackleton Bailey ad loc.; cf. Shackleton Bailey 1998, 116). This explains why in the Philippicae he treats him like a ‘friend’, though often apparently with much irony (e.g. 8.11 Q. Fufius, vir fortis ac stre-nuus, amicus meus; 8.16 ex.; 10.5). From the phrasing uti me sibi restituerem in the letter to Atticus mentioned we may perhaps conclude that Cicero had been reconciled with him before but that the relationship had since then deteriorated again.

  • 26

    See Mitchell 1991, 191-192, who sees it as a sign of Cicero’s ambition to hold some political function again, e.g. the censorship or some priesthood.

  • 27

    See Shackleton Bailey 1998, passim.

  • 40

    For the Aquilius case, see Gruen 1966, 38-40; id. 1968, 194-195; Alexander 1990, 44 (#84).

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