BMCR 1994.06.11

1994.06.11, Crawford, Cicero: Fragmentary Speeches

, , M. Tullius Cicero, the fragmentary speeches : an edition with commentary. American classical studies ; no. 33. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994. x, 348 pages ; 24 cm.. ISBN 9781555409395. $24.95.

For most classicists, even for most Latinists, the 58 speeches of Cicero which are completely or largely extant are quite enough; relatively few—dare I say it?—will have studied with equal attention all six volumes of the Oxford Classical Text. It is, however, both daunting and salutary to remember that the surviving speeches are not all that Cicero made public, and less than half of the total number that he is known to have delivered—and there are doubtless a great many occasions when Cicero opened his mouth in public of which we have no knowledge whatsoever: he was a great speaker and a great advocate, and he liked to talk. In her previous book ( M. Tullius Cicero: The Lost and Unpublished Orations [Hypomnemata 80, Göttingen 1984], Jane Crawford collected all the evidence for the speeches which Cicero is known to have made, but of which nothing survives—more than eighty of them. The material that she assembled there is of great value for students of Cicero’s career and of the public world of the late Republic; she also made a strong—and generally convincing—argument that most of the speeches which are completely lost were in fact never made public, a point which has significant bearing on our understanding of Cicero’s purposes in making speeches public—or in suppressing them.

In her new book, Crawford has progressed from speeches which are completely lost to those which are attested only in fragments, some eighteen (or nineteen, if there was a second speech Pro Oppio) orations, ranging in preservation from a single word ( Pro Oppio II) to more than 60 fragments, some quite substantial ( Pro Cornelio I). The better attested ones are those on which ancient commentaries (Asconius and the Bobbio Scholia) survive; in those cases, it is generally possible not only to read the individual scraps that are preserved, but to reconstruct the rhetorical context and argument in which they played a part. But a great many of these fragments are found only in the rhetoricians and grammarians, who quote them as illustrations of types of argument, syntactical peculiarities, or odd words. Many of these speeches survived until late antiquity, and were studied in schools; several of them (notably Pro Cornelio) were widely known and admired. These remains are important for a number of reasons: they provide evidence for the range of Cicero’s forensic and political activities and for the public events of his time; the fragments contain valuable information, and some of them provide significant illustrations of his style and rhetorical techniques; and the cumulative evidence of both the fragmentary and lost speeches gives indications of what speeches Cicero thought worth disseminating to a reading audience—and of what later readers thought worth studying. In this context, it is a sobering fact that, of the six speeches on which Asconius’ commentary (written in the first century C.E.) survives, only one ( Pro Milone) is preserved complete in our medieval manuscripts and three ( In toga candida, Pro Cornelio I and II) are known only from his commentary and other ancient quotations.

As Crawford makes clear in her introduction—and as anyone who has needed to consult them knows—these fragments have not been well served, perhaps because there is so much of Cicero that is more readily accessible. There have been studies of particular lost speeches, notably Pro Cornelio, In toga candida, and In Clodium et Curionem; there is a very useful recent commentary on Asconius by Bruce Marshall, which illuminates those speeches on which Asconius’ commentary survives; but there have only been two editions in this century of all the fragments, the Teubner text of Schoell and the Mondadori edition of Puccioni. Neither one of these is very good, and neither has a commentary. Indeed, the last commentaries on these fragments were written by Sigonius and Patricius in the sixteenth century. Crawford’s edition, therefore, is very welcome.

In terms of her primary purpose, “to put each speech into the context of Cicero’s career as a politician, advocate, and orator” [3], Crawford’s work is good and extremely serviceable. For each speech, an introduction on the historical circumstances and chronology is followed by a collection of testimonia, the fragments, and a commentary on each fragment. She deals scrupulously, often minutely, with issues of date, politics, law, and prosopography; she analyses, where possible, the structure of the speeches, and tries to reconstruct the arguments used. To the extent that I am able as a non-historian to judge her work, it seems both accurate and up to date. All this is very good, and will be a valuable resource for historians of the Ciceronian age.

In other areas, however, this edition is disappointing. As Crawford says [4], she has tended to follow the available editions of the texts from which the fragments are drawn, but this leads to an irritating level of inconsistency in minor matters such as orthography and abbreviation. Hertz’s edition of Priscian uses the abbreviation “G.” for “Gaius”—and so fragments taken from Priscian (e.g., Pro Vareno F3) do too. She takes Puccioni to task [249] for adopting the spelling adcurate from Nonius rather than accurate from the lost Turin manuscript ( In Clod. et Cur. F23), but she is herself perfectly happy to copy the Bobbio scholia in the unassimilated adtenti ( De rege Alex. F2). There is no consistency in writing p.R., P.R., or populus Romanus, or tribunus plebis. In this respect, Puccioni’s editorial practice is significantly better: he tries to print what he thinks is appropriate for the first century B.C.E., not whatever convention has been adopted by editors at different times in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. At Varen. F10 she adopts Hertz’s punctuation, which is virtually incomprehensible, rather than following Schoell in inserting dashes after diceret and volubilis. Presentation is also an issue in other respects. Crawford’s order of fragments differs from those of other editions, but she has no single concordance at the end of the volume (as does Puccioni); instead, there are concordances for each relevant speech (cf. pp. 8, 101, 179, 224), which differ in their placement (before or after the fragments) as well as in the order in which the editions are placed. When she discusses the most complicated text, the Pro Cornelio, she uses Kumaniecki’s numbering in discussing his arrangement, but her own in discussing hers. One needs constantly to turn to the concordances, and even then the argument is very hard to follow. Another problem is in the numbering of fragments: Crawford is so cautious about actually editing a text that she quotes separately any citation that differs, however, slightly, from another citation of the same fragment. Thus we find Corn. I F5a/b and 6a/b; Corn. II 1a/b, De aere alieno Milonis 8a/b; Pro Gallio FF1, 2, and 3a/b are all in fact overlapping parts of the same text, which should be printed as a single fragment, with a careful apparatus and commentary. And for some reason, two overlapping quotations in Asconius of In toga candida are both given the number F20. Despite her strictures about precision in distinguishing between verbatim fragments and testimonia, Crawford makes no effort to distinguish typographically or otherwise between fragments cited from a specific speech and those simply cited from Cicero; her testimonia blur the distinction between references to the events underlying a trial and those that describe the trial itself. And the presentation of the testimonia is in some cases very unhelpful. Asconius’ argument to Pro Cornelio (T20) is printed as a single, long selection with Crawford’s own line numbers, without internal markers to Clark’s (standard) numeration; but when she cites this passage in her own discussions, she gives only Clark’s and Stangl’s numbers. Any close reading of this material requires one to have a copy of Asconius at hand, in order to follow Crawford’s arguments. Nor are there cross-references: without consulting the index locorum, it is never clear that Manil. T1 is part of Corn. T20; that Manil. T2 and T3 are the same texts as Corn. I F16 and F18; that Pro Fundanio T1, Corn. T12, and Gall. T1 are all Commentariolum Petitionis 19, of which a fuller version is unaccountably quoted only in the last citation.

Problems of presentation are, however, merely annoyances; there are more serious failings in terms of substance. In the first place, Crawford simply omits all fragments (about 30) that can not be assigned to a specific oration. That may be the result of her concentration on the reconstruction and historical circumstances of speeches rather than of fragments, but it is inexcusable: even if she did not wish to comment on them, she could (as did Jocelyn in his edition of Ennius’ tragedies), print them without commentary. The texts that she does give, moreover, are marred by so many mistakes as to be significantly unreliable. The book is filled with typographical errors, and I list here only those that I have found in the text of the fragments themselves (the correction is in parentheses): Corn. I F12 das mihi (das enim mihi) and in the apparatus, da mihi (da enim); F27 cum consul cum (cum consul esset cum); F44 Philerotum (Philerotem); F48 restituerunt (restituerent); Corn. II F1b homines (hominum); F5 Satunini (Saturnini); F11 crudelissimiumque … patamini (crudelissimumque … patiamini); Gall. F9 inflammeres (inflammares); In Clod. F26 crediderunt> (crediderunt); F28 scelerate (scelerato). This does not include the numerous mistakes in the surrounding material from the quoting source, in the apparatus, and in the testimonia, some of which are quite serious. That Crawford has taken her texts and (abbreviated) apparatus from other editions is quite understandable, and common practice in such editions; but her apparatus is filled with trivial and unimportant variants and sometimes omits those that do matter: one would welcome, for instance, the citation of Patricius’ transposition of potissimum to follow ei in Var. F6. Her adaptations of apparatus Latin lead her to write nonsense (e.g. at Manil. T1= Corn. T20—where, indeed, there are significant differences in the apparatus to the same text—or De reg. Alex. T2). Her text and discussion of some fragments are seriously incomplete or misleading: in the vexed problem of the text and the order of Corn. I F25-26, she never says in what order they appear in the text of Asconius; at Corn. I F39 she does not make it clear that the word repugnat (or some form of the verb) must be a part of the fragment; at Corn. I F46 she omits the sentence in Quintilian which follows the quotation and which reveals that what followed in the speech was praise of Pompey. At Gall. F8-9 there are multiple problems. In the first place, the two fragments are overlapping versions of the same text (which ought to be printed, as noted above, as a single fragment); then, it is only at the end of the commentary that Crawford points out that there is another quotation of the opening of F8 in Valerius Maximus (her T4)—with a variant that is not given in the apparatus to F8; finally, the only entry in the apparatus to F8 is to the phrase “frons non percussa”: “non frons codd. Quint.” So far as I can see, she never reveals the identity of the passage in Quintilian (11.3.123); and in fact she quotes the line in her commentary with Quintilian’s word order, not her own. (One might add that the commentary here ought to include a reference to the parallel passage in the description of the trial of Rutilius Rufus at De oratore 1.230.)

It would be beyond the scope of this review to list all the errors, inconsistencies, and gaps which mar this edition; individually they are minor, but cumulatively they seriously diminish its value. Suffice it to say that for each example that I have given above, I could probably add a dozen more. And that would not include places where her commentary is simply wrong: at Reg. Alex. F6 it is not Jugurtha, but Rome that had a just cause for war; on Reg. Alex. F10, Crawford says that trucidare appears in Cicero only once outside the speeches: it appears five times. When she says that the ending of Corn. I, with its history of the tribunate and popular legislation, must have been “too dry and remote to have been very effective” [97], one wonders whether she recognizes how striking and important this passage is. There are numerous places where I think that Crawford’s text is wrong: at Var. T1 “pro Avito” should be “pro Habito” (i.e., Pro Cluentio); Corn. I F1 should not include the phrase “in qua initio dicendi”; the first word of the fragment of Manil. should be hoc (Clericus’ emendation), not hic; the opening of In Clod. F24 should be Sed credo. On such matters, readers will have to judge for themselves.

Editing fragments is both easier and more difficult than editing continuous literary texts: on the one hand, the absence of context frequently makes it impossible, and even undesirable, to try to emend or improve; but on the other hand, the complexities of presentation require an extraordinary degree of attention to matters of clarity, accuracy, and consistency. These do not require the genius of a Bentley, but they do require patience and application. If Crawford had spent another few weeks checking her sources and proofreading, this would be a far better book. As it is, the valuable commentary rests on a text that is inadequate, inaccurate, and misleading. We still need an edition of the fragmentary speeches of Cicero.