BMCR 2020.10.15

Fragmentary Republican Latin: Oratory (Parts 1-3)

, Fragmentary Republican Latin, Vol. III: Oratory Part 1. Loeb classical library, 540. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. 592 p. ISBN 9780674997233. $28.00.
, Fragmentary Republican Latin, Vol. IV: Oratory Part 2. Loeb classical libraries 541. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. 496 p. ISBN 9780674997240. $28.00.
, Fragmentary Republican Latin, Vol. V: Oratory Part 3. Loeb Classical Library 542. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. 480 p. ISBN 9780674997257. $28.00.

Gesine Manuwald’s edition of the oratorical fragments for Loeb’s fragmentary Republican Latin series is a huge achievement. Within the confines of the format she has given us a rich and judiciously comprehensive tour through the remains of non-Catonian and non-Ciceronian oratory of the period, impeccable in its scholarship, and thoroughly useful for the reader.

Manuwald has taken as the basis for her project Malcovati’s Oratorum Romanorum Fragmenta, in the sense that Manuwald includes all the orators in ORF from the second edition onwards, excepting the elder Cato, and uses Malcovati’s numbering for orators and for testimonia and fragments. (There is an index of orators at the end of volume 3.) However, she has very considerably supplemented ORF with new orators and with additional fragments and testimonia relating to orators who were included in Malcovati. These additions are highlighted in the text by the addition of letters to the orator, fragment or testimonium number, but there is no listing within the edition of the new material.

A manual count of the contents indicates that there are nineteen new orators in this edition, concentrated in the second century; the latest of the additions is C. Calpurnius Piso Frugi (Cicero’s son-in-law). All of these additions are orators whom Cicero includes in Brutus; as Manuwald notes, ‘the selection should not be affected by value judgements based on Cicero’s assessment’ (p. xxvii). In most cases, there is some additional material about the orator as well; the most significant figure thus rehabilitated is L. Appuleius Saturninus. Even where Brutus provides the only evidence for an orator (as, for example, for T. Iuventius [Brut. 178; Manuwald 80B], or indeed Piso Frugi), the passage is substantial. These are nineteen orators to be welcomed into the canon.

The dependence on Brutus to supplement Malcovati does, however, mean that some significant figures remain in silence. Sulla does not emerge as the orator which he undoubtedly was (albeit one who never engaged with the forensic side of the undertaking). Marius is not here; and there are orators, still alive when Cicero composed Brutus, who were not included by Malcovati for whose oratory enough evidence survives to consider inclusion in a collection of this sort. In this respect, I wish that Manuwald had been more forthcoming in the General Introduction about her rationale for including and not including orators.

The nature of the evidence is surveyed briefly but incisively in the introduction (xviii-xx). Despite the title of the series in which these volumes appear, Manuwald does not confine the edition to fragments alone, but includes testimonia; and very sensibly she does not get bogged down in an attempt to distinguish a testimonium from a fragment. This task, difficult enough in any genre, becomes almost impossible in relation to activity that was not always, or indeed most of time, preserved in writing. Manuwald’s conclusion that it is ‘questionable whether one can speak of “verbatim fragments of Roman oratory” at all’ (p. xxiv) may go beyond what some would concede, but it is a workable basis for this project. Manuwald retains from ORF F + number to identify material which refers to a specific speech, and T + number for general statements about an orator’s characteristics; again, a practical solution, though one that has the potential to mislead a reader who hasn’t read the introduction before seeking out a particular orator. An index locorum for this edition would have been massive, and probably unfeasible; but its absence is missed. The question of whether republican oratory is anything more than a fiction of a despairing Cicero, supplemented by a variety of imperial imaginations, is not easy to pursue in this presentation.

Each orator follows the same format: a brief career summary, followed by testimonia to his (or her: Hortensia is included) career as an orator and then ‘fragments’ relating to specific speeches if any specific speeches are attested. Manuwald uses Malcovati’s ordering as well as numbering, and includes cross-references to standard reference works, including Alexander’s Trials. Manuwald’s notes are copious by the standards of the series, and there is a selective apparatus. The fragments and testimonia included largely follow Malcovati, but there are some important additions. In particular Manuwald makes more use of Cicero’s speeches and letters to recreate speeches (e.g. excerpts from pro Sulla revealing the younger Torquatus’ speech at Sulla’s trial [146 F2A]; Piso in the Senate [127 F2A]. There are also some additions from historiography; Caesar and Antonius the triumvir benefit in particular. In these cases, however, Manuwald offers a summary rather than reproducing the historian’s recreation of the speech.

More significant, ultimately, than the additions, is the sheer useability of this collection. Its generous and intelligent design fully opens up the corpus to students and to non-specialists, and it will inevitably replace Malcovati for daily reference. Moreover, anyone accessing it on-line has the added advantage of searchability.