Skip to content

Caesar and Metellus.

Cicero on Caesar (Ad Atticum 10.8):

Duarum rerum simulationem tam cito amiserit, mansuetudinis in Metello, divitiarum in aerario.

He had lost, so quickly, his claim to two things—to gentleness because of Metellus, and to riches because of the treasury.

Julius Caesar, on returning to Rome in 49 BC, had promised large amounts of money to the people—three hundred sesterces to each citizen—and couldn’t deliver on that promise. He tried to get access to the Roman treasury in the Temple of Saturn, but Metellus the tribune stood in his way, stating that the money was supposed to be devoted to protection from Gaulish invasion. Caesar, who had already defeated the Gauls, declared himself to have the right to the money, and threatened Metellus with death—which, according to Plutarch, he said was a task δυσκολώτερον ἦν εἰπεῖν ἢ πρᾶξαι “harder said than done”.

The difficulty in this line came from rendering simulatio, the basic meaning of which (or so I understand so far) is ‘pretense’ or ‘pretending’, neither of which fit easily into a sentence with ‘losing X of two things’. The translation I was using for reference at Perseus uses ‘two of his assumptions’, which only works in 1913 English. I had to spend a while learning history at Google to realize Caesar was not pretending Metellus was clement or that the treasury had money, but that he was pretending to show kindness and richness before he resorted to threatening tribunes and stealing from temples.

[For cito.]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *