Conditions of Use
This is an excellent, comprehensive introduction, text, and commentary on "De Imperio." The introduction is extremely thorough and not only will familiarize undergraduate students with historical context, but it provide students with deep... read more
This is an excellent, comprehensive introduction, text, and commentary on "De Imperio." The introduction is extremely thorough and not only will familiarize undergraduate students with historical context, but it provide students with deep knowledge and semantic range of some of the key Roman concepts and Latin terms Cicero relies on throughout his speech. The vocabulary help and the study questions at the end of each section are also thorough and rightfully focus on grammatical and thematic elements prominent in the text. The commentary also focuses on grammatical help, historical context, and thematic issues, a range of advice and guidance that I value in a commentary greatly. While some commentaries focus either on grammar or context exclusively, this edition is thorough, satisfying, and erudite in its variety of notes.
As far as commentaries go, this text is extremely accurate, and, as noted above, the grammatical, thematic, and historical context, as well as the page by page vocabulary help and discussion questions are helpful, accurate, and comprehensive. I found nothing objectionable at all, and all of it rang true in its discussion of nuanced Roman concepts and vocabulary. The introduction is well written and packed with information (I even learned some things myself).
This is one of the best, most comprehensive, and relevant intermediate/upper level Latin texts and commentaries I've ever seen (especially commentaries on Cicero's works). The editor quotes from up to date scholarship, and I see no issue at all in the ways in which it may be updated. The layout is clear and the sections are broken up in such a way that it would be easy to make changes.
While aimed at students are in the second to fourth year Latin, who will be familiar with at least some working knowledge of Roman history and Latin oratorical terms, it's extremely clear in its explanations of new concepts and has a layout which breaks up the Latin text t into digestible chunks. The editor enlisted the help of his undergraduate students in the drafting of the text and commentary at Cambridge University (UK), who I'm sure guided the information content precisely to an undergraduate audience.
The text and commentary are very consistent in terms of the historical, political, and oratorical terminology and framework of late Republican Rome. The introduction and commentary use frequent vocabulary and concepts of Cicero in both places (as well as the discussion questions), such as auctoritas, dignitas, and virtus, which familiarize students with such important and vital Republican values.
While the introduction is rather long, it does contain important information for students. The Latin text itself is divided into digestible chunks; relevant vocabulary follows immediately as well as the discussion questions; and the commentary is well laid out but delayed until the end of the book, after the Latin text is presented. Though I do find less experienced readers of Latin do better with the commentary right below its relevant Latin text, withholding of the commentary until the end works fine too, especially since vocabulary is provided throughout.
The introduction, text, and commentary are indeed presented in a logical and clear fashion which is easy to access and comprehensible for students.
There are no significant interface issues which are distracting or confusing.
The grammar and text itself of the book (and grammatical help for the Latin) are free from errors.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive, but because it's specifically about translating Latin into grammatically correct English, its scope is very limited with regard to discussion of race and ethnicity.
Overall, it's a great commentary, and I plan to use it in the future.
Table of Contents
1. Preface and acknowledgements
2. Introduction: why does the set text matter?
3. Latin text with study questions and vocabulary aid
- The Only Way is Pompey (§27)
- The Perfect General, Pompey the Kid, and Mr. Experience (§28)
- His Excellence (and Excellences) (§29)
- Witnesses to the Truth! (§30)
- Pacifying the Pond, or: Pompey and the Pirates (§31)
- The Pirates of the Mediterranean (§32)
- Pirates ante portas! (§33)
- Pompey's Cruise Control (I): ‘I Have a Fleet – and Need for Speed' (§34)
- Pompey's Cruise Control (II): ‘I Have a Fleet – and Need for Speed' (§35)
- ‘Thou Art More Lovely and More Temperate': Pompey's Soft Sides (§36)
- SPQR Confidential (§37)
- Of Locusts and Leeches (§38)
- Pompey the Peaceful, or: Imperialism with Gloves (§39)
- No Sight-Seeing or Souvenirs for the Perfect General (§40)
- Saint Pompey (§41)
- Peace for our Time (§42)
- Rumour and Renown: Pompey's auctoritas (§43)
- Case Study I: The Socio-Economics of Pompey's auctoritas (§44)
- Case Study II: Pompey's auctoritas and psychological warfare (§45)
- Auctoritas Supreme (§46)
- Felicitas, or how not to ‘Sull(a)y' Pompey (§47)
- The Darling of the Gods (§48)
- Summing Up (§49)
4. Com mentary
5. Further resources
- Chronological table: the parallel lives of Pompey and Cicero
- The speech in summary, or: what a Roman citizen may have heard in the forum
- Translation of §§ 27-49
- The protagonists: Cicero – Pompey – Manilius
- The historical context (the contio, imperial expansion, civil wars, the shadow of Sulla, extraordinary commands)
- List of rhetorical terms
About the Book
In republican times, one of Rome's deadliest enemies was King Mithridates of Pontus. In 66 BCE, after decades of inconclusive struggle, the tribune Manilius proposed a bill that would give supreme command in the war against Mithridates to Pompey the Great, who had just swept the Mediterranean clean of another menace: the pirates. While powerful aristocrats objected to the proposal, which would endow Pompey with unprecedented powers, the bill proved hugely popular among the people, and one of the praetors, Marcus Tullius Cicero, also hastened to lend it his support. In his first ever political speech, variously entitled pro lege Manilia or de imperio Gnaei Pompei, Cicero argues that the war against Mithridates requires the appointment of a perfect general and that the only man to live up to such lofty standards is Pompey. In the section under consideration here, Cicero defines the most important hallmarks of the ideal military commander and tries to demonstrate that Pompey is his living embodiment.
This course book offers a portion of the original Latin text, study aids with vocabulary, and a commentary. Designed to stretch and stimulate readers, the incisive commentary will be of particular interest to students of Latin at both AS and undergraduate level. It extends beyond detailed linguistic analysis and historical background to encourage critical engagement with Cicero's prose and discussion of the most recent scholarly thought.
About the Contributors
Ingo Gildenhard is Reader in Classics and the Classical Tradition at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of King’s College Cambridge. His previous publications include the monographs Paideia Romana: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations (Cambridge, 2007) and Creative Eloquence: The Construction of Reality in Cicero's Speeches (Oxford, 2011). He has also published three textbooks with Open Book Publishers: Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53-86. Latin Text with Introduction, Study Questions, Commentary and English Translation, Virgil, Aeneid, 4.1-299: Latin Text, Study Questions, Commentary and Interpretative Essays, and (with Mathew Owen) Tacitus, Annals, 15.20-23, 33-45. Latin Text, Study Aids with Vocabulary, and Commentary.
Louise Hodgson gained a first class degree in Classics and an MA (with distinction) in Ancient History from Durham University and is currently revising her doctoral dissertation Without Body or Form: Res Publica and the Roman Republic (Durham, 2013) for publication.