Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crucifixion the Bodily Support - Cicero (2)

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Part 8b in the series Crucifixion the Bodily Support.

Cicero (Part 2).

The first article I went over Cicero to get a feel to how he understood a crux to be. It turns out it easily could have been an impaling stake, either a simple free-standing one, or one that was attached to and outrigged from a suspension pole or frame, despite the fact that most people will think "cross". That's because the Latin "crux" mutated between 325 and 350 CE to mean the same as the Latin "tropaeum:" a symbol of Victory -- it should be noted that an executionary suspension of a convicted criminal with torture probably would have been considered a victory against crimes such as murder, brigandage and piracy and against uprisings, such as insurrection and sedition. 

This part I will talk about what Verres, Proconsul of Sicily, did to one Gavius Publius after he found out what Gaius was planning to have the authorities in Rome do once he returned to Italy.

2.1 Against Verres 2.1

This subpart is mostly a setting up for the description of Gavius Publius' death towards the end of Cicero's Actio 2. What we have here is a kind of preamble, and then an introduction (strikethroughs, edits in red-violet and Latin in parentheses are mine, typical throughout):
The punishments of Roman citizens are driving him mad, some of whom he has delivered to the executioner, others he has put to death in prison, others he has crucified hoisted onto the stake (in crucem sustulit) while demanding their rights as freemen and as Roman citizens. The gods of his fathers are hurrying him away to punishment, because he alone has been found to lead to execution sons torn from the embraces of their fathers, and to demand of parents payment for leave to bury their sons. The reverence due to, and the holy ceremonies practiced in, every shrine and every temple—but all violated by him; and the images of the gods, which have not only been taken away from their temples, but which are even lying in darkness, having been cast aside and thrown away by him—do not allow his mind to rest free from frenzy and madness.
Against Verres 2.1.7 1

For we have brought before your tribunal not only a thief, but a wholesale robber; not only an adulterer, but a ravisher of chastity; not only a sacrilegious man, but an open enemy to all sacred things and all religion; not only an assassin, but a most barbarous murderer of both citizens and allies; so that I think him the only criminal in the memory of man so atrocious, that it is even for his own good to be condemned.
For who is there who does not see this, that though he be acquitted, against the will of gods and men, yet that he cannot possibly be taken out of the hands of the Roman people? Who does not see that it would be an excellent thing for us in that case, if the Roman people were content with the punishment of that one criminal alone, and did not decide that he had not committed any greater wickedness against them when he plundered temples, when he murdered so many innocent men, when he destroyed Roman citizens by execution, by torture, by the cross stake, (cum civis Romanos morte, cruciatu, cruce adfecerit) —when he released leaders of bandits for bribes,—than they, who, when on their oaths, acquitted a man covered with so many, with such enormous, with such unspeakable wickednesses?
Against Verres 2.1.9 2

[13] For it thinks that the decision concerning the rights to freedom and to citizenship belong to itself; and it thinks rightly. Let that fellow, forsooth, break down with his evidence the intentions of the senators—let him force his way through the questions of all men—let him make his escape from your severity; believe me, he will be held by much tighter chains in the hands of the Roman people. The Roman people will give credit to those Roman knights who, when they were produced as witnesses before you originally, said that a Roman citizen, one who was offering honourable men as his bail, was crucified hoisted onto a stake (sublatum esse in crucem) by him in their sight.
Against Verres 2.1.13 3
The above introductory paragraphs showed that what the Romans of Cicero's day considerd crucifixion to be synonymous with suspension and impalement: in crucem sustulit (hoisted onto the stake), sublatum esse in crucem (to have been hoisted onto a stake), cum civis Romanis morte, cruciatu, cruce adfecerit (when he afflicted Roman citizens with death, with torture [including racking], with a stake). I have showed you in the previous article that Cicero considered the hanging of a person from a patibulum so that gravity would put him to the rack, which is the traditional interpretation of crucifixion, to be a type of cruciatus -- torture.

2.2. Against Verres 2.3.

Here Cicero inveighs against Verres' executioner, Apronius, who actually erected the crux with which Gavius Publius was savagely executed, and sarcastically called it a monument to Apronius' benificence toward and common empathy with Roman citizens:
Be it so. He adopted a false opinion about them, and a very injurious one about you. But while he deserved so ill of the Sicilians, at least, I suppose, he was attentive to the Roman citizens; he favoured them; he was wholly devoted to securing their good-will and favour? He attentive to the Roman citizens? There were no men to whom he was more severe or more hostile. I say nothing of chains, of imprisonment, of scourgings, of executions. I say nothing even of that cross stake (cruem denique illam praetermitto) which he wished to be a witness to the Roman citizens of his humanity and benevolence to them. I say nothing, I say, of all this, and I put all this off to another opportunity. I am speaking about the tenths,—about the condition of the Roman citizens in their allotments; and how they were treated you heard from themselves. They have told you that their property was taken from them.
Against Verres 2.3.59 4
Here, the word crux takes on the feminine grammatic gender instead of the masculine. There is precedent for that in how the male member is sometimes referred to: mentula, verpa, which mean penis 5 and erect (or circumcised) penis 6, respectively. 

2.3. Against Verres 2.4.

Here Cicero stated that the crux that Verres had set up, and left standing when he returned to Rome, had overflowed with the blood of a Roman citizen --- and in fact, still did at the time of Cicero's writing of his second Actio:
With what face have you presented yourself before the eyes of the Roman people? when you have not yet pulled down out that cross stake, which is even now stained overflows with the blood of a Roman citizen (nec prius illam crucem quae etiam nunc civis Romani sanguine redundat quae fixa est ad portum urbemque vestrum, revellistis), which is fixed up in your city by the harbour, and have not thrown it into the sea and purified all that place, before you came to Rome, and before this tribunal. On the territory of the Mamertines, connected with us by treaty, at peace with us, is that monument of your cruelty raised. Is not your city the only one where, when any one arrives at it from Italy, he sees the cross stake (crucem) of a Roman citizen before he sees any friend of the Roman people?
Against Verres 2.4.26 7
It appears that here, too, the crux that Caius Verres had ordered to be set up is a stake, either a simple pointed stake or a Priapus stake, rather than a cross. Because, he first says that the crux used overflows (redundat: "runs over, pours over, streams over, overflows, is soaked with) with the blood of a Roman citizen, and asks why the accursed thing has not yet beem pulled out (nec prius... revellistis: "you [you guys, youse, yinz, y'all] did not pull out / away, tear out / up / away, remove, wrest, abolish"). There is nothing about pulling the gear of Gavius Publius' execution. So this paragraph may be indicative of an opinion back then that Gavius Publius was done away with by impalement rather than crucifiction.


1. In Verrem 2.1.7. Latin text: Agunt eum praecipitem poenae civium Romanorum, quos partim securi percussit, partim in vinculis necavit, partim implorantis iuta libertatis et civitatis in crucem sustulit. Rapiunt eum ad supplicium di patrii, quod iste inventus est qui e complexu parentum abreptos filios ad necem duceret, et parentis pretium pro sepultura liberum posceret. Religiones vero caerimoniaeque omnium sacrorum fanorumque violatae, simulacraque deorum, quae non modo ex suis templis ablata sunt sed etiam iacent in tenebris ab isto retrusa atque abdita, consistere eius animum sine furore atque amentia non sinunt. 

2. In Verrem 2.1.9. Latin text: Non enim furem sed ereptorem, non adulterum sed expugnatorem pudicitiae, non sacrilegum sed hostem sacrorum religionumque, non sicarium sed crudelissimum carnificem civium sociorumque in vestrum iudicium adduximus, ut ego hunc unum eis modi reum post hominum memoriam fuisse arbitrer cui damnari expediret. Nam quis hoc non intellegit, istum absolutum dis hominibusque invitis tamen ex manibus populi Romani eripi nullo modo posse? Quis hoc non perspicit, praeclare nobiscum actum iri si populus Romanus istius unius supplicio contentus fuerit, ac non sic statuerit, non istum maius in sese scelus concepisse — cum fana spoliarit, cum tot homines innocentis necarit, cum civis Romanos morte, cruciatu, cruce adfecerit, cum praedonum duces accepta pecunia dimiserit — quam eos, si qui istum tot tantis tam nefariis sceleribus coopertum iurati sententia sua liberarint? 

3. In Verrem 2.1.13. Latin text: De iure enim libertatis et civitatis suum putat esse iudicium, et recte putat. Confringat iste sane vi sua consilia senatoria, quaestiones omnium perrumpat, evolet ex vestra severitate: mihi credite, artioribus apud populum Romanum Iaqueis tenebitur. Credet bis equitibus Romanis populus Romanus qui ad vos ante producti testes ipsis inspectantibus ab isto civem Romanum, qui cognitores homines honestos daret, sublatum esse in crucem dixerunt;

4. In Verrem 2.3.59. Latin text: Esto; falsam de illis habuit opinionem, malam de vobis; verum tamen, cum de Siculis male mereretur, civis Romanos coluit, iis indulsit, eorum voluntati et gratiae deditus fuit. Iste civis Romanos? At nullis inimicior aut infestior fuit. Mitto vincla, mitto carcerem, mitto verbera, mitto securis, crucem denique illam praetermitto quam iste civibus Romanis testem humanitatis in eos ac benivolentiae suae voluit esse,—mitto, inquam, haec omnia atque in aliud dicendi tempus reicio; de decumis, de civium Romanorum condicione in arationibus disputo; qui quem ad modum essent accepti, iudices, audistis ex ipsis; bona sibi erepta esse dixerunt. 

5. Catullus, Carmina 20.18, 20.21, 29.14, 115.8; Martial de Spectaculis 6.23.2; Priapeia 87.18,21. Nota bene in line 18 "parata namque crux stat ecce mentula (for a crux is made ready, beware! The penis is erect)," the mentula of Priapus here was considered a crux and was an instrument suitable for aggressive hmosexual penetration. See also J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press (1982), pp. 9-12. (Google preview)

6. Catullus, Carmina 28.12, Martial de Spectaculis 11.46.2. See also J.N. Adams, pp. 12-14 (Google preview): on p. 12 nota bene, "It was an aggressive homosexual act which seems to have been most appropriately performed by a uerpa [i.e., verpa], rather than a mere fututio.

7. In Verrem 2.4.26. Latin text: in populi Romani quidem conspectum quo ore vos commisistis? nec prius illam crucem, quae etiam nunc civis Romani sanguine redundat, quae fixa est ad portum urbemque vestram, revellistis neque in profundum abiecistis locumque illum omnem expiastis, quam Romam atque in horum conventum adiretis? in Mamertinorum solo foederato atque pacato monumentum istius crudelitatis constitutum est. vestrane urbs electa est ad quam cum1 adirent ex Italia cives crucem civis Romani prius quam quemquam amicum populi Romani viderent? quam vos Reginis, quorum civitati invidetis, itemque incolis vestris, civibus Romanis, ostendere soletis, quo minus sibi adrogent minusque vos despiciant, cum videant ius civitatis illo supplicio esse mactatum.

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