Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crucifixion the Bodily Support - Cicero (3)

Part 8c of the series Crucifixion the Bodily Support.

Cicero (Part 3).

In the last part I recounted the passages Cicero used in various places in his second actio of his case In Verrem (Against Verres). Because of the information I found and posted in the first part, showing Cicero understood that a crux was some kind of item made from wood that impaled or penetrated condemned persons, I translated the word crux as "stake" rather than "cross," because an "erect" male "cross" would best be described as a Priapus stake. (Note: strikethroughs, insertions of Latin and edits in red-violet are mine, throughout.)

3.1 Against Verres 2.5 (Intro)

First, Cicero recounts a suspension of a slave shepherd-boy who had killed an enormous wild boar with a spear at the time Lucius Domitius was Sicily's Praetor:
They tell a story that an immense boar was brought to him, that he, marvelling at the size of the beast, asked who had killed him. When he was told it was so-and-so's shepherd, he ordered him to be summoned before him, that the shepherd came eagerly before the praetor, expecting praise and reward; that Domitius asked him how he had slain so huge a beast, that he answered, "with a hunting spear;" and that he was instantly crucified hoisted onto a stake (in crucem esse sublatum) by order of the praetor. This may, perhaps, seem harsh...
Against Verres 2.5.7 1
Here, the Latin for "was crucified" is in crucem esse sublatum, "to have been hoisted (or borne up) onto a stake." 

Next, Cicero is accusing Verres of indemnifying condemned slaves in the manner of the ancestors , so that the former Proconsul could put Roman citizens to death on a crux. It appears that Cicero is fudging methods of execution, the ancestors' methods is not crucifixion per se, either in the Roman or traditional modern understanding, but rather a suspension on a fork or pole either by the neck or by the wrists with ropes, followed by a beating, flogging or scourging to the death of the condemned on the one hand, and what appears to be impalement on the other. It appears Cicero is conflating penalties here, just as he did in pro Rabiro 13. 2 
What do you say, O you admirable guardian and defender of the province? Did you dare to snatch from the very jaws of death and to release slaves whom you had decided were eager to take arms and to make war in Sicily, and whom in accordance with the opinion of your colleagues on the bench you had sentenced, after they had been already delivered up to punishment after the manner of our ancestors and had been bound to the stake, in order to reserve for Roman citizens the cross stake which you had erected for condemned slaves?
Against Verres 2.5.12 (first two sentences) 3
Next Cicero describes what was supposed to follow after a slave revolt was ended when Verres arrested some of the slaves and condemned them to be crucified (Roman understanding) or impaled, but did not happen:
What follows next? Scourgings, and burnings, and all those extreme agonies which are part of the punishment of condemned criminals (illa extrema ad supplicium damnatorum), and which strike terror into the rest (metum ceterorum), torture and the stake (cruciatus et crux)?
Against Verres, 2.5.14 (7th & 8th sentences) 4
The Latin text I found translates better as: What then follows? Beatings and fires and those extremes as to the punishment of the condemned, [and] terror of the rest, the torture and the stake? The last, in the Latin, cruciatus et crux, could be translated as: torture and "cross" (with a male member of course), torture apparatus (like a rack, Swiss frame or a cross, which is a gravity-rack) and stake (i.e., an impaling stake). My educated guess is for the latter, since he describes them as illa extrema ad supplicium damnatorum (those ends as to the punishment of the condemned), and metum ceterorum (fear, dread, terror of the rest) indicates that the others are watching the condemned suffer those final extremes of his punishment.

3.2 Against Verres 2.5 (Death of Publius Gavius)

What now follows is Cicero's account of the death by crucifixion (Roman understanding) of Publius Gavius, who was sentenced to death on trumped up charges of speculation: espionage on behalf of rebelling fugitive slaves. (This narrative I am leaving it the way the source has it and will add remarks at the bottom.)

[158] For why should I speak of Publius Gavius, a citizen of the municipality of Cosa, O judges? or with what vigour of language, with what gravity of expression, with what grief of mind shall I mention him? But, indeed, that indignation fails me. I must take more care than usual that what I am going to say be worthy of my subject,—worthy of the indignation which I feel. For the charge is of such a nature, that when I was first informed of it I thought I should not avail myself of it. For although I knew that it was entirely true, still I thought that it would not appear credible. Being compelled by the tears of all the Roman citizens who are living as traders in Sicily, being influenced by the testimonies of the men of Valentia, most honourable men, and by those of all the Rhegians, and of many Roman knights who happened at that time to be at Messana, I produced at the previous pleading only just that amount of evidence which might prevent the matter from appearing doubtful to any one.
[159] What shall I do now? When I have been speaking for so many hours of one class of offences, and of that man's nefarious cruelty,—when I have now expended nearly all my treasures of words of such a sort as are worthy of that man's wickedness on other matters, and have omitted to take precautions to keep your attention on the stretch by diversifying my accusations, how am I to deal with an affair of the importance that this is? There is, I think, but one method, but one line open to me. I will place the matter plainly before you, which is of itself of such importance that there is no need of my eloquence and eloquence, indeed, I have none, but there is no need of any one's eloquence to excite your feelings.
[160] This Gavius whom I am speaking of, a citizens of Cosa, when he (among that vast number of Roman citizens who had been treated in the same way) had been thrown by Verres into prison, and somehow or other had escaped secretly out of the stone-quarries, and had come to Messana, being now almost within sight of Italy and of the walls of Rhegium, and being revived, after that fear of death and that darkness, by the light, as it were, of liberty and of the fragrance of the laws, began to talk at Messana, and to complain that he, a Roman citizen, had been thrown into prison. He said that he was now going straight to Rome, and that he would meet Verres on his arrival there. The miserable man was not aware that it made no difference whether he said this at Messana, or before the man's face in his own praetorian palace. For, as I have shown you before, that man had selected this city as the assistant in his crimes, the receiver of his thefts, the partner in all his wickedness. Accordingly, Gavius is at once brought before the Mamertine magistrates; and, as it happened, Verres came on that very day to Messana. The matter is brought before him. He is told that the man was a Roman citizen, who was complaining that at Syracuse he had been confined in the stone-quarries, and who, when he was actually embarking on board ship, and uttering violent threats against Verres, had been brought back by them, and reserved in order that he himself might decide what should be done with him.
[161] He thanks the men and praises their good-will and diligence in his behalf. He himself, inflamed with wickedness and frenzy, comes into the forum. His eyes glared; cruelty was visible in his whole countenance. All men waited to see what does he was going to take,—what he was going to do; when all of a sudden he orders the man to be seized, and to be stripped and bound in the middle of the forum, and the rods to be got ready. The miserable man cried out that he was a Roman citizen, a citizen, also, of the municipal town of Cosa,—that he had served with Lucius Pretius a most illustrious Roman knight, who was living as a trader at Panormus, and from whom Verres might know that he was speaking the truth. Then Verres says that he has ascertained that he had been sent into Sicily by the leaders of the runaway slaves, in order to act as a spy; a matter as to which there was no witness, no trace, nor even the slightest suspicion in the mind of any one.
[162] Then he orders the man to be most violently scourged on all sides. In the middle of the forum of Messana a Roman citizen, O judges, was beaten with rods; while in the mean time no groan was heard, no other expression was heard from that wretched man, amid all his pain, and between the sound of the blows, except these words, “I am a citizen of Rome.” He fancied that by this one statement of his citizenship he could ward off all blows, and remove all torture from his person. He not only did not succeed in averting by his entreaties the violence of the rods, but as he kept on repeating his entreaties and the assertion of his citizenship, a cross —a cross I say —was got ready for that miserable man, who had never witnessed such a stretch of power.
[163] O the sweet name of liberty! O the admirable privileges of our citizenship! O Porcian law! O Sempronian laws! O power of the tribunes, bitterly regretted by, and at last restored to the Roman people! Have all our rights fallen so far, that in a province of the Roman people,—in a town of our confederate allies,—a Roman citizen should be bound in the forum, and beaten with rods by a man who only had the fasces and the axes through the kindness of the Roman people? What shall I say? When fire, and red-hot plates and other instruments of torture were employed? If the bitter entreaties and the miserable cries of that man had no power to restrain you, were you not moved even by the weeping and loud groans of the Roman citizens who were present at that time? Did you dare to drag any one to the cross who said that he was a Roman citizen? I was unwilling, O judges, to press this point so strongly at the former pleading; I was unwilling to do so. For you saw how the feelings of the multitude were excited against him with indignation, and hatred, and fear of their common danger. I, at that time, fixed a limit to my oration, and checked the eagerness of Caius Numitorius a Roman knight, a man of the highest character, one of my witnesses. And I rejoiced that Glabrio had acted (and he had acted most wisely) as he did in dismissing that witness immediately, in the middle of the discussion. In fact he was afraid that the Roman people might seem to have inflicted that punishment on Verres by tumultuary violence, which he was anxious he should only suffer according to the laws and by your judicial sentence.
[164] Now since it is made clear beyond a doubt to every one, in what state your case is, and what will become of you, I will deal thus with you: I will prove that that Gavius whom you all of a sudden assert to have been a spy, had been confined by you in the stone-quarries at Syracuse; and I will prove that, not only by the registers of the Syracusans,—lest you should be able to say that, because there is a man named Gavius mentioned in those documents, I have invented this charge, and picked out this name so as to be able to say that this is the man,—but in accordance with your own choice I will produce witnesses, who will state that that identical man was thrown by you into the stone-quarries at Syracuse. I will produce, also, citizens of Cosa, his fellow citizens and relations,, who shall teach you, though it is too late, and who shall also teach the judges, (for it is not too late for them to know them,) that that Publius Gavius whom you crucified was a Roman citizen, and a citizen of the municipality of Cosa, not a spy of runaway slaves.
[165] When I have made all these points, which I undertake to prove, abundantly plain to your most intimate friends, then I will also turn my attention to that which is granted me by you. I will say that I am content with that. For what—what, I say—did you yourself lately say, when in an agitated state you escaped from the outcry and violence of the Roman people? Why, that he had only cried out that he was a Roman citizen because he was seeking some respite, but that he was a spy. My witnesses are unimpeachable. For what else does Caius Numitorius say? what else do Marcus and Publius Cottius say, most noble men of the district of Tauromenium? what else does Marcus Lucceius say, who had a great business as a money-changer at Rhegium? what else do all the others ray? For as yet witnesses have only been produced by me of this class, not men who say that they were acquainted with Gavius, but men who say that they saw him at the time that he was being dragged to the cross, while crying out that he was a Roman citizen. And you, O Verres, say the same thing. You confess that he did cry out that he was a Roman citizen; but that the name of citizenship did not avail with you even as much as to cause the least hesitation in your mind, or even any brief respite from a most cruel and ignominious punishment.
[166] This is the point I press, this is what I dwell upon, O judges; with this single fact I am content. I give up, I am indifferent to all the rest. By his own confession he must be entangled and destroyed. You did not know who he was; you suspected that he was a spy. I do not ask you what were your grounds for that suspicion, I impeach you by your own words. He said that he was a Roman citizen. If you, O Verres, being taken among the Persians or in the remotest parts of India, were being led to execution, what else would you cry out but that you were a Roman citizen? And if that name of your city, honoured and renowned as it is among all men, would have availed you, a stranger among strangers, among barbarians, among men placed in the most remote and distant corners of the earth, ought not he, whoever he was, whom you were hurrying to the cross, who was a stranger to you, to have been able, when he said that he was a Roman citizen, to obtain from you, the praetor, if not an escape, at least a respite from death by his mention of and claims to citizenship?
[167] Men of no importance, born in an obscure rank, go to sea; they go to places which they have never seen before; where they can neither be known to the men among whom they have arrived, nor always find people to vouch for them. But still, owing to this confidence in the mere fact of their citizenship, they think that they shall be safe, not only among our own magistrates, who are restrained by fear of the laws and of public opinion, nor among our fellow citizens only, who are limited with them by community of language, of rights, and of many other things; but wherever they come they think that this will be a protection to them.
[168] Take away this hope, take away this protection from Roman citizens, establish the fact that there is no assistance to be found in the words “I am a Roman citizen;” that a praetor, or any other officer, may with impunity order any punishment he pleases to be inflicted on a man who says that he is a Roman citizen, though no one knows that it is not true; and at one blow, by admitting that defence; you cut off from the Roman citizens all the provinces, all the kingdoms, all free cities, and indeed the whole world, which has hitherto been open most especially to our countrymen. But what shall be said if he named Lucius Pretius, a Roman knight, who was at that time living in Sicily as a trader, as a man who would vouch for him? Was it a very great undertaking to send letters to Panormus? to keep the man? to detain him in prison, confined in the custody of your dear friends the Mamertines, till Pretius came from Panormus? Did he know the man? Then you might remit some part of the extreme punishment. Did he not know him? Then, if you thought fit, you might establish this law for all people, that whoever was not known to you, and could not produce a rich man to vouch for him, even though he were a Roman citizen, was still to be crucified.
[169] But why need I say more about Gavius? as if you were hostile to Gavius, and not rather an enemy to the name and class of citizens, and to all their rights. You were not, I say, an enemy to the individual, but to the common cause of liberty. For what was your object in ordering the Mamertines, when, according to their regular custom and usage, they had erected the cross behind the city in the Pompeian road, to place it where it looked towards the strait; and in adding, what you can by no means deny, what you said openly in the hearing of every one, that you chose that place in order that the man who said that he was a Roman citizen, might be able from his cross to behold Italy and to look towards his own home? And accordingly, O judges, that cross, for the first time since the foundation of Messana, was erected in that place. A spot commanding a view of Italy was picked out by that man, for the express purpose that the wretched man who was dying in agony and torture might see that the rights of liberty and of slavery were only separated by a very narrow strait, and that Italy might behold her son murdered by the most miserable and most painful punishment appropriate to slaves alone.
[170] It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is a wickedness; to put him to death is almost parricide. What shall I say of crucifying him? So guilty an action cannot by any possibility be adequately expressed by any name bad enough for it. Yet with all this that man was not content. “Let him behold his country,” said he; “let him die within sight of laws and liberty.” It was not Gavius, it was not one individual, I know not whom,—it was not one Roman citizen,—it was the common cause of freedom and citizenship that you exposed to that torture and nailed on that cross. But now consider the audacity of the man. Do not you think that he was indignant that be could not erect that cross for Roman citizens in the forum, in the comitium, in the very rostra? For the place in his province which was the most like those places in celebrity, and the nearest to them in point of distance, he did select. He chose that monument of his wickedness and audacity to be in the sight of Italy, in the very vestibule of Sicily, within sight of all passers-by as they sailed to and fro. 

[171] If I were to choose to make these complaints and to utter these lamentations, not to Roman citizens, not to any friends of our city, not to men who had heard of the name of the Roman people,—if I uttered them not to men, but to beasts,—or even, to go further, if I uttered them in some most desolate wilderness to the stones and rocks, still all things, mute and inanimate as they might be, would be moved by such excessive, by such scandalous atrocity of conduct. But now, when I am speaking before senators of the Roman people, the authors of the laws, of the courts of justice, and of all right, I ought not to fear that that man will not be judged to be the only Roman citizen deserving of that cross of his, and that all others will not be judged most undeserving of such a danger.

[172] A little while ago, O judges, we did not restrain our tears at the miserable and most unworthy death of the naval captains; and it was right for us to be moved at the misery of our innocent allies; what now ought we to do when the lives of our relations are concerned? For the blood of all Roman citizens ought to be accounted kindred blood; since the consideration of the common safety, and truth requires it. All the Roman citizens in this place, both those who are present, and those who are absent in distant lands, require your severity, implore the aid of your good faith, look anxiously for your assistance. They think that all their privileges, all their advantages, all their defences, in short their whole liberty, depends on your sentence.
[173] From me, although they have already had aid enough, still, if the affair should turn out ill, they will perhaps have more than the venture to ask for. For even though any violence should snatch that man from your severity, which I do not fear, a judges, nor do I think it by any means possible; still, if my expectations should in this deceive me, the Sicilians will complain that their cause is lost, and they will be as indignant as I shall myself; yet the Roman people, in a short time, since it has given me the power of pleading before them, shall through my exertions recover its rights by its own votes before the beginning of February. And if you have any anxiety, O judges, for my honour and for my renown, it is not unfavourable for my interests, that that man, having been saved from me at this trial, should be reserved for that decision of the Roman people. The cause is a splendid one, one easily to be proved by me, very acceptable and agreeable to the Roman people. Lastly, if I see where to have wished to rise at the expense of that one man, which I have not wished,—if he should be acquitted, (a thing which cannot happen without the wickedness of many men,) I shall be enabled to rise at the expense of many. 
Against Verres 2.5.158-173 5

Vivat Crux
"May you live long on a crux."
Section [162]: The phrase "cross —a cross I say (crux, crux, inquam)" in the original Latin crux could mean any sort of wooden torture-executionary suspension devices. Cicero, as I have shown in the first part, apparently understands this to be some sort of impaling device, like an impaling stake. An ordinary cross, of course, is not an impaling device, although it could be equipped to function as one.

Section [163]: "Did you dare to drag any one to the cross who said that he was a Roman citizen?" In that sentence the phrase "to drag to the cross" is in the Latin in crucem agere, a pregnant construction using in and the accusative (direct object) and more properly means "to drive onto the stake" including a final push, either by human force or gravity, to drive him onto it so that he is impaled and immobilized. This is the slaves' punishment and a slave was a res mancipi, a 'thing' of a purchase, i.e., a purchased thing.

Section [164]: "that Publius Gavius whom you crucified" in Latin is illum P. Gavium quem tu in crucem egisti, the phrase tu in crucem egisti again means "you drove onto the stake,' and the sense of the meaning is the same as for in crucem agere in line [163].

Section [165]: The phrase "at the time that he was being dragged to the cross, while crying out that he was a Roman citizen." is in Latin cum is, qui se civem Romanum esse clamaret, in crucem ageretur. The literal translation is actually: "when he, who proclaimed to be a Roman citizen, was being driven to/onto the stake (ordinary impaling stake or Priapus stake)." Now on the way to the site it would be obvious Gavius was crying out that he was a citizen of Rome, but while he was actually suspended on or over it? And gravity was forcing him down onto it, and it into him? It's plausible, and considering that Cicero is prosecuting Verres, the latter could very well be what Cicero was trying to get across., considering that at the end of this line, he was calling what Gavius went through "a most cruel and ignominious punishment" (crudelissimi taeterrimique supplici: lit., "cruelest and most disgusting penalty").

Section [166]: "whom you were hurrying to the cross" is in Latin quem tu in crucem rapiebas, and could better mean, "whom you were snatching off to the stake." But again, the construction is pregnant, which makes clear Gavius was finally seized with violence and forced onto the thing.

Section [168]: the phrase "was still to be crucified" is in Latin, in crucem tolleretur (was still to be lifted up onto the stake).

Section [169]: "they had erected the cross behind the city" is in Latin, crucem fixissent post urbem: lit., "a stake they had fixed in the ground in back of the city." Next, "that the man... might be able from his cross to behold Italy (ut ille... ex cruce Italiam cernere... posset)" reads better as: "that the man... might be able from his torture-stake to see Italy" After that, "that cross... was erected in that place (illa crux sola... illo in loco fixa est)" should read,  "only that impaling-device... was erected in that place." Why did I change my selected translation from stake?  It is because of what follows in section [170].

The final sentence of section 169 isn't a literal translation at all! It reads: "A spot commanding a view of Italy was picked out by that man, for the express purpose that the wretched man who was dying in agony and torture might see that the rights of liberty and of slavery were only separated by a very narrow strait, and that Italy might behold her son murdered by the most miserable and most painful punishment appropriate to slaves alone." We have in the Latin: Italiae conspectus ad eam rem ab isto delectus est (A view of Italy  from that [location] for the 'business' mentioned was selected), ut ille in dolore cruciatuque moriens perangusto fretu divisa servitutis ac libertatis iura cognosceret (so that he, dying in agony and torture could become aware [that] the laws of liberty and servitude [are] divided by a very narrow strait), Italia autem alumnum suum servitutis extremo summoque supplicio adfixum videret. (Italy on the other hand could see her native son affixed to the extreme and highest penalty for slaves.)  Now extremo and summo have multiple meanings: the former in this context could also mean "last, final, last part of, end of, end tip of;" the latter could also mean "supreme, capital, tallest, top part of, high point of, height of." One possible double meaning implied in extremo summoque supplicio could be "end tip and top part of of the penalty," implying both an elevated suspension and an impalement. And adfixum is not necessarily what Cicero wrote. Sources return other words such as defixum: "fastened, fixed, set, driven, planted;" fixum: "fixed, immobilized, fastened, driven, thrust, attached, affixed;" ea fixum: "(same as fixum plus) there." More, the noun and adjectives extremo summoque supplicio take both the dative (indirect object) and ablative (instrument of agent) cases. Which means Gavius could have been "thrust with" or "planted on" the penalty, that is, the device, as well as "fixed to" it, in other words, impaled or at the least penetrated. Considering in the first part I have shown that Cicero likely understood crux as a physical object to be stake, a rectal impalement or penetration of Gavius' living body with a 'tree-nail' I believe is strongly implied here.

Pozzuoli Graffito.
The condemned is riding a cornu, or skolops.
Section [170]: Cicero talks about how terrible it is to bind, scourge and kill a Roman citizen. He tops it off with, "What shall I say of crucifying him?" In the Latin "crucifying him" is rendered "in crucem tollere (to lift onto a stake)." Yes, a transverse lifting beam could be used here, despite no mention of it. Further, "It was not Gavius, it was not one individual,... it was the common cause of freedom and citizenship that you exposed to that torture and nailed to that cross." In the Latin it is rendered, Non tu hoc loco Gavium, non unum hominem..., sed communem libertatis et civitatis causam in illum cruciatum et crucem egisti. The last phrase, "in illum cruciatum et crucem egisti" has illum (that (singular accusative)) applies to cruciatum et crucem as a unitary combination of two things, whereas in 2.5.12 the two items were separate things, apparently to be used to afflict the condemned at the terminal stage of his punishment. In the exposure and suspension of Sopater, the hanging from a 'patibulum' Cicero called a cruciatus, a torture, a putting to the rack. Since the Latin cruciatus could also mean an instrument of torture, Cicero would have called an ordinary flat cross to which a person was to be affixed a cruciatus because it would be a very effective gravity-rack! Which means what we have here probably is a unitary rack-and-impaling-stake construction. i.e., a Priapus stake.

In the same section Cicero implies that Verres could have set up his crucem up in Rome, in the middle of the Forum, the comitium, or even the Rostra. Again, not necessarily an ordinary cross.

Section [171]: "I ought not to fear that that man will not be judged to be the only Roman citizen deserving of that cross of his..." in the Latin is, timere non debeo ne non unus iste civis Romanus illa cruce dignus. Again, cruce does not necessarily mean an ordinary cross. That Cicero said that the crux Verres erected overflowed with the blood of a Roman citizen, the implication is that the crux was some kind of impaling device. 6

3.3. Conclusion.

In this part Cicero understands that one who was condemned to be crucified was to be lifted onto the crux (in crucem tollere), hoisted or borne onto the crux (in crucem sustollere / sufferre), led to and driven onto the crux (in crucem agere). In the case of Publius Gavius, the doomed person was snatched off to the crux (in crucem rapiebas). The cruciatus et crux (gravity-rack (i.e., cross) and stake), two extrema in the usual understanding, was described as a unitary singular for the execution of Gavius. According to Cicero, as Gavius perished, his crux overflowed with his blood (illam crucem quae civis Romani sanguine redundat). This is a clear indication the crux was an impaling stake, or an oversized thorn that crucified by rectal impalement. Summing up, it is my impression that the gear of Publius Gavius' execution was a Priapus stake, that is, a male cross like those shown in Pozzuoli and Vivat Crux above, and possibly one that was very well-endowed.


M. Tullius Cicero. The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, literally translated by C. D. Yonge. London. George Bell & Sons. 1903. Accessed at Perseus Digital Library, 20 March 2013.


1. In Verrem 2.5.7. Latin text: L. Domitium praetoremin Sicilia, cum aper ingens ad eum adlatus esset, admiratum requisisse quis eum percussisset; cum audisset pastoremcuiusdam fuisse, eum vocari ad se iussisse; illum cupide ad praetorem quasi ad laudem atque ad praemium accucurrisse; quaesisse Domitium qui tantam bestiam percussisset; illum respondisse, venabulo; statim deinde iussu praetoris in crucem esse sublatum. durum hoc fortasse videatur...

2. William A. Oldfather, "Livy i, 26 and the Supplicium de More Maiorum," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol.39 (1908), pp. 49-72.  The formula in Livy was arbori infelici reste suspendito (suspend on a tree with ropes). In pro Rabiro 13, Cicero garbled the formula as arbori infelici suspendere (suspend on a tree) which would imply crucifixion or even impalement. Cf. Dionysius Halicarnassus, Antiquities Romanae 5.51.3 (Loeb Classical Library translation here): μάστιξι καὶ βασάνοις αἰκισθέντες ἀνεσκολοπίσθησαν ἅπαντες (having been tormented with scouges and tortures, the whole lot were impaled.) (my translation) This event in Ant. Rom. is 501 BCE.

3. In Verrem 2.5.12 (first two sentences). Latin text: Quid ais, bone custos defensorque provinciae? Tu quos servos arma capere et bellum facere in Sicilia voluisse cognoras et de consili sententia iudicaras, hos ad supplicium iam more maiorum traditos ex media morte eripere ac liberare ausus es, ut, quam damnatis crucem servis fixeras, hanc indemnatis videlicet civibus Romanis reservares?

4. In Verrem 2.5.14 (5th & 6th sentences). Latin text: quid deinde sequitur? verbera atque ignes et illa extrema ad supplicium damnatorum, metum ceterorum, cruciatus* et crux.

cruciatus pδ: et cruc. RSψ

5. In Verrem 2.5.158-173. Latin text:
[158] Nam quid ego de P. Gavio, Consano municipe, dicam, iudices, aut qua vi vocis, qua gravitate verborum, quo dolore animi dicam? tametsi dolor me non deficit; ut cetera mihi in dicendo digna re, digna dolore meo, suppetant magis laborandum est. Quod crimen eius modi est ut, cum primum ad me delatum est, usurum me illo non putarem; tametsi enim verissimum esse intellegebam, tamen credibile fore non arbitrabar. Coactus lacrimis omnium civium Romanorum qui in Sicilia negotiantur, adductus Valentinorum, hominum honestissimorum, omniumque Reginorum testimoniis multorumque equitum Romanorum qui casu tum Messanae fuerunt, dedi tantum priore actione testium res ut nemini dubia esse possit. 
[159] Quid nunc agam? Cum iam tot horas de uno genere ac de istius nefaria crudelitate dicam, cum prope omnem vim verborum eius modi, quae scelere istius digna sint, aliis in rebus consumpserim, neque hoc providerim, ut varietate criminum vos attentos tenerem, quem ad modum de tanta re dicam? Opinor, unus modus atque una ratio est; rem in medio ponam; quae tantum habet ipsa gravitatis ut neque mea, quae nulla est, neque cuiusquam ad inflammandos vestros animos eloquentia requiratur. 
[160] Gavius hic quem dico, Consanus, cum in illo numero civium Romanorum ab isto in vincla coniectus esset et nescio qua ratione clam e lautumiis profugisset Messanamque venisset, qui tam prope iam Italiam et moenia Reginorum, civium Romanorum, videret et ex illo metu mortis ac tenebris quasi luce libertatis et odore aliquo legum recreatus revixisset, loqui Messanae et queri coepit se civem Romanum in vincla coniectum, sibi recta iter esse Romam, Verri se praesto advenienti futurum. Non intellegebat miser nihil interesse utrum haec Messanae an apud istum in praetorio loqueretur; nam, ut antea vos docui, hanc sibi iste urbem delegerat quam haberet adiutricem scelerum, furtorum receptricem, flagitiorum omnium consciam. Itaque ad magistratum Mamertinum statim deducitur Gavius, eoque ipso die casu Messanam Verres venit. Res ad eum defertur, esse civem Romanum qui se Syracusis in lautumiis fuisse quereretur; quem iam ingredientem in navem et Verri nimis atrociter minitantem ab se retractum esse et adservatum, ut ipse in eum statueret quod videretur.
[161] Agit hominibus gratias et eorum benivolentiam erga se diligentiamque conlaudat. Ipse inflammatus scelere et furore in forum venit; ardebant oculi, toto ex ore crudelitas eminebat. Exspectabant omnes quo tandem progressurus aut quidnam acturus esset, cum repente hominem proripi atque in foro medio nudari ac deligari et virgas expediri iubet. Clamabat ille miser se civem esse Romanum, municipem Consanum; meruisse cum L. Raecio, splendidissimo equite Romano, qui Panhormi negotiaretur, ex quo haec Verres scire posset. Tum iste, se comperisse eum speculandi causa in Siciliam a ducibus fugitivorum esse missum; cuius rei neque index neque vestigium aliquod neque suspicio cuiquam esset ulla; deinde iubet undique hominem vehementissime verberari. 
[162] Caedebatur virgis in medio foro Messanae civis Romanus, iudices, cum interea nullus gemitus, nulla vox alia illius miseri inter dolorem crepitumque plagarum audiebatur nisi haec, 'Civis Romanus sum.' Hac se commemoratione civitatis omnia verbera depulsurum cruciatumque a corpore deiecturum arbitrabatur; is non modo hoc non perfecit, ut virgarum vim deprecaretur, sed cum imploraret saepius usurparetque nomen civitatis, crux,—crux, inquam,—infelici et aerumnoso, qui numquam istam pestem viderat, comparabatur. 
[163] O nomen dulce libertatis! o ius eximium nostrae civitatis! o lex Porcia legesque Semproniae! o graviter desiderata et aliquando reddita plebi Romanae tribunicia potestas! Hucine tandem haec omnia reciderunt ut civis Romanus in provincia populi Romani, in oppido foederatorum, ab eo qui beneficio populi Romani fascis et securis haberet deligatus in foro virgis caederetur? Quid? cum ignes ardentesque laminae ceterique cruciatus admovebantur, si te illius acerba imploratio et vox miserabilis non inhibebat, ne civium quidem Romanorum qui tum aderant fletu et gemitu maximo commovebare? In crucem tu agere ausus es quemquam qui se civem Romanum esse diceret? Nolui tam vehementer agere hoc prima actione, iudices, nolui; vidistis enim ut animi multitudinis in istum dolore et odio et communis periculi metu concitarentur. Statui egomet mihi tum modum et orationi meae et C. Numitorio, equiti Romano, primo homini, testi meo; et Glabrionem id quod sapientissime fecit facere laetatus sum, ut repente consilium in medio testimonio dimitteret. Etenim verebatur ne populus Romanus ab isto eas poenas vi repetisse videretur, quas veritus esset ne iste legibus ac vestro iudicio non esset persoluturus. 
[164] Nunc quoniam iam exploratum est omnibus quo loco causa tua sit et quid de te futurum sit, sic tecum agam. Gavium istum, quem repentinum speculatorem fuisse dicis, ostendam in lautumias Syracusis a te esse coniectum, neque id solum ex litteris ostendam Syracusanorum, ne possis dicere me, quia sit aliqui in litteris Gavius, hoc fingere et eligere nomen, ut hunc illum esse possim dicere, sed ad arbitrium tuum testis dabo qui istum ipsum Syracusis abs te in lautumias coniectum esse dicant. Producam etiam Consanos municipes illius ac necessarios, qui te nunc sero doceant, iudices non sero, illum P. Gavium quem tu in crucem egisti civem Romanum et municipem Consanum, non speculatorem fugitivorum fuisse. 
[165] Cum haec omnia quae polliceor cumulate tuis proximis plana fecero, tum istuc ipsum tenebo quod abs te mihi datur; eo contentum esse me dicam. Quid enim nuper tu ipse, cum populi Romani clamore atque impetu perturbatus exsiluisti, quid, inquam, elocutus es? Illum, quod moram supplicio quaereret, ideo clamitasse se esse civem Romanum, sed speculatorem fuisse. Iam mei testes veri sunt. Quid enim dicit aliud C. Numitorius, quid M. et P. Cottii, nobilissimi homines ex agro Tauromenitano, quid Q. Lucceius, qui argentariam Regi maximam fecit, quid ceteri? Adhuc enim testes ex eo genere a me sunt dati, non qui novisse Gavium, sed se vidisse dicerent, cum is, qui se civem Romanum esse clamaret, in crucem ageretur. Hoc tu, Verres, idem dicis, hoc tu confiteris, illum clamitasse se civem esse Romanum; apud te nomen civitatis ne tantum quidem valuisse ut dubitationem aliquam [crucis], ut crudelissimi taeterrimique supplici aliquam parvam moram saltem posset adferre. 
[166] Hoc teneo, hic haereo, iudices, hoc sum contentus uno, omitto ac neglego cetera; sua confessione induatur ac iuguletur necesse est. Qui esset ignorabas, speculatorem esse suspicabare; non quaero qua suspicione, tua te accuso oratione: civem Romanum se esse dicebat. Si tu apud Persas aut in extrema India deprensus, Verres, ad supplicium ducerere, quid aliud clamitares nisi te civem esse Romanum? et si tibi ignoto apud ignotos, apud barbaros, apud homines in extremis atque ultimis gentibus positos, nobile et inlustre apud omnis nomen civitatis tuae profuisset, ille, quisquis erat, quem tu in crucem rapiebas, qui tibi esset ignotus, cum civem se Romanum esse diceret, apud te praetorem si non effugium ne moram quidem mortis mentione atque usurpatione civitatis adsequi potuit? 
[167] Homines tenues, obscuro loco nati, navigant, adeunt ad ea loca quae numquam antea viderunt, ubi neque noti esse iis quo venerunt, neque semper cum cognitoribus esse possunt. Hac una tamen fiducia civitatis non modo apud nostros magistratus, qui et legum et existimationis periculo continentur, neque apud civis solum Romanos, qui et sermonis et iuris et multarum rerum societate iuncti sunt, fore se tutos arbitrantur, sed, quocumque venerint, hanc sibi rem praesidio sperant futuram. 
[168] Tolle hanc spem, tolle hoc praesidium civibus Romanis, constitue nihil esse opis in hac voce, 'Civis Romanus sum,' posse impune praetorem aut alium quempiam supplicium quod velit in eum constituere qui se civem Romanum esse dicat, quod qui sit ignoret: iam omnis provincias, iam omnia regna, iam omnis liberas civitates, iam omnem orbem terrarum, qui semper nostris hominibus maxime patuit, civibus Romanis ista defensione praecluseris. Quid? si L. Raecium, equitem Romanum, qui tum erat in Sicilia, nominabat, etiamne id magnum fuit, Panhormum litteras mittere? Adservasses hominem custodiis Mamertinorum tuorum, vinctum clausum habuisses, dum Panhormo Raecius veniret; cognosceret hominem, aliquid de summo supplicio remitteres; si ignoraret, tum, si ita tibi videretur, hoc iuris in omnis constitueres, ut, qui neque tibi notus esset neque cognitorem locupletem daret, quamvis civis Romanus esset, in crucem tolleretur. 
[169] Sed quid ego plura de Gavio? quasi tu Gavio tum fueris infestus ac non nomini generi iuri civium hostis. Non illi, inquam, homini sed causae communi libertatis inimicus fuisti. Quid enim attinuit, cum Mamertini more atque instituto suo crucem fixissent post urbem in via Pompeia, te iubere in ea parte figere quae ad fretum spectaret, et hoc addere,—quod negare nullo modo potes, quod omnibus audientibus dixisti palam,—te idcirco illum locum deligere, ut ille, quoniam se civem Romanum esse diceret, ex cruce Italiam cernere ac domum suam prospicere posset? Itaque illa crux sola, iudices, post conditam Messanam illo in loco fixa est. Italiae conspectus ad eam rem ab isto delectus est, ut ille in dolore cruciatuque moriens perangusto fretu divisa servitutis ac libertatis iura cognosceret, Italia autem alumnum suum servitutis extremo summoque supplicio adfixum* videret. 
* Naugerius: defixum πk: fixum Nonius: ea fixum δ 
[170] Facinus est vincire civem Romanum, scelus verberare, prope parricidium necare: quid dicam in crucem tollere? Verbo satis digno tam nefaria res appellari nullo modo potest. Non fuit his omnibus iste contentus; 'spectet,' inquit, 'patriam; in conspectu legum libertatisque moriatur.' Non tu hoc loco Gavium, non unum hominem nescio quem, sed communem libertatis et civitatis causam in illum cruciatum et crucem egisti. Iam vero videte hominis audaciam! Nonne eum graviter tulisse arbitramini quod illam civibus Romanis crucem non posset in foro, non in comitio, non in rostris defigere? Quod enim his locis in provincia sua celebritate simillimum, regione proximum potuit, elegit; monumentum sceleris audaciaeque suae voluit esse in conspectu Italiae, vestibulo Siciliae, praetervectione omnium qui ultro citroque navigarent. 
[171] Si haec non ad civis Romanos, non ad aliquos amicos nostrae civitatis, non ad eos qui populi Romani nomen audissent, denique si non ad homines verum ad bestias, aut etiam, ut longius progrediar, si in aliqua desertissima solitudine ad saxa et ad scopulos haec conqueri ac deplorare vellem, tamen omnia muta atque inanima tanta et tam indigna rerum acerbitate commoverentur. Nunc vero cum loquar apud senatores populi Romani, legum et iudiciorum et iuris auctores, timere non debeo ne non unus iste civis Romanus illa cruce dignus, ceteri omnes simili periculo indignissimi iudicentur. 
[172] Paulo ante, iudices, lacrimas in morte misera atque indigna nauarchorum non tenebamus, et recte ac merito sociorum innocentium miseria commovebamur: quid nunc in nostro sanguine tandem facere debemus? Nam civium Romanorum omnium sanguis coniunctus existimandus est, quoniam et salutis omnium ratio et veritas postulat. Omnes hoc loco cives Romani, et qui adsunt et qui ubique sunt, vestram severitatem desiderant, vestram fidem implorant, vestrum auxilium requirunt; omnia sua iura commoda auxilia, totam denique libertatem in vestris sententiis versari arbitrantur. 
[173] A me tametsi satis habent, tamen, si res aliter acciderit, plus habebunt fortasse quam postulant. Nam si qua vis istum de vestra severitate eripuerit, id quod neque metuo, iudices, neque ullo modo fieri posse video,—sed si in hoc me ratio fefellerit, Siculi causam suam perisse querentur et mecum pariter moleste ferent, populus quidem Romanus brevi, quoniam mihi potestatem apud se agendi dedit, ius suum me agente suis suffragiis ante Kalendas Februarias recuperabit. Ac si de mea gloria atque amplitudine quaeritis, iudices, non est alienum meis rationibus istum mihi ex hoc iudicio ereptum ad illud populi Romani iudicium reservari. Splendida est illa causa, probabilis mihi et facilis, populo grata atque iucunda; denique si videor hic, id quod ego non quaesivi, de uno isto voluisse crescere, isto absoluto, quod sine multorum scelere fieri non potest, de multis mihi crescere licebit. Sed mehercule vestra reique publicae causa, iudices, nolo in hoc delecto consilio tantum flagiti esse commissum, nolo eos iudices quos ego probarim atque delegerim sic in hac urbe notatos isto absoluto ambulare ut non cera sed caeno obliti esse videantur. 
6. Gunnar Samuelsson, Crucifixion in Antiquity, Tübingen, Germany, Siebeck, (2010) p. 181: "The victim is depicted as being alive while suspended, but not for how long (i.e., he is not described as talking while suspended). The victim could still be suspended in a way that kills rather instantly (e.g., impaled)." Although one could survive for a long period of time while impaled, so long as the executioner is careful not to pierce any vital organs. The ancient Greeks knew it could be done -- epigraphy proves it.


Robert Wahler said...


I saw your post on Neil Godfrey's site on the Literary Imitations thing. You might tell him to look at Acts 9:32-35, for even more obvious imitation of Virgil by Luke. Pretty finny. I'd post myself, but I'm BANNED, for life, evidently, because I dared to link my own reading material on his site. He doesn't like any Theists. I'm a Satsangi with the RSSB ( My book on the NT saviors John and James: --Bob Wahler
-sahansdal at yahoo dot com

Ed-M said...


Well Neil Godfrey's doing the Gospels right about now, I'll have to mention this when he's discussing Acts. :^)