Cicero’s Patience Runs out

“When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience?” Cicero thundered in the Roman senate in 63 BC. The words were followed by a spectacular speech, in which the consul heaped abuse on his fellow senator Lucius Sergius Catilina, who was suspected of plotting against the state. Cicero painted his victim as the axis of a conspiracy attempting to overthrow the Republic, slandering him for his treacherousness and decadent lifestyle. Catiline, who was present on the occasion, tried in vain to protest, but the senators had been so riled up against him that he was forced to leave the meeting and later fled the city.


• Katrin Schurgacz, Die Declamatio in L. Sergium Catilinam. Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung, Kommentar (Trier 2004)
• Joan Booth (ed.), Cicero on the Attack: Invective and Subversion in the Orations and Beyond (Swansea 2007)
• Charles M. Odahl, Cicero and the Catilinarian Conspiracy (London 2010)

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