Pro Ligario II

Title: Pro Ligario II
Work type: Cicero - I - Works

The oration Pro Quinto Ligario, datable to around the end of the intercalary month of 46 B.C., was put into circulation in all probability around June of 45 B.C. (on the date of the work see Ephemerides
a cura di E. Malaspina). It corresponds to the speech delivered by Cicero in front of Caesar, the first one in the Forum since the time of his proconsulship in Cilicia (51 B.C.), in defense of Quintus Ligarius, a little known personage historically and descended from an equestrian family coming from the Sabine territory. The Arpinate already spoke on 26 November of the same year in the house of Caesar (fam. 6,14,2; Lig. 14, vd. le >Ephemerides
), in favor of Q. Ligarius’ return to his homeland. [Fausto Pagnotta]

Keywords: Éditions - Edizioni - Editions, Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Politique - Politica - Politics, Traduction - Traduzione - Translation
Historical references:

Q. Ligarius, having left for the province of Africa in 50 B.C. as a legate in the suite of the governor C. Considius Longus, was at first found to administer ad interim the province after the departure of Considius for Rome (Lig. 2) and, as a consequence, served during the civil war, with a marginal role, under the command of the Pompeian, P. Attius Varus. The accusation made against Q. Ligarius by Q. Aelius Tubero was that he had committed scelus against the fatherland; it has been assumed therefore that it was a matter of a charge of perduellio, high treason (on the question of the precise definition of the charge vd. with the relative bibliography the clear synthesis in F. Gasti (ed.), Cicero. Orazioni Caesariane, Milan 20074, p. 40 n. 66). The accused was found in exile in Africa after he had already been spared by Caesar (Bell.Afr. 89,1-2), since he had not resisted when he was captured at Hadrumetum following the victories of the Caesarian army over the Pompeians at Pharsalus, 9 August 48 B.C., and Thapsus, 6 April 46 of B.C. The oration delivered by Cicero in the Forum constituted the opportunity to obtain from Caesar the civil rehabilitation of Q. Ligarius with permission to return to his native land. The positive outcome of the process was not foregone, since the action of Q. Aelius Tubero against Q. Ligarius rested on two charges (cfr. Quint. inst. 11,1,78-80) that could turn out to be very serious in the eyes of Caesar, that is, that Q. Ligarius stayed in Africa also after the battles of Pharsalus and of Thapsus and, in particular (a thing much more compromising), that he entertained conspiracy with Juba, king of Numidia, who had been deployed in Africa with the Pompeian army, demonstrating himself to be the fiercest enemy of Caesar. With fine rhetorical abilities and a sage use of irony (thought to be exemplary already by Quintilian, cfr. inst. 4,1,70; 9,2,50; and also 4,1,38-39), playing on the “clemency of Caesar” (cfr. ad es. Lig. 6, 10-16, 38) that the dictator and his collaborators deliberately tried to propagandize in order to obtain consensus from the defeated (since before Pharsalus, as Cic. Att. 9,7c, 1-2 testifies), Cicero succeeds in obtaining from Caesar forgiveness for Q. Ligarius and permission to re-enter his native land. The oration, in a wider perspective regarding the specific case of Q. Ligarius, represents a complex attempt by the Arpinate in the political sphere at restoring the equilibrium of the position of the defeated with that of the winner. An action carried out by Cicero thanks to the weapons of political astuteness and to his fine ars rhetorica employed in front of Caesar in a skillful way, or in his personal reading of the civil war, aimed at, from the penal point of view, freeing from responsibility the conduct of Cn. Pompeius and of the Pompeians, those able to be charged, according to Cicero, not so much of scelus, but, if anything, of an error (Lig. 19), or in its firm and polished defense to make the greater number of Pompeian exiles return home (Lig. 38). [Fausto Pagnotta] (tr. by T. Frazel)