Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What should have been said in the Supreme Court today!

In the Supreme Court today during an argument over Proposition 8 of California, Justice (sic!) Antonin Scalia asked Atty. Ted Olson, Esq., "When did it become unconstitutional to exclude gays from marriage?"

To which Mr. Olson replied with a quip, "When did it become unconstitutional to exclude interracial couples from marriage?"

I think it should have gone this way. Mr. Scalia plays himself, Boris Badenov plays Mr. Olson. And Justice Anthony Kennedy plays himself, too.

"When did it become unconstitutional to exclude gays from marriage?"

"June 26th, 2003."

"I don't recall that being decided."

"You don't recall, you honor? You said so, yourself."

"Okay, tell me when I said so."

"It's in your dissent opinion, Lawrence v. Texas."

"Since you're so smart, why don't you quote it?"

"Certainly, your honor.

" 'If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct; and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), “when sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,” what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “the liberty protected by the Constitution”?' "

"I never said any such thing."

"Oh, yes, you did."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Crucifixion the Bodily Support - Philo of Alexandria

Philo Judaeus


Part 8d of Crucifixion the Bodily Support

I have noticed in my readings that various researchers with credentials or portfolios on the subject, such as David W. Chapman 1 and Gunnar Samuelsson 2 do not think that the Greek term ἀνασκολοπίζω is to be interpreted etymologically: ἀνα + σκολοπίζω, with ἀνα meaning "up, up through or into" and  σκολοπίζω reduced to its most basic meaning, "set up a stake (σκόλοψ)." Such scholarship as this got a rise out of Chris Cargounis, who quite emotionally but, alas,  not carefully reviewed Samuelsson's Crucifixion in Antiquity in June of 2010. But he does draw some blood in that he reports that some of the Greek words are still used by Greek everyday speech in the present day 3, such as ἀνασκολοπίζω whose gerundive, ανασκολοπισμός, headlines the Greek language Wikipedia article for impalement.

However, I have shown here that Philo could very well have understood the verb etymologically when interpreting the incident in Genesis 40:19-20 and the command in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, even though he apparently projected the usual Roman method of crucifixion (crucifigere) back to an earlier time in order to actualize for himself the narratives given by the Torah.

So I will show (again) what Philo knew what the Roman method of crucifixion entailed. 4 
Now the soul that subjects itself to bodily compunctions has the before mentioned inhabitants. Acheman, being interpreted, means, my brother, and Jesein means "outside of me," and Thalmein means, some one in suspense; for it follows of necessity, that the body must be thought akin to the souls that love the body, and that external good things must be exceedingly admired by them, and all the souls which have this kind of disposition depend on lifeless material and just as those being crucified, they are nailed to perishable [pieces of] wood until their death.
de Posteriate Caini 61 5
The Greek for "crucify" in this passage is ἀνασκολοπισθέντες (being impaled); for "nailed," προσήλωνται (nailed, pinned, riveted, fixed). Of course, this is an allegorical metaphor comparing those crucified or impaled to souls who love the body and those who put their trust on external things, and depend on them by emotional attachment.
The mind, in fact, stripped of what it fabricated, like one who was severed at the neck, nailed like those crucified to the tree of poor and needy lack of training.
De Somniis 2.213 6
The Greek Philo uses for "nailed just as those crucified to the tree" is οι προσηλωμένος ώσπερ ανασκολοπισθέντες τω ξύλω, which could also mean "fixed just as those impaled by the stake." The article τω and the noun ξύλω are in the dative; they could refer to either an indirect object (nailed to the tree) or instrumental of means like the Latin ablative (fixed with the stake).
For an end of life follows the lack of bread-food, on account of which the one who errs greatly concerning these things also properly dies by being hanged, a similar evil to which he treated the sufferer, for indeed he had hung up and stretched the famished man with hunger.
De Josepho 156 7
In the above texts, he uses Greek following words: κρεμάννυμι, "hang (by any means including impalement and crucifixion);" ἀνακρεμάννυμι, "hang up (on something);" παρατείνω, "stretch out along, beside (like along a beam), stretch out on a rack." Now without the stretching verb, Philo could have been referring to simple direct impalement. But the stretching-along verb can only be referring to the sense racking someone by gravity after his initial suspension with his arms attached to and outstretched along a patibulum!

151 ...but, since this is not possible, He ordained besides another punishment, commanding those who took human life to be crucified. 152...and he says, "Do not let the sun set upon those who have been crucified, but let them be concealed in the earth, having been taken down before sunset."
De Specialibus Legibus 3.151, 152 8
The verb Philo uses is ἀνασκολοπίζω (impale) in the conjugations ανασκολοπίζεσθαι (to be impaled) and ανεσκολοπισμενοις (having been impaled).  Philo's interpretation of the actual ordinance on hanging people is, for we moderns, especially the Jewish ones, shocking and strange. He applies the ordinance to murderers, not blasphemers, and simply says they should be impaled. Or is it crucified?  It seems quite plain that he meant either impalement or some kind of penetrative crucifixion in this verse. Not necessarily post-mortem, either: it appears he is indicating that hanging him in order to kill him is the meaning of the text.

Additional information of Philo's understanding of the Roman crucifixion methods can be gleaned from his accounts of the pogroms instigated against the Jews of Alexandria in 32-38 CE by the Roman prefect of Egypt, Flaccus Avillus.

For a few days afterwards he issued a notice in which he called us all foreigners and aliens, without giving us an opportunity of being heard in our own defence, but condemning us without trial, and what command can be more full of tyranny than this? He himself being everything--accuser, enemy, witness, judge, and executioner, added then to the two former appellations a third also, allowing any one who was inclined to proceed to exterminate the Jews as prisoners of war.
In Flaccum 54 9

In this pogrom, various and sundry cruel and unusual deaths were meted out on many of the jews of Alexandria. One of the torments that the Non-Jewish Alexandrines visted upon their Jewish neighbors was to destroy a person by dragging him beyond the point of death through the streets, with one foot bound, perhaps to a tow-pole, and the other foot presumably free.  Now when the Jewish relatives of the deceased were to mourn the victims, were punished and killed without trial as if they were convicted armed robbers, murderers, seditionists or traitors.
And those who did these things, mimicked the sufferers, like people employed in the representation of theatrical farces; but the relations and friends of those who were the real victims, merely because they sympathized with the misery of their relations, were led away to prison, were scourged, were tortured, and after all the ill treatment which their living bodies could endure, found the cross the end of all, and the punishment from which they could not escape.
In Flaccum 72 10
The phrase "and after all the ill treatement which their living bodies could endure" (καὶ μετὰ πάσας τὰς αἰκίας, ὅσας ἐδύνατο χωρῆσαι τὰ σώματα αὐτοῖς) indicates that possibly some of those arrested and tortured had perished under the torture. And Philo follows up with, as translated "[they] found the cross the end of all, and the punishment from which they could not escape." The Greek is actually, ἡ τελευταία καὶ ἔφεδρος τιμωρία σταυρὸς ἦν (where the final and reserved punishment was the σταυρὸς). By mention of the word punishment (τιμωρία), Philo is using the noun σταυρὸς not as the physical instrument of torture and execution itself, but rather the Roman act of crucifixion, the σταυρὸς-punishment. And ἔφεδρος could mean not only "from which they could not escape, reserved, lurking, at hand," etc., but also "sitting, seated," and as a noun, "seat." Interpreting ἔφεδρος according to later epigraphy yields an interesting parallel with the request of the Roman poet Maceneas 11, because it reveals that the punishment of the σταυρὸς meant the condemned had to sit on the 'cross.'

Incidentally, not all perished before their rendezvous with the σταυρὸς. In fact, many or most were still alive when they were affixed to the execution pole:
83 I have known instances before now of men who had been crucified when this festival and holiday was at hand, being taken down and given up to their relations, in order to receive the honours of sepulture, and to enjoy such observances as are due to the dead; for it used to be considered, that even the dead ought to derive some enjoyment from the natal festival of a good emperor, and also that the sacred character of the festival ought to be regarded. 84 But this man did not order men who had already perished on crosses to be taken down, but he commanded living men to be crucified, men to whom the very time itself gave, if not entire forgiveness, still, at all events, a brief and temporary respite from punishment; and he did this after they had been beaten by scourgings in the middle of the theatre; and after he had tortured them with fire and sword; 85 and the spectacle of their sufferings was divided; for the first part of the exhibition lasted from the morning to the third or fourth hour, in which the Jews were scourged, were hung up, were tortured on the wheel, were condemned, and were dragged to execution through the middle of the orchestra; and after this beautiful exhibition came the dancers, and the buffoons, and the flute-players, and all the other diversions of the theatrical contests.
In Flaccum 83-85 12
In this section, Philo again uses the verb ἀνασκολοπίζω, first as τῶν ἀνεσκολοπισμένων (of those having been impaled) in section 83, and again as ζῶντας δ’ ἀνασκολοπίζεσθαι (but living [men] to be crucified) in section 84. Philo understands that those crucified in the Roman manner were suspended, because in advance of an important Roman holiday such as the Emperor's Birthday, some who were so suspended the soldiers or executioners took them down (καθαιρεθέντας) and handed them over to their relations for burial (καὶ τοῖς συγγενέσιν ἐπὶ τῷ ταφῆς... ἀποδοθέντας). But when Flaccus started his pogrom, he forbade the families to take down the bodies of those who had not "completed" their sentences upon the poles (ὁ δ’ οὐ τετελευτηκότας ἐπὶ σταυρῶν καθαιρεῖν). Now the phrase ἐπὶ σταυρῶν indicates that the condemned were firmly supported by the poles themselves, nut just by the nails driven through them and into the wood, given that ἐπὶ when constructed with a genitive impersonal noun indicates "on, upon." This is consistent with the σταυρὸς as the ἔφεδρος τιμωρία (seated punishment).


It appears Philo understands the verb ἀνασκολοπίζω etymologically, even as a part of Roman crucifixion despite the fact that it also a stretching along the beams of the gibbet, and a nailing to transitory timbers. One should note that Philo interprets the σταυρὸς not just as a pole or utility pole, but also a penalty; in fact, a ἔφεδρος τιμωρία: a 'sitting' penalty, which is borne out in the fact that most criminals completed their [end of lethal torture] upon a pole (τετελευτηκότας ἐπὶ σταυρῶν), i.e., stoutly supported by it.  


1. David W. Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion, Grand rapids, MI, baker Academic (2008), pp. 10-11, " A σκόλοψ likewise generally refers to “anything pointed” (Liddell & Scott, s.v.), including pales, stakes, thorns, a point of a fishhook, and (in the plural) a palisade. And similarly, the cognate verb ἀνασκολοπίζω need not exclusively refer to 'fix on a pole or a stake, impale.'
"However, the “fundamental” references to an upright pole in σταυρός and its cognates, and to pointy objects in σκόλοψ and its cognates, does not rightly imply such that terminology in antiquity, when applied to crucifixion, invariably referred to a single upright beam. This is a common word study fallacy in some populist literature. In fact, such terminology often referred in antiquity to cross-shaped crucifixion devices."

2. Gunnar Samuelsson, Crucifixion in AntiquityTübingen, Germany, Siebeck, (2010), p. 303: 
"(ἀνα)σταυρουν and ἀνασκολοπίζειν are used more or less interchangeably. There might have been a distinction between them occasionally -- as Herodotus' usage shows -- but that distinction is now in essence lost. The only clear difference is that the verbs are used in a way which contradicts their etymology. (ἀνα)σταυρουν has a clearer tendency to be connected with pointed poles than ἀνασκολοπίζειν, which is peculiar in the light of the usage of σκόλοψ."

3. Chris Cargounis, "Was Jesus Crucified?" online PDF article posted June 12, 2010, augmented June 30, 2012: "Everything that has been written on crucifixion during the past 2000 years is wrong, according to Samuelsson. This must include also the Greeks, who though using the relevant words continuously from ancient times till today, do not know what is meant by them.... The relevant words for such a study in Greek literature are mainly:σταυρός, (ἀνα)σταυρῶ, σκόλοψ, ἀνασκολοπίζω, κρεμάννυμι, κρεμῶ, κρεμαννύω, ἀγχόνη, ἀπαγχονίζω, ἦλος, προσηλῶ, πάσσαλος (Attic: πάτταλ.), πασσαλεύω, προσπασσαλεύω, and ἐμπήγνυμι [e.g. ἧλον]. They occur down to the XVIth century A.D. many thousand times. They continue to occur till today."

4. In the FdVR blog article "Impalements in Antiquity (3A)" the Philonian passages De Josepho 96, 98, 156; De Somniis 2.213; and De Specialibus Legibus 3.151, 152 have already been discussed. The last three are also included above.

5. De Posteriate Caini 61 (fin), Greet text: ἀψύχων ἐκκρέμανται καὶ καθάπερ οἱ ἀνασκολοπισθέντες ἄχρι θανάτου φθαρταῖς ὕλαις προσήλωνται. (they [the souls] hang on lifeless material and just as those being impaled they are nailed (riveted, pinned, fixed) to perishable woods until their death)

6. De Somniis 2.213, Greek text: περισυληθεις ουν ο νους ων εδημιούργησεν, ώσπερ τόν αυχένα αποτμηθείς αχέφαλος καί νεκρός ανευρεθήσεται, προσηλωμένος ώσπερ οι ανασκολοπισθέντες τω ξύλω της απόρου καί πενιχρας απαιδευσίας.

7. De Josepho 156, Greek text: τελευτή γάρ έπεται σιτίων σπάνει ου χάριν καί ό περί ταυτ' έξαυαρτών είκότως θνήσκει κρεμασθεις, όμοιν κακόν ω διέθηκε παθών καί γάρ αυτός άνεκρέμασε καί παρέτεινε τόν πεινωντα λιμω.

8. De Specialibus Legibus 3.151-2, Greek text:  151 ... επεί δέ τουτ' ουκ ενεδέχτο, τιμωριαν άλλην προσδιατάττεται κελεύων τούς ανελόντας ανασκολοπίζεσθαι. 152 ...καί φησι. μν επιδυέτω ό ήλιος ανεσκολοπισμενις αλλ' επικρυπτέσθωσαν γη πρό δύσεως καθαιρεθέντες.

9. In Flaccum 54, Greek text: ὀλίγαις γὰρ ὕστερον ἡμέραις τίθησι πρόγραμμα, δι’ οὗ ξένους καὶ ἐπήλυδας ἡμᾶς ἀπεκάλει μηδὲ λόγου μεταδούς, ἀλλ’ ἀκρίτως καταδικάζων. οὗ τί ἂν εἴη τυραννίδος ἐπάγγελμα μεῖζον; αὐτὸς γενόμενος τὰ πάντα, κατήγορος, ἐχθρός, μάρτυς, δικαστής, κολαστής, εἶτα δυσὶ τοῖς προτέροις καὶ τρίτον προσέθηκεν ἐφεὶς ὡς ἐν ἁλώσει τοῖς ἐθέλουσι πορθεῖν Ἰουδαίους.

10. In Flaccum 72, Greek text: καὶ οἱ μὲν ταῦτα δρῶντες ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς θεατρικοῖς μίμοις καθυπεκρίνοντο τοὺς πάσχοντας· τῶν δ’ ὡς ἀληθῶς πεπονθότων φίλοι καὶ συγγενεῖς, ὅτι μόνον ταῖς τῶν προσηκόντων συμφοραῖς συνήλγησαν, ἀπήγοντο, ἐμαστιγοῦντο, ἐτροχίζοντο, καὶ μετὰ πάσας τὰς αἰκίας, ὅσας ἐδύνατο χωρῆσαι τὰ σώματα αὐτοῖς, ἡ τελευταία καὶ ἔφεδρος τιμωρία σταυρὸς ἦν.

11. Maceneas, quoted in Seneca Epistulae 101.11,12; Latin text: vel acuta / si sedeam cruce (even if I were to sit on a sharpened stake)... ...suffigas licet et acutam sessuro crucem subdas (You may nail me up and set underneath a sharpened stake for me to sink down on)

12. In Flaccum 83-85, Greek text: 83 ἤδη τινὰς οἶδα τῶν ἀνεσκολοπισμένων μελλούσης ἐνίστασθαι τοιαύτης ἐκεχειρίας καθαιρεθέντας καὶ τοῖς συγγενέσιν ἐπὶ τῷ ταφῆς ἀξιωθῆναι καὶ τυχεῖν τῶν νενομισμένων ἀποδοθέντας· ἔδει γὰρ καὶ νεκροὺς ἀπολαῦσαί τινος χρηστοῦ γενεθλιακαῖς αὐτοκράτορος καὶ ἅμα τὸ ἱεροπρεπὲς τῆς πανηγύρεως φυλαχθῆναι. 84 ὁ δ’ οὐ τετελευτηκότας ἐπὶ σταυρῶν καθαιρεῖν, ζῶντας δ’ ἀνασκολοπίζεσθαι προσέταττεν, οἷς ἀμνηστίαν ἐπ’ ὀλίγον, οὐ τὴν εἰς ἅπαν, ὁ καιρὸς ἐδίδου πρὸς ὑπέρθεσιν τιμωρίας, οὐκ ἄφεσιν παντελῆ. καὶ ταῦτ’ εἰργάζετο μετὰ τὸ πληγαῖς αἰκίσασθαι ἐν μέσῳ τῷ θεάτρῳ καὶ πυρὶ καὶ σιδήρῳ βασανίσαι. καὶ ἡ θέα διενενέμητο· 85 τὰ μὲν γὰρ πρῶτα τῶν θεαμάτων ἄχρι τρίτης ἢ τετάρτης ὥρας ἐξ ἑωθινοῦ ταῦτα ἦν· Ἰουδαῖοι μαστιγούμενοι, κρεμάμενοι, τροχιζόμενοι, καταικιζόμενοι, διὰ μέσης τῆς ὀρχήστρας ἀπαγόμενοι τὴν ἐπὶ θανάτῳ· τὰ δὲ μετὰ τὴν καλὴν ταύτην ἐπίδειξιν ὀρχησταὶ καὶ μῖμοι καὶ αὐληταὶ καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα σκηνικῶν ἀθύρματα ἀγώνων.

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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crucifixion the Bodily Support - Cicero (2)

Available at Barnes and Noble.

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.