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An interpolated line of Terence at Cicero, 'De Finibus' 2.14.

Hanc quoque `iucunditatem', si vis, transfer in animum (`iuvare' enim in utroque dicitur, ex eoque `iucundum'), modo intellegas inter illum qui dicat

Tanta laetitia auctus sum ut nihil constet et cum qui

Nunc demum mihi animus ardet, quorum alter laetitia gestiat, alter dolore crucietur, esse illum medium [Quamquam haec inter nos nuper notitia admodum est] qui nee laetetur nee angatur, itemque inter cum qui potiatur corporis expetitis voluptatibus et cum qui crucietur summis doloribus esse cum qui utroque careat.

The words I propose to delete form the opening line of Terence's Heautontimorumenos (`The Self-Tormentor': line 53, after 52 lines of prologue). They are not properly integrated into the structure of Cicero's sentence, which runs very smoothly without them; and they do not show the speaker to be `neither glad nor upset' in the way that the other passages quoted do show their speakers to be respectively glad and upset. To make them in any way relevant, we have to suppose that Cicero expects us to think of the man who speaks them in Terence's play (Chremes) as one who does not feel either of the strong emotions expressed by the other speakers; and it is true that Chremes is well contrasted in the opening scene with Menedemus, the Self-Tormentor after whom the play is named, and that he cannot himself be said particularly to display either emotion in that scene. Also, later in the play, at 505-6, Menedemus wonders whether the reason Chremes is (as they both believe) a better judge of his (Menedemus') affairs than he is himself might be quia in re nostra aut gaudio / sumus praepediti nimio aut aegritudine.

But this seems forced. It is no surprise to see Chremes characterized by Cicero as non inhumanus at De Fin. 1.3, since this is how he (famously) presents himself in line 77, homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto. Nor would it be surprising to see him characterized as curiosus (though Cicero contrasts him with the curiosi at 1.3), since that is how Menedemus sees him in 75-6 and most of us see him (in spite of his self-presentation) in the play as a whole. But there is no particular appropriateness in singling him out as an example of mental equilibrium; that is not one of his most striking characteristics, and if Cicero had meant us to think specifically of lines 505-6 (or of some other passage, if there is one that would make the point more effectively) he would surely not have contented himself with quoting line 53. He is capable of singling out the lines that are relevant to his argument, as at De Fin. 1.3 where he quotes line 69, and 5.28 where he quotes lines 147-8 (adapting the syntax to fit his own sentence) and also line 80.]

It is surely more likely that a reader who saw Cicero referring to someone who dolore crucietur, and to someone who crucietur(2) summis doloribus, was put in mind of Terence's well-known play `The Self-Tormentor' (in which Chremes applies the verb cruciare to Menedemus at line 81) and wrote its opening line in the margin--to refer to this play as providing a further example from comedy of someone who tortures himself, not an example of someone who feels neither gladness nor grief.(3) From the margin, it crept into the text.

The point was really seen by H. Rackham, in a note to his Loeb translation (p. 94): `Chremes' mild interest in his new neighbour, the Self-Tormentor, is rather oddly instanced as an illustration of the neutral state of emotion intermediate between mental pleasure and pain.' Oddly enough, I think, and clumsily enough, to justify deletion.

(1) J. S. Reid claims in his commentary on De Finibus 2.14 that `The three persons are three fathers exhibited on the comic stage...; the father who is delighted with his son, the father who treats his son ill, and the tolerant, indifferent, father'. But we do not know that the first speaker is a father, and the fact that the second speaker is a father is not relevant to Cicero's point in this context (unlike Pro Caelio 37).

(2) Manuscripts are divided between the readings crucietur and excrucietur. Prof. L. D. Reynolds tells me that he will read crucietur in his forthcoming Oxford Classical Text of De Finibus, as do most editors.

(3) For the common ancient practice of referring to a literary work by quotation of its opening words, even when the work was also known by a title, see E. Nachmanson, Der griechische Buchtitel (Goteborg, 1941, repr. Darmstadt, 1969), pp. 37-49, E. J. Kenney, `That Incomparable Poem the `Ille ego'?', CR NS 20 (1970), 290. Admittedly the examples there discussed are not of dramatic works, except that the opening of Ennius' Medea is quoted by Cicero at De Finibus 1.5 shortly after he has referred to the work by its title. But Greek dramatic hypotheses commonly quote the opening words of a play in addition to giving its title. Terence's prologues are so clearly separate from the dramatic action that it would (I think) be quite natural to regard line 53, rather than line 1 of the prologue, as the opening of the play. I have not found an example of the use either of the first line of the opening scene or of the first line of the prologue to refer to one of Terence's plays, so perhaps I have not hit on the right explanation; but that does not weaken my conviction that the line has been interpolated at this point in Cicero's work.
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Author:Brown, P.G. McC.
Publication:The Classical Quarterly
Date:Jul 1, 1997
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