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Headword: Λούκιος Σέργιος Κατιλῖνος
Adler number: lambda,686
Translated headword: Lucius Sergius Catilina
Vetting Status: high
Although he was a man of remarkable family, he was otherwise wicked by nature, venturesome and ambitious, and unstable in his disposition, and he conspired for the destruction of his fatherland, having bound to his faith the most rash and venturesome of the patricians. It is said that, after he sacrificed a man, the conspirers tasted the blood, as he brought round to everybody the cup full of wine and human blood, either bewitching them with such an oath or accustoming them to all kinds of venture and profanity, because he would attempt private and political murders and he was preparing to change the government to tyranny by killing many of the noblest [citizens] and by burning the city. The burden of debts that overpowered the value of his property and the consciousness of lawless and loathsome deeds led Catiline to these foul intents. He also killed the son of Aristilla;[1] for these reasons when he went after the consulship, he failed, and Cicero[2] was elected instead. As a result of that he conceived the most foul of deeds, neither stopping his evil doings, nor ceasing his purposes. But Cicero, being skilful at speaking, and competent in discovering the truth, and very sharp in predicting the future, declared him an enemy and drove him out from the city.
Greek Original:
Λούκιος Σέργιος Κατιλῖνος, ἀνὴρ γένους μὲν ὢν ἐπιφανεστάτου, ἄλλως δὲ πονηρὸς τὴν φύσιν, τολμητής τε καὶ μεγαλοπράγμων καὶ τὸ ἦθος ποικίλος, ἐπ' ὀλέθρῳ τῆς πατρίδος συνώμοσε, τοὺς θρασυτάτους καὶ τολμηροτάτους τῶν εὐπατριδῶν ἐς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πίστιν ἐνδησάμενος. λέγεται γὰρ ἄνθρωπον καταθύσας γεῦσαι τοῦ αἵματος τοὺς συνωμότας, περιάγων ἐς πάντας τὴν κύλικα πλήρη οἴνου τε καὶ ἀνθρωπείου αἵματος, εἴτε καταγοητεύων τοὺς ἄνδρας τῷ τοιῷδε ὅρκῳ εἴτε καὶ πρὸς πᾶν τόλμημα καὶ πᾶσαν ἐθίζων ἀνοσιουργίαν, ἅτε οἰκείῳ καὶ πολιτικῷ ἐπιχειρῶν αἵματι καὶ μετάγειν τὴν πολιτείαν εἰς τυραννίδα φόνῳ τε πολλῷ τῶν ἀρίστων καὶ καταπρήσει τῆς πόλεως μηχανώμενος. ἐπῆρε δὲ ἄρα τὸν Κατιλῖνον ἐς ταύτας τὰς ἀτόπους ἐννοίας βάρη τε ὀφλημάτων νικῶντα τὸ τίμημα τῆς οὐσίας καὶ συνειδὸς ἐκθέσμων καὶ μυσαρῶν πράξεων. τόν τε γὰρ παῖδα τῆς Ἀριστίλλης διέφθειρε: δι' ἃ δὴ καὶ ὑπατείαν μετιὼν ἀπηλάθη, Κικέρωνος ἐς τὴν τοῦδε χώραν αἱρεθέντος. ἐξ οὗ δὴ καὶ μάλιστα τὰ ἀτοπώτατα τῶν δραμάτων ἐπὶ νοῦν ἐβάλετο, τῶν κακῶν οὐδαμοῦ ἱστάμενος οὐδὲ ἀναπαύων τὴν γνώμην. ὁ δὲ Κικέρων εἰπεῖν τε δεινὸς ὢν καὶ τἀληθὲς ἀνευρεῖν ἱκανὸς γνῶναι τε τὸ μέλλον ὀξύτατος, πολέμιον αὐτὸν ἀποφήνας ἐξήλασε τῆς πόλεως.
On this individual, chiefly (in)famous for the conspiracy he launched against the Roman Republic during the year of Cicero's consulship (63 BCE), see generally Ernst Badian in OCD(4) s.v. 'Sergius(RE 23) Catilina', with bibliography.
The main sources for the conspiracy are the four Catilinarian speeches by Cicero (at web address 1) and Sallust's Catiline (at web address 2). The present entry draws on John of Antioch fr.71 FHG (4.563), now 149 Roberto = Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, De virtutibus et vitiis 1.173.27-174.22 (cf. id., De sententiis 406.4-19. Earlier Greek narrations of the events include Plutarch, Cicero 10.3.3 ff. and Appian, Bellum Civile 2.1.2-7, which seems to be the initial source for this narrative). The Wikipedia entry for Catiline is at web address 3.
[1] Inaccurate; according to Sallust (Catiline 15.2 ff.), Catiline fell in love with Aurelia Orestilla [sic] and killed his own son in order to marry her.
[2] kappa 1594.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; economics; ethics; food; historiography; history; military affairs; politics; women
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 25 June 2007@17:52:58.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 26 June 2007@03:12:39.
David Whitehead on 22 April 2013@04:40:49.
David Whitehead (tweaked a note) on 2 April 2014@08:38:04.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@03:49:55.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 4 December 2014@00:33:57.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 January 2015@10:46:34.


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