7 M. CORNELIUS CETHEGUS
M. Cornelius Cethegus (censor 209, cos. 204 BC; RE Cornelius 92), according to Cicero (T 1), was the first Roman for whom there is evidence that he was eloquent and regarded as such: as proof Cicero refers to lines from Ennius’
T 1 Cic. Brut. 57–60
[Cicero:] quem vero exstet et de quo sit memoriae proditum eloquentem fuisse et ita esse habitum, primus est M. Cornelius Cethegus, cuius eloquentiae est auctor et idoneus quidem mea sententia Q. Ennius, praesertim cum et ipse eum audiverit et scribat de mortuo: ex quo nulla suspicio est amicitiae causa esse mentitum.  est igitur sic apud illum in nono ut opinor annali [Enn. Ann. 304–8 Sk. = 9 Ann. F 6 FRL]: “additur orator Cornelius suaviloquenti / ore Cethegus Marcus Tuditano conlega / Marci filius,” et oratorem appellat et suaviloquentiam tribuit, quae nunc quidem non tam est in plerisque (latrant enim iam quidam oratores, non loquuntur), sed est ea laus eloquentiae certe maxima “is dictust ollis popularibus olim, / qui tum vivebant homines atque aevum agitabant,1 / flos delibatus populi,” probe vero;  ut enim hominis decus ingenium, sic ingeni ipsius lumen est eloquentia, qua virum excellentem praeclare tum illi homines florem populi esse dixerunt “Suadaeque medulla.” Πειθὼ quam vocant Graeci, cuius effector est orator, hanc Suadam
7 M. CORNELIUS CETHEGUS
Annales (Enn. Ann. 304–8 Sk. = 9 Ann. F 6 FRL; see Piras 2012), praising Cethegus’ sweet-speaking tongue and his faculties of persuasion (see also Cic. Sen. 50; Quint. Inst. 2.15.4–5, 11.3.31; Gell. NA 12.2.3).
T 1 Cicero, Brutus
[Cicero:] The first, however, who is on record and known to have been eloquent and recognized as such, is M. Cornelius Cethegus, of whose eloquence Q. Ennius is a witness, and indeed a suitable one in my view, especially since he heard him himself and writes about him after his death; hence there is no suspicion that he lied for the sake of friendship.  There is thus the following in him [Ennius] in, I believe, the ninth book of the Annals [Enn. Ann. 304–8 Sk. = 9 Ann. F 6 FRL]: “there is added the orator Cornelius, of sweet-speaking tongue, Cethegus Marcus, Marcus’ son, to Tuditanus [P. Sempronius Tuditanus, cos. 204 BC] as his colleague.” He both calls him an orator and attributes to him sweetness of speech, which nowadays at least is not so much found in most of them (for some orators now bark, they do not speak); but this is surely the greatest praise of eloquence: “he was called by those countrymen in the past, who were then alive and living out their years, the choice flower of the People,” truly well said;  for just as a man’s distinction is his talent, so the highlight of talent itself is eloquence; and someone excelling in that was well called by the men of that time the flower of the People “and the marrow of Persuasion.” What the Greeks call Πειθώ [Peitho, “Persuasion”], of