F 7 Gell. NA 1.6.7–8

hoc quoque aliud ex eadem oratione Q. Metelli dignum esse existimavimus adsidua lectione non hercle minus, quam quae a gravissimis philosophis scripta sunt. [8] verba Metelli haec sunt: “di immortales plurimum possunt; sed non plus velle nobis debent quam parentes. at parentes, si pergunt liberi errare, bonis exheredant. quid ergo nos ab immortalibus dissimilius1 expectemus, nisi malis rationibus finem facimus? is demum deos propitios esse aequum est, qui sibi adversarii non sunt. dii immortales virtutem adprobare, non adhibere debent.”


Ser. Sulpicius Galba (cos. 144 BC; RE Sulpicius 58) was aclever general and an independent-minded politician (father of C. Sulpicius Galba [53]).

In Cicero it is acknowledged that Galba was well educated and an excellent speaker, well versed in the techniques of oratory (some of which he was the first to use in Rome), even though his extant speeches did not appear too impressive, since his orations were based on talent, expressive delivery, and the emotions of the moment (T1–6; Cic.

T 1 Cic. Brut. 82

[Cicero:] sed inter hos aetate paulum his antecedens sine controversia Ser. Galba eloquentia praestitit; et nimirum



F 7 Gellius, Attic Nights

This other passage also from the same speech of Q. Metellus we regard as deserving of constant reading, no less, by Hercules, than what has been written by the most serious philosophers. [8] The words of Metellus are these: “The immortal gods have the greatest power, but they are not expected to be more indulgent to us than parents. Yet parents, if their children persist in wrongdoing, disinherit them from their fortune. What then are we to expect differently from the immortal gods, unless we put an end to our evil ways? It is fair that the gods are favorable only toward those who are not enemies to themselves. The immortal gods ought to approve, not supply, virtue.”


Brut. 98; De or. 1.58, 1.255; Rep.3.9, 3.42; Tusc. 1.5; cf. Val. Max. 8.7.1). In the Rhetorica ad Herennium Galba is listed as one of the writers from whom examples for students could be drawn (Rhet. Her. 4.7: 25 T 5), while in Tacitus’ time some regarded Galba as belonging to the “ancient” orators of unpolished style (T 9–10). Written versions of his speeches were available in antiquity (T 1–3; Liv. Epit. 49).

T 1 Cicero, Brutus

[Cicero:] But among these, preceding these [generation of C. Laelius Sapiens (20) and P. Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus minor (21)] a little in time, Ser. Galba,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.fragmentary_republican_latin-oratory.2019