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FRL V: ORATORY, PART 3

T 1 Cic. Brut. 263

[Cicero:] C. Sicinius1 igitur Q. Pompei illius, qui censor fuit, ex filia nepos, quaestorius mortuus est; probabilis orator, iam vero etiam probatus, ex hac inopi ad ornandum, sed ad inveniendum expedita Hermagorae disciplina. ea dat rationes certas et praecepta dicendi, quae si minorem habent apparatum—sunt enim exilia—tamen habent ordinem et quasdam errare in dicendo non patientis vias. has ille tenens et paratus ad causas veniens, verborum non egens, ipsa illa comparatione disciplinaque dicendi iam in patronorum numerum pervenerat.

142 C. VISELLIUS VARRO

C. Visellius Varro (tr. mil. 80–79 BC; RE Visellius 3) was a cousin of Cicero (T 1; Cic. De or. 2.2; Prov. cons. 40). He reached the office of curule aedile (precise date uncertain) and died afterward while in charge of a court (T 1; TLRR 254).

Cicero reports that the public did not regard Varro’s oratory very highly; he agrees that his manner of speaking was abrupt and fast, and thus obscure, but notes his learning, appropriateness of diction, and frequent use of sententiae (T 1).

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142 C. VISELLIUS VARRO

T 1 Cicero, Brutus

[Cicero:] C. Sicinius, then, a grandson of that Q. Pompeius, who was censor [Q. Pompeius (30), censor 131 BC], by his daughter, died after having been quaestor; an orator deserving of recognition, indeed even already recognized; from that school of Hermagoras [rhetorician from Temnos], meager in embellishment, but handy for invention [cf. 145 T 1]. It furnishes precise principles and rules of speaking, which, though they give rather little embellishment—they are in fact barren—still provide order and certain lines that do not permit one to stray in speaking. Keeping close to them and coming to his cases well prepared, not lacking in words, with that equipment and schooling in speaking, he [Sicinius] had already come to be included in the ranks of pleaders. [continued by 142 T1]

142 C. VISELLIUS VARRO

Varro seems to have appeared as a witness in the trial of C. Verres in 70 BC (Cic. Verr. 2.1.71). In 58 BC Varro produced a draft bill on Cicero’s recall from exile for the Tribune of the People T. Fadius (Cic. Att. 3.23.4). A charge advanced by Otacilia, Laterensis’ wife, with whom Varro was allegedly having an affair, was dismissed by the presiding magistrate (TLRR 391; Val. Max. 8.2.2).

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.fragmentary_republican_latin-oratory.2019