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FRL V: ORATORY, PART 3

accusavit et Cicero defendit: exstat eius oratio satis pulcherrima, quae inscribitur pro Quinto Ligario.

176 M. VALERIUS MESSALLA CORVINUS

M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus (cos. 31 BC; RE Valerius 261), an opponent of C. Iulius Caesar (121), first supported M. Iunius Brutus (158) and C. Cassius Longinus. After the battle of Philippi (42 BC), he transferred to M. Antonius (159) and later moved to Octavian. Messalla fought in the battle of Actium in 31 BC and later against the Aquitani, over whom he celebrated a triumph (Tib. 1.7). Messalla became the first praefectus urbis in 26 BC (Tac. Ann. 6.11.3) and the first curator aquarum in 12 BC (Frontin. Aq. 99.4); in 2 BC he was selected by the Senate to offer Augustus the title of pater patriae (F20). Afterward, Messalla withdrew to private life and dedicated his time to literary study (on his life see FRHist1:463–71).

T 1 Cic. Ad Brut. 1.15.1–2

Messallam habes. quibus igitur litteris tam accurate scriptis adsequi possum subtilius ut explicem quae gerantur quaeque sint in re publica quam tibi is exponet qui et optime omnia novit et elegantissime expedire et deferre ad te potest? cave enim existimes, Brute (quamquam non necesse est ea me ad te quae tibi nota sunt scribere; sed tamen tantam omnium laudum excellentiam non queo silentio praeterire), cave putes probitate, constantia, cura,

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176 M. VALERIUS MESSALLA CORVINUS

get water, on account of which he [Tubero] accused him [Ligarius] and Cicero defended him: his [Cicero’s] speech, of considerable elegance, is extant; it is entitled “On behalf of Quintus Ligarius.”

176 M. VALERIUS MESSALLA CORVINUS

Messalla was a supporter of poets, especially of Tibullus, and produced poetry himself: bucolic poetry in Greek (Catalept. 9.14) and light amatory verses (Plin. Ep.5.3.5) are mentioned. Further, he wrote about grammatical matters (T 5; GRF, pp.503–7) and produced a historical work (FRHist 61).

In ancient sources Messalla is described as an eloquent and polished speaker, a very industrious and exact writer, characterized by a precise use of language (T 1–3, 7–9; Quint. Inst. 12.11.28; 158 T 7; Vell. Pat. 2.36.2–3; Tac. Ann. 11.6.2; Dial. 12.6, 17.1; cf. also Hor. Sat. 1.10.28–30; Ars P.369–71; Ov. Pont. 2.2.49–52, 2.3.75, 3.5.7).

T 1 Cicero, Letters to Brutus

Messalla is with you. Therefore, with what letters, so carefully written, could I bring about that I might explain more precisely what is going on and what the situation is in the Republic than he will expound them to you, he who knows everything excellently and is able to set out and report it to you most elegantly? For do not believe, Brutus (although there is no need for me to write to you about what is known to you; but, still, I cannot pass over such great excellence in all virtues in silence), do not think that in

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.fragmentary_republican_latin-oratory.2019