Cicero, Philippics 9.5 and the Porticus Octavia

Patrick Tansey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On or shortly after 4 February 43 b.c. Cicero delivered the Ninth Philippic in an effort to persuade the Senate to honour Ser. Sulpicius Rufus (cos. 51). He argued that Sulpicius, who had died of natural causes while acting as the Senate's envoy, was nevertheless entitled to the same recognition as legati killed ob rem publicam. In the course of the speech Cicero discussed various historic precedents, including Cn. Octavius (cos. 165) who was assassinated in Syria in 162 b.c. while doing the Senate's bidding and was consequently honoured with a statue on the rostra. The statue was still extant in 43 b.c. and Cicero reminded his audience that it was now the only memorial to this great family. Cicero's observation has unanimously been interpreted as signifying that the family of the consul of 165 b.c. was extinct in February 43 b.c. In fact, Cicero actually meant that the statue on the rostra was now the sole surviving monument associated with the family of Cn. Octavius because the other two monuments that had served as a concrete reminder of the family had latterly been destroyed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-546
Number of pages7
JournalClassical Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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