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Julius Caesar, Chapter 55: Eloquence.
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|In eloquence and in the art of war he either equalled or surpassed the fame of their most eminent representatives. After his accusation of Dolabella, he was without question numbered with the leading advocates. At all events, when Cicero reviews the orators in his Brutus, he says that he does not see to whom Caesar ought to yield the palm, declaring that his style is elegant as well as transparent, even grand and in a sense noble. Again in a letter to Cornelius Nepos he writes thus of Caesar: Come now, what orator would you rank above him of those who have devoted themselves to nothing else? Who has cleverer or more frequent epigrams? Who is either more picturesque or more choice in diction? He appears, at least in his youth, to have imitated the manner of Caesar Strabo, from whose speech entitled Pro Sardis he actually transferred some passages word for word to a trial address of his own. He is said to have delivered himself in a high-pitched voice with impassioned action and gestures, which were not without grace. He left several speeches, including some which are attributed to him on insufficient evidence. Augustus had good reason to think that the speech Pro Quintus Metellus was rather taken down by shorthand writers who could not keep pace with his delivery, than published by Caesar himself; for in some copies I find that even the title is not Pro Metellus, but, Quam Scripsit Metello [Which he wrote for Metellus] although the discourse purports to be from Caesar's lips, defending Metellus and himself against the charges of their common detractors. Augustus also questions the authenticity of the address Apud Milites Quoque in Hispania, although there are two sections of it, one purporting to have been spoken at the first battle, the other at the second when Asinius Pollio writes that because of the sudden onslaught of the enemy, he actually did not have time to make an harangue.||Eloquentia militarique re aut aequauit praestantissimorum gloriam aut excessit. post accusationem Dolabellae haud dubie principibus patronis adnumeratus est. certe Cicero ad Brutum oratores enumerans negat se uidere, cui debeat Caesar cedere, aitque eum elegantem, splendidam quoque atque etiam magnificam et generosam quodam modo rationem dicendi tenere; et ad Cornelium Nepotem de eodem ita scripsit: 'quid? oratorem quem huic antepones eorum, qui nihil aliud egerunt? quis sententiis aut acutior aut crebrior? quis uerbis aut ornatior aut elegantior?' genus eloquentiae dum taxat adulescens adhuc Strabonis Caesaris secutus uidetur, cuius etiam ex oratione, quae inscribitur 'pro Sardis,' ad uerbum nonnulla transtulit in diuinationem suam. pronuntiasse autem dicitur uoce acuta, ardenti motu gestuque, non sine uenustate. orationes aliquas reliquit, inter quas temere quaedam feruntur. 'pro Quinto Metello' non immerito Augustus existimat magis ab actuaris exceptam male subsequentibus uerba dicentis, quam ab ipso editam; nam in quibusdam exemplaribus inuenio ne inscriptam quidem 'pro Metello,' sed 'quam scripsit Metello,' cum ex persona Caesaris sermo sit Metellum seque aduersus communium obtrectatorum criminationes purgantis. 'apud milites' quoque 'in Hispania' idem Augustus uix ipsius putat, quae tamen duplex fertur: una quasi priore habita proelio, altera posteriore, quo Asinius Pollio ne tempus quidem contionandi habuisse eum dicit subita hostium incursione.|