L. Håkanson† and M. Winterbottom , Tribunus Marianus, in Nel segno del testo. Edizioni, materiali e studi per Oronzo Pecere, a cura di L. Del Corso, F. De Vivo, A. Stramaglia, Firenze 2015, pp. 61-90 (text at pp. 67-70).
This short piece is a reply (antilogy), written a good deal later, to the Miles Marianus, the third in the corpus of 19 so-called Major Declamations wrongly attributed to Quintilian (ed. L. Håkanson, Teubner, 1982). It is included in one of the early manuscripts of the corpus (Montpellier H 226, s. XII2), and in five later manuscripts, where its position varies.
The theme of the two speeches is based on an incident in the war fought by Marius against the Cimbri in northern Italy in 104 BC (Plutarch, Vita Mar., 14). A tribune, a relative to the general, made sexual advances to a Roman soldier, who killed him. Decl. 3 (edited by C. Schneider in the Cassino series in 2004) purports to be spoken by the soldier’s advocate when he is arraigned before Marius. Our piece, numbered 3b by G. Lehnert in the first, though flawed, modern edition (Teubner, 1905), is the reply, though as a prosecuting speech it would in reality have come first, and the declaimer’s verbatim citations from Decl. 3 are inappropriate.
The Tribunus is not a work of high literary merit (Håkanson called it ‘a few pages of bad rhetoric’), but it commands scholarly attention because of its remarkably complete conformity to the rules of the rhythmic system known as the cursus. On the basis of its language and of parallels with other texts, Håkanson dated it to around 600 AD. Its rhythmic practice seems to support such a date, but the early history of the cursus has yet to be worked out in detail. [M. Winterbottom]