"Let Them Hate, So That They Fear"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15th, 44 B.C. Three days later the Roman Senate ratified a number of his acts, as presented by Mark Antony, in the interest of public peace and safety. In June of the same year Antony summoned the Senate to the Temple of Concord, where they were held under armed guard, and forced them to ratify a number of apparently fictitious acts of Caesar. Cicero, discouraged by the train of events, left Rome for Greece. He abandoned his trip, however, and returned to Rome on August 31st. The next day, September 1st, Mark Antony attacked Cicero with a speech before the Senate, decrying Cicero's absence. The following day, Cicero went to the Senate to make his reply, which was not only a defense of his own conduct, but an attack on Mark Antony. In this speech, his first Philippic, Cicero first tells why he left and why he returned to Rome; he proceeds to protest the honors paid to Julius Caesar's memory, as being impious; he then says he agrees to the ratification of Caesar's acts, but states that mere promises and memoranda are not acts. Most of all, Cicero complains that certain acts of Caesar should not have been ratified because they abrogate positive laws. He then makes an appeal, which is also an attack on Mark Antony and Dolabella, for them to seek real glory, not mere domination of their fellow Romans. In so doing, Cicero uses a line from an old play, Accius' Atreus, which is no longer extant; the line, the quotation above, reads in Latin "Oderint, dum metuant."

What I more fear is this–that, blind to glory's true path, you may think it glorious to possess in your single self more power than all, and to be feared by your fellow-citizens. If you think so, you are totally blind to the true way of glory. To be a citizen dear to all, to deserve well of the State, to be praised, courted, loved, is glorious; but to be feared and an object of hatred is invidious, detestable, a proof of weakness and decay. We see this even in the play: the very man who said "Let them hate, so that they fear," found that it was fatal. Would, Marcus Antonius, you had remembered your grandfather! though of him you have heard much from me, and that very often. Do you think that he would have wished to earn immortality by being feared for his ability to keep an armed guard? To him life, to him prosperous fortune, was equality in liberty with the rest, the first place in honour.