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Cicero makes fun of Caesar’s decision

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


On December 31, 45 BCE unexpectedly died1the current consul, Quintus Fabius Maximus. In his place – until the end of the year, that is for a few hours – Julius Caesar appointed Gaius Caninius Rebilus. Cicero joked about this: “Rebilus had to ask “in whose consulship he was consul”.

He also allowed himself some more jokes: “Watchful, we have consul Caninius, who did not sleep during his consulate”2.

He also said: “Until now we only had priests of Jupiter, now we also have one-day consuls”3. The joke was a play on words: the adjective dialis is a homonym – a word that sounds the same as another word, but has a different meaning. The priest of Jupiter to flamen Dialis and the one-day consul to consul dialis.

  1. As Pliny the Elder points out, the death of the consul was so surprising that no Roman did not show any symptoms of the disease (Natural History, VII.181).
  2. Own translation from Polish.
  3. Own translation from Polish.
  • Macrobius, Saturnalia II.3.6-10

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