What started as a simple search for a historical quote on the subject of class and privilege and “deserving” accolades, to go with the title of this chapter, turned into quite an adventure. Finding the quote was just the beginning. The internet is notoriously bad at accurately transmitting the context of a quote. It has a habit of misaattributing authors, removing context, and cutting out important additions. So I wanted to find the document that the Gaius Marius quote came from. Which, after an hours-long search, I eventually did. The internet is not great at cataloguing historical documents, even with so many universtiy collections moving online, but at least when it comes to Classical history some of that work has been done. It also helps if you remember that there are two ways of spelling Gaius (or Caius), who the historians were who wrote about him, and if the books that have translations of those writings in English are old enough to be public domain so that I can actually use them (translation work is copyrightable).

Then on a whim I decided I wanted the original original, in Latin. Which I also found. And then (not being able to read Latin), was able to compare the two to find the exact sentences I had copied from the English version.

And then I went on a side quest to find out how punctuation worked in Latin, because the Latin text I found was full of commas, periods, and question marks, none of which I was sure existed in the Classical Latin used when the text was written. It turns out Latin at the time had no punctuation at all, nor spaces between words, nor lowercase letters. Which was arguably too much. So I took a generous interpretation and included punctuation marks that they sometimes grudgingly used, in order to make the thing semi-legible.

All of this took a whole day. But I had way too much fun doing it.

↓ Transcript
Quote (first in Latin then in English): "Compare now, my fellow citizens, me, who am a new man, with those haughty nobles. What they have but heard or read, I have witnessed or performed. What they have learned from books, I have acquired in the field; and whether deeds or words are of greater estimation, it is for you to consider… If the patricians justly despise me, let them also despise their own ancestors, whose nobility, like mine, had its origin in merit. They envy me the honor that I have received; let them also envy me the toils, the abstinence, and the perils, by which I obtained that honor."
- From a speech by consul Gaius Marius, in 106 BCE, in defence of his being a member of the equestrian class rather than the patrician class, As reported by Gaius Sallustius Crispus in “The Jugurthine War,” translated by Rev. John Selby Watson.